October 30, 2011

The Trick to Treating Yourself to More Sales

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

I didn't write the following parable and I'm not sure who did. I cannot take any credit for anything other than sharing it with you and knowing that it may help you in the future. It is one of my favorite messages and should be heeded by everyone in any sales position anywhere.

Trick or Treat

I remember the first time I was allowed to go out trick-or-treating on Halloween night with just my friends. (Of course I’m sure my Dad was following along at a safe distance but he’ll neither confirm nor deny that accusation!)

Our mission was a singular one – get as much candy as possible in the shortest amount of time. In other words, I wanted my big plastic orange pumpkin overflowing with goodies. We literally ran from house to house as we scoured our neighborhood intent upon our goal.

On occasion, we approached a house, rang the bell, and nothing happened. The lights were on but no one answered the door.
 Put in that situation, what do most kids do? They move on to the next house.

“Come on, let’s go” and they’re headed down the block. They don’t stop for a second to wonder why the owners didn’t answer the door. They don’t take it personally. They don’t think that they’re wearing the wrong costume. They don’t walk around the house peering in the window trying to see why the owners didn’t answer the doorbell. They don’t sit down on the front step and pout. And can you even imagine that they would just quit and go home? No way.

You see, kids are neat people to observe with regard to how they handle rejection. It just never occurs to them that the rejection is about them! And why? Because it’s not. Kids have a unique ability to observe the world just the way it is.

As we grow up, our self-esteem takes a few hits and we start to think that everything that happens to us is about us. It’s not.

When you hear no, no thanks, I’m not interested, it’s not for me, I don’t like selling, please don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever call me again for any reason whatsoever….it is about THEM, not you and not the opportunity you have to offer.

Run to the next house, and the next one, and the next one.

That’s where the candy is.

Remember, your goal is a full plastic pumpkin, and you don’t care which houses or how many houses it takes to make that happen.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

October 24, 2011

Can I Ask You a Question?

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

One of the greatest skills any salesperson can have is the ability to listen. So, other than shutting your mouth, what is the best way to do that? Ask lots of questions.

"I keep six honest serving-men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who."
 - Rudyard Kipling

Most initial interviews, counseling sessions or presentations with potential clients are really nothing more than "prayer sessions" because as the cliche says, you can't answer someone's prayers until you know what they are praying for.

A well timed question will not only give you the answers you need to determine what actions to take to achieve the desired results, the customer or client will also hear themselves and often realize exactly what it is they are looking for.

Spend some time today making a list of all the questions you should be asking your Sellers or Buyers before, during and after each part of the transaction. It might even be a great idea to create a checklist or questionnaire that you follow during your interviews. Don't worry that your clients will think you're "cheating." They will be impressed at your thoroughness and attention to detail.

What are some of your "go to" questions with Buyers and Sellers? Do you use checklists or questionnaires? Share a few of your favorites with me in the comments below this post and let me know why you think they work so well for you.

If you don't get better at asking questions in the real estate business you might soon be asking another question.

"Do you want fries with that?"

October 16, 2011

Hey Deejay! Are You Taking Requests?

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

On Sunday, I accomplished a big personal goal. I ran in and completed the Columbus Half Marathon. That's 13.1 miles of non-stop running. I have run several half marathons in the past and even completed the Columbus Marathon (26.2 miles) in 2006. A knee surgery in 2009 put my running on the shelf for a few years, so it felt great to get back "in the game" today and finally run in something big instead of just a training run.

Before going any further, I would like to congratulate all who ran the full marathon and the half marathon (almost 17,000 entrants were in the race) as well as thank all the race coordinators, thousands of volunteers and emergency personal and the tens of thousands of Central Ohio residents who stood on the chilly sidewalks and supported every runner, walker and wheelchair participant in the field. It was quite an event that everyone in Ohio should be very proud of.

