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July 26, 2016


In order to help my youngest son get ready for full day school in the fall, we've been meeting with a counselor every couple weeks to work on some behaviors that can help him to be more successful (last year was a little bumpy).

To help him (and us) with his behaviors he has a point chart for the things that he is working on, and he can save up his points and cash them in on things like extra video game time, a toy at Target, etc.

Needless to say, he is a fan of the chart and very motivated when something he wants or is interested in is on the line. As a result, during our first couple weeks of doing this, he immediately started working the system. For example, one of the behaviors is saying excuse me. He is the youngest of 3 boys, and when other people/his brothers are talking he would constantly interrupt and talk over them to get the attention of the person he wanted, even though he didn't really have anything to say. So we've been working on saying excuse me, acknowledging that he has something to say ("just a moment"), and he waits patiently until it's his turn.

Except when he wants to earn points for something, he wasn't quite doing it that way. He would walk up to anyone in our family, even when no one was talking and say "excuse me", then of course pointing out to me what a great job he did.

I mentioned this to the counselor at our next session, and she said something that really stuck with me. She said that by practicing the behavior like this when it didn't really matter (or even really apply) would help to make it that much easier when the situation is harder and it really counts.

Think about that for a moment. We think about and promote practicing for things like sports, or playing an instrument, for performances, being in a play or dance number, but really, this applies so much to real life and our businesses.

When is the last time your practiced your listing presentation, or have you ever? How about words to say or questions to ask when qualifying a new buyer or helping them to decide which home is right for them? My guess is probably not often, or at all.

Brian Buffini talks about how in real estate our on the job training isn't really training at all, but happens in real life scenarios in front of clients when it counts most. Many real estate coaches are big advocates of practicing your "scripts" with others and role playing. I certainly did my fair share of that in the beginning of my career and now looking back find that it was invaluable (as much as I didn't like it). There is huge benefit to that, but there is also benefit in taking each real estate opportunity seriously and applying your full effort, even when it seems like a waste of time, if for nothing more than to make you better and to practice.

Personally, I need to re-read that last sentence every day. I HATE wasting time, but like most things in life, it's all about your attitude and how your approach it. It's not wasting time, it's helping you to build your skills and grow your business.

So the next time you have the opportunity to show a house to a new buyer that you are pretty sure is a waste of time, take an hour and do it anyway. That is a terrific chance to practice presenting the buyer agency agreement and asking questions and communicating with a potential buyer. When the dreaded Internet lead comes in and doesn't answer the phone or respond to your first email, practice your follow up skills and tenacity. When you get a call for a listing appointment that is a major long shot (their best friend is a realtor too, they aren't planning to move for another year), go anyway and give your very best presentation. When you have the client who runs all over you and is disrespectful of your time, practice saying no and taking control of the scheduling, so when it really counts (an appointment conflicting with an important event with your spouse or child) it will be easier to do what you need to do.

Practice doesn't just make perfect (there's no such thing), but practice does make it easier to do the right thing, respond at your best, and grow your business when it really counts.

When is the last time you took the opportunity to practice in your business?

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