Category: Culture

Get In Line

Imagine standing in a line of 100 people. They are nice enough but you don’t know any of them. Your job is to get one of them to say ‘Yes’ to you and most if not all of them only know how to say ‘No’. 

As you work to get them to say ‘Yes’ they get a bit less pleasant. As you approach them they realize you are hoping for a ‘Yes’ but they don’t know you and they certainly don’t trust you. They are nice on the surface but you can feel their frustration of being interrupted. They don’t have time for you or need what you offer right now and you don’t have time while in this line today to build any trust and the best tool you have is fear (what happens if they say ‘No’) or deception, to tell them what they want to hear in hopes of getting a ‘Yes’ so you can build trust later. 

The line keeps getting longer so you know you can keep working as long as you want to so you can perhaps find a ‘Yes’ but it becomes obvious most of them will say ‘No’. You keep working, hoping, expecting but it’s getting harder to stay positive and most of us will quit doing this stuff. It works but it’s exhausting and then we feel guilt for quitting.

So what’s the alternative?

Contrast that with a party. You know almost everyone and they like you and most even trust you. There aren’t as many folks there but almost all of them know how to say ‘Yes’. The few folks you don’t know are friends of the ones you do and they are happy to introduce you to their friends and to tell a bit about you, how they know you and the trust they have in you.

This was the picture I had in my head of the difference between working by referral and cold calling. It captures how it feels to me. Friends vs strangers, trust vs deception, building relationships vs using relationships. 

I saw a question in a Facebook group about how hard it is to lead generate this holiday season. For me it’s the easiest thing in the world. Go to the parties, make friends, build relationships and trust. Relax and don’t worry about getting to the end of the line or you can sit on the phone, dialing for dollars and getting through the 100 ‘No’ hoping to find the ‘Yes’. 

As the year winds down, spend time with family and friends, invest in others and listen for ways to help, to encourage, to build up and the referrals will come. Maybe not today but they will come and it’s a lot better way to live this life. 

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson 
678-616-1578 Direct

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PS – if this was helpful to you, please share it with your friends and agents you know that would benefit from being a part of this gang. We’d love to connect with more folks. If you sign up we’ll send you a checklist to get you started on the right path and then send you a few more things that will be helpful. It’s all free and you can unsubscribe anytime. Give it a try and see if we can help.

It’s Lonely Here

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It can feel lonely here. I remember when I started in real estate I was the only one who believed I could do it by referral. There were lots of folks on the cold call, door knocking path and it was well worn by the folks that had gone before (and failed) but the working by referral path was wide open.

There was one other agent who became my team leader in a new office (same company) who believed in this method, attended some events with me structured around the referral mindset but it was still lonely. There were no meetings to encourage me because there was no one else doing this.

If you feel like you’re the only one, that’s normal. Numbers show that about 10% of the agents exposed to this method actually pursue it. If you’re reading this then I suspect you’re in the 10%. We’re not for everyone so I’m focusing on the folks who want to do business this way.

My encouragement to you is to find others in your office or agents you’re working with (even other offices or brands) who want to do this too. When you work by referral there is little to no competition so you can focus on helping each other instead of trying to compete. There is a lot of freedom in that.

Encourage the ones  you find to join us by signing up below and then form a group of 3-7 people to hold yourselves accountable.  3 is really a minimum number because it’s unlikely everyone in the trio will give each other a pass. When 2 do it then it’s tough to stay consistent but 3 works well. More than 7 gets to be a bit much to organize meetings and track each others progress and frankly finding 7 will be a challenge.

I’m part of a group of 12 but that covers an area that is about half the agent population in Atlanta. We meet monthly but it’s mostly about encouragement and not accountability. I have a coach for that. It’s possible to find partners to help you without the coach thing and if you’re just starting out you might not have the funds to commit to coaching. That is OK. Small steps will get you there if you keep going.

We’ll be talking more about accountability groups and how that works but the first thing is to find those you want to gather with.

Share this post with them and ask them to sign up. We’ll get them on the same path pretty quickly and see if they will travel with us.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578

Success

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Results through people. You can only do so much yourself. There is a limit to your time, energy and other resources. Finding the people to connect to seems like a puzzle sometimes but the rewards are enormous.

