Friday, November 27, 2015

If George Washington Were Alive Today

If George Washington Were Alive Today!
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 25, 2015

Most folks are unaware that George Washington had written Rules of Civility that he lived by.  If you would like to see a list of those 110 rules, you can download them at:

If George Washington were alive today, I am sure he would modify one or two of those rules but he would be adding far more than he would be modifying.  Listed below is my list of what I think George Washington would have added to his list if he were alive today:

When you see someone trying to cross the street, stop and let them cross 

When you see someone trying to exit a parking lot, slow down instead of speeding up to permit them to safely exit

When it is time to eat, wait until everyone is seated at the table before you begin to "dig in"

Use your electronic devices whenever you are alone; never when you are in the company of others - NEVER!

If untrained, train yourself to become an effective LISTENER and know when to stop talking

Never use your electronic devices while driving a car - NEVER - not even hands free devices. You are not the good driver you think are if you are engaged in conversation or/or using a device

Open doors for others

Make eye contact with people serving you and answer their questions while making the eye contact

Stop smoking; it's just a nasty and very unhealthy habit.  If you do smoke, NEVER throw your butts on the ground

When the sign says right or left lane closed ahead and people are merging into one line, NEVER race down the right or left open lane to beat the "other guy" to the merge point - NEVER!

When commerce is heavy and you are required to stand in line to be served, don't take your frustrations out on the server when it is your turn to be served

Employees if you do nothing else, make eye contact with your customers

Say thank you every chance you get and then some
Smile at strangers and give them a pleasant greeting every opportunity

Your mother was right; return to old fashioned mother insisted values and principles

Research your candidates and amendments BEFORE you go into the voting place to vote

If you know NOT of what or whom you are voting for; DO NOT VOTE!

If you do not vote, do not complain

Post nothing on Facebook or other social media that you would NOT want a future employer to see

Post nothing on Facebook or other social media that you would NOT want your mother to see

Throw nothing onto the ground except for things to make plants grow; throw your trash into the garbage cans

If you break it let the owner know, NEVER leave it to be found and the owner wondering who broke it

If you see something on the floor in a store, pick it up

If you decide NOT to buy something in a store, put it back from where it came, not to where it is convenient to just leave it

Write thank you notes to people who have done you nicely

Write thinking of you notes to people you suddenly think of

Write your history as it is happening for future family generations to read

Learn to recognize and never be afraid to say you don't know something

When you take something out, put it back

Never drink directly from the milk or juice container (you know you have)

Remember your parents probably know more than you think you know; seek their advice

Friends are hard to come by and harder to keep; treasure the friends you actually have

 Don't spend time with people who pull you down only those who prop you up

From Jeffrey Gitomer, "you know you are on the right track when 3 of your closest friends and/or family  suggest you are nuts for trying something new"

Remember that if it is important to you it is also important to someone else

Treat others as if their physical pains are greater than yours; half the time you would be right

 "Always share the munchies" - Gerry Vaillancourt WRNO Radio

Did I get them all?

Monday, November 23, 2015



Article by:  Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, originally written April 23, 2004 updated November 2015
Based on an idea from Gary Keller, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent”

“The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken!”
Warren Buffet

What a profound statement!  Think about it.  “The chains of habit are too light to be felt…”  We create habits in everything we do.  It can be over-eating, smoking; drinking of alcoholic beverages, our personal relationships, our business relationships, our business practices, our hobbies, the list is endless.

I looked up the word “habit” in Webster’s Dictionary:

7 a : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary

As you can see by the number, there were at least seven definitions of habit, actually there were 9.  What was interesting was that at the conclusion of the above definition, it was suggested that the reader click on the next related word and that was “ADDICTION”, how scary is that?  Think about what it says, “An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary” is only one step away from being ADDICTED!

What it does NOT suggest is that the behavior or habit can be either GOOD behavior or BAD behavior.

