Being on Time Reinforces the First Sales Buying Rule

Being on time is truly not difficult.  Sure there are those exceptions of traffic accidents, emergencies to weather conditions. The failure to be on time only reinforces the first sales buying rule:

sales-buying-rule

Credit www.gratisography.com

People buy from people they know and trust.

When I am asked to speak locally or to meet with a client, a center of influence,  a qualified sales lead or even a family member or friend, I am usually 5 to 10 minutes early.  I plug into my schedule an extra 10 to even 60 minutes for traveling to ensure I am on time. Also my schedule has all my writing commitments and again I allow an extra 24 hours to ensure the articles are submitted on time.

One of my professional colleagues, Rick Gosser, shared this article about 9 Habits of People Who Are on Time. He, too, is frustrated by people who fail to honor their commitment to being on time.

Rick and I share the same belief when it comes to doctor appointments.  If the doctor cannot see the patient within 20 minutes, then it is time for the patient to make another appointment.  Yes doctors are busy, but no more so than any small business owner or sales professional.

To earn any sale begins with the first sales buying rule.  Being on time reinforces trust and lets others begin to know you and specifically what is important to you.

Recently I attended a luncheon that allowed 30 minutes for registration and business to business networking.  The luncheon began at the top of the hour and several people came 15 to 20 minutes after the luncheon began.

Lateness appears to be a habit for some small business owners and salespeople. Watch local business to business networking events and the same people are consistently late.  This habit does not build trust, but rather the opposite.

Being on time is rather simple as the article shared.  I would add that being on time reflects your character, your positive core values and how you truly view other people.  If you are always late, then you truly do not care about others because you are only caring about yourself.

Yes if you wish to increase sales then embrace the behaviors embedded within the first sales buying rule. Being on time is truly a behavior that only you can change provided you really do care about your business and other people.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Boasting Of Accomplishments Is Not Necessary

Have you ever read some blog posting where the writer starts out boasting about his or her accomplishment within the first few words?  Or how about all those webcasts where the first 5 minutes the speaker shares his or her credentials and accomplishments?  Is all this boasting really necessary?

boastingThere are ways to highlight one’s achievements without all the self -serving platitudes.

Boasting reflects weakened self-esteem and self-worth.

“Look at me” translates in many instances as to “My  ego is so fragile I cannot look at myself.”

Sure the squeaky wheel gets oiled first.  We must not fear acknowledging to ourselves what we do well.  The secret is to ourselves.  We do not need to tell the entire world “Look at me! Look at what I have done.”

When we are authentically humble, we appreciate the compliments others bestow upon us.  We do not have to bestow those compliments on ourselves.

Humility is a gift.  We can quietly open and allow the world to appreciate us for who we are.

To continually shout to the world about all your achievements and then whine when others do not appreciate them is not a sign of a strong leadership, but rather reflects poor leadership and a very weak leader.

Be the change you want in the world.  Refrain from boasting of your accomplishments.  Instead compliment others on theirs and be gracious when they compliment you without any encouragement on your part.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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Independence Is Not Easy

Today here in the USA, we are celebrating our independence from England now the UK.  Those men and women who fought to free us from excessive taxation and other unacceptable government behaviors indeed had quite a struggle.  Many of these brave patriots lost their homes, their livelihoods and even their lives.  They realized independence is not easy.

independence-is-not-easyLast December, my husband and I drove from Northwest IN to San Diego, CA to see our newest grandchild.  In our truck, we carried gifts for the newborn granddaughters as well as for her parents and another family member.

As we traveled along the paved roads; slept in the warm and comfortable motels and ate at the convenient diners, we thought about those early Americans who had also traveled west. Those hearty souls traveled but forged their own roads; slept on the cold ground and ate over a campfire. They lived with a daily attitude of  independence is not easy.

Our founding fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independencethe pursuit of happiness.”  They realized that happiness is not guaranteed; that it is indeed a struggle. They did not make false promises about the “achievement of happiness” as some have been led to believe.

In life those things that come with some tension, some struggle are always more appreciated that those things that come easy.

Yes independence is not easy.

