We all admire forward thinkers: people who envision what others are incapable of seeing.
When I think of forward thinkers, I think of people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Elon Musk, just to name a few. I still remember back in 1997 when Steve Jobs put an end to the Newton. I loved the Newton but didn't like how it had to be docked to a computer to synchronize all the data. Later on, when Steve Jobs opened up about why he put an end to the Newton, which was very popular at the time, he said that it was because he envisioned a device that could be connected wirelessly and synchronize wirelessly in real-time. And, since the Newton couldn't do this, it didn't make sense to him. That sounds funny today, but in 1997 it was crazy thinking, and Steve Jobs got blasted for getting rid of the Newton. We now know that he was envisioning something much bigger. That something ultimately turned out to be the iPod and then the iPhone. It was certainly forward thinking in 1997.
So, what does forward thinking mean to you and me?
For me, forward thinking is about all aspects of my business, including the products we develop and the market we serve. For you, I want to focus on forward thinking about our market: the general real estate market.
I recently had a conversation with someone I know that's in the real estate business, and we discussed how he believes that home ownership has dramatically changed for Baby Boomers. We also talked about how it will have big effects on the real estate market for the next 10 years because of all the conveniences available today. Think about someone in their 70s or 80s. Just five years ago, if they couldn't get around very well, they would most likely sell their home and move into some sort of assisted living facility. However, today, with the ability to have groceries delivered, see the doctor virtually, have medication delivered, meals delivered, etc., their lives are very different, and they have choices they didn't have just three or four years ago.
So much has changed in how people live, and those changes have lasting effects on the real estate industry.
I used to joke a few years ago that I'm not sure that homes will continue to need garages because of self-driving technology. Someday, I'm not sure exactly when, but someday when self-driving technology gets mature enough, many people will choose to no longer own vehicles because there will be ride-share services with self-driving cars. So, when this day comes, does it mean that the average suburban home no longer has a three-car garage and only has a one-car garage for the "classic" non-self-driving weekend vehicle? Will the homes have more living space?
Who would have considered that people would become interested in homes with two offices two years ago? Yet today, it's quite common for people to want a home with one formal office and another room (usually an unused bedroom) that acts as the second home office. This is because two people now work remotely instead of from office buildings.
I could continue giving examples, but what you and I need to do is look at all the changes going on around us and think about how these changes can affect the real estate market. Even though you may not be able to predict the future, just thinking about it on a regular basis makes you more prepared for the changes when they come.
To close out my thoughts, I challenge you to envision home ownership in the year 2030. What features does the home have? What services do the homeowners want? At what age are people buying and selling homes? Envision all aspects of home ownership in 2030, then envision what kind of business you need to have to serve the real estate market and how this may change the scope of your business.
One thing is certain: things are changing.
Talk to any business coach, consultant, or leader, and inevitably at some point, your conversation will turn to talk of business culture. Although, sometimes the culture conversation isn't direct, and, sometimes, the word itself might not even come up. Things such as core values, mission statements, the interviewing process, the employee review process etc., etc., etc., might dominate the discussion, but, still, at its core, what you're talking about is culture.
And there's no way to undersell just how important culture is — both in your real estate business and beyond.
In the past ten years, my CEO peer group has often had at least one well-known speaker and, typically, book author, discuss business culture. This past year we had one such speaker that took a unique twist to his presentation and hit me with a line of thinking I had never considered before. During his presentation, he turned the culture-related discussion away from the usual business focus and directed it towards me and my personal life. This was a twist I had never experienced before.
During this speaker's presentation, he discussed not only business culture but family culture as well. He even pressed the family culture discussion further and asked if we had discussed our family's core values with our families or if our spouses and children also knew our family's core values. Admittedly only one peer in my group of 15 business owners could answer yes when asked if his family knew their family's core values. This line of thinking gave great pause to me and the other 13, who also said yes to having family core values. While we all actively work on culture in our businesses, 14 of us, unfortunately, had not done this yet with our families.
As a sidebar, before I bring my thoughts back to the business world, if you want to do something interesting, start trying to answer culture related questions that focus on you and your family, such as:
What are your family's core values?
Does your family filter your family's decisions against your family's core values and mission statement?
Is your family in alignment with your family's core values and mission statement...your family's culture?
