Archive for June, 2010

Keith Barrot

Handling a Changing Market – Problems Are Normal

Recently I was talking to a good friend, a successful real estate agent, who had just come back from a holiday in Fiji. While away enjoying a well earned break a sales colleague sent a message hoping she was having a good holiday and suggested don’t bother coming back, the market had died. It amazes me that anyone in sales would first send such a message and secondly it proves that there are salespeople who have this outlook and are happy to gleefully share it with others.

When any salesperson hears this type of comment their attitude dictates their mindset and there are two ways to feel, it depends if they are a person who reacts (negative) or responds (positive). If you react the news will come as a threat and immediately put you in a position thinking of all the negative outcomes that will affect you, your income and your sales. You will concentrate your thinking to survival mode and take your eye of the ball and cloud your judgement with all the things that can go wrong. “Henny Penny the skies falling in!” 

The positive response to the comment, “The market has died” is to say “what again?” You see we are in an economy that by its very nature will go through cycles and what one day seems to be all good, onward and upward, can the next be in decline. The informed professional salesperson understands these dynamics and has allowed for them in their plans so they are expected. Their prospecting and systems are in place and this approach will provide for them the confidence to be prepared for the events that will always be happening outside their control. In saying, what again, is to understand the events have happened in the past and nothing is new, there is no point for waiting for things to get back to normal, there is no normal? 

You have to expect that the economy and the world in which we live is always changing and it is how you handle this environment will be the measure of your success. There is no point in having the attitude that things will get back to normal and that you will return to your “comfort zone” for the rest of your working life in sales. If you are waiting for things to get back to normal your wait will be in vain, you can’t live in a bubble insulated from world events. If in your market and the economy in general you have not kept up to date with what is happening you will not be in position to understand the causes and effects of why things are the way they are, knowledge is everything. 

Just think for a moment about your competitors and how are they taking the changing market, are they responding or reacting. Based on the eighty twenty rule you could expect that eighty percent of them are in survival mode and have taken their eyes of the ball. In this type of economic environment opportunities will arise, the positive salesperson with an attitude that problems are normal will present themselves as the sales professional and win the business. They know that negativity is contagious and make the conscious decision to separate themselves from the pity parties and all those that seem to enjoy the spreading of bad or negative news. 

The survival of any sales team or endeavour will only be successful if it can achieve this goal of separation and take away all the, sky falling in, negative opinions and views that seem to get more attention than they deserve. 

In researching my book I learned that the Chinese character for change is the same as opportunity. Therefore Change = Opportunity should be in your mind at all times. 

The strength of your career in selling will come from your planned investment of time and money in developing your attitude, knowledge, programs, systems and methods to protect you from any adverse events that will and are going to happen, problems are normal. Be prepared for change it has a habit of happening without warning. 

It is through adapting and coping with change that we evolve, grow and achieve the feeling of accomplishment. 

The sky is NOT falling in! 

For more on Attitude follow the link to read the extract on chapter four in my book “4 Qualities of the Successful Sales Professional”.

Keith Barrot

Effective Prospecting

How do you operate where you do?  (Fourth and final in a series).

As mentioned in my first article on effective prospecting the goal of continuing success and income in real estate will only come from a well planned approach to your marketing. Remember, how effective you carry out your prospecting will be in direct proportion to your prosperity and your long term viability in selling real estate.

Once you have decided on the important aspects of prospecting e.g. where you are going to operate and why you will target a particular area, the next step is to plan how you will obtain the business.

Marketing by real estate agents over the years has been consistent in its style and type and although it seems bland at times all marketing can be effective. The major goal for your prospecting is to be contacted by anyone in your market area who is thinking of selling or seeking real estate information. Quite often agents operate with the blinkers on and seem only interested in prospects that are looking to sell immediately and fail to recognise that all contacts made can one day become clients. All contacts are good contacts if handled and recorded properly.

This can only be achieved if your prospecting is one that builds relationships with all the property owners in your area. You should make sure that every one you come into contact with is entered into a database. Today agents should understand and use a database as it will make the job of contact and follow up so much more effective. It is essential however your database does not just become a mailing list, there is a big difference. Through a database all past appraisals, anniversaries, market updates, and call schedules for example can be programmed so no one is forgotten. You spend a lot of time getting leads and contacts to just let them pass by if they don’t want to sell at the time of contact is a waste of your time and effort. A database will not in itself guarantee success; other forms of activity will be required to maintain your presence in the area to ensure you are top of mind when owners decide to call an agent.

Naturally one consideration that needs to be made is how much you should spend on your marketing. Whatever you decide make sure it is programmed for at least twelve months in advance and is done regularly regardless of market conditions. One can always tell when the market is slow as flyers and the like will appear in the letterbox and our inbox from agents you have never heard of or only from them when the market goes quiet. As I mentioned promotions vary in style and quality so it is important that you develop your brand and stick to it. Only by being consistent in your contacts with prospects will you be remembered.

