Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #900
September 27th, 2018
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Words of a Champion...

The value of professional service can be summed up in a simple equation of Value = Benefits – Cost.  The value of your service must exceed the clearly defined benefits a client or prospect will receive after subtracting the cost of the service.  The problem for most agents is that the benefits of doing business with them are not clearly conveyed to the client, so the cost looks significant, and the value looks minute.  With limited defined benefits, it will be impossible to defend your fee structure. So, take the time this week to define the benefits a prospect gets working with you!

Dirk Zeller

Applying the Pareto Principle

In the late 1800s, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto observed that, in Italy, a small group of people held nearly all the power, influence, and money, which they used to create a significant advantage over the rest of the population. He theorized that, in most countries, about 80% of the wealth and power was controlled by about 20% of the people. He called this a “predictable imbalance,” which eventually became known as the 80:20 rule.

Over the 1900s, researchers realized that the theory of a “vital few and trivial many” – 20% of the participants accounting for 80% of the results – applies across many fields of expertise. Most certainly, it is true when it comes to time investment, and here’s what that means to you:

    • 80% of your results will be generated by 20% of your efforts.  Conversely, 20% of your results will be generated by 80% of your efforts.  In other words, one-fifth of your time-consuming activities will deliver four-fifths of your gross sales or gross commissions. 
    • You can increase the productivity that results from your time investment by assessing which activities achieve the highest-quality results. Too many Agents allow their time to be consumed by activities that generate a mere 20% of their revenue. The moment they shift their time investment into higher-return activities, they see dramatic income results.

The 80:20 rule holds true across a spectrum of life activities. Whether you’re investing in your career, relationships, health, wealth, or personal development, 20% of your efforts will deliver 80% of the results you seek. The secret is to learn which activities deliver the highest-quality returns and invest your time accordingly.

My son, Wesley, loves to play games, read books, and cook in the kitchen. I’ve learned that an hour spent baking cookies with him gives him real joy and contributes greatly to our relationship. It’s a minor time investment, clearly fitting into the 20% category, yet the results are significant in proportion.

Do you make time for the few activities that return the most significant results? Or are you, like most people in the world, giving your time to the time-gobbling 80% of activities that deliver a meager return?

Top performers in nearly any field quickly learn which actions account for the greatest majority of results, and they weight their time toward those activities, performing them with great regularity and intensity.

Following is the list of the half-dozen important activities that I share with all of my real estate coaching clients:

1.  Prospecting
2.  Lead follow-up
3.  Listing presentations
4.  Buyer interview presentations
5.  Showing property to qualified buyers
6.  Writing and negotiating contracts

If you dedicate yourself to the above six activities, you’ll see high returns on your time investment. I’ve studied the time allocation of Agents for more than 15 years. I know for certain that, on average, real estate Agents spend fewer than two hours a day engaged in the activities on the above list. Instead, they work long hours, often putting in more than ten hours a day, spending 80% or more of their time on activities that generate less than 20% of their revenue. Flip the principle to your advantage. Begin spending more and more of your time on the activities that are proven to deliver results and refuse to be crushed by the weight and waste of those that don’t.

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Listing Appointment Routine

A successful seller’s interview or listing presentation starts before you show up at the house.  Top-producers have a specific routine they go through to obtain a listing before they arrive.  Before you even begin your presentation, follow the five steps below to ensure that you will also obtain more of the listings you seek.

  1. Create a solid pre-listing package: This presentation should give the client a brief overview of who you are and what your track record is in sales.  It should clearly focus on the benefits of doing business with you over any other Agent.  This piece should not be the big “Brag Book” that many people used in the 80s and 90s.  Sellers in the new millennium are busy. They don’t have the time to read thirty pages about how great you are.  Give them the highlights and include a section on the importance of pricing.  This section will prepare them for the price discussion.

  2. Qualify hard before the appointment: Have a specific set of qualifying questions.  The goal is to check their level of motivation to sell.  You need to know if their desire to sell is greater than their desire to achieve a certain price.  You want to know where and why they are moving.  You want to know their desired time frame to move.  That information is related to price and motivation.  Agents need to realize that motivation and price are intertwined.  The higher the motivation, the lower the price the seller will accept.  The lower the motivation, the higher the price the seller will want.

    In my qualifying, I always wanted to know who else they were interviewing. This information really gave me an edge over the other Agents.  It allowed me to bring or send them MLS data about the other Agent or firm.  It also gave me the ability to compare services.  Please understand that you don’t want to say anything to trash the other Agent or company.  You do want to point out the differences in your approach and track record compared to theirs.  Most sellers think Agents are all alike.  I was there to show them that we provided the best opportunity in the marketplace for them to achieve a sale on their home.  If you provide a compelling list of benefits over another Agent or firm, sellers will select you almost every time.  The only way you will lose a listing is to get out-priced or out-commissioned.  It never bothered me to get out-priced or out-commissioned.  Those kinds of Agents won’t last long in most markets.  When a potential client makes a selection based on those two issues, are they a client you really want to do business with?  My answer was no.  They didn’t have enough respect for me, my team, and REALTORS® in general to warrant my investment of time, money, and emotional energy.

  3. Develop a pre-appointment routine: We should prepare for every appointment the same way.  We should at least have a mental checklist of things to run through.  Let me share with you my pre-appointment routine. 

    I would first look at the market conditions and price ranges in their area.  Then I would review my comps to determine the price I wanted to list it for.  I would also determine the maximum I would list the home for.  I wanted to clearly know this before I walked in the door.  This takes the emotional aspect out of the pricing game.  You are making a decision based on the numbers.

    I would determine the strategy for showing the seller the benefits of working with my team and myself.  I would also review who else was going to be interviewing for the job.  I would then create a strategy to ensure that I took the listing.  Upon final review, I would evaluate the likely objections I would receive based on their answers to my pre-qualifying questions.

  4. Practice the listing presentation at least once: I would rehearse my listing presentation one time before leaving the office. This rehearsal would prepare me to emphasize the benefits, services, and reasons they should list with me at my price.  I would practice the potential objections and getting the listing signed at my price.  I focused on practicing success.

  5. Leave with plenty of time to get to the appointment: Nothing will wipe out your preparation more than the death grip on the steering wheel to get there faster.  Make sure you arrive calm and relaxed.  I would visualize and prepare in the car by working on my closing or tag lines.  These phrases would lead me to ask for the order.  They were my set of phrases and thoughts that allowed me to solve a problem then ask for the order.

Don’t let success be based on chance.  Prepare well before the appointment.  Great teams win championships in practice.  They win them before the big game is played.  Preparation is essential for smooth and successful seller interviews.  Start your routine today.

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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.

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