Category Archives for "Leadership"

Want to Be Insanely Productive Without Busting the Bank? Here Are 4 Tips

We all want to do more in less time. This is one of the reasons that we build teams. We start to delegate work. When a finite amount of labor is delegated to a staff more things get done.

But that’s an awfully expensive way to do it.

Wanting to be more productive is also another reason why we fall for the latest technology fashion. This tablet can save you more time while this email autoresponder can communicate with leads while you sleep.

These new technologies also come with a cost.

What you and I want is to be able to do more stuff without having to write a check or swipe a credit card. Is that even possible? It is. Let me show you.

Use Rewards

Making money is not enough. I mean, it is enough when it comes to paying bills and clothing your children. But when it comes to motivating you to perform at your highest performance level, money alone is not going to do the trick. You also need praise and recognition for your work.

Perhaps you prefer it to be quiet and in private. Or you might prefer it to be verbal and in public. Find out what your sweet spot is and work to get more of that particular self-esteem reward. Make sure it has impact.

For example, this could be kind words from satisfied clients. Make sure you are asking them along the process on how you are doing. Seeking validation is okay. You will work hard when you do a good job, but when you are recognized and praised for doing a good job you will work even harder.

When you are happy you will work harder.

Eliminate Busy Work

We all have them: things that we do that were once important but are no longer important. So why do we keep doing them? Good question.

Sometimes we keep doing something because other people expect us to keep doing them. This could be a report or a memo. Why not contact those people and ask them how you could improve that particular task? Ask them what sort of impact it would have if you stopped doing that particular activity.

Measure the cost and benefit of everything you do and eliminate those tasks with little benefit but high cost.  Next in line eliminate those tasks with little benefit but low cost. Then look at all activities that are high benefit and high cost. Finally, any activities with high benefit but low cost should be kept.

Remove Hurdles

Ask yourself “What one thing could you remove that would make your work easier?” It could be keeping track of paperwork or making follow up calls on your 800 hotline. Is there a way you can delegate these activities to an intern or low-paid high schooler?

The goal is to get you to focus on the the four most profitable tasks of real estate–and forget about everything else.

Streamline Goals

When it comes to being insanely productive it is helpful if you are insanely focused. This means you have to be harsh about what you accept. And you have to be a Nazi about what you don’t accept.

One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten more successful is that more and more people approach me about opportunities. I used to listen to all these opportunities until I realized it was a waste of time. There will always be opportunities–and rarely will they ever be as successful as the person suggests. This is why I will only accept opportunity ideas via email. I’ll review the idea and then let the person know if I want more.

In the end, your main focus should be on negotiating, prospecting, listing and selling. Those are the only activities that will make you money.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Setbacks Suck: 10 Simple Ways to Bounce Back

They say there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

I’d like to add one more to that: failure.

Like death and taxes, failure is guaranteed in your life. Some people experience few, if any, set backs. Others experience enough failures for ten people. Setbacks may come sooner than later, and they may come fast and furious.

You might be the type of person where failure rolls right off your back. In no time you are back in the ring. For others, setbacks may cause a different reaction–one that is painful and hard to get over.

Well, real estate is full of setbacks. From something minor, like the rejection in cold calling, to something major, like the entire collapse of your greatest deal ever, you will suffer setbacks.

So the question is not when will setbacks occur? But how will you respond when they occur? With that in mind I want to share 9 techniques that have helped me in my 20 plus career to deal with both minor and major setbacks.

Please enjoy!

1. Accept it.

Your first reaction when a deal falls apart might be to fight tooth and nail to keep it together. You may resort to screaming, cussing or throwing things. You might not sleep that night and even skip a meal or two.

That’s fine: you are in the fight mode.

But if things aren’t coming together after a day or two, then determine when you can wave the white flag and just accept the fact that this is a setback.

Why is it important to do this? Simple: nothing in this life is worth losing your peace over. Sure, it sucks to lose a deal, lose a client or lose money. But it will happen to everyone. Even you. Don’t let the setback eat you alive.

2. Think about people in a worse situation.

My wife and I have gotten into the habit of reminding each other of what is truly important in the world: each other, our children, family and friends. If I’ve suffered a severe business setback she’s quick to point out that it could be worse: one or both of our children could have a life threatening disease.

