Sunday, December 25, 2011

Habits, Insanity, Are They The Same?

Nuggets For The Noggin
Habits, Insanity, Are They The Same?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, December 25, 2011

Alfred Einstein said that insanity can be described as doing the same thing (over and over) and expecting different results.
How would that apply to sales?  It does not matter WHAT you are selling only that you are selling something.

With all things being equal and the economy never changing - a sales career would be steady, rarely increasing; rarely decreasing – all things would be equal.  That’s not life.  The economy changes.  Sometimes cars, homes, toys, golf clubs (had to say that) and twigets (that is a make believe item for You-Know-Who), are easily sold and sell often but sometimes the sales are in the tank.  The difference is usually a result of a changing economy and consumer confidence.
Most people who start out on a sales career are hungry to learn.  They take classes, a few optional but most required.  Think about that for a moment.  If you were going to work on an assembly line building cars and your job was to install only the right side driver’s door, just how much training would you require?  Not much.  But if you wanted to progress and learn how to install the passenger side door, you might need additional training.  If you wanted to learn how to build and install the engine, a lot more training.  But you install just the driver’s side door.  You are paid regularly and you occasionally get a raise usually when everyone else receives one even if one of your doors you installed happens to fall of the car while it is in operation.  And life goes on.

It’s 1990 and another person, YOU, start out on your sales career and you “learn the ropes” either through training or by one-on-one instructions from someone willing to teach you “the ropes” or both.  Why would someone be willing to teach you “the ropes?”  It may be that person’s “job”, or that person may be teaching out of the kindness of his or her heart or both.
That was 1990, today is 2011, 21 years later.  It is easy to identify with 1990 or 2011 but what about the period in between?  Can you imagine what that time frame might represent in regards to a person’s sales career?

Most people, certainly not you, start and eventually finish and the days in between are rarely different than the first couple of days when they started.  They sold like this in 1990 and it may have worked, why change now?  Why go to training, I have heard it all before?  What could someone teach me now I have not been doing for 21 years?
Let’s say YOU need open heart surgery.  Which surgeon would you want operating on you?  A surgeon who learned the practice 21 years ago and then rested on what the surgeon thought he or she knew?  Or would you want someone who over the past 21 years stayed on top of the profession and then operated on you using the latest and newest techniques?  I’ll wait for your answer….

Is it really any different in sales?  If you are reading this, I seriously doubt you are selling a spatula; instead you are probably selling life insurance, automobiles, homes, furniture, appliances, etc. 
Do products change?  When I was a kid people wanted a car that took them from point A to point B and how cool is this, it had an FM radio and air conditioning, WOW!  Now cars park themselves and have computers and television screens not to mention a sound system that would knock your socks off.

Almost every product, unless they do not or need not be improved upon, increased in its function and use and usually increased in its cost to the consumer.  Let’s agree that prices go UP!  If prices go UP and the economy is going DOWN, is it possible to still sell a car or house or whatever using the same methods when the amount of money coming into a household decreases while the prices increase?
Something has to change – YOU!  How do you change?  Typically you will discover if you take a serious look.  This is not the first time business and/or the economy has changed.  Someone has gone through this long before you are forced to experience the change.  What did those folks do to change with a changing economy or innovative product line?  Some changed and experienced success; others - fell by the wayside because they either failed to change with the economy or refused to learn how to deal with a changing economy.  Worst still, they were satisfied with the status quo.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STATUS QUO!  You cannot stand still.  You are either moving forward or you are being left behind.  The later means you are going backwards.
There are good habits and there are bad habits.  In sales a good habit learned in 1990 may be a bad habit in 2011; nothing every stays the same.  Some people start their career with one huge bad habit – taking only the courses that are required.  Required courses will get you started and keep you legal but they will not take you to where you want to go.  They are usually required to meet some organizational requirement to keep you legal not to improve your skills.

Example:  In real estate sales, the government requires a licensee to take a specific number of required hours of training; let’s say 12 hours a year.  Do those 12 hours enable you to become better at sales, better at understanding people, better at negotiating, better at relationship building?  Or do those 12 hours keep you abreast of legal issues that may keep you out of trouble but rarely teaches you how to help you better find solutions for your real estate customers?
What specific classes have you recently attended to help you better understand a changing economy?  What specific classes have you attended to help you better understand foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties?  What classes have you recently attended to help you better understand the ever changing technology facing every industry?  What specific classes have you recently attended that you were not required to attend?  And…what class did you attend to improve your attitude?  In most cases, not many. 