Trust me, the family angle is an interesting line of questions to think through when you have time, and I encourage you to do it...but let's get back to talking about the business side of things...
The first point I want to make is that you must be purposeful in your culture. What I mean by this is that culture in your business is something that you are the architect of. And, since you are the architect, culture is something you need to take the time to think about and create. Ultimately, if you go through a culture exercise with a business coach, that coach will ask you all kinds of questions about who your team is, words that describe them, and what they value.
Two years ago, I did a formal culture exercise at Delta. The management team, a business consultant, and I spent about an hour coming up with our five core values. When we were done, we all agreed that our core values accurately described who we were and are as a team. The irony of our core values is that I have valued these things and worked towards them with the Delta team for over 20 years. However, I was not nearly as strategic then as we are today at Delta in building a team representative of these core values. Now, it's a different story as these values I've long respected have become a central theme within Delta's business.
Delta's Five Core Values are:
Get it Done — Being accountable and trusted to complete projects or tasks no matter the effort needed or how much time is needed.
Finds a Way — The answer is never "No." When we see a need, even when the platform wasn't built to do it, or it would require building something completely new, as long as it fits into our core focus, we make it happen.
Passionate — Deeply cares about outcomes. Demonstrates a winning attitude, and it hurts to lose.
Team Oriented — Excels at working inside of a team to work towards achieving a larger goal. Can clearly give and receive feedback about tasks to better the team. Is driven to make sure the entire team succeeds, no lone-wolf attitude.
Do What's Right — Through wisdom, honesty, and compassion, we take the path that will have the greatest positive impact on the current and future health, growth, and prosperity of our company, our team members, and our customers.
It has become much easier over the past two years to make hiring and firing decisions and business decisions by having our core values clearly defined and agreed upon within our management team. Core values are part of our formal interview process and part of our quarterly employee review process.
The second point that I want to make is that the leader ultimately feeds the culture they want by what they focus on with their team.
Last December, at our annual two-day planning meeting for 2022, the management team did an exercise where we each shared two things with every other member on the management team: What is the one thing most admired about the person by you and what is the one thing that you would most like that person to stop doing or start doing?
What the team shared with me that they most admired about me gave me clarity into some of the ways that I have fed the culture at Delta. They shared that they liked my ability to inspire, my honesty, my optimism in adversity, my work ethic, that I am down to earth, and that I am approachable. Now, before you begin to think that I am trying to build myself up with a list of accolades, I should point out that I have another list of things I need to work on that I won't share: My stop doing and start doing list. But, for now, let's focus on the most admired things list...
It is important that each of us as business leaders is modeling that which we desire; that we exemplify the culture, core values, and mission statement of the company we run and the team we lead. I can take each of the items shared with me during the exercise that people admire about me and tie them back to at least one core value. Unknowingly I was living out the core values of the business for the past 20 years, not always to perfection, but I was living them out, and others noticed.
What we need to do as business owners is foster in our lives what we want in our businesses and be intentional about it. To close out my thoughts, I put together a shortlist of questions that you may find helpful as you think through the culture in your business, and maybe even the culture within your family:
To view past Real Estate Marketing and Technology articles and read more from the February 2022 issue, click here.
I think I am like most entrepreneurs. I'm constantly looking for opportunities to do something new or to improve what is already being done. You are probably a business owner yourself, or you work for someone that is constantly pushing for improvements in technology and marketing to grow the business you are involved in, so you understand.
Because of that mindset, I like to take time at the end of every year to review the past 12 months: What worked, what didn't work, what was learned, and what is the plan for the coming year? So, for my article this issue, I am doing an abbreviated version that I can share with you as it relates to Delta Media Group. Hopefully, it will inspire you to do the same, and hopefully, it will give you more insight into Delta Media Group® as a major provider to the real estate vertical.
What are the Highs of 2021?
Building and Launching Local Showings™
The industry was rocked by the sale of the most widely used property showing management platform this year. The day that the announcement was made, I, with the support of Delta's management team, decided to launch Local Showings with a no-sell guarantee. As I sit here at a local coffee shop thinking about this decision, a short eight months later, we have our first MLS launched with more to follow. This rocked the industry so much that we are actively talking with three-quarters of the industry. Local Showings is a huge success for Delta and the real estate world.
