Tuesday, May 18, 2010

But It Did Not Happen!

Nuggets For The Noggin
But It Did Not Happen!
Article By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 19, 2010

My job is to provide you with food for thought. Your job is to read what I have written and give it some thought. If you finish your job before I finish my job then my job will have been a failure. If on the other hand I finish my job before you finish your job, wella – success!

Remember The Gratitude Stone as discussed in the book/movie The Secret? It is a stone that when carried is a constant reminder to be grateful for all that enters your life. You see it first thing in the morning when you awake, you give thanks. You feel it in your pocket all during the day, you give thanks. And then when you retire at night and remove the stone from your pocket, you again give thanks for all that is good in your life.

This past weekend Dr. Argile Smith of the First Baptist Church in Biloxi, Mississippi gave the keynote address to the graduating class at William Carey University. He had a slightly different take on the art of being grateful. Dr. Smith suggested that in addition to being grateful for the good things in our life we should also be grateful for that which did NOT happen. It was a very thought provoking presentation.

For example:

Hurricane Katrina was devastating to be certain but have we considered giving thanks or being grateful for what did NOT happen? Our office building was virtually untouched thus providing each of us a place to move on with our business and help the people of our area with their housing needs.

We all saw the devastation and even death but did we give thanks for not being among those that perished?

Our company was shut down for a month; that was bad. But were we grateful when the bad times did not extend into month after month? In fact were not the months following Katrina some of the best sales months of all times?

When you close the sale from hell and you say good bye to the customers from hell do you give thanks for the opportunity to demonstrate how good you really are, the lessons you learned and all the bad things that did NOT happen? After all, they did not kill you, right?

When you close a sale, do you give thanks to what did NOT happen, like an appraisal that did not come in low?

Like a termite inspection that did NOT find termites?

Like a title search that did NOT find title problems?

Like a home inspection that did NOT find serious problems?

Like a personal check that did NOT bounce?

Today there was a car parked in the company parking lot. On the back window in very large letters it read, “So & So Appliance Sucks!” Obviously I changed the name to protect the innocent. I dare say that no matter how professional and no matter how well you conducted your business, there are incidents that you would rather forget. So while you are being grateful for all the good that enters your life, be grateful that an unhappy customer did NOT feel the urge to put your name on the back of their car indicating that your service sucks! After all, things could be worse!

It has been said that the mind cannot think of two things at one time. I don’t necessarily agree with that because I can certainly think of a Blue Bell Hot Fudge Sunday at the same time I am thinking of the whipped cream on top. Just kidding; actually no I’m not. Certainly it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to think of two opposing thoughts at the same time. As Dr. Smith suggested, being grateful IS the Secret. If you are forever being grateful it is hard to be ungrateful. Given the choice why would you want to be ungrateful? The same is true about being always positive or always negative or somewhere in between not being able to make up your mind. Dr. Smith asked the question, when you are being grateful (or ungrateful) who are you being grateful (or ungrateful) to? Only you can answer that question but I think we all know the answer except for possibly you-know-who if you-know-who is reading this.

So here’s the deal. Professional golfers use what they refer to as a trigger that they use to get into the zone. What is the zone? They understand that it is impossible to focus 100% of their concentration 100% of the time. Therefore professional golfers will not focus on their next shot until it is time to do so. They will adjust the sleeve on their shirt, adjust the strap on their glove or some other physical activity to get their mind focused on what is at hand, hitting a good golf shot. In between shots they are better served NOT trying to think too much about the next shot. It is impossible to concentrate for four hours of a golf round but it IS possible and even probable that a professional golfer can give 100% focus for the next 60 or so seconds that it takes to strike the ball.

The Gratitude Stone is such a trigger. If not a stone, consider wearing one of the colorful rubber bracelets you see people wearing and then every time you see or feel the bracelet remind yourself to be grateful. Be grateful for all the good things in your life that DID happen and all the bad things that DID NOT happen. Worries, by the way, that a great many of us continually worried might happen. Those are the worries we seem to F.E.A.R. – False Expectations Appearing Real but rarely are.

Enter the Law of Attraction where we tend to attract into our life that which we think about most. As stated, it is impossible to think of two opposing thoughts at the same time. Therefore, stop thinking about the bad things that might happen and focus on all the good things that did happen including having Dr. Smith enter your life through this Nugget. Or thank my daughter Kelly for attending William Carey University Graduate School for had she not, I would not have heard Dr. Smith and neither would you. All things seem to happen for a reason and if my attending my daughter’s graduation ceremony is the cause of you thinking better thoughts, you are welcome!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Nuggets For The Noggin
Article By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, April 30, 2010

