Friday, September 2, 2011

Advancing The Pall




By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, September 1, 2011

As you read this, remember, a customer is EVERYONE you interact with. 
You have probably heard that a “chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.  Surprise, so is a committee, a group, a team and especially a company. 

It is no surprise that when you do something correctly a handful of people will be pleased but you will be lucky if they “pass the word” about your proficiency to more than 5 others. 
Do something wrong and the customer or cooperating agent will tell the world!  The world!  They will do so by word-of-mouth, by Facebook, by Twitter, by Linkedin, etc.

What can we learn from this?  Do things correctly – FIRST & ALWAYS!
Each of us may be independent contractors and that is a good thing.  But being independent does not mean being free to NOT perform as a Professional Real Estate Agent and more importantly a Professional Keller Williams Realty Professional.  The actions of one not only adversely affect the 85 other members of the team, it eventually affects the over 77,000 members of the Keller Williams Family. 

IT DOES NOT STOP THERE.  Just as it is possible for a Butterfly to flap its wings in New York and ultimately create a wind storm in San Francisco; the failure of just one real estate agent could adversely affect the reputation and production of over one million licensed real estate agents throughout North America.  You are NOT alone.  Your actions or inactions count in everything you do!  Everything!
Actions have consequences!  Every action has an equal and just as powerful reaction!

I would highly recommend reading the following books:

·       The Power of Professionalism by Bill Wiserma
·       The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey
·       The Little Teal Book of Trust by Jeffrey Gitomer
One over-riding theme discussed in these books is that it takes years, maybe a lifetime, to build trust with your customers, teammates and even your family.  But it takes a split second to destroy that trust that in some cases can never be restored.

Part of building trust occurs when the people you work with feel that they can count on you to do the right thing – even when no one is watching – especially when no one is watching.
To demonstrate what this means would be impossible if I were not to identify the behavior observed within the real estate industry over my 32 years in the business.  Pointing this out hardly indicates that I am perfect, far from it.  I do, however, observe people and that is one form of learning. 

Just as you should identify what the 20% of agents who are creating 80% of the business are doing, you should also learn from what 80% of the agents who are creating only 20% of the business are doing.  If you watch closely what other people do, or not, you discover it is difficult to produce great results when you repeatedly and adversely affect the public’s impression of the real estate industry.  A lot of this type of agent activity falls within the 80%.  So here we go, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “I don’t do this” to 10 being “I do this all the time, without fail” how would you grade yourself in regards to:
  • Complete every blank on every form, really do you do this?
  • Submit paperwork ASAP  (that means As Soon As Possible for you-know-who)
  • Return telephone calls as soon as possible
  • Return text messages as soon as possible
  • Be learning based, attend classes, read books, become better at what you do
  • You are NOT judgmental about other people in the business
  • You do NOT take transactions personally; you remain an unbiased third party negotiator
  • You do NOT spread gossip; trust me, the REALTOR GRAPE VINE is very much alive and well and that is not a good thing!
  • Celebrate other people’s victories
  • Help solve problems; you do not become part of the problem
  • Teach and guide others; remember everyone, including you, started somewhere
  • Read and study the REALTOR Code of Ethics at least annually
  • Read and study the Real Estate Commission Rules & Regulations at least annually
  • Lead by example in a good way!
If you are not following the golden rule, and you should, it is very possible that you might be part of the problem as to why the “public” thinks so unkindly of real estate agents.  Think about it:

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  That does not mean sometimes - it means all the time.  If you want others to be “professional” towards you, you must be professional towards them (actually everyone, especially the people you may not particularly like).  If you want customers to refer future business to you; you must be and do your work as a professional for them.  If you talk about other people; you will be talked about yourself.  If that is not a universal law it should be!
There once was a village elder who was looked upon and respected for his knowledge, experience and wisdom.  A younger villager was jealous towards the elder and began spreading malicious gossip about the elder to anyone who would listen. 

Realizing what he had done, he wanted to apologize to the elder who graciously accepted a request to meet with him.  At the meeting the youngster told him what he had done and asked for the elder’s forgiveness; so far so good.
The elder said with a smile that he would accept his apology on one condition; here it comes.  The youngster was to take a feather pillow to the highest point overlooking the village and cast the feathers to the wind.  The youngster was eager to earn the elder’s respect and forgiveness to he gladly did as requested and quickly returned to proudly report his action to the elder.

The elder then said, “Son, now gather all the feathers that have been dispersed by the wind and bring them to me.”
The youngster was shocked and cried that it was impossible; the wind had spread the feathers about the country.

The elder said, “That is correct.  Just as you cannot retrieve feathers spread by the four winds, nor can you retrieve words spoken as truth, as lies, or based upon a personal agenda.”
This story clearly demonstrates the power of words – both good and bad.  Once spoken - they can never be retrieved.  So my advice would be to THINK before you speak or act and consider the consequences BEFORE you say what you want to say or do.  Is what you are about to say true?  Is what you are about to do going to enhance your reputation or help destroy it?  How do you know for sure?  What will be accomplished by what you say or do?  Who will be helped?  Who will be hurt?  Vince Lombardi once said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.  The object is to advance the ball and score.” Or something to that effect.  It could not be more basic.

Using Joe Tye’s Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ), you should always ask and answer the following question:
Is what I am about to say or do going to “advance the ball?”
The answer:  If YESsay or do it; if NOdon’t say or do it!
The “ball” in this case would be to become more professional in what you say and do.  Think about this – please.  This is not how a great many in our business think.  They should!  In our business we are like actors on a stage.  Our every move and our every word is being watched by the eyes of critics and everyone is a critic!  Did you move the ball forward or did you fumble the ball when you had the opportunity to move it forward?   There is no standing still!
Food for thought:  Would you want your children to read about what you said to a customer – especially in anger; what you said to or about a colleague; what you did or failed to do; what you thought or failed to think; how you helped or failed to help, especially a colleague and have it all printed on the headlines of the local newspaper.

INTEGRITY – do the right thing; especially when no one is watching or listening!
My uncle would always ask me, “Jim, did you ring the cash register today?”  What he meant was did I learn anything or did I accomplish anything.  It is possible to accomplish both good things and not-so-good things.  I prefer to ask, “Did you advance the ball today!”  And as Clint Eastwood would say, “Well did ya?”

If NOT why NOT?
And my favorite quote from whom I don’t know is:

Do you brighten a room when you enter or when you leave? 
Are you sure?