FOLLOW THE LEADERS, NOT THE LOSERS
If you want to be better than you are, observe the attitudes and work habits of the (currently) most successful people, both in your own firm and among your competitors. Then do as they do, so long as their activities are consistent with your own set of values.
Emulate the things they're doing that you are not, which may include some "doings" that are unfamiliar to you. Stop short ONLY of what violates your standards of ethics and fair play.
Recognize that some of the changes entailed will fall outside that comfort zone of yours, so you're not likely to find all of the adjustments attractive.
Successful people, though, form the habit of doing things that failures just don't "like" to do.
LOVE ME, LOVE MY HOUSE!
NEVER express a negative opinion about the home you're attempting to list.
No matter how kind you try to be, YOUR criticism will not be taken kindly by the prospective sellers, even if it is valid and valuable.
Their choices in life style, decoration, furnishing, improvements and even housekeeping may leave a lot to be desired, but don't risk offending them by talking about what YOU think.
Instead, gently but firmly, suggest what a "typical buyer" is likely to say, based on your experience in the market.
The truth will have to come out, of course, but you needn't (and shouldn't) be the "outer."
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
Even when the truth is staring them in the face, some sellers just don't get it.
Our hard-hitting 30-minute audio CD, "The Facts Of Life For Home Sellers," is helping hundreds of real estate pros get through to reluctant sellers and myopic FSBOs that the three most important words in real estate are not location, location and location, but price, price and price.
If the price is right, there's a buyer for everything, regardless of where it might be (and when it might be offered).
Loaned to sellers (and played at sales meetings), this persuasive CD sends a message that brings listings into line with changing markets and breaks the logjam of "wait-and-see" thinking.
Single copies are $7.50, plus $3 S&H, ordered through www.joeklock.com. In quantities of 20 or more, they'll cost you only $4.50 each. More and more pros are now going this route! (E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.)
HELP PAST AND FUTURE CUSTOMERS TO SAVE MONEY EVERY MONTH
Old pal, current subscriber and consummate pro Ed Hall, of Naperville, IL (630/205-4700), sent out a timely newsletter to his spheres of influence reminding them of a possible cost-cutter that they might be overlooking, especially if they bought their homes a few years ago.
Those who bought such homes with low down payments a while back were probably saddled with Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) added to their monthly payments.
If their equity is NOW 20% or more, they might be able to shed the PMI burden.
Sometimes this is done automatically, but not always, so it's worth a call by them to their lenders to explore the possibility.
Even if they don't qualify, or already know about it, letting your former and future customers hear about this opportunity to save demonstrates that you care!
WHAT'S IN - AND ON - THE CARDS?
A subscriber recently wrote for advice about printing slogans or solicitations on the back of her business card.
Our take on this is that biz cards should focus on identification and contact info, with a minimum of clutter on the front and NOTHING on the flip side.
This leaves room for handwritten messages targeted to the individual recipient.
One idea: Writing in by hand your cell phone # for "special" customers. (Okay, ALL of them are important, but a little touch of TLC never hurts!) No single phrase or subject can possibly be appealing to everyone and generalities are necessarily impersonal.
That said, though, we've seen a very effective use of "special purpose" cards displaying recipes, schedules, services, inspirational messages and other useful (to special people) information, with the agent's name and contact data downplayed.
AIM FOR YOUR GOAL....ANTHENSUM!
If you focus on a target and reach it, chances are you'll have a tendency to "flatten out" when you get there.
Good idea to set objectives above and beyond what is required of you or desired BY you in order to achieve your maximum potential.
An athlete who jumps exactly seven feet will knock down a bar set at that level every time and a tennis player who meets the ball, rather than hitting through it will find perpetual love on the court.
So, plan on doing what you think is necessary to meet your objectives...and at least a little bit more.
That "anthensum" factor is often the difference between mediocrity and stardom!
WRITE ON, BROTHERS AND SISTERS!
Free publicity is like found money - and it's yours for the taking, even if you didn't major in news writing.
Most of what you do and what you know is of interest to your current customers and future prospects.
Someone once (and wisely) observed that all Americans have two occupations - the one they're in and real estate.
Whenever you do something, learn something, hear something or even think of something that might interest readers of a local publication, sit down and scribble the who, what, when, where, how and/or if of the story - concentrating on the bare facts.
Then, if necessary, hire the (always underpaid) "rewrite" person or intern at your community newspaper to put it into publishable form before submitting it (with a head shot of yourself) to the media in your effective service area.
If it finds its way into print, make reprints on your copying machine for envelope stuffers to multiply the impact.
If it isn't published, write another, then another, then another.
Whoever invented one of the more popular lubricants on the planet did NOT stop at WD-39!
THE PRICE IS RIGHT!
When faced with a customer who wants you to reduce your commission, keep this very basic precept in mind: People will pay whatever they have to pay to get what they want, provided only that they can afford it and can't get it for less.
Therefore, once you have convinced customers that you and your company offer the best answer to their needs, just be "politely firm" in sticking to your guns about compensation.
It's perfectly natural for some people to try for a "better deal," but if they persist in that effort, just go back to selling the benefits of dealing with you.
Until they are completely unwilling to discuss the matter further, they have NOT said "no!"
"IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED..."
When trying out a new technique, don't give up if it doesn't click right away...few of them do.
If you had adopted the "only once" approach when you were first trying to walk, you'd still be a rug-rat (and not nearly as cute as you were then).
Changing old ways, or acquiring new ones, requires persistence and a willingness to accept temporary setbacks (often regarded by future losers as reasons for giving up).
Babe Ruth's home run record has been shattered many times, but he is still the unchallenged strikeout king.
Sometimes, those who succeed after a single first effort are not the lucky ones, because they still have to learn that small failures are the sticker price on big successes.