Everybody wants to be a better closer. Of all the skills salespeople say they want to improve, it’s closing. But there is more to a GOOD sale than just closing.
What is a good sale? It’s one where all parties – clients, salespeople and the agency – are satisfied with the transaction.
To make every sale a good sale, there are things to do before the major close, the close for the ‘order’. MORE
Questioning and Listening
Many people say they want to be better closers, but few will admit that their questioning and listening skills need work. Questions help uncover the clients’ hopes, dreams and fears. Many property owners, have never sold before and are uncertain how to do so.
When a salesperson asks good questions, and listens to the answers, the sellers’ confidence in the salesperson grows – good questions do that – and they begin to believe that the salesperson will look after them.
For the responsible salesperson, one who wants to delight clients, asking questions and listening to the answers will tell the salesperson what is important to the clients.
Understanding is the goal of questioning and listening. After all, how can you PROVE to clients that you can give them what they want and need if you don’t first UNDERSTAND what they want and need?
Before you present, identify the points you will need to prove so the clients can see that you are the salesperson they should appoint.
When you know what is important to them, you can help them understand why they should choose you.
Good presentations are loaded with value propositions. When presenting, the question you must always address is, “Why should I list with you?”
Sellers might not ask this question point blank, but this is what they want answered. Your value propositions should answer this question.
Asking comes last
We must earn the right to close, which means that the major close – the one where we ask for the business – comes last.
If you have asked good questions, listened, determined what is important to your clients, and proved that you can solve their problems, they feel emotionally connected to you. Achieve that connection and you will be the salesperson for them.
Now go ahead and ask for the order.
Relentless – I like that word. It means “unceasingly intense”.
I also like the word Persistent, which means “able to bounce, withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”. And “continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action despite difficulty of opposition”. These are good attributes for salespeople.
Sales is not for everybody, especially those who give up too easily or are easily discouraged. Salespeople need to press on, especially when things aren’t going their way, which is often. MORE
Authors Chester and Gary Karrass give good advice. They say, “Don’t let your job get to you”. They say that salespeople spend only a fraction of their working week in positive situations, signing up agreements, getting a ‘yes’.
Much of their time is spent hearing reasons why buyers will not buy, hearing the word ‘no’. This time spent in negativity can gradually wear salespeople down, leading them to think that most clients are not going to buy. This puts them off asking for business.
Have you ever heard the real estate saying, “Buyers are liars”? This is a classic example of letting our sales job get to us.
Since our job description requires us to put ourselves in the path of regular rejection, we need some resilience and persistence to keep going and to ask again for the order. And when it comes to pursuing our goals, who couldn’t do with a bit of relentlessness, or unceasing intensity?
It can be too easy to walk away from a client after they have said their first ‘No’. With persistence you will keep asking questions and keep presenting, and then ask for the order again and, I hope, again if necessary.
We have all experienced setbacks when working towards a goal. To get up and have another go is what differentiates winners and those who quit too soon.
Relentlessness, Persistence, and Resilience. These are attributes that, with practice, you can develop and strengthen. It all begins by resolving to keep going.
If what you are pursuing is a worthwhile goal, and if you are not hurting others or yourself, don’t quit – keep going. If you want it badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
The more you try, the closer you get to success.
There can be many barriers to success, but one of the greatest challenges for some people is perfectionism.
Perfectionism is the enemy of success. People who suffer from it will not ‘launch’ until everything is ‘just so’. Most often, they fail to launch at all.
I find myself wondering if the problem really is perfectionism and not some kind of fear. I have seen salespeople getting ready to prospect spend so much time ‘getting ready’ that they run out of time to make the calls. MORE
Their lists had to be right, then there is a right time and a wrong time to call, and they had to clear all their other messages first… You name it, there were so many reasons why the time was not quite right to pick up the phone or to start knocking on doors.
I have seen people working on a project get to a point where it was almost ready to launch, but was not quite perfect. And so they tweaked… and they tweaked. And then somebody else came along with a less-than-perfect product, and stole the market.
If you suffer from perfectionism, understand that there is seldom a perfect time to do anything. Learn to launch, and fix things as you go.
When we rebuilt the Pittard website in 2014, it was far from perfect when we launched, but over time we got it to where we thought it was a useful tool for anybody looking to increase their income or agency profit.