For the smokers who are reading this let me ask you, when you lit up that first smoke, did you truly enjoy it?  If not, why did you persist?  Primarily because everyone else was doing it and it made you look cool.  I can vividly remember my first taste of beer – it was awful!  To this day, I do not consider myself a beer drinker.  I know of no one who said Scotch or Bourbon tasted good the first time they tried it.  For the people who are over weight, do you enjoy being over weight?  Granted there are some medical conditions that encourage people to be overweight but for the most part being over weight is a result of eating too much and not exercising enough.  It can be said that smoking, drinking, over-eating are bad for us yet so many of us continue to do it anyway.  Why?  Because we have created habits, we involuntarily do the very things that could be hurting us.

As Warren Buffet suggests, we start out so small that we do not feel the “weight” of the habit that we are engaged in until such time as the habit becomes so heavy we cannot break it.  The following are some “habits” that I have observed that I am quite certain started as a weightless chain but are now weighing many us down much like Bob Marley’s ghost in “A Christmas Carol.”

·         Smoking
·         Unhealthy drinking of excessive alcoholic beverages
·         Over eating
·         Constantly clearing one’s throat
·         Repeating certain words in our conversations
(1)   “ah”
(2)   “and”
(3)   “you know”
(4)   “do you follow me?”
(5)   “do you understand what I am saying?”
(6)   “do you know what I mean?”
·         Saying “love ya” as if we actually meant it with feeling
·         Using curse words
·         Throwing cigarette butts on the ground as if they magically clean themselves
·         Throwing trash on the ground
·         Driving in the left lane
·         Failure to use turn signal

Where do we get these habits?  We tend to get them first from our parents then our friends and then the movies and television.  It never ceases to amaze me how many athletes when interviewed say the same worn words time after time, year after year.  The most amazing thing is that most of these athletes have graduated from college or have at least attended college.  You would think that they would create a class, “Interviews 101 – what to say, what not to say, you know?.”

What can we do about our habits?  For the good habits, by all means continue doing what you do, in fact improve upon the good.  But what about the bad habits? 

The toughest part is knowing what you do that annoys others or that could be bad or hurtful to ourselves.  How do you know what annoys them?” Ask them!  Before you ask them, make sure you establish the ground rules in that nothing they say will harm your relationship with them otherwise they will NOT be truthful with you.  How do you tell a friend that they do something that annoys you without being asked?  Take the initiative, sit down with a good friend and simply ask them if they would want to know.  Do you think they will say no?  If you want to reinforce YOUR good side, also ask them what you do that they particularly like or dislike.

Once you understand that you may have some bad habits what can you do to correct the situation?

Being aware is the critical first step.  Just knowing that you do something is the start.  As an example, some people have no idea how many times they use a phrase, “you know” over and over during their conversations.  I took a chance on one of my associates and I asked her if she knew how many times during a conversation she used the phrase “you know?”  She said she never used it.  I asked if she would agree to pay me a quarter every time I caught her saying “you know?”  She agreed.  During the first hour while we were touring homes with a group, she owed me over $8.00.  The other members of the group caught on what we were doing and they too said that she used the phrase over and over.  What happened next was truly amazing.  Within two hours, she had completely stopped using the phrase.

So here is what I would consider the steps to “recovery”:

  • Get into discovery; find out what you do that you may be unaware that you do
  • Keep track in a log book of each time you do something you want to stop
  • Add up the number of times you do the activity each day
  • Watch the number begin to reduce itself
  • In time, you will catch yourself BEFORE you do the activity
  • In time, hopefully you will stop OR start whichever the case may be in case you are not doing something enough like saying “Thank You”

For some habits such as smoking, drinking and over-eating, you may want to seriously consider getting professional help because the habit is no longer a habit.  As Webster’s Dictionary inferred, it may now be an addiction. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"GOOBS Syndrome

“GOOBS Syndrome”
Article by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown

In Michael Dunn’s seminar, “Color Your Rainbow,” he teaches that for someone to be fulfilled in life they need to have a balance.  A healthy balanced life produces growth that is the essence of life.  In the rainbow of life, according to Michael, we have:

Red                 =                     God                  =                       Passion
Orange            =                     Self                  =                       Growth
Yellow             =                      Family             =                       Unity
Green             =                      Needs              =                       Create and Build
Blue                =                      Mission            =                        Help Others

Thus, if someone is successful financially but neglects the other areas of his or her life, they have a Green Rainbow Syndrome (GRS) that creates success without fulfillment.  This is failure.