Just Press Play 

In order to keep me pumped up and motivated during my almost two hours of run, I put together a play list of songs on my iPod that I felt would keep my legs moving, my head focused and my soul fired up to "push that rock" until the finish line. A good play list is sort of like a soundtrack for a runner, comprised of the early songs to get you started on a good pace, the middle tunes designed to maintain pace and stay focused and the ending songs which should be designed to give you that important second wind and keep the legs churning even when you're tired.

Here was my play list for this year's Columbus Half Marathon:

  • Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones (great song to start your day)
  • Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band (If you're gonna run with tunes, isn't this one required?)
  • You Wreck Me - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (The guitar riff in this one won't allow you to slow down)
  • Elevation - U2 (I felt like Bono and The Edge were screaming at me from the side of the road)
  • D'Yer Maker - Led Zeppelin (I figured it might be chilly and overcast - it was - so a little rock/reggae was a perfect choice to warm the insides as the sweat started to warm the outsides)
  • Rock & Roll Ain't Noise Pollution - AC/DC (There were plenty of bands, musicians and entertainers along the course today but insuring I would hear some AC/DC was imperative to a kick ass run)
  • Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & The Wailers (strategically placed so I knew I should be approaching the 3 mile mark of the race. I had to make sure I was keeping pace)
  • Alright - Darius Rucker ("When I lay down at night I thank the Lord above for giving me everything I ever could dream of...")
  • Southern Girl - Amos Lee (the slowest tune on the play list but definitely one of my faves. It's not uncommon for runners to start a little quick due to the adrenaline they build at the beginning of the race. This was a reminder to stay within myself and not cramp up)
  • Rain King - The Counting Crows (An awesome song to sing along to as we rolled through the streets of Bexley)
  • Hippy Girl - Cup a Joe (One of my favorite songs from a good buddy, Joe Estes's college band. While I may have run alone, hearing this song reminded me that I had lots of people pulling for me locally and nationally).
  • Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond ("So good, so good, so good!")
  • A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley (Running isn't something you can talk about. You've got to get out there and run...all by yourself. The ultimate accountability event)
  • Waitin' for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago - ZZ Top - (No jumping on the bus for me but this classic rock song has such a driving rhythm it's hard not to kick the legs up a little higher)
  • Next to Me - Gavin Degraw (First line = "Listen up Destiny...")
  • Hold My Hand - Hootie and The Blowfish ("Cause I wanna run with you..." - A virtual anthem of the 90's that is hard to hear and not sing along. If you're singing, you're not thinking about your legs getting heavy)
  • Rockstar - Nickelback (Time to dig as deep as the lead singer's voice)
  • Cowboy - Kid Rock (time to strut...one step after the other. Timing on this was perfect because I had just turned back towards downtown so the line "I'm headed out west sucka" was dead on)
  • Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash (Tell me a time in your life when you had cash and you weren't happy!)
  • All Star - Smash Mouth (How many people can say they have completed a Half Marathon? That's right...not many)
  • I Wanna Be a Boss - Stan Ridgeway (Former lead singer of The Wall of Voodoo (Mexican Radio) penned this anthem to "going solo" and that's what running is all about)
  • Fly - Sugar Ray (Time to pick up my speed and make sure I don't start dragging. Still should have about 3-4 miles to go from here.)
  • Jump Around - House of Pain (Just like the student section at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, I needed to get my mojo for the final quarter)
  • Runnin' Down a Dream - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (My favorite singer deserved two songs in the play list and this one was a 'no brainer.')
  • Chicken Fried - The Zac Brown Band (A song about all the good things in life. "It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most. Not where you live or what you drive or the price tag on your clothes. There's no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this I've come to know...so if you agree have a drink with me raise your glasses for a toast." How true is that line?)
  • Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon (Another one of my favorites that I knew would give me one final burst of energy)
  • Calling All Angels - Train (As I crossed the finish line it was neat to think of all those people who had supported me and were going to be proud of my efforts...including my Dad who had a front row seat from up above)
What's on Your Play List?

Do you have a soundtrack for your business? Do you have any songs that pump you up and help keep you focused? What do you play as you drive to a listing appointment? What song do you listen to before making those daily calls which will inspire you to schedule appointments?