That’s a sobering thought, especially since there are thousands of parents who’s children are threatened by a disease. Just visit any children’s hospital.

In order to keep things in perspective, Tim Tebow will spend time after every game with a child or teenager with a disability. That can certainly take the sting off a loss, but it also grounds the QB from getting a big head when he gets a win.

3. Relish it.

Failures are great opportunities to learn. They are the only moment in your real estate career that will allow you to look back and carefully examine what went wrong–and then to figure out how to make it better.

Besides, when was the last time you learned anything from a success? Chance is probably low.

Furthermore, some people have said that ten failures equals one success. In other words, you’ll experience ten setbacks before each success. That means it’s better to hurry up and get all the failures out of the way so you can get to your success.

There certainly isn’t any scientific evidence to back this up, but there is some truth in it. It’s another way of saying “you can make your own luck.”

4. Read something inspiring.

Bouncing back isn’t always that easy, though. And even when we do get ourselves out of the pit, we can find our minds wandering back into an hour later.

To help combat negative thoughts that creep back in, and the havoc they can create, keep a book of inspirational quotes near by. Or read a book about how somebody overcame a truly difficult challenge. Most biographies these days are in this category.

5. Talk to someone positive.

Another way to pull yourself back from a failure is to get around positive people.

Invite them out for a dinner and drink. Ask them if it is okay if you tell them what is bothering you. If they give you the go ahead (good friends always will) spend no more than five minutes dumping.

Once you’ve purged that, then don’t return to that topic. It helps getting that out of your system. But it gets toxic if you keep revisiting it. Ask your friends to hold you accountable for not re-visiting it.

6. Watch something funny.

If circumstances don’t allow you to get around someone positive, jump online and watch a couple of funny videos. Go to sites like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Funny or Die or Saturday Night Live. Laughing is a great way to help shift you out of a dark mood and into a more light-hearted mood.

7. Never live with regrets.

Sometimes failure is in our control…other times it is out of our control. If you are at fault–or at least partly at fault–then it helps to know and recognize that so you can improve and hopefully not fail again.

Sometimes, though, there is nothing you could’ve done, so the failure is not your fault.

Either way, don’t live with regrets. If you committed a royally stupid mistake, accept it, relish it and don’t regret it. Laugh at it if you can. It was a great learning lesson. Be grateful you got to learn and nothing worse happened (something worse can always happen).

8. Move on.

Financial setbacks send me into a black hole. I don’t know what it is, but all my wife needs to do turn my bright day into a dark day is to say we don’t have enough money for something.

Now, I’m talking about essential stuff. This doesn’t happen when I wish for a new moped and she says, nope, cash is not available. It happens when we get the bill for the emergency room visit. Or even when a client drops me.

I go dark.

One lesson that I’ve learned in my nearly 50 years of life is that I have to literally get up and change my situation. If someone emails me and says they don’t need me anymore, then I have to get up and engage one of the activities above, namely accepting.

9. View it as an opportunity.

Today’s setbacks are tomorrow’s opportunities.

Do you remember those opportunities that you had to decline because you were too busy? Follow up on them. Perhaps you can now use the time to pursue another project.

10. Create a worst-case scenario plan.

Expect it. Good planning and goal-selecting always includes a portion of worst-case scenario thinking. This is a tactic that corporations use [probably not nearly as much as they should], and that we can use, too.

A worst-case scenario plan is preemptive. You are not waiting for the setback to occur. You are planning for it. That kind of thinking will get far because when you are blindsided, you can respond with a set of rules in place once you get your bearings.

In other words, a worst case scenario plan will soften the blow. You saw it coming. It came. Now you are responding.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Geoff Colvin on High Achievement in Real Estate

Talent is meaningless.

When I say that, do you believe me or do you think I’m crazy? If you think I’m crazy, then you also think that experts and researchers in high acheivement are also crazy…because they are coming to the very same conclusion!

In his 2009 book Talent Is Overrated Geoff Colvin explains what these experts and researchers are finding and learning. It’s a book I highly recommend you read. Why is this important to you? As I’ve mentioned before, how you think exceptional performances are achieved, whether in business or sports, will affect how you behave.

