By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 10, 2010
Born from a group of words in MOJO written by Marshall Goldsmith
Ever been through a toll booth? Paid your toll, collected your change and off you went leaving the person in the booth ready to greet another passerby. What did he or she look like? Did the person make eye contact? Did the person say thank you? Do you even know?
Picture this situation. It is early morning, about 6:00 a.m. and you are about to embark on a trip in your car that will take hours. You see the local Burger King opening for business and you use the drive-thru to purchase a cup of coffee. What normally happens? “Can I interest you in a breakfast combo?” “No thank you, just a cup of coffee, regular size.” And that’s it! Probably no thank you and definitely no eye contact. Sometimes the person at the windows is too busy talking on their cell phone to even know you are in the car.
How would you feel if that is what you expected but this is what you got? “Good morning, my name is Debra, how may I help you?” Catch you a little off guard did it? Did me. “Well thank you Debra, I’ll have a cup of coffee, regular size, black.” “It will be ready for you at the next window, thank you.” What’s up with this you think? But it gets even better. Now that we are face to face Debra looks me in the eye, imagine that, sales tip #1, look the customer in the eyes and she says, “Good morning, here is your coffee. Black, no cream no sugar correct?” “Yes Debra, that is correct.” as you hand her the money. She immediately made the change but instead of putting the dollar bills in your hand and then dumping the loose change on top to where they are subject to sliding off your hand and onto the ground, she put one hand beneath my hand and then put the change in my had first and then the dollar bills. “Have a great day and please come back again.”
How did that exchange measure up with your normal experience at a fast food restaurant? Dare I say different? It was for me. So much so that when I returned home several days later I hand-wrote a thank you note to the manager complimenting him on Debra’s service to his customers.
Over a month later, 6:00 a.m. in the morning and on the road again, where do you think I stopped? It was Burger King but this time I really didn’t want a cup of coffee for the road but I just wanted to see for myself. Again it was Debra and again she was just as nice as the first visit. This time, however, she looked me in the eye and she said, “I know it was you who wrote the note. I got a raise because of your note.” Who would have thunk it?
By now you are trying to figure out what this story has to do with the initials above PMWYTIW, admit it; that is what you are thinking except for possibly you-know-who. What do you think would happen between Debra and her manager if when he hired her she said to him, “Instead of the minimum wage, why don’t you Pay Me What You Think I’m Worth?” That would have been an interesting conversation wouldn’t you think?
Let’s say you are a real estate agent and you are meeting with a homeowner. When you get to the blank on the Listing Agreement referring to the commission you say, “Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner, instead of a commission, let’s put TBD on this blank and when we, you and I, sell your home, you Pay Me What You Think I’m Worth?” (In case you-know-who is reading this, TBD means To Be Determined.) What would happen? What do you think the homeowners would say to such a proposition?
What do you think would happen if you sold the home in less than a month? What would happen if you sold the home in six months or it didn’t sell at all? Which effort would bring you the most money?
Before all the real estate agents out their panic, it is not suggested that you tell all your customers to pay you what they think you are worth. Rather - just think about it for a moment. Most sales people in most professions act like they are entitled to be paid for the work they do or not do regardless of the result. How many times have I heard an agent say, “I worked so hard on this, it is not worth it, I’m going to get a real job!”
The problem is in the words “worked” and “job.” In real estate if you are “working” on selling real estate it probably is a job. But if you are servicing your customers while being grateful for the opportunity to do so you have a “calling” for what you do. It is doubtful that anyone with a job is really ever passionate about what they do.
Joe Tye, author, speaker, America’s Value Coach and my friend says, “Someone with a job is never secure, someone with a calling is never unemployed.” Which are you?
While waiting for a friend to arrive at the airport I was sitting amongst a great many people doing the same thing and as I was. I sat reading a book. Several feet from me was a trash can of no particular significance. Not long after I sat down a fellow who by his attire obviously worked for the airport came by with his janitorial cart and stopped at the trash can. He gently pulled the can away from the wall and dusted off the top just before he carefully removed it and set it, as compared to dropping it, on the floor next to the can. He then ever so carefully started to slip the plastic trash bag away from the lip of the trash can making sure not to tear the bag. He then partially twisted the top edges of the bag to put a tie on it but before he did, he pushed down on the bag to compress the trash and let the air escape out of the bag. Be patient, I’m getting there. Next he wiped out the inside of the trash can and pulled another trash bag from his supplies. As carefully as he removed the old bag he installed the new bag making certain that as much air was allowed to escape from the inside of the trash can as possible before he pulled the top edges of the bag over the edge of the can. He replaced the top of the can, took a step back as if to admire his work and before he left he gave the cover one more wipe with his cloth.
No one paid him any attention while he performed his duty and can you imagine how many times he must do that in a day’s work in a busy airport? Unlike other people who I have witnessed doing work that some might consider boring and mundane he took pride in what he did. I said to him as he was about to leave, “You do nice work.” He responded, “You noticed…thank you.” I then asked him, “How many people have told you that you do nice work?” He said, “Just one.” Pity.
I once worked in the summer months between semesters in an Open Hearth at a steel mill in Ohio. It was nasty, dirty and extremely hot. There were periods of time that I had nothing to do and that was my job, do what they told me to do and only that. Getting bored, I looked for other things to do like cleaning up the mess in various parts of the building. I was chewed out for making other people in the plant look bad. Now compare that to the fellow changing out the trash bag.
What if YOU were paid what your customer thought YOU and your service you provided was really worth? There are hundreds of people who do what you do. In what way do you do it differently, or not? If you cannot answer that question you need to go back to the drawing board. You MUST know what your points of difference are as compared to everyone of your competitors. What makes you different? Why would one customer want to work with you as compared to your competitors?
In real estate sales I oftentimes refer to the basic real estate training as the “Three P’s”: I’ll Put it in the MLS; I’ll Put a sign in the yard; and I’ll Pray on Sunday that it sells!” The Three P’s of real estate sales and for a lot of real estate sales folks that is all they do. Remember, only 20% of the people do 80% of the work so your first task is to figure out what it will take to get into the 20% group. Doing what the 80% continually do won’t cut it.
Approach your career as if the customer is going to pay you what the customer thinks you are worth in regards to what you bring to the table. Here is another abbreviation for you – JAR. If you do not discover and then promote your points of difference and the points of difference that your company provides as compared to your competition, you are a JAR – Just Another REALTOR! One of the 80 Percenters who are doing only 20% of the work.