Thus the reason that fewer than 20% of any sales force makes 80% of the sales.  The 20% does the homework and training required to stay ON top of the profession not just the minimum required to stay IN the profession.

In my opinion the best way to work at mastering your trade is to teach it.  Not what happened 30 years ago but what must happen today to stay atop of your profession.  When you teach, you learn.  When you teach, others learn.  When you teach your profession becomes that much better than what it otherwise might be.  The question is this:  What are you doing to improve yourself and your profession?  If you find it difficult to answer this question, you need to give serious thought to your self-education program and update it.  You do have one, right?  Some may have to initiate it.  No one is going to force you to learn except you.  Need more be said?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 2011 Market Update
One of the key drivers of homes sales, the employment rate, is beginning to show promising signs of a turnaround. The four-week average for jobless claims, as of November 19, was 394,250, a drop of 3,250 from the previous four weeks, and at the lowest levels since April. Consumer confidence also rose 15 points in the last month, and is now at its highest point since July of this year. Eric Green, Chief Market Economist at TD Securities Inc. said, “The trend remains very constructive. Jobless claims are back below 400,000, which seems to be the pivot point in terms of a strengthening labor market as opposed to a weakening one.”
In addition to improving employment conditions, home affordability also improved as interest rates fell further, opening the door for more first-time home buyers who accounted for 34% of the sales in October, an increase from 32% last month and last year. The western United States saw the greatest increase in home sales, which were up 4.4% month to month and up over 15% from last year.
A strengthening job market, along with encouraging signs from the housing sector, including a 10% jump in pending sales for October, are strong economic forces. While mortgage lending still remains a challenge, these forces may send a signal to banks to relax lending regulations and allow for a more rapid recovery.
Home Sales
in millions
Existing homes sales improved 1.4% in October, or to an annual pace of 4.97 million, a 13.5% increase from October of last year. Even more dramatic, was the jump in pending home sales, which surged in October by 10.4% from September, and were up 9.2% from October 2010. This jump in pending sales could lead to a strong fourth quarter as signs continue to point to a pent-up demand brought on by current lending conditions of
mortgage providers.
Home Price
in thousands

The national median home price in the U.S. saw a small decline in October to $162,500, from $165,800 in September. This number can be affected by the sale of distressed properties, which typically sell at discounted prices. Distressed properties accounted for 28% of homes sales in October. Yet despite a drop in the median price from last September, the Federal Housing Finance Authority reported that seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.2% in the third quarter from the second quarter in 2011, which could be an early sign of appreciating home prices.

Inventory- Month's Supply
in months

By the end of October, the total number of homes on the market had fallen 2.2% to 3.33 million homes, which represents 8 months of inventory at the current sales pace. Since a record high of 4.58 million homes in July 2008, the inventory of homes for sale has been steadily declining. When homes sell faster than they come on the market, the market comes from its current favor toward buyers into balance or in favor of sellers. This can trigger an appreciation in home prices and lead the way to a stronger recovery.
Source: National Association of Realtors
Interest Rates
Mortgage rates continue to push lower, dropping to 3.98% from 4.23% in October of 2010, offering historic affordability to today’s home buyers. While mortgage lending conditions continue to be a challenge, more and more people are seeing the advantage of buying a home sooner rather than later. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years. We hope this indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent affordability conditions.”

This Month's Video
Topics For Home Owners, Buyers & Sellers
When first-time home buyers decide they are ready to buy, it is important for them to begin the process by carefully assessing their values, wants, and needs—both for the short and long term. This is a critical step since consultation sessions normally start with the buyers’ values. Afterward, buyers can explore their wants and needs and, once defined, determine actual criteria.
A recent study shows how important the following home-buying factors were to buyers:
    • List Price: 72%
    • Location: 69%
    • Neighborhood: 55%
    • Floor Plan: 37%
    • Square Footage: 28%
    • Schools: 22%
By having the home-buying criteria in mind before walking into a consultation, buyers are off to a better start when meeting with their real estate agent. The consultation allows buyers to fill in any missing gaps within their values, wants, and needs.
Brought to you by KW Research. For additional graphs and details, please see the This Month in Real Estate PowerPoint Report.
The opinions expressed in This Month in Real Estate are intended to supplement opinions on real estate expressed by local and national media, local real estate agents and other expert sources. You should not treat any opinion expressed in This Month in Real Estate as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of opinion. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind. All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. All investments involve some degree of risk. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in This Month in Real Estate.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Law of Attraction Re-Visited

Nuggets For The Noggin
The Law of Attraction Re-Visited
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, December 5, 2011

What does the Law of Attraction really mean?  That you tend to have come into your life more of what you think about most.

