Control

Remember, the market is a cycle – it moves and it changes. You have no more effect on the way the cycle ebbs and flows as you do of controlling the ocean tide.

You didn’t cause the property boom and nor will you be the cause of any softening or correction.

What you can do is attach yourself to process and structure that enables your vendors to reach a premium price no matter what stage of the cycle we’re in.

The sins of our past

As an industry, are the sins of our past starting to catch up with us?

As I’ve seen the emergence of companies such as Rate My Agent and Open Agent, I realised these portals have been created to fill a need. As an industry we need to ask ourselves, what is that need?

Was it the need of consumers to feel comfort around their selection of their real estate agent?

Or is it the fact that there was an identification that most property owners in Australia don’t really have a meaningful relationship with a real estate agent?

Perhaps this growing trend has been fuelled by an opportunity created by an industry that isn’t as customer-centric as it should be.

Detail

Energy and hype in the market is such a wonderful thing. It creates momentum, it provides cash flow to further develop and in many ways can only ever be seen as a great thing.

But so often through these times – as we enjoy this part of the cycle – businesses lose shape and detail becomes less important. Adherences to processes and structures seem a waste of time.

Let’s look at other industries, no matter how busy QANTAS gets, their detail to safety remains intact. No matter how busy a 5 star restaurant gets, its detail to what’s presented on the plate remains intact.

As we hurtle through a seemingly wonderful market, does the detail still remain important in your business?

The basket is always half full

When my children were young it always amused me when they opened a packet of chips and the bag was half full.

I can’t help but think we give our vendors and buyers a similar feeling when – after they’ve helped us make tens of thousands of dollars – we give them a settlement hamper that has more packaging than it does gifts.

I think all of these people and the value they provide is far greater than a basket half full of shredded paper.

In from the cold

An obligation of any real estate team is to provide a pathway to move leads from cold to warm.

As an industry we are extraordinarily focussed on – and talented at – dealing with leads when they’re hot. In fact I would argue that the majority of industry training is directly pointed at that end of the spectrum.

It’s imperative that you find yourself in a business that is supportive at the other end – the cold. For the journey that is rewarded the most is the one that brings the leads in from the cold.

Treat your business like a butcher

I found myself in a butcher on Saturday morning, which is not unusual. But on this visit I stood back and watched how the butcher handled his customers; his intimate knowledge of his product, and most importantly, how he addressed every customer by their first name and asked how their family was.

What does a butcher have to do with real estate?

Firstly, independent butchers are up against two massive conglomerates: Woolworths and Coles, and yet through outstanding customer service and unbelievable product knowledge they are able to withstand price cutting at its greatest.

There’s so much talk about commissions being challenged around the country. It may well pay to go and hangout at your local butcher, because the good ones have not only survived, they’ve thrived against the fierce competition of Woolies and Coles.

At this time when you’re looking to kick start your year, remember, we could all do worse than model our business on the thriving butcher.

And I’ll see you at Richie’s this Australia Day.

Who controls the energy?

So often agents pick up a piece of stock that’s been on the market for a long time and sell it quickly.

All that’s happened in these scenarios is a change of energy.

When a property is listed, do we allow our vendors to control our energy? Think about how you act when you feel your vendor is motivated as opposed to when you feel they’re not.

Then ask yourself who really controls the energy?

The same result

In the past 18 months somewhere in the vicinity of 12-15 homes have sold in the street in which I live.

Even in a conservative frame of mind, $300,000-$400,000 has been earned in commission. Yet, every home – except on one occasion – has been sold by different agents.

Not one agent phoned me, nor door knocked me, nor advised me of these sales.

What this reinforces is the old saying, if everyone does the same thing, you end up with the same result. You see, none of the agents did anything and they all ended up with the same result.

Fishing line decorations

Every year I get Christmas cards from people I have spoken to maybe once or twice in my life.

For some reason they think this card is going to build a relationship with me. I can’t help but wonder if these people spend an hour generically signing their name and send these card out in bulk.

If you’re someone who sends Christmas cards every year in the hope that you will miraculously build relationships, then you need to understand that all these cards do is hang on fishing line between the curtains.