Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #974
March 26th, 2020
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Words of a Champion...

We all feel challenges in our lives. These challenges can manifest themselves at work, at home, with our health, in our spiritual life. In today’s COVID-19 world we are surrounded with challenges. These challenges are often accompanied by discouragement.  Discouragement can often happen when we survey the difficulties that lay before us.  We can de-motivate ourselves because of the gap between the reality of where we are and the vision of where we want to be.

In this week’s Coaches Corner, let’s talk about that discouragement and what we can do to help combat it.

To Your Success,

Dirk Zeller

Challenges and Discouragement

We all feel challenges in our lives.  These challenges can manifest themselves at work, at home, with our health, in our spiritual life.  These challenges are often accompanied by discouragement.  Discouragement can often happen when we survey the difficulties that lay before us.  We can de-motivate ourselves because of the gap between the reality of where we are and the vision of where we want to be.

The first thing that usually happens when we find ourselves in that place of challenge and discouragement is that we don’t think clearly or rationally.  We are often in such a frenzied or frustrated state that we lose all objectivity.  This loss of objectivity causes the evaporation of clarity.  Often, we will not do what would be wise, which is to seek counsel from a trusted advisor.  We usually do the opposite, which is to run and hide.

The second thing we do is to separate ourselves from strengthening relationships.  We create a distance between the outside world and ourselves.  It’s like we go and hide in a cave hoping that things will change.  Make sure that you stand your ground with the people who can strengthen you.  Stand your ground with your friends, your spouse, and your children.  If you have a coach, call him/her immediately to help you move through the challenge and to help hold you accountable to the actions than need to be taken.  Most people will tend to want to be alone, and that is the worst thing they can do.

This discouragement can often happen in the backwash of a great victory.  Sometimes our most vulnerable moments come after a great victory.  We can be vulnerable after a great victory at work or at home.  And example would be, you have set a record pace for the first six months.  You have earned more money in six months than you did all last year, and then you hit the wall of vulnerability.  But now you find yourself in the backwash of a great victory.  The great victory only becomes a memory.  You have not prepared for this moment, so there is not a counterassault planned.  The energy and emotions that you invested to take the hill are spent, and now you are beginning to slide backward.  This backwash can happen in any area of our lives.  We could have made great strides with our spouse.  We have achieved a mountain top experience in our relationship, and then the backwash hits.  You think, “I should be ready for anything,” but then find that you are not.  NASA realized this challenge with the astronauts when they came back from the moon.  They would have this beyond mountain top experience of personal achievement and then would slide into the abyss of depression.  How do you top going to the moon?

The third condition most of us feel, as we face challenges in our lives, is that we become physically exhausted and emotionally spent after we have struggled to reach the pinnacle.  As we stretch and strain to achieve greatness, we deplete the tanks of our physical energy and our emotional energy.

The only way to fill them to full again is extended rest and refreshment.  If you are pushing empty in both tanks, it will take more than a weekend to complete the re-charge.

There is a Greek saying, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”  Some of us live under constant stress and tension.  The bow never gets unstrung and relaxed.  Are you putting yourself under relentless pressure?  We will all break under that level of pressure.  We must give ourselves time for rest and refreshment.  Each person has his/her individual need level for rest and refreshment.  I will often tell our clients that it’s essential to learn your “rhythms of work.”  Your “rhythms of work” are how long and how hard you can work before burnout hits.  When discouragement and frustration overcome you, and you just want to crawl into a ball that is a sure sign that your tanks are too low.  We all need to know our “rhythms of work.”

We must also realize that the physical tank will fill up much quicker than the emotional tank.  When our emotional tank gets low, it takes longer to fill up again because the filling valve is smaller and slower.  However, our body can recharge rather quickly with rest.  A solid, restful weekend will usually refill your physical tank.    Our emotions and our mind take much longer to recharge.  A person might need a week or longer to feel emotionally rested and re-centered in his or her life.

Be sure to protect your emotional tank.  Don’t let anyone else control the level of this tank.  We often will let our clients take control of these valves.  If we turn over the valve controls, we are in for a train wreck.

Lastly, don’t get lost in self-pity.  Self-pity can cause you to cultivate a victim mentality.  It can say to you that you can’t do any better.  Self-pity will lie to you about everything.  It will lie that your skills and abilities are not good enough even after your big victory.  Self-pity is a pathetic emotion.  It is an emotion that will drain your emotional tank rather than fill it.  Self-pity is like being face-to-face with a Bengal Tiger.  That tiger desires to claw you to shreds.  Self-pity wants to get into your mind and do major damage. 

