Habits of the Greats

Habits are a foundation of success. As you progress through your sales career, your results will improve as you replace bad habits with good habits.

Operating at a mediocre level is much harder and more stressful than working towards Greatness.

In this short sales session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, asks “What habits would you foster if you were the greatest salesperson in the world?”

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The Changing Face of Adult Education

As an educator in the real estate sector, I have seen the face of adult education change radically. Agency leaders should change their view of training, too, and should ensure that their trainers do likewise. That is, if they do not want their agencies and teams left behind.

Some things never change, however. Our industry still largely shows a disregard for training. In states such as NSW where Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is compulsory, many practitioners begrudgingly attend 3 to 5 hours training so they can tick the box with the state regulator and then attend no other training for the year. MORE

They say that they don’t need to train because they are ‘experienced’, but length of tenure in real estate does not make you a winner. Happy clients and high results are the benchmarks, and people who have spent their careers shunning training aren’t winners.

So what has changed?

Learning Styles

Modern audiences want variety in their training. They do not like lecture-style seminars as much as do older leaders and salespeople. Most do not have CD and DVD players, and none have cassette players, so much of typical offices’ training libraries sit around gathering dust.

Younger generations, particularly Gen Y, expect their training to be more hands-on.

Education Delivery

Because of changes in learning styles, how trainers deliver their training needs to change too.

If CDs and DVDs are old fashioned, and if audiences largely prefer not to attend lecture-style seminars, I say we should be delivering training in ways that complement our audiences’ learning styles, assuming that we want our audiences to learn, of course!

Streaming

Pittard® saw these trends in 2014 and in that year we developed iTrain®, our streaming portal, through which we deliver current and relevant training in video, audio and written formats.

iTrain® delivers training directly to our audiences across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, to the device of our customers’ choice, smart phone, computer, tablet, PC or TV. Our people have no excuse for not training!

Online Forums

Many people do webinars, but an online forum takes webinars to new levels. Leaders in different agencies can talk to each other and share ideas, and nobody has to leave their office. Collective wisdom, delivered online.

Webcasting

Through our webcasting portal, Pittard TV, I interview some of the world’s leading business minds and transmit live across five time zones. These are live seminars that nobody need travel to attend. We call Pittard TV, “Training that comes to you”.

Interactive Events

Instead of lecture-style seminars, we bring groups of salespeople together and have them share their knowledge and expertise with each other. Again, we come back to the collective wisdom of groups. As individuals, we might know a lot about real estate, but none of us knows more than a group of one hundred. Sharing knowledge is 21st century.

Old Style Still Has A Place

Pittard® still conducts some lecture-style events, we host our Leadership Conference and our Real Estate Agents’ Convention yearly, and these are popular, but if you want your people to LEARN, you must offer options to how they receive their educational material.

Adult education has evovled and smart leaders and teams evolve too.

Gary Pittard

Keep The Team Busy

Idle hands, idle mind, so the saying goes. School children who are kept busy with sport and similar extra-curricular activities are less likely to hang around in shopping malls getting into trouble. Busyness is a cure for an idle mind.

In this short leadership session, real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, suggests that this same principle applies in team management: leaders who want their offices to do well must keep their teams busy. Teams that aren’t kept busy have too much time to think, and left unchecked, this thinking becomes negative. They worry about things like the state of the economy or the state of the market. Before long sales suffer.

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Can Booming Markets Conceal Mediocrity?

The real estate agent’s prayer goes like this: “God grant me another boom and I promise I won’t stuff it up this time”. Such is the prayer of the mediocre salesperson.

Some salespeople are what I call ‘Market Victims’. When the market is booming, they do well, but when the market is falling, so too do their results.

Winners know how to thrive in any market. Sure, when the market corrects, there might be an adjustment period while they change tactics, but once they do, winners start selling properties again. MORE

While booms do offer up challenges of their own, they do conceal mediocrity.

I had a conversation today with an agency owner with three agencies. Two are doing well and one is not. His market in Western Australia is depressed. So what is the difference between the two offices that are doing well and the one that isn’t?

The answer is: Winners.

There is activity in the thriving offices – prospecting and relentless marketing. Everybody is involved, including the salespeople. Nobody is exempt from prospecting, from seeking new business. And guess what? The salespeople are making money.

Contrast this to the struggling office. The salespeople do not prospect. They rely on office marketing for their leads. They think that office-generated leads are their God-given right. Their personal activity is low. They sit and wait for business.

And they slowly starve.

All three offices are in similar markets. All were trading during the WA boom, and all are trading now with mostly the same people.

During the boom all those salespeople needed to do was list properties and the boom took care of the sales. Now they have to work. Listing properties is fairly easy, but working with the sellers to help them understand the market takes skill.

For these salespeople, mediocrity began during boom times. When sales flowed they truly believed that their skill was the reason why they were doing so well.

But they weren’t training, and so they weren’t ready when the market changed. They grew lazy and now find it easier to blame a tough market than face the truth: they do not presently have the skill and motivation to succeed in their current market.

