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Secrets of Top Selling Agents-Review

Secrets of Top Selling Agents-The keys to real estate success revealed-by Joe Sesso

This book is a quick and easy read and contains some useful information.

The book is geared entirely to residential real estate…and there is nothing wrong with that if that is your core business. I learned many years ago never to “poo-poo” information even it is derived from a completely unrelated field.

This book is full of good common-sense material that applies equally well to commercial real estate as well as for a residential practitioner. The book is series of “abstracts” from a series of webinars and interviews conducted by the author over a period of years.

Some of the stories are inspirational like Dave Liniger’s recovery from a near death experience to Barbara Corcoran surviving a messy break-up. Others are vignettes and real life tips that you can implement in your business right now.

I found Jimmy Mackin’s “Inbox Zero” strategies useful (I get about 400 emails a day). In his article he suggests that you treat all your emails to the following screening process;

1. Delete it (my personal favorite)
2. Delegate it
3. Respond to it
4. Defer it
5. Complete the task required

I’ll admit that some days I get into the office and get on a “delete-fest” and delete hundreds of emails at a time. I figure that the important ones will inevitably reappear while all the junk is gone. Mackin also makes suggestions about software and apps that will help tame your inbox. He suggests using Unroll.me to get rid of computer-generated broadcasts. Mackin also talks about Yesware to track your opens and to time a “targeted” prospecting call. He also suggested Boomerang to have emails returned to sender if it is not opened for additional follow up.

Tom Ferry’s section was a case study in what makes a real estate agent successful. In my opinion this section alone was worth picking up the book. Ferry begins by talking about the percentages of real estate agents who succeed and their respective income levels. He then examines the habits or best practices of those top selling agents. He goes on to reveals that they are creatures of habit.

Ferry tells us those habits include having an organized database, they contact those people on a regular basis, they practice in a specific area (geography) and a specific niche (product) they stay current on trends. Ferry goes on to say they systematize their work, hire competent staff, and have a success mindset.

Mr. Ferry goes into marketing campaigns and talks about Direct Mail, Door Knocking, Mega Open houses, Google ads, Expired listings, Community Functions, and Notices of Default. In my office we start each new agent with the “Secret Weapon Letter” and then graduate to postcards and warn calls with great success. His implication is that if an agent is not succeeding, it’s a pretty good guess they are not prospecting.

Bob Corcoran’s section was particularly informative as well. My favorite piece of wisdom was his “Big Rocks’ theory. Prioritizing your work based on the “Big Rocks” the tasks that have the most impact or importance and then work from the biggest rocks to the smallest.
Corcoran also goes on to say to prioritize…” Ruthlessly”. I know in my experience that if I am not ruthless in prioritizing and scheduling my day gets “blown” and I get nothing done. By scheduling, compartmentalizing, and sticking to “it” I manage to get business done and help my agents.

Another favorite is Corcoran’s “tranching” of clients into A, B, and C clients based on their proposed time to market. He goes into how to contact them and when. By separating the clients based on their likely transaction windows, an agent can concentrate more effort on the most likely buyers and sellers…in other words the “low hanging fruit”.

There are ton of good suggestions in this book and I would suggest that it would make a good read for new agents to suggest some best practices. For more experienced agents it will remind you of things you might already be doing but need the occasional reminder. Or as is my case…suggested tools to help me clean out my inbox.

Why a commercial real estate agent needs to be like a bungee cord!

Don’t lose it just yet…stick with me for a minute and it will all make sense.

Wednesday I was getting ready for my regular sales meeting, I was thinking about what “wisdom” I wanted to impart to my salespeople, and there it was…a bungee cord! Yes, a bungee cord!

I picked up the bungee cord and stretched it, bent it, watched it snap back into shape, and I thought what useful purpose does it serve?
I decided to play a game of “Table Topics” (if you’re a Toastmaster you know what I mean). I asked everyone to tell me about the bungee cord. One agent volunteered that it was flexible, one said stretchy, one said resilient, one said strong, and one said it was used to secure things.

Eureka…I had my ideas!

I told them that like a bungee cord a good commercial real estate agent is flexible. Why flexible? Because the one and only constant in commercial real estate is change. Frequently, the best-laid plans blow up, implode, or cease to be relevant to the task at hand. A good commercial agent assesses the situation and modifies their approach…they flex and bend to the new situation.

A good commercial agent is always stretching…pushing the boundaries of their skills, knowledge, and expertise. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s is quoted as saying “Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?” Tony Robbins talks about people having “30 years of experience…or 30 one-year experiences”. Commercial real estate is constantly changing, evolving, and shifting…are you keeping up with it or are you having another “1-year” experience?

