Thursday, March 20, 2014

Business Cards


By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown

Could not help but notice several posts on Facebook regarding "new" business cards.  From what I could tell the reason there were "new" was because of their size.  Here are my thoughts on business cards based upon my over 33 years in the real estate business.

You have to ask yourself, why would anyone want to keep my business card when I give it to them?  Seriously, when people receive hundreds of business cards, why would yours stand out to the point they would want to keep it?

Most business cards are nothing more than examples of sameness with very few exceptions.  Here are some of the features I have noticed over the years:

Starting in the mid to late 80's agents started to include their photo on the card.  The photos were "real" photos of "real" people showing them as they really are not some of the glamour shot type photos you see today.  In fact some of the photos are actually shocking and you have to ask yourself what some of these people are selling, real estate or sexual favors.

Most cards are printed only on one side so getting all the information you need to convey on one side of the card is most difficult.  So sacrifices are made and the end result leaves all the pertinent data in very small print and people who have problems reading them usually don't so what was accomplished?  For example, look at almost any business card you have and/or receive.  Can you "easily" read the telephone number?  Can you easily read the email address especially if it contains underscores and dashes in the address?  Can you easily read the web address IF a web address was even included?  Again, why do we all seem to want to make accessing the most important information on the card so difficult.

Some people still refrain from including their photo on their cards, why?  This is especially true for people NOT in the real estate industry.  Some people have a knack for remembering people by their names and their faces without any help.  But most of us are not that fortunate.  When a card does not contain a photograph you are relying on the person you give it to that they will remember you by your name and hopefully your face but that would be a rare case.  When you see a face and a name it is much easier to recognize and remember.

Does your card tell the reader exactly what you do or sell?  Most don't and leave it up to the recipient to remember what it is you do and why they gave you their card.

Is there something "catchy" on your card that draws attention to your card as compared to other cards they received?  Most do not.  For example a lot of real estate agents use the standard title of REALTOR®, or Real Estate Consultant or something similar.  Why not something like "I Sell Real Estate" or "Selling New Orleans", something that makes the recipient say "Oh!".
It still goes back to the question, why would someone want to keep the card you gave them when they receive hundreds of cards and a lot of them are from other real estate agents?  If you can't answer the question, you need to change your card.

Here are some thoughts on memorable business cards and the mere fact that I can recall them after so many years should tell you something.

  • Vickie Carlton, RE/MAX in Dallas Texas.  She has a single red rose theme.  Her business card was black (before black cards were popular) and on it she had a single red long stem rose.  I received her card and met her back in the early 90's yet I remember Vickie, what company she is with and the red rose.
  • Sandra Nichols, owns her own company in Montgomery.  She is known as "The Hat Lady".  I don't know how many hats she owns but it is a lot.  I received a Christmas card that shows a lone pine tree in a snow covered field and there were hats decorating the tree.  I did not have to open the card to know who sent it.  How's that for being memorable.
  • Jeffrey Gitomer, author, speaker.  His business cards are metal coins.  How could you possible forget a card that is a metal coin?
  • Jeannine Reeves, dentist.  Her business card was also a very thin dental floss.  Again how could you possible forget that card?
  • Yours truly.  I had two memorable cards, at least that is what people have told me when they tell me after 10 years they still have my card.  The first card was a Baseball Card style.  I had my photo taken in a red graduation cap and gown and gave me the title of Doctor of Real Estate and the reverse side of the card gave my statistics just like a baseball card.
  • Yours truly.  This was probably my best.  I took a photograph of a bottle Pride furniture polish and Joy dish washing soap.  It was an attractive photo and took up the entire back of my business card.  When I would give someone the card it would go with an explanation, "This is a card you will want to keep in your wallet (or purse). When other people start showing you photographs of their pride and joys (dogs, cats, kids), you tell them let me show you my pride and joy and then show them your card."  It always got a good laugh but more importantly people kept it.

Some agents have put Tip Charts on the back of their cards thinking that people would want to keep it to make it easier to calculate tips such as those you give at restaurants.

