Tag: #culture

Success

success people photo

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

trust photo

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

team photo

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

creative photo

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.

Communication

communication photo

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

rock climbing photo

commit photo

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

client photo

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.

 

 

Integrity – Do the right thing

integrity photo

I have a problem. I see things in black and white.  My coach says I am an Absolute. It means I seek perfection and that does not exist in the real world except perhaps in nature. Walking in the woods or sitting in a tree stand is a place I can find peace with this idea but most other places it’s harder. ‘Gray area’ is a thing I struggle with a lot.

We have to define right and wrong for the “Integrity” thing to work so let’s talk about that. As a person of faith, I believe it can be summed up in two statements.

Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.  It’s not my intention to make this a sermon so let’s focus on the last part for this discussion.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Some would say it as “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Another thought that can add to this discussion is the difference between the truth and something being true. The truth is a complete picture, the bottom line. You can say something true but if the intent was to deceive it was not the truth.

Doing the right thing costs us. It might be money or time or both but it has a cost. The cost is probably less if we do the right thing early.

Let me tell you a story.

I represented a buyer who purchased a house that was listed for sale. On the day of closing the sellers were still moving out. They asked us to allow them to finish the move after closing.

At that point the right thing would have been to delay closing but we didn’t do that. It would have been inconvenient for my clients. We had contractors coming to replace flooring and they had to be out of the house there were living in so we thought it would be OK to let them finish after we closed.

While the sellers were moving out but after closing, we discovered the air conditioning was not working. It was true the seller had it ‘serviced’ and there was a receipt but once we got to the truth we found the contractor put over 4 pounds of refrigerant in the system and it had leaked out again. The seller had been told by the contractor this would not fix it but they hid it from us and my buyers were stuck with a system that didn’t work and required a new coil for a cost of $1600. The seller looked me in the eye and told me he would cover the cost and ‘make it right’ but that turned out to be a lie.

As their agent, I should have kept us from closing until the seller moved out 100% (per the contract) and verified the AC was working. I didn’t know adding 4 pounds of refrigerant was an indication of a problem but I learned it is because of this.

Because I didn’t do what I was supposed to sooner, I hired my HVAC contractor to install a new coil and I paid for it. It was the right thing. It was the thing I would have wanted done for me.

I’ve chalked up the lesson to $1600 worth of tuition and moved on. I didn’t pursue the seller other than to write them a note and send him the bill but he ignored me. I’m not surprised but I was disappointed since they didn’t do the right thing.

There is more to come shortly on our culture. The next thing is “Customers always come first”.

I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or email me. My phone number is below too. Give me a call if you want to chat.

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.

Win – Win or no deal

infinite photo

I wrote about culture last time and now I want to share the culture statements from my company and what them mean to me.

The first statement is Win – Win or no deal. It’s borrowed from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits.

When I first started I struggled with the idea of Win – Win. I couldn’t figure out how both parties could win. I thought there had to be a winner and a loser. That makes it really hard to negotiate if that’s your approach. We don’t actually feel good about winning if it means someone else has to lose. We’re connected as humans and with a few exceptions (there are nasty people) we all want to succeed and I think helping others succeed is the best thing we can do for ourselves as well.

There are two types of games. Finite and Infinite. Generally finite games have rules, a set time limit and usually a winner and a loser. Think soccer (football for everyone outside the USA).  Time limit is 90 minutes. Sometimes it ends in a tie but that was explained to me on Father’s day. My son shared how even a tie helps someone win in the big picture. I never knew that but that’s a different article sometime. Leave it to say I didn’t know the rules but I’m learning. The point is a finite game does in fact have a winner and a loser. It’s also a limited amount of resources (think Risk, the game) Clearly there is a limited amount of space in which to conquer and control.

In our company culture, we’re encouraged to find a better game. An infinite game. There are still rules but no time limit. We want the game to continue past the current deal.  Long range thinking is a path to take, Big picture stuff to think about. An attitude of abundance instead of scarcity. I think about helping someone with a rental. It pays almost nothing but it really helps a person who needs that. The win for me is the referrals that occur from it. The relationships that grow out of it. Think bigger and it leads to better problem solving and requires listening to see what’s really important to the other party.

One of the rules required is integrity. You have to be honest in your dealings. It doesn’t mean you tip your hand with negotiating but you don’t deceive.  Ever. Truth can be liberating. It’s easier to deal in the truth rather than create a situation where you have a false advantage just so you can win. I believe you will be found out and that will sacrifice your ability to negotiate in future deals.

That listening part is important too. It means you can put yourself in the other’s position. Figure out what they need and want. It can be as simple as negotiating the refrigerator in the deal (the seller didn’t want it really anyway) or telling the seller that “the buyer really likes your dog :)” (awkward, to say the least).

This is a complex topic and we can dig in for hours to discuss. I really just wanted to share the concept and welcome discussion so comment below or email me if you want to take this further. I”m game for that and I’ll respond, I promise.

The next article will be Integrity – Do the right thing and I’ll get it posted in a couple of days.

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.