2009 Entrepreneurial Excellence Series
2009 Entrepreneurial Excellence Series
Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D.
"Dealing with Emotions in Negotiation: Five Practical Tools"
Friday, Nov. 13 I 2:30pm – 4pm
The Power of Emotion
Know the skills that set the stage for a smooth negotiation.
Being a savvy negotiator is beneficial in nearly every aspect of life. But when you’re in the business of real estate, your livelihood depends on it. Daniel Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Project and co-author of Beyond Reason (Viking, 2007), knows a few tricks for getting what you want out of a negotiation. The key, he says, is to understand the array of emotions that come into play without being consumed by them. "Clients often move because of major landmarks in life—divorce, marriage, birth, death. Even when those life events aren’t involved, there may be financial stress or fear of committing to a property," Shapiro says. "It’s best to be removed from those emotions." Shapiro says effective negotiators not only keep an even keel but also set a positive tone by using strategies that acknowledge the emotional nature of conflict. Here, he provides tips that will help at the negotiating table and in your everyday interaction with clients.
Show appreciation. Before you sit down for a negotiation of any sort, strive to understand the other party’s perspective. Find merit in what the other party thinks and clearly communicate your understanding of the situation.
Give them freedom. Clients need to feel as if they have autonomy to make a decision without imposition from you. Many practitioners try too hard to create a sense of buyer urgency; this kind of pressure can actually turn clients away. Buyers need to feel that they are in the driver’s seat.
Seek common ground. Before you start working with new clients, find out what you have in common with them. Do your children attend the same school? Do you share a hobby? These commonalities can create an emotional connection that you can use throughout the buying or selling process. For example, you could discuss the layout of a house and its suitability for children based on your own parenting experience.
Know when to let go. Some practitioners assume the role of "alpha dog" throughout their dealings with clients, but that can backfire. The issue of who’s in control should be far more fluid. When you’re showing a house, your expertise about the property allows you to project more authority. But when a buyer decides to make an offer, he or she is clearly in charge of that decision. Acknowledge your changing status during various parts of the business relationship.
Wear the right hat at the right time. Your role as a real estate professional is multifaceted. You may need to serve as confidant, friend, or devil’s advocate depending on how your business relationship unfolds.
"Seven Levels of Decision Awareness"
Saturday, Nov. 14 I 9am – 10:30am
Stop Dreaming, Start Doing
Take your success to the next level by being aware of the everyday decisions you make.
Paul Martinelli’s future looked bleak in the early 1980s. He dropped out of high school after being unfairly pegged as a slow learner due to a stuttering problem. But powerful life experiences convinced him that no one would be able to keep him from doing great things. Shortly after dropping out, Martinelli was recruited by Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to travel the country and set up citizen safety patrols in tough urban neighborhoods; by the time he turned 22, he was second-in-command of the organization. The leadership experience gave him confidence to start his own business, a cleaning company called At Your Service Inc., which he grew into a multimillion dollar company. Today, he’s a personal development coach who urges others to make proactive and deliberate decisions to improve their life and career. "You can’t gain experience when you’re living under the premise of ‘better safe than sorry,’" says Martinelli, who’s featured in the new DVD "Beyond the Secret." To reach your true potential, Martinelli says you should use the following chart to assess your current level of decision awareness, then work your way to the "Master" level.
The 7 Levels of Decision Awareness
1st The Animal. A reactionary with a "fight or flight" rather than a proactive mind set; outside conditions direct decisions.
2nd The Mass. Bases decisions on popular opinion rather than individual thinking; does not challenge mainstream ideas.
3rd The Aspirational. Wants to grow; beginning to dream and set goals but has yet to see goals through.
4th The Individual. Perceives self as unique in the world; is conscious about evolving and aware of personal skill sets.
5th The Disciplined. Has the ability to face the brutal facts, look at failure, and develop a plan to successfully move forward.
6th The Experienced. Able to put into place well-thought-out plans and learn from the outcome.
7th The Master. Calmly confident; sets achievement-based personal goals and consistently sees them through.
"Whuffie for Real Estate Professionals"
Sunday, Nov. 15 I 1:30pm – 3pm
Boost Your Whuffie Factor
Online success comes from being part of the community, not by pushing your services.