As a small business owners for the last 18 years, a parent, a grandparent, a friend, I truly appreciate being independent and accept failure and struggle as part of the price to pay for that independence. Possibly listening to my Swedish grandmother’s story about how she gained independence for her family strengthened my own beliefs about independence.

My thanks to those who have gone before to give us our independence and my thanks to our military who continue to ensure that independence through the sacrifice of their lives. We have much to be thankful here including learning and accepting that independence is not easy.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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The Shortsightedness of Small Business Owners

Why do small business owners continue to as they say “cut off their noses to spite their faces?” This behavior is not just for small business owners, but extends into those in management or any leadership positions.

small-business-ownersWhat in many instances causes this shortsightedness is this one word, “money” or better yet “my money.” This behavior is reminds me of  Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings who  had to hold onto his (my) “precious.”

We also see this shortsighted, money driven behavior during the death of a family member and the reading of the will.  Grandma promised me this or that even though it was not in the will.

We have heard how money is the root of all evil.  With some small business owners this appears also to be true.

How many solid relationships built on trust have been weakened or destroy because of money?

How many lost new business opportunities have arisen because of money?

How many actions were never taken because the fear of losing money by spending money drove the mentality of small business owners?

How many small to large businesses have lost their way, their positive core values because the accumulation of money became the driving force?

Money is a necessity in a capitalistic economy.  Yet money should never trump trust, principles or values.

After working with small business owners for 18 years and being in both a large and small business corporate setting, I can attest money does creates shortsightedness.  This is why it is so critical to have positive core values and ensure everyone from the very top to the bottom adhere to those values on a daily basis.  In today’s competitive world it can become extremely easy to lose one’s way.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Realtors – Leading with Price Is a Bad Sales Strategy

One of the first golden sales rules especially within the service industry is not to ever lead with price.  When salespeople lead with price they established themselves, their small businesses and their solutions as transactional or anyone can do this. Many realtors fail to understand leading with price is a  bad sales strategy.

sales-strategy

Credit www.gratisography.com

For example, after listening our home as For Sale By Owner (FSBO)  one of the first marketing direct mail pieces I received from a local realtor here in Northwest Indiana had the following headline:

How about 3%?

This direct mail piece came without personalization and from a complete stranger.  The realtor felt his time was not worth a phone call.

What this direct mail piece revealed to me he truly did not understand a good sales strategy from a bad sales strategy.

First Sales Buying Rule

People buy from people they know and trust. If you as a salesperson are not known by your intended prospect, then the battle is lost before it has ever begun.

By embracing this buying rule is a good sales strategy. This is why personalization of direct mail works far better than not personalizing it.

Presumptions in Sales Kills Deals

Top sales performers know that presumption (presuming anything about the sales lead) kills deals.  Until the salesperson knows the sales lead’s motivation for buying, then making any presumptions is truly foolhardy.

Returning to the presuming realtor who mailed the impersonal direct mail piece, he presumed I was engaging in FSBO because of commission. This was a false presumption.

My reason for FSBO was directly connected to paying a commission for not earning the commission.  Scheduling viewings is 100% about marketing not selling. I believe in pay for performance and I also have a problem in paying a realtor who is working with a buyer because I am the only one with “skin in the game” so to speak.

Reward Real Sales Performance

As a former commission paid salesperson, I believe sales performance should be rewarded.  However within the residential real estate industry, the compensation is truly backwards with the seller assuming all financial liability. Additionally with residential real estate sites such as Zillow, Craig’s List, to Realtor.com, the sales leads are the ones finding the properties to buy not the realtors. What happens in those instances is the realtor becomes more like an administrative assistant, a scheduler and not a top sales performer.

Returning back to” How about 3%?”, this realtor lead with price as a sales strategy and that was a fatal move because all additional mailing have only reaffirmed in me not ever to work with this person. By the way, since the first direct mail piece, I received two follow up mail pieces.  However, he never called.

