October 24, 2010

Change Your Thinking

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside of each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Change Your Thinking

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service and where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day-nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside the window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

Thanks to Peter J. Sobeck, a Senior Vice President in charge of Business Development with NRT LLC. for sharing this story with us at a recent leadership workshop. I'm not sure who the credit for the story should be attributed to but the message is clear. Choose your view today before it's chosen for you.

Good luck building relationships...solving problems and having fun. Have a great week

Running or Realtor - You've Got to Finish Up Strong

Hey Runners...

When was the last time you ran 26.2 miles? How about 13.1?

Completing a marathon or a half marathon is an incredible achievement no matter what your age, race, sex or physical condition. It takes dedication, focus and a tremendous amount of effort to complete all of the necessary training runs, eat a healthy diet, sacrifice much of your extra time each week and overcome fear as you cross the threshold of the starting line on race day. That not even mentioning the potential pain you may encounter between then and the finish line.

Hey Realtors...

When was the last time you finished a successful year in real estate? How about you rookies looking to finsih your first year (or partial year)?

Completing a successful year as a Realtor is an incredible achievement no matter what your age, race, sex or physical condition or tenure in the business. It takes dedication, focus and a tremendous amount of effort to complete all of the necessary training and development, eat a healthy diet of phone calls, open houses and talking to strangers, sacrifice much of your extra time each week and overcome the fear and pain as you cross the threshold of your office each day of the week.

Been There, Done That

Back in 2005 I ran my first 5K. That led to a 5 Mile Turkey Trot, a few more Jingle Bell Runs and then I ran my first 1/2 Marathon in Cincinnati in May 2006. I made the dedicated effort to complete the Columbus Marathon in October 2006. I ran a few more 1/2 marathons over the next few years up until a knee surgery put me on running's "injured reserve list" for about eighteen months.

I've been back out there lately, running shorter distances, and am excited to get signed up to run some races. Maybe I'll get out on Thanksgiving Day and compete in the Turkey Trot?

Last Sunday, October 17th, I volunteered with several co-workers from Coldwell Banker King Thompson to work at Water Station J at the 12 mile mark of the Columbus Marathon. We had to arrive early - 6:15am (see the pre-dawn photo to the left)- to begin setting up and filling over 15,000 cups with water and Gatorade. My 11-year-old daughter Riley also joined me for the second year in a row.

As both races pass through Station J (full marathoners and half marathoners) we had to be prepared to provide water and support to the 15,000 entrants into this years races. It was clear that the liquid refreshments were very important for people's physical needs after running for 12 miles but it also was evident that the verbal support and cheers by the volunteers and fans lining the streets of Columbus were just as vital to many of the runners seeking a physical accomplishment that many had never attempted before (or will again).

As the runners thundered past the tables filled with water and Gatorade, the volunteers held out cups for them to "grab & go" and offered words of encouragement (see video below). Having completed both races before, I felt I had some personal knowledge of some of the runners mental states at this point in the race.

The full marathoners still had more than half their race to complete. 14 more miles seems like a long distance but in a matter of minutes, they would be more than half way done. In just a matter of hours, everything they worked so hard for all summer long would be in the past and they'd be so proud of their determination to finish all 26.2miles.

"Keep it up. Just one more mile and then you have the 'easy' half"

The half marathoners were just 1.1 miles from the finish. For many it is the longest distance they have ever run at one time. I felt encouragement to these runners was even more necessary.

"Keep your arms and legs moving"

"One mile to go. Finish up strong"

"This is why you got up early all summer and pushed yourself. Don't walk now"

"Make all the training before today pay off. Push hard this last mile"

"Run hard now, you can walk tomorrow"

Sure, the encouragement and support was easy for me to say. I was standing in comfortable shoes and wasn't sweating or chaffing. I was enjoying a hot chocolate and donut and didn't have cramps and aches to look forward to later that afternoon. But they needed to hear it.

Can you imagine training all summer to complete your first marathon or half marathon and you give up and start walking with 1 mile to go? Sometimes the negative voice in your head can be pretty convincing and having some other voice push you along just might be what is needed to keep the arms and legs moving for the next stretch of roadway.

