The 30 Tools I Use For Productivity, Blogging, Social Media, & Travel (18 are free!)

I don’t know how many times I’ve said – “I wish I had more hours in the day!”

I’m sure you’ve had that sentiment as well.  Alas, 24 hours a day is all we get.  That isn’t going to change.  What can change is how much you can squeeze out of each hour.

30tools 3d cover

Before I go on, I want to make this point.  I’m not advocating becoming a workaholic – or even feeding that addiction.  I’m talking about getting more work done faster.  I’m talking about being able to have more time for what really matter.  Time for your family.  Time to take care of your health.  Time for self-development.  Time for care for your spiritual health.

Some of the most valuable posts I’ve ever read have been on the subject of productivity.  I consume that kind of information.  Everything I’ve learned about productivity apps has come from others or just tinkering with them.  All I’ve learned about traveling efficiently comes from experience and what others have shared with me.

So here is my resource list of the 30 tools I use on a regular basis to squeeze more out of every day.  I’m going to give you the highlights here, and you will be able to download it at the end of the post.

Productivity

When I did my reader survey last month, the subject of productivity was the number one topic of choice.  In this section, I give you my favorite free and paid tools for increasing your productivity.  And here’s a little hint – 1password and Tripit are completely awesome.  Awesome!

Blogging

Blogging has revolutionized my online presence.  It is not easy to do.  But it is so worth it.  The key to blogging well over time is to systematize it.  I have a few templates that I use for most posts.  It saves me a ton of time.  These are the tools I use to build my email list, optimize for SEO, etc.  These tools will save you a ton of time and allow you to maximize your ROI.

Social Media

I’m almost sick of social media.  I believe most people have accepted that social media provides value – sometimes a ton of it.  Though I’m sick of talking about, I use it everyday.  And if you’ve never heard or used BufferApp, you need to check this section out.

Travel

I traveled a ton for work last year.  I think I was on 65 airplanes.  If there is one thing I’m good at, it is navigating airports.  Traveling is a drain on your energy no matter who you are.  Being able to minimize the frustrations of travel while remaining productive saved me a tremendous amount of stress.  These are the tools I used to do it.

Bonus Section:  Recommended Books

As a bonus, I’ve included some of my favorite books in the following categories:

  • Platform building
  • Productivity
  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Stewardship
  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • And others…

These are books that I’ve read and personally recommend.  I’m no expert in any of these subjects.  However, these are books that have helped me grow in these areas.

To download your copy of this free resource list, simply click the button below!

Download Your Free Resource List

Why Your New Years Resolutions Fail – These 3 Reasons

For years, I’ve set New Year’s resolutions.  For years, I’ve been frustrated by them.  Regardless of when in the year you are reading this post, I challenge you to change the way you think about these resolutions.

photo courtesy of iStock.com

photo courtesy of iStock.com

My parents taught me to set goals when I was a kid.  I’ve written out my goals in various categories most years since.  I set goals in these categories:  spiritual, personal development, relational/family, health, career, and social.  Every year at about this time, those resolutions have gone by the wayside.

Last week, I launched my first ever reader survey. The purpose is to understand my readers better so I can provide better content for you. If you haven’t already, please take 5 minutes to fill out the survey. It is super easy.

I read a book last month that I highly recommend.  It is called The One Thing by Gary Keller.  Awesome.  He blew up some of the wrong thinking I had about setting goals.  I want to distill that information for you.

Myths of Setting Resolutions

Multi-tasking – My wife claims to be great at this.  I agree by the way.  Most women that I know, in fact, are much better at multi-tasking than I am.  However, multi-tasking doesn’t actually exist.  Scientific studies now prove that you can’t multi-task.  You just interrupt yourself – bouncing back and forth between tasks.

Some of us bounce back and forth quicker – some more efficiently.  Studies now prove that should you focus your entire energy on one task at a time, you will do them all better and faster.  I realize that my wife is now thinking that is a luxury she doesn’t have.

If you can, focus on one task or goal at a time.  I have been failing at my New Year’s resolutions due to multi-tasking.  I try to change too much about my lifestyle at the same time.

Habit Forming – I’ve heard for years that it takes 21 times to form a habit.  You’ve probably heard the same thing.  That is a lie.  Studies now show that it takes about 66 days.  This means most of us only focus on forming a new habit – or building a new goal into our lives – for 1/3 of the time it takes.

