February 28, 2010

What a Difference .1 Can Make

Isn't it amazing how at one moment you're heading one way and then a second later, everything changes?

This isn't always a bad thing; in fact, many times that small change can make a huge difference. Perhaps a crappy day is instantly improved when the phone rings or on the golf course a bad shot bounces off a tree and lands on the green within gimme distance? I had one of those "big moments" last week when I was driving from Columbus to Cincinnati.

At one moment, I was under 100,000 miles in my car

and then...

just like that I was over 100,000 miles!

We all have personal milestones in our lives - birthdays, anniversaries, weight targets, income levels, etc. - and they all mean different things to each of us. For some reason watching your cars odometer roll over that magical 100K point makes you think of all the places you've been and what it took to get to that moment.

What's your next big milestone you'll be designating a "pay attention moment"? Will you be ready for it? Relieved? Re-energized?

Whenever it may be coming, just be sure you are taking care of the things that got you there - oil changes, training classes, healthy eating or whatever are the critical components to keeping your system running smoothly.

Whatever milestone you may be approaching, buckle up and enjoy the ride!

February 27, 2010

Everybody Needs an "Edge" at Some Point In Your Life

I once saw a bumper sticker that said:

"If you're not living life on the edge...
you're taking up too much damn room!"

Not a bad statement if you believe that you can always stand to put yourself out where the "status quo" doesn't hang around, where mediocrity won't go and where the gentle blend of risk and vision meet.

I got to spend a view days this past week at The Edgecliff, one of the Cincinnati area's luxury high rise buildings, this past week and I must say...it was really cool.

I was in town to deliver some high energy workshops for our associates and managers from Coldwell Banker West Shell and in the process of looking for some venues for the workshops, an opportunity was offered by two of our hard working associates from the Milford office who happen to represent properties at The Edgecliff.

Kelly Morse and Ellie Alexander have been the on-site sales team for the Edgecliff for the last few years and are always thinking of ways to bring attention to their wonderful property. Kelly and Ellie, along with Janet Davis, Director of Development and Strategic Planning for CBWS offered the building's Social Room for the workshops and it also came with a pretty sweet bonus. Or should I say "Suite Bonus"?

I was a guest of The Edgecliff and got to spend two nights in their Guest Suite, a room that is used when potential buyers want to take a "test drive" of high rise living. It offered all the amenities of a quality hotel except instead of a front desk employee, The Edgecliff had a Doorman/Concierge (great job Ron and Leonard). Instead of a cold, snow filled parking lot, I had private access underground parking. Instead of a small exercise room with a treadmill and a StairMaster, I had access to a full service workout facility with twelve machines and more. Instead of a cooler of drinks and a walk to the local fast foot joint, I had the wonderful service offered by Harry and Gay's crew at The View Restaurant, the new tenant at The Edgecliff that offers some wonderful ambience, cocktails and American cuisine.

It is safe to say the Kevin Cogan and his team at Jefferson Development Group have done a masterful job of transforming a tall apratment building into a consumate luxury high-rise lifestyle destination in The Queen City.

From what I understand from many of the building residents and employees I talked to at The View, Harry and Gay Stephens have enjoyed much success with their other establishment, Bella Luna, and The View is quickly becoming another destination dining spot. Whether the patrons are travelling from their homes in Greater Cincinnati or just travelling down the elevators from the 26 floors inside the building, they're sure to find something on the menu they'll enjoy. (May I suggest the Lamb Meatloaf?)

Ellie and Kelly were very excited to give me and some of the other workshop attendees a tour of the building, including a visit to the top floor penthouse offering views of the Ohio River, downtown Cincinnati, Eden Park, Mt. Adams and most of Walnut Hills.

I want to send a big Realtor's Toolbox "Thank You" out to Kelly, Ellie, Janet, Joe King and all those who attended our sessions at The Edgecliff. Also thanks to Peggy - my View bartender extraordinaire, Dave from Grand Rapids (the newest tenant of The View) for hanging out and "talkin' golf," the guys from the on-site, full service salon and all the rest of the staff and residents of The Edgecliff for making me feel very welcome in "your home."

