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UPGRADING YOUR REFERRAL

Implementing a strategy to upgrade your referrals can really explode your referral business. Most salespeople get the name and contact information and try to get off the phone immediately to call the prospect. That is a significant mistake.   Follow these steps to increase the odds of your success.

1. You must immediately thank the referral source. Assure them of the quality service their referral will receive. You are giving them your personal guarantee. Before close of business, today, write out a handwritten thank you note at a minimum. You can use gifts or other inducements as well, but the handwritten note doesn’t necessarily need them.

2. Determine the quality or level of the referral.

We are trying to increase the probability of the referral for us. The first step is to secure more information before we make the first call. The first call is the point at which you will win these people over or not. Determine which of these four categories their referral will be.

C Level – This referral is the coldest variety. The conversion rate is at the lowest level. Your referral source has only given the name and phone number of a potential prospect. They have not allowed you to use their name to create an opening or connection.

B Level – I would describe this referral as lukewarm. The odds are improving, but still probably less than 50/50 conversion. The referral has given you the prospect’s name and phone number. They have given you one thing the C level did not, permission to use their name as the referral source to open the door. That certainly helps the connection on the first call.

A Level – We are getting warmer with this referral. Again, you have the prospect’s name and number, but you have also been granted permission to use the name of your referral source to open the dialogue door. The best part is the source has given you time to ask questions. They are willing to give you five or ten minutes to explore the referred individual to probe and help increase the odds of connecting with the prospect.

AA Level – This should be the level we all shoot for. It’s the Cadillac of referrals. It’s all that the A level has with one huge difference. You have all the information that you have with an A, but the referral source is willing to open the door for you himself. They are willing to make an introduction call personally for you. This call doesn’t replace your call. It only makes it easier to call and raise the chance of a positive result quicker. You might find that a really effective referral source can set up lunch or breakfast meeting with everyone involved.

To increase your conversion odds of connecting with the referred individual invest the time with the referral source, explore these questions. This will only take you five to ten minutes but will be well worth the time.

  • How would you describe your relationship?
  • How do you know this person?
  • Is there anything that you can see that we have in common?
  • What type of a personality will I encounter?
  • What organizations does this person belong to?
  • What are a few of this person’s personal interests?

 

3. Thank your referral source again.

Once you have secured as much information as possible, again, offer your assurance that you’ll provide the same level of quality service that your referral source has received from you in the past.

Don’t make referrals complicated. Success is simple, it’s not complicated. Referrals aren’t a complex system or strategy. Success in referrals is achieved through consistency of the fundamental process of client connection and client service. You may already know some of the things I have shared with you here. The truth about success is that sometimes it’s better to hear something you have heard before but are not doing than to hear something new. Make the commitment to execute the fundamentals in your referral section of your business. That objective will create the growth you desire.

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Real Estate Industry Caught Behind the Learning Curve

The real estate industry and how we develop our most important resource, our salespeople, is archaic. The learning and performance improvement methodologies are stuck in the 70’s. Most real estate companies and outside subject matters experts (SME) are still caught in delivery methods that have proven to be less effective. It reminds me of my good friend Zig Ziglar’s classic story:

A little boy asks his mother as they are preparing a holiday meal why she cuts off the ends of the ham. She says, “I don’t know. My mother always did it this way.” Now this four-year-old boy said, “Let’s call Grandma right now and find out.” So they call Grandma and ask why she always cut the ends off the ham. Her reply: Her roaster was too small!

It’s easy to design and deliver the wrong training solution because “we have always done it that way”.   Successful training programs for sales force development are instructionally designed differently in today’s information and mobile agent age. Yet they still must utilize these 5 core principles for success.

1. Incremental:

Personal development, personal and career growth, success, progress and potential concepts. Coach (human resources officer, supervisor) help employee with his growth symbolized by stairs.

Any successful sales enhancement or skill building process is not an event. An event is defined as a one time or even multiple-time training opportunity but delivered in a short duration of time. The attendance live at a 3 consecutive day training program is still an event. This process immerses the learner in a volume of information beyond what can be retained. There is value to events from a motivational, community building, and best practices sharing. They fall short when the intended outcome is in skill development or sales force development. It’s the incorrect instructional design to create learning and new skill development and implementation.

Incremental instructional design is where the learning is spaced out. The salesperson has the opportunity to try strategies, techniques and new skills. Then come back with questions and feedback. If they encounter challenges it creates a vastly better salesperson in skill, strategy, mindset, and execution. The volume of information and skill is not delivered in a one day to multi-day consecutive brain dump event format.