I’ve seen it in real estate so often. Agents throwing in the towel or dragging their feet because they feel they aren’t talented or the deck is stacked against them. Why bother trying if all your going to do is lose? If that describes how you feel, then you need to stop it…right now!

See, no matter who you are, exceptional performance is within your reach. Colvin explains there are about 8 aspects behind it. Let me show you.

1. Deliberate practice designed to improve performance

When looking at the early careers of greats like Immelt at GE and Ballmer at Microsoft what you will find is no indication of their future greatness. In fact, you’ll find a notable aimlessness.

The same was true with Jack Welch even into his mid-twenties.

But at some point these men decided that they wanted to become great in business. So they hunkered down and worked hard. They made their work a place they could practice to get better. How did they do that?

Well, deliberate practice doesn’t resemble what we normally do at the driving range where we drop a bucket of balls and swing away. Deliberate practice with an eye toward improved performance is practice that wants to work on a specific weakness.

Let’s take this to the real estate world to show you what I mean.

Let’s say for example you want to get more comfortable speaking in front of people. Well, most people will just start looking for opportunities to speak in front of strangers. While there is something to repetition (I’ll explain below), somebody who wants to improve their performance, however, will identify a weakness and then practice to improve upon that weakness.

Maybe more than one person has pointed out to you that you speak too fast. Well, you might find opportunities to speak to strangers and think to yourself, “Slow down. Slow down.” That, in essence, is deliberate practice with an eye toward improved performance.

2. Relentless repetition

Great performers and high achievers will not only look for specific aspects of their performance to work on, but they’ll look for a lot of those opportunities. It’s that repetition that will expose you to better and better opportunities of practice to get better.

And it’s important to work on all aspects of what you do, even on those areas that you think you’ll encounter maybe two or three times a year. For example, Tiger Woods would dump a bucket of balls into the sand trap and hit hundreds of shots even though he might be in that situation just two or three times a year.

So, the moral of this section is to practice a lot on all aspects of your real estate game.

3. Feedback

Critical to high acheivers success is deliberate feedback that is continuously available. Typically this comes through a teacher, coach or mentor, somebody who can watch their performance and then critique them on how well they did and what areas they need to improve upon.

You and I might walk into a listing presentation and think that it went pretty well. Unfortunately our opinion doesn’t count. If you could get feedback from your listeners, that would be superb.

A coach can listen to how you negotiate and critique way before you ever get into the real situation. When thinking about professional feedback, make sure it is someone well-respected. It won’t be cheap, but it will be worth it.

4. Relentless focus and concentration

Another trait of high achievers is an ability not to get distracted. Rather they keep their head down and work very hard when they are in the process of work or practice. This is not the mindless, trying-to-get-through-the-motions that typifies most of our work or practice habits. This is an attitude of paying heavy attention to what you are doing with the intention of improving that skill set.

This means being totally aware when you pick up the phone, dial it and talk to prospects. This means you have a goal you want to achieve, and you are not going to be satisfied until you achieve it.

5. Deliberate practice is hard

Listen, there is a reason why achievers are in the minority: it’s not easy putting in the hours that deliberate practice with an intention to improvement demands. Not very many people are willing to put in the time.

In a sense that’s good news…if all that distinguishes high achievers from mediocre performers is hard work, then you know that if you are willing to put in the years, you’ll one day be one of those high-achievers. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you are ‘talented.” Great success can be yours, too.

This could mean putting in an extra hour and a half every night before you go to bed to practice your negotiation skills or read a book on persuasion. High achievers have a work ethic that never stops, which is totally available to you, too.

6. Determine your goals before the work

Colvin points out that high achievers will focus on an aspect of their work BEFORE they go into it to determine a goal. It’s important to distinguish that their goals are not about the outcome but about the process.

For example, you would set as a goal to hear and understand objections when prospecting. But you would then focus on a specific part of that conversation, say, like listening for words that cue you into when they are raising an objection. You might even go as far as to make a list of possible words to listen for.

7. Observe yourself during the work

High achievers, Colvin also points out, will tend to practice metacognition when they are in the middle of their work. What he means by that is they observe themselves during their activities. They think about thinking.

In other words, they are being self aware, constantly evaluating inside their head how a conversation is going. Because they are observing themselves, they are able to adjust to improve their performance.

