Sunday, December 6, 2009


Nugget For The Noggin
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 10, 2009

First let me premise this Nugget by stating that I have been in the real estate business for 30 years and in the personnel management business for over 45 years. This length of time does not of itself make me an expert but experience ought to count for something.

I have observed people saying things that if they had really thought about what they had said would never have said it, or maybe they would if they did not care how it was received. This Nugget will identify words or phrases I have heard people say or things I have seen or heard people do that possibly could have been done differently. If so they might have gotten a different result.

To prove my point, I like to think I am a learning based person. I am constantly reading and listening for better ways to do and say things primarily to achieve better results. The most recent case-in-point occurred after reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Black Book of Connections when he suggested never to ask if someone had received something you sent. This usually occurs after you had sent an Email or a FAX and you did not receive a response. The natural tendency would be to send another and start out by saying things such as SECOND REQUEST or DID YOU RECEIVE; admit it we all have done this. It just happened to me and my doctor. I followed his directions and the pain in my shoulder had no change. I was to fax him the results and he would set up a second appointment for an MRI exam which I did. After waiting two weeks without any word, I faxed him again but this time I faxed it as if it were the first time I did so. Within hours I received the most friendly of calls stating that my appointment was in the works.

I thought about it after I received the call and I believe the call would have been much different had I called them out for not responding the first time. Thinking about the first fax transmission I did not wait to receive the fax transmission report – it may not have been received. The fax may have been misplaced or with a name like mine, Jim Brown, it could have been put in the wrong Jim Brown record; I know this because….

Therefore my first Action Step would be – please, for your sake and the sake of all your customers, not to mention your family and career - please make it a priority to read books and articles that will make you better at what you do. It does not matter how long you have been in the business; there are always better ways of doing and saying things that others have discovered that can help you become more productive. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to learn, every day, forever! I am living proof that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Also keep in mind the Law of Attraction that basically states, you tend to bring into your life more of that which you think about most. This is real simple. Think about scarcity and you get more scarcity. Think about abundance, and you get more abundance. Question: has something ever happened in your life that would cost money and you wondered where the money would come from and then suddenly the money seems to just appear? It might be a bonus check, might be an unexpected sale, might be a gift, might be a refund of some sort, it just appears in the nick of time so to speak. It tends to happen more when you think about how the money will be there when you need it as compared to thinking it won’t be there. It has also been said that the mind tends to run downhill meaning that it tends to think toward the negative unless you intercede and make it think more positive.

Action Step number 2 would then be; BE MORE AWARE OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND WORDS. When a negative thought or statement appears, simply ask yourself, “where did that come from; that is not like me” and then think more positive thoughts and definitely think before you speak.

Have you ever said or heard someone say:

“Why do I get all the kooks to work with?” Do you? Really? Do you work with every kook there is in the world? Of course not but you let the great customers you work with take on the personality of the kooks because that is what you have come to expect. And then when a great customer does something you feel is “kooky” you reinforce your belief that you only get the kooks in life. Remember you will get more of that which you think of (expect more of) most.

“Buyers are liars.” Really? Why would anyone call someone they don’t know a liar? Have you ever thought that just maybe you have not given the buyer enough information to trust you? Or is it possible that the buyer you think is lying really doesn’t know what you want or meant? I have found that when someone is not forthright with you it is because you have not created the degree of trust needed to be forthright with you. More importantly if you believe buyers are liars you will most assuredly find evidence to prove yourself right and eventually attract more buyers who are also liars.

“My little people.” I cringe every time I hear someone refer to their customers as “My little people” or “My little guy or gal”. What kind of mental image do you conjure up when you say “my little people” and why would you say it at all? Here is a great thought as provided by Jeffrey Gitomer, why not refer to your customers as “probable buyers” or “probable sellers”. If you did, would you not think differently about the customer if you thought they would result in a sale? Or you might want to say, “My little probable buyer”, just kidding.

“My people (what else would they be) will never accept this offer.” Really? How do you know? Is this something you think to be true? There is no way for you to know for certain. And instead of “people” why not “probable seller?” When you say that how do you think the other agent feels about the offer submitted and also about you the agent? I know my first thought is that this deal is dead before it ever gets presented. Is it possible that even though your seller has said, “I will never take anything under $200,000 so don’t even bring me an offer”, that since that was first uttered things could have changed and now the seller would take just about anything offered? If you want to be upset, don’t be upset towards an agent or buyer who makes a low offer, be upset about agents and buyers who have seen what you are offering and made no offer at all. Instead of finding fault with the offer presented, why not thank them for the opportunity to present an offer to the seller? Would you prefer to go through the selling period with no offers to present or receive offers that might be unacceptable but that you can at least present to your “probable seller.” Most people, except of course for you-know-who, would always prefer to be presenting offers. You never know when you can make one work.