Make sure that you stop the challenges and discouragement at your front gate.  Don’t separate yourself from your trusted advisors.  If you don’t have some trusted advisors seek them out.  If you seek you will find.  Prepare for the backwash after the victories.  It happens to all of us.  We have all been blessed with more gifts and talent than we use.  Our calling in life is to use them all … daily.

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Creating After-the-Sale Service

If you don’t plan for it, after-the-sale service won’t happen. You’ll get so consumed with the next deal and with the task of earning the next commission check that you’ll overlook the opportunity to create long-term revenue through your past clients.

An after-the-sale service program is like most things in life: people get derailed before they take the first step, and if they don’t take the first step – the step that involves establishing the program you commit to follow ­­– they can’t begin to meet the objective.

Use the following to guide you as you create your plan. It helps you define exactly what you need to do in the first 30 days after the sale and on an ongoing basis thereafter.

Laying the groundwork during the transaction period

When working a real estate transaction, you have two prime opportunities to develop interpersonal connections and high-grade referrals.  One is during the transaction period when you’re working with your client to buy or sell a home and close the deal. The second is during the 30 to 45 days that follow the closing.

If you do a poor job during the transaction, you’ll be hard pressed to recover lost ground after the closing. An attorney who blows a case doesn’t get a second chance from the client, and the same holds true for real estate agents. Your service during the transaction must be stellar, or you’ll sacrifice the chance for repeat and referral business, which is the easiest and least costly business to acquire. If that isn’t bad enough, you’ll also lose the opportunity to collect client testimonials and generate positive word-of-mouth.

During the transaction period, you’re in frequent contact with your clients and have ample opportunities to provide excellent service; make a strong, positive impression; and develop the basis for a long-term relationship by following these steps:

  • When you first begin to work with clients to buy or sell a home, their enthusiasm is high. They fully anticipate and expect that they will be able to find the perfect home and that you are the ideal agent to accomplish the task. During this initial period, your clients think about little other than their real estate hopes. Your presence becomes woven into the fabrics of their lives and their conversations with friends and family members. This is an ideal time to ask for and win referrals.

  • If the sale or purchase process drags on, expect your clients’ level of excitement and energy to ebb. At the same time, expect their focus on their purchase or sale to intensify. The most important thing you can do during this potentially dangerous time – when your clients are experiencing concern and talking non-stop about their real estate issues with others – is to stay in frequent communication; offer solutions; provide calm, professional advice; and retain the clients’ confidence in you and your abilities.

Setting a service agenda for the first 30 days after the sale

If you did everything right during the transaction, then your clients were totally satisfied with your service when the deal closed. Now you have a decision to make: Do you wish your clients well and walk away, or do you begin an after-the-sale service program that turns them into clients for life? You already know the answer: You begin to turn them into clients for life.

  1. Begin by personally calling your clients at least four times in the 30 days after the closing.

    • Call in the first few days after the closing to thank them for the opportunity to serve them. Tell them how excited you are for them to be moving into their new home. Share an anecdote about working with them that will make you all laugh and touch their hearts.

    • After the call, send a hand-written thank you note further expressing your thanks and asking for future business or referrals.

    • By the end of the first week, call again. Once again, express thanks for trusting you. Then ask: How did the move go? Did anything get broken? How do the kids like their new rooms? Have they met any of the neighborhood kids yet? Did the seller leave the home properly? Is there anything that wasn’t right that they need any help with?

    • This last question can open a Pandora’s box of issues, and that’s exactly why to ask it. If there are problems you don’t know about, you may be blamed for the mishaps without any opportunity to do anything about them. Most will be issues between the seller and the buyer, and power over the seller – unless legal action is involved ­– is gone because the transaction has now closed. Sometimes all you can do is provide a listening ear and sympathetic voice. Other times you can make a few phone calls to help right the wrong. The fact that you are willing to listen and to see what you can do speaks louder than any demonstrable action. It shows that you care.

    • At the conclusion of the second call, send another hand-written note. Express concern for the unresolved issue and again thank them for their trust and for taking time to talk with you today.

    • Call again at the two-week mark. Ask how they are doing getting out of boxes and settling into their new home. Update them if you’ve made progress on the issue that was concerning them. Ask them about the kids and their transition. Before hanging up, ask if your service is needed. Also, ask them for referrals.

    • On their 30-day anniversary in the home, call again. Congratulate them on their great decision in selecting this home. Check on the kids and their progress settling in to the house and neighborhood. Thank them again for the honor to serve them.

