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

 

March’s Top Posts – Prospecting

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from March 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!

 

March’s Top Posts:

 

via iStockPhoto

via iStockPhoto

The Purpose of a Cold Call – The purpose of a cold call is very simple and there is no debate.  It is to get a meeting.  That’s it.  It is not to spend 20 minutes on the phone.  It is not to build a lasting relationship.  It is not to make the sale.  The purpose of the cold call is simply to get a meeting..  Read more…

 

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

How to Write a Prospecting Letter – So, here is a not so short letter to my children.  I share this because I believe intentionally communicating with our children what they should know is a great idea.  Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, but it could also be my last.  I want to intentionally take steps to share certain things with my children that could make a huge difference in their lives.  I share this to encourage you to do the same.  Read more…

 

Don't I look smart?  My wife thinks so!

Don’t I look smart? My wife thinks so!

Introducing the Clarity Series: Prospecting – Clarity is such a powerful thing.  It allows you to act with direction and focus.  It gives you the ability to maximize your efforts and your results.  Clarity of purpose allows you to say ‘no’ to good things and ‘yes’ to great things.

I am introducing the Clarity Series.  Let me explain what the Clarity Series is.

Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

Preparation for a Cold Call – I recommend that you take 2-3 minutes before you make a call and see what you can find out about your prospect.  There is way too much information out there not to.  Your goal is to find something quickly that you can use to establish common ground.  Remember, cold-calling is a numbers game.  Don’t spend too much time researching your prospect.  And don’t spend too much time on the call itself.  Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

5 Steps to Build a World-Class Database – In 2004, I got out of the Marine Corps and moved home with my family.  The next day, I started working with my dad in his CRE brokerage business.  As we would be driving around town, he would share with me the histories of the properties we drove by.  He knew everything.  He knew who owned the property.  He could tell me what they paid for it.  He could tell me how big they were.  We would pass some properties he had sold multiple times.  He defined encyclopedic knowledge of a market.  I remember thinking that I would never get there.  Read more…

Thank you so much for reading.  April will continue the Clarity Series on Prospecting.  We will then get into how to create a dominating presence in any market.  If you have any ideas on what I should write about, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

 

CS: Prospecting – How to Write a Prospecting Letter

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!

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

In the previous posts for this Clarity Series on Prospecting, I wrote about how I prospected on dollar stores in KY.  After choosing my geography and specialty, and then building my database, it was then time to start contacting people.  This post is a slight revision on a previous post I wrote titled The 3 Benefits of a Well Written Prospecting Letter.  It fits perfectly here.

In my next post, I will go over the anatomy of an effective cold call.  But I prefer to warm up that call.  Writing a letter is a fantastic way to do that.  Determine how many prospects you plan to cold call a week.  That is how many letters you send the week before.  Twenty was my number.  You can certainly do more.

Sending letters has had 4 different types of results for me:

  1. It hits the trash immediately.
  2. They see my name on the envelope before it hits the trash.
  3. It is opened and read. 
  4. It motivates the reader of the letter to call me first.

You have to assume that at least 50% of recipients are not going to read your letter.  They just won’t.  And that is fine.  All I’m trying to do is warm up my initial cold call.  When I call those who actually read it, my ratio for getting a meeting goes up.

On average, they would call me first about once a month.  70% of those calls turn into listings – that is our close rate when they call us from the letter.  That is a huge number for the cost of paper and a stamp.

I want to share 2 things in the remainder of this post:  why send a letter, and how to increase your open and read rate.

3 Reasons/Benefits to Sending a Prospecting Letter

  1. Letters warm up the cold call – This is obvious, but it works.  Not only do I have a higher success rate in getting meetings with those that read the letter, it gives me something to refer to right off the bat.  “Hi Mr. Smith.  I’m Bo Barron and I’m calling to follow-up on the letter I sent you last week…”
  2. Letters force you to follow-up with a call – How is that, you say?  The letters force me to call because I tell them in the letter that I will be calling in about a week.  This is built-in accountability.  It gives you your first opportunity to follow through with integrity – or drop the ball.
  3. Letters force you to be intentional and systematic with your prospecting – This is a huge benefit for most.  To send out a certain amount of letters a week means you must have your database set up.  It means you are intentionally signing X number of letters a week.  It means that you are planning ahead.  It means that you are differentiating yourself from 95% of the rest of the brokerage community.

