Hey 4X’ers thanks for joining us again. So happy you are here again. If you are listening in sequence you will know that we are in a 9 episode series that is covering the 9 facets that need to be integrated and applied by all 4X Agents in order to eventually enjoy the DREAM BUSINESS. Just in case you missed the last one make sure you go back and listen to the episode entitled “What is a Professional”. We will play the quick intro and get right to it.
Ok so today we are going to talk about Item #2 – A 4X Agent is Accountable. The First Episode was clarifying what we define as a Professional. Can you imagine anyone who is deemed a professional without believing somewhat they are accountable?
Accountability is so so so important. I am going to talk about 5 things to focus on that I think may surprise you…there are a lot of examples to share but I thought that I would talk about this subject matter because I want you to internalize how you can literally differentiate yourself by practicing these things….
What is the CORE of ACCOUNTABILITY in really simple terms?
Do what you say.
Have you ever heard that expression… ”Action speaks louder than words”
Or … “I can’t hear what you say because your actions are so loud”.
That should be simple right? Have you ever dealt with someone who was that type of person that, when they shook your hand, and gave you a nod, that you just knew his “word was good”?
Have you ever had an experience where it was really tough to honor your word? What happened? Did you figure out how to make it happen? Or did you end up disappointing someone?
Have you ever trusted someone with their word and then they failed to honor their word but afterwards, they explain the challenges that came up that limited their ability to honor their word, and you are forced to kind of accept that? How did that feel? Even if it is totally understandable, how did you feel? Disappointed? Were you worried about them next time they made a commitment? Was it difficult to TRUST that they would come through the next time? It’s a tough one right? Is the excuse valid? Maybe. Does that make it alright? No not really. We have this inner battle. This inner dialogue that wants to give that person the benefit of the doubt right? We inherently want to believe that they tried their hardest but if you really break it down…a little tiny bit of damage has been done. A bit of trust has been chipped away.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about extenuating circumstances where something major has occurred that is beyond the control of everyone involved. I’m talking about a major disaster. Either a major life or death event, or natural disaster or something so extreme that we even may have been affected by the issue or event or disaster of some sort….
Is it hard to be true to your word sometimes?
You know, over 15 years ago now, I had a situation where I gave a few people my word. I won’t get into all of the logistics. But these people invested and I personally – verbally – guaranteed to them that they would not be at risk. Well the truth is, I was very green at the time and did not analyze things properly and the investment went bad. The company went out of business due to some very unforeseen circumstances that were out of our control. Totally. We were dealing with licensing issues and permitting issues that were stuck in the vortex of bureaucracy and it financially crippled the company to the point that the ripple effects eventually drowned the resources and the company could not sustain any longer…The ‘knowns’ became ‘unknowns’ and suddenly the money dried up and the company had to fold. IT was horrible and stressful.
By the way it was not real estate related. Invest in what you “know and understand” was one of the lessons for me on that one…anyway….
But here is the point… I could have easily said to everyone…sorry you lost. You made an investment that simply didn’t work out. But I gave my word. So I had to honor it. Those people got paid back. I lost way more money than any of those people! and there was no benefit to me, other than, my word and honor stayed intact. But it was worth it to me.
I had an out. I could have just simply shrugged my shoulders And said sorry man… but I didn’t. I found a way. IT wasn’t right away but at the end of the day I believe that everyone, that I made a promise to, was made whole.
So being accountable can very simple… but sometimes it is really hard. IT is difficult times, that we are tested in that.
My business partner in our real estate company totally bailed on me during the tough times in 2010 – 3 years in – and just left me alone to fulfill the obligations of the running the company because it was hard. It was stressful. It was tough.
So now I know I can never count on that person. Ever. He is not part of my life anymore. I don’t carry any ill will towards him other than I will never do business with him and I know his word is not true. Your character is shown during the tough times not the easy times. He really seemed like a “stand up guy” during the good times when money was rolling in. But that is simple. Anyone can do that.
That’s why accountability and trust is so revered in our society today. What does your “word” mean? When you make a commitment – verbal or otherwise and the terms of that are remembered properly…(that is a whole other issue) how do you honor that when it gets hard?
Sometimes I say this… take money out of the equation for second – now think about everything and decide what is the right thing to do….
What about this? Here is one of the biggest examples that I can think of…
How easy is it to get a divorce these days? I deal with it all the time. I literally received a phone call today from a long time client who just dropped the news on me that he and his wife are getting a divorce.
