3 Ingredients for Perfect Conversations
What To Say Now Episode #40
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Full Show Transcript:
Dan Stewart (00:00): Have you ever thought about what goes into the perfect conversation? If you're a sales professional, this is a very important topic to master because having perfect conversations allows you to more efficiently achieve your goals. So if you're a loan officer, if you're a realtor, if you're a managing broker, you absolutely have a need to conduct perfect conversations on a regular basis. And I have good news. That's the topic of today's episode of What To Say Now.
Dan Stewart (00:40): All right, so I have pressed go live. That means we may be live. Who knows? No one knows how long the mystery pause is for when you press go live until you are actually live. Either way, I'm super stoked to be starting episode number 40 of What To Say Now. My name is Dan Stewart. I'm the founder of Happy Grasshopper, and I have two, not one, two very special people joining me for today's episode. And that would be my good friend, Michael Hellickson of Club Wealth. Say hello, Michael.
Michael Hellickson (01:12): What's up, everybody? It's good to be here.
Dan Stewart (01:14): Super glad to have you, Michael. And the traveling Matt, Mr. Fagioli, all the way from St. Petersburg Beach. Let's hear it for Matt Fagioli. Welcome, dude.
Matt Fagioli (01:26): What's up, man? Yeah, I thought about just making the long drive over to Safety Harbor or wherever the heck you are these days.
Dan Stewart (01:34): Well, that would have been... It's always cool to see you face to face, and yet I'm just going to be super grateful for both of you attending today for this episode.
Matt Fagioli (01:42): Absolutely.
Dan Stewart (01:42): So as we dive in, let's prep the audience for what we're going to cover today. This is my weekly web show called What To Say Now. And the reason this show exists is because I passionately and firmly believe that the path to anything and everything we want to achieve in life is paved by the conversations we have on the way there. Okay? That requires us to be very good at having conversations. And I know that the two of you believe this as well, which is why I've invited you. So thank you for joining me here today. I do appreciate that.
Michael Hellickson (02:18): Of course.
Dan Stewart (02:19): All right, so let's dive in. Perfect conversations have three ingredients. That's all you need. If you have these three ingredients, you can make a perfect conversation with anyone. The first ingredient is your intention. Let's think about this. We're all dads here, right? Can we acknowledge that? Everybody on this call's a dad. And I believe we've all had the privilege of raising kids who haven't always had everything easy or perfect in their lives, right? Because none of us do. None of us have that. So think about the conversations you have as a parent with your children. Part of these conversations that you have must include the first ingredient, and that is being super intentional about what you intend for the outcome of the conversation to be.
Dan Stewart (03:11): So Michael, I know last year and in years past, we've spent a lot of time together on the road speaking at Matt's Xplode conference, right? This has been a change. And along the way, we've gotten to know each other. We've learned about our families. I know your son recently left to go serve his mission. How's he doing? Is everything awesome?
Michael Hellickson (03:32): He's doing great. Both he and Madison, my daughter, are both on missions now.
Matt Fagioli (03:35): Awesome.
Dan Stewart (03:35): Oh, that's fantastic.
Michael Hellickson (03:37): Yeah. And they're both doing fabulous. Thank you for asking.
Dan Stewart (03:40): You're welcome. You're welcome. So as you're prepping to be without your children in your house, without those kids... And Matt, I know this is a conversation you've had, right? Because in the past year, we've seen your daughter get married, right? We've seen her become a homeowner. These sorts of changes happen, and yet they don't happen by accident. Being a successful parent means being very intentional about the conversations you have with your kids over time.
Dan Stewart (04:08): So the second ingredient that we're going to talk about today would be active listening. When you listen actively in a conversation, you're setting expectations for them. You're creating a secure place for a conversation to take place. Without that, we can't really go anywhere. If we don't listen to the people we're having the conversation with, it becomes very much like this episode of What To Say Now where I'm doing all the talking, right? You get what I'm saying.
Michael Hellickson (04:41): We'll help you with that. We'll help you with that. Are you suggesting that we should more than just listen, we should actively listen and acknowledge that we're actually hearing what you're saying and interact? And so of course we'll do that.
Dan Stewart (04:53): I'm trying to actively demonstrate what happens when one person just talks all the time.
Michael Hellickson (04:57): It's a great point there.
Dan Stewart (04:59): It robs the conversation of the joy, right? It's that interaction that makes it really special and memorable.