Search Engine Optimization Success
We undoubtedly have the best SEO in the industry, and it got even better in 2021. Our sites are quicker, our blogs are deeply integrated into the property and local market data, and our SEO ranking has improved. In a year full of significant SEO ranking changes, this is a huge win, especially as I see the success of our business partners. This is the result of paying attention to SEO for 20 years, a fantastic platform, and an even more amazing team at Delta.
Buying and Remodeling a new Office Building
Undoubtedly 2020 was a year of change, and it changed how I viewed Delta's workforce and Delta's office space, so it was time for another shift in 2021. I purchased a new office building, completely gutted it, and remodeled it specifically for a telecommuting hybrid workforce. Next month the new office will open complete with a three-thousand square-foot cafe and large outdoor patio. Ten years ago, I would have never imagined having an office with such a large cafe and a large outdoor patio where team members could come and work the entire day in either of those areas. It seems almost bizarre to me, but I consider this a huge quality of life win for Delta's team members for 2021.
Expansion of Deep Integrations and Automations
The Delta team massively expanded our technology platform integrations this past year. For some major industry technology and marketing providers, we have the deepest integrations available right now from anyone in the space. This makes me proud because of how this benefits all the DeltaNET® users.
The Best Support in the Industry
We have the best support in the industry. But, more importantly, the high of 2021 is that the entire Delta team is working hard to make our support much better. The management team is not happy with just being the best when compared to other providers; we want to achieve an even higher level of support satisfaction.
Deploying a New Server and Storage Infrastructure
This past year we deployed a new server and storage infrastructure for the DeltaNET and other platforms. For over five years, we have enjoyed 100% uptime, but we knew we had to make significant changes to support our growth in the future. It is shocking that we currently peak at around 100-million sessions per month, and that is massive. I am proud that our team executed this deployment with minimal hiccups.
Launching Three Technology Advisory Committees
Saying that we listen to our customers is not just marketing, and this year we launched three technology advisory committees composed of dozens of our top partners. As far as I know, we are the only technology company doing this at this scale. We share what we are working on, we listen to their business, technology, and marketing needs, and we respond! But the biggest thing that I have seen come out of these committees is how groups of companies can work together within their advisory committee to benefit and grow their specific technology and marketing eco-system, especially with franchise groups. This is a massive win for 2021 for Delta and our partners.
Implementing EOS at Delta
I was and am hyper-paranoid of continual improvement as Delta experiences massive growth, so in 2020 I introduced EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) to the Delta management team. As I type this, we have EOS fully implemented at Delta. This has benefitted not just Delta but Delta's partners (customers) as well, which is a huge win.
What are the Lows of 2021?
I was reluctant to share some of Delta's lows for 2021, but I think it is good that I am transparent. So as I share the lows, I will come from the perspective of what was learned in the situation.
Not Having an Office Building to Use While We Remodeled it
In hindsight, that was a huge mistake. I, and the management team, assumed too many things with a telecommuting work model, especially when adding so many new team members throughout the year. I will never make this mistake again. We are more intentional on team culture in a telecommuting model and more intentional on team training. Not having an office building to use for six months has been painful, and it had a negative impact on the business.
Creative Studio™ Pains
In 2021 we launched a new marketing platform called Creative Studio, and it was a huge win and a huge failure that we then had to turn back around into a win. Creative Studio made it more complicated for the sales associates to create marketing pieces when it originally launched, and we will work diligently to make sure that mistake never happens again. With the sales associates, we have one opportunity to win them, and we need to execute perfectly from the start. As a result of this failure, we instituted the following changes for all products: An ongoing monthly management team product review cycle; intentional product development with an emphasis on user experience along with technology; intentional product Quality Assurance processes; and earlier involvement from our partners through our monthly technology advisory committee meetings.
Not Meeting our Internal Support Metrics as We Grew
Honestly, this was frustrating and very disruptive to Delta's overall operations. Even though at our lowest, we still had the best support in the industry, our business partners were so accustomed to phenomenal technical support they noticed the decline. This will never happen again. As a result, we had to make the following business improvements: Proactive technical support metrics, so we are proactive in staffing rather than reactive; ongoing platform and career development training with technical support; intentional career development within the technical support team itself, so it is a career path on its own and not just a conduit into other departments.