It is becoming more and more acceptable and people think of it as a normal thing now. It shouldn’t be should it? I am not putting myself as judge and jury here…I know there are extenuating circumstances sometimes but I know for a fact that, more often than not, people seem to diminish the weight of those words. That commitment that they made to that person on their wedding day…those vows…those sacred vows. The Ring is a symbol or a never-ending circle – no way out… right? – the significance of that seems to fade away over time and the gravity of that just seems to lighten…because our society says its ok.
Here are some stats – the divorce rate in Canada is 38%. More than 1 in 3 marriages are going to end in divorce!! That is alarming!
In the US it is reported that it is estimated to be between 40 and 50%… Extenuating circumstances? Fear for their lives? Abuse? Drug Abuse? Can contribute to some of these but 40 to 50%? Come on…
The idea of accountability and the rules of commitment are slowly but drastically changing in our society and I say- NO. No – stop it. Get back to the basics. Let’s bring the line of normal-ness for Accountability back to where it is supposed to be.
Lawyers make a mountain of money arguing over the gray area. Finding “outs” and confusing the intent of the original agreements. This is scary. Don’t you agree?
There is a reason that our contracts have gone from one page to 11 pages in a lot of cases now… we have to take away the ambiguity and we try to clog up all of the holes that the legal system finds….with our clauses and terms….(this is another reason that the REALTOR can’t be totally replaced by the way)
There is a no – BUT – there is no – ONLY IF – there are no conditions to a marriage vow or a promise or true commitment. Once it is made you have to honor it. That is why there is so little trust in our society. This spills into so many other aspects of our lives…How our Children view accountability & Commitment ….jobs…. agreements…. promises…. verbal agreements and even written agreements have all of these imaginary conditions on them now. No wonder we have all of these insecure and confused kids growing up in our world. Who can they trust? Look at their examples. The people that they revere and hold up to a higher standard are all over the news. Their heroes are constantly getting divorced or getting caught messing around or whatever.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not sitting here on my high horse judging anyone. I am simply trying to point out where our influences are. How we as a whole get programmed. How we kind of get numb to things. How we inadvertently change how we tolerate things in our society.
If anyone has gone through a divorce, I am not judging you…I want to make that clear. It is not fun. It is stressful. You may have had a good reason. I am not here to make you feel badly about that. Or argue what is a good reason and what is not a good reason…that is not my intent.
What is the root of Accountability? Can people Count on you?
So with that in mind, let’s get into some specifics. What are some areas of your real estate business that you should focus on?
- Be on time. Be on time. To be honest this is something that I struggle with a lot. My mind is programmed to think that it is a waste of time to be early. It is unproductive time to me. I know it sounds weird but that is something that I have had to work on. Be on time. People need to count on you. IF you make an appointment make it on time and show that you have respect for the people that you are meeting. If you are stuck in traffic…. let the people know that are behind. Accidents happen and that can make you late but as long as people know that you were making them a priority but something happened beyond your control then the relationship is preserved. It breeds security into the relationship if people always know that you show up on time…
- Do What you SAY you are going to do. I will get that info to you by noon tomorrow…. get it done and get it to them by noon. These are the building blocks of trust that you need to earn with your clients/co-workers/peers/family members/friends etc. sometimes it is hard…I get it. Things pop up. Other urgent things can come in front of you that you need to suddenly take care of. But you have to deliver on time or earlier and deliver quality information that is complete and personalized to them. DO what you say you will do and do it well. DO it better.
Sometimes people make too many promises…so when you make a commitment ensure that you will be able to meet that commitment. Just making a bunch of promises so that people think that you are a good gal or guy can actually damage your relationships and crumble trust, if you aren’t able to meet those commitments. So don’t be so quick to tell people what they want to hear. Sometimes you have to tell them an answer that they may not like as much so that you can make sure that you can honor that commitment.
“You know Mary; I just don’t think that I am going to be able to get to that until Wednesday. But I promise that I will get it to you by the afternoon on Wednesday. I want to make sure that I can put aside the time properly to get that done for you…”
Here’s another example – A client calls you and wants you to meet today. You have a time slot available that fits the meeting in to your day. So you are instinctively inclined to make them happy and meet them today. Your day is booked otherwise in other meetings and events. Is it good to fit that meeting in? Sometimes…. sometimes it is not a good idea.
When you do a listing presentation and you make commitments on what you will do for the seller…do you guarantee that in writing? Do you have systems in place to ensure that they get done…are they done well? I have spoken to many people that are greatly disappointed when the REALTOR doesn’t do the things that he promised when he listed the property. We go over this in the course.