Now that I have covered why to send the letters, let’s discuss how to get more people to actually open and read the letter!

  • Handwrite the envelope – Studies show that more people open mail that is handwritten versus printed.  I generally had my assistant do it.  She has much better handwriting.  Once a week, 20 letters appeared on my desk.  I signed them and gave them back to her.  She addressed the letters and sent them.  She logged into my cloud-based CRM system and scheduled the cold calls to the recipients.  I made the calls.  Clockwork.  Simple.  Effective!
  • Write a scannable letter – This is a scannable blog post.  I utilize simple sentences.  Short paragraphs.  Lists.  Bullet-points.  A friend of mine runs a local Packages Plus business.  He was sharing with me that studies have been done on increasing the read rate of a letter.  The second most likely thing that is read in a letter is bullet points.  I will tell you the first in a second.  Use them.  That is where your most important information belongs – written in a benefit statement for the reader.
  • Keep the letter short – Anything longer than a page is way too long.  Three-quarters of a page is what I think is best. You have about 15 seconds of eye-ball time.  After that, you lose their attention to something else.  Short and simple works best.
  • Talk about them – Don’t send a letter all about you.  They don’t care.  They care about themselves.  Talk about what is happening that affects their property – their bottom line – their lives.  If you don’t do this, you are wasting your time.
  • Use a Postscript – That’s right – the P.S.  The postscript is the single most read thing in a letter.  Therefore, put the most important thing in the postscript.  I suggest to you that is where you tell them you will call them.  If they read nothing but the postscript, and you tell them you are going to call them, they are much more likely to then read the letter.

I have a couple more thoughts to leave you with.  First, systematize this process.  If you are prospecting on similar properties, there is a good chance that you can use the same basic letter over and over.  If not, take the time to customize the letter to the owner.  Your close rate going from call to meeting will go up.  Take the time.  It is worth it.

Second, delegate everything you can.  I initially wrote the letter.  My assistant would print out 20 a week.  She would lay them on my desk on Wednesday.  I would sign them and give them back to her.  She would then address the envelopes and send them.  Then she would log in to ClientLook and record who was sent a letter.  Finally, she would schedule my calls for the following Tuesday.

Note that all I did was initially write the letter and sign them each week.  Everything else was done by her.  When I show up on Tuesday, my call list is already waiting for me.  Delegate everything that anyone else can do so that you can focus on what only you can do.  Systematization at its finest!

Most of you will not do this.  Some because you are lazy.  Some because you don’t know where to start.  Some because you won’t pause long enough to build your database in the first place.

I challenge you to try this for 90 days.  I think you will be blown away with the results.

Let me hear from you.  Have you used prospecting letters before?  Did they work?  What would prevent you from doing it now?  Please share your comments!

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?  You don’t have a clue, do you?

I have a mentor and client who is incredibly successful.  He owns over a dozen businesses. He employs hundreds of people.  He loves Jesus and is one of the most generous men I’ve ever met.  He is an amazing man.  He is someone who we should all want to be like.

iStock_000021836294SmallA couple of years ago, I was meeting with this man.  I asked him what the inflection point was in his career.  He surprised me with his answer. He told me about a conversation that he had with his mentor.  At that time, my mentor had hit his limit.  He was experiencing what John Maxwell calls the Law of the Lid (read the book – affiliate link).

In that conversation, my mentor asked his mentor, “Why can’t I break through?  What is my problem?”

Last week at my company’s national convention, I spoke on becoming a Power Prospector.  Afterwards, one of our top producers wanted to talk with me.  He is tapped out.  He has so much business.  However, he is struggling to keep up with it all. He’s trying to do everything himself.  It isn’t working.

I ask you again.  What are you worth?

This is one of the most important things that you can know when running your business.  Why?  Because you have more to do in any one day than you can accomplish.

Delegation

In both of the stories above, lack of delegation is the problem.  My mentor was trying to control everything.  He wouldn’t delegate.  Thus, he was the bottleneck.  He was the problem.

Our top producer has not put together a team or a system to maximize his efforts.  He is the Lid holding his business and his productivity back.  We are going to remedy this situation, and his business is going to explode.