We ran with this for 18 months, and again rebuilt it. And, again, it was less than perfect when we launched, but because we were now ‘live’ we had the advantage of user feedback that made our development much clearer and faster.
Most times, less-than-perfect launched now is better than perfect launched later.
That plan you’ve been playing with for months, those goals you’ve been going to set, but didn’t because the timing wasn’t right… LAUNCH NOW!
Whenever I find myself wanting to put something off until all the lights turn green, or until it’s just perfect, I remind myself of a winner’s mantra:
DO IT NOW!
These three little words might help cure your perfectionism, one of success’s true enemies.
Here we are at the beginning of a new year. But before we get too far into this new year, how were your results last year? Were you happy with what you achieved? If not, why not?
Far too many business people drift from year to year, without ever setting goals, determining the targets necessary to achieve those goals, and without planning. These people are unfocused and lack direction.
And so they drift – spurts of ‘busyness’ interspersed with long periods of unfocused work that does not produce results. Compound this over a full year and the lack of consistent, focused action manifests as low income.
For these people, unless their thinking and actions change, they are doomed to repeat their previous year’s results.
Habits can be good and bad. Unless we consciously work at developing good habits, we will, by default, develop bad habits.
Action, and lack of action, are habits. We can become used to high levels of focused, productive action, and we can become used to low levels of actions and unfocused drifting.
If you want your results in this new year to be better than last year’s results, you must break the cycle: do things differently than you did last year.
Without something to focus on – a clear goal that is important to you – you will almost certainly drift. What goals are you going to achieve in this coming year? Choose goals that you really want, and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve.
Targets determined from goals
Worthwhile goals require bigger targets. What targets will you need to achieve so that you earn the income necessary to reach your goals?
Targets that are higher than you are used to hitting must be planned. Don’t just plan for the number of listings and sales, plan for the number of people you will need to speak to each day. Hint: if you aren’t speaking to 200 potential sellers every week, your goals aren’t big enough!
If you want to focus, write Affirmations daily. Affirm your major dominant goal by writing it 15 times a day for 21 unbroken days.
You will find more information on affirmations and goal setting in my book, Why Winners Win.
Unless you study your profession, you will not improve. By not studying, you rob yourself of the opportunity to get better results from the many great ideas offered by experts.
Knowing what to do isn’t enough – you have to perform actions competently. You can study all you want, but if you don’t practise what you learn, and keep practising until you get it right, you will never develop skill.
Study will give you knowledge, but knowledge alone is not sufficient to make you successful.
KNOWLEDGE + PRACTICE = SKILL
Study and improve your knowledge. Practise what you learn and develop your skill. Do this and your actions will become more competent.
All you have to do now is increase your level of actions and success is assured. And, provided that you have goals that you really want to achieve, you will stay focused.
You can make 2018 your best year ever – indeed, a very happy new year!
Show me an industry where you can earn six-figure incomes without knowing what you are doing. I’ll bet that you cannot name one. Yet this is what many real estate people – salespeople and leaders – seem to think. Many believe that they can earn high incomes without learning, study and practice.
The real estate industry demonstrates a low regard for training. The real estate industry is also one of the most lowly-regarded for honesty, competence and integrity. I do not think this is a coincidence. MORE
Some years ago, NSW introduced compulsory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for real estate practitioners. I can understand the reasoning behind this, but the sad fact is that you can qualify for a year’s CPD with just four hours’ training.
They don’t say “The more you learn, the more you earn” for nothing. Your knowledge and skill is what sellers are paying you for, and four hours’ training isn’t sufficient to be competent. We all know that many practitioners do just enough training to qualify for CPD.
I agree that good training can be expensive, both in monetary and time investments, but training can easily give you a $100 return for every dollar invested. Despite this, many try to get by on free training.
But the ‘free stuff’ will only take you so far. You will get the odd good idea, but free training is not organised into systems that you can implement over the long term.
Think about it – do you really believe that any trainer is going to give you the whole story – all their training systems – at no charge? What you get is a little ‘taste’, just enough to whet your appetite.
You think you are training, but all you are really doing is SAMPLING. Those little tastes will never make you great.
You are the investment
Next time you are tempted to think that training is ‘too expensive’, ask yourself, “What am I spending this money on?” It’s not training, it’s YOU. You are the investment!
You are not investing in training; you are investing in yourself and your ability to boost your income through increased knowledge and skill. You are investing in your ability to feed your family, and to enjoy longevity and a high income in your real estate career or business.