8. Evaluate their performance after it is over

High achievers have a chronic tendency to stop shortly after a particular performance to reflect on how well they did or didn’t do. This process will allow them, for one thing, to determine if they reached their pre-determined goal.

Once they make that evaluation, they’ll be able to figure out if they set the goal too high or too low.

This is important, because a goal that is too high will be discouraging but a goal that is too low will not produce exceptional performance nor be very instructive.

Conclusion (answer these two tough questions)

Do not be afraid to stretch yourself. In fact, if you feel a little uncomfortable reaching for a particular goal, then you know it’s a stretch…and that’s good. You are going to grow when you are stretched.

In the end, however, it comes down to two things: what you believe and what you want.

If you don’t want to succeed in real estate, then deliberate practice is going to churn out mediocre performances that burn you out. In that sort of environment your competition is bound to win. You have to love what you are doing to put in the years of hard labor that high achievement demands.

The other part of the equation is what you believe. If you’ve been brainwashed in believing people are born with talent and high achievers are in a class you can never reach because of your genes, then you are doomed to mediocre performance.

So, do you believe that years of hard work can put you at the top of the real estate success world? And do you have the love for real estate that kind of commitment takes?

I hope you do, because my desire is to see you as a real estate agent succeed. I’m there for you if you decide to do it. Let me know how I can help.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Why Should Someone Pay You $400 an Hour?

Let me ask you a simple question: Why would you pay someone four dollars an hour?

The simple answer is: They’re not very valuable. That is what Jim Rohn would call “the facts.”

Now, to make more money, that person could go on strike. The problem with that is, you can’t get rich by demand.

Maybe they say, “I’m waiting for a raise.” You could be waiting a long time.

Why not just become more valuable? If you do become a valuable real estate agent…then you could make $400 an hour instead of $4 an hour.

Agents who make $4 an hour play the numbers game. It’s like they’re working at Wal-Mart. The mistake they’re making is they are working harder on their job.

But that’s not how to do it.

The secret to becoming more valuable…to earning $400 an hour…is to learn to work harder on yourself.

What does that look like? Here are three things Jim Rohn says you should work on:


What is your worldview? And I’m not just talking about your spiritual worldview (which is important). I’m also talking about your emotional worldview. Your economic. What’s your overriding view on family? Work hours?

Let’s focus on economics for a second. Answer these questions to help you determine your economic philosophy.

Do you think the world has an abundance of money and leads and clients…or is the pool shallow making the work world a cut-throat environment?

Do you believe you can get rich? Do you believe that you can be the best agent in the world? Do you believe that success is something that is learned rather than something that we are born with?

How you answer these questions will determine your outlook on your professional life. Let’s move on to your attitude.


Attitude differs from philosophy in that this is how you respond to the facts of the world. The reality is you may be a new agent who works ten hour days–six days a week–to put food on your dinner table. Your philosophy would say, “You know what, I know that I don’t have to live like this. We live in a country blessed with abundant resources and ample opportunities to do better than this. However, nobody is going to give me a free ride. I have to make it happen.”

Your attitude says either “I’m going to make it happen and enjoy the ride. No matter what happens. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to serve people relentlessly. And I’m going to be very, very happy with what I have–whether it’s a CEO’s salary or nothing at all.”


Here’s where the rubber meets the road. What are you doing to becoming more valuable? Are you reading a book every week? Are you going to educational seminars? Or you learning how to communicate AND connect with people?

Do you spend time honing your skill as a good listener? Are you carving out good time with your family? Have you chosen a mentor? And are you being honest with that mentor?

These are all great questions to ask yourself to help you become a better person. It starts with your overall view of how the world works. Then it comes down to how you are going to respond to that world–brutal facts and all.

Finally, you put legs to your philosophy and attitude by going out and working on yourself. That’s the key to becoming valuable. Now, what are you waiting for? Get to it.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Jim Rohn Dies [A Tribute to the America’s Foremost Business Philosopher]

On December 5, 2009, legendary business man and motivational speaker Jim Rohn died of pulmonary fibrosis.

Jim’s life story–his rag to riches success, from grunt to guru–is interesting. You might relate.

What You Should Know about Jim Rohn

He was born in Idaho to a family of farmers and likely to become a farmer. Yet, young Jim wanted more out of life so he went off to college

However, he dropped out to start a family and try his hand as a salaried worker.

