Prepare for Success

The Society of Exchange Counselors is committed to providing the most professional and productive marketing conferences possible. The teams that organize and manage a marketing conference put a great deal of time and effort into setting the stage for you to be successful. However, the Society can only provide you the opportunity, it is up to you to make it personally rewarding. Your success depends in great part on how you prepare for the meetings.

Knowing your client and the product that you are bringing to the meeting is essential. For this discussion, I will assume that you have already completed the most important element for success, which, in my opinion, is developing a close business relationship with a well-counseled client. I’m assuming that you have already spent the time to truly understand the desires, needs, and capabilities of your client. Because of your detailed and thoughtful counseling sessions you are now prepared to “stand in your client’s shoes” at the meeting and accurately convey to the audience your client’s situation.

Before you come to a meeting, you should have a plan. You need to define exactly what you would like to accomplish at the meeting. You should set a specific goal. In engineering classes, I was told over and over, “A problem well defined is a problem half solved.” Some attendees come to a meeting with only a vague and undefined objective of “doing a deal.” They often have several listings in different stages of development, and just hope they can find a deal for at least one of them. However, you should focus on the one or two for which you are most prepared. Determine the result you are seeking before you come to the meeting. Take the time to write down your objective with as much clarity as possible. I was also told in engineering that, “If you cannot define the problem in written form, then you do not understand the problem.” There is something magic about putting it in writing. The plan will probably be no more than a couple of short paragraphs. To maintain focus on your goal, review your plan during the meeting.

Register early and start the planning process as soon as you register. Making the commitment by registering will set your preparation in motion. Knowing that you are definitely going to attend and having specific deadlines, such as package submittal deadlines, should motivate you to get started.

A part of your written plan should include the ability to furnish copies of detail backup information to all who show interest in your presentation. You can rely on the fact that, no matter how much excitement you create during your presentation, that excitement is fleeting and quickly fades from the memory of the audience. The only way to maintain the interest that you generate is to supply backup information. Your product may be in competition with other similar products. Therefore, it is essential to provide professional backup packages to everyone who shows interest. A well-prepared backup package makes you look professional. More importantly, it makes the other broker look professional when he or she presents the information about your property to their client. Of course, the reverse of that is also true. If you only have minimal information, or if it is not well prepared, then you will probably fail to come across as a deal maker. More over, the experienced brokers on the other side of the transaction know that if they present a less than adequate package of information to their client, it is not you that looks unprofessional, it is they who look foolish. When presenting a client an idea for a transaction, having only sketchy information from the other broker often results in the unpleasant experience of having to tell their client repeatedly, “I don’t know.” Because they have already tasted that bad experience, many brokers will refuse to present your ideas for a transaction to their client. They simply refuse to be embarrassed by your lack of preparation.

Your plan should focus on one or two situations for which you are totally prepared. Your time at the microphone is precious. Don’t waste it. How often do we hear, “I only got the listing a few days before I left to come here to the meeting, so I don’t have that information.” My reaction to those comments is, “Why then are we taking valuable marketing time to discuss something that is very unlikely to lead to a transaction.” Rather than waste your opportunity to discuss an unknown, use your time at the mike to repeat an earlier presentation. It is better to remind the audience of your main objective than to spend even a short time on something for which you are not totally prepared.

In addition to your valuable time, the cost of airfare, hotels and meals to attend a three-day marketing meeting is significant. When you make that kind of investment, it is only prudent to have a plan. The better your plan, the better your chance of success. Besides, without knowing where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

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