When you are engaged in a sale, where is your focus?  When someone comes to me with a problem sale, I sometimes realize that there is an underlying fear of losing the commission rather than meeting a customer’s needs.  For example, when a buyer wants out of a sale, is it  “buyer’s remorse” or do they have a serious consideration that can only be served by voiding the agreement to purchase? 

I have discovered a unique outlook towards resolving problems and it was described in Gary Keller’s book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”  First let me reiterate the underlying principle of being a real estate agent – you owe a fiduciary duty to your customer whether that is a buyer or a seller or both.  As a fiduciary, you are to protect the best interests of your customer even when those interests may be in conflict with YOUR best interests.  Therefore when a buyer says they want out of a sale, the first question you must answer is do they want out for a reason or are they just nervous about the sale?  Then you MUST talk to your inner-self and ask yourself from where you are coming from in the manor in which you respond.  Here is the problem solving technique.  Simply assume that you are who you want to be.  That could be a Millionaire Real Estate Agent or something else. Then ask yourself, if I were a Millionaire Real Estate Agent, what would I do in this situation?  If I wanted to shoot a 69 on this golf course what would I so in this situation?  If I wanted to earn $100,000 in real estate sales, what would I do?  If I were . . . you fill in the blanks.

Let me tell the story from Michael Dunn’s book “What’s the Big Secret?”  If someone owns a housekeeping company and their only goal is to get rich cleaning houses (or get rich selling real estate), they become easily frustrated when things do not go right (about to lose a sale).  They could care less about their customer or their employees.  They just want to know why everything keeps breaking, and they can’t ever seem to get ahead (they become the victim).  They are suffering from “Green Rainbow Syndrome.” 

Now consider that the same man who owns the cleaning service company sells out to a lady interested in his business.  The new owner’s business goal or focus is helping as many families and business owners so she can free up more time in their lives to spend with their families.  She plans on doing this by taking away many of the tedious time consuming burdens of housekeeping.  She knows the money will come.  She loves to find out what peoples needs are then take over the burdens in their lives.

People love her service and are glad to pay for the quality work she provides.  They tell their neighbors and friends (referrals).  She has a constant flow of appointments to share her service and give a free estimate (lead generation).  She cares about the needs of her employees and has found it inspires them to share her vision of offering her customers not just a clean house but also the freedom to do the things they are called to do.

Does this not describe how a Real Estate Consultant should approach his or her business?  I would like to suggest to any Real Estate Consultant that reads this article, they are NOT in the business of selling real estate!  I would suggest they are in the transportation business!  They help people get from point A to point B in regards to meeting their real estate needs.  If this is true and that you are truly in the transportation business, would it not also be true that from time to time, trucks get flat tires, engine blow, they are delayed due to road construction and drivers get sick?  When you are working with buyers and sellers should you not only “expect” detours but also “plan” for them?  Having a goal to close 100% of the sales opportunities you encounter is admirable.  However, real life has shown us that it is not realistic to expect a 100% closure rate.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “I have done this and I have done that and this is how my buyers or sellers treat me!”  Or, “can you imagine, they bought a FSBO over the weekend, how can they do this to me?”   “I worked so hard and now I have nothing to show for it!”

So what!  Get over it!  In most cases, when a buyer or seller goes about their business without you, you need to take a very serious look at how you conduct your business.  You can do everything right and not get the sale and sometimes you can do everything wrong and get the sale.  The truth lies somewhere in between.  If your first thought when experiencing a problem sale is that you are about to lose the commission, you may be suffering from the “Green Rainbow Syndrome”.  Your first thought should be where did I fail my customer?  What needs did I fail to recognize and satisfy?  Did I do a proper “needs analysis” on my customer?  What made them do what they did?  Did I explain to my customers how I work and how I am compensated?  Did I promise them my loyalty and did I ask for theirs?

