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)...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Faced, Inexperienced or Too Young to Know Better?

Following on from my last post about being too old what about those of your who are far too young to do anything of real merit.

If you’ve read any of my work it’s not hard to discover that I’m a big believer in the fact that you can never be too young to have a go at something.

At 21, if I’d listened to the people who told me I was too young to start my first real estate agency, who knows where I’d be now.

At age 7, do you think Mozart fully grasped how amazing it was that he was writing his first symphony? Doesn’t matter – he did, he didn’t ponder his tiny age.

Shane Gould (superstar and Tasmanian resident) was only 16 when she won three Olympic gold medals and I doubt she gave a hoot to those who said it wasn’t possible.

A 17 year old Joan of Arc led an army to defend her country. Do you think she had time to waste considering whether the army she was meeting would worry about her baby face?

At just 15, LeAnn Rimes won two Grammy awards.

And anyone who’s ever eaten a sumptuous Mrs Fields cookie might be surprised to know that Debbie Fields was just 20 when she started the company.

The old man on our list today at 21 is Fred De-Luca who co-founded a little sandwich company with just $1,000 in his bank account – you might know of Subway?

For a great list of other inspiring youngsters check out BradleyWill’s blog here:

So, instead of asking yourself whether you’re “the right” age to be doing something, how about just asking yourself if your idea is good enough? Are you determined enough? Will you pursue it hard enough? Do you have the right talents on board?

Are you ready?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, April 25, 2011

Two Signs of a Great Leader

I spent the afternoon with a leader from another real estate organisation the other day. We were both working on applications for the same industry awards program.

The first sign of a great leader: she shared her knowledge. Even though our agencies are in competition with each other at times, this leader gratefully shared with me insight on what had helped them be successful in these awards programs previously – a real help given that it was our first time entering.

The second sign of a great leader: she made someone else feel special. During our afternoon chat, I mentioned that our office junior had spent considerable time working on her own application in the category of “support person of the year”. Not only did this leader take this knowledge in, but when she saw our office junior a few days later she remembered the conversation and asked her how she’d gone with her submission and spent a few minutes taking time with her. I don’t know if she noticed, but my office junior was not so secretly chuffed that this leader had taken the time to make her feel important and valued.

I’m about to send a copy of this blog post to this leader so that she knows it’s her I’m talking about because my bet is, she’s such a great leader and this generosity of spirit comes so naturally to her, that she won’t have even registered that she did something really special that day.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perspective – the choice is yours

My husband, a police officer, remarked to me recently the two predominant responses when parents with their children see him working in uniform.

Some parents will say educationally to their children: “There’s a police officer, if you’re ever in trouble, that’s who you go to, he’ll help”.

Other parents, will say educationally to their children: “There’s a police officer, if you do bad things, he’s going to lock you up”.

Two different perspectives on the same exact situation. Two different educational lessons taught to their children.

It reminded me of two of my favourite educational fables:

The first, two sales people are sent to Africa with the mandate: “sell shoes!” One calls home a week later asking to be relieved of duty – “no-one here wears shoes he says” hopelessness. The second calls after the first week stating “send more shoes – nobody here wear’s shoes!”

Two different perspectives on the same exact situation. Where one sees predestined failure, the other sees unlimited opportunity.

The second, twin sons of a hardened criminal were studied throughout their lives. One ended up behind bars, just like his father repeating many of the same mistakes. When questioned as to how he got there, he simply remarked “with a father and role model like that, how could I do anything else?” The second son ended up flourishing with a thriving career, a clean criminal record and a happy family. When questioned as to how he got there, he simply remarked “with a father and role model like that, how could I do anything else?”

Two different perspectives on the same exact situation. Where one saw no choice but to repeat the mistakes laid forth, the other used them as a road map for what not to do.

In life, we can’t always control what “happens” to us, or the situations we’re placed into. The only thing we do have control over is the way we adapt to and react to those situations and ultimately the perspective we choose to have over what has happened.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Feedback Follow Up

I'm a feedback form nut - I'll freely admit it. I get a strange sense of glee whenever I'm asked by a business to give feedback. I'll fill in a feedback form at a dodgy side of the road diner, when my bank asks for it or even those annoying online survey requests - I just like to give feedback.

You know what I like even more? When someone actually acknowledges that feedback.

I recently stayed in the Blue Mountains at Lilianfels Resort and Spa. It was, in a word, "divine". I diligently filled in my feedback form and even went and posted a great review on Trip Advisor. Nothing so strange there, I review most of the hotels I stay at online and I also fill in a feedback form whether I've had a good or bad stay at every hotel I go to.

What was different here, is that a few nights after returning home, our phone rang and it was the general manager calling to thank us for our feedback on the facility and staff (we'd particularly mentioned one staff member - Patrick - who was extremely helpful). He mentioned that he likes to call everyone who takes the time to leave feedback.

The phone call went for no more than a minute or two but left a huge lasting impression and it's the first time I've ever had this type of follow up (and trust me when I tell you I've left feedback that really should have been followed up in the past!)

Well done Lilianfels - and if you're going to the Blue Mountains in NSW, I wouldn't recommend you stay anywhere else.

What can you do to "Lilianfels" your business today? Are you asking your clients and customers for feedback, and then, most importantly, what are you doing with it after you receive it?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Who's The Communication Boss?

I hate talking on the phone. I feel like it's some genetically encoded throwback to my gen Y half (I sit on the cusp of gen X and gen Y).

