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Real Estate Marketing and Sinking Ships

Posted on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 6:43 AM by Craig L Proctor

“Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.” - Warren G. Bennis


Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better. - Samuel Beckett


If you were going to take a cruise vacation this year, how many of you would book it with Costa Tours? If you hadn’t heard of the Costa line a year ago, you will certainly be familiar with the tarnished name now. The disabled Italian cruise ship in that line limped into Port Victoria, Seychelles about a year ago now after four days of drifting at sea and being dubbed a “floating death trap” by one of the passengers.

[caption id="attachment_281" align="alignright" width="300"] The wreckage of the Costa Concordia still lies half-sunk in a grim reminder of the 32 lives lost in the cruise ship disaster[/caption]

“The Allegra [Costa] lost power in the Indian Ocean on Monday and was adrift off the coast of the Seychelles because of a fire in the engine room.”  [CNN - Mar 1, 2012] “It is part of the same fleet as the Costa Concordia, the cruise liner that hit a reef and capsized off Italy on January 13, 2012, killing 25 people and leaving seven missing and presumed dead.” [thestar.com – Mar 1, 2012]

After the first Concordia disaster, the company had a 35% plummet in bookings. It’s difficult to predict what impact this second incident will have on Costa’s business, especially since ship officials have offered no explanation for the cause of the fire on board or for the generator failing.

Here’s what they did offer: “full reimbursement for the cruise and flights and spending on board, and a week or two weeks vacation in the Seychelles with expenses covered. Passengers who do not want to continue their vacations now can accept vouchers for free travel on any Costa ship in the next two years. The offer also includes another payment, equivalent to the fare paid for the cruise and associated travel costs. In a news release, the company described that as an "indemnity" -- a term that suggests someone accepting it would give up the possibility of suing.”

They also offered themselves a pat on the back. "If you look at the speed of the operation, the support we gave out of Genoa, and how the crew handled the whole situation, I think we can only be very, very proud," Costa Executive Vice President Norbert Stiekema told CNN. Stiekema described the offer as "very, very generous." Passengers who do not see it as generous can sue, he said. “Allegra” means “merry” or “happy” in Italian … which may serve to explain how they’re able to look at the bright side of this situation.

But will their customers?

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. It’s the right and responsible thing for the cruise line to lavishly compensate their passengers, but how comforting is that if you’re on the next Costa ship that fails in the middle of the ocean? All the money in the world won’t bring back the people who died on the first ship, and more than compensation, before I ever agreed to set foot on one of their ships, I’d want to know exactly what happened and what steps they had taken to ensure the same mistakes were never repeated.

You might feel the same way, but I wonder if you are taking the same approach with your career. The sinking ship metaphor is often used to describe any number of failed efforts or businesses, so it’s kind of apt to ask you to draw this parallel. How many times can you reasonably ask yourself and your family to excuse you for the poor performance of your business? Anyone can run into trouble when the market gets tough, and even when the market is great. The challenges agents have faced over the last few years have been difficult, but it’s not like every agent in the country was enjoying a healthy income and perfect life before that, was it. Even before the market crashed, more agents were failing than were succeeding, and the reasons that separated one camp from the other were not different than they are now. Bottom line, if you have an efficient and consistent way to generate and convert leads, you’ll make money. If you don’t, you’ll live the kind of feast and famine, round the clock stressful existence that describes most of you experience.

Go ahead and fall flat on your face once. That’s just good character-building stuff. But to repeatedly fall on your face when there are proven systems that can help you is not the market’s fault … it’s your fault. I’m sure you’ve all heard Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You can have different results if you want them, but it’s up to you to bring yourself to the table … and to not just look at what we’re offering but to actually go out and do something about it. Take advantage of proven real estate training; get yourself a real estate coach. DO something.

Costa’s gifts to passengers when they failed the second time are nice, but they don’t fix the problem. The reasons and excuses you give yourself for not having achieved your goals may make you feel better, but they don’t fix the problem.

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