You have heard that delegation is a good idea, but can you articulate why?  As the CEO of you, there are certain tasks that only you can do.  These are the high-dollar activities or the high value creation activities.  You want to delegate everything else so that you can focus on those activities.  Said another way, anything that anyone else can do, they should do.  This frees you up to do only things that only you can do.

To effectively accomplish this, you must do 3 things:

  1. Catalogue your activities – Before you can delegate, you must know with clarity all the activities that take up your time.  The best way to do this is to catalogue everything that you spend time on for a week.  Write it all down.  Some of you just rolled your eyes.  Don’t skip this step.  Write it all down.
  2. Triage – The triage step involves deciding which are the high dollar activities and which need to be delegated.  Ask yourself, “If I could only do 3 of these activities, which ones would they be?”  Some you will simply want to delete and stop doing entirely.  This step gives you clarity of purpose.  It also gives you the job description for the team member or virtual assistant that you may add.  If you already have an assistant or team in place, this list is now their playbook.
  3. Know what you are worth! – Many of you will be tempted to simply read this and move on with your life.  I challenge you not to.  Go through this with me.  You will thank me.

I’m going to use round numbers.  Let’s assume that you work 50 weeks a year and 40 hours a week.  Now write down what your income goal for the year is.  Great.  The math looks like this.

50 weeks x 40 hours/week = 2,000 hours worked in a year

Income Goal  / 2,000 hours = your value per hour

If you want to make $100,000 this year, then $100,000 / 2,000 hours = $50/hr.  If you want to make $400,000 this year, then your are worth $200/hr.

Rod Santomassimo, the president and founder of the coaching firm the Massimo-Group, knows his number.  He has a note on his desk that reads, “Is what you are doing right now worth $___/hr?  If not, stop doing it!”  This is why you must know your worth.  It allows you to effectively focus on the activities that maximize your effectiveness and earning potential.  Otherwise, you are leaving money on the table.

So what are you worth?  How will knowing this number effect how you lead and work?  Let me know in the comments below!

The 3 Benefits of a Well Done Prospecting Letter

I previously wrote a post on The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System.  Step 4 in that process deals with the use of a prospecting letter.  In my business, we sent just 20 letters to Dollar Store owners every week.  Then we called them the following week.

iStockPhoto from cosmity

iStockPhoto from cosmity

For the past 2 years I have used this system religiously.  It has had 4 different types of results for me:

  1. It hits the trash immediately.
  2. They see my name on the envelope before it hits the trash.
  3. It is opened and read. 
  4. It motivates the reader of the letter to call me first.

You have to assume that at least 50% of recipients are not going to read your letter.  They just won’t.  And that is fine.  All I’m trying to do is warm up my initial cold call.  When I call those who actually read it, my ratio for getting a meeting goes up.

On average, they will call me first about once a month.  70% of those calls turn into listings – that is our close rate when they call us from the letter.  That is a huge number for the cost of paper and a stamp.

I want to share 2 things in the remainder of this post:  why send a letter, and how to increase your open and read rate.

3 Reasons/Benefits to Sending a Prospecting Letter

  1. Letters warm up the cold call – This is obvious, but it works.  Not only do I have a higher success rate in getting meetings with those that read the letter, it gives me something to refer to right off the bat.  “Hi Mr. Smith.  I’m Bo Barron and I’m calling to follow-up on the letter I sent you last week…”
  2. Letters force you to follow-up with a call – How is that, you say?  The letters force me to call because I tell them in the letter that I will be calling in about a week.  This is built-in accountability.  It gives you your first opportunity to follow through with integrity – or drop the ball.
  3. Letters force you to be intentional and systematic with your prospecting – This is a huge benefit for most.  To send out a certain amount of letters a week means you must have your database set up.  It means you are intentionally signing X number of letters a week.  It means that you are planning ahead.  It means that you are differentiating yourself from 95% of the rest of the brokerage community.

Now that I have covered why to send the letters, let’s discuss how to get more people to actually open and read the letter!

