About John E. Smith

John E. Smith helps individuals and groups create and implement intentional learning for a changing world.

By The Numbers: January Housing Report and Outlook for St. Louis Area


” … St. Louis will sustain this momentum – powered by a solid economy in combination with balanced, affordable housing.” (press release by St. Louis Realtor’s Association on February 21, 2017

 

The recent numbers for housing are down in some categories and up in others, but overall the St. Louis housing market is poised for another strong year.

But don’t just take my word for it:

 

Our thoughts on hearing all this:

SELLERS:  If you are thinking about selling, now is a good time … if you are willing to let the market set your asking price and you will do what is necessary to offer a competitive property.   While the demand of buyers still far outweighs the number of homes for sale, an incorrectly priced house that does not show well is not a guaranteed sale.

BUYERS:  If you want to buy, you can still find mortgage rates reasonably low and if you are willing to prepare to be an attractive buyer, you can enjoy the right home at the right price.  The spring housing market always moves quickly, so those who prepare are those who will prevail.

The current statistics and predictions for the future have something for everyone to like.

For a PDF of all these numbers, CLICK HERE.

For the press release on St. Louis Realtor’s website which provides more detail, CLICK HERE.

Visit our websites to learn more:  Shah Smith, Realtor at shahsmith.cbphomes.com and John Smith, Realtor at johnsmith.cbphomes.com.

… or just give us a call.  We love to talk about residential housing, in St. Louis and wherever you are.

 

 

 

 

Serving Well Is A Covenant …


“To kalidescope-by-chip-bell-02-2017serve well is to enter into a covenant with a customer that guarantees worth will be exchanged for worth and in a way that keeps central the customer’s best interests.” (pg. 35)

So says Chip Bell and I could not agree more.  In his latest book, Kaleidoscope:  Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles, Bell uses the analogy of a child’s toy, a kaleidoscope, to illustrate some solid principles of effective customer service.  As in his earlier books, Chip’s words and phrases are pithy and colorful, with many easily memorable statements that just beg to be quoted and digested by those of us who care about such things.

I see several valuable points in that sentence at the head of this post, each of which guides us beyond the common and tired sayings about customer service, while helping us aspire to a much higher level of involvement:

SERVING INVOLVES COVENANT …

I have only worked in one organization where this word was regularly invoked to describe our relationship with each other and with those we served.  That non-profit provided help and comfort to the aged, families, and people in need.

To me, covenant indicates more than a promise, more than a guarantee … Covenant is a sacred duty to honor commitments and to treat others in an honorable way as you offer services and goods to them.

Covenant is also a relatively equalized relationship between you and another

WORTH EXCHANGES FOR WORTH …

Since we are talking about a relationship here, it makes perfect sense that we consider the values involves.  Most businesses run on a transactional model:  You give me something and I give you something in return.  Nothing wrong with this, as long as each person receives what they expected to receive.

Worth is another word that pushes us toward a higher level of engagement.  Worth goes beyond the mundane or trivial.  Worth means something of real value.   I offer my dollar bill and you give me an ice cream cone … we have completed a transaction.   I give you my dollar bill, and without being asked, you add sprinkles (yes, a nod to another Bell book), a genuine smile, and a cheery “Have a great day!“, and now we are talking worth.

THE CUSTOMER’S BEST INTERESTS ARE PRIMARY …

Not “The customer is always right” because they are not, and not that the customer can ask for or do anything, but here we have a clear reminder that we are in our business to serve the customer’s best interests.

As a realtor, I sometimes serve customers who have a well-designed list of needs and wants, price range, and vision for their ideal house … then  they fell in love with a fire pit (not on the original list) and all else goes away.  Their best interests are served by helping them move beyond the emotion of the moment to reconsider all the other things they said they had to have in the house they buy and to look at their decision from the financial perspective as well.  

Adding perspective to their decision may mean losing a higher commission, but I am serving my customer’s best interests.

Look at what I gained from reading just one page of one chapter in Kaleidoscope, and you might well think “Wow, if he can do that, I could gain so many more valuable insights from reading the whole thing” … and you would be absolutely right.  

Enjoying another great book from one of my favorite authors in the Heartland ….

John

chip-bell

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books.  Global Gurus ranked him both in 2014 and 2015 as the #1 keynote speaker in the world on customer service.  He has appeared live on CNN, CNBC, ABC, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, and NPR; and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today, Fast Company, Money Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Businessweek.

Images reposted with permission

Caveat:  I received a copy of this book for review prior to publication.  I now have a great stocking stuffer for family and colleagues this Christmas.

Guest Post: Serving It Forward by Chip Bell


Kalidescope by Chip Bell 02 2017.jpgAny post which starts with a lesson from one of my favorite films is sure to be full of thoughtful insights.  Any post by Chip Bell pretty much meets the Excellent Customer Service Thinking standard, whether he mentions a favorite film or not.

Chip’s latest book is Kaleidoscope – click the image to the left to learn more.

Chip is one of my most trusted sources of solid and engaging leadership thinking … enjoy the following slice, which provides my claim nicely:

 

Lawrence of Arabia won the academy award in 1962 for best picture. Given the current conflicts in the Middle East, I recently watched the four-hour movie to learn more about the cultural history of the area. Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (played by best actor winner Peter O’Toole) was a British intelligence officer assigned to investigate the revolt of the Arabs against the Turks during World War I.  He embraced the culture and dress of the Arabs and organized a guerrilla army that for two years raided the Turks with surprise attacks.