Having Hiccups as we Deployed our New Server Hardware
Sometimes when you experience success for so long, you get caught off-guard, and that is what happened with our new server hardware deployment that was also a high for 2021. The reason it was a low for 2021 is because while we still met our uptime commitments, we could no longer tout the 100% uptime that we had achieved for the five years before this. In hindsight, we delayed moving to new infrastructure management tools for too long. Unfortunately, we also delayed this upgrade for too long, and this will not happen again. We already have plans for working on our next major upgrade in 2022, so we are no longer caught like this, and we can once again tout 100% uptime.
What are we Doing for 2022?
Note: These are only major highlights that I can share publicly!
Massively Staffing Up and Training Up Our Support Staff
At Delta, we are working to raise the bar even higher for quality of support. We are very focused on this for 2022!
More Search Engine Optimization Improvements
Work is already underway to improve our SEO platform. When you are #1, you can only go down, so we are pushing hard to be even better at SEO.
Solidifying Our Telecommute Work Hybrid Model as We Continue to Grow
Telecommuting is here to stay, and at Delta, we are intentional in making this model work. Our team members love the fact that they can work from anywhere, and I love the freedom it gives them. We will be even more intentional in developing this model to the benefit of our team members, the business, and our partners.
Yep. You heard it here first. DeltaNET 7 is already in the works. While DeltaNET 6 is the most advanced CRM in the market, in my humble opinion, we are working to further the customization of the DeltaNET with version 7 and bring massive simplification to it as well. More will come out soon, but we are already excited about the direction of DeltaNET 7 and what it will do for those using it.
Pushing Open Standards in all Products (DeltaNET, Local Showings)
I have been pushing Delta's integrations since 2015. Right now, we have hundreds of integrations, a flexible SSO platform directly within DeltaNET 6, and very robust APIs for all Delta services. This is why we are the business hub for all of our large clients today. Massive expansions are already in the works, especially in the area of open APIs. They will become much easier to use and manage and more robust in 2022, especially for DeltaNET 6+ and Local Showings.
CMA / Presentation Product Launch
We have been working on a CMA product that, quite honestly, will also double as a presentation product. We took what we learned from the Creative Studio launch, and we have been working on polishing up the product before launch. By the time you read this, it will either be launched or be very close to launching, and we have big plans for this in 2022.
Training and Resources Center
Another new product that is very close to launching is our new Training and Resources Center. This has been in development for quite some time and may also be launched by the time you read this. The most promising part of this platform addition is that it is built in such a way that our business partners can utilize this to power their own unique training and continuing education. We also have big plans for this in 2022.
Don't let that headline fool you. Despite the title of it, my article for this issue of Real Estate Marketing and Technology doesn't focus simply on technology itself or what's available to you and your real estate company these days, but rather on the management of technology.
With so many options on the market and seemingly more appearing constantly, getting a handle on everything tech-related can be an occasionally daunting task. Try not to let it all overwhelm you. Putting all your tech-ducks in a row doesn't have to be a challenge, and, sometimes, it can even be a marker of your company's evolution.
So was the case with Delta Media Group®.
Twenty-one years ago, I was one of the primary software developers at Delta Media Group, a role I remained in even as my overall job with the company grew and I took on the position of President. Many of you can relate to this as you have grown your own business. At one point, in your yourself being active as a salesperson, accountant, secretary, and even janitor at times. Basically, you do what you have to do to make your business work, and I did the same at Delta.
However, as Delta continued to grow in size, I ultimately evolved into the role of CEO and Visionary of the company. From this perspective, I am still actively involved in the development of the products but at a much higher level. Needless to say, today, I no longer do any software coding.
I share all of this because, in the past two weeks, I found myself, as CEO and Visionary of Delta Media Group, playing with various aspects of our technology offerings. I wanted to personally experience our technology as a user and see if I felt that the technology was delivering what I thought it should be delivering or if things need to change in order to serve our clients better.
Using various aspects of DeltaNET® 6, just like any brokerage or sales associate would, I found myself with two persistent and prominent thoughts. The first is that I was amazed at how much functionality exists today in the system and how mature the technology is. The second is that there are some small things that needed to be addressed, in addition to the large things, that would make the experience so much better. By working my way through the tech, I noticed little things that could be improved, all of which could come together to create a much better product on a much larger scale. I was thinking of good to great and cool to amazing!
