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OVERCOMING CALL RELUCTANCE

We are all faced with call reluctance at one time or another in our sales careers. We all know that we need to prospect and make calls daily to generate new business. However, knowing and doing can be two entirely different things. The fear of calling can be a career ender for many sales people.

Let’s take a look at what most Agents do when call reluctance hits. Most Agents take the worst possible action…they avoid the calls. Are you avoiding the calls when call reluctance hits? The problem with that plan of action is that avoiding something out of fear only teaches you to fear it more.

Taking this plan of action only makes the challenge larger and harder. Your call avoidance only intensifies your anxiety, which leads to greater reluctance and greater avoidance. We have all lived this pattern, leading us farther down the slippery slope of call reluctance. How do you break this pattern of destruction? There is a five-step strategy to overcome call reluctance:

 Strategy #1: Take Stock of Yourself and Your Skills

Most people who are chronic call reluctance sufferers are their own worst enemies. They are experts in all of their own faults and shortcomings. They see only their weaknesses, not their strengths. To be successful at prospecting over the phone, we have to have a clear sense of what we can provide to the prospect. Until we have a clear understanding of our value, we will never achieve comfort in prospecting over the phone.

The overcoming step is to evaluate what you have to offer the prospect. Take inventory of your skills and abilities. Understand your track record of results. Review your list of satisfied clients and the reasons why they’re satisfied.

  1. List the things you can do for the prospects.
  2. List the qualities that make you the person they should work with.
  3. List the specific benefits of your services.

 

Always have these lists ready by the phone. This way you can easily review them before you begin to call. You will also be able to use them during your call to convince the prospect to work with you. Many of us are challenged because we see making a call to a prospect or even a cold opportunity as an unwanted interruption. By using this list, you can change your mindset to see that you are giving the prospect a valuable opportunity to be served by you. We need a new perspective of opportunity.

Strategy #2: Set Realistic, Achievable Daily Goals

We can easily get ahead of ourselves. By setting a daily goal that is realistic, we can create momentum. People who are challenged with call reluctance often believe that they need to make 20, 50, or even 100 calls a day to make a difference. Since they can’t do that, they avoid even starting. Start with a small number you can commit to daily. We have seen Agents double their businesses in a year by making 5-10 contacts a day. A little goes a long way. Prospecting is like Brill Cream: a little dab will do you. It just has to be used every day.

Set manageable goals for each week, and then break them down into goals for each day. If you are struggling to hit the daily goal, break it down to each part of the day or even each hour if necessary.

Make it into a game. How many calls can I make before lunch or before my next appointment at 10:00 am? Make the target achievable. You want to achieve the feeling of accomplishment. When you achieve the goal, reward yourself. We call it celebrating the victory. Part of being effective in calling is learning to reward yourself along the way. The mouse wouldn’t work as hard to get to the end of the maze if the cheese wasn’t there. The reality is that we are no different. You have to create small rewards along the way.

 Strategy #3: Control Negative Self-Talk

We all have an internal voice. Sometimes, that voice is our biggest fan and encourager. Other times, it feels like that little voice is chaining us to a cement block and pushing us into a deep river. That internal voice can challenge us for good or bad; it can criticize and chastise us, as well.

For those of you who are challenged by call reluctance regularly, this negative self-talk can be particularly aggressive. It can become almost hyperactive when you are preparing for a sales call. When you go to pick up the phone, the negative self-talk turns up the volume and intensity.

“They are going to reject you.”

“Why would they use you instead of these other Agents?”

“Maybe there is another way to do this.”

“I should really be handling the problem transaction.”

“I need to do more research before I make this call.”

Meet the challenge of the negative self-talk head on. If you do, the voice will get quieter, and after a few dials, it will go away completely.

If you are really struggling, write down what the negative self-talk is saying. By having it down on paper, you can refute what is being said in your mind. The only way to repel the voice is to create the responses that defuse the arguments. It’s the difference between your thoughts controlling you, or you controlling your thoughts. You are in charge here.

The difference between you and the mouse is that you can change. The mouse will go back forever and look for the cheese. You know better than that. Take the steps to go a different direction for a newer, better opportunity.

Strategy #4: Visualize the “Perfect Call”

We often begin each call by envisioning rejection. We begin each call with the thought process, “I hope they’re not home.” Mentally, we are poorly prepared. Even if they are present, we may not be. Do you visualize them hanging up the phone in disgust, or is there a voice telling you they are happy to hear from you? We often have a horrible movie playing in our head. Those negative images are making the calls more difficult to execute.

We can create the outcome before we ever pick up the phone. Those negative visions create self-fulfilling prophecies. We get caught going through the motions without the results we desire. There are two key reasons we end up short of the outcome we planned for:

  1. The “negative visions” generate stress, and the mental stress blocks performance. We are preoccupied with the stress. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop, so we can be right. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” You will create the outcome you visualize.
  2. The “negative visions” are a rehearsal. The more you run the negative through mentally, the greater the probability of reproducing it in reality. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect…only perfect practice makes perfect. All practice does is make it permanent. The mouse practiced going for the cheese even when the cheese was taken away.

 

We must visualize ourselves talking on the phone with confidence. We must have a “bring it on” attitude. We must visualize ourselves handling the objections efficiently and effectively, and we must visualize ourselves setting an appointment.

 Strategy #5: The One-Call or Ten-Minute Strategy

It’s really easy when you are in call reluctance to envision hours of calling and toiling on the phone. You believe that you are going to have to bear hours of rejection to generate one measly lead. Then you figure you might as well give yourself the day off, and you can make it up tomorrow.

