How To Reactivate a Business Contact You Really Need

We all have excuses for failing to maintain relationships and business contacts.  Whether the excuses are valid or not doesn’t matter.  What DOES matter is how you handle your long-lost contacts moving forward.  If the contact is important to you, personally or professionally, you need to follow these steps:

  • Think of the personal, or business, value a specific person has to you. Decide for sure that you want to recommit to a relationship with this person for the value it brings to you.  Then remember the #1 Rule:  You achieve your own goals by helping others achieve theirs.
  • Prepare for making contact again:
    • Check out Facebook and LinkedIn and the people you know in common. FindHow To Reactivate a Business Contact out what this person has been doing lately.  By doing this you will most likely find a good entre to a new conversation with them.  Send them a friend request on Facebook if you choose, but personal contact is better.
    • Review your past relationship to locate the pretext that you can add to the entre you discovered in the step above. If you have any email threads where you did something good for the other person, keep them handy.
    • Now that you have an idea of their life today, think about how the other person may remember you. Imagine what type of subject heading or initial conversation would engage them:
      • How does it feel being an empty-nester?
      • What has been the biggest challenge of your new role at [Company X]?
      • What do you like about living in [name of town/city]?
    • Even if you feel guilty, do NOT make the initial communication about you and what you did or didn’t do. Make the communication about THEM.
  • Craft an opening call or email asking about the other person’s life, such as:
    Hi Mark, This is ___ from your old marketing department.  I just heard that _____ and couldn’t wait to be in touch and find out more from you.
    Don’t mention your current job.
    Don’t mention your real reason for the contact.
    Don’t provide contact information under your signature, keep it personal.
    Don’t include URL’s or links or any information about you.
  • Follow up with your email and include a good memory.
  • Wait until the other person asks about your business/job before you bring it up. When they do ask what you are doing, tell them your business situation, but don’t ask for business.  Re-create your relationship first.  Let them come to you.  Then you can “gently” ask for their business.

If you are sincerely interested in reactivating a business relationship, following the above steps will help you do so successfully.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

How Often Do You Convey Customer Appreciation? Is It Enough?

The thing we seem to be lacking most today is time.  But one of the greatest relationship and business builders is appreciation.  So taking the timeHow often do you show customer appreciation? to reach out can be one of the wisest investments you can make.

Who, What & When:

  • Reflect on your values, goals and accomplishments, and remember those who have helped you along your path.
  • Genuine and personal appreciation is deeply felt. Empty or token appreciation is easily recognized as such and can create a negative result.
  • Pretend it is a tweet; keep it short and specific, personal and true.
  • Timeliness is very important. Late is, of course, better than never but may be perceived as an afterthought.

Think about how you feel when someone takes the time to appreciate you.  It seems in this world that appreciation and customer service are two of the most lacking business practices.  You can stand out, while making a difference to your customers and in your business, by taking time to show your sincere appreciation!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

5 Daily Habits That Will Make You A Powerful Influencer

Leadership is influence and influence requires that other people WANT to follow your lead.  Your enthusiasm can help fuel their desire to follow as can your character!  Remind yourself that leadership is notBecome a powerful leader & influencer about dictating, commanding or imposing your way on others.  It is about being of service to others, empowering them and their goals.  Here are a few daily habits that you can adopt that will help you become a more powerful leader and influencer:

  1. Gain the trust. Giving trust earns trust back.
  2. Divest your ego. Confidence in skill and fierce resolve are separate from “I”.
  3. Demonstrate competence; initially by communicating your vision, plan and shared steps clearly.
  4. Enroll your followers by engaging their co-creation, contributions and collaboration.
  5. Develop a group identity and culture which will expand the sense of belonging and value within the membership.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Tips For Working With A Consultant

Consultants offer a level of expertise usually on the whole field they are hired to help with, and tend to be quite expensive because of that quality.  They may specialize in finance, human resources, technology, leadership development, organizational design, marketing or social media, for example.

