S.M.I.L.E: How a People-First Philosophy Creates Extraordinary Sales

S.M.I.L.E: How a People-First Philosophy Creates Extraordinary Sales

by Steve M. Rigby

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626345645
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 01/15/2019
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 430,518
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

For nearly two decades, Steve Rigby served the homebuilding industry as both a student and a teacher of selling, managing, and training. He was responsible for directing the sales efforts for three of the nation’s top-ten public homebuilders. As a result, those companies experienced tremendous growth with very healthy bottom lines.

In the past decade plus, Steve has continued to prove his proficiency as a thought leader through his own business, New Wings Consulting, LLC, which serves companies across a variety of industries. As he’s accustomed to seeing, those companies are also experiencing tremendous growth and very healthy bottom lines.

Steve resides on Lake Travis, just outside Austin, Texas, with his wife, Susan, their two horses, Blondie and Envy, and their dog, Drizzle. 

If you’re up for a visit, he and Susan conduct retreats at their cabin on the lake. Those who have been there will tell you it’s something worth considering!

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Section 1: Preparing to S.M.I.L.E.

A Pleasant Surprise

At last the weekend was over, and Sherri was exhausted. She had expected this new career in real estate to be challenging but never imagined it would be this tough. After taking a call from the one family who had purchased from her, she quickly checked her messages before collapsing onto the loveseat under the shade of her back patio.

Watching the blades of the ceiling fan spinning around and around, Sherri was reminded of her efforts the past few months. She had been touring clients around and around and had only the one sale to show for it. And she was convinced that family only bought because they felt sorry for her.

Worse yet, she had few prospects for future sales. As for listings, the only one she had secured was overpriced, but she took it because she needed the exposure. "Maybe I'll get lucky and the market will heat up," Sherri thought. "Then people will be more willing to spend." All she knew for certain was that she was spent.

Seeing her reflection in the glass patio door prompted another reflection — her decision to get into real estate. She had considered renewing her teaching certificate after her daughter left for college. Sherri had enjoyed her years in the classroom and felt gratified knowing she'd made a difference in her students' lives. But longing for more, she decided to become a real estate agent, hoping to make a difference financially for her family. "I deserve to be compensated fairly for my hard work and dedication," she stated with conviction.

Six figures was the goal Sherri had set for her first year as an agent. With only one sale in three months, attainment seemed unlikely. Sighing, she leaned back, put her feet on the coffee table, and closed her eyes. It would be hours before her husband would return from a music venue with his buddies. Perhaps some quiet time was what she needed.

Suddenly, an unfamiliar noise disturbed her slumber. Sherri sprang to her feet to discover a parrot perched on the other end of the loveseat. A parrot! It was a stunning bird, both in beauty and stature, easily two feet in height. Its body was a bright yellow with wings and tail feathers a vibrant shade of blue. Curiously enough, it apparently meant her no harm. It just sat there quietly, almost as if it had been invited.

Seeking space to regain her composure, Sherri took a seat in a chair at the end of the coffee table and watched in awe as the magnificent bird calmly looked around, taking everything in. She felt compelled to say something. "Polly want a cracker?" she asked instinctively.

The bird slowly turned in her direction and tilted its head slightly. "I don't mean to disappoint you, ma'am, but my name is not Polly," it calmly replied. "And are you genuinely offering me a cracker, or is this how you greet all parrots?" Sherri was stunned. Not that the parrot could speak, she expected that. But it seemed to be communicating with her. Again she responded with the familiar question, "Polly ... want ... a ... crack ... er?"

"Thank you, ma'am," it answered, sounding more human than parrot. "It would be rude not to accept your offer. I would very much like a cracker."

"Well, that won't be a problem ... I guess. I mean ... well, I don't know what I mean," Sherri stammered.

"You remind me of a farmer I met who was holding a rope," the parrot stated. "He was so confused, he didn't know whether he had just found the rope or lost a mule."

Sherri was even more dumbfounded. Not only was this parrot talking with her, it was joking, too! She chuckled, feeling a little more comfortable. "I guess I am confused. I'm just not used to having a real conversation with a parrot. Can parrots actually communicate with humans?"

"Yes, ma'am, but most folks in your species aren't good conversationalists," it replied with a wink.

"Well, perhaps I am part parrot," she chuckled.

"Who knows, you might be. And I love your sense of humor, ma'am."

"As I do yours, and your manners," Sherri responded. "But you don't have to call me 'ma'am.' I'm not that old."

"I assure you my manners have nothing to do with age; they show my respect. My parents taught us that good manners never hurt anybody. Saying 'yes, ma'am' and 'no, ma'am,' and 'please' and 'thank you' weren't an option, Sherri."