Michael Hellickson (05:08): Can we go back to point number one for just a second? Or do you want to do all the points and then we do each one individually?
Dan Stewart (05:12): Let's do it. Let's do it.
Michael Hellickson (05:12): So you talked about intention, right? And you talked about really being intentional about a conversation. I think in large part, it's not just about the conversation itself, it's about setting the stage for the conversation. Giving you an example, you brought up the kids. For me, some of the best conversations I've had with my kids have been on a hike or snowboarding or in some scenario where we're out away from the home, away from distraction, away from electronics, in a place where it's us and nature. And now I get to be intentional about the conversation because I've got the distractions gone. Now I can really have a conversation with them and go deep with them on things that matter to them and that matter to me in a way that you can't force it in the home. It's really hard to force an intentional conversation. Because if it's forced, the other components can't exist, right? Particularly the active listening becomes very difficult because one of the two of you is not actively listening if you're in a forced conversation. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Dan Stewart (06:12): I think there might not even be a thing as a forced conversation. That's just a one-sided sort of thing. You're making a statement, you're telling somebody something, and that's it. There is no conversation.
Michael Hellickson (06:25): That's right.
Dan Stewart (06:26): It's done, right?
Matt Fagioli (06:28): I guess I thought Michael was talking more about the classic kid conversation. Like, "Well, how was school today?" "Great."
Michael Hellickson (06:33): It's that too. Yes. It's both.
Dan Stewart (06:37): Yeah. So that's a really great example, Matt, because so much of our goals as sales professionals, let's think about it in that context, we often want to have conversations that other people do not want to have, right? If you've ever sold anything in your career, and I know both of you have, you know what it's like to have people go, click, "Why are you calling me? I don't want to talk to you." You know what it's like to have people shut the door in your face. You know what it's like to be regarded as someone who has some ulterior motives, right?
Dan Stewart (07:13): This is precisely why active listening is so important. Because if you encounter someone in that scenario and you immediately try to overcome that, that they don't want to talk, it's not going to work out well. And yet if you go with them and say, "Oh, it sounds like I've caught you at a bad time. I totally understand that. When would you like to talk about this? When would be a better time for us to speak?" I love doing that with my kids. You say, "Hey, how was school today?" And they're like, "Ugh, I don't want to talk about it." They're like, "Okay. I understand. When would you like to talk about it?" It's fun. It's fun.
Dan Stewart (07:54): So Matt, I see, we lost your video there. I know you're a little out of pocket. But Michael and I will continue to chat and we'll just wait for you to rejoin.
Michael Hellickson (08:02): Let me jump in on this for a second there, Dan. It's really interesting you bring this up, and I'm thinking about you and Matt in particular, and something I strive to do that I think you guys do a really nice job of. Some conversations need to be had, even if they're uncomfortable. And sometimes especially when they're uncomfortable, they need to be had. And it's in situations like that, whether it's with our kids or our clients or potential clients or people we do business with in one way, shape, or form, or just somebody that we have to interact with in our lives. Sometimes there's friction. And particularly when there's friction, that's the time to get voice to voice, and if you can, face to face, and really have a conversation. And to your point, it starts with listening. And there's an empathy component that I struggle with. I just do. When people are knuckleheads, I really struggle being empathetic, but it's so important. It's a critical component of active listening and it's a foundational principle for any kind of a conversation that's going to really uplift both parties.
Michael Hellickson (09:02): I've heard it said, and I think Matt, you're a better scriptorian than I am, you'll probably remember where this is at. But somewhere in the scriptures, it talks about seek first to understand and then to be understood. And I think all too often as human beings, our nature is to do it the opposite way, and that never works.
Dan Stewart (09:24): I think that's particularly true for sales professionals. The three of us here are entrepreneurs, so it's written in our DNA that we're highly goal-driven. We're focused individuals. We have an objective and we set up to try to achieve it. And sometimes if we solely focus on that, we make it so much harder for ourselves.
Matt Fagioli (09:46): Absolutely. I tell you, one of the greatest things that I've learned in the last couple years about sales conversations, too, is how much a conversation can turn after you think it's over and dead if you can just keep asking questions, if you can just keep digging deeper and deeper and deeper. I learned this from another sales guy, and I watched him. I thought the conversation was over and he just kept saying, "What if this happened? What if this scenario? What do you think about this angle?" And he just kept on and kept on, and I've seen those conversations turn in a way that I've never understood. And I thought about the many times that I let a conversation end that I wish I hadn't.