No wonder this has been a frustration for me.

Priorities?? – What are your priorities?  Do you know what the definition of priority means?  It means the main thing – the first thing.  Do you realize you can’t have more than one first thing?  You can’t have two first place finishers.  It is impossible.

It is only in the last couple decades that the word “priority” has had the pluraliztion “priorities.”  We have watered down the meaning of the word from the first thing to an important thing.  But no longer for me.  A priority is just one thing.

So here is my method for this year and beyond:

  • I have chosen the 6 habits (resolutions) that I want to build into my life this year.
  • One at a time, for two months (66 days), I am focusing all my energy on just one thing.
  • After the first habit is built into my life, I move on to the next most important one.

Imagine the impact this could have over the span of years.  Think of the productivity and greatness you could achieve.

So how do you know which one to start with?  Ask this question.  Which of these habits will make it easier or unnecessary to accomplish the others?

Question: If you get 6 habits to build into your life in a year, I’d like to know what you would choose. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Why I’ve Left Sperry Van Ness

With a new year comes new opportunities.  As 2014 starts, I have left Sperry Van Ness to pursue a new opportunity.  I want to share with you what I’m going to be up to and how it will affect my blog.

photo from iStock

photo from iStock

Before I do that, I want to share why I’ve left Sperry Van Ness.  Anytime you leave an organization of any kind, it raises questions.

  1. Was he fired?  No – I wasn’t.
  2. Did he see behind the curtain and hate what he saw?  Negative.
  3. Did he not like the people he was working with?  That is absolutely not the case.
  4. Did an opportunity fall into his lap that he couldn’t ignore?  Bingo.

I started my commercial real estate career the day after I got out of the Marine Corps in 2004.  I was literally fumbling around my dad’s office the following day.  In 2008, we franchised our business with Sperry Van Ness.  After nearly 5 years of proudly flying the SVN flag, I took the corporate position I just left as VP of Organizational Development.

That means that over half my grown-up career years have been with SVN.  I’ve generally strayed away from writing about SVN.  It seemed disingenuous since they wrote my paycheck.  As that is no longer the case, I want to share a few things about SVN.

The People

I remember when we franchised.  I was told that companies franchise for the tools and stay for the people.  I thought that if they were half right about the quality of the franchisees and advisors, I’d be satisfied.  They were right.

I could name dozens of business owners and top performers within SVN that were happy to help me, expand my thinking, teach me how they did business, and even mentor a kid from Western KY.  I will forever be grateful that I was associated with these fine people and can call them friends.

The Platform

I’m a techie – but just in the sense that I love to use technology.  I have no idea how any of it works.  I am much like the guy that can tell time but is in no way a watch-maker.

SVN has the finest technology platform that exists in commercial real estate today.  Admittedly, my experience is myopic so let me share with you why I know this is true.  A portion of my job has been to seek out and recruit preferred vendor relationships with the many outstanding CRE technology companies.  The comment I heard most often was that CRE is in the stone-ages technologically speaking and we wish the other nationals were more like SVN.

Our Their technology platform is cutting edge, cloud based, and brand agnostic.  It is designed with the purpose of making our the SVN advisors more productive and efficient – but ultimately more profitable.

The Model

SVN is a franchise model.  As such, all of our the independently owned and operated offices are led by entrepreneurs.  We generally compete with big nationals that are corporate stores full of employees.  There is a huge difference.  It is entrepreneurial spirit versus resources.

If you’ve seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson, you will remember him leading a small group of militia.  Their job was to inflict as much pain on the British redcoats as possible.  The redcoats had overwhelming numbers and resources. They would line up in their perfect lines and fire away.  They also made great targets.

Gibson’s troop would use guerrilla tactics to outwit and outmaneuver his opponent.  This reminds me of the entrepreneurial spirit of SVN.

So What’s Next

I have bought into a start-up technology company in the food safety industry called Hollison Technologies.  I’m providing a link to the website, but please don’t go there.  It is dated and vague and one of my first orders of business.

Hollison has a patented process of collecting the air around particulate food (think pieces of food like dog food or breakfast cereal) to test for contaminants.  That may not sound very exciting or earth shattering, but consider what it will replace.

The method of testing now is random grab sampling.  It is literally taking a sample at random and testing it.  If the sample is contaminated, that batch doesn’t ship.  If the sample is clean, the batch ships.

