May 27, 2010

When You Look Up, What Do You See?

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

'That laundry is not very clean,' she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: 'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.'

Her husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.'

And so it is with life.

What we see when watching others depends on the window through which we look.

Judge Not... It might be your window that needs cleaning!

Thanks for Deborah Hutchings at Coldwell Banker King Thompson for sharing this with me today. After you're done cleaning off your window, who will you share this with?

May 21, 2010

Things To Do Today - Start with a Positive Affirmation

I am a big believer in positive affirmations. I believe that statements made in the present tense about a desired result or behavior will have a better chance of actually becoming reality more than a wish made on a penny before it gets tossed into a fountain.

I have never met anyone who uses affirmations on a regular basis that doesn't feel they work. The entire basis of the best selling book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is the "Law of Attraction."

I like to say my affirmations internally each day while I am out for my morning run. It not only helps me get through my miles, I am not distracted by outside influences such as television, email pop ups on my computer screen or the vibration of a new message on my iPhone. What are my affirmations? Well, here are a few that I say that I feel like sharing. Some are of a more personal nature.

"I am a great facilitator"

"I teach with passion and enthusiasm, instilling confidence and excitement in my students"

"Running keeps me healthy and gives me energy"

"I always do my best because my best is all I can do"

"13.1 I will run" (I am training for a half marathon in October)

"The longer I run, the stronger I get"

"I will not be defeated by something I have chosen to do"

This just gives you an idea of how to structure an affirmation. You can certainly come up with one word statements, in the present tense about some things you want to be, earn, accomplish or achieve.

Some people say theirs in the shower each day or perhaps on their drive to work. Some people like to write their affirmations out each day. Some people like to speak their affirmations aloud into the mirror each morning. Check out this little girl named Jessica. Can you deliver your daily affirmations with the same energy and excitement that she does?

(Perhaps you shouldn't stand on the bathroom counter!)

However you may say your affirmations, say them with belief and excitement that the things you are saying will soon come into your life.

Until next time...keep building relationships...solving problems...and having fun

May 13, 2010

Will You Be a "Leader" When It Comes to Readers?

If you're looking for a cool way to touch your sphere (especially those with children), here's a neat way. Latch on to the Border's Books national campaign to get kids reading books and earning a free book along the way. Visit the link below and begin thinking of ways to leverage the momentum in your local neighborhoods, effective service areas or neighborhoods.

Maybe you enter each kid who reads 10+ books into a drawing for a free back pack for the 2010-2011 school year? Maybe you enter all qualifiers into a drawing for a $100 school supplies gift card.? Maybe every kid who reads 10+ books earns themselves an ice cream gift card or a McDonald's gift card or a bookstore gift card?

Think of how many people will be seeking out "their Realtor" (i.e. YOU!) all summer long to make sure their kid gets recognized! Visit the following link to learn more about a way to grow your outreach with your community and the kids who you can affect not only today but tomorrow as well.

Let me know how you might use this idea in your neighborhood. Will you become a "leader" when it comes to "readers"?

Until next time, gotta go read Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire to my eight-year-old.

PS What are you reading these days?

May 10, 2010

Is It Time for a Pit Stop?

If you look up "pit stop" on Google, you'll come across the following Wikipedia definition:

"a pit stop is where a racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above."

In this crazy career we call real estate, it just might be the time in the race for you to pull your car in and get some services to help you keep the "pedal to the metal" and reach the checkered flag of the Real Estate 2010 in record speed. Let's look at areas where a simple tune up might help your performance in the last half of the race.

Plan Your Strategy

I am no gearhead but any novice racing fan will tell you the importance of a pit crew's strategy when it comes to winning a race. Deciding when to pit, when to take on fuel and when to change tires could be the difference between winning and losing.

As you look at the 235 days left in the calendar year, do you have a good idea of when you'll be working, when you'll be taking days or weeks off and what needs to get done to achieve the goals you set at the beginning of the year?

Refuel for Optimal Mileage

The mental wear and tear of this industry is hard to describe but you all know how it affects you, your fellow agents and your families, so building time into your daily schedule for exercise, spiritual reflection and a healthy diet are great ways to ensure that your "engine" won't sputter along the way. While each of us may require a different amount of sleep each night, you know what your body needs so plan accordingly. It's probably easier to sleep less hours consistently than for shorter periods during the week and then long hibernation-like slumbers on the weekends.

Maintain Your Tires So You Don't Have to "Re-Tire" Too Early

The four wheels of a car serve as the foundation for the race car itself. They need to be able to react to the road as well as the direction the driver wants them to go in at any given time in the race.

What are the foundations of your business? Dialogues, objection handling techniques and daily prospecting activities. Do these things "roll" off your tongue without thinking? Can you rely on them under pressure? Are you "turning over" enough opportunities each lap (day) to insure that you'll have a carload of clients

Do You Trust Your Mechanic?

Anyone who owns a car should have that one "go to person" whom they trust when it comes to your car. Are the repairs that may be needed made efficiently and timely with great quality and confidence? Can you jump back behind the wheel and drive without fear of another issue popping up?

Who is your "business mechanic"? Do you have a coach, manager or business partner that can help you "tweak" your systems and services for maximum efficiency? Can you proceed with their advice and guidance, knowing that the directions and paths that were suggested will keep you on the track towards the finish line?

Need any Mechanical Adjustments?

A great pit crew member will be able to sense the slightest issue with a car they have spent so much time with. Perhaps it's a new set of lug nuts for a tire or a different torque on the flywheel (I'm not even sure if that makes sense but it sounds "mechanical", doesn't it?).