The monitoring of your marketing efforts will ensure that what you are doing is effective. The question should always be asked of the contact to where they heard about you, and this needs to be recorded. From this information a pattern will develop to help you assess the effectiveness or otherwise of your investment. You need to see yourself as a business and future planning has to be based on all the information you can gather. In your day to day operation as an agent you need to ensure the funds you invest in your promotion are delivering the returns you want.

Being on the look out for new ideas and ways of marketing is a good way to develop your brand and if done effectively will differentiate you from your competition. Social media and other forms of technology available today (and in the future) can also improve your marketing effort. They should also be considered as a means of your promotion and communicating with clients and prospects.

It is important to make the time available in developing your prospecting plans and if required seek outside assistance, ask others, attend seminars, buy a book or CD on marketing. Ideas are every where both inside and outside the real estate industry if you take the time to look. Effective, planned prospecting is not difficult, what is difficult is taking the steps to apply the time and recources to develop your brand and the commitment to looking at your future in the long term.

Greg Vincent

REINSW forces changes to NSW Government’s Residential Tenancies Bill

In a Press Release issued on 4 June 2010 it would appear that the NSW government may have finally decided to listen to the industries concerns over some of the proposed new changes to the NSW Government’s Residential Tenancies Bill.

It was announced that, REINSW has forced the NSW government to make considerable changes to its draft Residential Tenancies Bill introduced into Parliament.

But despite the changes, REINSW is calling on the Minister to delay passage of the Bill until all stakeholders have had to the opportunity to review the new legislation.

“REINSW is pleased that the government has listened to our concerns and made key changes,” said REINSW President Wayne Stewart.

“But again the government is trying to rush this legislation through without sufficient time for proper consultation.

“We call on the Minister to take the time to get this right and not push ahead with unreasonable haste.

“Key changes which REINSW pressured the government to make include:

  • Abandoning a proposal to give tenants the right to break a fixed term tenancy agreement during the fixed term in return for payment of a ‘break fee’
  • Scrapping the compulsory proposal to cap a landlord’s damages (including loss of rent) if a tenant abandoned rented premises, and maintaining the current obligation on a landlord to mitigate their loss in such circumstances
  • Providing greater certainty for landlords when terminating periodic tenancies
  • Further limiting the government’s proposals to allow tenants to make ‘minor’ changes to the landlord’s property (e.g. painting is not a ‘minor’ change) or to sub-let the property without the landlord’s consent (which are both proposals the Institute still opposes in principle and will continue to lobby against)

“Unfortunately REINSW has not been provided with a complete overview of all changes to the Bill which means it has been impossible to review all amendments prior to the Minister introducing the legislation.

“REINSW understands that the Minister will try to pass the Bill through parliament by the end of the current parliamentary session which will limit the ability of all stakeholders to consider the new changes and their impact on the NSW property market.

“REINSW calls on the Minister to delay debate on the 2010 Bill until the next parliamentary session in late 2010 to allow all stakeholders a reasonable opportunity to examine the Bill in its latest, amended, form.

“It is inevitable that some of the amendments made may have unintended consequences and the Institute has already identified a number of issues which appear to be the result of unintended drafting errors. REINSW looks forward to working with the Minister to correct any such errors.

“REINSW previously lodged a comprehensive submission with respect to the 2009 Bill and it is very pleasing to see that concerns and suggestions raised by the Institute have been incorporated into the amended 2010 Bill,” said Mr Stewart.

Hopefully some common sense will prevail. If the NSW Government don’t pay attention to the stakeholders  within this issue then we will see lots more investors heading interstate into the future which will place even more pressure on our current rental crisis.

If they get this wrong, this important issue has the potential to put the last nail in the coffin for the current NSW Labour Government and could fuel an even greater landslide in the opinion polls. 

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Keith Barrot

Selling – Shoe Leather, Technology & Warren Buffett

Even the best salesperson today will not be able to maintain their performance without using the technological tools available to communicate with clients, customers and prospects. More and more today salespeople are relying on text messaging, email and social media for example as the quick and easy way to sell.

These forms of technology, and others to come in the future, are a fantastic tool for the sales effort however they need to be seen in that context, as a tool for your business and not a replacement for sound knowledge of selling skills.

Salespeople don’t have to be an expert in computer science to make the most of these tools available, but they do require to have an understanding of what can be achieved with technology and how it can be applied to improve their sales. It needs to be realised that selling is a very people concentrated profession and as such the need to have developed sound selling and people skills is vital for success.