The problem is you make a leap of faith that a clean sample means a clean batch.  You only have visibility into the actual sample, and you are hoping the rest of the batch is also clean.  In food safety, hope is a terrible strategy.

Our process continually samples and gives the food manufacturer visibility into 100% of the product.  We think we can literally improve the quality of food world-wide.  How exciting?!

This Blog

You won’t see much change.  My role with Hollison is not that different from my corporate role with SVN, though I will have more of a role in sales.

What I’m most excited about is all the growth and learning that will come with this new opportunity – and I’ll be sharing it all with you here!

Question: What will be different for you in 2014? New career? New focus? New commitment to excellence? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to Systematically Pursue Your Former Clients in These 6 Steps

At the end of this post, you can download a worksheet that will help you put these 6 steps into instant application.

As the father of 3 young kids, I’m always finding things in the couch.  Ninja sword.  Costume jewelry.  Goldfish (the snack).  I never know what I’m going to find when I place my hand between the cushions.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Then there is the wonderful experience that comes with winter.  You put on your coat for the first time since last year and find a $20 in the pocket.  I love that feeling.  Found money.

Your previous clients are like the couch cushions and the $20 long forgotten in a winter coat.  We neglect them.  Then every so often, we lower our hands between the cushions.  I submit that you intentionally pursue these past clients.

You can re-engage your former clients by following these 6 steps.

6 Steps to Re-engage Your Past Clients

  1. Make a list – As in, make a list of all your former or inactive clients.
  2. Scrub the list – You can choose who you would like to work with.  Pursue only the clients that you’d like to work with again.
  3. Prepare – Do your homework.  Be informed.  Have they won an award recently?  Did their daughter get married?  Run a google search.  Check out their LinkedIn profile.
  4. Call 2 a week on Friday afternoons – Call 2 on the list every week.  Do it on a Friday afternoon when the week is winding down.  Make it a habit.  If you would do this every week all year, then you would contact about 100 people that have already done business with you.  These are former clients who have hired you before and actually pulled the trigger on a deal.
  5. Have something of value for them – Don’t just call them to check in.  Maximize this opportunity by having something of value to offer them.  Maybe a building sold by one of their properties and you have comp info for them.  Maybe it has been 3 years since anyone evaluated their portfolio.  Offer to do it for them.
  6. Close for the meeting – Keep in mind the you have an existing relationship.  You should know if they love to golf or would rather sit down for a quick cup of coffee.  Use that information to your advantage and be strategic.  But don’t forget to close for the meeting.  Nothing is more effective than getting face to face.

Question: So what are you going to do now? I challenge you to make your list and then do three things: first, schedule a task on your calendar for every Friday; second, send this article to a friend whom you know needs to read it; and third, tell me when you are done by leaving a comment below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Free Worksheet

 

How to Find Your Specialty by Answering 3 Questions

At the end of this post, I will share with you how to download a free worksheet of the exercise I describe in this post. It will allow you to visually see where your sweet spot lies.

I am continually surprised by Commercial Real Estate brokers who lack a specialty.  All top performers in CRE have a specialty.  Yet, those mired in mediocrity refuse to hone in on what they can be awesome at doing.  In fact, business owners of all kinds often have this problem.

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

I had a call last week with one of our advisors on the East Coast.  He was traditionally a specialist in hospitality.  Because of some changes in his life, he needed to shift his specialty to something he could practice locally.  His question was what should he specialize in.  What would you tell him?

Many of my coaching clients face this question as well.  It doesn’t matter if you are new to the business or you are mid-career.  Making this decision correctly will have a profound impact on your career.  Not only can it determine the amount of income you can make, but it can determine if you will like going to work every morning.

A CRE broker, or any business owner or salesperson, can find his/her sweet spot by answering 3 questions.

Three Questions to Find Your Specialty/Sweet Spot

1.  What do you like?

You should always start here.  What product type do you like?  What would you own if you could?  For me, I love multi-family.  I love to broker these deals.  I own this property type.  I understand it.  I don’t like industrial properties.  They don’t fit my eye.  I don’t enjoy being in industrial parks.  It just isn’t my thing.

You need to answer for yourself – what are my favorite 3 product types?  Write them down.