If you continually discuss illness, you tend to have more illness come into your life either through you or near you as in family and friends.

If you continually discuss financial problems, you tend to continue to have financial problems and maybe even go deeper into debt.

In sales, if you continually discuss how unreasonable your customers are, they not only become more unreasonable you find more just like them; or you don’t find any customers at all primarily because you have also become unreasonable.

In golf, (had to bring that in) if you think about the lake, the bunker, the trees, the out-of-bounds, three putts, etc, you will definitely find more of them and more often than you want.  Think about long straight drives, high soft shots into the green and sinking putts and that is exactly what you will receive.  Certainly not every time but the more you think about what you want, the less you will receive what you do not want.

MORE IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION:  People and situations come and go in your life; they have in mine; oftentimes we are totally unaware of when they come and go.  Example:  You see and like a certain type of car, there are not many on the roads and you want one.  You buy one and then as if by magic that same type and maybe even the same color as your car seems to suddenly appear everywhere you go.  Were they there before or did you just not notice them or as said, “they suddenly appeared.”  Actually they were there all along, you simply were unaware.

This same principle applies to people passing through your life.  Someone once said that we should have the attitude that we can learn from everyone we come in contact with; both good and bad.  In fact it was suggested that you imagine the letters WCILFTP tattooed on their foreheads; What Can I Learn From This Person?

If that were the case, how might your life be different?  The same is true from the books you read, the CDs/DVDs you listen/watch and unfortunately the television you watch.  WHAT CAN YOU LEARN BY DOING SO?

In a recent class on goal setting the instructor asked that everyone write down what they don’t want.  I just sat there.  She then asked me why I wasn’t writing.  I told her that I cannot think of “stuff” I don’t want since I focus on what I do want, really.  Why would you ever want to concentrate on what you don’t want?  I discovered that was the point of her exercise as she then instructed the class to throw away their lists.  That such thoughts are meaningless and can be very destructive.

When you become someone who is constantly aware of your surroundings you discover all sorts of wonderful and oftentimes life-changing (hate that phrase as it is so over used) events, people, situations, books, CDs, DVDs, training classes, etc.

Exercise:  Read this and then try it.  Close your eyes.  Clear your mind of all the “stuff” you are thinking about, really, clear your mind.  Imagine that there are only three people left on Earth you being one of them.  Your survival will depend on two of you working together.  One person is positive, energetic, honest, has integrity, is learning based, and goal oriented.  The other constantly whines, looks for disasters, lies, cheats, looks for the gloom and doom, and has no direction.  You have the ability to choose to be with one over the other.  GOOD QUESTION:  Who would you choose?  EVEN BETTER QUESTION:  Who would the other two choose?  Hmmmmmm?

This exercise is similar to the Native American story about the elder tribal chief telling the little boy the story about another little boy who had two wolves inside of him, one vicious, one peaceful.  When the little boy asked which one survived, the chief said the one he fed the most. 

The Law of Attraction in real life.  About seven years ago I came in contact with a book entitled “What’s The Big Secret” by Michael Dunn.  It was so powerful that I read it several times.  When I had the opportunity to add toys or candy to less fortunate children’s Christmas bags, I instead put a copy of the book in the bags and addressed a note to the children’s parents or guardians that read:  “We can give a fish to a hungry person or we can teach a hungry person how to fish.  This book will teach anyone who reads it how to fish.  Merry Christmas.  Santa”

I do not know what happened as a result of those books; I like to think at least one person read it and at least one child is better off today than he or she might otherwise be. 