It's your business so quit waiting for the jukebox to play your song. You're the deejay. Make it happen!

Tell me in the comments below..."What song would help you build relationships, solve problems and have fun this week?" 




October 13, 2011

The Magical 300

Figuring out the most difficult feat in sports is a great discussion. Depending on who you are talking with there are arguably some great candidates.

  • Bowling a 300 game 
  • Being dealt a royal flush in poker
  • Dunking a basketball
  • Hitting a pitch thrown by a professional pitcher
  • Running a sub 4 minute mile
  • Hitting a hole-in-one in golf
I've bowled many times and have even broke the 200 barrier several times but to get 12 strikes in a row seems very difficult...but it's been done. In fact, some bowlers have rolled three perfect games in a row for a hard to beat 900 series.

I don't play poker but imagine getting a suited 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace from the dealer? The odds are stacked against you but you don't really have any control over this feat. It's really a matter of luck.

Dunking a basketball? I'm a 6 foot tall, 44 year old. Clearly I won't be demonstrating any aerial skills and accomplishing this but this is done daily by many "average Joes" in gyms and on playgrounds across the globe.

Hitting a pitch is certainly difficult for major league players, let alone a regular person. Heck, if a major leaguer hits three out of ten times they get up to bat, there's a great chance they will be considered for the Hall of Fame at the end of their career. So is it hard to do consistently? Yes. Is it hard to do once? Probably not.

It took years for anyone to break the 4:00 barrier in the mile but once Britain's Roger Bannister accomplished the task and proved it could be done, others have followed.

Hitting a hole-in-one? While many golfers will never experience this awesome feeling, even a hacker can knock it in the hole with one swing. I've had two holes-in-one in my life and hope there will be a third someday soon.

What is your "Perfect Game"?

So what's the equivalent in real estate? If you and your fellow Realtors were sitting around having a few beers, what would you say is the most difficult feat?

  • Setting the right price on a new listing?
  • Finding a buyer who picks a house the first time out?
  • Delivering a "perfect presentation" that results in a signed listing with no objections to overcome?
  • A transaction that proceeds to closing with no delays?
  • An appraiser saying your listing is actually a bit under priced?
  • Receiving the HUD-1 statement two days prior to the closing?
I guess if you stay in this business long enough, you'll achieve all of these and many more feats which sometimes seem impossible. Look back at your career and think about your Rookie year. What tasks or actions did you once think were impossible but now you laugh and wonder why you didn't think it was possible?


This is the 300th post of The Realtor's Toolbox. There have been over 50,000 page views since Day 1 almost three years ago. I certainly didn't think this day would get here the day I wrote my first post but when you just keep "swinging" you're bound to make contact on a few. I am very proud of every post and certainly some have been more significant than others. Mainly I am appreciative that you continue to return and read my thoughts, ideas, suggestions and stories. Thanks for being such a loyal reader. 

Still waiting to deliver that perfect listing presentation? Keep practicing and contacting homeowners who might need to sell.

In search of that "perfect buyer"? You've got to start with a great Buyer Counseling Session.

Maybe you've thought about blogging but haven't started yet? Take it from me...you won't ever get to 300 posts until you get to 1.  

Get out there today and start building relationships, solving problems and having fun.

Don't let any feat seem too big for you to accomplish.

October 12, 2011

Letting Them Know You Are Thinking About Them

Today was my 44th birthday.

The day itself doesn't really feel any different than any other day. I think that feeling ends when you're around 10 years old...about the same time you stop wearing the shoes out of the shoe store after your Mom buys them and believing that they really do make you run faster.

The neat part about celebrating a birthday is how people go out of their way to make you feel special. Perhaps your spouse or children make you breakfast to start your day or there's a gift or card waiting on your desk at work. Maybe you get to open gifts or have a special meal in your honor with friends and family. Do you choose a cake, or cupcakes (like me) or do you have some other special treat or meal you always ask for?

How Do You Treat Other People's Birthdays?