"How do you know my name?" she asked with suspicion. "I haven't introduced myself. Are you one of those secret drones that can spy on people?"

"I assure you, Sherri, I'm as real as real can get." Tucking its beak under one wing, the parrot pulled out a small feather and presented it to her. "See if this is real enough for you."

Sherri examined the feather and then moved back to the loveseat. "I'm sorry. I just wasn't sure if I should trust you."

"No need to apologize. After all, we just met. It's important that you trust me, just as I must trust you. Trust is the most important thing in any relationship," the parrot explained. "Now as for how I know your name, I was referred to you by someone you know and trust, someone who really believes in you and wants you to be successful."

"It's my best friend, Charlene, isn't it?" Sherri guessed. "But now that I think about it, she wouldn't do that without giving me a heads up. But my broker would. He's worried I'm not going to make it in real estate. It's him, isn't it?"

"Sherri, at this moment, who sent me is not important. What is important is that we get started off on the right foot. Is that offer for a cracker still on the table, or is it in a box somewhere in a kitchen cabinet?"

Sherri laughed. "I love your quick wit."

"Thank you, ma'am. My folks always told me to keep my wits about me. 'Don't take life so seriously,' they'd say. 'We're not going to get out of it alive anyway!'"

As Sherri nodded in agreement, her cell phone signaled a new text from an agent notifying Sherri that her listing didn't work for her clients. She texted back that she would contact her later. "Now where were we?" she asked, returning her attention to the parrot. "Oh, we were about to head to the kitchen." She put her phone in her pocket and extended her forearm. "May I walk you in?"

"I would be honored," the parrot replied, hopping onto her arm. "By the way, my name is Rolly."

"It's nice to meet you, Rolly," she said with a grin. "Polly ... Rolly ... I wasn't far off, was I?"

"Only one letter," Rolly chuckled. "But then close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades."

Their laughter was interrupted by Sherri's cell phone. She positioned her forearm so Rolly could hop onto the kitchen island and then fumbled in her pocket to answer the call. After a brief conversation, she put away her phone and explained the interruption. "That was Charlene. Along with being my best friend, she's also my hairdresser. She invited my husband, Doug, and me for dinner tomorrow. Which reminds me, I still owe you those crackers."

As she searched the pantry, Rolly responded, "You really don't have to go to any trouble."

"It's not a problem," Sherri assured him. "No problem at all. Now if I could just remember where I put them."

Make Me Feel Important

Rolly took the opportunity to view his surroundings. The spacious kitchen opened to a comfortable great room that was tastefully decorated. Above the fireplace was a portrait of Sherri and her family. Just off the kitchen, an engraved plaque was prominently displayed on a desk area. "I'm admiring your beautiful home," Rolly stated.

"Just disregard the dust," Sherri yelled. Moments later, she shrieked as if she'd discovered gold. "Rolly, do you like Goldfish?"

"I do, Sherri, but I have a hard time catching the little critters. They are too fast and slippery."

"I'm not talking about the swimming kind," she explained. "I'm talking about the cracker kind."

"Yes, I do like those," he said eagerly.

Sherri presented a bowl of Goldfish crackers and a cup of water so Rolly could easily reach them.

He gulped one cracker down. "I appreciate the treat — and the thoughtfulness."

"It's no problem. I'm enjoying your company."

"It's an honor to be here!" Rolly remarked. Glancing toward the great room, he added, "While you were on your treasure hunt, I couldn't help but notice the portrait above your fireplace. Beautiful setting and gorgeous family. Is that recent?"

"Let me think ... that would have been four years ago when I taught Carly, our baby, during her freshman year in high school. And John David, her older brother, had just started college."

"One big happy family!" Rolly said, admiring the portrait again. "Where are Carly and John David now?"

"Carly is attending a local university and has made the Dean's List! As for our son, he just graduated and is now working at Doug's car dealership."

"Congratulations! You must be proud!" Turning toward the desk area, he continued, "And I love this plaque — especially the message!"

Sherri brought it over for Rolly to examine more closely. Engraved in bold letters were the words

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire!

Sherri also shared the handwritten note she displayed with the plaque. The message read, "Thanks for lighting our fire!" and was followed by dozens of signatures. "The plaque was a gift from my last class. It still brings tears to my eyes."

"I can tell. I would love to have a photo of you holding it to use in my training."

"I can take a picture with my cell phone and print it for you," Sherri offered.

"Thanks, but I'll use mine." Reaching under his left wing, Rolly pulled out his phone. "I had a special sling made that's hidden beneath my feathers."

After posing for Rolly's picture, Sherri placed the plaque and note back on the desk. "So you do training? What kind?"

"Mostly sales, in all sorts of industries."

"And how did you learn that?"