Now for the “rest of the story.”  About two weeks ago something caused me to pull “What’s The BIG Secret” from the book shelf and gave it to someone to read.  Prior to Hurricane Katrina I had become friends with Michael Dunn and he and a group of local residents would regularly meet to discuss what I have later come to realize was something Wallace Wattles wrote in 1910 in “The Science of Getting Rich.”  Wattles repeatedly referred to “thinking in a certain way.”  That is what the group focused on, thinking in a certain way as described in “What’s The BIG Secret.”  Sadly Katrina brought an end to those meetings and we lost touch with each other.  Then only days after removing the book from the shelf, I received a call from someone I did not know asking for a personal referral in regards to Michael Dunn the author who she was considering as a personal coach.  A coincidence?  Then a week later I receive a call from Michael Dunn who I had not spoken with in some time (years) asking to “just” meet with me which we did.  Another coincidence or The Law of Attraction at work?

Michael and I talked for well over an hour; no agenda, just talked.  Looking back, we both spoke but I think I was doing more listening because what Michael was saying was causing me to think.  Not superficially think; the conversation caused me to really think – deeply.  During the conversation Michael suddenly began painting a picture of something I had just said in passing.  The picture was vivid, it was HUGE, and it was what I should have been doing for the past several years and for one reason or another had not.  It was an amazing experience.

This is important, at least to me.  After about 90 minutes of conversation, I was no longer the person I was just 90 short minutes prior to our meeting.  I would say that is life-changing.

There are life-changing events around us at all times if we just pay attention to what is around us.  This year I suffered a mild heart attack, in fact I didn’t know I was having one but it resulted in open heart surgery.  Shortly thereafter I lost a teammate and personal confident to a heart attack.  More recently I lost a teammate and friend who felt a change was needed and made it.  And then I met with Michael Dunn. 

All of those events were on my life’s path but as they occurred, the path literally branched out in two directions (the vicious wolf, the peaceful wolf).  We each have that choice every day of our lives.  Unfortunately most of us do not realize (1) there is a fork in the road and then (2) we do not even realize which fork we had subconsciously chosen until we are far down the road.  We simply do not pay attention.  

In three out of the four instances above I chose to be positive and move on and did.  For the fourth situation, meeting with Michael Dunn, the jury is still out.  It is hard to imagine something being more important than suffering a heart attack; I can assure you that meeting Michael Dunn was or could be that important.  As I said, the jury is still out.

What jury verdict are you waiting for?  I believe we are put on this planet to make a difference.  What kind of difference are you making?  Are you sure?  How do you know?  Upon whose lives have you made a positive difference?  Upon whose lives have you made a negative difference?  When might you have put money over common sense?  When have you put revenge over understanding and forgiveness?   An easy way to answer these questions is to answer this question:

Do you brighten a room when you enter or when you leave?
I’m just saying……

If you need help on your attitude and who doesn’t, read Jeffrey Gitomer’s “The LittleGold Book of YES!Attitude”; more than once and sooner rather than later.  Ben Franklin was a great man still he recognized that his worse problem was his own attitude and the way people perceived him; not good.  He spent the next year and the rest of his life working on his beliefs one belief or character trait a week for 13 weeks and then repeated the process every quarter.  (For You-Know-Who, there are 13 weeks in a quarter.)  The result, Ben Franklin became a “new man” and the people around him recognized it and responded accordingly.  It is The Law of Attraction at work!  It can and will work for you.  Read “What’s The BIG Secret?”

Monday, November 28, 2011


Gary Keller in the book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) said that everyone should identify what their BIG WHY is and then everything they do should be done with the idea of achieving your lifetime BIG WHY. 

I have been in the work force since 1957, I really did start when I was 12 working in my Uncle’s drug store as a stock boy.  I have always taught the importance of having personal goals and Gary’s book put the exclamation mark on the real importance of having written goals and especially identifying the one really BIG goal that is your BIG WHY.

The following goals are more of my past TO DO’S or TO BECOME’S; they are what they are; I think you will agree I “could” do a lot worse.  They are identified by “bullets” as to not put more importance on one over the other.  These are not goals in the strictest sense of the word where the goals should be measurable and have a specific achievement date; they are more of works-in-progress:

·       I want to Fail Forward as in Failing Forward by Dr. John Maxwell

·       I want to say YES! far more frequently and make it part of my daily life as Jeffrey Gitomer defined in The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude.

·       I want to be known as a Professional as Bill Wiserma defined in The Power of Professionalsm,

·       I want my friends to think so highly of me they would refer all of their family and friends to me just as Bob Burg describes in his book Endless Referrals and Jeffrey Gitomer in his book The Little Black Book of Connections

·       I want people to trust me like Jeffrey Gitomer writes in The Little Teal Book of Trust,

·       I want to live at the summit as Dr. Tom Hill described in Living at the Summit, and maybe even write about me in a future book by Dr. Hill in his second or third version of Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul.