Resolve, before you give up for the day, to make 10 minutes worth of calls. The truth is any of us can make the calls for just 10 minutes. When you have completed 10 minutes or a certain number of contacts, like two or three, you are free to quit guilt-free. You have “bought” your freedom for the day.

You have taken a big step to breaking through call reluctance. Do the 10 minutes and know you are progressing out of call reluctance.

The other thing you will discover is that the hardest part is behind you. You can tap into the momentum you have just created. I guarantee that the next dial will be easier and not feel or look so intimidating. You have started to control the negative self-talk. You can choose to continue on. This is the best commitment you could make and keep for yourself.

Call reluctance is real for every salesperson. There is no one who doesn’t suffer from some form of call reluctance. If some claim they don’t ever have it, just realize they must have deeper psychological problems to deal with. Apply the five steps today and work to overcome call reluctance.

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WHAT WILL YOU BECOME?

What will you become?

I learned from my late friend, Jim Rohn that life is not about what you acquire but what you become. We set goals to become the person we need to become to accomplish the goal. I had to become a different person to attract the success that I had in real estate sales. I have had to become a more skilled and more knowledgeable person to become a coach and speak in front of audiences. A specific example would be the fact that I had to become more disciplined to become an author of ten books and counting.

The change in your thinking, your knowledge, your skills, your discipline that you must undergo is the real value. The achievement of crossing the finish line of the goal lasts a week, a day, or even just a moment. The improvements you made to cross that finish line of the goal lasts a lifetime. You get to invest that new found knowledge, skill, thinking, and discipline for the rest of your life to create more abundance and accomplishments.

I believe that’s why most financially successful people create the largest portion of their wealth between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-five. Numerous studies have profiled wealthy individuals and discovered that successful people make more money in those ten years than all the preceding thirty plus years combined. For most of us, it takes us that long to acquire the wisdom, skills, knowledge, and discipline to achieve fantastic returns for our efforts.

It’s difficult to work on all of your goals at once. We must choose and prioritize our goals to be able to create and implement our plan for achievement. We need a plan of action and achievement to successfully check the goals off of our life list. We must look at the resources in life that need to be employed to ensure the achievement of our goals: the resources of money, skills, knowledge, time, and other people. These are the resources of life that we can invest in achieving the Champion level of life. For each goal, we need to determine the resources to invest, as well as how much and when to invest them.

Money: Is there an amount of money I need to invest to accomplish this goal? Where can I acquire the money to reach the goal? Do I need to take it out of my working capital, savings, or borrow it?

Skills: What skills must I acquire and perfect to reach this goal? What is the best way to acquire those skills in terms of ease, timeframe, and cost?

Knowledge: What knowledge must I secure to achieve this goal? Is this knowledge specific or general? What’s the best pathway to obtain this knowledge in terms of ease, timeframe, and cost?

Time: What time investment must I make personally? What’s the timing or order of steps to ensure the accomplishment of this goal?

Other People: Who else can help me? Who can help me reduce the time or timing? Does who I know make a difference? If it does, who do I need to know and how do I get to know them?

These are the questions to ask ourselves relating to the resource areas we need to apply to each of our goals to ensure the fulfillment of our big whys and big goals in life.

 

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FOUR CORE PLANS

There are four fundamental plans that any Agent needs to construct to increase their production and quality of life dramatically. It doesn’t matter where you are on the success continuum; you must construct and execute these four core plans or models. Whatever level of success you at in your career today is because of where you are in relation to the construction of these plans. If you are a new Agent, you have a lot of work ahead. If you are inconsistent in your production and income, you might have a rough outline but few details. If you are consistent in your earnings, you have filled in a few of the details, but the big growth for you will come when you complete the construction. If you are already a Champion, you are in the fine-tuning stage. You must be vigilant in your focus to execute and tweak your four core plans. The four plans each Agent must have are time management, business management, personal management, and activity management.

Time management is always ranked as one of the top three problems in surveys we conduct with Agents, Brokers, and Real Estate Companies. I get asked to speak on time management more than any other topic. The implementation of a solid time management plan alone will increase your revenue by well over 30% in the next year if you are a new or inconsistent Agent.

A business management plan is essential to determine the results of your efforts. What does the financial score board say about your business? Too many Agents run businesses that are only marginally profitable. That’s bad enough. The worst part is that they don’t even know it. They don’t have a system of checks and balances to monitor the business results. As you expand your business and include more people, marketing, and advertising, you must be able to monitor the physical and financial results of your team’s efforts. You must have clear standards and practices to evaluate performance and results.

A personal management system is probably the hardest area to work on. This one takes dead aim at you. It is where you are personally in your journey of success. Are you investing in your largest business asset . . . you? Are you holding yourself accountable enough for the things you need to do? Are you able to look at yourself and your performance with a discerning eye?

Champion Rule: A Champion Agent is honest with themselves about where they fall short.

 I am not saying that a Champion is in a constant state of self-deprecation. They just have the willingness to be able to see their shortcomings and work to change them. If they feel they are not as strong on the listing presentation as they should be, they admit it and work to improve it. The people who are Champion Performers are most honest with themselves. They are able to ask themselves this series of questions on a regular basis to create urgency and change.

  1. What are my strengths?
  2. What are my weaknesses?
  3. What new behaviors do I need to embrace to achieve a higher level of success?
  4. What are the key abilities I need to possess to unlock my true potential?
  5. Why am I not taking the action I need to take?

 

These are all the questions a Champion would ask themselves at least quarterly to see how they are progressing. The goal in life is progression . . . moving forward. Earl Nightingale defined success as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal or worthy ideal.” Your progressive journey to the Champion level of income, quality of life, business, and family is worthy. It’s worthy of the investment of time and energy.

