Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Begin with the end in mind

Setting goals, writing affirmation statements business plans, SWOT analysis etc are areas in our personal and business life that many of us tend to overlook or put aside. I believe that if you want to live a life where you achieve just about everything you set your mind to then there is a lot of power in writing these down and then getting people who you trust around you to hold you accountable.

How or where do you start? Well if i asked you to write down at least 4 things you truly desire in your personal and business life what would they be? Write these down and then picture yourself achieving them. Make sure the picture is vivid and real. The ability to visualise your achievements is crucial because at an unconscious level you make this real, you can feel it and you energise and focus yourself to achieve what it is you want.

Creating an action plan of how you will achieve these goals is the next step. Make sure you consider what may get in the way, how you will overcome roadblocks, how will you deal with people who don’t believe in you, have you got the strength to cut out negative people from your life and be completely single minded about what you want to achieve.

I write my goals down, place them on the shower wall and share them with people who I trust to hold me accountable.

Have time frames in place to achieve your goals by and when and as necessary tweak them.

Goals should be
Specific – you know exactly what it is that you want and your language should reflect this.
Measureable – you must be able to measure the progress towards achieving your goals
Achievable – you must be able to achieve your goal, even if it may be a stretch, taking into account your circumstances at the time
Realistic- take into account your current skill sets, resources you have access to and how these will impact on the outcome
Timely – you must set a time frame in which you want to achieve your goals by or it could take a lifetime

Remember you own your goals, they must be yours, the desire to achieve them must burn in you. I find that many of my goals align to my values around family, friends, career, relationships, health and fitness, spiritual and community as well as what I call me time.

Dr Stephen Covey say’s begin with the end in mind and I think that many of us from time to time forget this valuable lesson when writing our goals or business plans and we focus on the immediate or very short term.

Part of my affirmation statement is about my personal legend. What will I be remembered for when I am no longer on this planet? That is starting with the end in mind and a lot of my actions and goals to date align with this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hey Mr Branson Come Take A Walk With Me

Many of you who know me know that I am a raving Virgin fan, their brand, people, culture, service standards is, in my eyes, the best in the travel industry.

However recently I have had experiences that have made me grind my teeth. It did get me thinking though that if Virgin did not have enough “smiles” points me I probably would have changed airlines.

From flights being cancelled in the last minute, long delays, bags taking too long to come off the plane, lack of communication on where I should collect “odd shaped” luggage, having to pay extra for schedule changes etc and all within the last few weeks I must say my status of “raving fan” has been tarnished.

But the peseta la resistance was when I got an email on the 13th of November saying I had been upgraded to Gold Velocity Member to then get a second email to say sorry we were just playing a Friday the 13th joke.... hmmm... not funny!!

However like we put coins into a cookie jar at home, that doesn’t really empty, Virgin does have enough credit with me to retain my custom.
The interesting part to all of this is that in many of the above examples Virgin was not directly responsible for the issues the suppliers they work with were. As their client however I will hold Virgin responsible for any inconvenience caused not the baggage handlers at Sydney airport.

Think about the customers in your businesses. How much credit do you have with them? Do the suppliers who work with you provide an agreed level of service?

If your clients are simply satisfied because you are delivering to an expected service standard... i.e. you are no different to any other agency in town then you probably don’t have many credits at all.

Think about all the touch points your business has, what is the experience like for them at each of these, how are you wowing them, are you building up credits and creating raving fans.

Remember if clients cannot see or experience your service difference then they will make decisions based on price.

To create raving fans of your business you need to ensure that clients continue to come back and talk about you.

Don’t forget you will be remembered for what you do not what you say.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Real estate is a numbers game

Real Estate is a numbers game and often we fail to understand what the numbers are telling us, we start to work in a comfort zone or get busy being busy and don’t stop to smell the such!

What is she talking about... well if you are in a business development role or manager of a department with BDM’s I would like you to consider the following thoughts:

We often measure the success of a BDM via List and Lets and I don’t disagree with this at all however we need to consider listing in isolation as well.

A BDM is equivalent to a sales person and the success of this role is very much dependant on qualified leads we obtain and then our follow up.
Recently I have noticed that a number of BDM’s are very busy doing a large number of appraisals however they are simply not meeting their targets. When we strip the data back what we find is that majority of the appraisals are being conducted for sales agents who are providing a value add service to their clients. Unfortunately many of these clients are not in the market to rent their properties however the BDM is counting these as appraisals. Therefore the strike rate is quite low and they are being taken away from what potentially could be other dollar earning clients.
Perhaps you should consider calling these rental valuations instead of appraisals.

Another consideration is that our industry is seasonal and if you are overly dependent on sales appraisals as the sales market quietens so will your property management stock levels and we are about to go into our busiest times.

Your role as a BDM is to generate leads and convert these into listings. Your key focus must be on lead generation otherwise you simply become an order taker. Without qualified leads there won’t be any conversions.

When was the last time you reviewed where your leads are coming from, is this source sustainable long term, what will potentially get in the way, are there other lead sources that you haven’t worked on as yet.
The world of social media if used correctly provides you with a whole new world of lead sources. It is viral enabling you to reach masses in just one click of the mouse. It is no longer about word of mouth but world of mouth.

Other areas you may want to review or consider are how well you work with your sales team. On anyone weekend how many people do they come into contact with who are investors and potential clients. Develop up a system that enables the sales team to share data with you enabling you to add these clients to your pipe line in your database system.

Your database is critical to your success as a BDM. Ensure that it is up to date, reminders set for contact times, tasks and actions.

A marketing and prospecting plan is a must. Today it must be a combination of on-line and off-line campaigns that are consistent in the message and regularity.

What I urge you to do is understand your numbers. Here are some stats that you should be tracking:
• Total number of appraisals conducted
• The source – sales referrals, walk ins, call ins, internet,
referrals, database, OFI’s, Adv/Mkting, Boards..etc
• Appraisals not listed and why e.g. other agent, not ready, self
manage, selling, fees.. etc Then the key thing here is to place
them into your pipeline and ensure you keep in touch with them on a
regular basis.
• Take over managements – who from, why
• Re-lets
• Lets for the month
• Let only’s
• Properties lost for the month and why
• Total properties under management
• Vacant properties with boards/without boards

Realistically in this market the properties will be leased what we need to make sure is that we keep stock levels up.