Saturday, January 20, 2007


Change is a constant. Surveys indicate that confronting change is American's greatest fear. It's true that most of us are prepared to embrace change as a concept. But we actually shy away from change. Our attitude might be best expressed as, "Change is great . . . you go first." Perhaps that's because instead of change being linear and incremental, it is cyclical and, how else can I put it, gut-wrenching. Last week the nation observed the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. King said, "When you have an opportunity to change things, you do it." Change is not automatic. You must, like Dr. King, take a stand. The changing market many of us find ourselves in compels us to do things differently. Instead of focusing on essential closing strategies (that served us well in years past), why not spotlight Essential Welcoming Strategies? Let me introduce you to a new turn on the critical path, Reinventing the Wheel, I call it. When I learned the critical path fifteen years ago, it was Meet/Greet (10% of the process), Qualify (20%), Demonstrate (30%), and Closing (40%). But today's buyers become purchasers upside down from years past. Here's what works today: Welcome (40% of the process), Discovery (30%), Presentation (20%), and Closing (10%). They both add up to 100%, but focusing on identifying commonality, creating empathy, and building trust all combine to guarantee credibility. The sale takes place when a belief system is transferred. Next time we'll talk about the "other" 100%, Service.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Beach Boardwalk

A few years ago, our family moved to North Carolina's Outer Banks for the clean air, the natural beauty, and of course, the beach. We live on an island west of the Atlantic Ocean that sticks out into the Sound. Our planned community is evenly divided between homesites that are either on sound or canal and homesites like ours that are interior. There is no public beach access that allows dogs. But a section of the neighborhood is a designated wetland with about a half a mile of sandy soundfront beach. It can only be accessed from one homesite that has a new house on it that is currently for sale. We have been using their backyard as an access point to the beach. It's about the only place nearby where we can let our Sheltie, Brue, run free without a hassle. And the sunsets are awesome. In the last nor'easter just before Thanksgiving, the erosion of this access point was significant, prompting the owner to order that the rear of the property be bulkheaded. I had resigned myself to eventually losing access to this precious resource. But not my wife. Diane noted that in that last storm, quite a bit of construction debris washed ashore. She scoped out where uplands from the nearest road were separated from the beach by a minimum of wetlands. It was only about fifty yards to transit. Each day we walked the dog, she had both arms full with lumber of every size and description. I have to admit, I pooh-poohed her efforts as wasted. I judged her goal to be unreachable. But happily, she didn't quit. She had a vision. And it wasn't until the last board was layed connecting sand to upland that I realized how powerful her commitment to reaching her goal actually was. We had a boardwalk (literally) to our beach.

This personal event reminded me of how powerful goal setting can be. If you believe in your vision, like Diane believed in hers, nothing is impossible. What is your goal? Even if others around you scoff, if you believe in your dream, your dream will come true.