Monday, November 26, 2012

7 dumb things you may want to avoid as an agent.

1.       Bringing up objections that the customer hasn’t

As agents it’s always a great idea to be aware of the top objections your clients may potentially bring up. However let’s not be too eager to anticipate these and bring them up before the customer does.
Perhaps create an agenda with the client and focus on answering questions that they know are relevant to them, rather than you pre-emptively bringing up the top objections so you can then ‘refute’ them.
The typical example is when an agent is asked their fees we automatically go into defence mode as we assume the client is going to object to it.

2.       Not getting a commitment from the customer as to what the next step will be

Let me paint a picture on this one. You are on a date with a hot chick or man; would you actually leave without locking in another date? Probably not.
Never send out any communication where you ask the client to call or contact you. Because they won’t and you will be complaining about why you don’t get any responses.

Never leave an appointment without an authority or the agreement to catch up again if you didn’t get one.
Keep the ball in your court, tell them you will be touching base with them tomorrow or the next day or in your marketing tell the consumer you will be calling them. (please don’t say you don’t have all the numbers – door knock if you don’t)

3.        This one is my favourite -  Selling Features Rather Than Results
I often hear that the oppostion are getting more business because they have their photo on a board! No it’s not because they have photos of themselves on their boards. It's probably more likely they prospect the area, work their database, build better relationships and are a better agent than you.

Consumers do not buy a product because it has desirable features or your photo everywhere. What the consumer really cares about is the results they will get when they buy your product and how it will impact their next decision – usually to buy or sell, upgrade or downgrade etc.
Do some research and find out why customers buy your product –  then sell that result, using the features to support your ability to deliver that result.

4.       Be real – do not fake intimacy
You will get caught out.  Real estate doesn’t really sit high on peoples mind shelf as it is, so if you go into listing appointments and ‘gush’ unnecessarily you will be fighting an uphill battle to win trust.

Another example is when or if you are doing a cold call, do not ask how are you doing today? The person on the other side will probably want to hang up on you. Perhaps making the statement hope you are well today and the purpose of my call..... is better than the question
Remain professional at all times. They need to know you, like you and trust you before you can become casual with them.

5.        Talking More Than Listening
 This is such a common problem, agents love to hear the sound of their own voice and talk about themselves. Your clients find this behaviour very irritating and boring. Yes, you are nervous, excited, eager to drive the sale forward and want to get through your whole sales pitch, but just stop and listen to yourself.

The art of selling is a passive activity. You need to listen to your client’s needs, understand what their concerns and pain points are and then provide them with solutions they can relate to. You need them to trust you will deliver the sale of their property at the best possible price in the shortest period of time.

6.       Failing to Follow Through
 Not doing what you say you are going to do is failing to win the customers trust. The old adage of "under promise and over deliver" is important.

The consumer is actually used to agents not following through on what they promise. So in their mind we are guilty until proven innocent. To build the trust with your clients you need to follow through to ensure that you overcome the natural antipathy most have towards agents.
Remember- drop the ball on this once and you will be out of the picture.

However if you don’t drop the ball and where relevant do the extra 1% you will be remembered for all the right reasons.

7.       Treating a "Close" as the End of the Process
 Just because the property has sold does not mean it is the end of the process or activity. Agents have love affairs with their clients. A six – ten week campaign and once the sold stickers are on the board you move onto your next affair.

The real work happens after the sale has occurred. You now have two people who know you, like you and trust you. This can enable you to build relationships and receive ongoing referrals and repeat business. This is undoubtedly far more profitable then chasing new business.
 Always aim for long-term relationships rather than short-term affairs. The  "close" is the beginning, not the end, of the process.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How are you creating the experience environment within your business?

Managing a team can be frustrating. However, the results, culture and behaviour within your business all stems from you as the leader. If you are having issues around performance and behaviour, have a look at yourself first.

Learning from experience rather then having someone else do the work for you is preferable. However, how are you creating the experience environment within your business?
If somebody I work with comes to with me with a problem, I will ask them what is the best and worst possible outcome, and what is most likely to happen.

If however we have come off a major issue that impacted our results or service then the key question is “what did we learn”?
We all make mistakes and can often repeat them. We all from time to time fail to learn from experiences.

The question of what we learnt needs to be asked to get the best possible solutions. But it’s when and how you ask that determines the results.
When to ask: how often have you sat at your desk and a team member comes in and starts to vent? Generally I let them go for short time as they are focused on their own feelings of surprise and disappointment. However not too long into the venting I will ask – so what did you learn from this?

What this does is takes the focus away from the venting and into behavioural changes, how they would handle the situation differently next time and perhaps what dialogue they would use.
You can do the same at a team meeting.

How to ask: they need to understand what was the expected result, where are we now and how they got to this point. You cannot get emotionally involved in the conversation. A colleague once taught me that data and facts are needed to be able to take decisions and understand problems. So make sure you do.
Who to ask: If you are in team environment ask different people or everyone if you are able to. With a large group make sure that everyone is heard over a period of time. You will always have some members who are more vocal than others. However sometimes you will get gems from the quiet ones, but you will need to ask them first.  

Start positive: The group will want to hear what you have to say. Go last and start first with the productive and positive lessons. Make sure that you don’t point out flaws and faults. This does not create a culture of learning.
Skip the blame:   "What have we learnt?" is a very different question to  "Whose fault is it?" Your aim is to create insight and learning's that will change behaviours. When you ask whose fault it is you focus on the person, when you ask what have we learnt you focus on the process and facts.

If you can create this as a habit in your business you will find this works with clients.