  • Handwrite the envelope – Studies show that more people open mail that is handwritten versus printed.  I generally had my assistant do it.  She has much better handwriting.  Once a week, 20 letters appeared on my desk.  I signed them and gave them back to her.  She addressed the letters and sent them.  She logged into my cloud-based CRM system and scheduled the cold calls to the recipients.  I made the calls.  Clockwork.  Simple.  Effective!
  • Write a scannable letter – This is a scannable blog post.  I utilize simple sentences.  Short paragraphs.  Lists.  Bullet-points.  A friend of mine runs a local Packages Plus business.  He was sharing with me that studies have been done on increasing the read rate of a letter.  The second most likely thing that is read in a letter is bullet points.  I will tell you the first in a second.  Use them.  That is where your most important information belongs – written in a benefit statement for the reader.
  • Keep the letter short – Anything longer than a page is way too long.  Three-quarters of a page is what I think is best. You have about 15 seconds of eye-ball time.  After that, you lose their attention to something else.  Short and simple works best.
  • Talk about them – Don’t send a letter all about you.  They don’t care.  They care about themselves.  Talk about what is happening that affects their property – their bottom line – their lives.  If you don’t do this, you are wasting your time.
  • Use a Postscript – That’s right – the P.S.  The postscript is the single most read thing in a letter.  Therefore, put the most important thing in the postscript.  I suggest to you that is where you tell them you will call them.  If they read nothing but the postscript, and you tell them you are going to call them, they are much more likely to then read the letter.

Most of you will not do this.  Some because you are lazy.  Some because you don’t know where to start.  Some because you won’t pause long enough to build your database in the first place.

I challenge you to try this for 90 days.  I think you will be blown away with the results.

Let me hear from you.  Have you used prospecting letters in the past?  What worked well?  What didn’t?  Comment below!

The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System

In last week’s post, the Difference Between Top Producers and the Others, I made the case that top producers prospect.  That is the difference.  They schedule time to do it.  They have a system that they execute.  It works.  It sets them apart.  I have also written a post on the benefits of systematizing your business.  Both of these posts deal with the “why.”   Before you go any further, I encourage you to take a few moments and take a look at those posts.  Knowing “how” without believing in the “why” will lead to burnout and letdown.

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

I highly recommend coaching.  Regardless of your level of success, a coach and mentor can provide you with great benefit.  At the beginning of 2010, I hired the Massimo-Group to coach me in my commercial real estate business.  Up until that time, I had never systematized my prospecting efforts.  There was no rhyme or reason.  Often, there was no prospecting at all.  My coach helped me change that and revolutionized my business in the process.

I want to clarify what I mean by prospecting.  Prospecting is a form of business development.  Networking and building a presence – or a platform – is another form of business development.  Their activities are similar.  Their purpose is completely different.  (To read about the difference between prospecting and networking, click here.)  Prospecting involves asking for the business.  That is its only purpose.

Since my last post on prospecting, I’ve received a number of questions about how to do it.  My way is not the only way, but any effective prospecting system will have elements of these 8 steps.  This is exactly how I built my core business.  You can do it too!

How to Build a Prospecting System

  1. Define your geography – This is as simple as it sounds.  You have to know what geography you are working in.  I come from a small tertiary market.  To have enough Single Tenant Net Lease (STNL) properties to go after, I built a state-wide database.  I’ve heard different numbers, but you need at least 350 properties in your farm area.  If you are in Los Angeles like one of my clients, you may just have a section of such a large city.  Regardless, you need to be able to articulate it with clarity.
  2. Choose your specialty – If there is one thing true of top produces, other than they prospect, it is that they are specialists.  Use this test.  What are you good at?  What do you like?  And where is the deal velocity?  Your specialty should be where these three answers intersect.  A quick note:  it is OK to be a geographical specialist.  The number one broker from the number one CRE firm in New York City is a geographical specialist.  And he kills it!
  3. Build your database – Once you know your geography and your specialty, it is time to build your database.  It should include all the properties in your farm area.  You need to know who owns what, how long they’ve owned it, what they paid, and their contact information.  I’ve heard brokers talk about how they used to have all that information on notecards.  My assistant built mine using Excel.  We then imported it into my cloud-based CRM solution.  All of that info is now in my iPhone.
  4. Send them something in the mail – This could be a book, a letter, anything of value.  The whole idea here is you want to raise your chances that they will take your call and talk to you.  Letters are cheap.  There is no reason not to send them.  Get creative.  You want them to want to take your call.
  5. Make the dang call – This is the scary part for most brokers and salespeople.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of sounding and feeling stupid.  You must overcome those fears.  You must prepare – but not so much that you never make the call.  The entire goal of the cold call is to get a meeting.  That is it.  If you spend 30 minutes talking, you have missed the point.  Get the face to face meeting.
  6. Have the meeting – Face to face is where the top producers excel.  These meetings can take two forms.  I prefer the first meeting to be a needs-analysis meeting.  I am asking questions of the prospect and it is all about them.  Then the second meeting is where I make my proposal.  That isn’t always possible, but it is certainly ideal.
  7. Make the proposal – Sometimes, step 6 and 7 happen at the same time.  Ideally, you have had the needs-analysis interview and then gone and crafted a custom proposal that addresses the specific needs of that specific prospect.  This beats a canned-presentation every time.
  8. Win the listing/Make the sale – this is what success looks like.  After a while of doing this, you will know that if I make X amount of calls, I will get this many meetings.  If I get X amount of meetings, I will make this many proposals.  If I make X amount of proposals, I will win this many listings.