He hated every moment of it.

In fact, every day on his 9-to-5 job he became more convinced that he’d never achieve the sort of personal success and wealth he always dreamed about it.

Then he met John Earl Schoaff.

The Man Who Turned Jim Rohn’s Life Around

Schoaff–a successful entrepreneur–impressed young Rohn with his tremendous wealth, charisma and business empire.

Shortly after they met, Rohn joined Shoaff’s direct sales organization. It didn’t take Rohn long to see that if he applied the business truths that Schoaff was sharing with him, he could be a millionaire at a very young age.

Tragically, Schoaff died just a couple of years later. But Rohn spent enough time with Schaoff to have his mentor’s success rub off on him…

Just a year after Schoaff died, Rohn topped the millionaire mark. At the ripe old age of 31.

In the spirit of his mentor, Rohn traveled the world for the next 4o years sharing the secrets behind his success.

And probably one of the greatest legacies Rohn left behind were his quotes–his “Vitamins for the Mind.”

In honor of an extraordinary man, we’d like to share some of the best of these quotes. Twenty-five in all.

And by the way, don’t miss the one about motivating an idiot. It’s classic!

25 Exceptional Quotes by an Extraordinary Man

“Something will master and something will serve. Either you run the day or the day runs you; either you run the business or the business runs you.”

“The key factor that will determine your financial future is not the economy; the key factor is your philosophy.”

“Indecision is the thief of opportunity.”

“Better understated than overstated. Let people be surprised that it was more than you promised and easier than you said.”

“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.”

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”

“Nothing teaches character better than generosity.”

“Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won’t laugh at you.”

“You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”

“To solve any problem, there are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, whom could I ask?”

“Don’t set your goals too low. If you don’t need much, you won’t become much.”

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

“‘No’ puts distance between you and the wrong influence.”

“Show your contempt for the problem and your concern for the person.”

“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.”

“Managers help people to see themselves as they are. Leaders help people to see themselves better than they are.”

“Make sure the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you.”

“The Bible gives us a list of human stories on both sides of the ledger. One list of human stories is used as examples – do what these people did. Another list of human stories is used as warnings – don’t do what these people did. So if your story ever gets in one of these books, make sure they use it as an example, not a warning.”

“There is no greater leadership challenge than parenting.”

“Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness.”

“Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.”

“How long should you try? Until.”

“Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”

“Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.”

“Be a collector of good ideas, but don’t trust your memory. The best collecting place for all of the ideas and information that comes your way is your journal.”

Want more quotes? Subscribe to the Free Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Make Sure You Know the Answer to This Question Before Your Next Presentation

I don’t know about you, but I think this market sucks. I know people who are flailing. I know people are are failing.

You probably know some people, too. Maybe you’re flailing. Or even on the point of bust.

Whatever your situation, good technology and talent can help you endure a tough market. But that alone won’t do it.

You also need a good attitude. No…you need a super attitude. A superstar attitude. Let me show you what I mean.

Superstars don’t think like everyone else.

“The average person has 2,000 to 3,000 thoughts a day,” says Jim Fannin, performance coach for big name ball players like Alex Rodriquez. “And 60 percent of the average person’s thoughts are in chaos.”

How many thoughts do you think the superstar has? The superstar, says Fannin, has 1,100 to 1,300 thoughts a day. How do they do that? They eliminate worry, envy, jealousy, embarrassment and anger.

The superstar thinks a lot less. But holds a thought longer.

Here’s my point: Most of your thoughts don’t matter.  Most of your thoughts are of the “Air conditioner just started” and “Breeze is cool this morning” breed.

And because of the randomness of some of your thoughts, you probably don’t focus on any of your thoughts. And that’s a problem. Let me explain.

If you ignored all your thoughts, you could miss out on great ideas when you have them. Like taking that much-needed vacation or placing an ad in that new homes magazine.

Worse, however, is when you focus only on your negative thoughts. This can literally cripple you at the negotiating table, the listing appointment or even at the cocktail bar.

My question for you when approaching any situation is this: where are your thoughts pointing? Are they surplus or scarcity?

Scaricity thoughts look like this:

“I don’t deserve this listing when I’m going up against that agent.”

