Focus on the Present and Analyze the Trends

The secret of success is in the quality of your focus. Like a surgeon precisely removes the damaged part, you must replace what is not efficient with something that is. Do not focus on the past except to learn from it. What you do now will determine the success or failure in the future.

Focus on the present to prepare for the future. Focus on the past to learn from your mistakes and successes. Focus on the trends so you can ride them to success. Focus on new developments to take advantage of them. Analyze everything so that you can weed out inefficiencies and keep going at full speed to reach your goals.

One thing often overlooked is that if you keep on doing what you have been doing, you will keep on getting what we have been getting. It is insane to expect different results with the same action. If you are not getting good results, you must change what you are doing. Here is where the precise part comes in. You usually do not have to change everything, just the inefficient part.

The problem is that you probably do not know which part to change. This is what focus is all about. You must develop a method of analysis to determine what is efficient and what is not. Sometimes you simply have to change something and see what happens. It is a matter of discovering what does not blend in with your system. It is a process of elimination to remove what is not efficient.

Success is often a matter of timing. What will work one time, may go belly up another time. Businesses often move gradually to a peak, hold steady for a while and then begin to decline. The same goes for products that businesses sell. They are popular for a while and then decline, depending on their quality and the quality of their competition.

You have to have a feel for what is hot and what is not. You have to know when to get in a business, how it is doing, and how to make it more efficient. You have to know how and when to get out if time changes have outdated your business.

This is where your focus is critical. How well you do, depends on how you read what is going on. You must not only focus on the present, but you must have a gut feeling for which way things are going. This requires analyzing trends. You can get better as you gain more experience. If you are sharp enough to anticipate changes in the trends, you can get a jump on the competition. If you guess wrong, you will lose ground.

How fast you rise to success and how long it remains to a peak, depends on the efficiency of your focus. You must sell what is hot and drop what is not. You must keep up with new developments. New technology may threaten your business unless you see it coming and take advantage of it. If you do not keep up with changes in the times, you will be left behind.

Making Your Presentation Useful And Interesting

Most agent presentations put sellers to sleep, mainly because most presentations lack interest, usefulness, and structure.

To increase the interest in your presentation, follow this advice:

o Share market knowledge. Become a student of the local marketplace and share meaningful statistics. Also track trends in the national marketplace, both to enlighten your prospects and also to distinguish yourself as a well-read, well-connected, and well-informed agent.

o Ask questions. Listen in on typical listing presentations, and you’ll hear the agent talking 80% of the time, with the prospect hardly getting a word in edgewise. I guarantee you that the seller finds that monologue uninteresting.

o Watch the clock. Don’t let your presentation run too long and don’t save the information the seller most wants to receive until the very end. If you put your price recommendation at the very end of a 90-minute presentation during which you did 80% of the talking, you can pretty well predict that your seller will be tuned out.

o What the prospect has to say is more important than what you have to say. Great salespeople do less than 25% of the talking. You already know all that you need to know about what you’re thinking. You need to learn what your prospects think and know and desire, so you can match your service to their wants and needs.

Keep it short and sweet. Let’s get right to the point . . . a 90-minute presentation is neither short nor sweet. What in the world an agent finds to talk about for 90 minutes I have no idea, but I do know, for sure, that sellers don’t want to sit through a 90-minute appointment, and they most certainly don’t want to listen to an agent for that long.

Within the first few minutes of the appointment, inform your sellers that your listing presentation will take no more than 45 minutes. Based on my own experience, I can tell you that more than half of the sellers will thank you when you tell them that your presentation will be brief. Many times, I’ve had clients thank me again when I was walking out the door with the signed contract, sharing their appreciation that I wasn’t there all night!

A good, brief presentation results from a proper structure, a clear presentation plan, and knowing what to say and how to convey it.