"Years ago I lived with a top trainer for IBM and Dale Carnegie. He practiced on me, and over time, I just picked it up. I was honored to eventually train with him."

"Impressive! You must be really good at it."

"My graduates tell me I have a gift," Rolly answered humbly. "I get numerous referrals and am blessed with a very full calendar." Glancing down at his water, he added, "My cup runneth over, so to speak."

"If you're that busy, I'm surprised your phone hasn't been ringing off the wall, so to speak," she said, sounding skeptical.

Rolly held out his phone so Sherri could read the screen. She counted two missed calls, one voice message, two text messages, and one email. "Has your phone been on mute the entire time you've been here?"

Rolly tucked it away. "I was just being respectful."

"But weren't you afraid you would miss something important — perhaps some new business?"

"At this moment, there's nothing more important to me than you," Rolly replied. "Think about it. If I were to take a call while visiting with you or if I simply glance at my phone to check an email or a text message — even for just a moment — what message am I sending you?"

"That whoever or whatever is on your phone is more important than me."

"Precisely! And that is the exact opposite of what I want to say. My goal when I'm with you is to make you feel like you're the most important person in my world, period!"

"That makes me feel so special!" Sherri exclaimed. "Have you always treated people that way?"

"I was inspired by Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. She was speaking at a hotel where I was training. On a break, I overheard a reporter ask what the key was to her success. Can you guess what her answer was?"

Sherri considered the possibilities. "Innovative marketing? Product research? Superior business strategy?"

"Those are all plausible, but Ms. Ash attributed her success to something very simple. She pretended that every person she met had a sign hanging around his or her neck. And that sign said ..."

Make me feel important!

"That is simple! And profound!" Sherri cried. Then the lesson of the sign dawned on her. "I feel horrible about the sign you must have thought I saw you wearing. The one that said, 'Make the person contacting Sherri feel more important than Rolly!' I've done that twice already. And the irony is both could have waited until later. Will you forgive me?"

"There's nothing to forgive, Sherri."

"But I didn't mean to be inconsiderate. I just thought I was staying on top of my business — being responsible."

Phone Etiquette

Interesting choice of words," Rolly said. "Instead of being respons-ible, imagine how you would feel being respons-able. Able to respond in a way that's respectful to the person in front of you and the person trying to reach you."

"Then everyone would feel important," she concluded. "But how can I make that happen?"

"Go to your ringer setting on your cell phone and read the choices it gives you."

"There's Sound, Vibrate, and Mute."

"From the standpoint of good manners, let's consider how those are mislabeled," Rolly suggested. "The first setting is Sound, which, when you're in the presence of others, would be more aptly labeled 'Rude.'"

"I hate to admit it, but you're right," Sherri agreed.

"Now think about the Mute setting. What could that be labeled to show good manners to the person you're with?"

"'Respectful' seems appropriate. That's the word you used when you showed me your phone on mute. You said, 'I was just being respectful.'"

"I did. Putting your phone in the Respectful position says, 'I want to make you feel important!' — Mary Kay Ash's philosophy."

"I love this!" Sherri exclaimed. "But what if I have clients flying in from out of town and I've told them to call when they arrive? How can I be respectful to them and still be respectful to the person in front of me? I often feel trapped into answering all my calls and messages."

"Maybe that's why they're called 'cell' phones. We feel we're trapped in a cell and can't escape."

"So how do I free myself?"

"You simply put your phone in the 'Respectful to Both' position — the Vibrate setting."

"But I still have to check it when it vibrates. Isn't that being rude? So what's the solution?"

People First and Product Second

Do what my brother does."

"Wait a minute. You have a brother?"

"Yes, ma'am. In fact, I have several brothers and sisters. Our parents were real 'love birds.'"

"How sweet, Rolly. But now I feel worse than ever. You've been so interested in learning about my family and making me feel important, whereas I have totally ignored you and your family."

Sherri shook her head. "Looking back, I've done this with my clients, ignoring them as people. On the listing side, I've focused more on the home I'm hoping to list than the person living in it. On the selling side, I've been more focused on the home someone is looking for than the person who's looking for that home."

"You're not the first person in sales who's put the product ahead of the person."

"But I realize now it should be people first and product second. I feel terrible!"

Her eyes welled with tears, so Rolly moved closer. "Don't worry, Sherri. Everything will be fine. If you feel comfortable, let me give you a hug. A hug says 'I understand' in a way words never can or will."

Rolly gently spread his wings. Without hesitation, Sherri — feeling more like she had been talking to her best friend — accepted his embrace. "You're special, Rolly. I see now I've got a lot to learn. Will you help me?"

Learning and Accountability

I would be honored to help you — and will help you — with two stipulations."

"I'm all in, Rolly. What are they?"