The Suburban Cowboy?

I must say, I really enjoy my yard and neighborhood lifestyle grillin' and chillin' on the patio while throwing the ball or kicking the soccer ball with my kids, but spending a few days at The Edgecliff certainly makes me a bit envious of George and Louise Jefferson with their "deluxe apartment in the sky"

Enjoy the video below and until next time...Keep building relationships, solving problems and having fun!

February 21, 2010

Don't Wait for "the Push"

Which One Are You?

It's been said that there are three kinds of people:

  • Those that make things happen
  • Those that watch things happen
  • Those that say "what the hell just happened?"

If you're striving to be a successful salesperson, chances are you need to be in the first category. Here are 10 ways to increase your chances of "making things happen."

  • Find the answers necessary to make good choices
  • Work when others don't
  • Do what others won't
  • Go when others stay
  • Work late when others leave early
  • Take risks when others seek comfort
  • Seek to be in control the situations, not the people
  • Sometimes you'll need to zig and zag and other times be willing to walk the straight and narrow
  • Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em
  • Stand out instead of blending in

The Push vs. Pull Dilemma

We all need to stop relying on others to push the information we seek to us. yes, of course there are situations where obstacles stand in your way and you need help, but seek to make "the push" the exception, not the rule.

Learn to go out and pull it off the shelves, from the web or from your files on your own. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not talking about delegation of important tasks or responsibilities here. I am talking about basic tasks or pieces of information that are out there in the "public domain."

Once you understand that the time it took you to ask for someone else to get you what you needed, you probably could have found it yourself. In doing so, not only did you save your time and someone elses, you'll also know how to find it next time.

February 17, 2010

Ten Years Already?

Jot D. Carpenter
March 19, 1938 ~ February 17, 2000

(L to R) Riley, Sean, Jot (a.k.a. Dad or Pop), David and Kevin Carpenter

If your Dad is still alive, please call him and tell him you love him. If he's not, please think of him today and every day.

If your Mom is still alive, please call her and tell her you love her. If she's not, please think of her today and every day.

Brothers? Sisters? Children or Grandchildren? See above

Aunts? Uncles? Nieces and Nephews? Cousins and Friends? See above

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun

February 16, 2010

"Don't worry, it's free of charge"

Everyone loves to get something they didn't ask for, especially if it's free, right?
Here's an idea for anyone who wants to give people they interact with something they don't necessarily need, but when they get it, it will greatly improve their experience.

A smile.

Think about it. It doesn't cost the giver or the receiver anything but the value is priceless. On the contrary, when you go through a personal interaction and don't get a smile (or give one) you feel a bit less for the effort, don't you?

Just like a screwdriver or a hammer, it's a tool every salesperson should have in their toolbox.

Give your smile plenty of use today, tomorrow and the next day. Remember, it's not the gift that matters, it's the giving.

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...and Have Fun.
And Smile!

February 14, 2010

What Do You Do After the Confetti Falls?

It’s been a week since the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl Championship in thrilling fashion over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Drew Brees and the rest of his teammates from New Orleans captured the hearts of America (except maybe in Indiana) as they claimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in their 43 year existence in the NFL. In what has become tradition in championship games these days, the confetti was launched out of the cannons as the clock hit 0:00 and the celebration began.

As you can imagine, with a city like New Orleans, the party didn’t end when the confetti ran out. This is a city, after all, who wrote the book on endless celebrations. Even after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, residents of the Crescent City and surrounding areas of Southern Louisiana had faith that they could...and would rebuild. Parades, banners and talk shows filled the next week as people weren’t showing any signs of growing old of the talk of the once laughable Saints finally claiming sports biggest trophy.

