Get Into the Action

Editor’s Note: This article was written by former S.E.C. member Don Eymann and first published in 1976 in the original S.E.C. Real Estate News Observer.

It has been estimated that there are over 100 exchange group meetings established throughout the U.S. Some do a nice volume of business others are not so productive. What makes the difference? Basically . . . it’s leadership, moderators, raw material, and market conditions.

Leadership must be strong; otherwise the organization might lose interest and fade away. Moderators must be encouraging – more on that later. A continual flow of new packages should be maintained to insure the quantity and quality of product. Take into consideration all of the above, then temper with existing market conditions being flexible to adapt to changing trends, and utilize all of the concepts of good real estate practices.

Let’s analyze how each can contribute to a successful meeting.

The duties of the President (and Board of Directors) are generally those involving good common sense. Make sure that the location for the meeting place is convenient, room size big enough, atmosphere conducive to friendly discussion, proper ventilation and/or air-conditioning, enough lighting, mike, blackboard, and the usual incidentals such as preliminary exchange proposals, etc. Don’t crowd the group. Try to have all eye contact face the presentor. Best arrangement is for the head table as focus of attention with ingress and egress and sign up table at rear near door, with coffee and refreshments in the back of room for less distraction.

Start the meeting on time! Get into meaningful things right off the bat . . . save some of the “superficial” announcements for later. Appoint one of your strongest moderators to set the pace. Have the first four or five presenters ready to go. Maybe even start with a “have and want” session. The point is to get it rolling fast.

After the four or five “pitches,” schedule a break for people to get together for one-on-one discussions and phone calls. Remember . . . it’s up to the president, et al, to keep the meeting lively with subtle control, and to back the moderator when things get a little “sticky.”

A moderator can make or break the presenter’s efforts. The moderator’s role is one of assisting the presentor – if he isn’t doing that then he is not doing his job properly.

Ways to assist are:

1. Have group direct full and immediate attention to the presentor.

2. Call attention to the good points about the package (property and/or people), opportunities.

3. Don’t talk too much, and don’t let the presentor talk too much either, as the feedback from the group is the vital contribution. It’s the “interplay” that counts.

4. Develop brainstorming . . .idea tracking by stressing creativity within the group. Force them to think. Have them start writing a Preliminary Exchange Proposal the moment they get an idea.

5. Harmonizing the group. Make everyone feel a “team effort” approach. Don’t let dissenting factions pull apart the objective of trying to obtain offers – results. Discussion without success-oriented direction isn’t all that valuable. Right! (Some “turkeys” talk just to hear themselves and gain recognition).

6. Don’t get too involved in detail. The concepts and solutions are the important priorities. Eye-on-the-target approach.

7. Control the group. Do not permit distracting “side” conversations to interrupt the concentration of the group. Send people outside if they persist in violating market-meeting etiquette.

8. Important! Limit each presentation from five to seven minutes (depending, of course, on size of group and number of packages.) This contributes to equal opportunity and a sense of urgency. Don’t let people get bored. Get a timer.

9. Stress the idea of ”takers” for the package. Nothing happens until somebody does something . . . so help get as many offers on the packages as possible – keeping the multiple exchange approach as another way toward solving the problem. Encourage follow-thru.

As you can see, the moderator’s responsibilities are broad. Select your best moderator for the best results. The Presentor’ s role is similar to an actor giving his performance on stage . . . with his ”critics” in the audience. His peers are not going to “buy” anything that they feel is not genuine- be it a problem that needs solving and/or an opportunity that needs to be acted upon. So, please play it straight.

Some of the things expected of a presentor are:

  • Come on time and don’t leave early.
  • Have more than enough packages (one never knows when the group is bigger than expected.) Be sure you have file with all backup, photos, plots, maps . . . whatever will help your credibility and enable you to adequately market your clients’ property. Don’t forget to have your listing agreement either- in the event you are challenged.
  • Be your natural self. Don’t over or under dress. Project confidence, professionalism, speak out loud and clear with the feeling that you have half of the transaction and you are offering someone a chance to share the other half of your deal through cooperation. Psych yourself into believing you will make money as the result of your presentation. Preparation through counseling with the client and a well-designed package will help toward that end. A word of caution – Do not fake a “for sale” package and try to disguise it as an exchange.
  • Above all . . . be receptive to your moderator’s efforts to help you. Don’t become ”defensive!”
  • Don’t be reluctant to present your inventory. ”Pitching” compounds your exposure and will usually enable you to come out of the marketing session with some offers. Get into the action!

Group. The members of the audience are really not just spectators. They are participants. I personally liken an exchange session to an auction in some respects. You better watch what’s going on or you will miss it. Direct all of your thoughts and energies toward a solution to the package being presented thru concentration. ”See” yourself taking advantage of the package being offered through properties, paper, money, you or a client. Think in terms of the meeting being your prime time to conduct business for the month. (It usually is!)

Tip. Since most presenters receive several (often many) offers, get him or her aside for some idea of what kind of an offer will really get the job done. Encourage help on how you should structure your offer to “win.”

Don’t be bashful and play the wallflower role. Think creatively and act on your “hunches.” The idea is the important thing…. but must be transmitted into an action plan!

Follow up on all offers made and received, as sometimes “out of sight, out of mind,” and maybe a phone call or memo could put a transaction back on track!

Good marketing!

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