·       I want to “leave a legacy” as Jim Paluch described in Leaving a Legacy at

·       I want to be and stay “motivated” like Tamara Lowe suggested in Get Motivated at

·       I want people to know that when they talk to me they hear what I think, not what they want to hear, lessons learned from Fierce Conversations and Susan Scott

·       I want my life to be “gossip” free and people know gossip is not welcome when talking with me like Bob Burg and Laurie Palatnik wrote in Gossip,

·       I want to be ever vigilant for new and better ways to do things like Marshall Goldsmith said when he wrote What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!”

·       I would like for me and everyone I work with or for, but especially me, to be “all hands on deck” as Joe Tye describes in All Hands On Deck

·       I want people to know the 5 important things about me and my beliefs as defined by Jim Paluch in 5 Important Things at

·       I want to get what I want, who doesn’t, just as Jeffrey Gitomer describes in The Little Green Book of How To Get What You Want,

·       I want what I do to be on purpose, not an accident just as Tommy Newberry wrote about in Success Is Not An Accident at

·       I want BIG dreams just like Joe Tye said in Your Dreams Are Too Small,

·       When I win, and I want to win often and BIG, I want to do so without intimidation just as Bog Burg wrote in Winning Without Intimidation,

·       I never want to lose sight of my 12+ deep core action values; Joe Tye helped me define these in The 12 Core Action Values,

·       I know I don’t know everything therefore I want to simply understand the questions, much like Debbie Ford suggests in The Right Questions,

·       I definitely want to think for a change, right Dr. John Maxwell?  Thinking For A Change at

·       In the end I want to be known as Peggy McColl writes in Being A Dog With A Bone, and one who always ate the biggest and ugliest frog first and every day like Brian Tracy Eat That Frog!

·       And how cool would it be when people say they learned something on that they may not have learned had it not been for yours truly and then they would say AHA! Like Bill Wiserma in The BIG AHA!

You know I could go on.  What you don’t see above is that I want to be like the folks on Survivor, the Great Race, So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol (that would be me anyway); you get the point.  These shows are probably fun to watch but if that is all you do they can also be like invisible mooring lines to your personal growth and development firmly holding you to your invisible dock on your invisible ship of success with no particular place to go.  These things are nothing but “time traps” as described by Todd Duncan in Time Traps at

I am hopefully always in my Training Camp in the hopes of not only getting on the Energy Bus but also planning the right Seed as guided by Jon Gordon at

Finally I Never Want To Fight With A Pig, Peter Thomas, because the pig loves it and you both get dirty, right?

What is it that you want to do or become more (or less) of.



Is what I am about to say or do

consistent with me achieving my BIG WHY?

If YES, are you going to do it?

If NO, are you going to avoid doing it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passion - On Target or Misplaced

Nuggets For The Noggin

Passion – On Target or Misplaced
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, November 25, 2011

Unless you live under a rock, you should be aware of the Occupy (you name the street) protest groups around the country if not the world.  Personally I am impressed with the passion of these folks whether you believe it is justified or misdirected.  History is full of passion misdirected. 

Where can you find passion like the protesters have?  Let me see… 

Go to almost any university on Saturday morning/afternoon/evening and you see passion amongst the supporters of their local football team tailgating in parking lots across America.  The same applies to the National Football League once a week. 

Look at the hundreds of thousands of supporters for political candidates who they believe in or what they support. 

Not easily found are the folks who support charities by giving of their time and/or their money for a cause they believe in. 

Think of Ryan Hreljac.  Who is Ryan Hreljac?  When Ryan Hreljac was just six years old, he set on the task of raising enough money to build (drill) a well to bring clean water to people who needed it. Today, aged 16 (2008) and relentlessly pursuing his childhood dream, Ryan's Well Foundation has built 365 wells (now 700 wells) - serving over 500,000 (now 736,569) people with clean water - supported sanitation, health and hygiene services in 14 countries around the world, is working with partners such as Matt Damon's H2O Africa Foundation, and has been featured on CNN Heroes and Oprah.  Keller Cares (Keller Williams Realty International) also contributed to his foundation to provide clean drinking water.  See for yourself at: 

You do not have to look very far to see and witness passion.  There are hundreds if not thousands of stories like Ryan Hreljac’s; you just have to look for them. 