Yes we would all like to be rich and financially independent.  You cannot, however, work toward that goal at the expense of your customers and your own reputation.  Like Michael Dunn said in his book,  “Green Rainbow Syndrome (GRS)…is probably the number one mental disease not registered with the Center for Disease Control (CDC).”

He goes on to say, “The pursuit of money seems to produce a cancerous growth in our soul which can easily consume us and take our happiness.  Yet, if our goal is to serve and help others (notice he did not say our goal was to earn a commission) it seems to open up the supernatural flow of help we need to overcome any obstacle including financial.”

To sum it up, if you are focused on the gain or loss of a commission check, you are effectively conducting a GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE!  I’ll call this the GOOBS Syndrome!

Could this possibly be where the term “Goober” comes from?  I would like to think that Goobers only work for our competition.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Be A Miner

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown November 5, 2015

For as long as I can remember, most if not all real estate agents and anyone in sales were taught to "farm" for business opportunities, am I not right?  We were taught to select a subdivision or geographical area or group of people or all of them and then "farm" or "work" them for leads.

This morning I awoke from a sound sleep and thought about just one word - MINER!

Words mean things!  When you think of farmers you think of someone planting seeds and then the farmer waters them (contacts them with constant phone calls, mailers and/or emails) and some may fertilize them (shower them with meaningless pens, calendars and kitchen items) and then hope that a ray of sunshine will strike them and they call you with THE sale of all sales.  How many real estate agents have found that to work?  To me that is what I would think whenever I heard the word "farming."

What do you think when you hear the word MINER?  I know I think about someone who gets down and dirty and of someone who is maybe one of the hardest workers in the world; not that farmers are not hard working.  They dig for their gold or silver or whatever they are looking to find; sometimes they win, oftentimes they lose.  Which metaphor would give you the best mental picture of?  Someone who would be the most successful in regards to the rewards they receive in any sales business; would it be a farmer or a miner.  Which metaphor would give you a mental picture of a person who receives the MOST VALUE for their efforts, the farmer or the miner.  For me it's the miner!

A miner could be someone who actually digs in the earth until they find the gold or silver vein that produces the fruit they search. I first think of the old westerner who hunched down while sitting in the rushing waters of a small river with a large pan where he (or she) panned for gold.  The miner and the farmer both knew there was gold where they were farming or mining; they just had to find it.

How does a miner actually pan for gold?  They use the edge of the pan to scoop up the dirt that sits on the river bottom.  The gold they are looking for is much heavier than the water and dirt so it becomes hidden within the dirt on the river bottom with the water flowing over it.  With the dirt and some water in the pan they shake their pans back and forth hoping the golden nuggets buried in the dirt will settle to the bottom of the pan and the dirt and water will be washed over the edge of the pan leaving only the gold nuggets, if there are any.  Most of the time there are no nuggets.  Back into the dirt goes the pan.

Words mean things and in this case it is the value and importance of the metaphors - the sparkling gold that now rests on the bottom of the pan as compared to corn or wheat growing in a field.  The mental image of the corn or wheat would give me the impression that every seed I planted would grow into a lead.  Is that how sales work?  Is every person you meet really a potential sale?  Absolutely not!  Just like every dip into the river bottom does not produce gold.  For any number of reasons, a specific person I may farm, may not need or want what I am selling, or may already have a sales person they are happy with, that is how a farm works.  The seeds may all produce fruit but that fruit may not be yours to harvest.  Have you ever listed a home in your geographical farm area only to have a home across the street go up for sale within a day or two of your listing going on the market?  I have. How could that happen, they were in my farm area.  Point made.  I have had homeowners complain to me that I have been annoying them by the constant contact.  I have also had friends complain to me that another real estate agent has been annoying them with constant contact.  Are you actually loosing sales by constant contact of people who really do not know you all that much?  Maybe so!