Some agents have mortgage calculator tables but frankly I found them confusing at best and would not recommend it.

You want to have your card stand out.  You want it to be memorable.  You want it to where people will keep it because it adds value like the tip chart.  You want YOUR card to take up space in a wallet or purse and NOT your competition!

Here are some thoughts regarding the use of a business card.
You should never give your card immediately upon meeting someone.  It signals "I'm selling!"  Giving someone a business card should be the last thing you do almost as an afterthought.  You should use your card to get their card.

If you are working with someone that you consider special or a very good prospect, you might want to leave your cell phone OFF of your business card.  Then as you begin to hand them your card you take it back and say, "I feel real good that I should be able to help you so let me put my cell phone number on your card so you can reach me almost immediately."  You then take out your pen and write your cell phone number on the card.  If someone did that to you, how would that make you feel?  I would feel special but then that's just me.

If you are meeting someone for the first time and you exchange cards, do not expect them to keep it.  So you immediately write them a hand written thank you note and include your card and get it into the mail immediately.  Just say how much you enjoy meeting them and if there is ever an opportunity to help them in their business (if that applies) you will do so and include your business card with your note.  Two things happen when you do this.  First they are impressed that you would take the time and it will give them a feeling of being valuable.  Second, they will most likely ask themselves why they have not done this to the people they meet.  In either case it sets you up as the consummate professional.

Just some random thoughts about business cards.  I could be wrong but I seriously doubt it.  By the way, here is the photo of my Pride and Joy just for you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The REALTOR In the Drawer

Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown

Name a Doctor.  Name another Doctor.  Name another one.

Name a Beautician.  Name another one.  And another.

Name a Truck.  Name another one.

Our brains are like a huge file cabinet made up of drawers.  Each drawer has a label on it that indicates what is stored in each drawer.  The drawers are very very small.  The Doctor drawer for example tends to hold one name and maybe two.  When you look at the contents of each drawer you will discover that this is true for every drawer.  There is only room in each drawer for one, two and in some cases three items.  The contents of each drawer are not always on your mind, they are there to be recalled when needed; there just is not enough room for more than two or three and there is no need for more than two or three.

Pick any subject, a professional, or a consumer product and you can prove this theory correct or incorrect.  Most people can name one or two things, Coke and Pepsi.  Chevy and Ford.  Wonder Bread and . . .I had to really think about this one, Bunny Bread.

Think of aspirin.  Most people would say Tylenol or Excedrin.  At one time, everyone would have said Bayer.  Bayer aspirin clearly had the top position in consumer’s minds but what happened.  Along came Tylenol and Excedrin and they began a marketing campaign and over time became the number one and number two most named aspirin products on the market.  Tylenol even survived the tampering scare to maintain presence of mind.

This theory is especially true when it comes to professions.  Plumbers, electricians, heat and air conditioning repair, doctors, dentists and of course REALTORSâ.  Ask the general public to name a REALTORâ.  Most can name one.  Some, believe it or not cannot even name the REALTORâ they last used.  What does that tell you?  It tells me that most REALTORSâ fail to maintain contact with people they have already worked with.  Does that make any sense? 

Whether you are an experienced real estate agent or a newly licensed agent, your objective should be very clear – you want to become or maintain the number one position in the consumer’s mind.  You want to be the ONLY REALTORâ in the mind’s REALTORâ Drawer!  When someone thinks of real estate, you want him or her to think of you!

How do achieve this objective?  First you MUST understand that it is not a one-time activity, it is an all-time process.  The process must be systematic and performed without fail.    REALTORâ are like a lot of businesses in that they tend to engage in marketing and advertising when times are “good” and then stop their marketing and advertising when times are “bad” because income has slowed and there is less money for such activities.  When times are “good” consumers want to buy and sell so why spend a great deal of marketing and advertising dollars to attract customers who are coming to you regardless of your marketing and advertising.  When times are “bad”, consumers need to be made aware of buying and selling opportunities and that is when most people reduce or stop marketing and advertising.  Does that make any sense?  In fact, Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty has repeatedly said, "The only time you can really grow your real estate business is in a down market."  As said, during good markets people come to you whether you advertise/market or not.

