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)...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why don’t you love me?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management is that you don’t hear anything from your clients or customers (property owners or tenants) unless something’s going wrong. I hear lots of property managers in my work as a trainer spout this or a variant thereof over and over again.

From now on – I’d like to impose a new rule.

No whinging about people not loving you, no whining about lack of client appreciation and certainly no bitching about your customer’s only calling you when something’s wrong UNLESS….

1. You’ve shown 5 people that you think they’re amazing this week. 5 EVERY week needs to be the minimum goal. If you tell 5 people they’re amazing reciprocity WILL reward you with feedback coming in the other direction.

If you get great service at a restaurant write a thank you note on the receipt or post a review on their facebook page. (http://www.facebook.com/theatriumcafe)

Use the “share” button on facebook and share a link or business that you think is fantastic. (http://www.facebook.com/SocialRabbit)

If your insurance broker does an amazing job, ask for his bosses email and let them know what a great staff member they have. (Thank you Aaron Jones at Armstrong’s Insurance)

If you call up telephone banking be polite, treat the person like they’re a human and tell them they’re doing a good job. Ok – that’s a personal one in there because my 21 year old brother is in phone banking and I know that they’re not often met with the happiest of people on the other end of the phone! (To my brother John – you rock and I love you!)

Call your Mum and thank her for doing the best job she knew how in raising you. (Mum, thanks for all the recent advice especially, you crack me up!)

Write a card of appreciate to your boss or workmate. (Megan, Bella and Mon – you are Elephant Property and I look forward to seeing your smiling faces every day)

Send a referral to a current client for whatever their line of work is. (In my case it was my plumber this week)

Thank EVERYONE who has referred you business in a memorable way (put a system in place). Our system is to reward referrers when any new owner comes to our business – thank you Novaros & Alchemy Restaurants for being two of our best ways to reward!.

2. You’ve given your clients an opportunity to praise you. Ask ALL your current clients for at least 3 points of feedback:
a. What are we doing that you like (you’ll feel instantly appreciated reading these responses – well – providing that you do a good job!)
b. What’s the most memorable thing about dealing with us (if there isn’t anything memorable – insert something!)
c. What can we improve (you can’t just get the good stuff, this question is vital).

We ask our owners to provide feedback at this simple form: www.elephantproperty.com.au/feedback.php and then we compile the answers here: www.elephantproperty.com.au/clients.php (remember to make it easy for them – our survey only takes a couple of minutes!)

3. You’re doing something worthy of praise! What’s unique about your business, what do you do that really knocks people’s socks off, what do you do that is going to make someone HAVE to tell you that you’re awesome? Good service is the price of entry- if you want people to tell you you’re fantastic do something worth talking about.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You never know who you could be talking to...

I recently spent 2 days at a great real estate conference and as I always do, I spent a good deal of time looking around the trade stands to see all the new and innovative ideas and products being offered to the real estate community.

There was one stand I was particularly interested in - so I headed over there late this afternoon and left with virtual smoke pouring from my ears.

Firstly - I had to wait a bit of time before anyone at the stall would talk to me. Not a huge concern IF the staff were busy with clients but they were talking amongst themselves.

When someone finally came over to talk to me (the inventor of the product and their managing director) he quickly informed me that this product was "for sales people" and that I was clearly "just in property management".

Now, I do have a property management business, BUT:

- I communicate with over 2,000 sales agents on a monthly basis through my various newsletters / twitter / facebook and I happily spread the word about new and innovative products I like

- Secondly - his product could easily be utilised by property managers, he just hadn't thought that far ahead

- Finally - how much business from sales people and business owners has he lost by simply assuming they're in property management (I dare say I looked even more like his definition of a stereotypical property manager when I owned a large real estate sales business!)

His initial assumptions were judgemental and annoying to me - but what's more, they've lost him potential business.

Not only could I have used his product, recommended it to sales agents and used it in my property management business, it's also a product that I could have recommended to the public at large as it's success or failure will be determined by consumer traffic.

When I pushed him further and asked questions about his product I was met with a condescending spiel about what it did.

To top off his beautiful sales pitch, despite asking what my name tag meant (I told him I'd previously spoken at the conference) he either didn't listen to me or didn't hear and ended our conversation by telling me that "If I ever get into the real estate business" I should go to his website!