Right or wrong, the perception of the “occupiers of (you name the street)” is that they want something for nothing.  They want to take from those who “have” instead of providing for themselves.  What could they produce or become if they redirected their passion to self-improvement or improving the plight of others.  If a 6 year old can provide safe drinking water for hundreds of thousands, what could just one of the occupiers do? 

The real question should be “What are you passionate about?”  Is your passion productive or non-productive?  As an example, if your passion is watching reality television, will you be able to attribute any of that television time to your eventual success (or non-success)?  The same is true of golfing (can’t believe I just wrote that), fishing, hunting, mindless shopping, or becoming an expert couch-potato. 

I am not suggesting that you should not engage in those things that you enjoy but rather are you also engaging in activities that would lead you to achieve the goals you dream of achieving.  The problem is that if you are only dreaming, you are not taking action to achieve those dreams.  That is the one flaw in the Law of Attraction.  Just wishing something to be so will not happen just by dreaming.  Most goals eventually break down to attracting the kind of money you would need in order to make your goals happen.  For example, if your goal is to rid the world of hunger and poverty or find a cure for a disease, that takes money and/or time.  Time you have, money you may not have.  Wallace Wattles wrote in 1910, to help those in poverty, avoid being in poverty yourself – make money and then you personally can do something about poverty, if only by setting the proper example. 

I highly recommend reading “What’s The BIG Secret?” written by Michael Dunn (of Slidell, LA).  The book reminds me of the story about providing hungry people fish to eat or teaching hungry people how to fish for themselves.  This is what Wattles wrote about when he suggested you engage in attaining wealth instead of wishing for wealth; the term “wealth” not necessarily meaning money but rather your goals. 

Have you ever given thought to just $1.00 that you may give to say finding a cure for breast cancer if it became the $1.00 that put the research over the top and found a cure?  Or the $1.00 that enables a 6 year old to drill just one well in Africa? 

It’s difficult to “give” the $1.00 if you first have not made the $1.00 (either in money or time).  In order to make the $1.00 you must redirect your focus and passion to what matters.  The balance occurs when you work towards achieving your goals while at the same time enjoying the activities you enjoy.  When you learn to enjoy your productive passion, you have struck “pay dirt!” 

Action Step: 

Do what you love; love what you do!

Hopefully that “love” will be productive
in one way or another!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trust - Confidence - Reputation


Trust – Confidence – Reputation

Something Very Special

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, November 10, 2011

When you say “Jump”; what percentage of the people actually jump?

What percentage of people would ask; “How high do you want me to jump?” 

What percentage of people would simply ignore you and not ask or do anything? 

I recently received a weekly eZine from Jeffrey Gitomer.  I must give full disclosure by saying I have read every book Gitomer has written and even his eBooks.  I am a fan.  When Gitomer suggested that people should read Harvey Mackay’s new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling In The Real World ( I immediately, without hesitation, went to the Internet and purchased the book; no research, no doubts, no questions, just purchased the book.   

This is not about Mackay’s book although what I have read thus far is outstanding.  I have said that it would be easier to mark the pages that DO NOT contain information I want to remember than to mark all the pages that do – GREAT READ! 

This is about Trust – Confidence – Reputation.  It would be almost impossible for you to like AND trust everyone you meet.  When you do meet that person, it is a special relationship even if the other person does not know who you are.  In this regard I have many long-distance mentors by way of books I have read (Jeffrey Gitomer), DVD’s I have watched (Cheryl Richardson), CD’s I have listened to (Dr. John Maxwell) and the list goes on.  When my many mentors recommend something I usually listen and in most cases I take action.  Purchasing AND reading Mackay’s book is one such example.  I trust the judgment of Jeffrey Gitomer so much that I did not hesitate for one second to purchase the Mackay book.  Gitomer’s email was still on my computer monitor as I ordered the book on another site. 

How does someone get to that point with me?  How would someone get to that point with you?  For Gitomer it occurred rapidly by providing value to me through his books, CD’s, online videos and a live conference.  Do I agree with everything he discusses?  Surprisingly pretty much so.  He thinks like I do and that is scary.  He does not think outside the box; he lives outside the box.  I know sight unseen, that his next book that has not as yet been written let alone published will be an immediate purchase for me regardless of the title or subject – I have that must trust in his products; I usually pre-order his books well in advance of the publishing date. 

