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Transform PM Ep 8: Making Connections, Samantha McLean

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Samantha McLean

Coaching Transcript:

00:00 Introduction by Fiona Blayney

01:02 The psychology behind business development

What Hannah talked about today is a lot of the really practical stuff that you need for business development in property management. What I’m going to talk to you about is some of the psychology behind it, so some of the strategies we used to use in winning over big clients with multiple stakeholders, which is actually just as relevant in winning a property management listing as it is winning a big corporate job.

I want you to think all the time of the people that you’re dealing with an iceberg. An iceberg is what sank the Titanic. When you are meeting a person for the first time you are seeing the tip of the iceberg, and so what I always want you to remember, and something that Hannah touched on earlier, is remember that what lies beneath is probably what’s going to win you the business, so what their fears and concerns are and the things that keep them awake at night.

The other thing I want you to remember is that logic is not always the centre of the sales universe. Have you ever been in a listing situation where the customer said, “I’m sorry. I just like the other guy more”? It’s happened to all of us.

What usually happens is that people will buy from people they like and people that they trust, and often they will buy on a notion and justify them with logic, so there will be a right reason that people bought something and then there’ll be a real reason.

02:13 The ‘social styles’ framework – doves, owls, peacocks and eagles

Where to begin? There’s a framework that we used to use called, well, as I said earlier in the session, it’s built on the DISC-modeling kind of thing. You will sense some familiarity with this in what I’m about to say compared with what Julie and Neil were talking about the other day, except I’m going to put it into a bit of a language of birds. There’s a framework called ‘social styles’ which was developed by a couple of sociologists called Michael and Dorothy Bolton back in the 70s. Not Michael Bolton, the singer, “how am I supposed to live without you”, but he was a sociologist.

Everyone has a dominant social style or a dominant way in which they behave. This affects the way that they interact with others, just in the same way that it affects the way that you guys interact with each other as teams, and the way you would interact with your prospects. Nobody conforms to one particular type, so you might have, as you will find out with your profiles that Julie and Neil have done that you have bits of everyone in you. There we go. Same thing. No one conforms to one type, and what we’re talking about here is, not to sort of make you feel like you’ve got to be the same as everyone, but just be aware that what we’re about to go through is a bit of a framework which will allow you to pinpoint, “Oh, that person is a ‘so-and-so'”

The four social styles are what we call amiable, what we call an analyst, what we call expressive, and what we call a driver. They’re DISC-based names. Where the birds come in: dove, owl, peacock, eagle. So that’s where the DOPE comes in.

Your doves, your amiables are people who are sympathetic to the needs of others, and they’re very sensitive to other people. They’re receptive, warm, helpful, and diplomatic, but unfortunately they have a problem in making firm decisions.

That’s our first type and then we have an owl. Owls are what we call process oriented. They have a precise diplomatic, systematic approach to their work. They make decisions once they’ve researched the facts. Unfortunately they can be a bit negative and nitpicking.

Then we have peacocks who are very action oriented. Peacocks, they look at the big picture. They’re imaginative, quite flamboyant. Willing to take risks. Extroverted. Spontaneous. Let’s go out on a Friday night spontaneous. They act on their feelings rather than on fact.

Then we have our eagles who are results oriented. Think unemotional. Think task oriented, get the job done. Know what they want and where they’re going. They like people to get to the point quickly, and what’s interesting about drivers is they’re very confident in themselves and they’re willing to take calculated risks.

You can definitely see strongly that if you look at some celebrities they definitely have a definite path that they follow. I guess the thing that, if I just go back to who they are. We’ve got amiable who are people oriented, analysts which are process oriented, expressives which are action oriented, and drivers which are result oriented. If you were selling to a people person remember your people people, that’s a hard thing to say, people people. Remember that they are people that like acceptance. They like to have their feelings recognised. They like security. They like safety, and they like to feel loved.

Analysts. Remember they’re process oriented, so they like recognition of their expertise. I’m not sure I’ve ever sat in front of an accountant who hasn’t like to be recognized for their expertise, particularly in the area of tax. They like perfection and correctness. Remember because they can be a bit nitpicky. Then we have our expressive people, so they like fun and enjoyment and independence and prestige and status oriented. Then you’ve got your drivers who like to be in a position of power. They also like prestige and status to a degree, and they’re keen on wealth and results.