“I bombed my last presentation. I’ll probably bomb this one.”

“If I don’t get this seller, I’m sure to foreclose on my own house.”

On the other hand, surplus thoughts look like this:

“I deserve this listing.”

“I can’t wait to deliver a killer presentation!”

“I love real estate and the thousands of opportunities to make thousands of dollars!”

As a rule, never believe your negative thinking…especially if it limits what you think is possible.

If you tend to be a scarcity thinker, stop right now and admit that your habit of thinking needs to be changed. You’ll need to do this because just being aware of limiting beliefs and thoughts is a major step in the right direction. And awareness alone can be curative.

Then begin to work on affirmations like the ones above in the surplus category. Also simply doing something different that counters limiting thoughts can work wonders.

For instance, if you typically avoid or neglect selling situations, hunt them down. And throw yourself at them. You’ll be amazed at the level of confidence you gain from simply doing something you’ve always dreaded. Even if your initial results are less than you expected. Practice makes perfect.

Only when we weed the limiting beliefs from our subconciousness is it possible to plant the seeds of new beliefs.

And new beliefs are the pathway to prosperity. Abundance. Surplus.

To help you on your new journey, we recommend you pick up two classics: Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins and Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

Both can be read in a weekend. And both will have you climbing the walls…hungry to make big money.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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10 Critical Strategies for New Real Estate Agents in Any Market

The President of the United States gets 100 days to prove himself. You get less. A lot less.

But like the President, what you do in the early days of your new career will largely determine whether you sink or swim.

This is a time of opportunity for you. A chance to start fresh. A new beginning. But it’s also a time of vulnerability. You’re a stranger in a strange land–with just a few dollars in your pocket.

The stakes are obviously high.

Failure in the early days of your career can spell the end of a promising business. So this post is not just about exploiting opportunities and advancing your career. It’s also about preventing failure.

Therefore, your goal should be to arrive at critical mass as rapidly as possible. If you succeed in this, you’ll free up precious time to focus on business development.

Follow these 10 critical strategies and you will inevitably exploit opportunities, prevent failures and advance your career.

1. Promote Yourself

First and foremost, make a clear break with your last job. Quit it if at all possible. Part-timers are crummy real estate agents.

Then, hit the ground running. Announce to everyone you know–including your old boss and co-workers–that you are a real estate agent. What you want is immediate traction. This means reworking your network.

Furthermore, learn everything you can about real estate. And start sharing that information. On a blog. In a newsletter. At networking events.

And most importantly: watch out for people who want to hold you back.

2. Accelerate Your Learning

If you aren’t a reader–become one. Fast. If you aren’t a learner–get over it. You’ll need to become one if you want to succeed in real estate.

Now, if you have trouble learning or find reading boring, do this: view it as an investment. Imagine every hour spent learning is a possible $100 down the road.

Furthermore, to be systematic about learning, you’ll need to define your learning agenda. You’ll need to find the best sources of insight (this could be designations, coaching, conferences or mentors. Or all of them). What’s always helped me when I want to learn something is to adopt a learning plan. This will work for you, too.

3. Match Strategy to Situation

Always diagnose the business situation you are entering before you create a strategy. Is it a hot market or a sluggish market? Urban or rural?  What are the challenges and opportunities? Should you play offense or defense? What are the right skills needed to lead?

Also, understand the history, the people and the culture of your market. This can be some of your best clues on how to succeed in your market.

4. Nail Down Early Wins

While there are a lot of ways to build credibility, early wins is certainly one of the best.

What is an early win? Great thing about early wins in real estate is that you get to define them. An early win could be getting a buyer for a piece of property your company’s best salesperson has been having trouble selling. Or it could be as small as meeting key leaders in your city.

Early wins involve rewards not just for your clients or co-workers–but for you, too. But whatever the win, make sure it’s a tangible result. Something you can measure.

5. Negotiate Success

How do you build a productive relationship with the people you work with–whether clients or co-workers? There are several do’s and don’ts.

First, the do’s. Take responsibility for making every relationship work. Clarify expectations ealry and often. Negotiate times for action. Aim for early wins important to your clients and co-workers. Pursue relationships with people your clients and co-workers respect.