One of the first folks I hired was a house cleaner. The second was a lawn service. I suspect that is not what you were thinking but those two hires freed up enormous amounts of time and removed a lot of stress in my life for a very reasonable cost. I also have an assistant and with those three hires I got my mornings back, a clean house and a well manicured lawn.

This idea of out sourcing labor is called leverage where I work. The belief is we can do more by finding folks to do the things we are not good at, dislike doing or can be done for a reasonable cost. It allows us to focus on the things that only we can do and that is the best use of your time.

There is a lot more involved if you are creating a team and I’m not going to address that in this post but know there are great resources to help you define  positions and job descriptions.

For one good resource, check out the Millionaire Real Estate Agent book for more details on building real estate teams or just to have a model for information on being successful regardless of the type of business you want to have. This book is good to help define budgets, job descriptions and multiple levels from a sole practitioner to a full company where the principle creator is not involved in the day to day business.

This completes the Culture posts and I am happy to answer questions. You are welcome to call me and if I don’t answer I promise to call you back.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Trust Begins with Honesty

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Do you trust me? If you know me, you might. If you don’t then I’d guess the best I’ll get is the benefit of the doubt. If you doubt something about me then you’ll wait and see if it’s true before making a decision.

Trust is earned over time and the price we pay to gain it is being honest. That costs us something but not being honest costs us more. It might seem to solve a short term problem or help us save face but once the lack of honesty is discovered then the price is lack of trust and it’s hard to get anything done if you’re not trusted.

The thought bouncing around in my head is also about forgiveness. Sometimes Trust and Forgiveness get tangled up. If someone is less than honest with you I believe you have to forgive them. That’s about you and how you treat someone who has hurt you. If you don’t forgive then it festers in you and damages your well being. It’s OK to forgive and move on.

Trust is about the other person. If someone steals from you and you forgive them I think the result is peace for you. Do you trust them again? Likely not and that’s OK. It’s how it works.

Forgiveness is about you, trust is about them but back to trust.

Being open, authentic and the same inside as outside is how we are honest with each other and over time it builds trust. It takes time together and we learn quickly who we can trust and who we shouldn’t.

I can say in my office the folks I work with are trustworthy. My vendors I recommend are trustworthy. They’ve proven it over and over. They do what they say they will do. They make it right if something goes wrong and they fess up quickly when things don’t work the way we expected. It’s simple but not easy.

Think about someone you trust. How did that start? What did they do or not do in the beginning to get that going? I meet lots of folks and over time I earn their trust by making promises and keeping them. I earn their trust by doing more than expected and giving when I don’t have to.

One quote that sums it up is  “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundation principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen R. Covey

There is one more post about culture and I’ll get it out this week.

See, there’s a promise I can keep 🙂

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

 

Teamwork

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Teamwork – Together everyone achieves more. TEAM. It’s a saying we all have heard. It’s an ideal that we strive to achieve but seldom pull off perfectly. I’ve been a part of a few great teams and am in one today.

In my past I was a software programmer. A skilled engineer who worked with industrial automation (think robots) and there were 5 of us who worked as a team. We met frequently to discuss the best way to code a solution to a problem. We agreed to do things together so we could all work inside each others code. It made everything easier and we even got to go on vacation more relaxed knowing our team mates left working would be able to fix things without the typical trouble shooting and panic calls. It was awesome.

Today I sell real estate and I’ve been doing that for 15 years. I’ve been with the same company all that time and in different 2 offices. The move was to find more like minded folks to help me with a referral based business and once I settled into my current office I felt at home.

There are opportunities to help each other here. The most recent was the Top 20% Mastermind. By invitation, the top producers in the office got together for lunch and shared what it was that got us there. I used to think all companies did stuff like this but I’ve since learned they don’t. I’ve had more folks who have joined our office share the fact this is unique to their experience. I do think it’s something we do when we come from a perspective of abundance and not scarcity. It’s easier to do this when you know there is enough business out there for us all. It’s easier when you focus on working by referral and your sphere of relationships and connections, knowing you are not likely to have to compete for your business.

If all this sounds too good to be true then investigate what I’m telling you. Check it out for yourself. I promise, not all companies are the same and not all offices inside the same company are the same. You have to find the folks you resonate with. The ones that will give more than they take.