"For starters, I need you to keep doing what you're already doing. I need you to want to learn."

"As a former teacher, I love learning. I aced my real estate exam and excelled at the training from my company."

"That's wonderful! You also noticed the need to make others feel important and to practice better phone manners, which tells me you can readily incorporate new strategies. We just need to make certain you're learning the things that are most important."

"Such as noticing things that are meaningful to me, like my plaque? Or wanting to learn about my family, as you did with the portrait?"

"You have been paying attention!"

"It's easy for a teacher to recognize when she's being taught by example. I admire someone who walks their talk."

"Even if my walk is a little odd?" Rolly asked, strutting back and forth with his head bobbing up and down.

"I think your walk is cute!" she said, defending him. "So what's the second stipulation?"

"Let me answer in a way that will be a daily reminder. Look at your hands and tell me what you notice."

"I notice I really need to paint my nails."

"That's not the answer I expected, but now I know that's a priority to you. So let's try this again: what are your nails a part of?"

"My fingers," she responded sheepishly.

"Correct. And when you were young and learning numbers, how did your fingers help you?"

"I used them to count."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "S.m.i.l.e."
by .
Copyright © 2019 Steve Rigby.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword XV

Introduction 1

Section 1 Preparing to S.M.I.L.E 3

A Pleasant Surprise 3

Make Me Feel Important 7

Phone Etiquette 11

People First and Product Second 13

Learning and Accountability 14

Taking Care of a Problem 15

Section 2 S.M.I.L.E 19

The Power of a Smile 19

Section 3 The S in S.M.I.L.E 25

Simple 25

YOU Are the Most Important Sale 26

SIMPLE … for Me 29

Accountability List-Day 1 31

SIMPLE … for My Guests 34

From Words … to Character 40

Jars of Jam 44

A Change of Scenery 47

Decisions 53

Save Time … Reduce Stress 60

Rules of Shopping 2-4 62

Accountability List-Day 2 65

On FIRE!!! 69

Section 4 The M in S.M.I.L.E 75

To Relationships-the ME Paradigm 75

The WE Paradigm 79

Changing Clubs 81

The Quality Introduction 82

Accountability List-Day 3 86

Secrets of a Quality Introduction 88

Self-Originated Opportunities 92

John's Legacy 92

The Little Stuff Is the Big Stuff 93

Growing My Business 96

Section 5 The / in S.M.I.L.E. 99

A Common Thread 99

The Four Behavioral Styles 101

Combinations of Styles 107

Comfortable and Uncomfortable 110

Making Adjustments 111

Playing the Percentages 114

A Recipe for Success 115

Giving Back 117

Accountability List-Day 4 118

Section 6 The E in S.M.I.L.E 119

Noticing Pays Off 119

A Wealth of Experience 122

Enjoy 124

Rules of Shopping 1 & 7 126

In Our Own Way 127

Accountability List-Day 5 130

The P Paradox 131

Accountability List-Day 5 (Continued) 134

A Happy Ending 135

Section 7 The L in S.M.I.L.E 137

An Opportunity 137

Little Decisions 138

Stay Focused 141

Rules of Shopping 5 & 6 143

Checklists Are Key 144

Carpe Diem 147

Accountability List-Day 6 150

A Testament to Character 152

People Helping People 153

A First Time for Everything 155

A Celebration 158

Acknowledgments 169

Resources for S.M.I.L.E 173

S.M.I.L.E 173

Seven Rules of Shopping 174

Accountability Lists 175

About the Author 179

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S.M.I.L.E: How a People-First Philosophy Creates Extraordinary Sales 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
An incredible read that inspires you to treat each human interaction with genuine compassion. This book helped remind me to stop viewing my potential sales as "sales" and to treat potential new clients as friends - with kindness and respect. Absolutely loved that within the first section you already feel like you're actually learning things you can apply immediately, professionally and personally.
Anonymous 3 months ago
The content resonated deeply. Building authentic, caring relationships is a value that resonates and I can testify first-hand results in a rewarding business/ sales experience. The principles and actions outlined make complete sense and can only enable success. This narrative will not speak to the transactional, money chasing individual. The money is not seen as the goal but rather an outcome. The book focuses on identifying and meeting the needs of people. Powerful stuff indeed. However, I didn’t readily with the main character in the parable. The ‘guide’ is a parrot! The other characters are people! He talks, has a wife, carries a cell phone and networks the struggling realtor to a number of individuals, who then add to the dialogue and help her work through all the letters of SMILE. It’s a very easy read - a little syrupy in style for me - but I ’m sure will make what can be a difficult subject easier for many to digest. A great summary at the end is a great reference tool. With many thanks to the author, the publishers Greenleaf Book Group, and NetGalley for my free copy to review.