Second, the don’ts. Never trash the past. Don’t avoid communicating with your clients or co-workers. Never surprise them. Never approach them with problems only. Never run down a checklist. Never try to change the people you work with.

6. Get Alignment from Key People

Think of yourself as an architect for your business. You’re the one who’s responsible for making sure your business is productive, effective and efficient. And that the important people in your business–the one’s who are going to help you succeed–are behind your strategy.

This includes all the obvious people: your boss, partner, manager and co-workers. But believe it or not, this also includes your spouse. He or she needs to be on board with you are doing. Otherwise, expect grief.

7.  Build Your Team

I can honestly say that the number one way to grow a business is to build a team. In other words, delegate work. Rock star agents probably not so much, but other successful agents move rapidly to add people to their team because they realize they can accomplish more when they have a group of people working as one on a compelling vision.

8. Create Coalitions

Sooner or later, you will need the support of peers–whether you like them or not. That’s why it’s so important to identify supporters and opponents, and then figure out how you can influence them.

This might mean you’ll have to humble yourself and act kindly toward someone you can’t stand. If that makes you want to hurl, think about this: one act of kindness now could lead to a strategic advantage in the future. One act of defiance now could lead to a stonewall–and a critical failure.

9. Keep Your Balance

This is the real estate killer–unending work. Seven day work weeks. Midnight closing times. Going into the office on holidays. Allow this to happen and you will burnout, or worse, lose your family.

Take stock, set limits on your business and be disciplined. For example, you could have a goal for a four-day work week. Or a four hour work week. Whatever your plan, stick to it.

10. Develop Everyone

If you follow the previous strategies you should be well on your way to reaping a rewarding real estate career. However, you’re not done.

Don’t forget about the people around you. Make it a plan to develop every member on your team into a leader. Help those in your peer or mastermind group to grow. Help client’s achieve success outside of buying or selling a home. Ask yourself: whose life can I accelerate?

If you want more help on making that transition between jobs, read Michael Watkins The First 90 Days.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Wendy Kopp’s Elegant Idea to Growing Your Business

Last Monday I asked the question: “Why would anyone in there right mind work with fewer people?”

If you still think it’s either impossible or a bad idea to limit who you work with, read this following story. It should convince you of the power of selectivity. [via]

The idea: convince Harvard graduates to teach in America’s roughest public schools

In th spring of 1988, Wendy Kopp graduated from Princeton with an idea: why not convince graduates from leading universities to spend the first two years of their careers teaching low income kids in the public education system?

She had no money, no office, no infrastructure, no name, no credibility, no furniture, not even a bed or a dresser in which to store her clothes. Leaving Princeton, Kopp moved into a small room in New York City and approached the Mobil Corporation.

Once Mobil agreed to grant $26,000 of seed capital to fund her idea, Teach for America, Kopp spent the next 365 days in a juggling act–convincing top-flight people to join her bus with the promise that she would convince donors to fund the bus… while at the same time convincing donors that she would convince top-flight people to join her bus….

One year later, Kopp stood in front of 500 recent graduates from colleges like Yale, Harvard and Michigan. These graduates assembled for training and deployment into America’s under served classrooms.

And how did she convince these graduates to work for low pay in tough classrooms?

First, by tapping their idealistic passions. Second by the making the process selective.

She basically said to all these overachieving college students: “If you’re really good, you might be able to join our cause. But first you have to submit to a rigorous screening and evaluation process. You should prepare yourself for rejection, because it takes special capability to succeed in these classrooms.”

Selectivity led to credibility with donors, which increased funding, which made it possible to attract and select even more people into the programs.

As of 2005, more than 97,000 individuals applied to be part of Teach for America and only 14,100 made the cut, while revenues grew to nearly $40 million in annual support.

Wendy Kopp understood three fundamental points.

First, the more selective the process, the more attractive a position becomes–even if volunteer or low pay. The same is true if people are paying you.

Second, the social sectors have one compelling advantage: desperate craving for meaning in our lives.

Purity of mission–be it about educating people, connecting people to God, making our cities safe, touching the soul with great art, feeding the hungry, serving the poor, or protecting our freedom–has the power to ignite passsion and commitment.

Third, the number one resource for a great organization is having enough of the right people willing to commit themselves to mission.