Dan Stewart (10:37): There's a real art there to doing that. Because it's one thing to have a list of questions in front of you. And as you rattle through those questions, it feels to the other party like you're reading from a list. So this is where active listening really earns its weight in gold, because you should be stringing those questions together in a way that demonstrates you understand the meaning of their answer to a prior question. So if we put this in real estate terms, if I'm talking to a group of real estate agents, let's say I'm at the BKG offices. And what are market conditions like right now, by the way, Matt? What are things like for you in Atlanta at the moment?
Matt Fagioli (11:21): Crazy good, crazy strong.
Dan Stewart (11:24): What's inventory like?
Matt Fagioli (11:26): Non-existent. It's same story here in a lot of markets. Probably not as bad in Atlanta as any second home market, like where I'm at in St. Pete, where I'm at right now. Just talking to other realtors around the country, it's so tight, especially any place that people want to be when they're living the Zoom life.
Dan Stewart (11:49): That's interesting. So as a broker where got lots of agents, you must have some pressure to help them find listing inventory when market conditions are really tight. Are you feeling that at all?
Matt Fagioli (12:03): 100%? And we talk about it every day and we're trying to teach our agents more and more and more about the listing side, more and more and more about prospecting, which is the thing that agents hate the most, but generates far more listings than any other thing. So that's a little off topic, but I'm answering your question, I guess.
Dan Stewart (12:27): Well, so what we're doing is demonstrating this process of active listening, where each of these further questions is demonstrating that I'm understanding what you actually mean from your answers, right? So there in just 30 seconds of time, we isolated a specific pain point for you, which is helping your agents find listings in a market when inventory is really low. Right? So I would say just as we follow that bunny trail, there's never a more important time to focus on relationships with your past clients and sphere than in a low inventory environment. Everyone has to live somewhere. It's the agents who are doing a good job of maintaining a regular conversation rhythm with their past clients and sphere. They're going to hear about those listing opportunities. So happy to talk about that. In fact, tomorrow I'm hosting a webinar on exactly that topic. So just go to happygrasshopper.com/webinar and you guys can register for that there.
Dan Stewart (13:29): So pulling back to today's conversation about conversation, there's still one ingredient that's missing. So we've talked about how it takes three ingredients to have really successful conversations. The first one being your intentions. You have to be clear. I'm going to have a conversation with my daughter who's struggling with something to help her feel better, has a totally different energy than a conversation where, I'm going to a conference where I get to see my buddies, Matt and Michael, and oh, it's going to be great. Totally different energy and a completely different energy than I need to find listings in a low inventory market. So your intention is the first thing. That's the bowl that you're housing this conversation in if you're going to mix all these ingredients together. The second element is active listening. And thank you, Matt, for helping me demonstrate that. We've got to have that give and take. That allows a conversation to feel really natural because it is really natural, right?
Dan Stewart (14:33): And then there's one ingredient that's missing. This is the equivalent of preheating the oven and putting this in there to make this beautiful recipe come to fruition, and that's following up properly. So every conversation should be treated the same. If I have a conversation with my little girl and the intent is to make her feel better and I never follow up with her about that, I'm not being a great dad, right? If I have a conversation with you, Matt, and your agents at your brokerage about helping them find more listings and it's one and done, I just show up and I'm gone, I'm not really living my mission. I'm not helping them actually achieve that particular goal.
Dan Stewart (15:19): And in our case, every time that we get together, I hope you sense this from me, we've never really talked about this before, but I'm always open to make memories and to have experiences together. We've been in Park City together. We've been in Colorado together. Michael, you drove us across the mountains in the middle of a frozen Colorado.
Michael Hellickson (15:44): But did you die?
Dan Stewart (15:45): No, actually, I did not.
Michael Hellickson (15:46): I got to ask.
Dan Stewart (15:48): As we all would have if you let the Floridian drive. Just saying, I'm not prepared.
Matt Fagioli (15:52): I feel like the risk in Michael's car was high. Much higher than in my car.
Dan Stewart (15:58): Well, like many entrepreneurs, Michael drives fast, which I'm totally comfortable with in a non-ice covered road scenario. So there's that.
