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.

Willpower Exercises

When it comes to forming new habits, willpower is what you need. With willpower you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to yourself and mean it. In this short sales session, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard, says that if you feel that you lack willpower, take heart: willpower can be exercised. Start small. Make a short-term commitment and stick to it. Then increase the time and difficulty of the commitments. Your willpower will strengthen.

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Your Capacity To Market

Over the past year, I have spent a good deal of time visiting real estate businesses. To those clients who attend our business system presentation, Agency Profit System®, to those thinking of opening a real estate agency, and to those who are interested in rebranding their agencies (moving from a franchise or marketing group to independent) Pittard offers a business analysis to devise action plans for higher profits.

One of the items on my checklist is the business’s capacity to market for new business. This is an important component of business success and you may be surprised at the number of businesses that have very little capacity to market to potential clients. No wonder so many real estate business owners struggle! MORE

The biggest challenge real estate business owners face is buyer-focused marketing. Real estate agencies spend more money marketing to home buyers than they do marketing to home sellers. This is why many real estate businesses have chronic stock shortages.

The argument for buyer-focused marketing is that vendors pay for the buyer advertising. But if you want more stock, shouldn’t you be portioning some of your income toward marketing to sellers, toward getting more listings?

Now we see the second biggest challenge: many offices have a low capacity to market for listings. This is not something you can switch on and off like a light switch – you either have the capacity to market or you don’t.

And if you don’t, this is the third largest challenge: getting seller marketing up and running, and then operating consistently.

For all the mystique surrounding marketing and branding, almost as important as the message is marketing consistently to your target market. For real estate businesses, the target market is easy enough to identify: those who own properties within your service area.

The type of marketing you do is also quite straightforward too, although NOT simple to set up:

Digital – this is Electronic Digital Marketing (EDM), emails, home alerts, Adwords, Retargeting, Social Media, SMS and so forth.
Print – hard copy printed material such as leaflets, letters, newsletters, signs, window displays, etc. Newspapers are most likely not worth the expense these days.
Personal – prospecting, speaking with potential clients face-to-face or by telephone, Skype, etc.
Setting Up Digital, Print and Personal Marketing

This is important: if you do not start, you will never enjoy the benefit!

Digital – how do you effectively market digitally if you do not have a modern CRM (database) with a large amount of accurate data? How do you market digitally if you have never set up an active and consistent Social Media campaign? Failure to implement these systems means that you cannot effectively market digitally.

Print – how do you market by personally-addressed letter (the best way to get your message read) if you do not have a CRM with a high quality and quantity of accurate data? You cannot!

Leaflets are one option, but not if delivered by Australia Post or by walkers who deliver other companies’ leaflets at the same time as they deliver yours. You have to work to set up a walker program and the best way to deliver leaflets is to have yours delivered under doors. But this takes work and most leaders will not set up a walker program, and so they shut the door on effective print marketing.

Personal – in the absence of effective Digital and Print marketing strategies, all that is left to you is personal marketing – knocking on doors, and cold and warm prospecting.

But now we face the fourth challenge – getting salespeople to do it!

Low on listings?

If your office is low on listings, look first to your business’s capacity to market. If all you have going for you is personal marketing, you will always be low on stock, at least until the day comes where the market is falling and stock, often overpriced stock, becomes plentiful.

Market your company, in digital, print and personal forms. Some agents say it to sellers often enough, “You cannot keep your property a secret”, but doesn’t this apply equally to your business too?

Don’t keep your business a secret!

Gary Pittard

Priorities

Successful people identify their priorities and spend the bulk of their time working on them. In this short leadership session, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard asks real estate agency leaders whether they know their most important priorities. Often, short term priorities, such as rectifying a shortage of sales, require immediate attention, but these are survival priorities. In the long term, however, we need to set priorities that go way beyond survival. It is a given that we need to make sales, but how you make those sales is the difference between effective and ineffective leaders.

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What Will You Do Differently?

We are fast approaching the halfway mark of 2017. Now is a good time to reflect on your results so far. If correction is needed, the sooner you begin the better.

Are you happy with your present results and income?

If not, what will you do differently from this point onwards?

If you keep doing what you have been doing, your results for the second half of the year will be almost identical to the first half of the year. To achieve different results, you must do different actions and, often, more actions. MORE

In some areas, real estate agents have never had it so good. Property is booming. But many agents are now aware that every market throws up different challenges – boom times are no guarantee of great success.

Many agents in booming areas have poor results, blaming stiff competition for listings or desperate agents who discount their fees.

The fact is, in ANY real estate market you cannot ‘drift’ your way to success.

You need:

  • Goals – something that excites you; something to aim for.
  • Clear targets that are aligned to those goals.
  • Plans – always know where your listings will come from and how many people you will need to prospect.
  • Marketing – agents constantly tell sellers that they must market their properties, but many of those same agents do not market their services to potential sellers in their service areas.
  • Study – if you are not studying your industry, the profession of Sales, and ways to do things better, you set yourself up to fail.
  • Action – speak to large numbers of potential sellers and buyers every day. Also, speak with your listed sellers at least four times per week.