How do you prospect?  Do you have a system?  What can you add that I have overlooked?  Please don’t hesitate to comment.  We want to hear from you, and it will benefit the entire community.

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 2

The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.  In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  In this post, I cover the second 6 keys.  (You can find Part 1 here.)

In my last post, I introduced the first 6 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  Before I share 7 – 12, let me briefly review the first 6:

  1. Obtain Knowledge
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers
  3. Hire a coach!
  4. Go to Conferences
  5. Read!
  6. Systematize Your Business

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

7.  Use Technology for its Time Management & Efficiency Benefits – I am not the tech geek that can explain to you how things actually work.  I just love using technology to squeeze more productivity out of a day.  Top producers are fanatical about time management and efficiency.  I have written posts that go into more depth about this:

8.  Build a Team – Top producers are team oriented.  Top Producers are not loners.  They don’t try to do everything.  They understand the value of a team.  And not only just having a team, but maximizing the production of that team.  Rod Santomassimo discusses this in his best-selling CRE book – Brokers Who Dominate.  Beyond the fact that I am profiled – along with about 22 others – this is must reading for any CRE practitioner.

Top producing brokerage teams are generally made up of a Senior Producer (Rainmaker), and Junior/New to the Business advisor, and an administrative assistant.  The key to the best teams is hiring/recruiting well and assigning tasks according to the strengths of the team.  The best teams run like a well-oiled machine (or the Colts offense in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game!).  They do so because everyone knows the plays.  They know their roles.  Systems and communication are vital.  Read more about systems here.

9.  Treat Your Business Like a Business – The alternative is treating it like a hobby.  You’d be shocked at how many brokers treat their businesses like a hobby.  I can look at your books and tell you in 30 seconds whether you have a hobby or a business.  The difference?  Brokers that treat their business like a business invest in it.  They spend money hiring a coach.  They advertise.  They go to conferences (see key #4 above).  They hire talented team members.  Brokers that have a hobby tend to whine about not having money to put in their business.  It is really that simple.  Top producers invest in their business.

10.  Focused and Positive – Top producers work while they are at work.  This seems so simple, but it is not.  Top producers don’t spend much time chatting with others in the office.  They are not found at the water cooler.  They never take an hour “off” for lunch.  They may have a lunch meeting, but they never shut it down for an hour in the middle of the day.

They also have unwavering positive attitudes.  PMA – positive mental attitude.  They choose to be positive – optimistic.  They understand the message of Dead Poet’s Society because they live it.

11.  Specialization – In retrospect, specialization should be #2 on the list.  Top producers are not generalists.  They specialize in an asset vertical or at least a geography.  (I have to throw the geography part in here because I am a small town geographical specialist – at least in part.)  This allows them to create presence as an expert – to be the go-to guy.  If you are the broker who will work on anything – stop it.  Pick a lane and become the subject matter expert in that lane.

12.  Passion – Top producers bleed passion.  It oozes out of their pores.  They can’t wait to get to work in the morning and absolutely love what they do.  Everyone has tough days, but passion is what top producers rely on to persevere.  Passion is the ingredient that brings the other 11 keys together into a sum that is much great than its parts.  Passion sells – it is obvious to your clients whether you possess it – or you don’t!

So those are my 12 keys.  Which one speaks to you as most important?  What did I leave off the list?  I encourage you to share your thoughts below!

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 1

This post is the first in a two-part series on Top Producers.  You can find the second part here.

