OK, what is the box and why should we think out of it, you may ask?  

Many years ago, the expression in every corporate training program was, "THINK OUT OF THE BOX". How do we make our business grow?  How do we improve our methods of performing our tasks?  How do we clean our homes more proficiently? (The Roomba vacuum, maybe!)  If one method worked for so many years, it was inevitable that a better method awaited our stagnant brains to keep us on top of the game.  

Recently, I read of a new business on Staten Island that caused me to raise an eyebrow.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bars, restaurants, clubs on the Island.  How so many can make a profit is of interest to me.  Each establishment has a gimmick or a clique, as a hangout for certain ages, certain types of people, particular entertainment, etc.  This new club is unique, however, in that although they do serve wine and beer, a patron is greeted by soft lighting and mood music that is inviting, fun and sophisticated.  The unusal part of this club is that you can sit in front of an easel and take a painting class taught by a trained artist!  How great is that?  The mood music and soft lighting with a glass of wine is attractive enough to me, but to leave with a masterpiece under my arm is innovative.   

Another article showcased a salesperson who offers everything to his clients--property showing, home staging, mortgage person, attorney, space designer all in one location and available, I'm sure at a moment's notice! 

As Real Estate sales people, we are in the position every day to "think out of the box".  We show property, list property, counsel our clients how to de-clutter and make their property marketable, we refer attorneys, bankers, mortgage brokers, cleaning services, home inspectors, landscapers.  Every day, we deal with a myriad of personalities, cultures and traditions.  We must be good listeners not only to what the seller or buyer is saying, but what he/she is not saying.  We must ask the right questions, ones that are thought and maybe not verbalized. 

We must "think out of the box" so we can examine our methods of performing services and perhaps transform them into new, improved, enlightened.  A number of years ago in the industry, we used volumes of printed pages showing each home that was for sale, by price, neighborhood, type.  We would sit with customers for hours deciding which homes to see.  Now, we are lucky to be able to have prospective customers merely "Google" and search for as many homes as they can look at, find a broker, salesperson, text or call them to set up an appointment.  They can also determine on-line if they are qualified to purchase.  Some customers are tech-savy, but there remain many who are not.  We work sensitively with those people and treat them with kid gloves.  We attend seminars, continuing education classes as most professionals do as well as meet our peers at various events and attend office meetings to share ideas and improve our productivity.

When was the last time you thought "out of the box" in your profession, job, home?  I would like to hear your comments or ideas.  Feel free to e-mail me at joan.coogan@gmail.com or share your thoughts below.

Posted by Joan Coogan on


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