It doesn’t matter how large your advertising budget is. In today’s new world of social networking and viral marketing, it’s your social capital that matters most. What is social capital? In short, it’s your overall reputation and influence in the community. Social media expert Tara Hunt, borrowing a phrase from an obscure science fiction novel, refers to this concept as "whuffie." "You lose or gain it based on positive or negative actions, your contributions to the community, and what people think of you," says Hunt, whose book, The Whuffie Factor (Crown Business, 2009), reveals tactics for success in online communities such as Facebook and Twitter. Hunt advises real estate professionals to approach social media in an authentic and transparent way—not simply as a place to broadcast your listings. If you consistently make meaningful contributions to the community, good things will happen, she says. "By increasing your social capital, people find you more easily," Hunt says. "You become very reachable and Google-able." Here are some ways you can start building your whuffie factor today.
Turn the bullhorn around. Stop talking and start listening. Don’t treat Facebook like a megaphone to promote yourself and your listings. Instead, spend time reading competitors’ blogs, interacting with clients’ Facebook pages, and understanding the community you want to serve.
Be transparent. It’s futile to compartmentalize your personal and professional lives on the social Web. Create a single profile through which you communicate honestly with your entire network. Share tidbits on the vacation you just took or the challenges you’re facing in the market. Just be sure what you share is appropriate and purposeful.
Collect customer feedback. Engaging in social media is a cheap way to do market research and connect with clients. Ask customers to tell you what they think of your services. (Hint: It helps to give them an incentive, such as a $5 Starbucks card, and to thank them for their thoughtful comments.)
Be notable. What do other members of the online community think of you? Do they think of you at all? Find ways to make a memorable impression on your network. For example, you can make witty or humorous tweets, provide insightful housing commentary, or share great photos of your neighborhood.
Track your progress. It’s not just about how many hits you get on your blog or Web site. Some of the more important metrics to follow include the number of referrals you’ve received from your network and how many times people redistribute information you’ve shared.
Sugar Ray Leonard
"Chart a Winning Course"
Monday, Nov. 16 I 2:15pm – 3:15pm
Don’t Give Up Easily
Envision your success to emerge from a rut and reach your professional goals.
Boxing and real estate have a lot more in common than you might think, says Sugar Ray Leonard, former world champion boxer and Olympic gold medalist. The key to success in either arena is to focus on a positive outcome, even after you’ve been knocked to the ground. Of course, he uses that language figuratively when he speaks of real estate. But Leonard, whose son worked as a mortgage broker in Atlanta, acknowledges that the challenges posed by today’s economy have been every bit as painful for real estate professionals as a bad day in the ring. "Just because you’re knocked down doesn’t mean you’re knocked out," says Leonard, who is now a television broadcaster and motivational speaker. Drawing from life lessons and experiences from his 20-year boxing career, he offers these tips for real estate professionals who are looking for direction during tough times.
Don’t give in to doubt. As a kid, Leonard wanted to become a world-champion boxer. But others laughed at his dream. If he’d let that laughter discourage him, there’s no way he would have gone on to win three national Golden Glove titles. "It’s important to keep those dreams, dream even bigger, and not listen to others when they tell you it can’t be done," he says.
Focus on a positive outcome. Before he would step into the ring, Leonard would turn on his tunnel vision. The only thing he’d allow himself to see was victory. "Everyone has this ability, but not everyone activates it," he says.
Build a support network. Surround yourself with family and colleagues who’ll support your goals, encourage you to achieve them, and keep you well-grounded.
Maintain composure. When he walked into the ring, Leonard knew that his opponents would watch closely to detect insecurity. In today’s market, buyers and sellers are looking to you for guidance and stability, so use your knowledge and skills to confidently lead them in the right direction.
Prepare to do better next time. After you’ve fallen down, analyze what went wrong and how you can do things differently next time. Draw out a blueprint for success. "You can’t do a little; you have to do a lot," Leonard says, to prepare yourself to reach your goals.
Stay fit, mentally and physically. "I’m like a classic old car—I keep myself tuned up," says Leonard, who recommends breaking a sweat every day. Physical activity will keep your mind sharp and focused, he says.
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