The F-Word(s) in Negotiation

One business owner I met this week was concerned about his team negotiating by phone or email, rather than taking the time to have face-to-face meetings. Under time pressure, there is a huge temptation to pick up the phone or email to progress a deal, but the tradeoff is a loss in 3 key areas of negotiation – feedback, focus and flexibility.

Feedback to a proposal is often communicated  by a person’s body language, and without that feedback we can’t judge the best next step. The focus of a meeting is far better than on the phone or emailing where there are more distractions. And flexibility is needed in a give-and-take negotiation, where both sides try to problem-solve and meet their interests. Emails aren’t flexible, and can be recipes for disaster in a negotiation as they tend to state a fixed position.

So following my own advice, if you want to improve your financial performance by up-skilling your team’s negotiation skills, then let me know (by phone or email) and happy to meet up over a coffee to discuss how I can help.

6 Steps to new personal branding

I visited a presentation this week and listened to a room full of energetic people with many years’ experience listening intently to how their chosen field of work was going to get harder unless they changed. I also noticed how they produced their own marketing material through their own means and not using a skilled practitioner. Most of what they do is marketing, yet marketing for themselves had been left alone.

The biggest message from that day was that “if you stay the same, and not evolve, you will get left behind”

Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to personal branding. To help you out I wanted to give you some guidelines on how to structure your personal branding. Here are Six Steps to improve your personal branding. These can be reviewed at any time and don’t need to be completed in order.

  1. Establish your purpose as an expert
  2. Embrace and expand your STORY.
  3. Explore your competitors as you build your brand
  4. Show Localness & Profile Photos
  5. Craft your individual Branding statement
  6. BE DIGITALLY discoverable as a BRAND

If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me – I’m happy to connect with you and listen to your story.

Finding and developing your Effective Business Unit (EBU)

Having a group of people within your business who are all specialists in their areas, is key. Recruiting for these specific people, requires us to be asking the right questions: Here are 6 key questions to ask at your interview:

  1. Give me an example of how you’ve showed initiative and what was the result?
  2. How have you created change in your last role?
  3. Give me your definition of High Performance?
  4. How have you created an amazing customer experience for a past client?
  5. As a member of a High Performing Team, taking responsibility and problem solving is critical. Give me examples of how you’ve done this.
  6. Where do you see your current skills fitting in this role and how can they be developed and complement the team?

Creating the structure for your High Performing team involves having role overviews, establishing expectations, having an activity plan, accountability training and skill development. 

If you need assistance creating your EBU or want help motivating your existing team or creating structure, systems and processes, give us a call.

Anti – Money Laundering And Countering Financing of Terrorism Act

On the 1st Jan 2019 the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) for Real Estate agents comes into force.  This is a critical piece of legislation that brings with it severe penalties of up to $5 million in fines and jail time. It is imperative that you meet your requirements by the due date to avoid prosecution. 

Therefore, it is critically important to ensure your team has undergone a base-level of training in understanding their obligations and requirements. As part of our ongoing support for real estate offices in NZ, we have partnered with Strategi Group, who are recognised as compliance leaders in this space. Working alongside Strategi, we have Cat Levine to provide your office with 3 key options. 

  1. In-office Team Session: Understanding your compliance requirements as an individual agent. This session is to make you aware of the risks of money laundering faced by your agency and how the salespeople should respond when confronted with such risks.
  2. Supply of a company manual, templates and checklists in order for you to create compliance with legislation. 
  3. In-house risk assessment, where we work with you to create a risk management program and support the implementation across the business. 

To find out more and then book your team session, give us a call on 0800 800 303 or email

Real Estate Industry Change is confirmed

Another successful AREC (Australian Real Estate Conference) was held last week on the Gold Coast and over 3000 Real Estate agents descended upon Broadbeach eager to hear from a myriad of speakers on how to improve their game, stand out from the crowd, grow their business and evolve with the times. Whilst there was a lot of information to take in, the message on how to be successful was clear;  BE THE TRUSTED ADVISOR – know your market, be professional and focus on your clients to create trust and credibility. STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – your marketing, image, brand and service delivery matters now, more than ever and EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY – are you progressing or preventing? 

The Real Estate industry is changing and rather than fight the change, it’s time to embrace it! With the help of my team of consultants who are experts in their chosen fields, we have the skill and knowledge to arm you with the tools needed to become a powerful industry force. Stop struggling – reach out to those who can help you stand out from the crowd, create and implement systems to boost your business, generate business growth and gain the success you deserve.

