The Magic Question

April 13th, 2015 | Latest News

Excerpted with the permission of the author Michael J. Maher from Chapter 5 of The Seven Levels of Communication

Note from Bob:  Context:  this excerpt jumps into the middle of a coaching conversation between struggling but progressing real estate agent Rick Masters and his coach.

Coach asked, “Now are you ready for the Magic Question?”

“I guess so,” Rick said, wondering what that could possible mean.

“Okay, here we go:

How would your best friend describe you:

1) straight-to-the-point,

2) social and outgoing,

3) steady and dependable, or

4) cautious and perfectly accurate?”

“I’m a little bit of all those Coach,” Rick replied.

“If you had to just choose one, which would it be?”

“I would say I’m straight-to-the-point,” Rick answered.

“Me too ,” Coach said.  “Rick, I want you to put the Magic Question on all your intake forms and next to your phone. You’ll learn how important it is to know the behavioral style of your client. There are four distinct behavioral styles. Everybody has some of each, but one of them is typically more dominant than the others. The four behavioral styles spell the acronym DiSC. ®

“D stands for Dominance. D’s are straight-to-the-point. They tend to be driven, fast-paced, impatient, efficient and brutally honest. They aren’t into long explanations: they want the bottom-line.” “Got it,” Rick said, jotting it down. That’s me, all right.

“I stands for Influence, and i’s love socializing. They are often outgoing, friendly, emotional, and energetic. They’re the life of the party.” Just like my sister, and half the waitresses at EVT.

“S is Steadiness. An S is steady and dependable,” Coach continued. “S’s nurture. They live to serve and please others. They prefer predictability and security over spontaneity and excitement. They enjoy executing systems.” Sounds like Michelle. Rick was surprised how naturally everyone’s behavior seemed to fit into these categories that Coach was describing.

“C is for Compliance. C’s are perfectionists who expect everyone to comply with the rules. These guys crave order and process. They can seem almost inflexible. This is the person that tells you, ‘It’s more important to do it right than to do it fast.’” Rick laughed, thinking of his old friends at the accounting firm. He thought he remembered a consultant doing something with behavioral styles there.

“Pretty interesting stuff, Coach,” Rick said thoughtfully. “I guess we D’s rule the world?”

“Well, we’d like to,” Coach said . Rick detected the hint of a smile. “But that’s not how it works. There’s no right or wrong way to be. It’s recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to be alert to your clients’ behaviors and the fact that the buying process tends to bring out everyone’s inner C.”

“Inner C?” Rick asked.

“The bigger the purchase, the more attention to the details. In life, there are three things that you should never mess with a person about: his family, his home and his money. The interesting thing about your profession is that you get to mess with all three at the same time. People are going to want details, specifics and facts,” Coach explained.

“Yeah, that makes sense. So many times as an agent, it’s easy to wonder what people get so worked up about. But it’s the largest amount of money most of them will ever spend,” Rick thought out loud.

“Now you’re getting it,” Coach affirmed. “Listen, have you heard of the Platinum Rule?”

Well, Don told me the golden rule means that the one with the most gold makes the rules. “ I remember the Golden Rule is to treat others as you’d want to be treated. I do remember Jay said something about the Platinum Rule, but I can’t remember what it was,” Rick admitted.

“Cockamamie! Rick, this is important!” Coach reprimanded. “It means you’re supposed to treat people the way THEY want to be treated, even if it’s not what you would want yourself.”

“Sell the way the buyer buys?” “Exactly,” said Coach.

“Here’s a short poem to remind you how to treat everybody:

bobs pc 2

“I want you to type this up and put it in your office.”

“Cool,” Rick complimented.

“Now this is just a quick introduction . You need to make sure that you know these categories inside and out. Let’s see how well you know them with a little test.”

“Okay,” Rick agreed, trying not to betray his mild anxiety.

“I’m your client, James. You’ve figured out that I’m a D. Leave me a voicemail telling me you found my house.”

After a few moments of thought, Rick replied, “Hi, this is Rick Masters. I just wanted to let you know that I found a home for you that matches the criteria you gave me. It has four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and it even has that three-car garage you were looking for. Please call me as soon as you can. Thank you.”

“That’s not bad, Rick. Not bad for being put on the spot. But it needs to be shorter. A D doesn’t want to hear all that.”

He’s right. Rick thought of Don mocking his voicemail and realized that some clients were the type who didn’t want to listen to more than they had to. He tried again. “Hi James, this is Rick. I found it. Give me a call as soon as you get this.’”

“Much better,” Coach said. “How about for an i?”

Rick didn’t hesitate . “Hi James! This is Rick. Hey buddy, I’ve got that home you’ve been looking for. It’s got a huge kitchen and back deck for your famous parties. It’s just down the road from your favorite professional baseball player as well. Ring me when you get a minute.” “

Good,” Coach said approvingly. “I think you’re getting this. How about the S? Remember to slow your delivery down for the S’s.”

Rick paused briefly. “Hi James. Rick here. Hope your day is going well. Wanted to let you know I’ve been working for you. I found a home for you. It’s on a cul-de-sac. Safe and sound for the family. Also wanted to let you know that the family who is selling it is very nice and have been great to work with so far. Can you round up the troops for a showing tomorrow afternoon? Schedule it for 2: 00 on the family calendar and let’s get together .” Rick thought he might have been overdoing and waited to see what Coach would say.

“Very good Rick,” Coach said. “That was your best yet. Appealing to family, safety, and showing sensitivity to the calendar was well done. Now let’s go for the C.”

Rick shuddered , imagining life back at the accounting firm, and said crisply, “Hi James, Rick Masters here. It’s 12: 35 and I located a house at 123 Anywhere Street. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a three-car garage. It’s 3551 square feet and price-wise fits in the lower half of the neighborhood. I can show you tomorrow at 2: 00 P.M. but we’ll have to be done by 3: 30 P.M. Please call me between 1: 00 and 4: 00 today to let me know you have received this and want to see the home. Thank you.”

“Great!” Coach said, despite himself. “For a D, you really get this. You’ve got some more reading on the topic, but I think we can move on to One-on-One Meetings.” Rick was pleased . This was the first unqualified praise he remembered hearing from Coach.

Michael Maher 2015

Michael J. Maher – endorsed by such powerhouses as Dave Ramsey, Zig Ziglar, Gary Keller, Dave Liniger, Todd Duncan, Bob Burg, Dr. Ivan Misner, and many more. Consistently rated the top-ranked speaker by meeting planners, audiences, and hosts for over 15 years, Michael J. Maher inspires audiences with his powerful, true story.

The Generosity Generation is a kinder, gentler, and yet far more productive form of selling. Michael’s wisdom and system help business owners have a business that not only feeds their family, but also feeds their soul.  Michael grew up in Kansas City, still owns a real estate company there, and now lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Sheri, son, Max, and Jack Russell Terrier, Lucky.

You can connect with Michael at  or Facebook or Twitter.




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