Recently while having a week with a particularly busy work schedule I was even less inclined to chit chat on the phone I emailed a real estate agent about a property I'm looking into. He called me back with the answers to my questions, didn't get me and left a message on my phone. I emailed him back with more questions. He then again called back with the answers, this time he got me on the phone. I asked him a few more things but specified, could he email me the answers when he found them out. It won't shock you that he called me back again with the answers and left them via message on my phone. I then emailed him back letting him know I'd prefer to communicate by email. Bless his heart, I got a call from him to explain why he preferred to communicate on the phone.

Yes, I get it, I was probably being a little petulant with my desire to communicate by email. The real question however is - who gets to set the preferred mode of communication in a relationship?

When we get a new property owner at Elephant Property (our real estate agency) two of the first questions we ask are: can we communicate via email for non urgent matters (yes/no) and for more urgent matters, what's your preferred method of contact (email/mobile/other phone/text message/fax).

The client sets the way we communicate. Who sets the method in your business and is it the best way to tend to your client's needs or yours?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sometimes prospecting is...

I've worked in real estate for half my adult life and I've been to more training sessions that I can count on the ABCs (Always Be Closing), on hard sells, on how to deliver the perfect pitch presentation and yet, the more I work in this industry the more I realise that any sales based industry has a whole other level of prospecting for new business that rarely gets spoken about. Sure, sometimes you'll go into a presentation cold with nothing to assist you but your materials, your winning smile and your ability to close, but sometimes, just sometimes...

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about patience...
Are you prepared to wait until the time is right for the client, not just for you?

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about being persistent...
I've had clients come on board after chasing them for 2 years (and longer). Do you have a system in place that reminds you to follow up as appropriate with persistence without being annoying?

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about timing...
A simple question, asked at the right time can be an amazing form of prospecting. Recently I touched base (after being persistent & patient for about a year) just to make sure a client's current property manager had been in touch regarding an upcoming due date. They hadn't, and the business was mine.

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about perception...
When someone searches for you, or for your industry online. What do they do see? Can they see honest, real testimonials and reviews of your performance. Do they see a website that is both functional and representative of the type of brand you wish to convey?

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about words...
So often, you won't even hear the most powerful words as they're spoken when you're not around well before you're called in to pitch for the business. They're the words said from your current clients and customers to their friends and family. It'll either be the strongest recommendation you can get, or... you know the other alternative.

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... about approaching from a different angle...
After 18 months spent following up (with patience and persistence) one client in three party relationship, I happened across another who I'd had little personal contact with. It turns out this was the better approach and suddenly, we had new business.

Sometimes prospecting for new business is... unpredictable...
Our company recently got a new client, one of our largest, from an unpredictable referral from someone we dealt with who referred us simply because "we pay our bills on time". Are you making time to find out the origin of your current clients?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Is your business your child?

I never thought I’d have to explain typos in emails because I was “typing one handed”. Don’t get me wrong – I’m talking about the fact that while one hand is in email mode, the other seems to be in constant motion settling, feeding, playing with or just simply looking after my newborn daughter at the moment.

It’s brought an interesting dynamic to my “work life”. In that, I’m finding it hard to have one! My lovely little girl has been born with an innate knowledge of when she’s not the centre of attention, and frankly, she’s not a fan of it.

It’s show me that there are some really striking parallels between having a child and starting a business from infancy.

Both are completely depending upon you in the beginning, but depending on how you choose to raise them, both should learn at some stage to make decisions and to act in appropriate ways without you.

At what stage is your business at right now? Does it cope when you’re away or are there tears abounds? Can the organisation (other staff members) make decisions without you or do you need to hand hold them through all decisions?

Is your business an infant or independent?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Click, Click, Ca-Ching!

We had an interesting dinner table conversation the other night about the fact that, these days, you have almost no need to go into a retail store with most anything being able to be bought online.

If that’s the case, for those of you with a physical retail outlet, why are your customers still shopping with you?

I polled our readers and found out the reasons they still shop retail rather than online with the common reasons being:

- Immediacy (for those who can’t wait for the postage time)

- The ability to touch something, try it on, poll friends / family for their input

- Impulse buys (the purchase you make when you didn’t know you were going to!)

- And finally - service

I recently purchased three books for my husband and went into a great bookstore in my local area – Petrarchs to do so. Upon reflection, I purchased this gift in that store for all 4 of the reasons above. Firstly, the gift occasion was 3 business days away, so I couldn’t have been sure (where I live) that delivery would get me the gift on time. Two of the books were large coffee table style books, so it was great to flick through them and touch them first before purchasing. The third book I added to the present was a complete impulse buy. The staff at Petrarchs always seem to offer great service – I had a lovely chat with the chap who served me about his new child (very close in age to mine), the proprietor made a few jokes and while I did the rest of my errands they gift wrapped everything after first finding out whether to use a more masculine or feminine gift wrapping.

Do I buy books online? Absolutely – lots of them. But when I choose to buy them in a physical store in my hometown – Petrarchs is my first port of call. Why? Their selection and most importantly, their service.

As good as an online bookstore is, it’s unlikely I’ll ever engage in the jovial banter I have with the staff at Petrarchs. An online outlet may be able to offer gift wrapping, but will they question whether I want it for a male or female?

While it’s unlikely you’ll ever get your hair cut online, where you choose to buy your hair spray from is another matter altogether.

If you sell a physical product that can be bought online, ask yourself why your customers are coming to you in person. What can you do to further protect that custom in the future?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

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