A good agent will always be seeking the best tools for his or her business - both technology tools and general sales tools like forms, checklists and follow up systems. What's in your garage that needs to be updates, changed or thrown away? When does your old clam-shell cellular contract expire so you can update to a smart phone? Is it time to purchase that video camera or are you still hoping the MLS Books might make a comeback?

Every Three Months or 3,000 Miles

It may be rather cliche but I still know many people who religiously bring their cars in for their standard oil changes as suggested by the dealer or service teams at your neighborhood service centers.

Why do we do that? Probably because we know that preventative maintenance is the best way to insure that our investment in the vehicle will be a wise one that we'll recoup the best return on over time. $50 spent today is better than $500 when we least expect it.

Shouldn't our own business deserve the same "preventative maintenance" approach? Attend regular training sessions, coaching appointments and webinars. Spend time each day tending to your data bases and reaching out to personally touch people who can help you build your business. Maintaining repeatable checklists, systems and protocols in this business will help us keep our engines humming along regardless of the road conditions we may face. Keeping our "pipeline" filled with ready, willing and able clients will avoid the unpleasant smell of a dying engine.

Green Flag Racing

It's time to buckle up and keep your eyes on the road. The energy you'll gain from the occasional pit stop might be just the attention you need to pass a few more cars in front of you and reach the speeds needed to win this race.

Remember the reason why the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror - because what's ahead of you is far more important that what is in the past.

In the words of former NASCAR great and current NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip, "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity...Let's go racing boys!"

May 8, 2010

Mothers, Belly Buttons and Opinions

Greetings Tool Heads,

The title of today's post answers the question "What does everyone have at least one of?" Now before you get started, please take note that this post has nothing to do with real estate. It's just something that I received in my email inbox (maybe you have too) and it made me laugh. The timing is appropriate with Sunday being Mother's Day. I hope this makes you smile.

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mom like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, grandmothers, and future mothers out there. We appreciate all that you do.

May 2, 2010

So What Happens Now?

Remember Dick Clark before Ryan Seacrest?

Last Friday night was kind of like December 31, 1999. Back then, I sat there watching the ball drop in NY's Times Square and wondered what would the new millennium bring? Remember all the fear and worry? Did you know anyone who loaded up on duct tape, bottled water and batteries?

As we know now, there wasn't much of a change in how we did things, unless you count no one ever deciding what to call the first decade of the 2000's? (The O's? The Zeroes? The Aughts?)

But when the clock struck midnight last Friday, April 30th, the landscape of today's real estate market may have seen a drastic change...or will it?

The Home Buyer Tax Credit certainly created a surge of buyer activity in markets all across the country but will that same energy and enthusiasm be sustained into the late spring and summer markets or will the housing market become a desolate setting for buyers and sellers, similar to the old western films with tumbleweeds floating down the streets?

What Have I Done?

How will you handle the potential Buyer's Remorse that may come from some of your last minute contract writers? Will you be prepared to counsel clients who went into contract on a home that may not close before the deadline of June 30th? What about those clients who decided to jump in the game too late and didn't find the right home?

One of the first things you need to remind yourself of, today and every day for that matter, is the same message that my good buddy Alec Hagerty always reminds his classes - "We (Realtors) handle the process, the clients make the decisions."

My guess is no one who is reading this forced anyone to buy (or make an offer to buy) anything. You worked you tails off over the last few weeks and months to accommodate any and all of the customers and clients you may have met to get them exactly what they thought they wanted. But what was it they wanted?

$8,000 or a New Home?

If you happen to find any of your clients getting that bitter taste of Buyer's Remorse in the throats, it might be a great time to remind them of why they purchased a new home in the first place. Was it so they had more room for their growing family? A location closer to work, school or the church where they worship? Perhaps they just realized that they needed a pace that offered safety, security and a potential for some long term investment income?

Perhaps they have a great need for something that the $8,000 credit will allow them to do? Travel or educational opportunities or savings for future needs could have a huge benefit as well.

If they jumped at the government's carrot of $8,000 just to "get mine like they got theirs," then maybe "remorse" isn't the right word for what they feel.

Dot Your i's and Cross Your t's

If you put anyone into contract in the last few weeks, the best thing you can do now to prevent any scary moments for your clients is to make sure the contract gets to the closing table as smoothly as possible. Constant contact with not only your client but their lender, the co-op agent, the title company and anyone else involved will ease any fears or frustrations that may occur.

Be sure to reach out to any of your clients who might have closed recently to see how they're doing and if there is any issues or concerns you can help them with. Trust me, even if you fear contacting some of your clients may uncover a laundry list of issues, it's not going to make those issues go away if you don't call. Plus, it gives you another opportunity to provide them with truly remarkable service and help them "solve problems." (Hello...future referrals?)

What's Next?

Just like life went on on January 1, 2000, I sincerely expect houses to continue to be bought and sold daily throughout every price range and market segment the country. The question is, what will you do to put yourself in front of those people who will need assistance? Sure, some buyers will sit on the sidelines saying it's not fair that they didn't get the $8,000 tax credit but ask the questions needed to find out why they are buying a house in the first place.

Perhaps finding a Seller who is taking advantage of the Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus Sales Event would be a great place to start?

However you decide to approach these next few weeks and months just may determine the success you enjoy in 2010. Will you go out and find the business that is going to happen, or will you wait for the phone to ring?

If you choose the latter, you better run out to Wal-Mart and stock up on duct tape and bottled water.