It does not matter what business you are in, you want the consumer to think of you when they think of the service or product you represent!  You want to be the ONLY REALTORâ, the only Donut Shop, the only trainer, etc that the consuming public thinks of.  Some people, realizing that a person already has such a person at the top of their mind, make no attempt to supplant that person as Tylenol and Excedrin did with Bayer Aspirin.  Remember most people can name TWO such people, products or services.  You want to become one of the two.  To accomplish this, you may have to start by becoming the THIRD person, product or service they can recall.

It is vitally important to understand that people may already have a dominant name in their Realtorâ Drawer (or Donut Shop Drawer, etc).  Can you think of one person, service or product that you held dearly only to have an incident occur that caused you to never use that person, service or product again?  Everyone has.  We have all gone to a restaurant that we absolutely enjoyed and visited often.  Then suddenly, you have a bad meal, you were treated poorly or there was some incident that has caused you to think differently of the restaurant.  Or you always bought Fords and then you suddenly got a “lemon” and never again bought a Ford.

Some people just “know” the name of a REALTORâ but have no specific loyalty to THAT REALTORâ; they just are "aware” of him or her.  This proves the point that you have a choice to make.  Do you want to become “famous” or do you want to become “successful?”  Famous people are well known whereas successful people are utilized!  You want to be utilized!

Just being a REALTORâ is not enough.  Just being a Ford is not enough.  You have to be very good at what you do or provide and more importantly you must understand that you are only as good as your last activity.  In other words, what have you done for me lately?  Consider the following excerpt from Steve Farber’s book, “The Radical Leap”:

            “Extreme Leadership is what our fragile world so desperately needs right now!”

            “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do!”

“There are three parts:  ‘Do what you love.’  Make sure that your heart is in your work, and that you’re bringing yourself fully and gratefully into everything you do.  If you’re not connected to your own work, you can’t expect to inspire others in theirs.  ‘In the service of people’ will keep you true, honest, and ethical at the very least.  If you’re doing what you love, you’ll make yourself happy.  But Extreme Leadership is not only about you; it’s about your impact on others.  ‘Who love what you do’ doesn’t mean that you find people who love you and then serve them; it means it’s your responsibility to give everyone you serve something to love about you and what you’re doing.  See the difference…?” 


In order to attain the number one position in the consumer’s mind, you must first subscribe to the above excerpt from Steve Farber’s book – you must “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do!”  To accomplish that, you must:

·         Build relationships not just transactions
·         You must get the consumer to KNOW YOU, to LIKE YOU and more importantly, to TRUST YOU!  In this regard, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to read Bob Burg’s books, “Endless Referrals” and “Winning Without Intimidation.” and more recently "Adversaries Into Allies"
·         You must systematically contact through face-to-face contact, mail, telephone or email, the people you do not as yet know but want to get to know and you must do this at least once a month!   (Read the Millionaire Real Estate Agent)
·         You must systematically contact through face-to-face contact, mail, telephone or email, the people you already know and want to get to know better and you must do this at least 33 times a year!  (Read the Millionaire Real Estate Agent)
·         You must also position yourself as a RESOURCE for your customers and potential customers so that they recognize you as a professional in your field and someone from whom they can get vital information they need when they need it.
·         You must bring value to the relationship.  This means that you are not always asking for business but that you are providing your prospects with something of value on a regular basis.
·         You want to position yourself to when a prospect thinks of real estate (or the donut shop, etc), they think of you.

This is not an event – it is a process.  This is not a jaunt across the street – it is a journey across the country.  It is not an on-off-on process – it is an always ON process.

“Do what you love in the service of people

who love what you do!”

Steve Farber – “The Radical Leap”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Silence is NOT Golden; a political statement

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, March, 2013

Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons made famous the song, Silence is Golden and it was definitely a keeper but is silence truly golden?  I think not!