I want to share with you my favorite question for Champion Agents. It’s focused on improvement but also on the fact that there are priorities. The question is, “What’s the one thing that, if you mastered it right now, would make the biggest difference in your life?” That is a Champion question for a Champion Agent. It focuses us on our most significant barrier to greater success. We have to look at what creates the biggest return for us if we are willing to change. This question makes us recognize that we could change but might select a less valuable area to change. This lower-priority area would produce a diminished result.

Champion Rule: A Champion focuses on removing the limiting step . . . now!

 Through years of coaching top performing Agents, I have come to realize how powerful removal of the limiting step can be. Each one of us is faced with a bottle neck. It’s a choke point right in front of us that we need to remove. Until we remove the limiting step or choke point, our improvement and change will be minimal. You will make strides of improvement, but it won’t be explosive, exponential, or vast improvement. Major breakthroughs in business and life come from removal of our limiting step. We are all facing one right now. We have to be willing to find that one and remove it.

For example, a few years ago, I was working with a successful Agent in Champaign, IL. He was the top Agent in the marketplace. The challenge was his profitability could have been a lot better. He was a veteran Agent who worked mainly by referral for over twenty years. We traced his problem to over-expenditure in marketing, advertising, and personal time invested into each listing. We didn’t stop there because that wasn’t the limiting step. We traced it back to the fact that his days on the market average for properties was much higher than the board’s. This longer marketing time increased his expenses. It also influenced his average list price to sale price. On average, he had to do 2.35 price reductions on the 123 homes he listed each year before they sold.

His limiting step was his price counseling segment of his listing presentation. The Sellers talked him into taking the home for more, even though he was the #1 Agent in the market, worked for the #1 company, had over twenty years of experience, and did mostly referral business. Mastering that one area in the next few weeks dramatically changed his business and life. He netted over $5,000 a month more, cut his days on the market by 50%, and increased his list price to sale price ratio by 7% in just a few months. He also enjoyed the business more because he was spending less time getting price reductions and had happier clients because they were not set up for failure.

What is the one thing that, if you mastered it now, would make the biggest difference in your life?

Lastly, we must construct an activity management plan. This is where each day’s activities are monitored, counted, and measured compared to your results. There is clearly a cause and effect relationship between activity and results. The question is what are the ratios of connection. What can you expect the return to be?

I was working with a client in Detroit, Michigan. Because the local economy had been affected by the automobile industry, the market had toughened substantially. By reviewing his activity management plan, we determined that the number of leads he was generating through his marketing efforts and prospecting efforts had dropped. In three months, his leads per thousand mail pieces had declined by 33%. His conversion ratio on those leads had dropped another 18%. So he was getting fewer leads overall, but the lead quality and conversion rate had also declined. His telephone prospecting leads didn’t drop as much but still showed degradation at a 21% drop in lead generation and an 11% drop in conversion.

We concluded that he needed to double the amount of contacts he was making in the mail and telephone lead generation areas to make-up for the marketplace change. I can tell you he wasn’t excited about having to do it, but he could clearly understand why he needed to do it. That’s the value of a good activity management system.

Champion Rule: When performance is measured, performance improves.

 If you want to become a Champion Agent, you need to measure your performance. You need to count, track, and calculate your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly numbers for contacts, leads, appointments, listings, and sales. The sheer act of measuring raises the awareness and improves the results you achieve.

Champion Rule: When performance is measured and reported, performance improves faster!

 As Champions, we want to move beyond the awareness level of improvement. By reporting your performance to your Broker, your spouse, another Agent, or your Coach, you increase the speed of change. You increase the speed of your income and earnings. You must have a way to report your performance and efforts to someone who will help you or hold you accountable for what you need to do.

That is certainly a role that we at Real Estate Champions know well since we are one of the longest running, most established coaching companies in the real estate industry. The vast majority of Champion Performers had coaches or at least mentors at one time or another. I firmly believe that, as an Agent trying to achieve Champion level performance, you need to consider a Coach. I would encourage you, before you make a decision on a Coach, whether internal (through a Coach inside your Real Estate Company) or external (through a coaching company), go to our website www.RealEstateChampions.com to really understand what coaching is and isn’t. There are many imposters who are selling basic training or marketing programs dressed up as coaching. We have the tools to help you construct the four fundamental plans to increase your production and quality of life significantly.

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ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT YOUR MARKETPLACE

Think of your marketplace as your playing field, not unlike an athlete views a football field, basketball court, or hockey rink. The better you know every inch of that playing field, the more you can exploit it to your advantage.

Before I became a real estate agent, in my early twenties, I was a racquetball professional. I played hundreds of tournaments over my sports career, and my best games were always at my home club. There, we had a court with floor-to-ceiling glass on the right side and back wall, making it particularly difficult to see in the back right–hand corner where the two walls of glass converged.

When players came for tournaments at my club, they struggled to pick up the ball in that corner – giving me what you might call a significant home field advantage. I rarely lost a match on that court.

Real estate is like any other competitive endeavor. If you learn all there is to know about your playing field, you’ll acquire a competitive advantage that will distance you from the competition and build the basis of your success.

The most challenging aspect of gaining market knowledge is determining what facts to collect and where to find the information you need. Fortunately, a number of readily accessible resources are available to real estate agents. All you have to do is contact the right people and ask the right questions. The following sections will help you on your data quest.

Your Local Board of REALTORS®

All professional agents belong to REALTOR® associations that compile and make available a wealth of statistical information. The facts you can obtain from your local board include:

  • The number of agents working in your marketplace. This information helps you understand your competitive arena. It also allows you to track whether your competition has expanded or receded over recent years.