Winners do well in any market, not just during booms. Mediocre salespeople who struggle when markets turn ‘interesting’ had better keep praying for the next boom.

Gary Pittard

Group Your Tasks

‘Task Hopping’ is a time management trap that causes huge productivity losses. Real estate profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that multitasking is a myth, a practice that prevents us from getting into ‘flow’. Grouping tasks is a smarter way to work.

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Buying a Name

Some real estate agency owners believe you need a big name to survive in the marketplace but this is not necessarily so. In the 25 years that I have been operating as a real estate profit consultant, I have seen franchised offices, marketing group offices and independent offices go broke. I have also seen many thrive, trading successfully for decades.

What makes the difference between success and failure? Is it the name? No. Clearly not. The difference between going broke and profiting over the long term is the calibre of the person who owns the business. All successful businesses need competent leadership. What a competent business leader choose to call their businesses makes little difference. MORE

What’s in a name? In my opinion, very little.

When you join a marketing group or a franchise, you are buying a name. This is a name you do not own and over which you have no control.

The big problem with buying a name is that there are so many available, and they all claim to be better than each other. There are so many that they have all lost their uniqueness in the market place.

Can you really see much difference between any of these so-called big brands? All claim to be different, bigger, offering better branding, but honestly, what does one offer that another doesn’t? Whether marketing group or independent, I personally do not see much difference between one and another.

Is being part of a large group really that important to your typical real estate home seller or buyer? I don’t think so. Buyers will go where the listings are. Home sellers will go where the skill is. They will list with the real estate agent whom they feel will get them the highest price. Skill is far more important than the name you choose to put over your door.

Profit is a good indicator of skill. It takes management and leadership skill to earn high profits from a real estate sales department. Interestingly, however, franchises and marketing groups do not use the profits of large numbers of their business owners as a way of attracting new members. They talk about turnover, the power of the brand, the systems, the marketing, etc, but never the profits their franchisees earn.

Groups who sell their names want as many offices as possible – the more offices they have, the more money they make. Over the years I have heard agency owners complain that their networks have allowed another office to open in a neighbouring suburb. These principals have complained that often they lost business to the new agency because clients thought they were listing with the established agency.

This can be a problem whenever you buy a name. If you are successful, others nearby may want the name, thinking that is why you have been so successful. Essentially, you have helped sell the name to your opposition, and the opposition benefits from your work. And when two offices in neighbouring service areas have the same name, how can clients tell you apart?

So, what is the best option for your business?

  • Should you join, or stay in, a real estate franchise?
  • Should you join, or stay in, a real estate marketing group?
  • Should you be an independent real estate agency?

The option you choose can greatly affect your profit, and it can affect the long-term saleability of your business.

The decision is yours, but if you would like more to think about, visit //pittard.com.au/free-real-estate-agency-resources-and-tools?why_join_franchise and listen to the free podcast.

And, if you do decide to ‘go independent’, you will find a manual and podcast entitled How To Rebrand Your Agency.

All are free. Please share them around and do let me know your thoughts.

Gary Pittard

Should Leaders Sell

Owning a real estate agency and being a selling principal can be profitable, but what point is money if you have little free time to enjoy it? Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, provides answers to an important business development question: should leaders sell?

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Useless Notes

As a presenter, I often see attendees furiously taking notes, which may be flattering, but often leaves me wondering what they do with those notes. I think most of them are useless.

For more than 30 years I have been taking notes, but never on loose sheets of paper; I always take notes in journals. I number the book, each page number, and to date in am well into my 42nd book. Decades of valuable information gleaned from some of the best speakers in the world. MORE

Over the last few years I have scanned my journals and store them in the notetaking app Evernote. This means that I can now search my journals, and reread them whenever I have a spare moment. I have thousands of notes in Evernote.

Being a bit of a ‘Note Nazi’ is why I think that most notes taken at seminars are useless. Most are taken on loose sheets of paper and will eventually be lost. Few are ever reread, meaning that the writers’ retention is next to nothing, unless they have photographic memories.

Unless you are going to take notes in a permanent storage facility such as a journal or notetaking app, and then study them for maximum retention, don’t bother taking notes. They will be of little value.

Retention

I remember sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, said many years ago that you need to hear, say, write and read something six times for 62% retention. It has always stuck with me, and since them I treat my notes very seriously.

It gave me great pride and pleasure when I interviewed Tom for Pittard TV and showed him my manual from 1983 – it was a 60 page manual that had grown to more than 500 pages with the notes I added over the following decade studying it.
Repetition

So if we are to retain, we must repeat. Read and reread our notes. The more repetition, the greater the recall. Who knows when something you read today turns into big commission? I don’t, and neither do you.

Handwriting versus Typing

I read that when you handwrite something, your recall is far greater than when you type the same text. So those who sit in seminars typing may recall less than those who took handwritten notes.

This is why I prefer now to take notes in my journal and then scan them to Evernote. I get the best of both worlds and probably improve my retention.