Those in sales should not become disillusioned if they find that sales don’t happen, despite all the technical systems used, and understand there is no substitute for the shoe leather (old school) approach to selling, meeting prospects and applying well established sales skills.

The mention of (old school) selling reminds me of a time not to long ago when the world was possessed with the terms “Old Economy” and “New Economy”. When the tech revolution was at its height the worlds most famous and successful investor Warren Buffett was ridiculed by those on Wall Street and many others for his refusal to invest in the “New Economy”.

History proved him correct, the bubble burst and all those, with a few exceptions, who followed the crowd filed for bankruptcy or went broke. Warren Buffett continued with his (old school) investment strategy that had proved itself since the 1950’s and which he still uses today with exceptional success for himself and his shareholders.

In all business the markets we operate in will differ and it will be the astute salesperson that recognises what tools are available and the best to use for their selling success. Understanding the well established selling processes, effective listening, personal presentation and good point of sale material are some of the skills essential to succeed in sales.

“Technology will get you TO the door; salesmanship will get you IN the door and the business.”

Tom Caraccio

Dan Kennedy & Straight Shooting Sales Both Agree… “We are at the beginning of a New Economy”

The way Real Estate Agents sell their services has changed…Forever!

Those of you that know me and get my monthly Straight Shooting Sales Report would know that lately I have been talking about this new economy topic a lot.

The reason I have been talking about it so much is because this new economy has changed the way business happens. And if you don’t understand how it has changed, or what it means to you then you are destined to struggle soon if you haven’t already noticed a change. This whole new economy was one of the driving forces for us to launch the Rainmakers Inner Circle Coaching Membership, because YOU need a place to plug into for continual business and personal growth and success if you haven’t heard of it yet check it out here

But this post is not about that.

Recently I was reading Dan Kennedy’s new book, “Sales Success in the New Economy” and I came across a page of information that aligned with a lot of things I had been thinking about lately. Dan’s new book talks about the emerging new economy as it directly affects sales professionals.

Here are the new realities… my take are in italics.

  • All the power has returned to the customer/client and he or she knows they have it.

Information is at your customers fingertips. They search before they call. It’s not like it used to be, where they call the biggest or the best company. They know they live in a free market that is open to competition. Plus most markets compete on price not value.

  • The customer’s tolerance for anything ordinary – ordinary products, services, expertise, experiences, for the banal and commonplace, and certainly for incompetence – is zero.

Sad but true, you don’t need to agree with this but you do need to see it for what it is and understand it. You need to think experience, wow, exclusive, appreciation. People want to be cared for.

  • Money will be spent more judiciously, so it will be available only to sales professionals with a much higher level of knowledge, skill, preparation, discipline, and sophistication. A more cautious consumer, striving to be sensible and responsible, will be judging you and trying to determine if you are worthy of his/her trust before he/she buys from you. You will be under greater scrutiny.

Selling is finally becoming a profession. It will be institutionalised and will stop the dreamers wanting to enter it. The person who learns the psychology behind why people buy and studies human behaviour and sales and persuasion will be the sales super star of tomorrow.

  • You must genuinely earn your right to your customers’ interest and support by providing well-matched, specialised, even customised product, service, and value propositions. People now have the opportunity, power, and awareness to demand what is specifically for them and precisely matched to their needs, interests, and desires. They are not going to be on buying sprees, buying whatever is in your wagon that you want to sell.

You could sum this up nicely by saying just this…”You have to get better as a person, better as a professional and better in all areas of your business”

This is all happening right now… With all the advances in technology, the pace of business has changed. How your clients make their buying decisions has changed. How they choose their real estate agent has changed. Information is readily available to them that they armed to the teeth before they even start speaking to an agent.

Add to this the stereotype that real estate agents are untrustworthy, (remember you are right down the bottom above used car sales people), that it’s almost an uphill battle before you start.

Times have changed. You have to earn the right to be their agent; you need to build your credibility and authority, which will earn their trust. Once you have systems in place that can create this for you, you will never worry about losing business to others because you are protecting what is yours. But if you keep doing things the old way, you will be subject to auditioning for listings with 3 or more other agents,  usually resulting in fee discounting to win business.

I’m talking strategy here, a formula that needs to be followed so you deliver high quality “wow” service to all your clients. Starting at lead generation where the relationship begins right through to lead conversion and lifetime referrals. This is the mantra of the New Economy Sales Super Star. This is the way of the future, an honest, authentic and specialised approach to building relationships, therefore building your business.

NOTE: I’m not meant to promote on here but I’m passionate about this and I truly believe this will help anyone wanting to know more about Selling in The New Economy…I have a CD which has 8 principles to building your real estate career, which covers 8 strategies for building relationships the right way, plus simple, cost effective ideas to boost your listings every month. You can get a copy for free and I will even pay the postage check it out here…