DISCLAIMER:  I normally prepare these Nuggets for the Noggin based on training topics, inspirational idea and/or motivational ideas.  Occasionally I feel the urge and need to write on something other than those topics as is the case for this Nugget.  As a citizen of America first and a disabled veteran second, I feel I have earned the right to voice a political opinion which this is.  If it offends anyone, I will not apologize as it is my right to voice my opinion as it is yours.  I also feel the subject of this Nugget should be if not already agreeable to most Americans; if you continue reading, hopefully you.

I have some questions for everyone:
  • Do you like the 2014 America better than you did the 2008 America? 
  • Are you better off today than you were in 2008? 
  • Do you feel more secure in your own home today or in your home in 2008? 
  • Do you feel America is more respected in 2014 or in 2008?
  • Do you feel your government is looking out for you more in 2014 or more in 2008?
  • Do you feel President Bush lied to you more than President Obama or vice versa?
  • Do you trust your 2014 Government more or your 2008 Government more?
  • Do you feel President Obama is abusing the power of the Presidency by issuing Executive Orders to circumvent Congress?
  • Do you feel the political divide in America has diminished or grown since 2008?
  • Do you think it is right that the government can target its political adversaries such as the IRS has done?
  • Regardless of your position on illegal immigration, do you think America should secure its borders to prevent additional people from ILLEGALLY crossing into the country BEFORE it attempts to resolve the issue of those people already here?
  • Do you honestly believe it is permissible for the IRS to target political adversaries of the reigning President?
  • Do you feel that the administration in office should cooperate in every way with Congressional hearings?
  • Do you feel that in 2014 America has lost its position as a force to be dealt with throughout the world?
  • Do you feel that America should drill for oil and gas and be authorized to build the Keystone Pipeline thus insuring long-term high paying jobs throughout the country instead of relying on foreign oil and gas?

Right now the vast majority of Americans are deafly silent as to what is happening in America in 2014.  Do you feel that is a good thing or a bad thing?  In my opinion, and it is exactly that - an opinion, Americans are fiddling while Washington and the Country are burning much like Nero and Rome.

Over the past five years there have been scandals, one after another, yet the national news media seems to be a willing accomplice to covering up or simply not addressing these scandals as it has in Administrations prior to President Obama's Administration. 

In case you have forgotten your American Civics lessons assuming you attended a school that still teaches civics, here is the First Amendment to the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What will it take for the Free Press to actually DO ITS JOB!  Case in point is the attack on the Embassy in Benghazi.  It was obvious to most clear thinking people that the supposed anti-Islam video had nothing to do with the attack and that it WAS an attack and not a peaceful demonstration gone amuck.  Because the truth of the attack was never brought to the attention of the American people, it is quite possible that an election for the office of the President was determined due to the lack of adequate and truthful information regarding the attack.  The Free Press did little to nothing to research the facts of this attack.  If it had it would have discovered that the attack was pre-planned, set to occur on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States and was conducted by terrorists NOT DEMONSTRATORS!  They would have also discovered a total lack of responsibility on the part of the President, The Secretary of Defense, and The Secretary of State during the attack, after the attack and certainly the days, weeks and months leading up to the attack.  And as a veteran it truly pains me to say that the military failed to take adequate precautions and planning given the significance of the 9/11 approaching anniversary date in a country that had recently experienced attacks on the same embassy or the military was given specific orders NOT to prepare or get involved; either way it is despicable and unacceptable.

For weeks following the attack, we as a country were led to believe by the Obama Administration that this was all the result of a video on YouTube.  I would like to ask, has anyone actually seen this video?  I haven't.  Recent reports prepared by a bi-partisan Congress and Senate clearly indicate that the attack WAS pre-planned and that the Administration WAS asked to increase the security at the Benghazi Embassy but declined the requests (plural).