Hey Realtors - Finish Up Strong

So how does this relate to the real estate business? We're coming up to our finish line of the 2010 race. For long time Realtors, it's another full marathon that we're about to complete. Will we allow ourselves to ease up and "walk" the last 1/6 of the race or will we grab some Gatorade and dig deep to find that "extra boost" needed to cross the finish line with momentum?

For those who have joined the real estate race sometime in 2010 - the "rookies" - you've got two more months to finish your fist half marathon. Will you keep those arms and legs moving and remember all those long hours away from the family when you were sitting in those boring pre-licensing classes. I know you never figured yourself to be a mediocre agent just walking acorss the finsih line, did you? Remember those early days trying to start up your business in Sunday afternoon open houses or late evening showings with Buyers? Don't slow down now.

To anyone reading this, you've got ten weeks left in the 2010 race. Keep those arms and legs moving, stay hydrated and focus on the finish line.

And remember...next year's race begins as soon as this one finsihes. Get ready enjoy the accomplisgments of this years run but then get ready to tighten your shoelaces and start running all over again.

October 22, 2010

Running for Election? What's Your Platform?

"I Want to Be Your Realtor"

That's your daily campaign slogan, isn't it? Each and every day we're running for the office of "trusted advisor" to our Buyers and Sellers who entrust us to make the best decisions and policies to help them get what they want.

Do You Run a Clean Campaign?

I don't know about you but I am ready for the mid-term elections to get here and be done. The yard signs, billboard and negative "smear" commercials drive me crazy. Last night I was so bombarded with one commercial attack after the other that I posted this as my Facebook status update:

"Hey Politicians planning to run for office in the next major election - Here's an offer for you. Run a campaign where you only talk about YOUR strengths and YOUR platform. Maybe one ad a night, don't call me for surveys, don't knock on my door, don't ask me for money. Just be a more worthy candidate than you opponent and you'll probably get my vote. You might even create a wave of support that enjoys your fresh approach to campaigning. Imagine what might happen if you had an audience who supported you instead of purposefully worked against you."

"I'm Sean Carpenter and I approve this message"

I had numerous people "like" my comment and it created a long chain of comments in agreement with my sentiments.

Why would someone "elect" you as their Realtor?

  • Is your track record impressive with many satisfied constituents?
  • Do you reach out to a large audience spreading a positive message?
  • Do you do the things you say you will do?
  • Do you have the three C's that lead to Trust? Confidence, Competence and Consistency?
  • Can you tangibly demonstrate how your strengths will benefit a voter?
  • Do you effectively rally your party supporters (i.e. "past clients") to campaign for you?

I don't think you need to run out and print campaign buttons with catchy slogans or start kissing neighborhood babies at your next Open House. I just think you need to try hard to be the "Candidate of Choice" for the audience you are hoping to serve.

Good luck on Election Day!

October 21, 2010

The Fred Factor in Real Life

One of my favorite books about outstanding service and making your customers enjoy a great experience is The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. The subtitle of this book is "How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."

Have you read it?

It's worth going out to Amazon.com or your local bookstore or library and checking it out. It's a quick fun read and has many tangible concepts that will be useful to you in whatever field you're in but certainly those of us in a "people business" like sales.

Have you ever experienced a "Fred" in real life?

I have experienced a "Fred" many times and they always seem to jump off the page like a character in one of those children's pop-up books. As someone who makes a great effort to be a "Fred" myself, I get excited when I run into a "Fred" in the real world. It's even more amazing when they actually are named "Fred."

I returned to Columbus late Tuesday evening from a few days away with some good friends. It was a great 48 hours of "building relationships, solving problems and having fun." When I travel, I park my car at the Thrifty Car Park just outside of Port Columbus International Airport. I've been a Thrifty Perks member there for a few years and they do a great job.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this "valet" service, you swing through the Thrifty parking lot and pick up a driver on your way out of town. They ride with you to the airport and then take your car back to Thrifty while you're away on vacation or business. Upon your return, you catch a shuttle from the terminal and they drive you to your waiting car back at the lot.

It's usually a pretty benign drive from the airport to the Thrifty lot. You grab your luggage, trod out to the shuttle pick up lot and maybe send a quick text home to let your loved ones know you're on your way. The driver arrives, tosses your luggage onto the rack and you head out to get your car.