Learn How to Convert FSBO into Increase Sales

Sales research shows that the majority of sales up to 80% to 90% are made after the third contact. Expecting poorly written direct mail marketing pieces to earn sales in today’s far better educated residential real estate marketplace is truly a bad sales strategy.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Whiners Are Scarcity Thinkers

Is it just me or is there a lot more whiners? Between elected officials to small business owners to every day people there are a lot of leaders whining about this or that.  From my perspective, whiners are scarcity thinkers.

scarcity-thinkers

Credit www.gratisography.com

The world is comprised of two types of leaders as thinkers:

  • Abundant thinkers
  • Scarcity thinkers

Abundance Thinkers Leaders

Abundant thinkers see opportunities instead of roadblock and barriers. These individuals look at the big picture and think first and foremost about the team, the benefit to all.

Scarcity Thinkers Leaders

Scarcity thinkers see only the barriers.  Opportunities are failure traps.  These people deal with how they can take anything and use it to their own advantage.

Whiners whine because they cannot think beyond their own noses.  Everything is about them.

Many whiners have poor self esteem, poor self worth and little to no sense of mission. They can only sympathize about their own situations and expect everyone to agree with them.

Whiners are the “Chicken Littles of Today” with the “sky is falling” attitude.  They whined about the cold and snow and then turn around and complain about the heat and rain.

With whiners the glass is always half empty.  Everything is big deal and cannot be done.

The Can’t Do Battle Cry

“I can’t do it” is the whining battle cry.  What this means is “I lack the ability to know of how to do it and the will to learn how to do it.” It is easier to just give up or expect someone else to pick up the slack.

For employees, business partners and even family members, it is hard to follow whiners as leaders.  Scarcity thinking mentality shortchanges everyone and robs future generations of innovation and creativity.

Real Leaders Do Not Whine

Real, authentic leaders do not whine.  They look at the world of opportunity for all and just for themselves.

Our educational system unfortunately does not foster an environment for abundant thinkers because such nurturing and cultivation takes too much time and challenges the status quo.  What we need here in the business world, the U.S. and the world is many more abundant thinkers and way less scarcity thinkers.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Real Estate Agents FSBO Is Your Opportunity to Increase Sales

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) real estate market is expanding.  Many realtors look at this as a barrier to a no sale. They fail to recognize the vast sea of opportunity to increase sales.  Some real estate agents are even resentful of this emerging market and whine to others within their industry or spheres of influence.

increase sales

Graphic designed by PopovichDesign.com

From my own experience in selling our home under the FSBO sales process, I am astounded as to how easily most real estate agents give up.  Having several long established friendships with successful realtors, I reached out to one of them and asked him (Paul Kennedy) if he and his wife, Jackie,  ever sold FSBO homes?  His response was “Yes, quite frequently.”  He and his wife did this years before the current expansion of the For Sale By Owner industry.

Salespeople must adapt to market changes if they wish to increase sales.  For Sale By Owner is just a market change as buying cars online or the rise of the Big Box Stores.  Those real estate agents who can adapt will increase sales; those who cannot adapt will lose sales.

Here are my steps as a Red Jacket in a Sea of For Sale Signs to turn For Sale By Owner residential real estate properties into opportunities to increase sales.

#1 – Engage in Research

If I was a real estate agent and came across a FSBO residential real estate property, I would first do my research.  Possibly the home is on Zillow, FSBO or Craig’s list?  Then I would check out the property at the Recorder’s office at county courthouse. Additionally I would attempt to learn as much about the seller as possible.

#2 – Check Out My Pre-Qualified Buyer’s List

My next action would be to see if I had ideal customers as pre-qualified buyers interested in a home in that price range, square footage, school district, etc.  Additionally I might call my favorite mortgage broker or banker and ask him or her about any more recent pre-qualified buyers.

#3 – Call the FSBO Homeowners

Next I would call the homeowners. I would ask if  I could tour the property.

This first meeting would be all about building the relationship.  This is not the time to be adversarial with the homeowner nor is it the time to make snide remarks.

Also I as the real estate agent I want to ensure it meets those qualified buyers I have in my “back pocket” as I do not want to anger them as well.  Finally here is where the real estate agent picks up additional and very valuable future negotiating information such as:

  • What is prompting the move?
  • How did the FSBO sellers determine the price?
  • Where is there room for negotiation such as flooring allowance?
  • Does the FSBO seller have a time lime for moving (urgency)?
  • How many people have called or tour the home?
  • Is there a bottom line number that must be met after everything is said and down?