Do you know someone like that?  Who is it?  Have they ever been wrong?  Have you ever been disappointed? 

Far more importantly than your answers to the above questions, is this question: Who values and reveres YOU and your opinion and leadership?  Have you ever been wrong?  Have you ever disappointed the people who look up to you?  How do you know? 

There is a term that has become somewhat lost in the vast training programs of Keller Williams® Realty and that is “wealth builder.”  Who are your wealth builders?  In the case of people like Jeffrey Gitomer, Dr. John Maxwell, Dr. Tom Hill, Cheryl Richardson, Joe Tye, Jon Gordon, Bob Burg, Lee Shelton and many more, I am one of their thousands of Wealth Builders – I buy their products – sight unseen and without hesitation.  It is about TRUST!  It is about CONFIDENCE!  It is about their REPUTATION! 

What are you doing to create that kind of TRUST, CONFIDENCE and personal REPUTATION amongst the people you put in your database of people you have met?  What are you doing to create TRUST, CONFIDENCE and personal REPUTATION amongst the people you put in your database of people you have NOT as yet met but would like to meet?  If creating TRUST, CONFIDENCE and your personal REPUTATION with people you hope to buy or sell or refer you to someone they know who might buy or sell using your services is not part of your Personal Development Plan, how will you get them buy? Get them to sell?  Or refer you to someone who will buy or sell real estate through you?  How will you develop YOUR wealth builders? 

The answer is very simple!  You provide value!  Not just sometimes – all the time!  Keep this book title in mind as you grow your business:  What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, written by another of my mentors, Marshall Goldsmith.  (I would suggest you read the book.) 

What are you going to do to provide value to the people you know or would like to know over the next 12 months?  It is not enough to just have your license to sell real estate and then “hope” people will use your services to buy and/or sell real estate.  As Dr. John Maxwell so aptly wrote, “Hope is not an effective strategy!” It might happen once in a while but not on a consistent and predictable basis.  Why would anyone trust you if you do not give them reason to trust you?  Why would anyone have confidence in you if you first have not given them reason to trust you and then develop the confidence that you will do the right thing for them?  Why would anyone feel so confident in your abilities that because of the reputation you have nurtured, they refer their friends and family to you for their real estate needs?  It starts with providing value! 

How do you provide value?  The problem with providing value is twofold.  First, the most common practice is to provide what YOU think is valuable.  Talking about YOU is not providing value to a probable buyer or seller; yet that is exactly what a lot of people in sales do.  The best way to provide value to another person is to ask what they consider valuable; then provide it.  Providing a list of awards you received is not providing value.  Keeping them informed on what is happening in their neighborhood, the real estate market, interest rates, the value of their home, or how to maintain their home, etc is providing something of value.  If the information (value) you provide is accurate, you develop trust in what you do.  Create trust; create confidence.  Trust + Confidence = Reputation.  A good reputation equals sales success as a by-product; not the main product which is the value you provide.  

All of my personal mentors repeat the same principle: People will do business with and refer people to those people they know, like and trust.  This is not just going to happen; you MUST WORK ON IT!   

The 80/20 Rule once again.  80% of your peers keep doing the same thing that the 80% of people do and yet expect different results.  20% of your peers watch what the 80% do and then do something else or different; that is why the 20% of your peers do 80% of the work.  20% of your peers probably read, take courses (courses not necessarily required to take to keep a license), attend seminars, conventions, family reunions (Keller Williams) and other such activities to become the consummate professional.  In this regard, I would suggest you read The Power of Professionalism written by Bill Wiserma,  You will not think of the word Professional the same way ever again. 

ACTION STEP (only one) – Create a Self-Improvement Development Plan.  Time block your day to include at least 30 minutes every day for the purpose of improving your knowledge and ultimately yourself.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Nuggets For The Noggin
Dodging Bullets
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, November 4, 2011

There are two ways to “dodge bullets”; one is to be quick on your feet and learn to “bob and weave”;  the other is to avoid being shot at in the first place. 

The later is the best way to handle objections as well; address them first and early in your conversations before they are brought up by your customers.

Teaching moment:  Imagine writing an Agreement to Purchase on a home that is about 20 years old.  At some point in time three major events occurred during the life of the home; Hurricane Katrina, an addition being added to the back of the home and energy efficient windows being installed.  

