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Posts made in February, 2009

Are Sales Meetings Dead?

It seems like the more people I talk to, the more I hear about the lack of weekly sales meetings. I guess the economy can even begin to take its toll on our coming together on a regular basis to share ideas and information. My belief is that sales meetings are beginning to diminish because of three things:

  1. Brokers and managers are having difficulty staying motivated through these challenging times. Let’s face it, when you’re the one who has to try and get everyone else motivated, and you yourself are struggling to keep your head above water, it’s a tough job to do.
  2. Positive becomes negative. Many brokers and managers are avoiding sales meetings because what is supposed to be a motivational and uplifting experience is now becoming a knit picking negative gripe session.
  3. The Same Ole’ Thing Syndrome. Most companies have forsaken sales meetings because they feel like it’s just the same ole’ items rehashed week after week.

If you’re struggling with any of those three issues, yes, you’re probably better off to not hold a sales meeting, however, you are running the risk of a disconnect with your team. The fact of the matter is, your agents and staff need to hear from you regularly! As tough as times may be, hearing from the leader that the company will get through this market, providing new ideas and concepts and offering a different twist or take on a concept can be a rewarding and refreshing experience. Yes times are tough, your team can get behind by a few points, but your weekly sales meeting is your time to stand in front of your group in the locker room at half-time and encourage them to go back out in the game and retake the lead. It’s not a gripe session or a blame game, but a chance to compliment, reward and offer new ideas and concepts. Your sales meetings should provide positive communication and value from you the manager/broker/leader.

Here are a few ideas to try at your next sales meeting to change the way you meet:

  • Do something you’ve never done. Be different!
  • Strive for creativity
  • Let your agents solve problems. Use groups and dyads for exercises
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Use a flip chart to record answers
  • Follow-up on key ideas and suggestions
  • Have fun

Are sales meetings dead? They shouldn’t be. Sales meetings should be a time of enjoyment and excitement by you and your team members. If you’re having difficulty finding that niche, check us out at www.GoToSalesMeetings.com.

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Your Most Important Commodity

In my business, the real estate industry, we are reminded that nearly half of our customers are from the recommendations of friends, family members or co-workers. Wow, what a mind boggling statistic! Yet many in the sales profession take for granted and fail to realize how important this source of referral business is. As business professionals you must remind yourself on a daily basis the importance of close acquaintances or as we like to refer to in the real estate business, “sphere of influence”.

The challenge for you today is to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Do I have a database of contacts that can refer me business on a daily basis?
  2. Am I contacting this sphere of influence list regularly?
  3. If you answered yes to the above two questions, when was the last time you contacted your sphere of influence group?

 

If you are not communicating on a regular basis with a group of people who can send you referrals then you need to begin doing so today! If you are set up and have a sphere of influence in place that you are contacting on a regular basis then complement yourself on being ahead of the game and remind yourself to communicate with this group both by phone and mail. Making sure you stay in touch with this group regularly is important and can be a gold mine for current and future business.

Regardless of the business or profession you’re in, having others refer business to you is an important aspect to succeed. If you have already made it to the top of your game, or, you’re a successful doctor, manager, attorney or other professional, I am sure if you think back on how you reached your current position, you would admit word of mouth or others recommending you played a key role. If you inherited business or took over the reins from someone you know or purchased that cliental, more than likely it was developed out of trust, customer service and hard work. Everyone needs to develop relationships with business friends, associates, relatives and others to build their identity. I hope you will make today a day of contacting and communicating with your sphere of influence. Remember, it’s your most important commodity!

The concept is a part of my sales meeting CD-ROM, www.RealEstateSalesMeetings.com and www.GoToSalesMeeting.com.

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21 Mistakes

21-mistakes1In my latest book, “21 Mistakes Real Estate Brokers Make and How to Avoid Them,” www.AcclaimPress.com, Corky Hyatt and myself discuss a number of issues and mistakes “most” real estate brokers make regularly. Mistake #11, “Neglecting Regular Job Performance Evaluations,” is a tough pill to swallow today with the current economic market conditions. Or is it? Yesterday, while attending a meeting in Chicago for the Council of Real Estate Brokers and Managers I learned some interesting facts about Generation Y. Most Gen Y’s wanted and expects accountability according to the research presented. Unfortunately, as brokers and managers we believe holding people accountable will discourage, de-motivate and drive a wedge between management and the associate. Holding people to be more accountable is difficult for most of us, but in reality, research shows that most people want the accountability measures and for a healthy end of the year performance, accountability is critical to any organization.

