by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 7, 2008
“Bam!” (not one of the 10 words), Emeril Lagasse and Batman to name just two who have said “Bam!” Bam (between the eyes) best describes what follows.
For years I have taught from the Keller Williams Realty playbook in regards to effective scripts. For example:
“It has been my experience that problems arise when expectations differ; wouldn’t you agree (shaking your head in the affirmative ala Zig Ziglar)?”
“With that said, how does someone win with you?”
“How does someone lose with you?”
“People win with me when they….”
“People lose with me when they…”
And then…I would add the following from the same playbook…
“What do you have a right to expect from me?” If I am not mistaken (after all I did graduate from public schools) that’s 10 words.
I had the 10 words firmly implanted my grey matter but being implanted and understanding their true importance is two different things. Recently I had a customer say those very same words to me. Can you imagine the shock in my mind (certainly not on my face, after all I am a professional)? A customer asked me, “What do I have a right to expect from you and, why should I list my property with your company?
Actually he was talking about my company and its associates. I ended the conversation with an unbelievable understanding of just what those words I have used really mean. It does not matter who is asking the question or what position that person may hold. Do as I did, sit and contemplate those 10 words for just a few minutes and I am certain you will come to the same realization that I did – those 10 words CAN and WILL change your life if used on a regular basis.
Wife to Husband: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
Husband to Wife: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
Employer to Employee: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
Employee to Employer: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
Broker to Associate: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
Associate to Broker: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”
A word to the wise (that would be you) should be sufficient. Those 10 words when asked set the stage for understanding between two or more people. More importantly what kind of answer would you get if you asked yourself that same question? “Gymbeaux; what do I (Gymbeaux speaking to himself) have a right to expect from you (me)?”
Now for the real shocker…the customer asked me that very question and before I could respond (thank God) he answered it for me. Ready for the answer? Drum roll…………………
Yep, that is what he said, FOLLOW-UP! It was not honesty integrity, experience, training, etc although these qualities are obviously important – it was FOLLOW-UP! He went on to say, he believes that in our society, well over 90% of people fail to follow-up on what needs to be done. You all know by now that I believe in the 80/20 rule so I rounded 90% down to 80%. That means that only 20% of the people you know (that would include you) follow-up on what needs to be done. That also means that 80% do not. So what are the chances that you or your customer has already encountered one of the 80%? Could be a spouse, a child, a parent, a co-worker, a customer, a broker (certainly not me he said with a smile); could be anyone.
That one conversation was one of the most profound and impactful conversations I have had in a very long time. I sat in silence for quite a while and thought about what the customer had said. If words mean things, and you know they do, I thought about taking it to an extreme. Instead of Keller Williams Realty Professionals, I imagined our marquee reading:
Keller Williams Realty Follow-Up Center
Granted this was just one customer. But how many times have you asked your customer(s) what’s important to them? What do they expect from you? What do they expect from your company? I am sure you have seen people break down the word ASSUME into ASS-U-ME meaning that when you assume something you make an ASS out of U and ME (sorry Mo)!
Think about that for just a moment. How many assumptions have you made regarding what your customer, spouse, significant other (hate that phrase), child, co-worker, broker, or team leader really want? How do you know if you don’t ask the question?
True story: We had never had a listing in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Gulfport, Mississippi. As the broker/owner, I made a commitment to my associates that I would get a listing in that area within the next 30 days just to break the ice and prove it could be done. I obtained an appointment within 2 weeks in an area where only one real estate company ever had listings (at least it seemed that way). How I obtained the appointment could be the subject of another Nugget.
If you ever read a standard Listing Agreement carefully, it is totally one-sided in favor of the real estate associate and company. Seller agrees to list at a certain price for a certain commission and if the seller breeches the contract for any reason the seller can be sued. No where does the contract ever say what the real estate associate will do for the seller.
I was in competition with two other agents from two different companies; one was the dominant real estate company in this particular subdivision. I did my usual property tour taking notes throughout the tour. While on tour with the owner, I asked a ton of questions such as:
Why are you moving?
Have you ever worked with a real estate agent before?
Have you ever worked with real estate consultant before? (No one has ever said yes. As such I feel I am already ahead of my competition.)
What did your agent do that you particularly liked?
What would you like to have seen your agent do differently? (Expectations)
What do you have a right to expect from me? (I did not use those very words but rather words to that effect.)
Okay, I have to admit, I did not have training as to what I did, just did what I thought was the right thing to do. I took on the mindset that I was applying for a job and I was. The owners were going to literally “hire” me to work for them. This is where I separated myself from the competition. Considering the owner’s answers to my questions, I created a written Proposal and Plan of Action identifying everything I would do to hopefully cause their property to sell. Did I say it was written? The secret was that I first identified what the owners expected of me and then put it in writing and signed it. Of course the proposal included all the things the owners “expected” me to do and that I felt comfortable doing. But here is the key – if you say you are going to do something – do it or explain why it cannot be done.
This is what the owners told me happened. They elected to list their home with me. The other two agents followed-up on their appointments and then each asked why they listed with me instead of them. The owner outlined everything that I had put in writing. Then the unbelievable happened. According to the owner they both said something to the effect, “He can’t do those things.” The owner then said, he agreed to them IN WRITING. “Well, I could have done that”, they each said. To which the owner then said, “Well then why didn’t you say so?” By the way, the home sold in 28 days.
Here are the three rules that I feel will guarantee your success in any relationship:
Find out what is important to the other person,
Make the other person feel important; and then…
So as your broker,
what do you have a right to expect from me?