 

  • The production of the average agent in terms of units and volume sold. By obtaining this information and comparing it with your own production units and volume, you will be able to contrast your performance against the other agents on your local board. This information will be useful in your effort to calculate your share of the market. It also helps you understand how you stack up against the other agents your prospective customer might be considering.

 

  • Experience levels of agents in your field. Most Boards of REALTORS® keep information regarding the percentage of agents recently licensed and those with three, five, and ten years in the business. This information provides you with another factor against which to measure your competitive position.

 

Meet with the executive director of your local Board of REALTORS® to learn the extent of information that is available to you, how frequently new research is released, and how you can obtain copies for your ongoing review.

Your Local Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service, commonly called the MLS, keeps statistics of all the listings and sales in your area that are processed through the MLS.

The MLS does not cover every sale due to the fact that some sales bypass the system. Often, new construction builders, particularly in very robust markets, don’t submit their inventory into MLS. Agents also sometimes sell properties themselves or in-house, and those sales are not submitted to MLS. However, the MLS, in most markets, covers more than 95% of all marketplace sales, and it represents the surest indicator of real estate activity in your region.

The MLS can give you key market statistics including:

  • Days on the market averages
  • Listing price to sale price ratios
  • Listings taken versus listings sold ratios
  • Geographically active markets inside your service area

Nearly all real estate agents recognize the MLS for its significant role in increasing communication and exposure of real estate properties. Fewer real estate agents recognize the MLS for its powerful but under-utilized role in reporting trends and performance of agents, companies, and subsets of the marketplace. Access and put this information to work to your advantage.

The National Association of REALTORS®

There are a number of national resources that you can access to obtain a wealth of knowledge and statistical trends. The best is the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which produces some wonderful studies, reports, and market statistics that most agents never use. The truth is most agents don’t even know they are available.

Their monthly “Real Estate Outlook” publication provides a national view of real estate sales: What has happened in terms of sales, days on the market, what people are purchasing, what financing they are using, emerging trends, and predictions for the future. This is a powerful tool in the hands of a successful agent. If you aren’t currently receiving and reading it, put it into your information arsenal immediately.

They also conduct annual surveys and studies of home sellers and homebuyers. They delve into why consumers selected particular agents, what services they sought from agents, and what geographic areas, home amenities, and features caused them to buy. This type of knowledge will enable you to provide the highest level of counsel and value to your clients.

NAR also issues reports on second home markets, investment properties, financing options, and many other topics. It’s one of the best services that NAR provides, but it’s the service that agents use the least. Make yourself an exception and dive into this deep pool of information.

Visit the NAR website at www.REALTOR.org to obtain an overview of the association, to access quick links to useful sites including REALTOR® Magazine Online, and to subscribe to receive e-mail updates on real estate topics and statistics.

Other Sources of Marketplace Information

Consult your broker about company-compiled statistics on regional trends and also on your firm’s market share and market penetration. Especially if you work for a regional or national real estate company or franchise, your organization has likely commissioned studies that will be useful to your fact-gathering efforts.

Also, if you live in a state where sellers provide title insurance to buyers, the title companies often conduct market trend reports that allow agents to better understand the marketplace they are working in.

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HOW TO REALLY LISTEN

Our ability to serve our customers and prospects well is contained in our ability to listen. Most telephone salespeople were convinced by some friend or relative to get into sales because they had the gift of gab rather than the gift of listening. In all sales situations, the gift of listening far outweighs the gift of gab.

To become a better listener, you need to understand why you would want to improve that skill. What’s your desire or motivation for improving? If the why is large enough, the how becomes much easier. The why includes more sales, shorter sales cycle, higher conversion of leads, and more referrals because your client service is better.

On any sales call, there is one party who has the most important and relevant information, opinions, and comments. Hint . . . that person isn’t you! What the other person has to say, along with how they receive it, process it, and respond to it, will determine your income. This truth must be ingrained in your brain. You need to review that before each prospecting session.

Sometimes, one of the best ways to learn something is to evaluate how not to do it. By knowing how not to do something, we can apply the 180-degree theory to success.

“I got this nailed.”

Too often, when we get entrenched in our scripts and dialogues, we don’t listen as well as we should. When we are so focused on getting to the sales presentation or closing section of our script, we forget to listen along the way. We miss the nuances that any good telephone salesperson must pick up on to make the script come alive.

Our pre-call preparation can be over the top and work to our detriment. I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking, “Dirk always hammers on scripts and dialogues and pre-call planning, and now he’s changing.” I am definitely not changing, just giving you a little caution. There are times when telephone salespeople over-prepare and think they already know everything about the client. When the prospect tells you something about their needs, you think, “I already know that.” We are using one ear and have half our brain tied behind our back. We miss the client’s real view, so we miss the opportunities to serve and sell. We can have a false sense of security on our call because of the knowledge we acquire through our study and pre-planning. We need the preparation, scripts, and dialogues; what we don’t need are the blinders on from over-preparation, the pre-conceived ideas of what the client needs based only on our research, and rigidity to a fault in our scripting.

“I’m the expert; just ask me.”

This is where we are looking for openings to flex our mental muscles. We are listening for openings to impress them with our knowledge and preparation, rather than really hearing the client’s needs. We get antsy to demonstrate to the client how much we know. This anxiousness can lead us to interrupt prospects because of our excitement for the sale. When you feel that anxiety, it means you really aren’t listening. What the prospect has to say is always more important than what the salesperson has to say.

“Enough about you; how about me?”

This is similar to the “I’m the expert; just ask me” problem. The difference is you are looking for the openings to make your presentation or pitch. We are scanning the conversation exclusively for the cue to leap into the “sales pitch”. I despise the term “sales pitch”, but it really describes the technique that most salespeople end up using when they are experiencing this syndrome. These salespeople, at best, are selectively listening. They only hear what they want to hear. The minute they hear something that resembles the opening they are looking for, they start the wind-up and throw their pitch.