Sure, it's going to be different for your children or grandchildren. Those special days might include parties and celebrations of grand proportions. You have presents to start the day, treats in the school classroom (unless they celebrate a summer birthday) and usually a big planned event at home or in a fun location.

It certainly should be treated as a very special day for your spouse or partner with perhaps a special date night and some gifts that carry special meaning.

And as we all get older, a parent's birthday (or grandparent's for those lucky enough to still have them alive) begins to have even more meaning and it's less about the gifts you give and more about the time you share together.

I hope for brothers and sisters you're at least reaching out with a phone call or do you take them for granted and think to yourself "I'm sure they know I was thinking about them"? Aunts and uncles, neices, nephews and cousins would also be thrilled with some acknowledgement of their big day.

In today's social media world it has become so easy to recognize people on their birthdays. Facebook will tell us who is celebrating a birthday today and you can even peek ahead and see whose big day is coming up (of course some people may have their privacy set up so it doesn't show birth dates). A quick post on the wall of a birthday celebrant is a nice touch and it's easy too.

Want to Stand Out Even More?

If you are on Facebook you could send a private message to the birthday boy or girl which will be a bit more personal because others won't see it. You could send a video message via Facebook, YouTube, Skype or Eyejot! You could drop them an email or a text or you could even pick up the phone and attempt to wish them "Happy Birthday" or leave a message with best wishes for the day and upcoming year.

I received quite a few phone calls today and more than a couple went to voice mail while I was teaching. Listening to those messages from friends from across the country brought a smile to my face and some great memories to mind. A few even made me sad that I wasn't golfing as they had figured I was. Some of those people who called were people I only talk to every now and then so it meant a lot to me that one of the "nows" was today.

I also received some good old fashioned birthday cards via the US Postal Service which are always fun to open and see what cards they picked out (and check for freshly minted cash like my Nana used to include just for old times sake). Whether you're 4 or 44, finding money in the envelope is always great so special thanks to my Mom and In-Laws.

No matter how they "touch" you, it's a neat feeling to know that they made a conscious effort to reach you on your special day. In a world where we are so concerned about ourselves, it really is powerful to know how a small act can really add to someones day, week, month or even year.

Which Way Will You Wish?

As someone who is trying to achieve success by building relationships, solving problems and having fun, what will be your method to reach out to these people in your lives who have a birthday coming up? It might be the ideal reason to "stay in touch" with people who have done business with you in the past and might in the future. Just imagine the impact your "connection" might have on someone whose family member forgot their birthday but their Realtor remembered. It could serve as a powerful message that your relationship didn't end after the commission checked cleared.

Just don't do it for the chance of future business. Do it because you wanted to let them know you are thinking about them.

I am thankful for all of my Realtor's Toolbox readers, students, co-workers, industry associates, friends and family members who helped make this my best 44th birthday ever.

Thanks for thinking of me.

"There are two ways to face the future. One way is with apprehension; the other is with anticipation."
~ Jim Rohn

October 9, 2011

Setting Sail for Success on Columbus Day

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

In honor of Columbus Day, I felt a quote from the man credited with discovering America would be fitting.

"Riches don't make a man rich, they only make him busier."
- Christopher Columbus

I have yet to meet someone in the real estate industry who told me their primary reason they were in the business was to make large sums of money. Of course, it is a great aspect of this career that you can make a very comfortable income, but usually that is not people's number one motivation for becoming a Realtor.

If you had to sit down today and list the top five reasons why you entered this business or perhaps why you stay in it, what would they be? Where does income rank next to helping people realize the American Dream? If everyone was in it solely for the money there would be a lot more agents focused on business development activities every minute of every day and there would be no such thing as a "discounted fee."

Think of your best year to date. Maybe it was decades ago or maybe it will be this year. As you consider the year you banked the highest income, ask yourself this: "Was I busy that year?" My guess is you'll answer "yes."