06:10 Appealing to each social style

How do we sell to these people? Number one, with an amiable, like the word that I want you to write down here is guarantees. Amiables, remember, they like acceptance and love and they’re not very good at making decisions. If they’re not good at making decisions, then if you come up with an amiable in a listing presentation then you need to de-risk, and so sometimes people will offer, you know, I’ve heard of hundred percent money back guarantees and things like that, and that may be a way of de-risking for them, but also they’re the people that want to be your friend, so they’re the people that I’d be offering my mobile phone number to. Call me anytime, day or night. I’m here. I’m here for you, to make them feel, literally feel the love.

Then you’ve got your analysts, now the way I would sell to these guys is by providing them data. That’s what they understand. That’s what they like, and so that’s when I’d be getting my CMA out. That’s where I’d be getting my hyperlocal info out. That’s where I’d be doing all that sort of thing if I was selling to an analyst, and that’s what I’d be doing first. That’s about providing quantifiable evidence to them in your listing presentations that you had lowest vacancy rate, you had the lowest arrears rate. You have the best average rent, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

With expressives the word is testimonials. Remember, expressives are out there and they actually care what other people think, so if you’re selling to an expressive or a salesperson, actually there’s a well known quote that’s kind of like, “If you’re a salesperson selling to a salesperson it’s really easy if you’re good.” Because another salesperson will appreciate how good you are. You’ve just got to follow through on your actions as Hannah said. They do rely heavily on opinions of others, and so that’s where I’d be getting my testimonials out, or as I set it up and one of the tips would be to have your testimonials ready to go.

With drivers the word I want you to write down is options. Drivers base their decisions on facts but are risk takers by nature. If you put the driver back in control, or back in the driver’s seat, pardon the pun, by offering them two separate offers and letting them choose which one, make the one that you want them to accept more attractive obviously. When we were coming up against a driver in these big proposals we would always make sure that there was like a really risky option for them and a really unrisky option for them, because generally they like to think that they’re in control of their own upside.

Writing fast. Okay. They’re the four things, so, remember, amiable, you provide them guarantees, analysts, provide data, expressives, provide testimonials, and drivers, provide options. How do you figure out who is who in the zoo? You’ve probably seen this a million times: your comfort zone and where the magic happens. Depending on what profile you think you are, questioning people might be tough. You’ve just got to remember as Hannah said that, and remember the iceberg, so like what’s underneath the iceberg is what’s going to be the driver of whether you’re going to get the business or not.

09:15 Action Plan

The action plan for you is, number one, to suspend your judgment. Often when we walk into listing presentations or any sort of selling or any situation, we come in thinking about the video that we’ve got to create or the deadline we’ve got looming, or something else that might be going on in our lives: kids gone to school with the wrong uniform, or something like that. We overlay that on our prospects and the people that we work with. The first thing that you need to do when you get to the door is actually just … Tanja Jones who writes for us. She’s got a really good expression for it. She calls it ‘park the funk’. Whatever it is, you’ve got to park it.

Secondly, the other thing is to ask good questions and also to deal with the client’s issues and feelings. Don’t be afraid, as Hannah said, to ask questions, and then, of course, shut up, because you never know what they’re going to say unless you let them say it, and don’t be afraid to move forward. Think about what sort of buyer they are, so if they’re referring to the last person that didn’t pay them enough attention or the person that couldn’t back up their claims or anything like that, start thinking about what sort of bird category they might fall into, and then develop an action plan around this.

If you’re sensing a driver, start thinking about what sort of options you’re going to offer them. If you’re sensing analyst, start thinking about what sort of statistics you are going to put in front of them. If they’re looking like they need friendship, make sure that they have your mobile phone number.

10:40 Tips for questioning

My tips for questioning are a bit like what Lisa McInnes-Smith said at ARPM actually. If somebody asks you a question that you don’t quite know the answer to, or you haven’t quite worked out who you’re dealing with, give yourself a bit of time and breathing space to actually think about what you want to know and what you want to say. Even if somebody says something that’s kind of rude or disparaging or whatever, “That’s interesting,” or Lisa said “Fascinating,” is a really good way to begin.