#4 – Ask to Bring a Sales Lead

Now is the time to ask.  If I was the real estate agent, I would ask the For Sales By Owner sellers if they are open to having one of my pre-qualified buyers (think sales lead) tour the home.  If the FSBO seller brings up the sales commission fee, I would say:

“Let’s hold off at this time because such discussion is rather premature.  Neither one of us know if my client is truly interested in your home and more importantly is interested in making an offer. May we hold this discussion to later?” 

This question provides a psychological advantage for the real estate agent especially if he or she learns the seller wants to move by a certain date.

#5 – Tour the Home with the Sales Lead; An Offer Is Presented

The real estate agent tours the home with the pre-qualified sales lead.  They leave and the sales lead tells the realtor he, she or they want to make an offer.  Now is the time to discuss and negotiate commission.

#6 – Negotiate

I, as the real estate agent ,would make a call to quickly schedule a face to face appointment with the sellers.  During this in person meeting, I might say something like:

“Earlier you mentioned my sales commission and I said such discussion was premature.  My clients who just toured your home have expressed a solid interest in making an offer at full price.  So what are your thoughts about this offer? “

Here is where negotiation enters because the truly top performing real estate agent has all of her or his facts and can crunch the numbers.  Of course, depending upon the agreement with the real estate broker there may be some limitations.  However, as one of my residential real estate builder friends and another client who became very wealthy in flipping homes said “Everything is negotiable.”

If the real estate agent has already done his or her number crunching based on the information she or he has received, the likelihood of a sale has just been dramatically increased.  Bottom line the FSBO sellers want to sell the home.

Even if the offer is not as full asking price, there may still be movement to allow some commission.  Again, this is where the research comes into play within the negotiation process.

Personally, if a real estate agent showed some real sales skills (and conducting an open house is marketing not selling), I would be more than willing to discuss his or her sales commission fee.  The challenge is many (not all) real estate agents within residential real estate are not top performing sales people with demonstrated sales skills.

The lack of demonstrated sales skills is why real estate agents cannot increase sales.

FSBO becomes an excuse not to sell and not an opportunity to sell.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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Want a Low Risk Small Business? Try Selling Residential Real Estate

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.  Individuals are opening up small businesses at a record rate. Over 70% of all US businesses are single owner (non-employed).  To ensure the success of that venture, identifying risk is part of that equation.  If you are seeking a low risk small business, then selling residential real estate may be the solution.

selling-residential-real-estate

Low Cost Threshold in Selling Residential Real Estate

Depending upon the licensing state, the cost of entering the residential real estate industry is relatively low.  You do not need a MBA, a Masters or even a college degree.  In doing some cursory research, the cost to become a licensed real estate agent in Indiana is around $600.  This is far less expensive than a post graduate degree that ranges between $30,000 to $12o,000.

Yes there are required continuing education units to maintain the license. However many of these courses are free or at a nominal expenditure between $25 and $50.  My professional development is budgeted for $2,000 annually and I am not mandated to have any continuing education courses.

Low Cost Marketing Through Social Media

The advent of social media has become social marketing.  Since the majority of social marketing is 100% free except for one’s time, the paid advertising is becoming a thing of the past. On demand searching through Zillow.com and other sites is now the driving force from the buyer’s and seller’s perspective.

All small businesses must market themselves.  They must attract attention and build relationships.  Investing money on marketing is part of the cost of doing business regardless of industry.  Yes there are some fixed marketing costs. However much of the marketing is free and hence is truly low risk.

Limited to No Financial Risk

Outside of the real estate industry, legal orders such as garnishments and online auction sites, all businesses both profit and not for profit must deal with customers who pay their bills directly to them.  These organizations do not have a third party distributing the dollars earned for the sale of their solutions.

Cash flow is 100% dependent upon customers paying their bills. There is no third party unless the small business goes to court or places a lien on the business.  Their income may wait up to 120 days before payment is received.  This is not the case for those selling residential real estate.

In selling residential real estate, a third party, the title company, distributes the funds to the various parties including the listing real estate agent and the selling real estate agent. Wow, what a terrific way to get paid.