But here we have the American FREE Press who it seems COLLECTIVELY, with very few exceptions, decided NOT to investigate Benghazi and therefore left most Americans in the dark.  If you, like most Americans, get their news from one of the three major news networks, you probably still have no idea what this Nugget is all about because IF the reports are correct, on the Monday and Tuesday immediately following the release of the Congressional and Senate Reports, there was ZERO COVERAGE regarding the information in the reports.  At the same time they spent most of their allotted news time covering the traffic tie up on the bridge between New Jersey and New York.  Why?  Because in my mind, Hillary Clinton has made it obvious that she is running for President in 2016 and most likely Governor Chris Christy will as well.  The two at this moment lead their respective parties' polls in that regard.  So it is very clear to me that the national news media once again has COLLECTIVELY made a decision to cover one story that casts doubt on the presidential qualifications of one candidate, Christi, while at the same time saying nothing that would cast far more serious doubts against the qualifications of the other, Clinton; an incident where she failed to respond and 4 people were murdered and numerous others injured.  And if I might add, has gone out of her way and the Obama Administrations' way to prevent those witness to testify before Congress and who has stonewalled the attempts by Congress to obtain copies of communications leading up to, during and following the attack.

Is that the kind of FREE press the Founders envisioned for America?  I seriously doubt it.

I have one more question for you since you have read this far.  What do you suppose would have happened in the 1930's Germany had a FREE Press been able to or reported on the activities of Adolph Hitler?  It is quite possible that World War II would have never happened.  What would have happened if the world had known that millions upon millions of people were being murdered in gas chambers throughout Europe?

I am not attempting to compare 1930 Germany (although there are some startling similarities) with 2014 America but the consequences of NOT ACCURATELY INVESTIGATING AND REPORTING THE NEWS are very much the same; people in power feel they can do what they please without any checks and balances in place or anyone really being held responsible for their actions; or not.

This attitude will continue in America because it is very obvious to me that Americans are far more interested in American Idol, Duck Dynasty, Justin Beaver, Miley Cyrus and other reality television shows than to paying attention to what is happening in Washington and around the world.  Things like Americans being targeted by the IRS; the Federal Government's selling of guns to drug cartels; the NSA spying on Americans and governmental leaders around the world; and the Justice Department NOT investigating crimes possibly committed by the Government, etc.  Americans are becoming willing accomplices with the national news media in the gradual demise of our country all the while fiddling on their collective fiddles.  Want more proof?

According to the Saul Alinsky approach, there are 8 levels of control, and by the way Hillary Clinton did a thesis on the Alinsky book, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, just so you know. to Alinsky, there are 8 levels of control that MUST be obtained before you are able to create a SOCIALIST STATE. The first is the most important.

  • Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people.  (Obamacare)
  • Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible. Poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.  (The percentage of people receiving benefits from the government and paying little to no federal income taxes now exceed those who are NOT receiving benefits AND who are PAYING federal income taxes.  And the percentage of Americans who are NOT actively engaged in work is at a record high. )
  • Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.  (America is now in excess of 17 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt and China holds the majority of that debt.)
  • Gun Control – Remove the ability of citizens to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.  (President Obama has had a constant attack on the Second Amendment of the Constitution and has already tried using Executive Orders to circumvent that amendment.)
  • Welfare – Take control of every aspect of citizens' lives (Food, Housing, and Income)  (Done, done and done.)
  • Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.  (Common Core at its finest and states have approved it without reading and/or understanding it but who are now trying to repeal what they have already approved.)Religion – Remove the belief in God from the Government and schools.  (Who is not aware of this assault on Religion/Spirituality, not to mention the assault on Christians throughout the world!)
  • Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor; US vs. THEM! This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take from (Tax) the wealthy in support of the poor.  (This has been a mainstay of most of President Obama's speeches over the years - the new buzz phrase is "income inequality".)

Does any of this sound like what is happening to and in the United States and around the world?  Do you see the national news media covering these issues to alert citizens of this country as to what the government is doing or not doing in this regard?  Are you really paying attention?  If not why not?  I find it amazing that given the access to the most amazing social media sites, people, certainly not you, have made the decision that discussing such important matters on sites like Facebook is somehow unacceptable.  If those people quietly accept what is happening then they should not take offense or be shocked when they actually happen and their lives have been adversely affected.  If our path remains unchecked; our freedoms and liberty shall come to past.  Is that what you want?  (That is not a trick question.)