One more thing:
Training makes you better. ‘Better’ earns more than ‘mediocre’.
The more you learn the more you earn.
Good salespeople are always on the lookout for new lines and for new ways to deliver their messages, but there is one word that many should consider using more often. That word is ‘No’.
People-pleasing salespeople are too quick to say ‘yes’, and doing so causes them to agree to actions that are, or should be, of a lower priority.
Beware of questions that begin with: MORE
These are examples and no doubt you can think of other ‘danger questions’. Answering ‘Yes’ to such questions without clarifying what the asker wants can cost you valuable time. This is time that you will never get back, leaving you with less time to achieve your goals.
When we focus on the one task for any length of time, we can enter a state called ‘flow’. You might also know it as being ‘in the zone’. Flow is a highly-focused state during which you accomplish much more.
It takes a while to get into flow, but it can be broken in seconds.
It is never wise to allow interruptions when you are concentrating on important tasks. It breaks ‘flow’.
I am not asking you to be unhelpful. I am suggesting that you pick your moments and not dance to somebody else’s tune.
When you are pursuing results, nothing except real emergencies should take you off track. There is plenty of time to help people with tasks, or for those ‘got a minute?’ requests, but for winners, results come first.
Choose the people to whom you will give your time. Choose your tasks carefully. Distractions can cost you time, loss of focus, and income.
An age-old question for presenters is, “Should I use visual aids?”.
While I agree that people can become overly reliant on visual aids, resulting in a boring presentation, I believe that good presenters use every tool at their disposal to foster understanding with their audiences. Visual aids do just that: they aid understanding.They don’t say, “A picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing. MORE
Despite the wisdom that supports the use of visual aids, I see many salespeople who refuse to use them. What reasons can there be for this?
Many offices are complaining that they are low on stock. If you are in this position, it is even more critical that you make every listing presentation count. I recommend that you rethink your listing presentation – work at improving it.
How can you deliver a more convincing presentation, one where sellers feel compelled to list with you? I guarantee that your presentations can be enhanced by including visual aids.
This is especially important when listing absentee owners. Some salespeople are so stupid that they will try and list sellers over the phone! If the distance is too far for a face-to-face visit, the next best thing is to present over Skype and screen-share your visual aids.
Should YOU use visual aids? Yes! Whether face-to-face, or listing absentee owners with Skype, you will improve your present-to-list ratio if you use them.
We often hear about disruptive change. Uber for taxis, Amazon for book stores… Now people are saying that a new player in the Australian market, Purplebricks, could be real estate’s ‘Uber Moment’. I have to say I’m a little over ‘Uber Moments’!
Whether Purplebricks is going to cause disruptive change in the real estate market remains to be seen. While the parent company is throwing millions of dollars into advertising campaigns and the market is booming, it’s easy to see why they may be a threat. MORE
But does this mean that the fundamentals of Sales has changed? I don’t think so.
When has ‘cheap’ ever been a substitute for skill?
Salespeople who are trained in the art of negotiation should be in a better position to negotiate higher prices for their clients.
The trouble is, many salespeople say they are great negotiators but few can prove it and few have ever attended a negotiation course or opened a book on negotiation.
When has skill not been a requirement for success in Sales?
Having skill and proving it are two different things, however.Not only must you be skilful, but you must be able to prove it.
My friend, Peter O’Malley, author of Real Estate Uncovered, and his latest book Inside Real Estate, said that more than ever agents must demonstrate their Value Propositions. They must show sellers how they will be better off if they list their property with a skilled agent. They must prove their case.
When has proving your worth not been a requirement for success in Sales?
Regardless of the market, you will sell more properties if you enjoy good trusting relationships with the owners of the properties you list.
If sellers trust you, they will follow your advice. They will price their properties so that they are competitive in the current market. They will sell.
If they do not trust you, they will ignore your advice, refuse good offers or refuse to reduce.
When have trusting relationships not been a requirement for success in Sales?
Here is the bottom line:
If I could convince you that I can get you more money in your pocket, after fees, than any other agent can get you, would you list with me?
Prove that and you just might disrupt the disruptors!
Prospect constantly and set more appointments. Prove your Value Proposition and show your skill. Develop good relationships with your clients, and prove that even if they pay you more, they will have more money in their pockets because you are working for them.
When has this not been a requirement for sales success?
Sales has not changed that much!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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?