No worries about:

  • Checks bouncing
  • Delayed payments
  • Discrepancies between the invoice and payment

And best yet the seller and buyer of the home assume all financial responsibility. There is no financial risk for selling residential real estate.

Now some may argue that selling residential real estate is risky because of the economy.  My answer is welcome to the real world.

Small businesses must always adapt to market conditions.  And the economic research still reveals most millionaires are created during a recession because these individuals take risks and innovate where others just stand back and watch. The question remains are you willing to do what it takes to be successful in a very low risk small business of selling residential real estate?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Faith Conquers Our Fears

Faith, we all have it and I don’t mean just a religious or spiritual faith.  When we travel back to the origins of this word it means “to trust.”   We all trust someone or in some instances something.

RollercoasterWhen we have faith, we trust that something will become better.  By having that belief of getting better, we have a greater ability to  conquer our fears of what may or may not happen.

Yes the “what ifs” in life can be overwhelming.  How we handle those unknowns is how others view us and more importantly how we view ourselves.

Each day our behaviors reflect our faith.  We have trust that may include:

  • Gravity will keep us on the ground
  • Roller coaster will not fall off the tracks
  • Our neighbors will not rob our homes
  • Our personal safety will not be challenged
  • Our children will be safe
  • Our businesses will continue

Some of the trust we have is taken for granted such as gravity.  Other trust such as personal security may no longer be take for granted given the increasing unrest in the world.  For those who have religious faith, they too may be tested with the attacks on certain religions.

Probably for me, one of the most poignant memories of faith is from the original movie War of the Worlds.  The scene is toward the end of the movie where people are gathered in church.  They have fears of the world coming to an end and yet they retreat to a building of faith.

Each Sunday I attend church because of  trust that I have in not only my religion but in our community of faith. Our members trust each other and support each other as well as those outside of our small community.  This small church has been engaged in building trust for over 150 years.

Faith does conquer most if not all the fears we all have. For us to have trust, we must think outside of our own abilities, our own ego and place trust in others or even in a higher power.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Seven Lame Attitudes for Not Engaging in Self Improvement

My belief is human beings are innately wired for self-improvement.  If this was not true, we would still be living in caves, cooking over fire pits and wearing animal skins.

self-improvement

Yet after 18 years in the executive coaching to organizational leadership development industries, I am still surprised at the reluctance of people to engage in a personal development, self improvement plan of action.  Over this time frame, these seven attitudes (habits of thought) appear to consistently bubble to the top of not taking action.

#1 – Got No Time Attitude

How often have we heard “I got no time” for self-improvement?  Most people admit to wasting 12 minutes per day not too mention all the time spent in front of the smart devices or television watching less than quality programming.

#2 – Can’t Do Attitude

Then there are those folks who continually whine about “I can’t do it”  The can’t do it is anything connected with changing behaviors from losing weight to expanding one’s mental capacity.

#3 – Too Expensive Attitude

Self improvement costs money.  I cannot afford it.  Really?  Maybe this is not an issue of “too expensive” but rather an issue of priority?

#4 – Don’t Know How Attitude

In spite of all the free information from libraries, to the Internet to even local seminars and workshops, some still hold onto this lame attitude of “I don’t know how.”

#5 – I Don’t Need It Attitude

Human beings have an ego. This ego sometimes prevents self improvement because some believe they don’t need it.  Again, we are designed to be in a process of continued improvement.  When this lame attitude surfaces, there is more than self improvement required.

#6 – Doesn’t Work Attitude

Have you heard someone say self improvement doesn’t work?  This usually happens after some noted failure or a realization that such improvement may result in hard work.  Possibly these folks believe in the quick fix?

#7 – Not My Priority Attitude

Life can become very busy.  We have the ability to prioritize what we believe should be accomplished. When we make a conscious decision not to take action and place other “to dos” in front of our own self improvement, we are shortchanging ourselves.  Improving any aspect of our life can have a direct impact on other aspects.

There are probably more lame attitudes for not wanting to become better. Each of us has 100% control over our personal decisions to be better, to maximize our own capacity for improvement.  The question is will you continue staying where you are, comfortable or will you push the envelope and start changing for the better?

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