“Fascinating.” “Interesting” is another good one, but then give yourself a moment and then you can follow through with either “Tell me more,” “Go on,” or “Why would you ask that?” or “Why would you do that?” or “Why would you want that? What are you really looking for?” Remember to ask good questions, and don’t be afraid to ask the question and then be quiet.

11:29 Offer them all

Now we’ve talked about doves, owls, eagles, and peacocks, but what do you do if you’re faced with any of that? Where you just can’t work out who’s who … And they are birds from our balcony, actually. They say birds are really lucky when you’re in publishing because they bring the news, so when birds come and land on your balcony. The thing is, the holy grail of business development and that is that you offer all the solutions, you offer data, you offer testimonials, you offer guarantees, and you offer options.

Think about how you can do all of this stuff proactively. Have you got your hyperlocal stuff ready to go? Have you got your market monitor set up so that at any point in time, you can actually say what the vacancy rate is in the local area, what the average rent is in the local area. All that sort of stuff. Have your testimonials ready to go. Think about what you can guarantee for the amiable people, and obviously the thing of least cost is your phone number, and your attention, and your friendship. Then, options for your drivers, so it may be Option one, Option two. From what I was hearing at ARPM, options are becoming more popular in property management, whether it’s gold, silver, bronze or something like that. Make sure that there is an element of all four of those things in every presentation that you do.

12:51 What motivates decision-making?

I have got two identical pens here. Just pretend those are identical. I’ve got two identical pens here, and the one on my left is cheaper than the one on my right. Which one are you going to buy? This one’s cheaper, you’re going to buy the cheaper one. Yeah? Okay. Very good.

Now, I’m going to hold up another two pens. These two pens are the same price. One is just a normal pen, and the other has got a stylus end on it, which I can use on my iPad. Which one am I going to buy? Same price.

Yeah. Because it does more, right? Now I’ve got two pens. They both do the same thing, they’re both the same price. One is a slightly different color to the other one. Which one do you choose? Even though they’re the same price, the girls are saying they like the pink one. Completely irrational, right?

Now, I’m going to show you two pens. One of them is branded with “Rad”, and one of them is branded “Elite Agent”. Same price. Which one are you going to buy? Again, we’re going back to that “What does it say about me?”

Last but not least, I’m holding up two pens here. One is branded, again, “Rad”, one is branded “Rockend”. Same price. Which one are you going to choose? Why are you going to choose Rockend? They made this whole thing possible. That’s memorable.

What we’ve just gone through here is something that’s actually really important in how people actually make decisions on what they’re going to buy. First of all: do you compete on every opportunity, know how much it costs you to compete on every opportunity, and are you just making up the numbers? Can you really win it? This is how you’ll figure it out. Everyone is going through a bit of a value equation, as they make decisions on what they’re going to buy. They’re going to look at what the cost is, whether they like the options that they’ve been presented, and what else they might like. Do they trust the brand, how do they explain it to others? How will they remember the experience?

15:05 Pyramid of Meaning

This is what we used to call the pyramid of meaning. Up the top here, you are competing on price. That’s basically what happens when you don’t have a relationship. In the absence of anything else, these pens are identical, this one is cheaper than this one, you choose the cheaper pen. If the customer has no other knowledge of you outside of that, they’re going to choose the cheaper brand. Now, how would I have possibly known that everyone in here was going to pick the pink pen? Over on the right hand side of the black circles, are what you know about the customer when you do have a relationship with them.

How we used to think about this in terms of, is if we didn’t have a relationship with these people, we kind of wouldn’t bid, because we wouldn’t know what was going on beneath the surface of the iceberg. When you don’t have a relationship and someone comes in and says “Would you like to bid on this? It’s a two million dollar piece of business, it’s kind of juicy. That would add a lot to your bottom line.” You’re just making up the numbers, because you have no knowledge of what else is going on. You don’t know whether they like pink, you don’t know whether they’re brand-conscious, you don’t know how they perceive your brand. Remember the right reason and the real reason that people buy. How is the experience memorable? Have they had a good experience with you before, versus someone else? There are no winners in a price war, only survivors.

16:24 Conclusion

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