Communication insight from the communication master

by Kimberly Greene25 Jun 2019

Steve Sims makes things happen.

To put it more elegantly, he’s the founder and CEO of Bluefish, the internationally famous company that makes once in a lifetime events happen for the rich and famous. In order to make these lifetime events happen, Sims has mastered the art of creating relationships. At Mastermind 2019, he shared some of his relationships insights with mortgage originators.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway was that he never initiates a call or a communication cold, because it’s a stronger position to approach a target with a referral from a mutual, credible source.

“No one ever walks onto a roof; we get there via a ladder,” he said.

Get to know someone in that persons’s sandbox, and by the time you’re ready to get the introduction, they already know who you are, and you can enter into a conversation from a position of credibility. Don’t have someone make the introduction, though, until you’re ready and have done your research  to establish how you can help them win, and make it irresistible for them to leave the conversation.

Sims gave tips on several communication touch points: social media, text, audio, mail, video. Even if you’re already on social media, Sims suggests doing a “social audit” in which you look at all of your social accounts and assess how you’re reflected on each one of those profiles. When two people connect, they want to know that they are sharing the same values, and looking at someone’s social media profiles is the easiest way for clients research people. If you read differently on different profiles, consider whether it’s on purpose or by accident. That division might be doing more harm than good.

“If a client gets those different pictures, and different tones, they’re going to get confused. And have you ever done business with someone that you’re confused about?” Sims said. “We love continuity.”

Text, mail, and email all share a similarity in that they use the written word. Email is by far the most widely used, but it does have some pretty major cons: the open rate is pretty low, the clickthrough rate is even lower, the possibility of messages getting stuck in spam filters are high, and there can be a big lag in response time. Text is the best way to communicate with people, Sims says, due to its immediate response time and the fact that there’s no junk file. It’s a medium that’s used most effectively, however, if you have at least a casual relationship with someone.

Mail may seem archaic to some, but Sims offered a different perspective.

“The beautiful thing about mail is, when you get it, it’s got texture. You rip it, it’s got sound. You open it up, and there’s the apprehension,” he said. We don’t personal mail anymore, and so when we do, there’s a bit of an emotional trigger associated with it. “It takes all your engagement to open up a letter; how many fingers does it take to delete an email?”

Audio and video may seem like different beasts, but they add an element that can’t be accurately conveyed with the written word, and that’s personality. Either of these mediums allows you to use your accent, tonality, and vocabulary in order to show people who you really are. Video has the added ability to convey mannerisms, so people feel like they know you even before you’ve met. These things go a long way to getting your foot in the door with people, and give you a better chance for relationships opportunities once you get in that door. Combining mediums like audio and text or video and email packs a one-two punch.

Regardless of the medium, when building your brand, Sims offered three things to keep in mind. First, be true to yourself. It takes zero effort to be you, and when thinking about continuity, it’s easier to be yourself consistently than to repeatedly try and imitate others.

“Don’t try to be anybody else,” Sims said. “Everyone wants to brand themselves as unique and different, and what do they do? They go dress like someone else.”

Secondly, you can make money easier than you can earn a good reputation, but if you but if you’ve got a good reputation, you’re going to make more money, Sims said. A good  reputation takes a long time to get, so focus on that first and don’t do deals that could damage it.

Lastly, Sims suggests that originators solve, don’t sell. You’re not there to sell clients anything, you’re there to solve their problem. And when they need an answer to the problem, they don’t care what the packaging looks like.

Sims ropes people into conversations and relationships by following what he calls the three Es: engagement, entertainment, and education.

  • Engage people: When you’re speaking with someone, ignore everything else. Be present in that conversation and ready to react.
  • Entertain people: People don’t want to hear complaints or problems. Everyone likes a smile, Sims said, and if you  tell them a joke or otherwise make them feel good, they’re going to stick around for more.
  • Educate people: the client doesn’t know what they don’t know. Once you’ve engaged them and entertained them, swoop in and tell them the info they need to improve their situation, and how you can help facilitate that.

People want to know that they’re dealing with the best of the best, and even if you’re not there, you strive to be.

“You never get to perfection; no one does. I often say, perfection is a unicorn with three testicles; it doesn’t exist. But we’re striving for it, we’re trying to get to it.”