Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The P.M.W.Y.T.I.W. Factor!

Nuggets For The Noggin

The P.M.W.Y.T.I.W. Factor!
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 10, 2010
Born from a group of words in MOJO written by Marshall Goldsmith

Did you notice the person who served you at the last fast food restaurant or coffee shop you visited? Most people, certainly not you, would have paid for their food, collected their food and within minutes could not tell you if the person was a male or female let alone what type of service was given. In most cases the failure to observe may have been out of habit, after all it is a fast food place isn’t it?

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.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Nuggets For The Noggin

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 1, 2010

“People will do business with and refer business to
those people they know, like and trust.”

Bob Burg

Your mother was right, you should never judge a book by its cover and you should never judge people until you get a chance to really know them. I hope she does not read this; Mom may have been right but putting that principle into daily practice is almost impossible.

Who has not bought a book just because the cover was attractive or cute? Who would not be caught up in this title: “Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth, I'm Kissing You Goodbye!” Cynthia Heimel. Here’s another: “Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants.” Loretta LaRoche. My personal favorite is “Never Wrestle With A Pig; You Both Get Dirty And The Pig Loves It!” Mark McCormack

First impressions DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE and you have about 10 SECONDS to make that favorable impression. This morning I took my wife out to breakfast and it was great. A couple sat down at the table next to us and the first thing I noticed about the man was a HUGE gold earring hanging from his nose; it was hard not to see. It almost distracted me enough that I might have missed the tattoos on his neck. This man may have been the key to my future but neither of us will ever get the chance to know. At least in my eyes he failed his 10 second opportunity. The reverse of that is also true. I may have been HIS opportunity to an abundant future but as stated, neither one of us will ever know will we? What do you think would have been the result had this man sat in front of me at a job interview? How about you? Could you see past the nose earring? Maybe so; probably not.

How you dress speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying. How you dress DOES make a difference in that first 10 seconds and that includes all kinds of things such as:

  1. Body piercings
  2. Excessively large earrings
  3. Excessive makeup
  4. Hair styles that are either unkempt, out of date or trying to make a statement – Mohawk
  5. Casual dress when it should be business-like or even formal
  6. Formal dress when it should be casual or business-like
  7. Extra short skirts (for women in case you-know-who is reading this)
  8. Low cut necklines, again for women or I guess for men as well
  9. Jewelry, believe it or not, if it is excessive or gaudy
  10. Food on your teeth
  11. Food on your blouse or shirt
  12. Ink stain on your shirt pocket
  13. Coffee stain on your shirt or blouse
  14. Foul breath
  15. Foul body odor
  16. Smoking
  17. The smell of smoke on your clothes and/or in your car if used for business
  18. The smell of alcohol on your breath – a real killer
  19. A telephone sticking out of your ear; come on, you know it looks horrible and sends the signal that although I am with you, I am also with anyone who happens to call me and then you take a back seat - admit it – you know I am right about this.
  20. Old fashioned but...not standing up when a person enters the room.

When meeting people for the first time, the above list represents INSTANT KILLERS to building rapport. How do you measure up? Are you sure? Sometimes you need to ask a good friend and if you ask, you CANNOT BE OFFENDED AT THE ANSWERS! When you ask, set the parameters of the question and your response to the answers, explain that it could mean a sale (and it will if it hasn’t already).

Meeting someone face-to-face for the first time you really do have about 10 seconds to make a favorable impression. Meeting them on the telephone is a little different but not much and it depends on who generated the call. If a stranger is calling you, you have about 30 seconds. A lot of people calling a sales person do so to ELIMINATE them from consideration; not necessarily what they are selling or offering but rather he or she as an individual. If you generate the call you have about 10 seconds especially since the person you call is NOT sitting around waiting for your call. Keep in mind that you are interrupting them from something that at that moment is far more important than your call, at least to them. Therefore 10 seconds might even be a bit optimistic. In this age of caller-ID you will be lucky if such a call is even answered.

What could go wrong on a telephone call that could create a bad first impression? Let’s count the ways:

  1. Eating food; like the other party can’t tell
  2. Excessive noise in YOUR background area
  3. Loud music playing in the background
  4. Typing on a keyboard while you answer the phone; yes it can be heard
  5. Chewing gum
  6. Holding the phone with your shoulder with your head is pointed down toward your desk creating a muffled voice
  7. Not sounding excited about the opportunity you have with a customer
  8. Placing people on HOLD or worse FORGET; use HOLD only as a last resort

There are some simple rules regarding talking with probable buyers on the telephone:

  1. First and foremost, STAND UP! Your voice comes across on the telephone much better than if you are sitting down
  2. If you can, look into a mirror before you answer, stand up and smile into the mirror. A smile comes across in your voice; you want to sound happy and positive
  3. Take 2 to 3 seconds, if you can, to clear your mind of what you are doing and start thinking that the person on the other end of the line could mean a sale for you; he or she probably does
  4. Get in the SERVICE mode, how can you help this person
  5. Don’t get hung up on emphasizing your name and company when ANSWERING a call because the caller either already knows it or more likely, doesn’t care. You can give it to them deeper into the conversation when it will make a difference
  6. In real estate sales, at least in Louisiana, you MUST give your name and company at the beginning of your call when YOU are making the call
  7. Repeat important points to demonstrate to the caller you are both listening and paying attention
  8. Answer questions with the answer to the question. Do not answer with a question. Then ask a related “open-ended” question that causes the customer to think and answer with something other than a YES or NO – keeps the conversation going
  9. DO NOT TALK TO CUSTOMERS IN YOUR CAR WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING. You cannot give them proper attention and you are menace to everyone else on the highway!

Here is a novel thought, why not create a phone message for your cell phone to advise customers that you are either with a customer OR you may be driving in either case you will return their call. If you were a customer, could you accept that premise?


Get in the habit of asking yourself a Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ), originated by Joe Tye,

Is what I am about to say or do consistent with me providing EXEMPLARY customer service?

Unfortunately most of the time people, certainly not you, act more like they are interrupted than wanting to serve the public who visit or call. How do you measure up?