For Real Estate Sales Professionals

September 24, 2001 E-zine

Jim Gillespie's 
September 24, 2001
Publisher: Jim Gillespie 


Doing what has you become the best real estate
agent in your territory definitely beats all
of your other options.


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1. The Aftermath of September 11th

2. Always Watch What You Say and Do

3. Get Your Manager to Help You Win!

1. The Aftermath of September 11th

The last E-zine that I published was on September 10th. And I sit here trying to figure-out how I should deal with what happened on September 11th in this edition of my E-zine. As real estate agents we learn to always focus on the positive and put whatever is getting in our way behind us. No matter what, just focus on the bright side is what I've told myself many times over the years. So the thought hit me to do just that and not even discuss the incidents of September 11th in this edition of my E-zine. Maybe I could just ignore it and write only articles that focus on taking your real estate business to the next level. But even being an agent who spent over 20 years in the business and learned how to continually smile under almost all circumstances, I knew this just wouldn't work here. So please bear with me for a few moments...

People say that our lives will never again be the same. And this may be true. But our country has a strong history of rising-up to do the right thing and standing tall for what we believe in. And I know that in doing so our nation will once again come together and continue to be strong. And in the end, justice and all that is right will once again prevail.

I get very emotional when I hear about what happened on the hijacked plane that went down in Pennsylvania. I am filled with great pride when I hear about the passengers that rose-up to do something about what was happening on their flight. All I know is that if I was now faced with the same situation in the future I would have to do the same thing myself. The people on that flight set an example for what any of us can do if faced with a similar situation in the future. Given the choice between spending my last moments fighting for what I know I believe in or freezing-up and being afraid to do so, I know I would have to choose the fight.

I think the reason for this is because of my father. My father was one of the most wonderful human beings I've ever known. He was a great father and a great friend. He was a gallant pilot for the Royal Air Force in World War II between 1940 and 1945. He flew 101 missions in all including engaging in numerous dogfights with the German Luftwaffe while flying the legendary Spitfire fighter-plane. He was shot-down out of the air twice and somehow managed to survive. On his final mission he was taking off on a bombing raid and one of the engines on his Wellington bomber caught on fire. He then had to quickly look for a field to crash-land the plane in and made it happen. After running clear of the plane he heard the screams of his two crew members coming from inside the plane. They both had fractured pelvises from the impact of the crash and could not move. By this time the plane was now engulfed in flames, but my father did what he knew he had to do. He went back into the plane twice and pulled each crew member out of the plane and clear of the wreckage to safety. For this act of bravery my father was awarded the MBE by King George VI. This is a very special award in the UK and to this day it is still my most treasured possession. I wore it on the jacket of my suit at his funeral when I stood-up to talk about what a great man he was. That is the only day of my life where I ever cried completely uncontrollably. And of all the days I could have picked, it was in front of a standing room only audience, too!

And of course, my father being a true veteran of the blood and guts of a horrendous war never really wanted to talk about it. And I can't say that I blame him. Who would really and truly want to relive those experiences over and over again? I don't think there's many people who made it out safely from the World Trade Center who will enjoy talking about it many years in the future, either.

When I think of the passengers in that hijacked plane it reminds me of my father and all of the other gallant warriors who have fought so hard for the freedom we now enjoy. We are all faced with decisions we must make in our own lives about doing the right thing. And when we trust our intuition in doing the right thing somehow our lives just seem to work out that much better.

We as a nation are now faced with doing the right thing. Are we afraid? You bet. But by staying grounded in what we know is the right thing to do and fighting for what we believe in, we will once again prevail. And in fighting for what we believe in we will once again be relying on our military. The thousands of young men and women who have chosen to put their lives on the line and do the right thing so that we and the rest of the world will continue to enjoy our freedom. Our hearts and thoughts go with them.

Sometimes in our real estate careers we are faced with choices between doing the right thing, or doing something else. Being in a business that is 100% commission driven we are sometimes faced with the fear of disclosing something that we feel one or both of the parties in the transaction may want to know about. And there is that fear that if they knew about it, as minor as "it" might seem to us at the time in our own mind, the deal might go south and we'll lose $50,000.00 or so in commission.

I learned a long time ago that I have to do what I know is the right thing to do no matter what.

2. Always Watch What You Say and Do

What specifically am I talking about here? The best example I can give to illustrate what I'm talking about is one that I experienced personally.

Years ago before my mother passed away I would regularly go to visit her. She was still living in the house that I grew up in, and I knew that someday the time would come for us to sell the house. Over the years I would look at all the mailings she would receive from the real estate agents working in the territory she lived in to get an idea of who the best agents were and what the value of my mother's house was. However, after looking at all of these mailers and postcards for years, there was not one time when I was inspired to pick-up the phone and call any of the agents who had mailed them. The mailings just never gave me any motivating call to action to pick-up the phone and call one of the agents. Until this one mailing arrived...

The idea and the approach of what the mailing said to me was simple, yet profound. It represented something that I wanted. (I'll tell you more about it in the next edition of my E-zine.) And, it got me to immediately pick-up the phone and call the agent to ask him some questions. And from the agent's perspective he was now beginning to build a relationship with a prospect in his territory with whom he had no prior relationship. This can definitely be a good thing.

