Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything

Some months ago I wrote about the importance of talking about Why you do what you do in Business and How you do it ….rather than just tell people what you do.   Its not just what you do that counts …but why you do it….. and how you do it

And more recently a couple of things have had me thinking about this Why Question in terms of every individual.  Why do we do what we do?

Firstly I have been researching for a presentation to a group of University Students looking at a career in Consulting when they graduate soon…. the topic they have asked me to cover is “Leadership and Your Personal Brand”.

This had me thinking about Leaders and the Personal Brand attributes needed to become a successful leader which inevitably lead me to the need to be Passionate if you wish to inspire others. …….. but to be Passionate it is vital, I think, to know Why you do what you do.

And then a personal situation hit me hard when a colleague of many many years and a personal friend at times over those years, very recently took his own life following a lengthy and at times visibly successful career. Continue reading Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything

Does your Lawyer/Accountant/Advisor bring you value…or just sent their timesheet?


When you go to a store to buy something do you ever consider how many hours it took to make it?

When you are comparing an Apple iPad with a Samsung Galaxy Pad do you think about the production process or are you more concerned about the features and the relevance to you and the cost and its affordability to you?

Are you at all concerned about the number of hours taken to manufacture it or the hourly rate paid to the workers who developed it?   …. Of Course Not!…  You either want it because it suits you need and budget or you Don’t.

In other words is it about the value it brings NOT the time taken to make it or cost of overall manufacture when you make a purchase.

So why is it when it comes to services its all about the time taken?? …irrespective of value or even efficiency – the way the time is spent.

Do you really want a lawyer who spends an aweful lot of billable hours working out you should plead guilty or one who commits to a dollar figure to get the best result for you?  Likewise should an accountant be rewarded for saving you on your tax bill or paid for the time spent wading through your receipts? Continue reading Does your Lawyer/Accountant/Advisor bring you value…or just sent their timesheet?

Unreal Estate Agents

socialcouponsIt was a breath of fresh air to read the latest blog post by one of Australia’s leading and definately most innovative Real Estate Agents – Anthony Toop. In the post, also published in his newspaper print ad, he warns his industry colleagues “an entirely new real estate landscape will wipe out traditional operators who refuse to evolve, adapt and embrace these amazing new capabilities.”

The capabilities he refers to and has himself been embracing for years include all the latest tools and technologies available to improve and streamline communications with prospects and clients. These include iPads, Smartphones, SmartTVs and information literally everywhere…and of course the impact of the National Broadband Network which will see Video Communication happening in real time all the time.

Real Estate is the classic Buyer Beware industry about to face the Seller Beware world. Failure to self regulate has seen Government intervention to continually protect buyers from dodgy Buyer Beware practices…but now with access to all the information needed Buyers now have more control and in many cases more access to information than the average agent…so it’s time for Seller Beware.

Several years ago I was advising a classic old style Real Estate business in Adelaide (that’s 99% of them still today) on rebranding and on the overall business in terms of sales and marketing. Sadly they refused to accept that most of the things Anthony Toop talks about were worth considering.

They refused to accept that wearing shiny suits on Sunday, driving shiny and very expensive cars, newspaper ads and signs at the front of the property etc were not going to be what buyers would want in the future. I warned that organisations like, majority owned by News Limited, were not really their friend and in future would become their enemy. Now Anthony Toop warns

Organisations like RP Data, REA (, Google, Facebook, Domain, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank to name just a few, are changing real estate agents’ lives right now in 2013, whether we like it or not. If we don’t adapt, they will simply run straight over the top of us like Coles, Woolies and service stations have done to the corner store.

It has always intrigued me that the Real Estate industry has managed to have their clients pay for their brand marketing in big newspaper ads that are more about the seller than the product or the sign at the front of the property…and as their client why should I pay for a sign in my front yard for agents to promote themselves and hope they find a buyer walking down the street. Surely these days I could do that myself…in fact why can’t I handle the whole sales process…especially open inspections. Surely I know my property better than any Real Estate agent in a shiny suit with a shiny flash car parked in the driveway…but I can’t advertise on…Yet.

It was this refusal to accept the need for radical change by a variety of clients in 2009/10 that lead my daughter and business partner Nikki and I to publish the eBook “The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media Marketing +“. Sadly four years on it is still just as relevant to the people we wrote it for as it was then.

“Nothing has structurally changed in real estate for the 36 years I have been in it.

Why?  Some say “because it never will!” After all, houses ARE such a big ticket item…such rare transaction events involving so much money and emotion. Real estate is the ultimate “people business”. Real estate will forever continue to require skilled negotiators, marketers, and professional advisers; selling a property is such a big deal.

Are you kidding me? With the advent of iPads, Smart Phones, Smart TVs and information literally on tap, PLUS…add in the roll out of broadband across the nation, making all communication including video equivalent to real time…if this doesn’t change the rules, I will eat my hat.”

Anthony Toop

Over the years we  have seen hundreds of operators in Financial Planning, Travel, Stock Broking, lately Finance Broking and right now Retail fail to restructure to meet new consumer demands and utilise technology effectively and as a result die…and die very quickly.

Right now it’s time for Real Estate to face the future as it’s now here and take on what Seth Godin calls the hardwork.  While most businesses think that working longer is working harder and setting up a website is working smarter it’s the hardwork of doing what others won’t that will lead to success in the Seller Beware world.

In his blog Anthony Toop, whose business has won numerous national awards for Innovation, Communication and Marketing, believes radical operational change will face the industry this year and within 5 years the changes will be wholesale and widespread.

It’s good to see that whilst most agents are still relying on brochure style websites and traditional media advertising their Industry Groups are providing the tools to embrace the future in terms of contracts that can be signed on an iPad.

The good news for small business that does the hard work and learns to  think like big business – leveraging the tools they use like Customer relationship systems and communications and technology in general – will always compete well with big business because they are more flexible and nimble in their ability to adapt and adjust.

In the Buyer/Customer Centric world rigid systems, training programs, manuals etc are no longer of any value…as every person has different needs, expectations and knowledge. As such it is vital to have the tools and the information that is specificly relavant and timely to facilitate engagement and ongoing nurturing.

“Client management is becoming incredibly easy with communication being a tap of the finger and fully automated. But these industry innovations are nothing compared to what the big guys are up to.”

Anthony Toop

And you can do the hardwork now to make the big changes and embrace technology etc but in the end it is now up to the Seller to know their stuff like never before.  Something like 60% of the buying process has been undertaken by the Buyer  before they contact the Seller.  They have read websites, brochures, Googled you and checked what people say about you on LinkedIn etc.

Seller Beware means knowing more about you and your products than the Buyer does so make sure you know what your website says, what your various online profiles say, what your advertising offers etc.

We are in a Buyer Centric world today and as Anthony Toop is telling his colleagues and competition it’s time to embrace the hard work or face the inevitable as have other industries.