2.  What are you good at?

This is completely different than what you like.  Consider what you are good at.  Do you enjoy intense underwriting and analysis?  If so, multi-family might be your thing?  Do you enjoy fast paced prospecting and deal making?  If so, then maybe Single Tenant Net Lease (STNL) is your thing?  Maybe you love evaluating how the business aspect of hospitality properties and convenient stores impact value?

Again, list what product types fit your skill set.  Write them down.

3.  Where is the market velocity?

I did this exercise in 2009.  The market had dried up everywhere.  My business was suffering.  I looked around and saw that Dollar Stores were still trading at a rapid rate.  That was the only market velocity I saw anywhere in Kentucky.

Now I already told you that I love multi-family and it fits my skill set.  But no apartments were selling.  If I would have chosen apartments as the object of my prospecting campaign, I would have failed.  Instead, I began focusing on Dollar Stores.  It was a great move, and I learned to love that product type.

Look around your market.  Where is the transactional velocity?  Write those down as well.

Now look at your lists.  Where the answers to the three questions overlap is where you should specialize.  This is your sweet spot.

Now I want you to do two things:

  1. Regardless of what industry you are in, what benefits would you realize by finding your sweet spot and being known as the expert in your specialty? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  2. You have a friend that needs to find their sweet spot. I challenge you to email this post to them so they can do this simple exercise. It could change the trajectory of their career.

To download a free worksheet that will allow you to work this exercise and visually find your sweet spot, click the button below.

Download Your Free Worksheet

 

How to Deliver Bad News – The Post I Wish I Had Read a Year Ago

If you have never had to deliver bad news, you will.  There are good ways and bad ways to deliver this news.  I have proven over time that I am good at the bad ways.  More than anything, I’m writing this post to myself.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

I fired my first team member.  I asked a friend if he was having an affair.  I told a friend that a decision didn’t go his way.  All of this in the last 18 months.  My default style – and I blame the Marine Corps for this – is very direct.  It is blunt.  I like to tell them the headline right up front.  Then I explain.

This does not tend to go well.  They hear the bad news, and then don’t hear anything else I say.  Looking back, I’m better at blind-siding people than giving them the best opportunity to receive the news well and with grace.

In the most recent case, my pastor was with me.  His comment to me when we were done – “You weren’t awesome.”  Frankly, I want to be awesome at this.  I want the words gentle, sensitive, and empathetic to apply as much as firm, decisive, and fair.  So that got me hunting.  I have researched some best practices and distilled them for you in the list that follows.

9 Next Practices in Delivering Bad News

  • In person – This should be a no-brainer, but if you are conflict-averse, it will be very difficult.  Delivering bad news is very emotional and your non-verbal communication has a huge impact.  Not over the phone.  Definitely not by email.  Do it in person.
  • ASAP – Bad news is not like wine.  It does not get better with age.  We too often stall, delay, or hesitate because it is hard.  Deliver bad news as soon as appropriate.
  • Sandwich – You may have heard of the sandwich method.  I’ve heard this taught numerous different times.  I’ve even coached my wife on how to use it.  But I have failed to use it.  The sandwich method is Positive – Negative – Positive.  In other words, you sandwich the bad news between positive statements or good news.  This is what I should have done in the case where my pastor remarked “not awesome.”
  • Decisive – Being decisive is hugely important when delivering bad news.  The one receiving the news needs to know that the decision has been made – period.  That may sound harsh, but it is not.  The alternative is to allow for wiggle room.  Wiggle room gives false hope, and that is truly harsh.  When it is time to deliver the news, look the person in the eye and give a straight-forward and decisive delivery.
  • Empathy – Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling.  I almost completely lack this skill.  Would that CVS had a pill for this.  I would buy it.  This was the advice given me by one of my confidants.  Try to anticipate how the other person will feel.
  • Surprise – Rather, don’t surprise.  I do this to people too often.  I don’t want them to know ahead of time that there could be bad news, so I surprise them.  This is mean.  Give people a head’s up about what’s coming.  It allows them to prepare themselves emotionally.  It can take shock out of their reaction.  Warning them is compassionate.
  • Truthful and Concrete – This is the part that I’m good at.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Tell them why.  Give them the truth.  But give it to them with as much love as possible.  I’ve heard the quote:  “Truth without Love is brutality.  Love without Truth is sentimentality.”  I think it applies here.  Speak the truth in love.
  • Silver Lining – I hesitated putting this one on the list because it could sound like spin.  However, there is almost always a silver lining.  I think it can be positive to point it out.  If not for them to consider when their emotions come back down to earth.
  • Dignity and Respect – Should you do the first 8 on the list, the result should be that the person hearing the bad news will feel treated with dignity and respect.  That is your goal.  A goal that I have repeatedly failed at.

