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?

Sunday, December 18, 2022


Out of the Shadows

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, December 18, 2022

 “I can’t compromise any more,

I want to send a good message to my kids. 

I want them to know, at the end of the day, their Dad

did what was right and fought for the good things in life.”

Brad Martin


“I feel exactly the same way in spite of what others may think of me or what I believe;

I desperately want to send a good message to my kids; I only hope they are listening!”


The above quote was extracted from a video documentary with the title, “Out of the Shadows.”  It occurs at the very end of this extraordinary video that I believe everyone in America if not on the planet should watch.  It IS exactly how I feel.  Taking a stand for what you believe is NOT always easy and you run the run of people thinking you are crazy or that you have fallen off the deep end but that is a price as a parent I am willing to pay and accept.  I have done my homework; homework that so few people are willing to do on their own.  As a nation, we have been brainwashed as described in Out of the Shadows but so few people realize what has been done to them.

I understand that most people, certainly not you, choose NOT to watch documentary videos, especially when it might challenge what they believe to be true.  No one ever wants to be proven to be wrong about anything.  They choose to believe what they believe and then also choose to ignore any contradicting evidence to the contrary.  That is what has led America to experience the HUGE political divide that now spreads like a cancer throughout our society.  Democrats believe what they believe.  Republicans believe what they believe.  But there is a third category of Americans that may in fact be the largest demographic of all – Americans that just don’t care and want to continue to live their lives as if nothing is happening.

Vladimir Lenin, yes, that Communist Leader Vladimir Lenin, describes “useful idiots” as:

In political jargon, a useful idiot is a term for a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause -- particularly a bad cause originating from a devious, ruthless source -- without fully comprehending the cause's goals, and who is cynically used by the cause's leaders.

I could easily make the case that there are “useful idiots” in both the Democrat and the Republican Parties as well as those people who consider themselves as Independents.  In either category, these are people who for the most part, are UNCONSCIOUSLY doing the dirty work of a “devious ruthless source” in order to achieve the “devious ruthless source’s” agenda which is usually not a good thing.

It is my opinion that out of all Americans, the Americans who choose to remain neutral, who feel as I have stated that “who just don’t care and want to continue to live their lives as if nothing is happening” are worse than “useful idiots.”  If there is something wrong in America and/or the World and they choose to ignore it, then not only will they pay the ultimate price, the entire world will pay the ultimate price for their desire to “not caring and a desire not go get involved.”

I beg of everyone, for just one hour and eighteen minutes, that they put aside their Democrat, their Republican, their Independent beliefs and especially their “I don’t care” attitudes and watch the documentary Out of the Shadows.  In all honesty, I had “some” idea of the material covered in the movie but I had no clue as to the depth of the material covered. 

Please, if you don’t watch it because you want to stay in your bubble of beliefs, watch it for the sake of the future of your kids and their kids and their kids.  The documentary discusses the treatment of children but it also discusses HOW we are all being brainwashed by none other than our Government and Hollywood and then demonstrates exactly HOW celebrities, news media and politicians become corrupted, a process you may or may not know or appreciate how deep it runs.

Just ONE HOUR and EIGHTEEN MINUTES, that is all I’m asking.  Is that too much to ask for?  I certainly hope not.


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