Many agents translate the terms structure and plan to mean “canned presentation.” They say, “I don’t want to sound mechanical and scripted.” People sound mechanical and scripted for lack of practice, not because they have a pattern or process to follow. In fact, most people require professional service providers to follow plans. For example, when I board a plane, you can bet that I want the pilot to follow a “canned” preflight checklist, landing checklist, flight plan, etc. I want the attorney who defends me to have well-constructed or planned legal briefs, questions, and arguments.

I am not working to “can” anyone, but the necessity to plan your presentation is essential. You need to have a framework that you are comfortable with, that allows you to deliver key facts, findings, and segments, using key phrases and dialogs, every time you present. I would rather an agent err on the side of “canned” than just “wing it.”

Other advice:

o Know your prospects. If you aren’t completely clear on your prospects’ interests and needs, you haven’t qualified them well. Acquiring prospect knowledge is truly the key to a good presentation. You absolutely have to secure the right information before going into the appointment.

o Set a goal to keep your presentation to 45 minutes or less. Look at every piece of sales material you present. Does it demonstrate clear benefits to the seller? Does it need to be used? Does the seller understand it? Does it create differentiation between you and the other agents? As the saying goes, “when in doubt, leave it out.”

o Limit the volume of PowerPoint slides or color presentation binder pages that eat up your presentation time and your chance to dialog with the sellers. Typically, each page in your presentation – whether it’s on a computer screen or on paper – represents two minutes of presentation time by the time you turn to the page, talk about it, emphasize key points, and ask for questions to confirm your prospect’s understanding. Do the math: 30 pages eat up an hour, putting you well over your time limit before you even get to the contract!

By following this advice, you are on your way to making your presentation one that is useful, structured, and interesting – that all sellers appreciate -, and it will set you apart from the rest.

When Presenters Run Out of Ideas, It’s Time to Read a Book

Sometimes when we are called on to give a presentation, we sit down to create the presentation only to find that our creative juices have somehow run dry. Oh, oh – this can be a big challenge. What always just seemed to “be there” can go missing just when we really need to draw upon it. What’s a presenter to do?

Despair not fellow presenters! This situation has happened to me and other presenters and we have a fairly simple solution that will get you out of this pickle: read a book.

Katherine Meeks is a New York City based speech consultant and language coach. She’s spent a lot of time with speechwriters and has made a not-so-amazing discovery: those of us who read a lot seem to have the best thoughts, the best style, and the most precise ways of using our vocabulary to make our presentations memorable.

I can hear you now: “Hey, I have a subscription to People magazine – I’m well read!” Umm, nope that’s just not going to cut it.

How often do you work on expanding your vocabulary? Probably not all that often. It turns out that once we are out of school, the size of our vocabulary stops growing as fast as it once did. Reading turns out to be one of the most effective ways that as adults we can continue to grow our vocabulary. Once again, a word-of-the-day desk calendar is not going to get you to where you want to be.

If you want to become a great presenter, then you have to become a great reader. In order for this to happen, you need to discover interesting books. The best way to do this is to simply ask other people that you know what they are reading. The key here is to find a way to filter the unending stream of books that are produced every year into a manageable trickle that you can have a chance of reading.

Other good ways to fette possible books for you to read include seeing movies and then reading the book. I was touched by the movie “Pursuit of Happyness” and just had to follow this up by getting and reading Chris Gardner’s book that the movie was based on. Wow – the book was much different from the movie, I was very glad that I read it. Another way to pick out the books that you might want to read is to spend some time with the book review section of your local newspaper – this can be a great way to spot stinkers.

Once you’ve created a list of books / authors that you’d like to read in order to have your presentations become inspired, the next thing that you need to do is to get your hands on some books. This is actually quite easy to do, but you’ve got to remember that you’ve got a lot of choices. Remember when you used to go to the library as a kid? Well guess what – the library is still there. When was the last time that you went?

Other sources for books include your local used book store (why pay full price?), the local Borders / Barnes & Nobel, and your on-line friend – Amazon. It really doesn’t matter where you get your books from, just make sure that you get them and that you read them! Your audiences will thank you…