If you are not happy with your results, I guarantee that you have not properly thought through a clear direction of action. Look to the list above and decide what you will do differently in the second half of this year.

Only with change comes progress and improvement. What will you do differently?

Gary Pittard

Prospecting

In this short sales session, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard, asks, “Have you ever put off doing a chore that you thought would be difficult? You dreaded doing it but it proved to be much easier than you thought. Prospecting is like that. It’s just not that difficult. All you have to do is start, keep going, and it will become a habit.” Prospecting is an essential activity for success and there are only 3 reasons why salespeople don’t prospect: 1. They are scared; 2. They are stupid; 3. They are rich.

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Teaching Results Focus

Over the decades, I have worked with many focused leaders and teams. You know these teams when you are among them – they have fun, but they never lose sight of their targets and the actions required to reach them.

I have also worked with unfocused leaders and teams. Almost everybody in these companies is caught up in ‘process’. These are the people who are most likely to tell you that they are busy, but they seldom show results for all this busyness. The work, not results, becomes the focus.

The person responsible for instilling a results focus in the team is the leader – unfocused leader, unfocused team. MORE

Goals and Plans

Without clear goals and plans, how can you possibly know what your targets should be? Plucking targets out of thin air almost guarantees that your team will not reach those targets.

  • What are your goals and how much profit per month do you need to achieve those goals?
  • How many sales per month do you need to reach that profit?
  • How many listings per month do you need to reach those sales?
  • What marketing will you deliver in the coming month and how many listings will it yield?
  • What personal prospecting levels do you expect from each team member, and how many listings will that prospecting yield?

I am sure you get the idea – your targets are derived from your profit goals.

Share the plan

Your plan should be shared with the team. These are the company’s goals.

The team should know what you expect to achieve and you should clearly set expectations in actions and performance for each team member to ensure that the company’s goals are achieved.

Talk about the company goals

Keep mentioning the company’s goals and share with the team how the company is progressing toward them. Talk about the company’s goals often. It is essential that you help each team member set his or her own goals – goal setters are more focused on results than those without goals.

Point out drifting behaviour

Whenever you detect a salesperson working on activity that will not lead to a listing or sale, point it out to the salesperson. Constantly ask the question, “Is what you are doing now going to lead to a listing or a sale?”

If the team hears you talking about results, and if the team see YOU focused on results, this behaviour will gradually be adopted by the team.

There will always be individuals who do not like the results-focused environment, saying that there is too much pressure. You might as well face up to this fact: winning doesn’t suit everybody.

Does it suit you? If so, set goals, plan, focus, and act. Then, teach these habits to your team.

Gary Pittard

The Second Tier

Regardless of their structures, even the most complex of hierarchies can be broken down into two tiers, and these two tiers have nothing to do with title. In this short leadership video, real estate business consultant, Gary Pittard, explains that the value the individual gives to the company, and the degree of difficulty in replacing them, are important factors that leaders ignore at their peril.

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What and How Do You Study?

If you aren’t studying your profession, it is only a matter of time before your competitors overtake you. A rusty salesperson is a broke salesperson.

What are you studying now? And how do you study?

Mix it up

There are mountains of good study material and my advice is to mix it up so we stay interested. The material we study for business purposes falls into three categories: MORE

  1. Sales Education.  Anything that teaches us how to be a better salesperson. It includes Communication, Closing, Prospecting, Listing, Working with Buyers, Marketing, Planning, Goal Setting – anything and everything about Sales. (If you are a leader, substitute Leadership for Sales education).
  2. Real Estate Industry. We should learn as much about our industry as we can. Read industry blogs, marketing and magazines. The more industry knowledge we have, the more competent we become, and the more we are valued as a trusted adviser to clients. Knowing how to sell comes with education; having good information to present comes through industry knowledge.
  3. Inspiration. What inspires you? For me, anything by Earl Nightingale, Bob Burg, Dr Denis Waitley or Dr Wayne Dyer is bound to make me feel more inspired, motivated, and imbued with a spirit of ‘can-do’. I recommend that you find your favourites. When times are tough, inspirational works remind us of just how fortunate we really are.

How do you study?

Today we have many options – books, CDs, DVDs, streaming, live webcasts, blogs, online subscriptions, seminars, webinars – we truly are spoilt for choice.

Yet many choose not to study. Perhaps they think they know all they need to know, but only an egotist would think this way, and ego has sent many people broke. I don’t know it all and I am happy about that. Learning is one of life’s joys. It is something we should embrace and encourage in others, especially children.

Skill and knowledge are marketable commodities. Ignorance is not.

I love to read and stream audio programs. It is this love that led me to work with my team to develop iTrain® and Pittard TV. We call it “training that comes to you”.

Self-examination

Sometimes a good self-examination is a worthwhile exercise. Honestly evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses. Then study and practise and turn those weaknesses into strengths.

What and how you study are important. It can make the difference between success and failure, and it can bring happiness.

Gary Pittard

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