2. Activity Based:

Training and skill improvement, especially in sales, must align with activities. Without activity as the basis for the training and improvement, we are creating professional learners. In a sales based business as real estate, we want to create professional doers. We want to create a culture of learning within our organizations. That learning must connect to action or new actions.

It’s not entirely a salesperson’s fault for not taking action on what they have learned. They leave the typical training program and are inundated with the pile up of email, text and servicing people that was not done for the last few hours or days. The biggest reason is in the instructional design of the training process. In the design process did the creator or speaker:

  1. Create specific activities for the salespeople to do?
  2. What’s the exact order of the steps so a system can be created?
  3. Were those activities aligned with the training?
  4. Do the agents understand the results to expect? How long does it take those results to be realized?
  5. What benefits will the salesperson receive from the activities?
  6. How will success be measured? These need to be set, taught, confirmed then evaluated for success to be ongoing.

 

3. Accountability:

iStock_000078317931_Medium

In the process of performance improvement, accountability is a buzz word. Most salespeople, when you say accountability, they get the mental image of a drill sergeant. Most people don’t actually respond favorably to that type of external motivation; with someone in their grill yelling at them to make another call or to get their sales up. They don’t seek out training opportunities where they might be exposed or embarrassed.

Drill Sgt

In many of our live, virtual classroom programs, we create accountability models and systems. We are very clear in the 1st session how accountability is defined in an adult learning environment. We assure them that the drill sergeant model is not the right style for anything other than an 18-year-old going through basic training in the military. That doesn’t mean there is no accountability; far from it.

Because we have done more than 5,000 training sessions in our live, virtual classroom (yes, you read that correctly. More than 5,000 in the last few years alone). We understand that when performance is measured, performance will improve. When you measure and report performance, performance will improve faster. Accountability is about reporting. The rejection to accountability in many salespeople is based on over-reporting; the requirement of too much tracking of numbers. One of the keys to accountability is to connect sales success in your company to less than a half dozen numbers at the introduction of accountability. When you go from zero tracking to 20 number tracking, you will lose most salespeople. They will reject all this extra work. They feel that tracking is a waste of time until you can tie in analyzing the ratios. The ability to teach them their repeating pattern of success is illuminating.

4. Recognition:

Good job written on a memo at the office

The largest portion of salespeople work hardest for recognition. They want to be recognized as an elite top performer. They want their manager’s recognition, both in sales and service success. They want recognition when they complete training or acquire or demonstrate new skills. What are you doing to recognize all your agents’ contributions?

Because of the more mobile enabled sales force in the last few years in real estate, a sales force meets less frequently in groups or one-on-one with their managers. The recognition opportunities have been reduced. Designing recognition opportunities pre, post, and during training programs is essential for motivation and retention of your sales force. Most people need a 5 to 1 ratio of positive recognition and feedback to negative or corrective feedback. Are you giving recognition enough to your salespeople?

5. Sense of Completion:

Horizontal portrait of a confident businesswoman smiling at the camera with arms crossed

To increase self-worth and self-confidence in a salesperson, they have to feel a sense of accomplishment and completion. As a salesperson’s confidence goes up, their competence goes up in direct proportion. While we want a training culture or continuous improvement culture, we must design completion moments, stages, or levels in our training curriculum.

When you are progressing through a university learning experience to achieve your degree, you take classes in a progression from 101, 201, 301, 401. At each completed course, or even section of courses, as the student you feel a sense of accomplishment because you have moved beyond the 201 courses to the 301 courses.

With the right instructional design in courses and curriculum, your sales force will receive both recognition and a sense of completion. This outcome creates learning implementation and skill based momentum. It fires up the desire for your salespeople to move on in their skill development journey. It refines skills in your agents far beyond what the typical motivational speaker, trainer, or subject matter expert (SME) can design or deliver. When a program incorporates these five elements, it moves the needle significantly in the sales force development area.

Most companies lack the expert knowledge in instructional design to be able to incorporate all five in their training programs design phrase. Unless you incorporate the help of an outside expert, you might only be able to address one of these areas at a time. If that’s the case, then which of the five is first? Which is the largest bottle neck to improving your training systems, strategies, or methodologies? Create an order based on your newfound knowledge. Before you do another thing, rank these 1-5 for your company. Then what can you do this week to bring your #1 issue more in alignment? Success is in the progression or movement…its activity based. We need to create the incremental, activity based, accountability model. Where agents are rewarded with recognition and a sense of completion.