Listening is at the core of working harder. It’s harder to hold yourself back from blathering. It’s more challenging to ask good questions and shut up for their answers. If every salesperson could do that, the sales in your company would explode.

Listening is also the epitome of working smarter. Knowing with certainly the prospect’s wants, needs, expectations, time frame, desires, motivation, authority to take action, and financial ability gives you the edge. It enables you to move to your sales presentation more effectively with a higher close rate when you do make the presentation.

If you want to learn more about how to engage with your prospects you will be interested in our newest course, Sales Language of a Champion. We are opening the new course for our Champions Circle Members next week. The first session is Monday, March 7th, 2016. Click here to find out how to become a member and gain access to this new course: http://www.realestatechampions.com/championcircle/

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DISCIPLINES OF A CHAMPION

Start each day focused on the daily success of your business. You want to begin each day by reviewing your business plan. Focus in on the daily activities that will lead you to the successful result you have set forth in your plan. Long-term success is built on top of achieving daily performance standards – for weeks and months at a time. If your business plan is not broken down to the daily activities or daily performance standards, you should take the time to do so now. I call these daily activities “The Disciplines of a Champion”. We each have activities that, if left undone daily, will cause our business to suffer.

Some of the Disciplines of a Champion could be:

  • Prospecting for a specific time period daily
  • Doing lead follow-up
  • Contacting a certain number of past clients
  • Spending time in personal development
  • Practicing scripts and dialogs

 

The Disciplines of a Champion are quantifiable and trackable. They are a specific amount of time or a specific number that must be achieved. To have power, the disciplines must set the timeframe or the quality. It is too easy for us to opt out and not accomplish our goals without concrete parameters.

Next, you need to evaluate whether you are ahead or behind for this week. Then create the strategy to catch up if you are behind or focus on maintaining the current strategy and direction that has kept you on plan or ahead. Too often, we know we are behind and let it go for too long without a change. You must react and change quickly to catch up. We often do not raise the level of our intensity or increase our work output until it is too late. If you get too far behind and are spending tremendous amounts of time inflicting wounds on yourself, change the plan.

Always have a Plan B. There is no embarrassment to working a Plan B. Often Plan B is the better plan because you can invest the mistakes you made in Plan A. Edison tried over 10,000 different elements in his light bulb before one worked. What would have happened had he stopped after Plan A?

Zero in on your area of success. People are paid very well on the few things they do very well. That is one of the best things about the field of selling real estate. There are so many ways to earn an outstanding income. Do what you do very well. We coach our clients to develop three to four areas of specialization in the real estate field and work to project their skills in these areas. Do not be a generalist in a specialized world. The jack-of-all-trades is also the master of none. You are highly skilled in a few specific areas of real estate sales. If you have only one or two areas, you need to begin to learn and add another area or two to give you balance. The possibilities are truly endless when you become a specialist.

Here are some ideas of specialization:

  • Expired Listings
  • Out of Area Owners
  • FSBO’s
  • Relocation
  • Tenant Occupied Properties
  • REO Bank Owned
  • Multiplexes
  • New Construction
  • Investment Property
  • Empty Nesters
  • 1st Time Home Buyers
  • Prospect Divorce Attorneys

 

There is an endless supply of opportunities to become the recognized expert in your area in a few categories. I could list three pages of categories, but you get the idea.

Your success in your real estate career must be built from the ground up. Pour a solid foundation of daily disciplined goals and activities. These daily disciplines, or Disciplines of a Champion, will set you on the path to success in your career. Review and analyze your progress daily. Do not be afraid to adopt a Plan B if needed. Create a few areas of specialty. Decide what you enjoy doing and do well. Then zero in and take dead aim for the target of being the recognized expert in your area.

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SEVEN PRINCIPLES TO SUCCESSFUL REAL ESTATE GOAL SETTING

Your ability to plan, set goals, and create action plans to accomplish your goals is the mark of someone who is truly successful. This skill to set goals is a life-long endeavor. It is a habit that must be cultivated daily for a lifetime. This single activity will have the greatest impact on your life over any other achievement skill.

To be disciplined in setting goals is to sit down with paper and pen and make a list of things you want to acquire, attract, or accomplish in the next several years. Earl Nightingale said, “The problem with people is not achieving the goals we set, it is actually the process of setting them in the first place.” We are all goal-seeking organisms. Your subconscious mind will work on the goal you give it until it is accomplished. However, you must first set this vast powerful computer in motion by setting the goal.

To achieve a well-rounded, joyous life, we need to be working toward our goals. When it comes to goals, the journey is almost better than the destination. Success was defined by Nightingale as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. You become successful once you set the goal and work toward it. Success is not found only at the attainment level but also in the striving for attainment level.

You need goals in all areas of your life. It is not good enough to set your sights on your business or commission earnings or transaction sides. You need goals in family, spiritual, physical, financial, and mental areas of your life. This is the only way to achieve balance.

Organize your goals in all areas based on priority. Put the most important ones on the top.

Our overall goal for our life should be to be a continuous goal setter. We need to become so focused and clear on what we desire that every hour and every day we are doing the things that are moving us in our direction of choice and toward our goals.

Studies have shown that you will save ten minutes in execution for every minute that you invest in planning or goal setting. What an incredible return on your investment of time. How often would you invest in an opportunity that allowed you to put in a dollar and got ten dollars back?