This leads us to our next item…
- BE PREPARED – this is one thing that I know a lot of Real Estate agents fall down. They will book meetings and then show up “un-prepared”. I can’t tell you how many times that I have shown up to a meeting and people are impressed at how prepared I am. That shows accountability. They can count on me. They can rely on the fact that I don’t show up all frazzled to a meeting. They know that I am relaxed. I am prepared for the meeting. I know the information that I want to get across to these people. I have taken the time to think things through a bit and I have a plan for the meeting. Who is in control in those circumstances? Now sometimes, I show up to a meeting and the house – the product – is totally different than I was expecting…. I will have to tell these people that I have to do more research so that they have proper information to rely upon in those cases and that does happen. We teach in the 4X formula real estate course how to prepare for such meetings in advance to minimize that possibility.
Be prepared. Now if you are booking a meeting that same day when you are already working your day…. does that give you an opportunity to be properly prepared? I would rather put the appointment off. I will go into the appointment prep interview mode and get as much information as possible and book the meeting at a later date…maybe the next day so that I can be prepared.
How about this? When should you prepare? I have a rule. I prepare for meetings a minimum, the day before the meeting date. That way I am ready. My file is ready. My research is ready. My handouts are already in the folder that I give them and all I need to do is grab the file and head to the meeting. That leaves me time to be ready for other opportunities to come to me. When a new opportunity comes to me during the day of the appointment, I can book a meeting for the next day or so and I now have the time to prepare for it today.
Be Prepared. If I am stressed out about getting the stuff ready for the meetings that I have today, I will most likely miss out on opportunities and hurt my chances for more business and something is going to happen. I am going to let someone down. Not on purpose.
So often we will blame the craziness or the stress or the busy-ness that is happening. But we can avoid all of that by being prepared.
Here is a great quote from John Di Lemme
“Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions.”
Here is the last note on Accountability for today…I could go on for much much longer on this…. but I think that I have made my point.
- Pay your Bills on time – Pay people on time. Don’t incur the bill unless you intend to pay it right away and on time. Make sure you are paying a fair price but don’t hammer on people to give you a good deal or get that service provider to give you a discount. This is not where you exercise your “negotiation skills”. I don’t believe in that. Would you like to do business with these people in the future? Do you think that there is a chance, that if they feel good about you that they may want to employ your services? How do you think that the commission talk will go if you beat them up on their price? I actually say these words sometimes…. if someone is feeling like they have to offer me a great price or I notice them struggling with that…I tell them to charge me what is fair. I want to make sure that they walk away from the transaction feeling fulfilled…. I get business from these people all the time because I pay my bills in full and right away and I always pay the fair price…I may even overpay sometimes but I get a lot of business from these people because they see me as a fair minded individual and because I pay them well they want to give me business. When I list their home, I get full commission. There is no argument because they know I didn’t try to get a “deal” out of them.
Here is the last one:
5- BE ACCOUNTABLE TO YOURSELF
This is crucial to your success…. this is where a lot of people struggle.
Here is a quote from Joseph Fort Newton
“A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last”
All you are doing is snow plowing what needs to be done and making the mountain of “undone” things or actions seem more and more difficult to overcome….
In our 4X Formula Course we train our 4X Agents on all aspects of Real Estate and we hold ourselves to a higher level. Be accountable….
Some people are very accountable to other people. They are always prepared. They are always on time. They do what they say. They pay their bills on time in full quickly. They are people that can be counted on… but they forget about another person – themselves. They will sacrifice themselves sometimes.
I see it all the time. Why is that? We let ourselves off the hook a lot don’t we. This is where I think a lot of people give themselves a discount.
It really bothers me. In all the years that I have been training agents, when I see it happen, it actually kind of makes me sad. Because I know how slippery this slope is…once you begin to let yourself off the hook, it gets easier and easier to slide right back down the hill that you started climbing. Kind of know what I mean?
We deal with this in the course because it is the huge game changer that people don’t realize…the whole fire and fizzle thing happens.
So we do a lot of work on setting up a game plan and we hold you accountable to that plan and help you execute the plan. That way when you experience mini successes along the way you will want to keep going….you end up creating new habits that are now engrained in your brain and you will accept nothing less from yourself….Then you build on that and the next thing you know you have literally transformed yourself into a new person who has a new set of standards and new set of habits and a new set of thought patterns and it is really hard to go backwards once that is solidified….That gets me really excited when I think about that.
Doesn’t that get you fired up? It does for me. I know that we are going to help forward our cause of creating an army of 4X’ers out there doing awesome things in the Real Estate Industry and changing how the public views the Real Estate professional…. This dream will become a reality…
Keep listening…. our next episode will be on #3…. A 4X Agent is organized.
That seems so OCD doesn’t it…. but it means much much more than that…It is amazing how efficient you can be when you are organized.
Have a great day…I so appreciate you listening to this podcast…tell your friends and associates…click on the comments and give me a rating please if you are on iTunes…otherwise…. go out there and make a great day!