Think of the mental picture of the miner in the river.  The river miner keeps scooping up the dirt and shakes the pan not knowing if this particular scoop will produce results or not.  Another miner is just up or down stream from you.  He or she is also scooping up the dirt from the same river bottom.  He or she may find gold and you not.  Does that not define the sales process?  Do not sales people work as many people as possible in hopes of finding the one or two who need your services or products?  It is not a simple procedure of picking the low hanging apples from a tree or harvesting huge bundles of wheat from a field meaning every seed produces a result.  It does not work that way.  You dig and you dig and you prospect for the gold lying hidden within the river.

Here is an even better metaphor in the form of a question: which miner finds the most gold - the one who scoops the most dirt.

What do you tell people when they ask you what you do for a living?  I sell real estate?  I sell cars? I sell insurance.  Is that what you really do?  Or do you actually MINE to find people who want to buy your real estate, your cars or your insurance.  Then once you find that one person (that golden nugget) you must determine if that one person is a real buying customer, a real golden nugget, because that is where your training and skills should take over to close the sale or weed out the fool's gold.

Now for real life application.  It has been my experience that agents holding open houses on occasion have  people attend their open houses but so many real estate agents try to sell them THAT house; car dealers that car, insurance agents, that policy.  Think of this, you are a new car salesman and you have a lot full of ALL the various makes of cars.  In just one line of cars you have a Lexus, Cadillac, Buick, Ford, Chevy or a beautiful Black Dodge Charger (the devil made me say that); you could sell any one of them.  The customer automatically goes to the Lexus but in fact could only afford the Chevy, still they are looking at the Lexus.  People who visit open houses are no different.  They are looking at homes and rarely know when they go in if that is the home for them (the Chevy) or if they could afford it (the Lexus) but the agent believes they have already pre-qualified the home they are looking at and that is rarely ever true.  Therefore it is YOUR job to start qualifying them, removing the dirt and water immediately.  You have put some dirt in your pan and you have to shake the pan and let the BS slide over the rim to get to the gold beneath.  There is a reason that a person(s) came into your open house or your car lot; what is it?  Just to look?  Just to see what a neighbor's home looks like?  Thinking of actually buying?  Thinking of selling and they want to see what the market has to offer?  Or a combination of all these things?  At this point they are the dirt in your pan and you have to mine them, shake the pan, to find the gold in their intentions. 

Whether you are selling homes or selling cars or whatever you are selling. the principle is the same.  Everyone you meet COULD be a potential sale or the gold in your pan.  But every person you meet would be simply the dirt in your pan, some need to go over the side; don't waste your time looking for "fool's gold."  You have to mine what you have in your pan and then dip your pan back into the water or pool of people for more opportunities.

Be a miner, not a farmer.  More importantly, if you want to be the best miner in the land, learn to be the one who puts the most dirt in their pan, not plant the most seeds.  All of your seeds may in fact grow but it is very possible and even likely that someone else will be picking the fruit you planted as you well know.  A real estate agent might have the perfect home but another agent sells it.  A car dealer may have the perfect car but another dealer has a better deal on the same car. Or as I have seen many times, customers simply feel more comfortable and can relate to another salesperson than they do to you.  Shocking as that may sound, you know it is true.  If that is the case, you need to see if you require an attitude adjustment.  How do you do that?   Start by asking the customer why they bought through a different person; they will oftentimes tell you the truth you dread hearing.

You may be a "good" miner or a "good" farmer but it takes an "excellent" miner or farmer to identify exactly what they have in their pans.  To be that person requires education and training.  Great sales people are not born that way, they are made; in most cases they are self-made.  What does that mean?  It means they read, they attend courses and they discuss their business practices with others who they would like to be like.  They survey their customers and the customers they lost to find out how they performed both good and bad.  I am shocked at how few sales people ever read just one book relating to their specific profession whether it be selling real estate or selling cars.  I am also shocked at how few sales people ever contact the customers they have sold to in order to find out what went right, want went wrong and what should they improve upon as a salesperson - surveys!  People have already done what you want to do and they have all but told you how they have done it; they have left clues for you but you have to read and/or ask questions to find them.  My advice to anyone in sales is to read about and become and expert at what you do.  I also highly recommend cultivating a mentor, a true miner who has already done what you want to do.