The Fred Factor in Real Life

Something different happened the last two times I've been picked up and it was all Fred's fault. The shuttle driver's name was Fred Rohe. He pulled in to the waiting areas and opened the doors with a big smile and said "Welcome Home, folks!" He hustled down the steps and grabbed the waiting passengers luggage and ushered us on board. After confirming we had all called in our claim ticket to insure that our cars would be waiting for us upon arrival, he did something different then all the other "average shuttle drivers." He offered all his passengers a choice of candy.

Really not a huge offer by any means...but when was the last time a shuttle driver offered you even a smile let alone of choice of free, sweet, chocolaty goodness?

As we quickly pulled away from the terminal, he asked us how our trips were, filled us in on the days weather here in Columbus and provided us all with a quick forecast for what to expect with the next day's weather. I even joked with Fred that it's amazing he has time to drive a shuttle after a full day on the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. He was really excited to share his positive mental attitude with others.

Thanks Fred for making the short 5 minute drive to my car memorable. Plus, I got a minty fresh blast from my two mini York Peppermint Patties that gave me a much needed jolt of energy for my ride home to see the family.

May you all have a great week encountering many "Freds"...or just decide to be a "Fred" yourself.

October 18, 2010

What Realtors Can Learn from Oak Trees

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside of each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Do you stand out? Are you unique? When God created you, did they "break the mold"?


Is what you do, done the way you do it, also done by others? When you look up 'status quo' in the dictionary could there be a picture of you? Will your next creative idea be your first?

There are over 1 million members of the National Association of Realtors in the United States. Those people can rightfully call themselves REALTORS®. It's been estimated that close to another 500,000+ people have a real estate license (but just are not members of NAR). And who's to say how many of the 300+ million people living in America have held a real estate license at some point in their life?

So is it any wonder that the general public might not see any difference from one practitioner to the next if we don't go out of our way to show how we're different?

No Joke, Learn from the Oak

“The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rain and scorching sun.”

- Napoleon Hill

I challenge you to discover ways this week that you can be different from your fellow Realtor. I'm not talking about changing the color of your yard sign (there may be state licensing issues) but what can you do to deliver your services in a way that will make those you interact with say "Wow! That was different...and I really liked it. I liked it enough to talk about it and tell others."?

  • Have you stopped by that recently expired listing or the new FSBO in your neighborhood to introduce yourself or did you do what the majority of agents did - nothing?
  • Do you deliver a pre-listing packet with homework to each and every potential Seller client you meet with?
  • Do you hand deliver thank you gifts to your clients after a successful closing to show them your appreciation or do you just quickly cash the commission check and move on to the next client?
  • How do you handle personal referrals? Are they accepted as part of the job or do you show those people who trust you enough to refer family, friends and co-workers your gratitude with a hand written thank you note?
  • Are you spending your Sundays hiding from the opportunities that might be out there or do you hold open houses and maximize your opportunities for traffic by inviting neighbors, past clients, and co-op agents?

This week, try to be more like the oak tree and get out where the winds blow, the rain falls and the sunshine scorches.

That's where the growth will happen.

Get out there and build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

October 10, 2010

Need a Lift?

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside of each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning

“Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours”

Sure, lots of people think they know better. Many of the 300+ million people in the United States have had a real estate license in the past or know someone who has. That doesn't mean they know what your goals and plans are. You know why you decided to get into a career in real estate (or stick with a career in real estate) so stay focused on what needs to get done to achieve your goals.

Just because someone went to a great college or took some high priced training course doesn't mean they can tell you how to live your life.

Someone attending church on a weekly basis doesn't necessarily have a better chance of success than someone who doesn't believe in a higher power.

“Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours”

Author John Maxwell says there are two types of people in life, Lifters and Leaners. Lifters are always picking people up, staying positive and supporting people while the Leaners are always holding people back, pulling them down or impeding their progress.

Watch the video clip below from The Pursuit of Happyness. Stuggling San Francisco saleman Chris Gardner, played by actor Will Smith, starts the scene as a "Leaner" and then transitions into a "Lifter."

I hope this week, you will avoid the Leaners and look for the Lifters.

I hope this week you will be the Lifter someone needs.