A bungee is resilient…you can stretch it, bend it, tie it, and yet it always snaps back to its original shape. In commercial real estate, you are going to take some hits. There will be setbacks, there will be upsets, there will be problems. It’s not possible to avoid them, in fact, you should welcome them. If there is not a problem in a commercial real estate deal…that’s a problem. No problems…no deal. Problems are how you know the transaction is moving forward. You will get knocked down…it’s how you get back up that is the hallmark of success in our business.

I had an agent working for me that seemed to only come to life and work on a transaction when it was on “death’s door”. In fact, I told her I was going to buy her a crash cart (like the use in the Emergency Room) because it seemed that she only worked on a deal when it was on life support. She probably lost as many as she saved, but she was right back at it the next day and onto the next deal.

One characteristic that was mentioned was being strong or tough. This ties in well with resilience and is part of the same process. You must be strong to prospect every day, you must be strong to face the rejection, you must be strong to maintain the discipline required to succeed. If you can’t bring yourself to hear the word “No” you career will be short lived. Hundreds of agents leave the business every year because they are not strong enough to take the actions necessary to succeed in the business.

If you have the strength to face the challenges, the rejection, the problems, the rewards can be great…even massive! Think of the challenges, rejection, problems as the price you pay…your capital outlay to get into this business. There is no business that doesn’t have a cost of entry…either in monetary terms or “sweat equity”.

Finally, security. A bungee cord provides a measure of security, whether in keeping something from shifting and breaking, falling off, or getting lost. One of my agents is a professional firefighter and Toastmaster. He described how the fire department uses bungee cords in rescue operations that routinely save lives.

Just like a bungee cord, a commercial agent who practices from a position of strength, flexibility, and resilience will provide a level of security. If you are in possession of those qualities…good market, bad market, sideways market you will be able to succeed in the business and prosper. You will be able to secure a lifestyle that many agents never achieve, and your skills are portable. Your skills and attitude go with you, so if you change markets you take your “business” with you. And unlike the corporate myth of “cradle-to-grave” employment, you take your “business” where ever you go.

If you fully inculcate those attributes, you carry your security with you. You can provide for yourself, your family, and make a real difference. I say be a commercial real estate “bungee cord” be flexible, strong, resilient, and strive to stretch yourself expand your boundaries, learn new skills, and watch your “security” increase and explode.

Extreme Ownership…a book review

In a effort to keep up with my blogging and to keep bringing you relevant and timely content I am blogging on my new Chromebook. I was convinced to get my Chromebook by a “junior” associate after I saw his and he explained how slick it was and how well it worked.

That brings me to my latest to my latest review. After reading Jocko Willink’s “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual” I decided to check out some of his other books, and I wasn’t disappointed. The next book from Jocko Willink and Co-Author Leif Babin’s is Extreme Ownership. One of the lessons is “passing it up the chain of command” and unknowingly that is what my “junior” did.

In this book Jocko and Leif (both SEALs) interlace stories of leadership triumphs, failures, and the lesson learned in the process. They earned my respect because, unlike other infallible authors and gurus these guys have failed…and sometimes spectacularly.

Extreme ownership is not just about taking ownership of your sphere, but taking ownership the entire length and breadth of your “command”. If there is a failure in your “command” it’s your failure as a leader…own it…fix it. If a subordinate fails, it’s because you…the leader didn’t make sure the subordinate understood precisely what you wanted or required. If upper management has questions…you didn’t give them all the information they needed.

I experienced this just this week. My “junior” and I had a SNAFU. He is in a Master of Real Estate program and got “surprised” by a professor with a huge amount of coursework and test. As a result he needed me to “cover” him. Through a series of miscommunications, I was to do two proposal and deliver them to the client Friday. Except for one small problem. I did the wrong proposals. I thought he was doing the two I was to deliver and he would do the two that I gathered info for. Wrong…

I was to do the two for Friday delivery and he would the two the two that I had gathered. That’s not what happened. First tenant of Extreme Ownership is take ownership of the failure. I as the leader, failed to make sure everybody knew their role in the “mission” and was clear on the outcome. Second, we used “cover and move” he moved the appointments and I covered by doing the proposals.

I can tell you this…I found the book hard to put down and full of ideas that I could use immediately in my business and life…My mission now is to take Extreme Ownership. I plan to use many of the great lessons in the book immediately.

P.s. The Chromebook is awesome…thanks Angelo for passing that info up the “chain of command”

Fanatical Prospecting…a book review

I have got to rant…a little! This has been a very productive and yet very relaxing weekend. I just finished reading and marking up Jeb Blount’s Fanatical Prospecting. One of my agents Alex recommended it to me months ago…and I regret not reading it then.