What does it take to list and successfully sell a home?
  • Competitive Sales Price: A sales price that is not only competitive with other comparable properties but probably slightly less. If there are more sellers (inventory of available homes), the price may have to be a lot less than what otherwise would be considered competitive. It is a simple case of supply-and-demand. The fewer the buyers the longer it typically takes to sell therefore a homeowner must make their property stand out from the crowd. When there are more buyers than houses (such as immediately following Hurricane Katrina), all bets are off in regards to pricing. But in a “buyer’s market” the correct pricing is critical!
  • Condition: The condition of the property being sold must be reflected in the asking price. If a property requires a lot of work as compared to other similar properties that do not require similar work, the price must reflect that. A great practice would be to encourage the homeowner to obtain a professionally prepared home inspection as the property is being put on the market. The seller can then price the property accordingly and/or make the repairs necessary plus use the home inspection as a marketing tool demonstrating to buyer exactly what they are purchasing. Purchaser may still obtain a different home inspection if they wish to.
  • Seller Motivation: “We’ll just put it on the market to see what happens.” That is not motivation to sell. A seller who is motivated to sell will insure that not only will the price be competitive and the condition match the price, the seller will do whatever is necessary to sell the property. Seller motivation is a huge factor in selling real estate. An unmotivated or unrealistic seller will almost always result in a long sales period if there is a sale at all.
  • Professional Yard Sign: This is HUGE! Yard signs represent a significant number of all sales that are made. A professional yard sign as compared to a For Sale By Owner sign clearly demonstrates to potential buyers that the sellers are represented by a professional, that would be you. On the contrary a For Sale By Owner sign that signifies the seller probably does not have professional real estate experience or knowledge and therefore may be subject to being taken advantage of.
  • Home Warranty: Would you buy a car without a warranty? Most say no but then list their home that is significantly more valuable than their car without offering the buyer a home warranty. Everything may work perfectly on the day of the act of sale and moments later fail. Who would ever believe that the sellers and the seller’s agent did not know that something was about to fail or didn’t work properly in the first place. Who does the buyer call? The sellers and the agents involved in the sale both listing and selling. Who would you prefer the buyer call? A Home Warranty representative! Offering a Home Warranty is the right thing to do.
  • Multiple Listing Service: The use of a professional yard sign and placing the property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) accounts for most sales. Period!
  • Great Real Estate Agent: This is more important than most real estate agents are aware of. Who wants to work with a jerk? I don’t, do you? Therefore everything you say and do when in relationship while working with other real estate agents throughout the area as well as those in your own office is absolutely critical. If a seller lists a home with a real estate agent who is known to be “hard to work with”, “unethical”, and/or “non-existent”, they should expect that their property will be very difficult to sell. For example, a buyer’s agent finds 15 homes that meet the customer’s needs. Only 5 to 7 homes are going to be shown and remember they all meet the customer’s needs. Which 7 or 8 homes are going to be EXCLUDED? I can guarantee you that one or more will be listed by agents who could be hard to work with so with that in mind why would you want to show their properties when others are available? This is not rocket science. Unfortunately most sellers are unaware of the reputation of the agent they select in comparison to other agents in the area. How do you promote your reputation? Through the use of testimonials both letter format and video format. Nothing speaks more highly of you than satisfied customers as well as recommendations from people within the business like loan officers, closing attorneys, etc. Most agents, certainly not you, never ask for referrals in writing from their satisfied customers or people “in the business.”

Obviously there are other factors that go into a successful sale but these are by far the most important factors. What happens when a seller indicates that they do not want a yard sign in their yard or one of the other essential elements of a sale? Before you can answer that you need to know what the seller believes in regards to the use of a yard sign. Experience has shown that some homeowners do not want their neighbor to know their home is on the market. Not sure why; you need to delve deeper into their reasons. If the reasons are legitimate by all means honor their desires. However most reasons are superficial and really are not warranted.

What do you do or say to convince the homeowners they need to rethink their position? It is important that you not only provide the logic but you also allow them to come to the logical conclusion.

“Mr. & Mrs. Seller, I understand your concern. When we (the “we” is important because you and the sellers literally form a team and it sounds as if they have already listed the home with you) put your home on the market we are literally going to war. By that I mean look at the number of homes we are in competition with. (Show them the list.) In addition to those homes there are the few For Sale By Owner and bank owned homes as well. Everyone wants THEIR home to sell so they typically give their agent all the tools (bullets) necessary to market the home. The most important of these tools (bullets) are; (1) competitive sales price, (2) price that reflects the condition of the home, (3) your motivation to sell, (4) use of a professional yard sign, (5) home warranty, (6) use of the Multiple Listing Service, and (7) a great agent like me. 7 tools. Let’s assume that every agent representing the owners of every other home on the market have all 7 tools working for them. (You can have a bit of fun and suggest that unless they have hired you, the other homeowners will never have all 7 and do it with a definite smile on your face). You have indicated that you do not want a yard sign (or a home warranty or a non-competitive price, etc). You are asking me to go to battle for you without all the tools (ammunition) available. Do you see where we, you and I, are starting out in the hole before we begin?” (Wait for their answer, say nothing before they do, let them answer first. There is no way they cannot agree with you. When they agree they usually permit you to do what is necessary to do the right thing.)

ACTION STEP: Prepare & Practice! If you wait until an objection is voiced and then develop your response, you are doomed to fail. You know such objections are going to come, be prepared for them. Identify potential objections or concerns and then develop a logical response. No trickery, just logic. Help the customer to come to the same conclusion that you have reached by providing them with the information necessary to do so.