West Coast Property Training - Bali Inspire 2013

Here are three lessons from this year’s Bali Inspire conference that are beneficial to anyone in any industry, particularly real estate agents.

Last weekend, Peter Fletcher, Noelene Brown and myself flew to Bali for West Coast Property Training – Bali Inspire 2013. The conference is aimed at real estate agents, but as licensee of a settlement agency I was keen to gain an insight into the industry from a real estate agent’s point of view.

West Coast Property Training put on an enjoyable event in a stunning location (watch this short video for a glimpse of the conference). What I learned there is hugely useful for any real estate professional that wants to improve their business.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from the day:

1. Multi-tasking isn’t actually productive.

Many people (myself included) have tried to save time by working on multiple things at once. In reality, the human brain is not capable of multi-tasking, so trying to do multiple things at once forces it to switch quickly between tasks. This takes time – around 50% longer than if we just focused on one thing!

For that reason, the best time management technique is to concentrate on doing just one thing at a time. For settlement agents, that means focusing on one file at a time. For real estate agents, it might mean concentrating only on writing property ads, or only on taking a phone call.

2. Real estate agents have a bad name, but trust can change that.

Most agents in the room agreed that real estate agents as a group have suffered reputation damage.

The only way to change that perception, according to trainer Jackie Crank, is to start rebuilding trust within the community. She identified three pillars of trust: competence (having the ability to solve clients’ problems), reliability (doing what you say you’ll do, when you said you’d do it) and caring (building a relationship with clients).

To demonstrate her point, she told a story that resonated with me: On the day of her daughter’s wedding, Jackie arrived at her hotel, with whom she had previously arranged to pick up a steamer to remove the creases out of her daughter’s wedding dress. However, the employee at the front desk told Jackie that there was no steamer, that the employee Jackie had communicated with previously did not work at that hotel, and that Jackie must be confused.

Jackie played a voice message from the hotel confirming that the steamer would be ready at the front desk, but the employee would not be convinced. Dismayed, Jackie walked out of the hotel to attend other appointments ahead of the wedding.

As she left, another hotel employee ran up to her, introduced herself as Ashleigh, and asked her to explain her problem. When Jackie told her about the steamer, Ashleigh assured her that she would personally sort out the problem. Sure enough, a few minutes after Jackie left, Ashleigh called her and told her that she’d found the steamer and it would be waiting at reception when she returned. Ashleigh made a lasting impression on Jackie and helped to mend her perception of the hotel.

The message here is that simply taking responsibility for a client’s problem – even if another party caused the problem – works wonders for your reputation.

3. Don’t rely on the seller’s disclosure statement.

Ethics can be a grey subject, but it’s up to individuals to create a higher standard by letting their morals guide them at work.

One example is the seller’s disclosure statement. It may be tempting to rely on the seller’s disclosure statement when selling property, but it’s possible that their information is incorrect.

My colleague Peter Fletcher explained one case in which he had sold an empty block to a developer who wanted to build three units on it, but who discovered after settlement that a wonky fence made the block smaller than the seller had claimed. Fortunately, they were able to negotiate with the council to have the units approved anyway, but Peter explained that the issue could have been avoided altogether had he simply measured the boundary lines for himself.

(See the West Coast Property Training website for more photos from Bali Inspire 2013.)

Overall, the conference was an eye-opener that stressed the importance of “the care factor”.

Doing well in real estate, we were told, is “all about how you make people feel”. For really good service, make your client’s priorities your priorities, connect to the customer as a person, solve their problems, build trust, and create positive emotional experiences.

Have you had success applying these techniques to sales? Leave a comment and let me know.