Viewing by month: April 2010
One of the best ways to grow a sustainable and successful business is to retain quality employees. There are many different facets involved in achieving a productive office such as the importance of recruiting staff, developing strategies to get the best out of your staff, as well as implementing techniques that you as a manager or owner can apply to help encourage staff presence and sales. Whatever strategy you prefer, the central theme here is motivation. The best staff are well motivated staff.
We all know that as a manager of an office, part of your job is to encourage and manage productivity; what you don’t get told directly is that being cheerful and motivated yourself should also be part of your job description. The quality of an office environment is so important when it comes to high levels of staff retention and company loyalty, and a leader’s attitude often influences this quality.
There is no one theory or one way to motivate your staff to work harder and be innovative. The art of management involves creating conditions that are most conducive to motivation and great work. As a manager you want to grasp as much information as you can about what motivates your staff. It is important to remember that each person is unique and has differing values and interests. Understanding the aspirations and needs of your staff comes into play here. Empowering your staff to feel in control and appreciated will result in productivity.
There are only so many helpful words of encouragement you can offer your staff. If you don’t take the time to hire the correct people and a poor working environment subsequently develops (with personality clashes etc), this unideal situation will threaten your bottom line. Reward structures and incentives may go some way to fix your problems, however will not be of much use if your staff do not respect the company and their environment. Encouraging communication between people who work with each other and listening, really listening, to what your staff have to say will help unite the organisation. Showing an interest in your staff’s personal interests and out of office activities is a simple yet effective way to generate staff morale.
Raising the passion of your employees through social activities and incentive programs is a nice way to empower staff. Engaging in local non-compulsory activities such as attending the neighbourhood fete or charity events such as Clean up Australia Day can give your office something to bond over. Organising frequent social activities within the office are also fantastic tactics to motivate and show appreciation to your staff. Having a happy hour or Friday after- work drinks once a month, organising a birthday cake and morning tea for a staff members birthday, or generating a office sweep for the Melbourne Cup are all easy ways to bring your team together. Happy staff are active staff.
Reward and incentive programs can be used to balance competition with hard work and reward. The programs themselves need to have achievable goals and be fun if they are to motivate your staff. One idea that often proves effective is to have a build up to a monthly or quarterly award that your staff members know to work towards. In this instance, it is often the prestige associated with the name of the award that is the prize itself – e.g. Best Salesperson, and not the prize that is motivational. A token reward in these circumstances, such as a massage or flowers, is often appropriate.
Positive reinforcement and one on one motivation is so important to a company’s dynamics. This is the most inexpensive and arguably the best way to get the best from your employees. It is simple and takes little effort or time on your behalf. Making your team feel good about themselves and patting them on the back when they do something well, is the best form of encouragement and thanks you could possibly give. Praising your staff with little comments such as “You did a great job” and “keep it up” can change the whole dynamics of your office. If you have an employee who creates an issue, do not avoid the situation, speak with them privately and solve the issue. If you use the principle of praising instead of reprimanding you will have a far more productive and happy office.
If you have overlooked motivation as an important part of your daily checklist, then think again. Adopting strategies of motivation at work is by far the best kept secret in a successful business.
Australia is quickly becoming a very attractive investment destination for foreign investors, with buyers showing great interest in our country’s lifestyle, economy and educational institutions. With so much international attention, it is becoming increasingly important for real estate agents to develop their understanding of intercultural communication. Although you may have shown yourself to have excellent interpersonal skills with those who are English speakers, dealing with overseas clients is an entirely different conversation.
Miscommunication can occur without you even being aware of it. However when it does occur, it can lead to uncertainty and distrust about others’ intentions, which has the potential to affect your success as an agent. As a native English speaker (which many CENTURY 21 agents are), you may not even be aware of the errors in understanding that may happen in your interactions with a foreign buyer. But if they are occurring, it likely means that your international client is putting up with the visible problems of the miscommunication.
A simple way to ensure that your dealings with foreigners are conveying your intended meaning is to be as direct as possible. Try not to use large words if a more straightforward (even if not as sophisticated) term exists. Construct your sentences to be shorter and more concise, and your meaning will come across more powerfully.
It is amazing how much we employ metaphors in our everyday language to make a point. We even mix multiple metaphors together! While as a native English speaker you probably understand the metaphoric meaning behind phrases such as “he really stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horns”, the literal meaning is something much different, and can cause confusion for foreigners. Again remember, be as direct and specific as you possibly can.
It is no secret that different cultures have different values and customs. The Chinese, for example, believe that young people should have respect for their elders and can be suspicious of those with whom close relationships have not been established. Other cultures place importance on high levels of formality, and can be insulted by being called by their first name too quickly into the relationship. Take the time to research the background of a foreign associate and keep this in mind during your relations.
Try not to imply anything. The English language uses conditional words such as “could” and “can” more than any other culture. To your foreign client, words like these mean “will”. Although it seems like a repeated concept, directness is again key here. Always try to be clear in your meaning, and ensure that your client has understood your point.
The possibilities created by increased foreign investment are exciting for the real estate industry. It is important to develop an understanding about the people with whom you will be dealing and communicate effectively for maximum value in your relationships.
The concept of networking is often perceived as quite a mysterious one across all industries. Images are conjured up of aggressive power suits shoving their business cards into the hands of unsuspecting people at cocktail parties, or a room full of people that have never met before expected to make meaningless chitchat. To successfully network is none of these things. It is in fact an incredibly useful tool, not just for business, where connections with other people are proactively constructed, eventually encouraging those in your network to think of you ahead of others.
For a real estate agent, the ability to network is often the key to success. And the process doesn’t need to be a chore; in fact, most real estate agents are networking on a daily basis without even realising it! There are a number of small things that you as an agent can do to increase the power of your networking efforts, which in turn will ensure that you are the agent that comes to mind when somebody in your network, or somebody in their network, requires the services of a real estate agency.
On a personal level, taking care of your appearance is a must when trying to make a good impression on those you would like to network with. This doesn’t have to involve expensive haircuts and European suits. A simple, well cut, clean suit, with an ironed shirt says a lot about you as an agent. Did you know that people will most often make a judgment about you, based on your appearance, within the first twenty seconds of meeting? Presenting a well-put together image could be the difference between you being taken as a dishonest, untrustworthy agent, as opposed to the respectable member of the community that you are.
Think about your day to day activities and the people that these bring you into contact with. For example, if you drop your children off at school in the morning or are involved in school activities, make an effort to foster relationships with other parents and learn about their jobs, lives and interests. This could see you not only making friends, but also being invited to functions, where in turn you will be able to meet friends of friends and push your circle out further.
Be proactive within your community. Identify events in your area that people you would like to meet are attending, such as council meetings or street fairs. Make sure that you communicate with these people effectively and remember to listen to what they are saying as well.
Try to always remember to carry business cards! There’s nothing worse than establishing a relationship with somebody and for them to have no way of contacting you. If you don’t have any cards on you, try to email the person as soon as you can with your contact details subtly displayed in your email signature.
Networking should be fun, never a chore! Remember that the people you are meeting are interesting and can very possibly help your business, but so too can you help theirs. Forming genuine relationships and friendships will not only help your business, it could improve your quality of life. And always remember that as a CENTURY 21 agent you are part of the CENTURY 21 network – an invaluable source of nationwide associates and assistance.