Now, whenever I wanted to find out what was going on as far as real estate activity in my mother's neighborhood, this guy was the only person I called. And we continued to build a relationship with each other over a period of 2-3 years.

When the time came to sell my mother's house he was the first person I called. We sat down and talked. We scheduled another meeting where he gave me a full-blown written analysis of the value of my mother's house and handed me his proposed listing agreement along with the analysis. I liked his presentation and what he was telling me, but I still wanted to interview at least one other agent before I selected "the agent" and signed a listing agreement.

That's when I interviewed Ellen Conrad. I actually liked her mailings overall better than the other agent's (let's now call him Bob). However, Bob had inspired me to call him off of that one mailing he had sent me, and he and I had a 2-3 year relationship going. Ellen and I on the other hand had just met. Bob clearly had the lead here. And I actually told him it was "his listing to lose." Those words then somehow became much more prophetic than I would ever realize...

As it came down to my final decision, Bob clearly had the lead. He and I had too much history together and I simply felt obligated to him. However, Ellen made one request of me:

"Promise me that I'll be the last agent you'll meet with before you decide who you will list the home with."

I agreed to this. 

Please refer to the August 13, 2001 edition of my E-zine at my Web site to learn why being your prospect's last listing appointment is extremely important. You may do so by visiting:

Bob knew that Ellen was his only competition to get the listing. I then called Bob and told him there were two more things that I needed from him before I made my final decision on who I would list with. The first thing I needed was I wanted to know what he would do to market the house that would be different than what all the other agents normally do. The second was that I needed to meet with him in-person one more time.

Bob answered my initial question with the following:

"Well Jim, you know all of us agents do basically the same thing. I can't say that I'm really going to do anything different than what all the other agents in my territory would do to market the house."

Strike one.

And his response to my request for one more face-to-face meeting with him:

"Jim, that's really not necessary. I've basically told you everything you need to know at this point."

Strike two.

Wow! I was stunned! Bob had built such a great relationship with me over the 2-3 years that we had known each other. And here he was now at the one yard line about to score a touchdown and he completely took a nap! Now I must ask you...what owner would ever want to list their property with an agent who told them that he or she was in effect no different than any other agent in the territory? My God, one would have to have a very, very strong relationship with an agent to still move ahead and list with them after hearing a statement like that! And I would imagine that risking your relationship with your own clients and prospects by making a statement like that is not something you'd be interested in doing! People always want to list their property with the agent they feel is the best agent to get the job done.

Regarding Bob's second response to me about not needing to meet with me again, he was completely missing the point here. What he felt was necessary was not what was important. What I as the prospect felt was important was what counted.

After this I then had my final appointment with Ellen, and I became completely sold on her. In fact, I became so sold on her that I signed the listing agreement with her at that very meeting.

I called Bob shortly thereafter and left a message for him on his voicemail telling him that I had decided to list the property with Ellen. The next day he left me a message on my voicemail yelling at me and telling me that he felt I had taken advantage of him and used him. He then followed by telling me that he never felt that he was even in contention to get the listing.

Strike three.

I actually thought about calling Bob back to explain to him why he had lost the listing, but I was so taken aback by his horrible, vindictive message that I decided to pass on doing this.

What Bob was clueless about was what specifically he had done to lose the listing. And he was also clueless about how saying the things that he said in his message to me can come back to hurt him. You simply don't want anyone out there talking to your prospects about being on the receiving end of an experience like that. 

Now I don't visit the old neighborhood very often anymore, but if someone who was considering selling their home were to ask me my opinion of Bob, I would most likely tell them about my experience.

3. Get Your Manager to Help You Win!

If you are working in an office that has a number of top producers in your territory, you are definitely surrounded by a wealth of information and expertise. While you may be in close surroundings with the other agents in your office, either in cubes or private offices, you probably know very little about what these top producers do during their face-to-face appointments with their clients and prospects. And if they truly are top producers, I guarantee you that being able to see their in-person presentations will be well worth your time and energy. Even if you're already a top producer yourself it's always a good idea to find out new and different approaches that others are using successfully in their own real estate businesses.

So go and say something like this to your manager:

"I have this idea. Maybe we can even do it from time-to-time during our weekly sales meetings. How about if we have one of the top listing agents in our office show us exactly what he or she does during their listing presentations that has them be so successful at listing properties?"

And, you don't have to stop at only listing presentations. If someone in the office is exceptional at representing buyers you may want to have them give a presentation on how they are doing it so successfully. If someone is producing great results while cold-calling, perhaps you can enlist them in making a presentation to the office on how they do this also. The point is that you are probably surrounded by experts in your office and everyone in the office can gain immeasurably by learning what the heck each of the highly-successful people are doing on their own.

Now not every expert will be willing to share his or her expertise with the rest of the office. But enough of the experts will be willing to do so and make it more than worthwhile for everyone else. If you genuinely feel you're in an office where not one single person would be willing to give such a presentation, you may want to ask yourself why in the world you're still working there.

There is much to be gained for your entire office by asking your manager to do this. You know how thrilling those weekly sales meetings normally are anyway, don't you? Why not then include something in the meetings that will actually help you to close a few more transactions?


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