Question: What have you found to be the best way to deliver bad news? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to Teach Your Kids the Power of Adding Value

I live on a golf course.  If you push it right off the 7th tee, I get to keep your golf ball.  My family spends a good amount of time playing in the back yard.  I’m very thankful that none of us have been hit yet.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Earlier in the summer, I was in the back yard playing pitch and catch with my boys.  Suddenly, a shiny Titleist Pro V1 came flying into the yard.  My 7 year-old ran to grab it.  Then he took it up to the course and sold it back to the owner.  He provided a small service to this man and added value to his life.  He made $2.  I was one proud dad.  My wife was mortified.

Now imagine a 7 year-old toe-head with a huge smile doing a victory dance.  It was awesome.

That episode got me thinking about how my dad taught me how to work when I was a kid.  I mowed his empty lots.  I dug ditches.  I worked at his carwash.  He gave me jobs instead of money, and I am grateful for that.

I’m sure I will do the same with my boys.  However, I want to teach them how to create tremendous value and be paid for it.  I want them to catch the entrepreneur bug at an early age.  If they can learn self-discipline as well, they should never lack.  Or at least they won’t be a burden to the taxpayer.

So here is what we did to start their first business.

Inventory

We went to my neighbor who has lived on this street for years.  He has thousands of golf balls that he’s collected over the years.  I took my 7 year old with me and we offered to buy some of his golf balls in bulk.  I was going to play the role of the bank and finance their startup.  They could pay me back from their cashflow.

Somewhat unfortunately, my neighbor is so fond of my son, he just gave him about 150 golf balls.  I really wanted them to learn about cost of goods sold, but my neighbor would not take our money.

Preparation

These are used golf balls.  Many are in great shape.  Many had head-butted cart paths and trees.  Many were just dirty.  So we grabbed a bucket, dumped all the balls in there, and filled it up with water.  Even my 4 year-old baby girl got in on the action to play with the water hose.

We then cleaned and dried them off.  I had the opportunity to discuss quality control with them and the importance of creating an excellent product.

Sorting

If you are a golfer, you know there is a big difference between some balls and others.  We then sorted all the balls into three groups.  Group A was the Pro V1 and its equal.  Group B was filled with the NXT type.  Group C were the ones you would hit into a corn field and not go looking for them.

Packaging

When we had our groups sorted, we packed our product.  Each bag contained 5 golf balls – 0ne from Group A and two from both B and C.

Our thinking was if the A ball could be around $5 out of the box, then we would sell the group of 5 for $5.

Sales Pitch

I then taught my boys the sales pitch.  When a golfer tees off and lands close to our yard, the run and grab a bag of their product.  They then locate the golfers ball for them.  “Sir, we have the best deal in town!  Buy a Pro V-1 for $5 and get four balls for free!”  It is a sight to see.

I want my boys to learn how to create value for others and generate income, and they are getting a taste.  It was a joy to see the light in their eyes when they made their first sale.  I love it when we are throwing in the back yard, and they drop their gloves and run to get their “inventory” to sell to a customer.  I hope that it will start a drive in their bellies.

So here’s to Will and Ben – business owners!

Question: How did you learn to sell? What other ways can you think of to equip the next generation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

7 Steps to Unleashing Crowdsourcing by Utilizing Testimonials

My wife drives a Toyota Sienna.  Do you know why?  It is because a couple of her friends do.  My family is going on vacation next month.  Do you know how we came up with Disney World?  We asked our friends on Facebook what they recommended.  This is what crowdsourcing is.  By definition, it is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people.

Courtesy of iStock Photo

Courtesy of iStock Photo

Crowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon, but it has never had more power.  Social media has brought the world to you laptop screen.  You can access more content and opinions – and quicker – than you ever could before.  People are making decisions this way.  You probably did today.

Did you know that over 80% of all due diligence starts with a Google search?  Do you know how many people trust a recommendation from a “friend”?  90%!  Do you know how many people are positively influenced by a Facebook ‘Like’ button from someone they don’t even know?  70%!  That number astounds me.