My first week selling real estate my boss told me that it was extremely dangerous to judge a book by it’s cover. Over the years some of the wealthiest property owners I've come into contact with have driven up in a ute wearing stubby shorts and a bonds singlet. Some of the wealthiest business owners I've ever met are shy, unassuming and modest. Some of the people in the biggest debt and worst financial situations I've ever met drive Porsches and have all the flash labels on their clothes.

Whether it's showing the kitchen of a potential home more to the wife and the workshop to the husband without finding out more about their interests, assuming that someone can't afford your product, or even as my new "friend" did, making the completely egregious assumption that someone who is a lead has nothing to do with your industry - assume (as my corny Dad used to say) makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me".

And to end my night on a chuckle I've just gone to the website of this new product and on the top right hand corner is an option for me to "tell a friend". I think not.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How do I get my team to think like me?

Thanks to Mick for asking me to blog on the topic of: “How do I get my team to think like me?”

My answer, blunt as it might be: You don’t want them to think like you!

20 “you’s” running around your office with the same ideas, the same view points, the same knowledge would be an absolute disaster for the creativity and innovation of your business.

You want staff who think differently to you so that you can come up with multiple solutions to problems, differing ideas on how to improve the company and, dare I say it, so that you have people who are willing to tell you when you’re wrong. (Yes – the boss is sometimes wrong and it’s a brave and vital team member who will let you know that!)

But – I think the point you’re asking about is not getting your staff to be your clones, but how to get them to understand what are the “non-negotiables” of working in your team.

I’ll go through my non-negotiables for anyone working on my team and maybe you’ll find something in there that you can incorporate:

Non-negotiables:

Mistakes are OK
So long as, if anyone (yes, including me) makes a mistake, they own up to it straight away, we fix the immediate mistake and then we put a system in place so it doesn’t happen again.

You will follow the system in place
We have a system for almost everything and you will follow that system, complete that checklist and do things in an orderly manner following the guidelines that have been set. BUT – if you see a better way to do something, we want you to tell us! Bring it up at a weekly meeting or just email me and make a suggestion. If we agree with you that it’s a better way to do things, we’ll change the procedure.

Complaints come to me
If you have an issue or a problem with the company – I want you to come to me. I don’t want to see it blabbed on twitter or facebook – I want you to say, hey, I have an issue with this and I’m giving you a chance to fix it.

Agreement isn’t guaranteed
I may not always agree with you – but I’ll always listen to you.

Come with the solution
Don’t just come to me with the problem. Bring one or more potential solutions as well.

There’s a time and a place
The time for bringing up issues with systems or the “way things are done” isn’t in front of a client. It isn’t in front of anyone actually. It’s one to one to your manager.

Whatever your non-negotiables are – you need to clearly voice them to your team so that they know that while you don’t want Mick-clones you do want respectful obedience and helpful suggestions on how to make the team better in the long term.

Hope that helps!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, July 2, 2010

Motivation Made Easy

I’m a pretty motivated person. Often I’ll get asked how I got “so motivated” and how I “maintain it”.

These sorts of questions usually leave me a bit stumped.

Motivation is a really fluid thing. I think that anyone that tells you they’re motivated 100% of the time is probably lying or is probably a bloody nightmare to be around.

There are times when I’m really motivated to eat take away Indian food and lay on the couch watching dodgy television – but I don’t think that’s the type of motivation I’m being questioned about!

To me however, motivation stems from three main areas of your life:

Like the Flu…
Motivation can be “caught” from those around you. Who are you hanging out with? Do you feel more motivated to achieve your goals and take action after you’ve spent an evening with friends, a day with colleagues or a weekend with your family?

What you Do…
Is what you’re doing on a day to day basis uplifting you or dragging you down? “What you do” relates to your work, your hobbies and your pastimes. If a majority of what you do is getting you in a more motivational state of mind – you’re on the right track.

Stick like glue…
Ok – I was clearly struggling for a rhyme here, but what sticks like glue to you is my way of asking what you’re putting into your brain? When was the last time you read a book that put you in a more motivational state of mind. Is the type of music you listen to geeing you up or making you want to smash your face into a wall (sorry, just thinking of some music I heard yesterday coming from another car). In short: if you’re putting good stuff into your brain, there’s more likely to be motivation coming out.

I challenge you to find an unmotivated person who even fulfills two of these characteristics:

1. Hanging out with people that are motivated, positive and who take action.

2. Who is doing work they are inspired by and has hobbies / pastimes that lift them up.

3. That reads and listens to motivational information.

But remember: motivation without action gets nothing done.

To sign up to Kirsty's weekly email, head to: www.kirstydunphey.com

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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