Therefore, how does one implement a regular job performance audit for their employees/agents? It’s easy, sort of, if you follow these steps:

Get everyone on the same page. Job performance and accountability should be included with your job description. Yes, “everyone” should be given a job description, whether they are an independent sales associate or not. Although real estate brokers should use caution when defining job descriptions for independent contractors, there is still nothing wrong by outlining with your team members what you expect from them. Agreeing to regular job performance review and accountability measures should be included with your job¬†description.

Let the real estate agent set their own goals. I recently developed a new accountability worksheet for my associates that give them the flexibility to set their goals and objectives for the coming week. It incorporates four areas of personal development and prospecting measures. Each person determines their goals in these four areas and then charts their progress for the week. Along with this weekly scorecard is a year to date progress chart allowing the person a quick way to identify what areas need improvement. I’ve included this accountability scorecard with my “Ultimate Real Estate Sales Meeting CD-ROM” for brokers available at my shopping cart web site.

Set a regular time for review. It’s easy to let the hectic aspects of a business day or week ruin good plans, but it’s important to create a schedule and follow-up system to track progress for your agents. At the conclusion of each job performance evaluation, both broker and the sales associate must agree and commit to the next review appointment, and what goals and objectives are sought for the next evaluation. Remember, set goals to reach and set a date to review at the conclusion of each evaluation.

Finally, be brutally honest with each other. Sometimes it’s easy to sugar coat a situation or try and avoid the real problems in job performance evaluations, but the truth of the matter is disguising the problem will not help matters get better. Use skill when correcting or explaining an issue with your agent or sales associate, but have the ability to be honest and open with what needs to be done to meet your expected minimum requirements. Which, by the way, will be my topic for my next blog and is a part of our 21 Mistakes book.

Holding a regular job performance is a good thing, and should be one of your companies’ top priorities to help your associates grow and prosper in any real estate market.

For more information on my sales meeting resources, visit www.GotoSalesMeeting.com.

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Frustration!

I’m paying close attention to real estate professionals in my marketplace and in my office, and I am beginning to notice a bit of frustration as the economy continues to linger on in this sluggish environment. People seem to be frustrated with the company, frustrated with the media, frustrated with buyers and sellers, and the list could go on and on. It only seems natural that we, as human beings begin to blame or point our fingers at something else being the problem, and to take our frustration out on a third party. However, now is not the time to become defensive at your broker, boss or loved ones. This is just a “weird” time in our economy, and a place in history that will soon pass.

What are we to do in the meantime? First, begin by putting the right stuff in your head. I downloaded three audio books this week from iTunes, (As a Man Thinkith by James Allen, How to Live and Exceptional Life by Jim Rohn, and The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino). Yes, instead of listening to the media and the gang at Fox and Friends via my XM Radio, I opted to go with motivation and encouragement. Wow, what a difference! If we want to follow Zig Ziglar’s advice, “stop the stinking thinking,” then we have to quit putting the wrong, rotten stuff in our head. Most of the audio books I downloaded were less than $4.00, and for the price of a Starbucks Latte’, I went from gloom and doom to what giant can I tackle and defeat this week! It’s amazing what a little positive motivation can do for a person, and yet we somehow tend to spend the majority of our time wading through muck, gloom and despair, instead of encouraging, uplifting, glimmer of hope words.

Here’s my challenge to you this week, try putting positive motivation in your CD-Player instead of your normal radio station. Opt in for reading a good book tonight instead of watching television, or surfing the Web. Recite a few positive affirmations about your future and career versus reminding yourself of past failures and the uncertainty of the remaining month. I believe if you’ll follow this advice, your frustration will slowly disappear.

So what are you going to discuss this week at your regular sales meeting? How about using some of the items I described above? Encourage your team to come up with ways and ideas to shift from the negative to the positive, helping them discover how to eliminate frustration from their mind and vocabulary. Trust me, when you ask them to provide ways to generate optimism, they’ll come up with a long list of ideas. The exercise will do everyone a world of good during these chaotic economic times.

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