The Commercial Real Estate industry – or any industry really – is often so different from the Marine Corps.  I’m specifically thinking about advancement – growth – achievement.  In the Marines, there was a formula for promotion – at least at the lower enlisted ranks.  I knew exactly how to earn promotion.

Time in Grade – Time in Service – Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score – Education.  Add it all up, and you were ranked against all your peers.  You always knew where you stood.

Not so in CRE – or any other industry I’ve seen.  The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.

In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

  1. Obtain Knowledge – In the Commercial Real Estate industry, the best place to start is the CCIM Curriculum.  It is the best I’ve seen.  Additionally, regularly meet with and befriend commercial lenders, property owners, appraisers, and other agents.  They can give you key insights into your market.  Purpose to be the absolute market expert in your geography and niche.  You can do this quickly, but it is hard work.  Knowledge is what makes you valuable to those you wish to serve.  The following keys are meaningless without it.
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers – Find the top producers in your office or market.  Study them.  Ask them to meet with you.  Learn when they get to the office.  Dress like they dress.  Do what they do.  Read what they read.  How many calls do they make in a week?  How many meetings do they have?  Go and do likewise.  You do not need to recreate the wheel.
  3. Hire a coach – Nothing will speed your progress and personal growth faster than hiring the best coach you can afford.  All the best athletes in the world have coaches.  I have paid for a personal coach for 3 years now.  It is an investment in myself and my company and worth every penny.  It is like strapping a jet-pack on my back in my flight to success.  Here are 6 reasons why:
    • A coach allows you to learn from someone that has successfully walked the road that is ahead of you.
    • A coach prevents you from making crippling mistakes.
    • A coach gives you a fresh and objective set of eyes on your business.
    • A coach provides accountability for what you have committed to do.
    • A coach facilitates clarity.  This is huge and often so hard to grasp while inside your own business.
    • A coach evaluates honestly.  From an independent and objective place, a coach can critically critique or encourage according to the need of the moment.
  4. Go to Conferences – Go to your company’s conference.  Go to industry conferences like the CCIM/IREM National Conference or the ICSC.  These events can completely broaden your thinking.  You can expand your network and learn from the best.  I always leave a conference with new connections that I’m thankful to have met as well as great actionable ideas to move my business forward.  Here are some conferences I plan to attend in the coming months and years:
  5. Read – I’ve read and been told that once you’ve read 3 books on a subject, you are an expert in that subject.  Just 3 books.  Top Performers are constantly sharpening their skills by reading.  When I wanted to learn the sales process, I read the classic Tom Hopkins book How to Master the Art of Selling.  When I wanted to learn more about building a platform and blogging, I read the new best-seller Platform by Michael Hyatt.  When I wanted to improve my impact with an elevator speech, I read a great book Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect by Terri Sjodin.  And this can be so cheap!  Go check 3 books (or audio-books) out from your local library and be an expert in a month!
  6. Systematize Your Business – Systems allow you to break a process or procedure down into its smallest parts.  You then delegate those tasks to your team.  This allows them to operate in their giftedness (if you hired well).  You then do only the tasks that only you can do – HDAs!  High Dollar Activities.  I’ve written an entire post on this topic that you can read here.
Be on the lookout for the second post detailing the other 6 keys to become a top performer – faster!  In the meantime, what would you add to the list?

How Physics is Similar to Your Business

The Avengers came out yesterday.  Big moment for my family.  I would be Iron Man – coolest cat on the planet.  My wife is a big fan of Thor.  I’ve tried to pull of that accent but it doesn’t do it for her.  My 10-year-old would be Captain America, and he should.  He already has that True North sense of right and wrong.  My 6-year-old goes between the Hulk and Hawk-eye.  My daughter still doesn’t understand the rules and ran into the living room with a Spiderman costume on.  It is futility explaining to a 3-year-old that Spiderman wasn’t an Avenger – not to mention he didn’t have a pony-tail.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I bring up the Avengers for a different reason, though.  I feel like the Hulk is sitting on my face.  I have the distinct pleasure of having both nostrils out of commission.  So, I’m going to tell a quick story and then ask a few questions.  Then I’m going to bed.

