Wednesday, February 8, 2023




By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown February 3, 2023

 Where did this life-lesson come from?  I can’t be certain but I believe it was from my friend, mentor, and author Joe  What does WCILFTP mean?  What Can I Learn From This Person?  It may have originated from Joe Tye or from someone else, it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is the lesson being taught.  You and I both can learn something from everyone we come in contact with – EVERYONE!  Everyone may not be a nice person but we can learn something even from the worse among us even if what we learn is is what NOT to do; it’s still a valuable life-lesson.  I imagine those initials tattooed on the forehead of everyone I meet and I mentally remind myself to ask the question, what can I learn from this person?  You would be surprised what you can learn when you are looking to learn.  Another way of stating that is what Gary Keller taught his Keller Williams Realty agents when he asked the question, are you learning based or are you ignorant based.  Sounds harsh but it is true, you are either one but you can’t be somewhere in the middle.  You either seek out information or you live your life ignoring the opportunities to become the best you can possibly become by being a learning based person and be open minded to new ideas, concepts and differences of opinions.

How many people have I met over my 78 years on the planet?  There is no way of knowing the real number.  There is also no way of knowing all that I have learned from them, both good and bad.  What I am certain of is that the lessons taught and learned lie stored away in the grey matter of the brain and may never see the light of day ever again.  Then there are those special times when faced with a problem or situation a sudden spark of memory bursts forth and initially you know not from where the thought came.  Then you realize it was from someone you met or something you read or something you heard and there it was, right where it should be – front and center ready for you to use. 

How do you thank the hundreds or even thousands of people you have met during your life or the untold number of authors of books and articles that you have read?  One-by-one, it is impossible.  Still, you can thank them by taking the information they have given to you and pass it on either through your actions, your conversations and/or your writings.  You do write things down, right?  Therein lies the one lesson I want to pass on to everyone I know, write your thoughts down on paper.  It has never been easier to do than right now!  You can write them down on paper or you can do as I am doing at this moment by writing this on my desktop computer.  You can write them on your notebook computer, your ipad type device or even your smart phone.  There is no excuse not to write down what you are thinking, what you have just done, who you have just met or even better a life-lesson you have just learned.  Why write this information down?  So glad you asked!

The primary reason is that you will eventually begin to forget even the most important information you have learned; forgetting comes with age.  I know this because…..  THEREFORE, WRITE IT DOWN!  NOW!  Do you want your children and their children to know who you are and what you stand for or believe in?  I have played around on and followed my family back to the 1700s and while I know some names I had never heard before, I know nothing about who they are, what they did, what they stood for, or what they believed in; does not tell you such things unless you are extremely fortunate to have links to files; I found no such links to any of my Ancestry identified relatives.

Several years ago I sat at my desktop and I started a list of words and phrases and typed them out as fast as I could think of them.  The list became quite lengthy and consisted of words and phrases from my past 75 or so years.  Then one by one I took a single word or phrase and wrote as much as I could remember about the word or phrase.  The most amazing thing that happened during this process was that as I wrote, I began to remember even more words and phrases.  By the time I was done, I had typed out, single space, 12 pitch font over 150 pages.  I titled the work, Things You May Not Know About Your Dad.  I printed out copies, bound them and gave them to my four children and nine grandchildren as a Christmas gift.  I can’t recommend enough that you do the same thing.  I also did something similar about the 20 years I spent in the U. S. Coast Guard.  I realized that I had some humorous things happen during those years so I began writing another book, Humor In A Coast Guard Uniform, it too became a word document of over 150 pages.  I would happily share this booklet with anyone who wants it.  All you have to do is send me an email to and put HUMOR in the subject line and the booklet is yours.

There you have my one life-lesson that I happily share with everyone and anyone who will listen – write down your life story while you can still remember it.  Give your children and their children and their children a document that introduces all of them to you; it will be digitally available forever!  Don’t attempt to do it all in one sitting, do a little every day.  Keep a journal and write your thoughts down for each day.  Develop those thoughts when you can have the time to give them all the justice they deserve, but write them down; don’t put this off because as I said, time has a way of making even the most important thoughts fade away to oblivion; age has a tendency of doing that all on its own.  I know this because….

Friday, December 30, 2022

A Red Rose and a Hat!


A Red Rose and A Hat, Lots of Hats

By Jim “Gymbeaux’ Brown, December 30, 2022

Today is December 30, 2022 and I received an email from Vickie Carlton, a real estate agent who works in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.  Why am I telling you this?  So glad you asked.

I met Vickie many years ago, too many that I want to admit to.  At the time Vickie and I worked for the same national franchise real estate company.  She began a promotional campaign that featured a single red rose on a black background.  Her business card was black with a single red rose and if my memory serves me, she had the words, “Simple Elegance” over the rose.  It had to be there, otherwise I would not have remembered it after these many years.  On the occasion of us both attending a training program, she gave me a tin of cookies and you may have guessed it, the tin’s lid was black with a single red rose on the lid.  To this day, whenever I see a red rose, I immediately think of Vickie Carlton from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

Then there is
Sandra Nichols, “The Hat Lady” from Montgomery, Alabama.  Like Vickie, I met Sandra at a training event many years ago.  What made the meeting memorable as compared to other such encounters, was that Sandra was wearing a hat when most women at that time or since, have NOT worn hats; see the photo above.  In fact, every time I saw Sandra, she was wearing a different hat and that, aside from her wonderful service to her customers, became her trademark – women’s hats.  I once received a post card type Christmas card several years ago, I wish I had kept it.  It displayed a lone Christmas Tree in a field and the only ornaments were women’s hats.  I did not have to turn the card over to know who sent it to me – it was Sandra!