It's Time to Raise Your IN-10-SITY

Days like today don't come around very often. In fact, they only come around once in a lifetime. It's October 10th, 2010. That's 10/10/10. What a great reason to come up with a list of...

Ten Things to Boost Your Business

#10. Take ten minutes to print a one-line report of your current data base of contacts. Review it from top to bottom. Eliminate any duplicate entries you may have, highlight any contacts who are incomplete and purge those names and "contacts" that you have no idea who they even are.

#9. Put ten of the incomplete data base entries on your daily to-do list and begin to acquire the missing data. Spouses names, kids names, email addresses, etc. can all be found out by a simple phone call. Repeat this until you have completely updated your data base. Done correctly, this is almost guaranteed to add leads to your business.

#8. Take ten minutes to practice the following script; "Hi (insert name of contact), it's Sean Carpenter with Coldwell Banker. I hope you're doing well. The reason for my call is I have been putting together some great information about our current real estate market and I want to get it out to the people I know. In order to do that, I've been taking some time to update my Relationship Roster and I noticed that I am missing some information from you. Do you have a minute for me?"

#7. Dial numbers on your list for ten minutes. All you need is one good contact a day who adds some information to your current data base. If you want, you could make calls for longer than ten minutes but baby steps seem to work well for most people.

#6. Take ten minutes to send a hand written thank you note to each person you speak with in person, whether they provide you with any new information or not. That personal touch will come back to you in time, trust me.

#5. Research your market statistics over the last ten months. What has happened in your local markets since January 1st, 2010? Can you create a chart, graph or general report on prices, inventory levels and pending home sales?

#4. Identify the ten top selling areas in your local MLS based on # of sales or average days on the market. These are great areas to be knowledgeable and focused on as they are turning over business and doing so quickly. If you know someone who lives in one of those areas, don't you think they'd want to know this information? If you're selecting an area to hold an open house, these might be great places to start.

#3. Schedule ten Open Houses between now and January 1, 2011. Buyers who are out looking in the 4th quarter are usually more "buyer" than they are "looker." Because there are only 11 more weekends left in the year, that means you'll probably need to double up on certain Sundays (hold shorter opens houses; 12:30 - 2pm and then maybe 3-4:30?) or choose a day that isn't a "traditional open house day" in your market. That's okay. Why not hold an open house on Thursday afternoon or Tuesday evening? Consumers today are looking for different, not status quo.

#2. Touch ten people a day on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. It won't take you a lot of time but it will continue to help you build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

#1. Take ten seconds each day when you wake up to say these words to yourself, "It's going to be a great day because I choose to make it great!"

October 3, 2010

88 to Make it Great

Monday Morning Match is a short post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside of each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning

Today is Monday, October 4, 2010. It's the 277th day of 2010. Counting today, there are 88 days left in 2010.

Have you already mailed it in and started to look ahead to the new year, hoping it will be better, easier or more fun? Or are you getting your ankles taped so you get stay in the game in the fourth quarter and play until the final gun sounds?

Win or lose, are you going to give it your all and make a game of it?

There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year in real estate but here's a simple fact -There have been Buyers and Sellers exchanging properties every business day of the year. On the majority of those deals, a Realtor was involved.

Was it you?

Have you studied the numbers for your local market? I just looked at some data from the Columbus Board of Realtors. Did you know that from January 1 through August 2010, there have been 14,082 sold listings in the Columbus MLS? That equates to 28,164 sides. (A 9.2% increase compared to 2009)

How many were you involved with?

Stop...Make a Decision
  • Stop getting caught in the trap of saying that there is no business out there. If you're saying that, maybe you should add "...because I haven't been looking for it every day." Get out there and make an introduction to someone who needs you.

  • Stop getting caught in the blame game of saying that lenders and appraisers are making it too hard to get deals together. Make sure you understand what is expected of your clients ahead of time.

  • Stop procrastinating on your daily prospecting. There are Buyers and Sellers out there waiting to find each other. Get out there and make a connection.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstance. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
- George Bernard Shaw

There are only 88 days left in 2010. Make the decision today that you will make the efforts each and every day to make building relationships, solving problems and having fun a priority.

Make it happen.

Make it a great day.

Make it start....today!