Because consultants are not actual members of the organization, they:Tips for working with a consultant

  • Can often see more objectively and provide fresh ideas from outside experience
  • Can be hired for a specific objective for a short time
  • Are easier to fire if you are not satisfied

They can also affect the morale of your staff, so it is important to work them into the fabric of the company with positive contacts with your people.

It’s best to start with a clear understanding of your objective.  Spend some time defining, perhaps brainstorming, options to be sure you explore all the options, and weighing pros and cons of your possible outcomes.  Putting your ideas in writing is often the best way to make sure you are clear.  Look at who your key stakeholders are, and review your Mission and similar Statements.

Start your consultant with a thorough discussion of the above, and set understanding about access, directions and scope.  You will have determined what information or records they need to move forward, and you will want to make a positive introduction to any of your staff with whom they will interact.  Invite communication from everyone.  Because you will be focusing on your own work for the most part, you may need to hear the opinions of others to be well-informed.

Provide your consultant with feedback.  Slight directional misunderstandings can waste a lot of time and money.  Be sure you are reviewing the task, not the person.   Be sure your consultant is focused on their job, not becoming involved with other issues, unless there is something they notice and bring confidentially and quietly to you.  And be sure when results are brought to you that you also seek the consultant’s advice on execution and integration.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Turning A Doubter Into A Happy Client

We all have clients from time to time that are “doubters”.  Next time you are working with a doubter, follow the steps below to clear up any misunderstandings and turn the doubter into a happy client!:

  • Let them know you are listening. Don’t interrupt.  Recap what is said to be sure you got it right.
  • Focus first on general direction not details.Turning A Doubter Into A Happy Client Make sure the client is clear about the direction you are taking and/or clear about their own direction and overall perspective.
  • Be very clear about what is your opinion -vs- what is your directive. You are hired for your expertise, so it is okay to suggest that at times your directive should prevail.
  • If your client is unhappy, sometimes it’s because they have not been clear on a specific point or you misunderstood them. Always take the time to discuss, analyze and adjust.  Clients often have “secrets”, untold issues that direct their thinking.  You don’t need to pry, but you do need to understand where they are coming from.
  • Checking in and communicating frequently is a must. Doubters are most critical about what they don’t know!  Provide information AND the context with each communication.
  • Finally, if your client is getting advice from everyone they know, solicit their input on that advice and address it carefully but clearly. Don’t let your client’s fan club derail your efforts.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Time or Money – Which Would You Rather Give Up?

Most of us are pressed for time and home buyers are no exception.  My first “tell” was the choices many home buyers make; opting for better condition over architecture orTime or Money – Which Would You Rather Give Up? craftsmanship, or even location.  Until I recognized the underlying motivation that stood behind this condition “trend”, it was disconsonant.  Then the translation of “like new” to “no work for a period of time” became obvious.

  • Flippers often lose out on thousands of dollars by giving no attention to landscape.  Potential buyers view a neglected landscape as an eye sore AND as an expense with an undefined time/money cost.  A few thousand dollars spent by the flipper could earn them an additional $10,000 – $20,000 for delivering a finished landscape product.
  • Yes, most buyers do like to see potential for development or improvement that will build their equity.  However, the development or improvements should be optional versus a requirement for making the house fully functional.
    • Upgrading a bathroom is not a desirable equity build for a buyer.
    • Painting rooms, or the entire house, a better color is a personal choice rather than a purchasing obstacle.
    • Adding a deck can be a desirable equity build, but having to fix a badly conditioned deck is a negative rather than a positive.

In today’s world, there is a lot of talk about money issues however many of our behaviors indicate that we would rather give up money than give up our precious time!  This is a clue for any business.  Many companies could surely benefit by looking at their products and services and asking themselves whether or not they save more time than money.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

How To Help Your Clients Make Decisions

Whether it is a person who can’t make a decision, someone who makes snap decisions or someone who won’t make a decision, they all have one common fear – making with the wrong decision!How To Help Your Clients Make Decisions

To help someone manage their actions and decisions for their own benefit, it can be necessary for an agent or friend to help direct.  Important points that someone making a decision needs to remember:

  1. They can’t know the results of their decision until the end, or it would be a course, not a decision.
  2. There is no benefit in half way. If you don’t have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you have nothing.