The point I want to convey is this.  If you are in sales, sales of any kind, the number one thing you must do is to first create relationships with people and you do that by meeting them and then developing the skill of asking questions and LISTENING to their answers.  The questions do not have to do with what you may or may not be selling, they should be questions about the “probable buyer”, the “probable buyer’s” likes, the “probable buyer’s” family, the “probable buyer’s” business, etc.  The more you can get the “probable buyer” to talk about such things, the better you will be able to build a relationship with this specific “probable buyer”; PROVIDED YOU ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS!  I considered “listening” to be so important, I wrote and taught a course titled, Effective Listening; How to Become an Effective Listener, and taught it the agents in my office.

I put the phrase, “probable buyer” in quotations for two reasons.  The term came from one of the best sales trainers of all time, Jeffrey Gitomer.  He suggested that EVERYONE is a probable buyer, not a customer or a client or as real estate agents often say, “my people”, and you must learn to treat them as “probable buyers!”  If you learn this one fact, it is very possible if not probable that you will eventually increase YOUR income by treating everyone you meet as a “probable buyer.”  Therefore, a shoutout to Jeffrey Gitomer for this income producing training tip!

To put this into perspective, I spent over 33 years in the real estate sales business.  Most of my time was spent training real estate agents in sales techniques and standards of practice.  My emphasis was NOT on agents becoming selling machines but rather I hoped they would become experts on relationship building and that they would become the best listeners on the planet.  No one is ever selling anything if they are doing all of the talking.  You can only discover that you may or may not hold the keys to satisfy a “probable buyer’s” needs if you learn what the “probable buyer” actually wants and needs.  You do this through relationship building and being an effective listener and that may require actually taking notes about what you hear.

Vickie Carlson and Sandra Nichols may both hate my guts but that doesn’t matter when it comes to their bottom line.  Unless I do illegal things, they understand that my political beliefs, my personal likes and dislikes, my habits, my family, my job have very little to do with both of them building upon our relationships by ensuring that I know they exist, what they do and where they do it.  I may never buy real estate or know of anyone buying real estate in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas or Montgomery, Alabama areas but if I did, I know who I would be calling.  Therein is my point!  Both Vickie and Sandra have maintained either an active contact such as Vickie’s monthly real estate newsletter and her red rose, or, Sandra by engraining in my mental grey matter that every time I see a women’s hat, I think of her.  This is called marketing.

It is critical to understand the difference between marketing and advertising.  You market to people you know.  You advertise to people you don’t know (it may also touch the people you do know provided they see it.)  Advertising is often referred to as the shotgun approach.  You send out a lot of material in the hope that someone who needs your service or product, sees it at the very moment they realize they need the type of service or produce you provide, and then contacts you.  Vickie and Sandra, both know me.  They know what I have done in the past.  They know where I live.  They know how to reach me if they need to.  They also know that I know a lot of REALTORS® and as such, if they need a REALTOR®  in my area but did not know any, they may call me to find one.  That is simply good networking and it works. 

IMPORTANT POINT!  I retired from the real estate business after 33 years on December 31, 2012, over ten years ago.  That is a long time to remember people like Sandra and Vickie who I haven’t actually seen in over 30 years.  How many people who are NOT related to you and who you met over 30 years ago at a 2-hour training seminar can you remember?  How many plumbers can you name?  How many electricians can you name?  How many car salesmen can you name?

CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING!!!!  I have just said I retired after 33 years in the business.  Can you appreciate the number of REALTORS®  I have encountered in those 33 years considering that I attending as many Conferences and Training Classes that I could possibly attend all over the country?  The number of agents number in the hundreds if not thousands.  In my own hometown of Slidell, Louisiana, there are easily over 300 licensed real estate agents and prior to 2012, I either knew most of them or was at least aware of them.  Most were aware of me because I was the Broker for one of the companies in Slidell and agents typically know who the brokers are.  Nonetheless, I have met and have known (past tense) hundreds and hundreds of real estate agents.  Yet, twelve years after my retirement in 2012, only two agents routinely reached out to me to “market” themselves and their businesses.  What does that say about the hundreds upon hundreds of other agents who claim to be looking for referral business?  How many car salesmen do you think have reached out to me in my lifetime AFTER I have purchased a car from them?  ZERO!  How many plumbers maintain contact with me?  ZERO!  How many electricians?  ZERO!  How many roofers?  ZERO!  At one point I had 105 agents in my Slidell office and after 12 years of retirement, how many have maintained constant contact with me?  ZERO!  Maybe everyone does hate my guts and none want to ever do business with me ever again or accept any referrals that I may be able to send their way.  Maybe it IS me!  But I doubt it.  Sales people simply do not understand the difference between marketing (a hand written note card) and advertising (a billboard or newspaper ad) and therefore spend most of their budget on advertising to the masses in hopes of attracting a customer rather than asking people they already know if they know of anyone that could use their professional services or buy their product.  If there are 300 agents in Slidell, Louisiana and you are one of them, what are YOU doing to stand out from the crowd?  What are YOU doing to create a mental note for people to recall you even 30 years later?  If you can’t answer these questions, what exactly are you doing to grow your business and increase the profit number on your personal financial spreadsheet?  And by the way, I receive a text message on every holiday from a local handyman who has done work for me in my home. 

Suggestion:  You may want to consider purchasing a red rose or wearing unique hats.


What separates you from the crowd?

If you can’t answer that,

neither can your database of probable buyers. 

You do have a database, right?