But now the work really begins for owner Tom Benson, head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees and his teammates. The decision to make it back to the Super Bowl (scheduled for Dallas in 2011) must be made today. Will the Saints spend the next several months “living large” with private parties at Emeril’s, hanging out with their posse’s in high end gentleman’s clubs and admiring themselves in the mirror? Or will they make the personal commitment to do what it takes to make it back to the mountaintop again, sacrificing the physical and personal pains that come with victory?

How Do You Approach the Real Estate Game?

As a hard working independent contractor working in Anytown, U.S.A, it’s not very likely that you’ll be playing in The Super Bowl anytime soon but that’s because we don’t look at our business that way. We don’t have a regular season and playoffs that follow, or Pro Bowls and trophies to hoist when we win. We do, however, have to go through the same trials and tribulations of a NFL Champion if we want to be successful in our own industry.

Training Camp – Are you dedicating the time needed to “strengthen your sales muscles"? Lifting weights, running stairs and pushing your mind and body to a new level of exertion? Your “axe” can never be sharp enough, can it? Do you attend workshops in your office, log in to webinars offered by your local, state and national associations, or read more books about the industry and sales in general? Commit to be the best each time you step on that playing field.

Voluntary Workouts – A good friend of mine, Bryan Dodge, likes to say “the easier you are on yourself when no one is looking, the harder life will be on you. The harder you are on yourself when no one is looking, the easier life will be on you.” Do you practice your dialogues or listings presentations each day? Do you take the time to learn the new changes in your MLS system or update your knowledge of the Code of Ethics? No one gives you anything in this industry. You've got to want to be successful.

Reaching the Fans – Just like most NFL teams use local promotions and events to generate interest in the team, you’ll need to look at how you’re set up to attract interest from the public. What are your prospecting plans? How do you involve yourself in the local area and community? Do you have a loyal following of people who will shout your name and who want to see you hoisting the trophy when it’s all said and done?

Pre-Game Warm-ups – Have you mentally stretched yourself before working with clients? Do you have a set routine for pre-qualifying your Sellers and Buyers before you commit time to working with them? Do you deliver a pre-listing packet before every listing appointment or just the ones you’re in competition for? Do you have a mortgage partner who is your teammate, both of you focused on the end result? Are you market tested and ready to deliver more than what your clients will be expecting?

Game Day – It’s true that football games cannot be won in the first quarter…but they can be lost in the first quarter. If your first meeting with clients (Buyer Counseling Session or Listing Appointment) doesn’t go well, there’s a great chance you’ll never make it to your mini Super Bowl – the place we like to call "the closing table."

Start every new relationship with a well-thought out game plan. Know the market you’ll be working in. Have your marketing plan laid out in writing. Be prepared to handle any objections that may occur. Anticipate the needs of your clients and be empowered to take actions that will exceed their expectations.

Respect Your Opponents – Between the Code of Ethics and The Golden Rule you should be able to work well with any fellow agents or homeowners you may interact with. Just like the Saints players wear their team colors as a representation of who they are, remember your obligation is to look out for the best interests of your clients. You’re aiming to get to the closing table, so use your skills, systems and savvy to advance your interests to a victorious outcome.

Playoff Tested – In real estate, when you make it through the grind of a regular season, your hardest work is still in front of you. Getting a contract accepted is just the start of things…getting it closed is the real battle. Now is the time to focus, dotting every i and crossing every t. Just like in football, you need excellent clock management. "Time is of the essence" isn’t just a silly catch phrase so make sure you understand your responsibilities and your clients obligations to the contract.

The Big Game – Getting to the Super Bowl doesn’t give you the trophy anymore than getting to the closing table earns you a commission. The deal must be completed so be sure all the work you’ve done to this point pays off with a victory.

In real estate, we don’t shoot off confetti cannons when a closing occurs (but that would be pretty cool, wouldn't it?) but it is truly a time to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Enjoy the moment, thank your clients for the opportunity to help them and then begin to plan for your next game. There’s just no time to stand on the podium with the trophy for too long. You’ve got people calling who want your help.

Smile, politely answer the phone and say “Who Dat?”