    Simple as this approach sounds, it will enable you to lock your clients in for life, plus it will open the door to referral business that flows freely.

  2. While you’re at it, call the other party involved in your real estate transaction as well.

    Every real estate deal involves a buyer and a seller. In most cases, you represent only one of the two parties, but why not call and offer after-sale service to both? Do you think the other agent is doing this? For your answer, you only have to look at the National Association of REALTORS®’ finding that only 13% of 2004 real estate clients used an agent they had used previously to represent their interests. My estimation is that fewer than 10% of agents actually call their clients after closing.

    When calling to follow up with the party represented by the other agent in your transaction, be ready for a response of surprise and great appreciation. The fact that you are calling four times in a month, while the agent who got paid to represent their interest hasn’t called even once, will positively awe most people. By the end of your 30-day after-sale service period, the names of the other agent’s clients will be in your database, and you’ll be the one receiving their referrals.

  3. Deliver or send a gift to your client.

    This gift is usually called a closing gift, but even if you attend the closing, don’t take the gift with you for two reasons:

    • At the closing, your clients will be focused on the transaction and thinking about their impending move and all the challenges that lie in front of them. Your gift will be lost in the shuffle.

    • The papers presented at the closing put the amount of the real estate commission in writing, causing your clients to focus on exactly how much money you made from the transaction. If you give your gift at the same time, they could make a negative comparison between the value of the gift and the money you received.

    • In choosing your gift, don’t go overboard. Save any over-the-top gestures you might want to extend until after your clients have settled in and after your commission has long-since been paid. The more you deliver after you get paid, the more your gift communicates that you care about your clients, not your commission check.

    • Find a closing gift that reminds clients of you and your service.  Give them something that can be used rather than consumed. A great bottle of wine or gift basket quickly disappears. A customized mailbox, door knocker, or yard plant will last almost forever.

    • By taking or delivering your gift to your clients’ new home, you’ll put it in their hands at a time when it can create the most significant feelings of good will, warmth, and referrals. If you want to give them something at closing, hand them a thank you note.

Another nice gesture is to help your clients notify their friends of their move.  Offer to create a postcard with a picture of their new home on the front and to print up a couple hundred for their use. Then offer to mail them out on your clients’ behalf.  You’ll save them the cost and enlarge your database to boot.

You might even call people on the list to make sure they received the card you sent for your client. You could then ask them if they are committed to another Agent.  If not, then you’ve opened the door to a new client relationship.

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Salespeople Resist Scripts

Most salespeople want to free flow through the process of sales. They don’t want to sound canned, with a lack of spontaneity and personality that most exude. Most feel that scripts don’t allow for conversational interaction between the prospect and the salesperson.

We have all gotten that call at 8pm, where you answer the phone and there is a moment of silence. Then you hear this faint voice mispronounce your name and the busy clatter in the background of the telemarketer boiler room. We hear some guy stumbling over a script that he hasn’t learned yet and we are immediately turned off. We are a salesperson and we swear off ever using a script again.

Don’t leap to the grandest conclusion that scripts don’t work based on the 8pm call from the MCI guy.

Scripts are a powerful part of selling if applied correctly, and if they are practiced, rehearsed, and internalized so they come out naturally. Most salespeople don’t take the time to practice their craft enough to be extremely effective with their scripts.

There are significant segments of your presentation that must be scripted. This scripting will allow you to achieve significant results that you can count on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. They will clearly show you where you are deficient in your skills.

Here are the three key areas to scripts for your prospecting and lead follow-up calls:

  1. Your opening statement: We only have a few seconds to grab our prospect’s attention. Most of us “wing” our opening statement. The opening line is made up over and over again. This doesn’t make sense since it’s the difference between your success or failure. Why leave it to chance? Once you find the right opening line, it’s like magic.

  2. Service descriptions: We need to clearly script our services. Also, we need to script the benefits that one receives from these services. We are going to do some customization of the benefits based, on the needs the prospect has. We must have them dialed to be able to deliver them with power, conviction and authority.

  3. Our closing remarks: We should have structured and well scripted closing remarks. These closing remarks should be directed at recapping what was agreed upon. What the prospect will be doing before the next call or next meeting. What you will be doing before the next call or next meeting. What benefit they were most interested in that we provide. Key details of any agreement that we reached.

We all need to embrace a more skillful and systematic process for prospecting and lead follow-up. We need to improve the level of our sales skills to enhance our income.

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