And, this brings me to the subject of this article: Getting the most out of your technology. I have a thought for you and a suggestion.
But first, in order to understand that thought and suggestion, I want to consider our approach to rolling out our technology. Today we spend time primarily doing two things for sales associates when we train them during our onboarding process.
The first thing we do is spend about 30 minutes getting them excited about their new technology stack. Most of this presentation centers around all of the cool things that are now available to them; from a CRM standpoint, from a marketing standpoint, from a social media standpoint, from videos to customizable flyers, and all the automations. None of this presentation is a "how-to" type of instructional session. Instead, it is full of visuals and focuses on running a business as a sales professional. It is as far away as possible from a presentation about technology because the sales associates are tired of hearing about technology. Instead, they want to know what they can do with it.
The second thing we do is spend about 30 minutes showing the sales associates how to customize all their settings and set up all their automations, so they are custom-tailored to each one of them. The whole idea is that sales associates today will spend about 30 minutes configuring all their "stuff," their "technology," and from that point forward, it is doing the work for them, saving them time, and helping them actually run their business.
The reason I outline this training is because this training has been massively accepted and endorsed by the sales associates since we implemented it about a year ago. They like it so much because it is all about their experience in their own business coupled with configuring the tools to do exactly what they want them to do for them. In addition, customizing the tools for their business allows sales associates to manage their technology without feeling as if they're stressing over it.
So, my overall thought for you is this: When was the last time you, personally, experienced the business side of your business? I'm talking about the experience of your customer, your sales associate. What would it be like to put yourself in their shoes for a moment? And what do they want when they use the technology your business offers?
I ask this because to get the most out of your technology, you have to make sure that your sales associates are able to do business in the most efficient manner possible, using the technology solutions being provided to them by you.
I would suggest that you need to do what I see most, if not all, of our large firms doing. They spend an extensive amount of time, generally on an annual basis, combing through their technology, cleaning it up, automating it, upgrading it, connecting it, and personalizing it to their market and their sales associates. Taking the time to truly examine your tech — and determine what else you need or what changes need to be made — is a crucial step in helping your business grow.
I suppose I will close this out by saying that while it's easy to see tech as a daunting foe, the purpose of good technology is to assist your day-to-day life. In business or otherwise. So, take a moment to look at it all from a different perspective. To consider what's working and what isn't and keep this in mind while you do; a little bit of advice I remember hearing from Zig Ziglar when I went to see him speak 20 years ago: Inspect what you expect.
As I write this article, I find it curi- ous to note that about half the real estate news stories I read this past week related to low housing inventory and how to get more listings. All the articles were coming from the perspective of things you "can do now to get more listings." While I appreciate the reality that you need to take action now to get more listings, I want to approach the topic of low housing inventory from an entirely different perspective.
For over 10 years, I have seen a problem with the residential real estate industry as a whole.
What is the problem I am talking about?
It is the fact that a good number of real estate professionals, potentially the vast majority, do nothing to effectively market themselves and build relationships with people until it is too late. Too many real estate professionals do very little, or even nothing, to effectively market themselves over the months and years that proceed a person, couple, or family making the decision to buy or sell a home.
So what is the solution?
For quite a few years, I have been working to build the tools necessary to help solve the problem, and I want to outline some of these tools here in this article. These are tools that real estate professionals can begin using today that will not only help them get more listings now, but will also help them continue to get more list- ings for months and years to come.
So, let me dig into some of these tools and explain how they can help!
Market Trending Emails
(Delta's Market Watch Reports)
Very few people, almost none, wake up one morning and decide to buy a home in an unknown market or neighborhood. Nearly everyone who purchases a home spends months, sometimes years, re- searching the neighborhoods and markets they are interested in living in. They follow the home prices, pay attention to the home styles, watch how quickly homes sell, research the schools, parks, etc. This is one of the primary reasons I created Delta Media Group's Market Watch Reports well over a decade ago.
One of the best tools that real estate professionals can offer to everyone is market trending emails. Even people that are not in the market to buy or sell like getting monthly or quarterly market trending emails, simply so they can stay in the know and have up-to-date information. These emails should include nice visuals such as market trending graphs, a sample of what is currently for sale, an example of what has recently sold, what is pending, etc.