Michael Hellickson (16:07): Those were some steep cliffs, I'm not going to lie. They were pretty sketchy. I got to tell you, on the topic of follow-up, this is really... As you were talking about that earlier, before we jumped online here, you followed up with me on a conversation we had a long time ago that was very important, and it made my day. It made my day that you followed up with me and shared some success with me and shared some insights. I needed to hear that today.
Michael Hellickson (16:39): It's interesting because I think that a lot of people, when they have a conversation with someone, it's kind of, okay, I've had that and I put it away and I package it off or whatever, and I'm on to other things. And then down the road when you're having that next phone conversation, when that gets forgotten, there's a disconnect there, right? It's almost as if we're starting from scratch. And it's like, wait a minute, hold on. But what about this great stuff we talked about before? This important stuff that mattered to us that we talked about before? We need to remember those things.
Michael Hellickson (17:13): And I would challenge everybody watching this that, is it great if you take notes in your CRM and all that kind of stuff? Yeah, that's super helpful, and that will definitely help you to remember and jog your memory about conversations you had before. But I think really what matters in terms of follow-up is you actually have to care more about the person than you care about the outcome you're looking for. When you genuinely empathize with the person, when you truly care about the person more than your agenda, it's not to say that you don't have an agenda, it's not to say that you don't have goals and outcomes that you want to see come out of the call, but at the end of the day, when you really actually put their needs ahead of your own, you'll get to your stuff eventually at some point, assuming it's the right thing. And if it's not, if it doesn't happen, then it's probably not meant to be right now. It's okay.
Michael Hellickson (18:01): Now, I'm not suggesting that we be lazy in our conversations and if we're trying to set an appointment, that we don't go for the appointment and all that stuff. What I'm simply saying is we actually have to care about people. We can't just say we do. We got to actually give a rip about their life.
Dan Stewart (18:16): I love that you're talking about this. I know that we're scheduled for a finite amount of time, and yet I want to talk with you for hours about this. Because what you've just uncovered are two very important things. It's the important of positioning. The world tells you, you are a salesperson, your job is to get commission. And yet each of us have the power to plant our own flag and say, you know what? I'm a human being first, and I'm a human being who cares about other human beings first, and I'm going to lead with that and demonstrate that. So for a decade now... Happy Grasshopper is 10 years old. How did that happen?
Michael Hellickson (18:55): Hey, congratulations.
Dan Stewart (18:55): Thank you. Thank you. So we pioneered the idea of sending more than just turn your clock back and recipe reminders and real estate market updates. And to this day, the highest engaging content that we send for our members is not about real estate. It's a conversation starter that demonstrates we care more about the relationship than we do about the transaction, than we do about the commission. So if you're listening to this and you need any sort of assistance with that, myself and my staff at Happy Grasshopper, we're all here to serve you.
Dan Stewart (19:34): I'll give you the quick and dirty right now. The right frequency is a big question. Send 17 messages per year that come from email that are non-salesy. They're not about your listings, they're not about your market conditions. They simply demonstrate you care enough to reach out and have a conversation about something. Then send quarterly lead harvesting messages via text and ringless voicemail drop. So a quarterly lead harvesting message would be something like, "Hey, Matt. Was out your way, was thinking about you. How have you been?" You know me. If I send you that message, you're going to reply, right? And then I'm going to say, "Great to hear from you. Could really use a hand, honestly. Do you know anyone in your area that's considering moving right now? Or even someone we could convince to move if we got the right offer for their home?"
Dan Stewart (20:34): I coached on this in last week's What To Say Now episode, and I got handfuls of messages from people who attended who've booked listing appointments from sending that kind of message out into the world. Now, that message does not work if that's all they hear from me, right? They have to know that you really care about them, as demonstrated consistently over time, before that message can actually work.
Dan Stewart (21:01): So gentlemen, with that, I want to thank you both for your time. We've gone a bit over our allotted time today. I sincerely appreciate both of you. Matt, we got to get together. You are now literally 45 minutes from my front door, so that's too close for us not to high five it out, my brother.
Matt Fagioli (21:18): Amen. Good talking to you fellas. Loved it.
Dan Stewart (21:18): Thanks, Matt. And Michael, thank you so much. Please give my best to Tara and the rest of the group back there at Club Wealth. And I hope to see you guys all face to face soon.
Michael Hellickson (21:32): Sounds great. Nice to see you guys.
Dan Stewart (21:34): All right. Take care, everybody. Bye now.