It’s All About ‘Mindset’

How ordinary people achieve extraordinary results…

and I don’t just mean ‘being positive’, you need to find your purpose and your passion and focus on raising the standard of your delivery. Do you embrace a challenge or avoid it? Do you keep going when you get a setback – or give up easily? Do you learn from criticism or take it personally? Mind blockages or having a fixed mindset affect your ability to achieve and succeed – so form a plan and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Look around you at those who are successful – they are usually positive, go-getters who see a setback as a challenge and keep going!  It is important to create a balanced life and make time for the things that make you smile – spending time with family and friends and having some ‘me’ time is crucial to ensure you are surrounding yourself with an environment to live a fulfilling life. You’ve got to create a lifestyle .. not a job.  We are fortunate to have a number of excellent coaches on board to assist you with getting your mindset on the path to success – give us a call today on 0800 800 303 to book in a session with either myself, Mark Sutherland, Steve Gurney or Mike Allsop.

What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?

Have you ever stood back and taken a look at your brand from a client’s perspective? How do you think you are perceived? What are you doing to be different and really stand out? Now more than ever, your imagery, your marketing and your ‘look’ is being scrutinized by the public – do you look trustworthy? Credible? Someone that people want to do business with. Now is the time to take a step back and analyze your brand. Whilst you are already within a company, you can still do things to make yourself stand out from the pack whilst still coming in under the corporate branding. It may be as simple as a new tag-line, photo and creating a consistent ‘look’. Knowing how to create a brand within a brand is something that our resident “Brand Strategist”, Tom Newton is best at – so give him a call at 0800 800 303 and let him ‘make you over!’

Lead generation and feeding the funnel

Prospecting for business is a vital tool that creates leads and activity then hopefully is converted into business opportunity – if it’s done right. Great operators have prospecting and lead generation well sorted and sales flow as a result.

Over the years a business collects a great amount of data about its clients and suppliers, but often they fail to capitalise on what’s lying dormant in digital systems. Data mining can be a very profitable initiative that every enterprise should employ to discover patterns and trends. Off the back of this create a tailored followup program with personalised calling.

Let’s for a moment consider this example… all people that attend open homes with particular characteristics are recorded for 12 months:

Data mining for Lead Generation
Open homes per week 6
Total for 12 months 300
Average number of parties attending each one 7
Total number of parties attending open homes 2,100

If you managed a conversion rate of only 5% on this example at $12,000 each there’s a staggering $1.26 million of potential business ready for you to uncover!

Peter Adams is just one of our thought leaders at INK Consulting Associates



Creating a seminar with a difference

In today’s business environment, it is important to remember that many of our clients demand more support, information and help than ever before.  Even though they have access to considerably more information and data than previous generations, we are still seeing them struggling on how they use it more effectively and create better outcomes for their future.  As a business focused on a successful future, it is very beneficial for us to create events and meetings that enable our clients to attend either online or in person to get a better understanding of our product.  Regardless of industry or product type, it is crucial to create content and events that enable us to better skill our customer.  Helping them understand how our product works and the advantages of using it will assist in creating a stronger sales funnel with more loyal clients.

Target Markets

One of the main reasons for failure of small business is not understanding your customer. Identifying ‘target markets’ is therefore not just an exercise in segmenting customers by age or income, what is needed, is a deeper understanding of what drives your target customer’s decisions.

For example in Real Estate, the key question when trying to understand your customer is “why”.  When they explain they are interested in a 3-bedroom home in a certain area, you need to understand why. For an empty nester, a spare room may be needed for visiting family, while for first home buyers they may be looking for a room to rent out to generate income.

Understanding someone’s stated ‘position’ is easy, but to be effective you need to understand their ‘interests’ – the why. Moving from positions to interests is the first rule of negotiation, so whether it’s your vendor or a buyer, make sure you invest the time to find out what drives their decisions. This understanding of your customer not only avoids making dangerous assumptions, but can also lead to creative solutions, and delighted and loyal customers.

Contact David on 0800 800 303 to chat more.

David Ferguson
Negotiation Strategist



Who are your clients? What are they concerned about? Why do they buy from you?

Say hello to Mr Potato Head, he is 52 years old, married, lives in West Auckland and has a cat called Zeus.  Mr Head is a CEO of a medium-sized business, loves fishing at the weekend and only goes on social media to check up on his kids.

My question for you, does Mr Potato Head sound familiar? Is he one of your clients?

Can you describe your key clients in a few sentences?

You may have clients from different generations, from different walks of life. They are all at different stages of life too and your brand needs to have a clear message to each of them. Each of your target markets will understand influence in a different way, their core values, attributes and how they deal with money, are also individual for each generation.

Knowing who your customers are and how to help them connect with your business, is key and makes it easier to promote whatever you’re doing and bring them along on your brand’s journey. While we know you’d love to buy a coffee with ALL of them, another way to get to know who they are is to create Buyer Personas. The buyer persona concept will provide you with a handy template around the how, what and why to create your own individual fictional client. You can have as many as two or twenty depending on how many demographics you’re targeting in your business.

Contact Tom on 0800 800 303 to chat more about how to set up your buyer personas.

Tom Newton-Smith
Brand Strategist