What is best about market trending emails is that it keeps the real estate sales professional in digital contact with their sphere of contacts and past clients, which results in a higher probability that they will get their future business. When you stay in touch, you remain at the forefront of potential customer's memories, and they'll think of you first when it's time to buy or sell.
Property Watch Emails
(Delta's Property-Based Market Watch Reports)
If I were a real estate professional, I would sign all my past clients up for a monthly or quarterly email, providing them with data similar to the market trending emails but with the addition of their estimated property value. This is what Delta's Property-Based Market Watch Reports are.
Every homeowner is curious to know how the value of their home changes over time and what homes are selling for around them. This type of report provides that information to them.
Think about it! The best place to get future business is from past clients. The only type of referral is one from a past client. So staying in relevant contact with past clients is critical and the best way to do it is with valuable information related to their home. It also makes it easy to reach out and ask for a referral and to start a conversation.
Ongoing Behavioral Driven Email Campaigns
(Delta's My Customer for Life Campaign)
Behavioral and Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven email campaigns are some of the best generic campaigns you can do because you can put all contacts into these types of campaigns.
Online retailers have been doing this for years. If they know who you are and how you interact with their products, you will receive marketing based on your interests. You need to be doing the same thing.
About four years ago, I had the Delta team start writing three new weekly articles: one related to homeownership, one related to home buying, and one related to home selling. Today we have a library of over 600 unique articles.
The best part of this type of system is that it is AI-driven based on customer behavior and interests. Depending on what customers do and which articles they interact with
will dictate the content of their next email. These are ongoing, automated, up-to-date, individually personalized marketing emails that are loved by customers and branded by the real estate professional.
The most important thing is that you start doing something today. From there, you can continue to build a culture in your business, and with those that work with you or for you, either as an individual sales associate or as part of a company, office, or team leader.
If you are a Delta Media Group® client, here are four direct action items you should address from the perspective of a sales associate:
The concept of this article began in July 2020. At the time, I wanted to craft a story that could convey the role that cycling played in the development of DeltaNET™
But before I get into sharing the story of cycling as it relates to DeltaNET™ 6, I want to share more about my love for the sport of cycling; or simply riding a bike. It all started in 1979 when I was seven years old.
To this day, I have clear memories of going with my dad to buy my first bike. I had my heart set on getting a Redline BMX racing bike in chrome with red lettering and red accents. Unfortunately, a new Redline BMX bike was too expensive, so I had to settle for a dark purple metallic no-name used BMX bike that fit the budget. That day was the beginning of what turned into a love of riding bikes that has lasted my lifetime.
With my new dark purple metallic BMX bike, I found what I considered to be freedom. It seemed like the two wheels of that bike could take a seven-year-old boy anywhere he wanted to go. Looking back, some of the memories seem crazy. The following year after getting the bike, my family moved out of the city and into the country. Whenever I found myself with an extra twenty cents to buy baseball cards, I would jump on my bike and pedal the three-mile round trip to the nearest country store that sold baseball cards. To a kid, it was two-wheel freedom!
Fast-forward forty-two years to today, and I still love cycling. It is not uncommon for me, at least in a non-COVID non-lockdown time, to take trips to California or Colorado and ride 800-plus miles in one week with a group of friends from around the country. I love it so much, and I'm so competitive that I even got into racing!
This love of cycling and racing, as well as my love of technology, drove me to design a new bike with Trek Bikes during the COVID-19 lockdown last year.
You see, it was in 2020 that I fully realized how much tech-related work I did while I was riding my bike. On an average week, I typically ride my bike for about eight hours, and during at least half of that time, I think about work. Especially about technology.
As I was thinking more and more about this connection between my love of cycling and my love of technology, I realized that the majority of how DeltaNET™ 6 works was either born, or mentally developed, while I was riding my bike. So, I wanted to connect the two.
The pictures you see interwoven with this article are the result of months of work collaborating with the talented people at Trek Bicycle Corporation. I wanted to create a bike that I could love riding and one that represents who I am from a tech perspective.
Many of the concepts that hold true for my love of cycling also hold true for the growth and success of Delta Media Group® and DeltaNET™ 6. Consider the following phrases…
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Right is painted on the top of the bike frame directly behind the handlebars. It is this mindset that has brought me success in business and on the bike. But it isn't always easy to follow. At times it is easy to cut corners, to push at 90% instead of 100%. Real success requires 100% all the time.
