MNCAR Focus/Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Giving your clients the “Midas Touch” In 2013

Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Giving your clients the “Midas Touch” In 2013

Turning Lemons into Lemonade:  Giving your clients the “Midas Touch” In 2013


Written by Lisa Diehl of Diehl and Partners

(Sequel to an article by Lisa L. Diehl, CCIM, CPM, Diehl and Partners, LLC 2008)



In 2008, when the market was really sour and when owners were being squeezed, there wasn’t much optimism!  As real estate professionals, the market has been challenged for everyone.  In order to do your best for your clients in this challenged lemonade market you had to make sure you had the necessary ingredients.  Five years later, the lemons have firmed and the lemonade is flowing sweeter today.


What can you do to continue to make sure you have the right proportion of ingredients to grow and continue to be successful in your profession?  Here are a few friendly suggestions.


Core competencies:  Are you continuing to develop the skills you need in today’s business environment to grow and run your kind of business successfully?  Continue to seek new ways to educate yourself with classes, workshops, and industry articles.  Become a lifelong learner and embrace new ideas.


Sales Skills:  Anyone can learn to be an effective salesperson, and good salespeople can become great ones by honing the following sales skills:  maintaining self-confidence, good listening, persuasiveness, building strong relationships, and being a self-motivator.  Consider taking sales and negotiating courses.  A great read, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher.


Technical Knowledge:  It’s easy to get two bits for a glass of lemonade, but today’s deals can be financially complex, have a lot of moving pieces, and are taking more time to complete!  MNCAR, CCIM, and SIOR offer valuable financial analysis courses.


Competitive Analysis and Advantage:  As the market continues improving, is your neighborhood getting more cluttered with lemonade stands?  If so, how are you going to capture enough customers? Looking at all facets of what your competition is doing is critical to developing your book of business (how do you market your properties/yourself and how do you transact deals).  How can you set yourself apart from your competition (raspberry lemonade?). 


Marketing:  You can have the best lemonade at the best price, but someone has to see you to be able to buy from you.  Continuing to attend MNCAR programs and events and networking with your peers is a great way to market yourself and your products and services.  Also, make it a point to reach out and meet new people.


Pricing:  This market is probably more than ever sensitive to price.  You don’t want to scare away your customers because of price. One way is to offer options: different size cups of lemonade at higher prices. With overhead costs already fixed, the cost of goods may only be a bit higher.


Product Offering: Why just have lemonade?  How about a value-added service like offering cookies too?  A customer who's ready for lemonade is probably an easy touch for a chocolate chip cookie.  As a part of the services you already provide existing and prospective clients, come up with other ways you can go above and beyond.  One example is to offer a preliminary space plan for a prospect.


Technology:  Technology is ever changing. We now live in a ‘social’ media environment.  You can determine how social media can help you and to what degree you get involved. LinkedIn is a great resource for this.  Consider setting up an account if you haven’t already


Work & Life Balance:  Dale Carnegie wrote the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  The book's goal is to lead the reader to a more enjoyable and fulfilling lifestyle, helping them to become more aware of, not only themselves, but others around them. Carnegie addresses the everyday nuances of living, in order to get the reader to focus on the more important aspects of life.


Congratulations, you know how to make lemonade!  You have mixed the necessary ingredients to make lemonade and have survived the last five years.


The ingredients to make lemonade are the same today as they were during the downturn of the economy.  Continue to be smart about yours and your client’s spending, be strategic and as creative as you can, continue to learn, along with having optimism on the future of the economy, and plan accordingly.  Like Grandpa always said, when life gives you lemons . . .