 

The Story

This may be hard to believe, but my favorite subject in high school was physics.  I am a thinker.  I’m not sure why.  I’m not much of a feeler, a bit more of a doer, but definitely a thinker.  I want to know why stuff works the way it does.  Physics was full of ‘Aha’ moments for me.  I remember when Mr. Claypool showed me the formula behind why a curved road is banked at a certain degree.  This was super cool to me.

I remember toying with actually majoring in Physics in college.  Turns out that I majored in playing guitar into wee hours of the morning and dropping class….  My youngest brother is currently studying physics at my college right now.  In some ways I envy him.

But enough about physics.  Do you know how Physics is like Commercial Real Estate – or any other business?

If A=B and B=C then A=C

What do I mean, you say?  Consider this about your business.  What works?  What led up to that big sale – that big deal?  Did you know that if you repeat certain patterns you will get certain desired outcomes?  My business of CRE is just like yours in this regard.

The question is how do we do more of those patterns to get more of those desired outcomes?  You need a formula that works.

In my business and with my coaching clients, we call these systems.  I understand that if I send out this many letters and follow-up with this many cold calls, then I will get this many meetings.  If I get this many meetings, I will win this many assignments.  This is prospecting, and it needs to be a system.

Repeat certain behaviors to achieve desired results.

A Few Questions

Why don’t you systematize your business?  One of my hero’s in the business spends 2 hours a day cold-calling.  He’s the boss of is office.  He is working a system.  And he’s killing it.

Have you ever sat down with your team to brainstorm what works – and what doesn’t?  You’d be shocked at what you find out.  That is, if you’ve created a team that trusts enough to tell you truth.  Break things down to their smallest parts.  Delegate.  Maximize efficiencies.  Spend more time with clients and prospects.  Let your staff do anything that they can do so that you can do the tasks that only you can do!  Systematize!

What’s keeping you from taking that time needed to work ON your business instead of IN your business?  Something to think about:  top performers have accountability and coaches.

Let me hear your thoughts.

The 5 Reasons to Systematize Your CRE Business

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Commercial Real Estate Systems.  The word is an anomaly.  While you may not be able to define what a system is – you need them.  You need them badly.  They can make you more effective.  They can make you more money.  They can shave hours off your week – hours you can give to your family or a worthy cause.  Let me share with you what I mean.

I have two sons (and a little 3-year-old princess).  They are both playing football.  Tonight, I was at the 9-year-old’s practice.  As I watched the practice, the coaches spent 80% of the practice putting in the system.  20% running the plays.  Now you know what I mean, don’t you.  Think about a football team.  Every player has a specific role.  They specialize.  My son is the quarterback because he is an intellectual.  He knows where everyone should be.  He also has the smallest butt on the team.  It would be ludicrous to make him a lineman.  His coaches spent 80% of the practice putting in the system because success between the hedges comes from a group of individuals working seamlessly as a team.  The sum can be so much greater than the parts.  Magic!

So should your business be!  Here are the five main benefits to systematizing your business:

  1. Systems allow you to break a process down to its smallest tasks.  This is so important.  This is what I go through with all my coaching clients.  Most leaders…most entrepreneurs…most of you, are big picture oriented.  The details are stifling.  I know they are for me.  The simple act of sitting down with your team and breaking a process down to its most detailed parts has tremendous value.
  2. Systems allow you to lead effectively by delegating.  Huge!  The primary role of a leader is to ensure the success of the team.  To do that, team members must understand their roles.  Once you go through the task of breaking a process down to its smallest tasks, those tasks are delegated to the team member with the most fitting skill set.  You just made your life easier.
  3. Systems allow you to hire/fire better.  This is a no-brainer.  Once you systematize your business, you have a better understanding of the skill sets you need in place.  Think of my son’s football team.  The coaches would have been foolish to draft a team full of little fast guys.  The coach understands the system he wants to run.  So he drafts the same.  Go and do likewise!
  4. Systems allow the team to execute.  This is where you see your team come to life.  The system is in place so just execute.  This allows for efficiency and speed.  If you don’t get the results you want, change the system.
  5. Systems allow the leader to focus on high dollar activities.  From my chair, this is the greatest benefit of systematizing your business.  When your team knows the play and their roles, then the leader can focus on just the things that only the leader can do.  This is the sweet spot.  This is where you can see exponential growth.  You should have goose bumps right now.

So join the conversation.  What processes in your business could you systematize?  How would you do it?