Useless or Useful

Your notetaking habits matter. Whether you type, handwrite or draw mind maps, without studying those notes afterwards, your retention will quickly wane.
Don’t waste good learning opportunities. Listen, write, store, review often, and then take those techniques into the field and practise them. Skill will be one reward; a higher income another.

The more you learn the more you earn.

Gary Pittard

Ask For A Review

There is an old marketing saying that says: “Don’t tell people how good you are. Get happy clients to tell people how good you are”. References from happy clients improve the success rate of your marketing. In this short sales session, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard, asks, “How many online reviews did YOU get last month?” Salespeople forget to ask for reviews, testimonials and references. Whether this is due to a lack of foresight or just plain forgetfulness, failure to ask for a review costs salespeople, and their agencies, serious money.

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Forwards or Backwards: there is no standing still

A question I often ask leaders is “Where are you taking your business?” The reply is sometimes “Umm..” meaning that the leader does not know.

You are either taking your business forward, toward worthwhile and meaningful goals, or you are going backwards. There is no standing still.

Businesses that attempt to remain static, those with the “business as usual attitude”, will face increased competition over time. If we are not training our teams on ways to improve, it is only a matter of time before competitors steam up behind, poised to overtake. MORE

The recent launch of Purple Bricks in Australia has been touted as an “Uber moment” for real estate agents. I don’t think it will be, but nonetheless they are another competitor, one that agents must counter.

You cannot counter competitors if you are constantly reacting to their every move. Instead of worrying about new competitors in your marketplace, or existing competitors getting better, we should be looking ahead, toward the direction we wish to take our businesses. Instead of having our competitors calling the shots, reacting to them, we should be way out in front, ever moving forward, inspiring our teams, hiring, marketing, leading the way.

I know some leaders tend to glaze over at the mention of a vision, but this vision does not have to be grand. We do need to have an idea of where we are taking our companies.

  • What do you want your company to look like in five years’ time?
  • What quality of team do you expect to have?
  • What size of team do you expect to have?
  • What market challenges are you likely to face and what are you going to do about it?
  • What results (listings, sales, income and profit) do you expect to achieve?

This is leadership. Take this attitude, and competitors do not dictate your thinking and your company’s direction.

You are either leading your team forward, or you are taking a direct hand in your company sliding backwards, in results, profit and morale.

Business can be tough, and is always demanding. But we went into business because we wanted control. It is time to exercise that control and decide where we want our companies to go.

Let thought, direction, planning, training, and aggressively competing become your focus. Winning, instead of reacting.

Try sitting still on a bicycle. It’s impossible. Business is similar.

Gary Pittard

Point Of Difference

Smart real estate agency leaders seek multiple Points of Difference for their agencies. When a seller says to your salesperson, “Why should I list with you?” what does your salesperson reply? In many cases it’s with rhetoric. Typical salespeople say things like “We’re the best” or “Our service is the best” or “We get higher prices.” In this short leadership session, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard, says that if this is all you’ve got, you’re in big trouble.

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Personality Matters

Meet Brendan and Adam, chefs and proprietors of a new restaurant called 34bia in Redfern in Sydney.

Before this venture, Brendan and Adam owned a smaller café near my home which had a chequered history of success and failure before Brendan and Adam bought it.

The café was part of a block of serviced apartments so its clientele were apartment guests and residents. MORE

When the first café opened, it enjoyed some success, but two owners after that failed to make a go of it. Then a chap named Brett came along and business boomed.

Then Brett sold to an owner who failed, followed by another who failed. The café closed for more than a year. Then another person opened, failing within six months.

And then came Brendan and Adam. The café thrived for two years. We locals often couldn’t get a seat.

What was the ‘secret ingredient’ that made the difference between the proprietors who failed, and the proprietors who succeeded – Brett first, and then later Brendan and Adam?

Good food? Some of the failed proprietors had good food too, yet a good product didn’t save them from oblivion. The ingredients the failures lacked was, in my opinion…

PERSONALITY!

There is a saying, “All things being equal, people will do business with people they like and trust. All things being not so equal, people will still do business with people they like and trust.

A good product alone will not suffice. People buy you before they buy your product or service. Just ask Jeb Blount, who wrote a book by that title. (Read People Buy You – it’s a great book).

Yes, you do need a good product or service, but if clients don’t warm to your personality, if they see you as a salesperson and not a human being like themselves, they will not do business with you. Of course, they won’t tell you that they don’t like you. They will invent some other reason such as your fee being too high.

Brendan and Adam made you feel welcome when you entered their establishment. They chatted without cutting into your conversation with your guests. Owners who failed hung around, ‘lurking’, without reading the play and moving away when they could see that you wanted to talk with those at your table.

It was the little things that made the difference between those who failed and those who succeeded in this café.

And so too in business and life. Hiding behind the ‘salesperson mask’ never gives clients the opportunity to know the real you, to get to like you, and to feel confident that you can help them.

Personality does matter. Let yours shine!

Gary Pittard

PS I wish Brendan and Adam all the best in their new venture. The food is great and the hosts are fun. Pay them a visit and tell them I sent you.

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