A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Monday, May 24, 2010

When are you the highlight of someone's day?

The highlight of my day today (as sad as this may be to admit it) was when our printer cartridge got returned from being refilled.

Why?

Because I know every time www.tpcc.com.au return one of our cartridges they also tape a little packet of chocolate inside the package and today I got the cartridge returned to me (which I took as carte blanche to eat the tiny chocolates all by myself).

Now, I know this is only a tiny thing, and it's not the highlight of my day every time it happens - but it always brightens my day significantly.

And what does this highlight set them back? 20c perhaps? 20c to ensure that I am ALWAYS happy to see them. 20c to guarantee that I'm always far more excited about my chocolatey treat than I am the $70 invoice that came with it.

That's a fairly good return on money spent if you ask me.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Popular... It's All About Popular

I recently went and saw (again) my favourite musical Wicked - based on the story of the witches in the Wizard of Oz.

One of my favourite songs in the musical is called Popular.

Glinda (the one you might know as the good witch) is teaching Elphaba (the green/wicked witch) how to be popular in the song. It's light hearted and witty and all together one of the most fun moments in the musical but as I sat listening to it in my car this morning (for the umpteenth time) I giggled with recognition at the following part:

When I see depressing creatures with unprepossessing features I remind them on their own behalf to think of celebrated heads of state or specially great communicators did they have brains or knowledge? don't make me laugh! They were popular! please-- it's all about popular! it's not about aptitude it's the way you're viewed so it's very shrewd to be very very popular like me!

Having worked in real estate for 16 odd years now I know it's a strange industry indeed and one where "great communicators" thrive. Where else do you walk into a stranger's home and within an hour or so get to a point where they feel so comfortable with you that they give you a key?! Now while you might not instantly think to call this "popular" I say it's a version of popular called "likeable". In real estate - as in so many other industries, if you can't be likeable you won't win the business.

It's why the most successful real estate agents don't all look the same, but all have a way of becoming likeable/popular with enough of their target demographic to earn a substantial income. Take the real estate agent I know who towers over most people at 6 foot and too many inches and is about 2 metres wide (well - almost). He compensates for this somewhat scary outer appearance by being so softly spoken and unimposing that little old ladies feel completely at ease. Take the amazing sales woman I know who could have been a model in a previous life. Rather than amplify her overtly gorgeous presentation - she dresses in a super professional manner never veering towards obvious sexiness and therefore doesn't alienate / terrify half her target demographic.

So how do you work on popular? For me - it was about working on becoming more outgoing and talkative. Naturally I'm a massive introvert. I have waitressing while I was just out of high school to thank for my take on "popular". I worked in a restaurant and quickly learned that being a wallflower wasn't going to work. As months went by I found techniques and ways to come more out of my shell and by the time I went back into real estate again at age 19 I'd learned how to put on my likeable/personable/popular/more extroverted face at work.

You'll struggle to find a course in popular - but if you're in an industry where you're trying to win business (and isn't that almost all of us?), it's an essential skill. Three ways to give yourself a home course in it:

- Study "popular" people - what makes them so likeable? how do they put people at ease? why do you and everyone else like them and want to be around them so much?
- Ask people what your most annoying habits are (ask honest people and brace yourself for the answers)
- Find a way to be likeable in your own way - ask your friends what makes you likeable and amplify that (generosity, kindness, compassion, remembering little details, being a good listener etc)

And remember... "You will be popular, just not quite as popular as .... Glinda".

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, May 14, 2010

Size Shouldn't Matter...

I received some fairly ordinary customer service today and it's not the first time from this particular company. I wrote it off in my head by saying that we're only a small client of theirs and then I thought - hold on a minute. Should size matter?

I'm a client. They took on our business knowing that we weren't BHP and implicit in them taking on our business was, I believed, a promise of a certain level of service.

Here at our little business (Elephant Property), I don't care if you have one $250 a week rental property or 20 at twice that price - you'll still receive a high level of customer service and I'd be horrified if I ever heard the words "you're only a small client" ever leave one of our team member's lips.

Now sure a bigger client may receive additional extras, but there's a base level of fantastic customer service that merely being a client of any size or description qualifies you for if you deal with our business. Shouldn't that be the same at all firms? I say don't take on the small client if you can't offer them at least that.

And remember... a small client can easily become larger and a small client can recommend (or dissuade as it may be in this case many others from coming to you).

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, May 3, 2010

Your Business Idea Sucks

I get pitched business ideas all the time. Some I think are great, some I wonder how many cocktails the person had before coming up with the idea, some I think are a great start looking for a unique twist and others I think downright suck.

Recently I was introduced to Fiverr by Lara Solomon (@LAROO). The simple premise of the site is that there's a whole bunch of people there who'll do things for $5. Some of them border on the bizarre (I'll be your Facebook girlfriend for a week and make all your friends jealous) but many seem, at first glance, like they could actually be useful (I'll design you a custom MySpace profile).

Long story short, I've become a bit of an overnight fan of this site, tweeting my little heart out (@kirstydunphey) about it after having purchased three different things yesterday and already receiving my first job (five photographs put on transparent backgrounds for @Baby_Teresa) done perfectly and in around an hour after I booked and paid my US$5. We'll see how my cartoon and video, currently on order, go.

My point is not to rave on about Fiverr though - despite how novel and great an idea I think it is.

My point is that if the people who started Fiverr had pitched the idea to me - I might have told them it sucked.

My first thought would be - who would do anything for $5?

And of course, I would have been wrong (check out the site to see how many people are prepared to do a wide range of things for $5!)

So the next time someone tells you your business idea sucks, tell them to bugger off! It doesn't matter if everyone doesn't "get" your idea. It matters that you see a market, it matters that you have a vision and it matters that you're prepared to get off your butt and do something about it.

PS. if the guy who started FedEx had listened to his college professor he may never have started that either.
PPS. And here's my video which has just arrived (bear in mind it only cost a fiverr!)

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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