In real estate, this translates to creating momentum–a flywheel–that will eventually turn by itself.

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5 Essential Strategies to Become a Real Estate Leader without Doing Anything Shady

Machiavelli. Hobbes. Nietzsche.

These classical thinkers and their power philosophies may guide the behavior of the world’s dictators…but they are grossly inconsistent with true ethical leadership in real estate sales.

Case in point: If we judge according to a high standard of leadership, Hitler, Idi Amin, and Jim Jones were never leaders despite enormous but temporary power and materialistic success. [Neither were these naughty agents ever leaders.]

Louis B. Lundborg states this truth:

“A leader is one whom others will follow willingly and voluntarily. That rules out tyrants, bullies, autocrats and all other who use coercive power to impose their will on others.”

Or as Kenneth O. Gangel correctly observes:

“Leadership is not political powerplay. Leadership is not authoritarian attitude. Leadership is not cultic control.”

Yet we must never think that a leader is powerless…

The World’s Idea of Power Is False

Indeed, to suggest that a leader is without authority is to pose the anomaly of a leader with no followers. In fact, leadership is a special kind of authority: legitimized power–the power of ethical, inspiring influence and enablement.

This kind of authority can be awesome in its effect upon individuals and families and colleagues. It is the kind of power an excellent teacher or guide brings to bear upon the people he or she serves.

Legitimized power avoids manipulative tactics to enhance the leaders status or to accomplish the leader’s agenda. The real ultimate test of genuine leadership is the realization of enduring change that meets people’s most basic physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

There is the almost irresistible tendency to judge leadership by production statistics and materialist standards and to grant esteem and promotion to such successful people.

But if actual needs in the lives of people are not met…no meaningful leadership has taken place despite whatever production numbers were exceeded or income achieved.

Leadership Versus Management

We should distinguish between leadership and management, although sometimes the differences are pushed too far and become contrived. Of course, there is overlap, and the differences are not always crystal clear.

As is obvious, a good leader must have good management skills, and good managers usually have leadership qualities. It is difficult to imagine a good manager who is not also a good leader and vice versa.

  1. Vision: A leader has greater vision than a manager. Leaders go beyond the day to day and see the whole relationship in the scope of a lifetime. Leaders envision objectives never dreamed of. And they inspire others to share those dreams.
  2. Renewal: Leaders want change. They want revision of process and structure, with an eye toward changing outmoded methods, defining new goals, tapping new resources, motivating or enlisting personnel and invigorating the family, the company and it’s individuals. Managers give directions and evaluate performance. Leaders stimulate achievement and energize everyone. Leaders are more creative, innovative and transforming.
  3. Orientation: Leaders are people-oriented. They think in terms of people and their needs. Managers think about getting things done. Managers tend to be more task- and program- and profit-oriented. Leaders think about doing right things to help people maximize their potentials. Managers supervise people, but leaders energize people.

5 Essential Leadership Strategies

Real leaders must be distinguished from mere power wielders. Real estate leaders never use people to accomplish their own agendas, but inspire others to achieve their own goals. The test of genuine leadership is change that meets family and personal needs and enables people to feel fulfilled after the transaction is done.

The primary task of good leaders in influencing people are:

  1. Leaders listen. Their decisions and actions are based on real understanding of their clients needs.
  2. Leaders build cooperation. They never set out to use people to accomplish their goals and purposes. They disavow personal partisanship in favor of developing a spirit of cooperation and loyalty.
  3. Leaders inspire. And then get out of the way. Good leaders infuse others with an animating, quickening and exalting spirit of enthusiasm for the task of buying and selling a home. They do this primarily through their personal optimism, authenticity, enthusiasm and example.
  4. Leaders emphasize values. They focus on the fundamentals of value systems, reasons, philosophies, intrinsic truths, structures, objectives, designs, moods, emotions and environment.
  5. Leaders balance priorities. There is always awareness of the person, the family and the job to be done. No one of these is sacrificed for the benefit of the other.

In fulfilling these primary tasks of leadership, the real estate agent may do a variety of other things, yet all is done under the spirit of personal value, cooperation and service.

Now it’s your turn: tell me about leaders in your life who have had a profound impact on you? Did they use any of these strategies? If not, what made them leaders in your eyes? What strategies am I missing?