Seven Keys of Goal Setting

1. Your goals must be specific, detailed, and clear. You must invest the time to put them in written form. There is a direct link between your writing the goal, seeing it being written, and burning it into your subconscious mind. The goals you desire must be specific, not vague. To set a goal to be rich or be happy will not draw you to it. Well-written goals are like magnets – they will draw you to your desired result. Your goal must be concrete and tangible. Highly defined goals are attained – fuzzy goals are forgotten.

2. The goals you set must be measurable. How can one truly measure happiness? You have to be able to analyze and evaluate your progress and your results in a tangible way. Many people have a goal of being rich. You need to know specifically how much money rich is. Your need to know the specific time period you want to achieve it by. Now that’s a goal!

3. The best goals have deadlines. They have a time by which you need to accomplish them. They also have interim steps along the way that can be monitored. These sub-deadlines or schedules are critical to success. There are no unrealistic goals; there are merely unrealistic timeframes.

4. Goals need to challenge you to capacity or beyond. They will stretch you and mold you into a new person. The late Jim Rohn wisely said, “It’s not the money that makes the millionaire successful; it’s what he had to become (as a person) to earn a million dollars.” If you took the money away from that millionaire, he would make it back twice as fast as before, because he learned the skill to make it in the first place.

5. Your goals need to possess congruency with your values and beliefs. Your goals also have to be harmonious with each other. Let me give you an example: I want to lose 40 pounds, but I also want to eat Dreyer’s Rocky Road ice cream every night before I go to bed. One of these goals will need to give way to the other. They are not congruent with each other. There is no way I can achieve both at the same time. You cannot achieve goals that are actually contradictory.

6. Your goals must have balance between your personal life, family, financial, spiritual, physical, mental, and business goals. Just as a wheel needs balance to rotate properly, we need balance to get anywhere in life.

7. The largest most difficult goal in life is to define your purpose goal. We all have one goal that is at the core of our being. Our life moves to greatness when we decide upon a definite purpose or focus for our life.

I can speak from personal experience. When I determined my “core purpose” was to make meaningful impact in the lives of all the people I come in contact with, my perspective changed dramatically. My enjoyment of my day to day “work life” increased. Fortunately for me, I get to live my “core purpose” daily by helping people such as you reach their fullest potential and joy in life.

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FOUR STEPS TO A GREAT LISTING PRESENTATION DELIVERY

The solution is to plan what you are going to say beforehand, so that during the presentation you can focus on language, tonality, and the following four steps to a great delivery.

Step 1: Conviction

Webster defines conviction as “a fixed or firm belief.” I’d add that there is nothing more compelling than conviction. Your belief that you can get the job done draws the client to you. Your belief in the value of their home or how their home should be sold earns their trust. Your firm belief about where the marketplace is headed backed by statistics that prove your point sells you and your recommendations.

 Before you go face to face with sellers, determine the three things that you are going to express with absolute conviction. If your sellers share your views (you’ll know based on your prospect qualifying work), that’s a bonus. If their views are opposite yours, be doubly persuasive and resolute in order to win them over to your point of your view and gain their signature on the listing contract.

Step 2: Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm sells in spades. People want to work with those who are enthusiastic about their home and the market. If the market is tough, you have to be frank and honest; you can’t just hide market realities. But you can still be enthusiastic and show that you are excited about the opportunity to “beat the odds” of the marketplace.

Your listing presentation will be more interesting if you are enthusiastic about your career, your business, their home, and the sellers as people. There is an old sales adage: “Enthusiasm is to selling as yeast is to bread. It makes the dough rise!”

Step 3: Confidence

I believe that in my early sales career, confidence was my secret edge. Even when I was new to the game, I was confident I was the best agent for the seller . . . the result of a deeply grooved expectation of victory that came from athletics.

Where have you experienced victories? Tap into those past experiences as you pump up your confidence in preparation for prospect presentations.

If you lack confidence, determine what you need to do to up level your belief in yourself and your ability to achieve success. What activities would help increase your confidence? What skills do you need to master to dramatically affect your confidence? What one thing, if you did it with excellence, would change your self-confidence?

Webster defines confidence as “a belief in one’s powers or abilities.” The great success motivator Napoleon Hill says, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

 I saw evidence of this truth a few years ago while working with a great agent in North Carolina. She didn’t have confidence in herself, nor did she think she was a great agent. Even when she closed 100 units a year, she was still self-sabotaging her success.

I asked her to write out her standard of a great agent. She did so with great and specific clarity. Six months later, she had met the standard to a tee but was still in self-sabotage mode. Fortunately, I’d saved her written document and could re-present it to her as proof of her success. She has never looked back.

Step 4: Assertiveness

Agents don’t want to come off as pushy or aggressive in their sales approach, and, by mistake, they shy away from assertiveness, as well.

The definition of a great salesperson is “a person who convinces someone to do something that is beneficial to them or convinces them to do it faster. Going for the close or asking for the order is not pushy. It’s assertive. As a real estate agent, your job is to persuade prospects that you have the best service, the best value, and the highest probability for their success and to convince them to sign up for the benefits you provide, now!

One of the easiest ways to exert your assertiveness is to tell the prospect what’s coming. Early in the presentation explain, “At the end of my presentation tonight, provided we’re all in agreement, we’ll finalize the paperwork, so I can begin to work for you right away.” This bit of foreshadowing may come in useful should you encounter resistance at the time of the close, at which time you can use one of these scripts:

“This should be no surprise. I told you I would ask for your business. You want me to follow through on what I commit to you, don’t you?”

Or

“I’m proving to you right now that I follow through, right? Listen, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, homes are sold, not bought. The reason conversion of leads is so low is because many agents lack assertiveness with the buyer. So my question is: Do you want an agent that you know will for sure ask every buyer to buy or an agent that you hope will do that? Which gives you more comfort?”

Being assertive in selling is a good thing.

