Automation: The Great Lie

Automation done right frees you up to spend time on the things that matter. Most of us real estate and mortgage folks are obsessed with the idea of automation. We are told automation is a magical gateway to more time, more money and greater recruiting prowess. Consider the last five sales pitches you have seen about automation. There is a good chance it was similar to “We can automate that thing you don’t like doing!” Are you on FB? Every add is “guaranteed to convert” and is basically a promise to generate more money without work. Seems like a good idea, right?

I was squarely on ”team automation” for a long time. The CTO of the F250 company I worked for looked me right in the eyes at an especially intense meeting and said, “I don’t do automagic, you shouldn’t make technology do what humans are getting paid to do.” He was right.  I was wrong, (although I didn’t admit it at the time and I continued to make John’s life hell… sorry John).

One Habit: How No Lead Left Behind Can Double Your Production [Repost]

Summary: One habit can double your production in the next 12 months.  A defined No Lead Left Behind process forces you to prioritize, increases your conversion rate, builds future pipeline and gives you a real value proposition.  

The keystone holds the arch up. Without it, the entire structure is compromised. With it, you can build the production team of your dreams. Running a successful business is an art and science: the science is discovering the right thing, and the art is making a habit of doing it every day. 

Charles Duhigg said that “there’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.” Establishing one habit creates a trickle down effect. It creates systematic improvement in your entire business. What if I told you there’s one habit that when turned into a business discipline will double your business in the next 12 months? The No Lead Left Behind habit can do exactly that. 

Ice To Eskimos Is Not A Thing. Is Your Platform Helping Your UVP?

UVP Part 3

Your UVP and the resultant elevator pitch needs to be amazing. More importantly, it needs to be accurate. When your mouth writes checks your company is unwilling, or unable to cash, that is a problem. This problem extends beyond you to your client and all those that put their trust in you. In order to do what you say, you need to have a level of influence that creates certainty.

I attempted to hire a big time recruiter to help me fill a key role. The team is top notch, and always fills their contracts. Naturally, they were my people. I went through the process, yep, they were expensive, nope, no guarantees. The conversation wraps and I am ready to sign. To my surprise, they declined to work with me. “You have a good business but you look like everyone else and don’t seem to have one major point of differentiation we can hang our hat on. The reason we get the job done is we take the right jobs.” Now, that was a wake up call. What about how cool I was, what about our great service, what about our 20+ years in the market?

So, the next step in your UVP construction is to review your platform. Do you understand what influence you have?  Do you know the value they add to your business?  Seth Kahan defines three ways platforms create value:  Creating new business, extracting more business and facilitating better business.  

Are You Solving A Problem or THE Problem?

 UVP Part 2

I walked by the Apple store and my phone buzzed in my pocket.It was an alert, from Apple asking me if I needed any accessories for my new phone since I was close to the store. I looked at my phone, turned off my location services, looked up at the big white logo, walked in and bought a new charger. Yet another win for Apple.

Your message has to resonate in order to be heard. Telling people what you do is far different than evoking the proper emotion in the right moment that converts a prospect to a buyer. As salespeople, we are faced with walls of noise. The only way to really be heard is to align your voice with the needs of your people in the right moment. Anyone can meet basic needs, (good service), but you need to solve THE problem. What problem are you solving today? Is it THE problem?   

Your Elevator Pitch Is Probably Horrible

UVP Part 1

It started with a simple question. I sat in a “sell more stuff” workshop and the speaker called on me, “Why would I use you?”  I rambled on about how amazing I was and the great service I offered and how I shopped 50 lenders a day for the best rate. There was a bit of uncomfortable silence before he declared, “That was total s*&it, no one is going to buy from you because you give good service and shop for low rates, unless you are a prostitute, are you a prostitute?” I hesitated just one second too long. You know, when you are thinking of that pithy reply and all you get is… blank. In that second the room filled with uncomfortable laughter.  

For context, at this point in my career, I was a partner a small company that closed loans and made money. I had read and re-read How to Win Friends And Influence People, Raving Fans, Love Is The Killer App and Synchronicity. I had an amazing database and 75% of my business came from referral. Yet, I failed to articulate in a sentence or two how I added value to someone’s life. In the subsequent years, I figured out I wasn’t alone.

The Tidal Wave Of Tiny Moments. Are You Referrable?

The other day I was being courted by a sales team for a particular service. It was something I needed, it was expensive and I had choices. I sent an information request to Choice A and the well thought out, informative e-mail drip ensued. It explained all the reasons I should choose them while not being overly salesy. There were a few videos, an automated scheduling tool and all of it lead to an appointment.  I scheduled the time slot that worked for me, received confirmation of the appointment, a Google Calendar item, confirmation SMS days before, the day before, the morning of and 15 minutes prior. The anticipation was killing me. I mean, who on earth sends 4 confirmations? My palms were sweating, I sat by my phone, I cleared my desk. I was READY, there was no way I would miss that call. Wait, what?

Relationship Sales and the Persistence Problem

Most Real Estate and Mortgage veterans generate a significant portion of their business from referrals. We are relationship based sales people. We came up with Buffini, Stumpf and Duncan promising to eliminate uncomfortable cold calls by nurturing a handful of quality relationships. The unintended consequence of our referral mindset is that we haven’t taken persistence seriously enough to win consumer direct business. The bottom line is that most of us don’t make enough dials and don’t have enough patience to successfully work in the tech focused coming market.

Don’t tune me out, I have attended and advocate Buffini’s Success Tour, Stumpf’s BRO, and Duncan’s High Trust Selling.  They have pioneered best practices that fuelled the growth of our industry for the last 20 years. The problem is that in our zeal to build businesses that feed themselves effortlessly, we risk missing out on the next generation of consumers that are learning, engaging and soon, buying via technology platforms.