Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What would you do differently if you had to start your business all over again?

What one thing?

If you had to start your business all over again what one thing you would do differently?

What have you learned at this point in your career that you would do differently if you had to start all over again?

In a survey of experienced sales people throughout the country in the real estate, mortgage lending, insurance and financial planning industries I uncovered a commonality.

Those surveyed had a minimum of 10 years experience and more than half had 20 years or more.

Most had experienced at least two market cycles.

What's a market cycle?

A Market cycle is a big change in the market brought about by external conditions.

By example:

1974-1979 - Market Up
Early 70's "recession" over; looking good!

1980-1983 - Market Down
Fed usury ceiling deregulated 18% rates; birth of Fannie Mae

1984-1989 - Market Up
First big boom; rates down to 10%

1990-1995 - Market Down
Negative impact; Tax Recovery Act of 1987; "bubble burst"

1995-2005 - Market Up
Longest upswing; low interest rates; world migration to USA; high demand housing

2006 - present - Uncertainty in housing market; increased interest rates;
National home sales slump; prices fall

Can you see it?
A cycle.

A market cycle changes the way one approaches the business.

Some react. Some respond.

Those who react usually panic and consequently fail.

Those who respond have prepared for the changes, when preparing was out of favor.

Two things happen psychologically. First, when things go up people feel they'll never stop. Second, when things go down people think they'll never stop.

Read that again. Now think about it. This more than any other factor effects how we approach cycles.

What is important to remember about market cycle changes?

The major cause attributed to each major change is from an unforeseen, didn't see that coming, external force. Although the forces that create the change are new the cycle of up's followed by downs and downs followed by up's are not.

Put it this way, "every era of prosperity is followed by an era of decline and every era of decline is followed by an era of prosperity."

This quote is from the I Chin, 3000 BC. This is nothing new.

The only uncertainty is the frequency of the cycle.

Back to the question.

As I listened and recorded the answers to our survey question, it became obvious that one single common response was shared by nearly all respondents.

It didn't matter where they worked, what industry they were in, male or female, educated or not, which generation they were from, or which two market cycles they experienced.

They all experienced to some degree, the same confusion, chaos, panic, uncertainty, change, newness and unpredictability of the future when market cycles changed.

So, what did all these experienced sale professionals learn over time?
What one thing would they do differently if they had to start their business all over again?

It is summed up with one response.

"I would have kept all the names and addresses of all the people I met and did business with over the years and I'd be in contact with 3000 people a month instead of trying to find 300 today."

That's it!


AKA - Sphere of Influence or Referral Network; Client Community; people who know you, like you, trust you; Relationship Marketing; After-marketing; customer contact.

Call it what you want.

The most common response to our question was. "I would have kept in touch with a lot more people than I do now."

Why? Maybe because referral sources don't change because the market does. It's the "changeless core" in an ever changing market place.

What people think of you, the ones who know you, doesn't change because the refinance market tanked or the housing market has an increasing supply.

More than any other single activity, DATABASE MARKETING is the most contributing factor in creating, maintaining and enhancing a long term referral business.

The physical activity of constant long term contact usually matches the mental outlook.

Let me go over that again.

Salespeople who regularly send some form of direct mail to the same group of family, friends, customers (sphere of influence), month after month, year after year, are looking for the long term relationship, repeat business and referrals from their groups.

What I discovered was that their mental outlook paralleled their physical marketing activities.

When they stopped their direct mail contact they in time stopped their positive long term outlook for market opportunities and slowly left the business.

They stopped what worked.

DATABASE MARKETING is more, much more, than an activity. It is the basis for a long term view.

This is why salespeople who have successfully endured changing markets and have reached a consistency in production and sale achievement often self admittedly say they are not the smartest or the best or do anything really different yet they succeed while others don't.

At a recent seminar a local Realtor shared his story. He had been sending information via direct mail 6 times a year to the same database of 800 families for the past 10 years. He is a top producer by any industry standards. He is in the top 5% of his field.

When I asked how he would characterize himself, as outstanding, very good, above average, or just average his response was... just average.

75% of his business was from or referred by his database.

Database Marketing makes the ordinary EXTRAORDINARY.

That's my point.

A referral is a business opportunity initiated by a third party.

Get in touch, stay in touch, with your referral network.

Here are the 6 best Referral Sources.

1. People in your personal sphere of influence; i.e.: friends, family, neighbors as well as your business and professional sphere of doctors, lawyers, mechanic, vet, etc.

2. Satisfied clients

3. People whose business benefits from your business

4. People to whom you have given referrals

5. Anyone who has given you a referral

6. Referral business groups

The benefits of a successful ongoing database:
It works while you are not.

Your mental intentions match your physical action.

You build equity with the people, who know you, like you, and trust you.

It trumps experience in a fast and ever changing market place.

You do not have to be great to be greatly successful.


Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me.....
The best is yet to be!

Your Trusted Advisor For Life
Jeffrey Stanton

You read Jeffrey's Journal every week because you, like me want the best for yourself.
And you, like me want to build a strong referral based business.
Who else like you, like me loves referrals that you can share this blog with right now?

No comments:

Legal Stuff

CNE is a registered tradmark of Negotiation Expertise,LLC Your Professional Development and the information contained in/om , www, is the sole property of Jeffrey Stanton. the information contained is opinion only and should not me taken as legal or profesional advice. This website may not be duplicated whole or in part with out written permission.
This Site is not affilated with any othe web site and my contain links to outside web sites and is not responsible for other web sites content.

Certain statements contained on this blog may be deemed to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” “forecast,” “intend,” “goal,” “target,” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements that are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which cannot be predicted or quantified. Actual results and the timing of certain events could differ materially from those projected in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including, the effect of economic and market conditions including industry volumes and margins; the level and volatility of interst rates; the Company’s hedging strategies, hedge effectiveness and asset and liability management; the accuracy of subjective estimates used in determining the fair value of financial assets ; the credit risks with respect to our loans and other financial assets; the actions undertaken by both current and potential new competitors; the availability of funds from lenders and from loan sales and securitizations to fund mortgage loan originations and portfolio investmetns; the execution of growth plans and ability to gain market share in a significant market transition; the impact of disruptions triggered by natural disasters; the impact of current, pending or future legislation, regulations or litigation. The statements here are not offeres to extend credit as defined by Regulation Z. Rates, Programs, & Availability of Credit is subject to change

Jeffrey S Stanton
DRE ID # 01865119