Decisions become real when they are implemented by people.  Understanding the behavior pattern of your client or friend will help you, help them.

3 Main Personality Types & Tips for Working With Each

Analytic

An analytical type is primarily interested in data and analysis.  You will recognize them quickly, because they keep seeking more information, even when they have all the “facts” and are roaming the territory of assumptions or what ifs.  An analytical person’s biggest fear is failing.  Time is not their friend.  It is what passes, and often takes the opportunity with it, while the Analytic ponders, makes spread sheets and weighs options, possible outcomes and more.

Carefully take the following steps to be an effective aid to an Analytic:

  • Do help them acquire all the information that is rationally relative and reasonably available. Foster their need to keep notes and charts and always reference sources for the information.
  • At the same time, set a deadline, depending on the action to be taken, and keep that deadline, and its reason for being, in front of the decision maker.
  • Encourage them to take the lead by making the potentially best decision, reviewing it with you in light of all the information in hand, and reviewing it with their best counsel. This will give them cover if problems arise.  Be sure to do all this within the deadline or agreed upon time frame!
  • Know once they get there, they will stick to their decision.

Dominant

A Dominant person likes control and as you may guess, they make decisions quickly.  Information is important but only in concise doses, too much is a bore to them because they feel they already know it.  Dominant people couldn’t care less about the details of crossing t’s and dotting i’s, when they want your opinion they’ll ask you for it.  Their motto is “get in, get it done and move on”.  Thinking with their mouth open is common, normal and acceptable.

  • A Dominant doesn’t need help making decisions.

Social

The Social type is an advice seeker.  They do it for 2 reasons:  they question their own decision making ability and they seek the reinforcement of outside opinions.  As Socials do their social thing, they spin the current conundrum open for discussion with their world.  Their motto is “what if?” Socials are completely at peace asking 5 lawyers the same question, and then asking 7 more friends to get a quorum.  They often have a Fear of Future Regret.

To minimize future regret fear and help them make a decision, you can:

  • Remind them about deadlines while encouraging all their research.
  • Suggest that not all counsel is equally wise, and to consider their results not be mired in politics of relationships. (You can take the heat of not accepting their Dad’s answer if you need to.)
  • Suggest they also listen to their inner voice. Children are very tuned in to their inner voice.  However, as adults we tend to unwisely tune it out.  A gentle reminder to listen to their inner voice may be all they need.
  • Reassure them that the most important relationship they have is with themselves and that it’s okay to do what they think is right for them!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

7 Strategies To Help You Learn From Near Misses!

In the airline industry, “when two planes almost collide they call it a ‘near miss.’  It’s a near hit!  A collision is a near miss”. — George Carlin

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…but only if you study it!  In the wake of disaster, companies naturally become more cautious, implementing new safeguards and waxing conservative7 Strategies To Help You Learn From Near Misses! on decisions.  But when disaster is narrowly averted, the opposite is true.  Research by Georgetown University’s Robin L. Dillon-Merrill and Catherine Tinsley shows that organizations perversely consider such events — the product flaw caught just before shipping, the thwarted break-in by a hacker — to be successes.  Nothing awful happened; the reasoning goes, so we must be doing something right.  In fact, near misses often presage disaster, hinting at systemic flaws that continue to threaten the organization. By studying them, companies can prepare for the inevitable event when luck or circumstances don’t go their way.