So plan what you are going to say beforehand by following the four steps of conviction, enthusiasm, confidence, and assertiveness. Then you can focus on what is going to be the most effective and have the greatest impact your presentation – body language and tone.

Want to learn more about listings? Take a look at Dirk’s free white paper, “7 Solid Systems to Create More Listings”:

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TEN TIME EFFICIENCY HABITS

1. Start Your Day Earlier: Get up Earlier: The key to wringing more out of your day or getting the most from your time can often be just starting your day earlier. When I have deadlines to hit and projects to complete I have the habit of getting up earlier.

It can mean that I complete my previous day earlier by going to bed earlier. If you are like me, the evening time is rarely a time that I can work on projects and important tasks. I am generally too tired to be able to focus well. I am much better off hitting my sleep pattern earlier in the evening so I can get up earlier in the morning. I have been known to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. or earlier but get up at 2:00 a.m. That way the house is quiet. I can establish a time where I can increase my high focus production time.

I find that the most successful people and time managers have one thing in common. They are early risers. The old fable “Early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy and wise” is true. If you just get up a half hour earlier each day, those 30 minutes add another 182 1/2 hours to your year. You gain an extra 23 days of eight-hour work days in a year. It’s like you have added more than another month to your year. You have established a wonderful new habit in only 30 minutes a day of reduced sleep.

2. Plan Your Day in Advance: Being able to plan your work and work your plan is a habit of high achievers. Establishing your objectives, priorities, and agenda for tomorrow before you leave today will increase your effectiveness in your business and life. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What didn’t I get done today?
  • What did I do really well today?
  • What could have I done better?
  • What really frustrated me today?
  • What do I wish I had been able to do today?
  • How was today on a scale of 1-10 and why?
  • What priorities do my boss, my customers, or my employees need me to accomplish?
  • What is the most important thing I need to do first tomorrow?
  • What does my family need from me when I get home?

You need to be able to ask yourself some key questions to make sure you are on the track to your habit of time management and success.

3. Eat Healthy and Exercise Regularly: That might not seem like a time management habit or tip but it is really important. When we are not in shape physically and we do not have the proper fuel for our bodies it affects our time management. It takes us longer to accomplish tasks. We waste time because we are not physically able to keep pace with others or the pace we need to complete our objectives and advance our career.

There is a direct connection between your physical health and your usage of time. If you are overweight and out of shape it takes longer to do anything and everything. It takes longer to write a report, walk from your car to the office, fix dinner, or even get dressed in the morning.

Reducing your fat intake, lowering your carbohydrates, eating lean protein, and reducing your portion sizes will help shed excess weight. Increasing our use of strength conditioning will increase our metabolism because we have increased our muscle mass and muscle will burn more calories than fat. By doing cardio vascular training three times a week such as bike riding, walking, running and swimming we can increase our stamina. You might mix up your workout to avoid boredom. Try a number of different cardio options to keep it fresh.

4. Spend Time in Quiet Time, Prayer, and Meditation: I notice a significant difference in my effectiveness, energy, accomplishments, and my time usage on days when I am on my morning routine of quiet time versus when I am off or omit it. My routine is to get up early and pray, read, and study my devotional Bible each day. When I adhere to that routine I am far more centered spiritually for the day.

To ignore the relationship between our spiritual being inside, our physical bodies, our brains, and our goals and accomplishments is to be naïve. We have a clear connection in all these areas that relates to our use of time and the effectiveness and accomplishments for our day. For me when I give the first of my day to time in “The Word”, prayer, and meditation; more gets accomplished and my time is better spent throughout the day. My focus is intensified and my overall state of mind is much calmer and more patient than if left to myself.

5. Meal Plan for the Whole Week: Whether your feelings of food are being merely fuel to your body or your view of its position is to be indulged and enjoyed, planning ahead is a wise habit to establish.

I learned this habit from my mother. She was very deliberate in meal preparation for the family. She would decide on the family meals for the week in advance. She would select the family meals based on the sale items at the store, special occasions that week and family preferences. She would map out on paper the meals and ingredients she needed to prepare the meals for her hungry family.

She would then go to the store once to collect the groceries for the week. She didn’t operate through impulse buying throughout the week. She didn’t waste her time multiple times a week trying to find a parking spot, getting a cart, walking the aisles of the store, fighting to keep toddlers controlled, waiting in the checkout line, paying the bill and using coupons, loading the groceries in the car, unloading the groceries, taking them in the house, and finally putting them away. She did that necessary part of life once a week rather than numerous times a week as most people do today. What a colossal waste of time because of our lack of vision, decision and organization.

6. Delegate Almost Everything: The best time investors delegate better than most others. They figure out what is really important, valuable, meaningful, and fun and do only those things.

The key in both personal and business life is to delegate the task or activity to the lowest paid competent person. Many of us struggle with this because we don’t want to be viewed by others as being “too good to do _________.” It’s not an elitist view we should take. It’s the efficient and also effective view. Don’t do anything unless it brings you or someone else you love joy.

I can’t say that I am big on playing dolls. I would say that like most men I didn’t grow up playing with dolls. I do know that there is an incredible amount of joy that comes to Annabelle when I get down at her level and play with her dolls. When we have tea parties with her dolls and make believe my joy comes out of seeing her joy come out of her. I wouldn’t delegate doll playing to anyone.

I would gladly and do delegate yard work and any fix it work to anyone skilled enough to take it off my hands. I am willing to pay someone to do these things that matter little to me, my family, or my business. To these things I say, “pass me a doll.”