Always Find a Way is painted on the top of the handlebar so that I can read it while I am riding the bike. So, this is a reminder for me! If you are a current client of Delta Media Group®, you most likely know that this is a thought that drives the entire Delta Media Group team. It is also a thought that has brought me success in racing bicycles. It isn't always the fittest person or the best product that wins. What wins, who wins, is the one that wants it more than anyone else and is good enough to get it done. To me, this is a drive to always find a way even in losing because, in losing, you always find a way to improve so next time you don't lose!
Sacrifices Today for Rewards Tomorrow is painted on the seat tube. Success doesn't come easy in athletics or business. To have success in either one, sacrifices are necessary. At Delta, our path to the "reward" of DeltaNET™ 6 has taken twenty-eight years, and I personally have been driving Delta down this path for the past twenty years. Those sacrifices have been well worth it, but I need to be reminded all the time because races are not won on race day; they are won by all the countless hours of sacrifice made in the weeks, months, and years prior.
To wrap-up my article, I want to ask you a question: To what, or who, do you attribute your success?
My love of cycling is only one aspect of the success of DeltaNET™ 6 and Delta Media Group®. I think it is a tangible aspect that you may relate to, somehow, in your own way. What I would encourage you to do, if you have not done so yet, is find something tangible that you do outside of your business that contributes to your success in business.
I am going to ask you to pause and think for one minute before you continue reading and answer for yourself the following question:
"One year from now, when I look back on what my business did in 2020, what will I remember?"
I love this type of exercise. It forces me to change my mode of thinking and create goals; to develop targets.
I'm sure it is only natural to think about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on your business, on your relationships in business, on the economy, and on buyer and seller behavior and needs. It only makes sense if most of your thoughts regarding COVID-19 are negative. However, if we are honest, there have also been positive outcomes during this global tragedy.
While you and I cannot change the reality of COVID-19 and its impact on our businesses, we still have control over everything else in our businesses.
So, let me ask some direct questions. While I'm framing these questions to owners and operators of real estate firms and teams, they still apply to sales associates equally. Will you look back on 2020 and say the following?
These statements (along with many others you may have come up with) should cause you to pause and consider how you are positioning your business to thrive and survive in 2020 during COVID-19 and moving forward.
You see, today, right now, all the technology that exists within platforms such as DeltaNET™️ 6 CRM can empower you to claim all the statements above, right now in your business.
The answer to "How Do You Turn a $50,000 Project into a $50 Million Platform" is slowly and carefully. That's how it happened for Delta Media Group®, and it is most likely how you grew your business too.
Let me start by sharing why I want to tell the story of how Delta Media Group turned a $50,000 project into a $50 million platform.
There are three reasons:
FIRST, the media and groups within the real estate industry, regularly publish misinformation that the only way to be successful in today's business world, especially as a technology company, is through venture capital funding. This is not true!
SECOND, while some companies may benefit from the infusion of venture capital funding for growth, the injection of cash from these investment firms isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
The dangers that overnight startup companies face when venture capital funding comes into the equation eventually bring some of these companies to their knees. The real estate industry has seen numerous examples of this scenario where a tech company starts up, takes on funding, grows too fast, can't service their clients effectively, and implodes under their own weight.
THIRD, the reason I'm telling this story is one hardly anyone knows, and that's due to no one else's fault but my own. It's the Delta Media Group story. Technology and development have always been top-of-mind with me. However, working with Delta's marketing team, we're telling our story in 2020 because of how old our story is and to prove, "Yes, you can be successful without VC funding."
The Preface - The Road To Overnight Success
I love two phrases relating to how long it takes and how much work it takes to succeed. The first is, "It's amazing how long it takes to become an overnight success." Steve Jobs said it best by saying, "If you look closely, most overnight successes took a long time." People only see the success. What they don't understand is all the work and sacrifice it takes to become successful.
The other phrase I love and have hanging in my office is, "Be willing to grow slowly, so you survive." When you're in the middle of success and growth, the hardest thing to do is operate with restraint, especially when it comes to not taking on funding. And, in my case, when I did take on debt, I only did it when absolutely necessary and paid it off quickly. My advice would be if you assume debt, do it only if you must, and don't do it again or put yourself back in the same position where you need to.
These are two beliefs I abide by in business.