How?  In a 2011 article for the Harvard Business Review, Dillon-Merrill and Tinsley, in collaboration with Peter Madsen of Brigham Young University, present these seven strategies for recognizing and learning from near misses:

  1. Heed high-pressure situations – Teams struggling to meet tight schedules or cost targets are more likely to discount near misses than other teams. Ask: If we had more time and more money, would we make the same decision?
  2. Learn from deviations – As conditions or outcomes repeatedly deviate from the status quo, team members respond by recalibrating the norm. Ask: Have we always been comfortable with this level of risk? Has our policy toward this risk changed over time?
  3. Uncover root causes – Managers find it easier to correct a deviation than to dig deep and find its cause.  Ask: Why did this effect happen? What was required to produce this effect? What do we need to do to address the root cause?
  4. Demand accountability Managers will dismiss the seriousness of near-misses unless forced to justify those assessments. Ask: Does the corporate culture make us feel accountable for our decisions?
  5. Consider worst-case scenarios – Unless teams imagine severe negative consequences, they are unlikely to act. Ask: Could we have seen other outcomes? How bad could the outcome have been?
  6. Evaluate projects at every stage – Managers generally don’t conduct post-mortems after successes, yet they characterize near-misses as successes. Ask: Can we pause and learn something at this project milestone?
  7. Reward owning up – If employees are discouraged or punished for admitting failures, they will sweep errors under the rug if they aren’t detected by anyone else. Ask: How can we create an organizational culture that recognizes and rewards uncovering near misses?

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Influencers Are Your Marketing Gold Mine

As an agent, why do we care about connecting with “Influencers”?  They bring Activism, theyInfluencers Are Your Marketing Gold Mine are Connected, they move in Ever-Widening Circles, other people look to them, they have Active Minds.  And all this energy can be put to your benefit.

Be aware of their point of view.  They are excellent gauges of American aspirations.  They believe change is good.  They are clear about their priorities.  They want opportunity.  They are very good at adapting what they see elsewhere.  They strive to preserve traditions and customers.  They place a strong value on individual rights and the value of community.

How You Can Reach & Connect With Influencers

  • Providing compelling information is critical.
  • Put people first. Personal recommendations are the primary source.
  • Always receive them with an open door and clear, reliable, complete information. If you do not have the answers on hand, provide sources or resources to them or offer to follow up and deliver the answers to them.
  • Be self-reliant.
  • Public TV, History Channel, Nat Geo Channel, HGTV
  • Community Activism will bring you to their attention and make you a fledgling “one of them”.

Trends Important to Influencers

Looking to join in?  Below are a few trends that are typically important to Influencers:

  • A combination of interest in the future and confidence in what it holds is important.
  • The legacy of your future generations with respect to government reforms, public buildings and park, quality education, changing family structures, the actions and thoughts of young people, health care and costs, globalization of the marketplace, cross-fertilization of ideas, fashions and even beliefs.
  • Integration of periods of relaxation into their day.
  • Getting more out of old age and being prepared to enjoy it.  As well as not letting today go by without taking advantage of it.
  • Privacy.  They will share what they wish.  Discretion is critical in your relationships with Influencers.
  • Convenience that does NOT sacrifice quality.  Easier and more cost effective matters.

The easiest way to attract the support of Influencers is to become like them.  They will appreciate your purpose and support you.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Is Your “Idea” Good Enough To Start a Business With?

The U.S. Small Business Administration says only about half of small businesses succeed.  But if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and intend to be inBefore you start a business that winning half, how do you know if your idea is good enough for you to start your own business?

“Calculated Risk:  The Modern Entrepreneur’s Handbook” was written by Michael J. Palumbo to help people decide just that.  Having succeeded in multi-million dollar business start-ups a number of times; he suggests you consider the following:

  • Is there a need? Cute is not enough.  Clever is not enough.  Will it serve a purpose, make or save people money, and do something necessary?
  • Will it still be valuable in 5 years? (getting started takes time!)
  • Is there a mass need for it, or just a few people who like novelty?
  • Is there a technology basis for this product so that it will integrate quickly?
  • Do you have the skills and temperament for management? Evaluate your own passion and competency.

You may also want to look at www.michaeljplamumbo.com for more information.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

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