7. Say No More Often: We all must get in the habit of saying no. We live in an overcommitted, stressed out, rushed world. We have people who want more of our time at work. We have people that want us to contribute our time to the school, the church, the Junior League, business associations, our golf club or athletic club, the kids sports teams, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, United Way, political parties, Cancer Society, MS Society, the hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs, Rotary, Lions. There is an endless list of organizations that need our help and resources. The one resource that they want the most is time.

I am not saying tell all of them no. The truth is we have to say no to some of them because we can’t do all the things most successful people are asked to do. When you become more successful people will seek you out for help. As you get better at your time management your level of success will grow. People will notice there is something different about you. They want what you have and want help because they sense something special about your skills and results. We have to learn to say no!

8. Always Use a Time Management System: Whether you use a Franklin Planner, Day Runner, Day Timer, or CRM you must use something.

You could also just create a time block schedule. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career or who you are, you must have a time management system.

9. Begin Every Day at Zero: Start over and start fresh each day. Resolve to make each day a perfect ten. If you didn’t have a good day yesterday in how you managed your time, give yourself a clean slate to begin anew today. Conversely, if you had a wonderful day yesterday at your time management, don’t let your guard down. A greater day yesterday doesn’t automatically translate to a great day today in your time management. The past is history. The future is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it the present. Unwrap each day with anticipation and expectation of unfolding a wonderful day of production, success, fulfillment, service to others, results, and relationship building. Use your time to create the largest, best, most significant return on your time invested as possible.

10. Simplify Life: We tend to make our lives more complex than is necessary. We work to fund our lives so our work can overtake our life. Our wants tend to expand significantly beyond our imagination, can overtake our capacity and our willingness to delay our own gratification. If we are faced with ever expanding bills, increasing monthly obligations and debt it makes it difficult to invest our time in other more meaningful pursuits in life beyond working and earning a living to pay the bills.

We need to embrace the habit of being content in all our circumstances. Being content doesn’t mean stuck, or not striving for better. It just means there is a limit to the chase of keeping up with the Joneses. It doesn’t mean to give up, but to be happy and grateful for the things we do have rather than exclusively focusing on the things that we don’t.

There will always be someone with a bigger house, more houses, better cars, more cars, more money or more of anything that you might want. Contrary to pop culture, He who dies with the most toys doesn’t win; He merely dies and leaves most of his toys to the Internal Revenue Service and his family. Live your time, enjoy your time, and simplify so you are not a slave to a lifestyle. An ancient proverb says that the borrower is servant to the lender. The time of the borrower is also servant to the lender.

Want to learn more about time management? Take a look at Dirk’s free white paper, “Getting Control of Your Time Management Monster”.

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Problems With Training Today

In talking to real estate Brokers, owners, and executives, I hear this comment frequently, “My agents don’t come to training.” There are a number of reasons why it’s never been more challenging to drive attendance. The agents might feel the internal training is not as valuable. That is either just a perception or could be reality. I have reviewed a number of large international brands’ training courses and there is a high percentage of them that are lacking in instructional design, organization, and content quality.

Let’s assume that the content and value are high for your company’s training, but you still are lacking the attendance numbers you desire. The problem is most likely in the delivery methods of the training. Quality training and skill improvement programs can be segmented into three categories:

  1. Synchronous
  2. Asynchronous
  3. Blended Learning

 

Better than 90% of all training conducted in the real estate industry, whether internal in companies or external providers, is synchronous training. Synchronous training is defined as classes or courses that require the students or learners to be present at the same time as the instructors. The training happens in the exact same hour. Frequently, the synchronous training requires the same location as well. Because most agents’ businesses have shifted to almost 24/7 days due to the technology advancement and open access, some agents plan to attend and then have an emergency come up or become side tracked. Those agents tend to miss your offerings of training. Creating the ability for the synchronous training to be accessible, live without being present in the office, can open doors to agents. Using a live, virtual classroom can increase attendance numbers and participation. Through the proper instructional design, the training can be interactive, fast paced, skill improvement oriented, and fun.

At Real Estate Champions we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom. We have done more than any company in the real estate industry. As good as a live, virtual classroom can be, it’s still synchronous training. Less than 4% of all real estate companies are offering quality asynchronous learning. Asynchronous allows the learner to take a training program or course on their own schedule. Quality asynchronous courses include engagement, feedback loops, contribution and collaboration strategies to create both individual and group learning.  They incorporate scenario learning, gamification, and quizzes.

In today’s learning environment, it is imperative to offer both avenues of learning in the creation of a blended learning environment. The blended learning where there is a clear marriage of synchronous and asynchronous in the design phase of development of the learning is the secret sauce. It’s moving out of the event or “brain dump of information” into spaced or incremental learning. It creates opportunities to implement new technologies and skill sets where agents can at times work independently based on their timeframe, but report results at intervals in the synchronous segments of the blended learning design.

The barrier for most companies, especially smaller companies, is the high cost of development of asynchronous training. Most Brokers and companies can design and deliver synchronous well enough.

It’s when they are faced with building new content, hiring a skilled instructional designer, video production, post-production, integration of games, scenario learning, quizzes and measurement metrics, that’s where the budget can go off the rails.

Companies must create asynchronous and blended learning for their agents. The millennial agents that all brokerages are working to recruit are demanding it. They are natives to online learning. The next generation of agent expects quality, accessible online training and education.

If you are recognizing a donut hole in your training, let me suggest the first step to fixing the issue is awareness. If you understand that your offerings are in one category, synchronous, you know a problem exists. If you want to explore a few solutions to broaden your training offerings into the asynchronous or blended learning categories, I am sure a quick discussion would be in order.

If you would like to understand the ins and outs at a deeper level of asynchronous and blended learning, click on this video link so we can provide you additional guidance in your development of your learning and skill development programming to recruit, retain, and improve your agent’s performance.

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