By contrast, only 19% of people now trust traditional advertising.  I’m talking about print, TV, or radio.  Do you know why?  Because the game has changed.  No one wants to hear you toot your own horn anymore.  They want to know about real people who have actually used your product or service.  They want a testimonial.

I plan on writing more in the coming months about the power of crowdsourcing and how you can maximize its advantages.  But today, I want to give you 7 steps to harvest testimonials.  There are a dozen ways to repurpose them once you have them.  First, though, you have to get them.

7 Steps to Getting Testimonials

  1. Make a list of your top client relationships – This is obvious, but you first need to list those clients from whom you would like a testimonial.  Consider who was in love with the service or product your provided.  Consider who has the most clout.  Who are those people who you have done business with who can sway the most people in your direction?  Write them down.
  2. It doesn’t matter how dated the client relationships are – Don’t be concerned if these clients go back years in the past.  It doesn’t matter as much when you provided value, but that you did.
  3. Write the testimonial for them – Typically, you are going to send an email request.  For the first one or two, write the testimonial for them.  It should read, “I’m writing to respectfully request that you write a couple of sentences as a testimonial for the service I provided.  I’m looking for something like this…”  Spoon feed it to them.  Then let them know that if what you wrote is accurate, you are happy to use it as their words – with their blessing.  This is the quickest path to obtaining a testimonial.
  4. Use peer pressure – Once you have your first one or two, introduce peer pressure.  You can accomplish this by including the testimonials you have already received as examples of what you are looking for.  This demonstrates that others are providing these testimonials.  Peer pressure can then kick-in encouraging them to follow suit.
  5. Engage their competitive nature – By providing testimonials you have already received as examples in your email request, you will engage their competitive nature.  Your client is likely to want to give you a testimonial that out-does the ones you have already received.  Over time, this can really work in your favor.
  6. Make it easy – I have a coaching client who has collected recommendation letters for years.  He has a book of them.  It is very impressive.  It also took a ton of work to accomplish.  I’m not saying this is a bad idea because it is not.  I am saying that you will have more success more quickly if you keep it simple.  Use email.  Ask for a couple of sentences.  Provide examples.  Make it as easy for them as possible.  You are interrupting them with your request.  The simpler it is, the more you will get.
  7. Systematize – To this point, I’m suggesting you look to the past for your testimonials.  Once you’ve accomplished that, then systematize the process.  Make it a part of your business to seek a testimonial from every new client you do business with.  Over time, you will develop a stable of clients that scream from the mountain tops how awesome you are.  Remember that 70% of people trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know!

I’d be so grateful if you would add to my list by using the comments section below.  What have I left off?  How have you put the power of testimonials to work in your business?

April’s Top Posts from theBarronBlog

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from April on the topics of Next Practices in Life, Business, and Commercial Real Estate.

I do want to invite you to subscribe to this blog just to the right of what you are reading now.  This will make it so easy for you to get my new posts without having to remember to check my site.  And I will never violate your privacy!

 

April’s Top Posts:

 

Make the dang call! via iStockphotot.com

Make the dang call! via iStockphotot.com

The Anatomy of a Cold Call – While I don’t believe in scripts, I do believe in crafting your opening statement before you call.  Most salespeople have the most problems with how they start the call.  ”Uh, hi.  My name is Bo Barron and I’m with ABC Co.  Uh….how’s it going?”  Terrible!    Read more…

 

 

 

WallpaperWizard-502021866

The first face to face!

The 5 Steps of the Initial Meeting – With some experience and some great coaching, I learned a better way.  Remember, if you are following my system, this initial meeting should be short.  Actually, you told the prospect that it would be short.  If you connect and the prospect starts asking questions – great.  You may be there 2 hours.  However, you told them short.  Prepare for short as you are making an impression as someone with integrity…or not.  Read more…

 

 

 

It is go time!  What do you do?

It is go time! What do you do?