“I’m no good at (insert whatever you think you are not good at)!” My question to you is, “As compared to what?” What is your standard of acceptable performance? I would also ask, was Frank Sinatra (showing my age) a great singer the first time he ever sang? Contrary to what some may think, I was not there but I can assure you he probably was not. “I’m no good at working For Sale By Owners.” “I’m no good at working expired listings.” “I’m no good at working numbers.” “I’m no good; I’m no good; I’m no good!” Geeze, maybe you are right. It is a matter of the self-fulfilling prophecy – say it enough and it is true at least in YOUR mind. Politicians are notorious for this principle; tell a lie enough and everyone will believe it. What would happen if instead you said, “I am the greatest when I work For Sale By Owners.” Maybe you are not the greatest but neither was Mohammad Ali (Cassius Clay) when he first told the world, “I am the greatest!” The important message was that HE believed it even if no one else did. The rest is history – he became the greatest, and so can you.

“I can’t believe what those folks did to me; I worked so hard for them.” This one always has bothered me the most. If as a REALTOR® a sale you worked failed to close, before you start to condemn the customer, you have to ask why did the sale fail? In most cases it was because of something you either did or failed to do. If for example, a buyer found a For Sale By Owner over the weekend, you failed to explain just how dangerous that could be for both the buyer and the seller to negotiate a sale without any professional representation. You also failed to secure the customer by means of a Buyer Agency Agreement or you elected not to enforce the terms of a Buyer Agency Agreement. When I hear words like this I also hear that the commission was the ultimate goal of the transaction rather than satisfying a customer’s needs. When you focus on the commission to be earned instead of the customer’s needs, you are basically out of business before you start.

“I can’t believe it, the appraiser killed the deal!” Is that true? Did an appraisal really kill the deal or did you list a home higher than what the market would indicate or did you write an offer on a home that was listed higher than what the market would indicate. In either case, whose fault really was it? When you represent a buyer you owe it to the buyer NOT to show overpriced homes and if you do, you do it with their full understanding and knowledge. When you list a home at an overpriced number, you also do it with the seller’s full understanding and knowledge. In the case of the seller, I would strongly suggest you get it in writing that the seller understands the price being offered is THEIR decision and not yours and that you feel the market does not justify the asking price. So think again, when a sale falls through because of an appraisal, whose fault is it; really?

“I can’t believe it; the home inspector killed the deal!” Can we agree that things are not always as they appear? With that being true, is it possible that the home you are selling really is not in the pristine condition that it appeared to be? If that is true, do you really want your buyer to buy a home that has significant problems associated with it? Can we also agree that the two biggest reasons a sale falls through occurs when a buyer fails to qualify for a loan and/or the home fails a home inspection? As a listing agent there is not much you can do about the buyer’s qualifications unless you represent the buyer. You do represent the seller and there is no reason NOT to obtain a home inspection upon listing the home arranged for and paid for by the seller other than a seller’s unwillingness to do so. The inspection report will advise the owners of the condition of their property and they can either make the repairs or price the property accordingly, and then you can use the inspection report as a selling tool. The buyer does not have to accept the report and can obtain an additional report if desired. Pre-inspecting the home when it is listed should eliminate a great many sales that otherwise would have fallen through. Therefore if a home has NOT been inspected and you market it for sale, you should know that an inspection could prove fatal to a satisfactory closing and it should come as no surprise to you and/or your sellers when it does.

“I’ll take care of that for you honey, or baby, or sugar.” Using such terms of apparent affection or endearment may be acceptable in your close circle of friends and family but I can assure you that that not everyone appreciates being called “Baby”, “Honey”, “Hon”, or “Sugar.” Think before you speak. Not only is it inappropriate, it could be considered sexist. Are you willing to lose a sale on your insistence to use such words? If so, do not blame the customer when they choose to go elsewhere.

My advice to everyone in sales is to stop reading your own press clippings. The sale is NOT all about you and your statistics. It is a simple case of misplaced emphasis. Your emphasis should always be on the customer; the probable buyer or the probable seller. If you feel bad because a sale fell through, how do you think your customers feel? You hopefully move on to the next sale leaving your customer feeling dejected and confused and wanting to know what went wrong. Was it something they did? Was it something you did or did not do? Are they happy with you and your service? Or, do they blame you for what went wrong? Do they have a case? Left unanswered, how many people are they going to tell about how horrible you were to work with?

None of these conversations should occur if you are totally prepared. Are you a sales person or are you a teacher? Do you put the best interests of the customer above all other parties to the transaction especially yours? Jeffrey Gitomer has it right when he says, “To get everything you want in life, just help (teach) someone else to get it – FIRST!”

My thirty plus years in the real estate business has also clearly demonstrated that the sale does not end at the closing; on the contrary, the sale is just beginning. Hopefully when you have closed a sale meaning ownership has transferred, you “should” have a satisfied customer. If that is so, why would you ever stop developing the relationship you already have created by never again contacting the supposedly satisfied customer? But before you just assume that because the sale closed you have a satisfied customer, think again. The customer may have purchased a home but are they really satisfied? Better question: Are they really loyal? If so, to whom? There is no way for you to know for certain unless you ask them how you did. Most people do not want to know; they don’t want their feelings hurt because they have read and believe their own press clippings. After sadly reading about the recent Tiger Woods infidelity issues, believe me, no one is as good as they might think they are!

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