In the early part of the movie, a poor Bedouin guide is hired to escort Lawrence across the desert to meet with Prince Faisal (played by Alec Guinness), the leader of the Arab revolt.  (Faisal would ultimately become King of Syria and King of Iraq pushing for unity between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims).  It was customary then for desert guides to be paid at the end of their assignment.  Instead, at the beginning of their journey, Lawrence gave his military pistol to the guide—a gift of great value and pleasure for any Bedouin.

What followed was a powerful example of “serving it forward.” The guide instantly gave Lawrence some of his food, provisions better suited to desert survival than the military rations Lawrence carried.  The guide then assumed a mentoring role revealing valuable desert survival secrets.  The timing of Lawrence’s unorthodox gift completely changed the dynamic of the relationship, with the Bedouin transforming him from “compliant servant” into “resourceful partner.”

Customer service is a reciprocal act.  Customers exchange money, time and effort for goods and services.  There are unwritten norms about how this mutual undertaking is performed.  Customers are expected to communicate their needs; service providers are expected to indicate whether they can meet those needs.  There are generally stated or implied expectations around speed, quality, cost, and so forth.  Both parties assume a modicum of respect; both assume the exchange will employ a measure of fair play.

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia started getting a lot of publicity after their decision to sell single slices of pizza for a dollar. But it didn’t have to do with the price of the slice; it was about a customer-suggested idea for how to fund pizza for the homeless. It works like this: when customers buy pizza for themselves they put a dollar in a container, write a message on a Post-it note and stick it on the wall.  Any homeless person can come into the store, take a Post-it note off the wall and get a slice of pizza. Rosa’s has given away thousands of slices.

The principle of abundance is about giving more than is expected.  It is a proactive attitude of engulfing a relationship with emotional plenty without concern for reciprocity. An attitude of abundance is more the belief that if we employ a giver mentality, the customer will take care of the bottom line.   It is leading with an orientation of selflessness—of focusing on the customer first, not on the bottom line.  “Generosity,” wrote Khalil Gibran in The Prophet, “is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”

Chip Bell.jpg

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several national best-selling books.  His newest book is the just-released Kaleidoscope:  Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.  He can be reached at chipbell.com.

 

 

Happy Groundhog Day …


groundhog-day

Over at one of my other blogs, I am contemplating how a large rodent figures into helping folks with their home buying and selling needs … not as big a stretch as you might imagine:) …To read more, click HERE.

In honor of The Movie that has bolstered this most American of holidays since 1993, here’s a sample straight from the IMDB webpage, which will probably sound VERY familiar.

Feel free to read aloud and add sound effects as needed:

D.J. #1: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.

D.J. #2: It’s coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?

D.J. #1: Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing.

D.J. #2: [mockingly] That blizzard – thing. That blizzard – thing. Oh, well, here’s the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a “big blizzard thing!”

D.J. #1: Yessss, they are. But you know, there’s another reason why today is especially exciting.

D.J. #2: Especially cold!

D.J. #1: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody’s lips…

D.J. #2: On their chapped lips…

D.J. #1: On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow?

D.J. #2: Punxsutawney Phil!

D.J. #1: That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers – it’s…

D.J. #1D.J. #2: [in unison] GROUNDHOG DAY!

I don’t know what else I could do to make this day more special for you.

Looking forward to a pleasant and predictable few hours with the DVD player in the Heartland …

John

 

 

 

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Image via Presentermedia.com by subscription

Leadership Kick …


leadership-kick-in-ass-book-cover-01-2017-pngBill Treasurer is (not to be too cute about it) a real treasure …

Bill combines a real gift for writing engaging content with a sharp eye to what really works in leadership.  He is modest, but brings a ton of knowledge and experience to the issues around leading self and leading others.

He also has a distinctly altruistic side to his business, which you will learn about if you click on his name above – it’s worth learning a little more about his personal life and what drives him.

If you have read his earlier books, such as Leaders Open Doors, you already know this. 

If you have not yet met Mr. Treasurer, dip your toes in the water with the guest post below, then check out a sample chapter from Bill’s new book A Leadership Kick In The Ass … and then get ready to dive deep into the warm waters of his writing:

Leadership is about R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (from video script)

I’m a practitioner of leadership development. Though I’ve been doing this for over two decades, I don’t like calling myself a leadership “expert.” Makes me seem too highbrow. Rather, I think of myself as a leadership plumber. I show up to my client’s job sites every day, roll up my sleeves, and remove whatever hairballs may be mucking up their system. The work ain’t always pretty!

For the last dozen years, most of my clients have been unionized construction companies based in Chicago. They don’t like a bunch of leadership frou-frou. They want stuff that works.

One thing I’ve learned from them is how important the concept of respect is to leadership. If a leader relies only on the authority of his or her position or seniority, they’ll chew him or her up and spit them out.

Aretha Franklin sums up what most people want from their leaders when she says, “All I’m asking for is a little RESPECT.”

Too many leaders, unfortunately, are disrespectful. They show up late for meetings, they interrupt subordinates, and they sometimes skirt the very rules that they expect others to abide by.

They pay more attention to whether they’re being disrespected than whether they’re being respectful.

The thing is, respect isn’t something you’re automatically granted just because your nameplate says “leader.” Respect has to be earned, and re-earned, in every interaction and situation.

The good news is, you already know what it’s like to be fully respected. Certainly there’s someone in your life who has respected you. Chances are they are someone who listened to you deeply, valued your input and ideas, and treated you like you matter. They treated you right. And when you treat others right, people will respect you too.

Here’s how to know if you’re the kind of leader that people will respect: you respect others equally as much as you respect yourself.

To learn more tips for how to become a respectful leader, download a sample chapter from my new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, at http://CourageBuilding.com/Kickass.

Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…