The Winning Presentation – You have now landed a meeting to make a listing presentation (or whatever presentation applies to you).  You have worked through the entire prospecting process to get to this point.  Your put in the work becoming a market specialist.  Building a database.  Sending letters.  Making cold calls.  Conducting the needs analysis.  It has all led to this moment.  You sit in front of the prospect.  The business is there for the taking.  You have the privilege of potentially improving the life of the person in front of you.  What do you do?  Read more…

 

Bo Barron Speaking

Bo Barron Speaking

Why Do We Fall? [Video] -This week I had the privilege of traveling to Salisbury, MD to visit SVN Miller Commercial.  This group is the Sperry Van Ness 2012 Firm of the Year.  They are a study in how to build a team with incredible culture.  They like each other.  They have tradition.  They have camaraderie.  They absolutely dominate their market.

I had the pleasure of training their entire company primarily on prospecting.  At the end of our afternoon together, Brent Miller played this video.  I was so moved that I wanted to share it with you.

  Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

Clarity Series – Prospecting – Summary & Conclusion – When I was 15, my dad hired me to clean out a concrete drainage ditch.  That ditch ran behind the houses of a street he had developed.  We agreed on a price and I started digging.  I soon discovered that I could hire my friends at a rate higher than minimum wage.  I made all the income when I did the work.  I made half that amount when they did the work.  Read more…

Thank you so much for reading.  Towards the end of May, I will be introducing another Clarity Series on Presence.  As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Question:  What is the single most important activity that drives your business?  I challenge you to articulate and explain your answer in the comments below.

 

CS: Prospecting – The 5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!

WallpaperWizard-502021866

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve discussed the first 5 steps of the killer prospecting system:  geography, specialty, database, use the mail, and make the dang cold call.  You have done these 5 steps and now have a meeting with a prospect.  Here is what I used to do.

I would go into the meeting guns blazing about why me, why my company, and why now.  It was all about me.  I would give my canned listing presentation.  I would use this on a 2 acre piece of raw land just like I would with an $8MM apartment complex.  I cringe thinking about this.

With some experience and some great coaching, I learned a better way.  Remember, if you are following my system, this initial meeting should be short.  Actually, you told the prospect that it would be short.  If you connect and the prospect starts asking questions – great.  You may be there 2 hours.  However, you told them short.  Prepare for short as you are making an impression as someone with integrity…or not.

5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

Your purpose in this meeting is two-fold.  First, you need to find out if there is a problem or an opportunity.  Second, you want to leave with an appointment for a second, longer meeting.  This second meeting is where you will make your proposal.  Here is how to pull it off.

  1. Ooze Gratitude and Excitement – Too many brokers or salespeople act too cool.  If you have done your homework and worked the system, then you are sitting with someone who you want to do business with.  You are sitting across from someone who you have pursued.  Don’t act like you could care less.  Show the prospect that you are excited.  Let them know that you are thankful they have given you some time.  Gratitude and manners go a long way.  “Mr. Prospect, I lost sleep last night I was so excited about meeting with you today.  Thank you so much for the time.”
  2. Arrive Bearing Gifts – To get the meeting, you may have offered them something of value – information on a comparable sale effecting their property’s value, etc.  Be sure you have it.  It is likely they aren’t meeting with you because of your reputation.  Deliver this information in the context of a story.  Stories are a great way to communicate the emotion of the deal.  It will help you connect with the prospect.
  3. Make the meeting about them – This is contrary to a salesperson’s natural inclination.  Don’t drone on about your experience or your company.  You should have researched the prospect.  Try to quickly connect around some common ground.  Did you go to rival colleges?  Do you have children of similar ages?  Ideally, you will be in their office.  This gives you the opportunity to see pictures, awards, diplomas, etc.  Pay attention to detail.
  4. Ask Great Questions – Here is where you are trying to uncover motivations that could lead to a transaction.  Better stated – you are trying to uncover opportunities to serve the prospect and build trust.  Asking open-ended and insightful questions is how you will do it.  Try to find area of frustration or pain.  Ask them what keeps them up at night regarding their property.  The answer could be about an opportunity they are excited about.  It could also be about pain they are having.  Ask them about frustrations they have had with previous broker relationships.  The answers to these questions are gold.  This is the information you will use to prepare your customized proposal to win their business later.
  5. Ask for the next meeting – Now that you have conducted your needs-analysis meeting, ask for the next meeting.  Explain that you will need a little more time for the next meeting to propose how they might achieve their highest interest (this is the same highest interest you learned in step 4).  Once you leave with an appointment, it is now time to prepare for your proposal.

What are your thoughts about an initial needs-analysis meeting?  What are some questions that you would ask?  Please leave your comments below!