Four “A” Service

June is graduation season.  Report Cards are being sent.  Looking back over the last few months, how would you grade yourself?  If you want to improve your grade, here are four easy “A”s to help improve your sales GPA:

Ask questions – When you first get together with your clients, either on the phone or in person, be ready with a set of questions to ask your clients to really get to know there needs, wants, goals, desires and emotions.  These questions and answers will help you to formulate a specific strategy for that particular client and help build a lasting relationship into the future.  The more you know about your clients, the more you can truly serve them.

Anticipation –  Anticipate your client’s needs even before they know them themselves.  Asking questions will certainly help you with this.  You are the professional – the expert – you know and understand the process.  Make sure you keep yourself as the point person of the transaction by communicating expectations and educating the customer on what is happening – upfront – before they have questions.  Real estate transactions are a very stressful and emotional time for most people – including us – calm those fears and reduce stress by anticipating problems and communicating solutions.  This will not only make your clients more assured of your professionalism, but it will build lasting trust that will deepen your relationship with them.

Attitude – Have a great one!!!  No matter how bad your day may be or how terrible the transaction may be going – “never let them see you sweat.”  Be energetic, enthusiastic, and positive.  If nothing else, be friendly and have a smile on your face.  Like dogs, customers sense fear.  If they sense your fear or negativity, they will mirror that and bad things will happen.  Negativity and fear don’t build trust or relationships – love and positivity do!!

Appreciation – Have an attitude of gratitude at every step of the process.  Always thank your clients – even if they are shopping you or just asking questions.  They could have gone somewhere else to ask.  Thank folks verbally at the end of every conversation – or even better –  the second you have them on the phone – “thank you so much for your call.”  Then follow up with an email or text and then go one step further with a hand written note.  I have been in sales for almost 35 years and never once did anyone say “will you please stop thanking me!!”  I have seen the opposite though – “I do business with so and so all the time and they have never said thank you.”  Appreciation goes a long way in building a lasting relationship – one that will spawn referrals and a lifetime client.

Use these “A”s and you’ll be on the “Dean’s List” for sure.

FATHER KNOWS BEST!!

If you are like me, you had a father who was always full of wisdom and always willing to share it – especially right after I did something wrong.  Here are a handful of things my dad said to me over the years that I still find applicable to life and business today:

  1. “Don’t answer the phone just because it rings” – In our world of technology, our attention span is getting shorter and shorter.  The message here is stay in the present and focus your full attention on whomever you are with or whatever you are doing.   Use good time management skills to set aside time to take or make calls.  With caller id and voicemail, you probably won’t miss anything and you will accomplish much more.
  1. “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” – As a kid growing up in the 60’s, I didn’t even know what a wooden nickel was.  The meaning for us today is don’t settle for less than you are worth.  With price and cost becoming such a focal point, it is more important than ever to know and express your value proposition.
  1. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” – This was always one of my all-time favorites especially since I got to hear it in my most fragile states.  The key here is perspective.  Our days are full of worry, concern and complaints.  Step back and evaluate if the emotional energy we are expending is truly worth our efforts or is there a bigger picture for which we should be more concerned.  Put another way, in another famous quote – “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
  1. “You are getting too big for your britches.” – Another one that I heard quite often.  Having confidence in what we are doing is great.  Having a giant ego and thinking we are so very important is not.  Try being humble and hungry to be more successful.
  1. “A bad attitude is like a flat tire – unless you change it, you aren’t going anywhere.” – Attitude is everything.  So have a positive one.  There are two things we can truly control in our lives: Effort and Attitude.  If we give maximum effort and have a great attitude while we are doing it, success will surely follow.

I hope you will take the time to reflect on your own dad and think fondly back on things he might of said and see if you can apply them to your own lives today.  I’m sure if you do, you’ll see that Father Knows Best!!!

LIFE AFTER GRADUATION!!

Graduation season is upon us.  It got me thinking about all the lessons from school that can still be helpful in our lives today.  Here are just a few:

  1. Have a favorite teacher.  In school there always seemed to be that one teacher from whom you learned the most.  It could have been what they taught or how they taught it, but they kept you engaged and wanting to learn more.   I encourage you to seek out a mentor or a coach to help you along your path.  Someone who can teach you new things and hold you accountable to your goals.
  1. Go to class and do your homework.   Class was where you obtained knowledge and learned new information.  Homework was used and needed to truly hone those skills and imbed that knowledge – usually with practical application worksheets.   Never lose the passion to learn more.  Yearn to know as much as you can about your industry, community and clients.  Knowledge remains power.
  1. Hang in your clique. Whether you were a nerd, a jock, a stoner or a popular kid, you had a circle of friends that supported you and your efforts.  The same support groups can help you now in your professional life.   Hopefully your sphere is more mature than your high school groups but it is very important to have a sphere of influence that supports you and your efforts.
  1. Take PE. In high school you probably had to wear the matching uniform, but PE was a vital part of the educational process.  The same goes today.  To be truly successful you not only need to be mentally fit, but physically fit as well.  Having a healthy diet and regular exercise will help keep your stress in check.  The gym can also help grow your sphere.
  1. Express your school spirit. Whether you loved your school or not, I’m sure you cheered at all the pep rallies or had some other semblance of school pride.  Don’t be afraid to do the same today when it comes to your own companies or personal brand.  Grab your megaphone and let everyone know that you are the best.

We may have graduated from school but we don’t ever really graduate from striving to be the best we can be.

BE “THE GREATEST” YOU CAN BE

This weekend we lost “The Greatest of All Time,” Muhammad Ali.  So I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on his passing.   Ali was the ultimate fighter whether it was in the ring, for civil rights or while battling Parkinson’s for the last 30 years.

I grew up in the prime of Muhammad Ali’s career and got to witness both his athletic and cultural greatness.   As an 8 year old boy, I actually had the good fortune of meeting him once in the Los Angeles Airport.  Even though he was known for his loud and brash persona, on that day to an admiring 8 year old boy, he was nothing but kind and gentle – shaking my trembling hand and telling me how nice it was to meet me.  What a thrilling and lasting memory!!!

While listening to the hundreds of tributes praised upon him, I gleaned 4 major themes from the life of Muhammad Ali that can help us all,  not only in our business but in our lives:

  1. Believe in yourself.  Ali had enormous confidence in his ability as well as his beliefs.  We all have our own talents and gifts that we need to confidently and proudly share with those around us.  Ali never shrunk in the spotlight and neither should we.
  1. Brand Yourself.  Ali was the ultimate self-promoter.  He made up slogans, sayings and poems to promote each fight or opponent –  most as familiar today as they were 40 years ago.    Don’t be afraid to create and promote your brand that is uniquely and authentically you.  This will differentiate you from the pack, make you more memorable and allow you to stand out from your competition.
  1. Inspire Others.  Whether you agreed with Ali and his principles or not, there is no debate his words and actions inspired hundreds of thousands of people.  We should all aspire to inspire.  Do things that make a difference in your family, industry and community.
  1. Have a Sense of Humor.  Ali always seemed to be having fun.  Even in his later years, when he couldn’t speak, you saw the joy and playfulness in his eyes.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Enjoy what you do and all you have.  Have fun!!

There are hundreds of other attributes I could mention.  The bottom line is that Muhammad Ali was truly “The Greatest” and will be missed.  If we each strive to be the best we can be in our own lives,  then we too can be “The Greatest” in our own unique way.   What a great tribute that would be to The Champ.