At Real Estate Champions we’ve delivered over 5,000 sessions in our Live Virtual Training classrooms, and from that success we’ve developed a new system that excels in these 5 core areas.

If you want to discover how it will be a true game-changer for raising the sales and performance of your agents, click on the link below to watch the video and get a free backstage pass to the system:

zlearning_video2

 

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BUSINESS VISION . . . IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS

Being able to establish a business vision for your company separates you from the other agents who are in real estate. When building a team, you must pause and work to define your business vision. Enduring, successful people and successful companies establish their core values and core purpose. They then remain fixed on those core values and purpose throughout their business life. The changing elements are their business strategy and tactics due to the marketplace changes and competition influences.

Successful people and companies know that it is critically important to know who you are and what you stand for. In many cases, knowing who you are, as a team, will be more important than where you are going. We all will change and adapt as our world changes and adapts. This change is inevitable. The only part about change that is in question is whether it will be evolution or revolution.

Evolution is defined by Webster as: A process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage).  We want to engage in the small, gradual movement or change over a period of time. This type of change only comes from clarity of values and purpose. More effort, energy, and resources can be used to increase success, sales, and production in an evolutionary mode, rather than a revolutionary mode.

Revolution is defined by Webster as: A drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.  The change in revolution is more violent, sudden, and potentially damaging. The vast majority of resources will be used to keep up with the revolution at hand or trying to get out of the revolutionary process. The stress level is significantly higher, and the probability of success is much lower in revolution. By having well-defined core values and core purpose, you can avoid the forces of revolution more effectively.

There has been a prevailing thought for sometime on the value of mission statements. The thought is that you have to build a mission statement for your team. When I ask many experts why they have that view, their answers are less than stellar: “Because good companies have them”; “You just do”; “Your people need something to guide them.” There are a host of others that I have heard regularly.

I have personally coached hundreds of the most successful agents in the last fifteen years. I always ask if they have a mission statement. When they say “oh yes”, I ask them what it is. The phone always goes dead silent. Then you have this rustling of papers as they try to find the document that has their mission statement on it. Once they can’t find it, they try to recite from memory some garbled version of it.

I personally feel that mission statements have little value, and we should abolish their use. Most small business owners’ (like real estate agents) mission statements are treated as something you have to have or do, but you don’t know why you have to have it or do it. The most common practice of building a mission statement for small business owners is to scalp what they like from a large company, like Nordstrom if you have a service mentality or Nike if you like competition or Wal-Mart if you want to serve the ordinary or disadvantaged consumer.

We aren’t building it from within our own views, tenets, and principles of excellence in life and business. For most, we are building the mission statement based on what sounds good, looks good on a brochure or marketing piece, or is made up of the components that another successful company articulates in their mission statement. My best advice is to scrap the whole exercise and start focusing on what you stand for.

What do you stand for?

We can’t look for what we stand for in others. We have to discover it in ourselves. It is not outside in the world around you; it is in your inner world, in your mind and heart. In order for what you stand for to be authentic, you have to search for it. You aren’t asking yourself what you should stand for; you are asking yourself what you passionately stand for.

Let me share with you an example of what I mean. At Real Estate Champions, we stand for hard work and continuous self-improvement. We believe passionately that the quest of self-improvement, both personally and professionally, is one of the noblest callings in life. I personally toil long hours weekly in the quest of self-improvement and building tools, training systems, scripts, materials, strategies, tactics, theories, coaching – the list is endless. I spend additional hours reading, writing, praying, and listening to podcasts to keep my personal development in high gear. I have other people on my team, as well, who contribute to this effort.

There is no one in the real estate field who has produced more quality systems, tools, strategies, skill improvement, and business master systems in the last fifteen years than we have at Real Estate Champions. You can pick any name, speaker, trainer, or coach, and most are still selling the same material they were ten years ago! We have 15 distinctly different coaching programs, over fifty different training programs and audio CDs, DVD training, internet subscription-based training, and ten books written on sales success. We don’t do it because it’s good business; we create new intellectual property and deliver it in many different ways because it’s what we stand for. It is born out of my personal core values and beliefs.

We passionately believe that we need to engage in our own journey of personal self-improvement to impact the world. Once we take on that challenge, we will be able to impact the world around us.

What do you stand for?

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