We do that because we can. Not to get more but to give more. It’s a mindset that will serve you well as you seek out your own team to be a part of.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Creativity – Ideas Before Results

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We are all creative!

That is a bold statement and I suspect there are some of you who disagree with me. I’m OK with that but you’re wrong.  When we were children we were all creative, curious and investigated the world to figure it out. We figured out how to walk, talk and we used our minds to imagine.

Since then we have all been told things that might not be true. We’ve been told math is better than dancing. Maybe it is if you’re a mathematician or psychometrician but not if you’re a dancer.

In my digging I found this TED talk and I’d recommend it to you. It’s about 20 minutes and worth the time.

I have another person for you to listen to. His name is Seth Godin and this one is about 17 minutes long. He asks a question about school. “What’s it for?” and we need to answer that. Check it out.

Between these two guys I think you begin to see what happened to our (yours and mine) creativity. It has been ‘educated’ out of us and it’s a shame. We are all creative and we can recover much of that imagination to use in our work.

BTW Seth referenced the KKK when he talked about how public education got started and I had to check it out.  You can see some info on that topic right here. It’s fascinating what you can learn when you go digging.

I’ve got 3 more articles to finish up the discussion on the culture of the company I’m a part of. Stay tuned and I’ll do my best to finish them up this week.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

I’m addicted to my phone. I’ll bet you are too.

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I love Simon. He has a way to get a point across but this video is a message we all need to hear. It’s about Millennials but it’s about my grandson, my sons and even me.

I few weeks ago I started charging my phone in the living room. Watch this to the end and you’ll understand why.

He’s right.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

 

 

 

Communication

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Seek first to understand. The dictionary defines communication as “the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings”. I think the key word is ‘successful’.

Have you ever traveled to someplace you didn’t know the language? Communication is hard and the tendency is to talk louder so the people around you can understand you better. It doesn’t help. Louder does not work.

I’ve traveled to places where they spoke Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Flemish, Swiss German (it’s different), Australian (it’s different too) and I can tell you it was a challenge to be understood. Even if I said the right words I generated laughter as the meaning was not apparent to me.

I was working in Mexico and studying hard to learn Spanish. My friend Pepe came by and said “Que pasa!?”. I was working on an assembly line where we painted cars and at that point we were only getting a few cars a day. Maybe 10 or so.

I responded “Estoy esperando” and Pepe burst out laughing. Now I thought I said “I’m waiting” and after he quit laughing he explained to me I had to say what I was waiting for. I should have said “Estoy esperando para coches” or “I am waiting for cars”. He told me what I had said the first time was correct the correct words for “I’m waiting” but in that dialect it meant I was pregnant.

During that trip my Spanish got better and at the end I was able to understand most of what was said around me. I still had trouble speaking but I captured the thoughts my friends and co-workers has to share most of the time. It took a long  time to get to that point.

And the point I’m making here is not about a different language but simply to say it can take a lot of time to understand what someone means, not just what they say.

Listening is a difficult thing to do when you’re anxious to share what you have to say but not sharing your thoughts until the other person is ready to listen can be a big step in the direction of communication. I’m practicing this and sometimes I forget what I was going to say because I was listening to them instead and I count that as a success.

If my thought was critical I find it comes back to me and we can add to the conversation but sometimes it’s just better to listen some more. Most people are anxious to share their thoughts and someone who really listens to them is so rare they truly appreciate the effort and time you give them.

Sometimes all I really need to add to the conversation is a sincere “Thank you” and a smile. Put down the bull horn and listen closely. You might be surprised how much you learn in the process.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Commitment in all things

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Commitment is defined in Webster as
1 : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future
2 : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled

 

 

It’s not obvious at first. I don’t know if we consider commitment as much as we should so let’s dig in. Commitment is what carries us through the rough patches.

Seth Godin wrote a book called The Dip. Every endeavor that moves us from a lower place to a higher place involves a dip. A dip in excitement, passion, energy and drive. It’s the place where you find out if you really want the thing you are going after.

Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art talks about something called Resistance. The force that keeps you from doing what you know you ought to do. I think this is part of the dip but it’s also external to us. As we move past the start we find out there is work involved. There is learning involved and you have to commit to doing it. To show you’re invested.

Pressfield talks about The Muse too. His book is about writing but it applies to anyone working on anything to improve your life, business or health. His take on The Muse is she’s someone who comes by and if she finds you working, she’ll reward you with inspiration but if you’re just sitting on the couch, she won’t. You have to put in the labor (emotional, physical or intellectual) before you receive her gift. I know I’ve experienced this in my writing. I go back and read things I’ve written in the past and am amazed it came from me. It seems to come from somewhere else, it’s not just me in the effort.

I think this business of real estate is similar. Especially if you work by referral. It involves work for sure. Calling your sphere or database, writing notes to folks or going by to see how they are doing. It’s hard to keep on doing it but if you do it consistently, invest time is listening and action based on what you heard the reward comes and it’s not obvious where it comes from. The cool thing is it gets easier as you do more of it and it develops a momentum of it’s own. It’s not just the slog of daily cold calls.

Commitment is what got me where I am today but it was a struggle early on. I remember the day I took down an old journal and started reading. I was able to see a pattern in my thoughts from a couple of years back and realized I was focused on quitting instead of succeeding.

I repeatedly wrote things like ‘don’t give up’ or ‘don’t quit!’ and that focus on quitting was not helpful. I changed my thinking that day and committed to staying in, no matter what and I’d encourage you to think about that too.

Make a commitment, burn the boats (you know that story, right?), and figure out what you need to learn. What you need to know or do to succeed. Winston Churchill said “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Check here for the full speech if you want to read it.

I’ll be back with the next thing on culture shortly. Stay tuned.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Customers always come first

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Without customers or clients, we’re done. No one to serve means no business so we better figure this part out.

Is the customer always right?

I don’t believe they are because if they were, they would not need us. Especially in real estate.  There is so much bad information and just raw data out there now the typical consumer can’t possibly decipher it. Information is good but wisdom and experience is better.

The customer does always comes first. Their needs and wants outweigh ours even when they are wrong so we need to work from that perspective. It affects my schedule, my motivation and my time invested in a transaction when I am working directly for a buyer or seller. That part is pretty clear and most of us understand that.

As I work in the business I learn something every day. Over time some of the lessons sink in better and reveal things to me in a deeper way. One of the things I have marinated on the last few days is call reluctance and how it relates to the client or customer coming first.

I know, it’s not obvious but let me keep going.

One of the things we talk about as agents is the need for lead generation. Now in our case, I’m not talking about cold calling of any kind but instead it’s the need to stay in touch with our sphere, our database. Not to hammer them for referrals but simply to stay top of mind when something crosses their path that we can help with.

The problem I see arises as call reluctance and I think I know why.

If we are reluctant to call them it’s because it’s about us, not them. In our heads we are focused on our needs. We need to pay the mortgage, keep the cars running and see that we have food with our meals. It’s about us and our needs instead of theirs. When I make it about them and have fostered good relationships, I find I want to call them. To see how they are, to ask them what they need or what they are working on.

If you send real items of value (not cookie recipes) and check in with them once in a while to see how they are, it stands out. They begin to understand it’s about them and they relax. They begin to trust me even more. My past clients are surprised I’m calling them. They are pleased but some even ask why I’m calling. Their last agent didn’t do that  so I stand out.

For my buyers, I put on my calendar to call after the closing by 1 day, 1 week, 30 days, 90 days, 180 days and the every year until they buy again. It’s about them. I’m checking to make sure they got moved in OK, the house is OK, the neighborhood is OK and just to stay in touch. Most of the time they answer the phone knowing it’s me (caller ID does that) and they are happy to tell me what’s up with them. I don’t bring up real estate or referrals but instead just make sure they are doing well.

Most times the folks I call ask me ‘how’s the market?’ and I get to share something with them. I get to talk about my listings or how values are or mortgage rates, etc. and at the end I might say something like ‘I’m never too busy for your referrals’ and leave it at that. No pressure, no script or tactics. Just a desire to help.

This works and I’m here to prove it does. I’ve been working this way since 2003 and don’t plan to stop now. I just am understanding some of it better. I hope that helps you too.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.