It's great to become busier and if the payoff at the end of all the hard work is income (and hopefully profit), that could be very rewarding for those involved. First comes the fiduciary duties, ethical approach and truly remarkable service expected to be delivered. Then and only then can the personal referrals and commission checks be earned. You can't achieve the latter without the former.

Christopher Columbus set sail in three ships - The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. The three vessels for you to reach your destination are named "Building Relationships," "Solving Problems" and "Having Fun."

Get on board Captain! There's a whole new world out there. Hoist the sails and get ready for a great adventure.

Bon Voyage!

October 4, 2011

Imagine Having Talent, Courage and Belief

Elvis Presley used to talk about TCB which stood for Taking Care of Business. Well, there's another formula for TCB that I think might be a good recipe for success for some people.

Talent, Courage and Belief.

If you're in need of a deposit into your "Good Vibrations" folder, this might be enough to bring you account to a positive balance for a while.

If you can't see the video below, click here

October 2, 2011

Bring Home a Winner

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

Are You Ready for the Big Finish?

In a long season, game, event or fiscal year, the actions and results that occur early mean just as much as those that happen later. It's just that when the finish line is within reach, it seems that every step feels that much more important.

Last Wednesday we saw what many are calling the "greatest day of action in baseball history" as four teams played in do-or-die games with their playoff lives in the balance. St. Louis and Atlanta were tied for the wild card spot in the National League and Boston and Tampa Bay were deadlocked in the American League for their league's wild card spot.

St. Louis cruised to a victory over the hapless Houston Astros, insuring themselves of no worse than a one-game playoff at home to attempt to secure a playoff spot. The other three games were epic in their unfolding with Atlanta losing in extra innings, Boston giving up a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 9th inning and Tampa Bay snagging the last spot in the playoffs with a dramatic 12th inning home run (after a 7-run comeback late in the game to send it to extra innings). If you stayed up and watched it all happen like I did, it's a night you're sure to remember for a while.

It should be noted that those games played Wednesday night (the 162nd game of the season for all four teams) counted the same as their games played back in April. Had they each just won one more game earlier in the season, the drama wouldn't have been near as intense...or fun.

The same is true in golf - a bogey on the first hole counts the same as a bogey on the 18th hole but if the match was on the line when you were standing on the 18th tee, it seems like a much worse score, right? You'll think about that missed putt on the last hole a lot longer than you will think of that bad drive back on the first hole. Geez...that was almost 5 hours ago, right?

When Do You Really Start to Focus?

When we make mistakes, skip business development opportunities or lose listings early in the year we may find ourselves subconsciously saying "I'll get the next one" or "there will be more as the year goes along." While that is probably true, wouldn't it be better to get every deal (closing, hit, run, touchdown, win, etc.) when you can?

When you can see the finish line you seem to heighten your awareness of your efforts. I know when I am on a long run, my legs seems to pick up energy when I am just a mile from the finish. Sometimes I even pick up speed, turning in one of my better mile times on that last mile as my mind tells my legs how good it will feel to be done.

The back nine at Augusta on Sunday feels just a little different each year at the Masters than it feels on Thursday. In fact, watch it next spring and wait for CBS's Jim Nantz to say it when the leaders finish putting on the 9th hole. "The Masters doesn't start until the back nine on Sunday."

The crowd rises to it's feet when the home team comes up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing by one run. They know that the team must execute now or it will be too late and another loss will be entered onto the bad side of the win-loss ledger. If that happens too often there will be little chance of achieving the goals set at the beginning of the year.

It's Crunch Time

Is it time for a "Hail Mary"?

Do you want the ball in your hand for that last second shot?

Will you be ready to make the field goal in "sudden death" overtime?

It's almost closing time. Don't let the bartender's "last call" leave you thirsting for more.

The clock is ticking down but there is still time for you to call a timeout, design a plan that is sure to result in some positive results, and make something happen. Homes will be listed and homes will be sold every day between now and 2012. 

Are you ready to build some relationships, solve some problems and have some fun?

Raise your fingers. It's the fourth quarter.

The game is on the line. Go out there and bring home a winner.