These should be “red flags” for YOU and YOUR buyer?
  • Katrina, was there any damage, did it flood, was there any mold in the home, was the roof replaced, etc.?  These conditions are typically addressed in the Seller’s Property Disclosure and Mold Disclosure forms.
  • Windows.  Most windows are installed and come with a warranty.  The more expensive windows usually have a longer warranty.  In this case the windows were installed approximately 10 years ago.  Several of the windows have leaks between the double pains and moisture has clouded the windows.  You have been told that the windows are covered under their original warranty and the warranty DOES NOT include the installation of a replacement window(s).  The replacement of 8 windows would be expensive for the labor but if the windows themselves are not covered by the warranty, the cost could be in the thousands of dollars.  Logic would tell you to verify the warranty information with the original window company.  It was confirmed that the warranty is still in effect and would cover the replacement but not the labor to install the windows.  Still expensive but not outrageously expensive.
  • Addition:  The addition to the home showed separation and settling of the foundation.  The owners had the addition professionally raised and sealed. 

The Seller’s Property Disclosure and Mold Disclosure were satisfactory to the Buyer.  If these documents were prepared in error, and there is no indication or suggestion that they were, the Louisiana Law of Redhibition would come into play if known defects were intentionally not disclosed.
The windows were in clear sight so even if they were not disclosed on the Seller’s Property Disclosure because they were in plain sight they would not have to be included on the Disclosure.  You and I may not agree with that premise but that is common practice and acceptance.  The buyer had every opportunity to see the damaged windows as did the buyer’s home inspector.  The seller agreed to pay a portion of the labor costs to have the 8 windows replaced and the buyer agreed.  This should be the end of the problem.  Here, however, is where going “three deep” in your questioning can help you avoid “being shot at” as compared to “dodging bullets” after they have been fired.  The window company had assumed that the owners who had the windows installed were still the owners of the home when you asked the question on behalf of your buyer.  The best advice anyone could ever give another is NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.  In this case the warranty terminated when the home was sold by the THEN owners to the owners of the home now.  Therefore the windows were NOT covered.  This is true with a great many warranties; they are NOT transferrable unless so stated in writing.  Had the agent, in this case YOU, not asked the question in regard to the warranty being transferrable and given there was not sufficient time to replace the new windows prior to the scheduled closing, can you see where this would have erupted AFTER the closing and AFTER the new owner took occupancy?

In regards to the additional room.  The fact that it had settled is not that unusual but that fact should raise an additional red flag.  Who added the room?  Was it added by the homeowner or did a professional contractor add the room?  More importantly, was the addition properly permitted when built and was it properly inspected?

To demonstrate how this could affect the sale I use my own home.  I was aware that I was purchasing a home that had a serious fire and the owner had converted the home from a one story to a two story.  I purchased the home at a time when Seller’s Disclosures were not in play and it was more of a “buyer beware” attitude throughout the real estate industry.  There were two skylights in the den area which were not part of the second floor addition after the fire.  There was no reason to think that the skylights were improperly installed.  I had lived in the home for more than 25 years and the skylights had not leaked until very recently.  The skylight flanges had rusted and required replacing.  Upon installing the new skylights, the installer pointed out that one of the two skylights was not installed according to building codes now or at the time they were installed.  The choice was to replace the window with no warranty or rebuild the roof removing the skylight entirely.  Apparently the second skylight was built too close to a roof valley vastly increasing the odds that it will eventually leak as it did.

On a related issue, it is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously burned by not conducting thorough walk-thru inspections prior to closing or leasing of properties.  You owe it to your owners of your listings (both for sale and for lease) AND to yourself by validating the condition of the property before transfer of ownership or renters moving in.  How can you possibly arbitrate damages to the property when discovered after possession if not addressed prior to possession?  You cannot!  In the age of digital cameras it is so easy to take a lot of photographs and file them on very inexpensive flash drives.  Then when an issue rears its ugly head, you have proof of the condition of the property prior to possession.

If you want to avoid rounded shoulders and a flat head, learn to think outside the box, ask a lot of questions.  When you think you have asked all the questions you could possibly ask, think again, ask more questions.

What is with the “rounded shoulders and flat heat” remark?  Question:  Why do REALTORS have round shoulders and flat heads?  Answer:  When you ask them a question they shrug their shoulders.  When you tell them the answer they slap their forehead. 
Learn to avoid being shot at
so you don’t have to dodge the bullets later!