As you probably know by now I am a rabid “realist”. I despise new age, politically correct, easy-way-out, no work required, it’s not you…it’s the big bad world stuff. I would rather be told the unpleasant, unvarnished truth than some sugar coated horsesh!t.

Jeb Blount gives it to you right between the eyes. If you’re not making enough money…you’re not prospecting enough. Want to be a success in sales…prospect. But it’s not just a book about prospecting it’s much more. Jeb talks about “sharpening your saw” and attitude management and habits for peak sales performance.

This is a great read for someone new in the business of sales or for a seasoned professional. The neophyte will get a framework for successful prospecting and the veteran will get a “check-up” from the neck up.

Jeb covers everything from planning you prospecting day to mastering cold calls and overcoming objections. He speaks about compartmentalizing and what he calls the “Golden Hour” of prospecting. He talks about his failures and uses himself as an example of what not to do. This is a refreshing change from the infallible sales guru’s prevailing today.

I liked this book so much that I read it twice…once on my Kindle and I bought a hard copy to highlight and mark up…this one goes in the office library complete with tabs. It’s a reference guide for anyone in a sales job.

Discipline Equals Freedom…a book review

Discipline Equals Freedom

Field Manual

This week an associate of mine gave me a book to read and as you know by now I am an avid reader.

The book is called Discipline Equals Freedom-Field Manual by Jocko Willink. Jocko is a “former” Navy SEAL,. I say “former” because I don’t think you can ever be a former SEAL or a former Green Beret or a former warrior. You either are…or your not! For the record I have nothing but the utmost respect for our military service people.

To the book!

http://https://goo.gl/images/8Xkngk

The book is over 190 pages long and is written in vignettes. I read it cover-to-cover Saturday Morning while drinking my coffee. If you are in business, sales, or Life you need to read this book.

Jocko draws on his SEAL training and combat experience to “boil-down” some of life most important lessons. If you are not a fan of the “unvarnished” truth you might want to forgo this book. But if you appreciate a no bullsh!t approach to life get it, read it, live it.

He takes on discipline, procrastination, and inaction head-on with a clear and concise solution…There is no short cut, There is no hack, There’s only one way, So get after it! If you don’t like something change it. If don’t want to do something…but must…do it!

His no excuses, no rationalizing, no bullsh!t approach is refreshing and motivating in today’s Politically Correct world. A world where everybody gets a participation award and looks for solutions to their problems from all seeing guru.

If your fat eat less and exercise. If you don’t have the job you want sharpen your skills and go get it. Don’t blame life, the world, or the political climate. Do something…don’t sit on your backside and hope things will change or get better.

I am buying a copy for myself, rereading it, tabbing it…and dare I say keeping it on my desk within quick easy reach…get this book and read it…and read it again!

Thanks to Mark Stella for getting this book into my hands.

I got fired…

I’m not one of those “Guru’s” who never makes a mistake or has never suffered a loss. I think that the most valuable lessons I have ever learned came as a direct result of a failure of some sort.

The other thing I want to express is that you can do everything right…and despite your best efforts things don’t go well.

Here’s my story…

I recently listed a property for sale at a price and terms that I thought would have sold almost instantly. I was wrong! Some background first. I got the listing because the Seller was dissatisfied with his former broker. It seems that his former broker listed the property and in the six months that it was on the market never showed it even once.

I had a buyer looking for that type of property. I called the listing agent who informed me that he could set up the showing. However, when I got to the property I was told the listing had expired and that the former agent had nothing to do with the property. That process was another story entirely. Anyhow, after my showing the Seller asks if I would consider listing the property.

Long story short…we do the proposal and list the property for sale. We promote the property using the Marketing Campaign Checklist© and we send him a Listing Retention Letter© every week. We showed the property at least 20-30 times during the term of the listing. We reduced the price of the listing, we called prospective buyers who passed on two other similar listings. And yet we couldn’t get the property sold.

Last week the Seller sent me a letter terminating our listing agreement. He stated that though he was satisfied with the level of activity he was terminating the agreement because we hadn’t succeeded in selling the property.

The fact is he was correct…we had failed!

I can argue why firing us wasn’t a rational decision. He must start over with a new broker. Like his previous broker the new broker thinks putting the listing in LoopNet and the MLS is going to get it sold. The new broker is a residential agent with no industrial tract record. The Seller is desperate…desperation causes people to make unusual decisions.

But, here is the take away…he’s absolutely 100% correct!

He hired us to achieve and specific outcome. The sale of his building. Even though we marketed the “heck” out of the property we didn’t meet his objective. We did everything “right” we had the property on about 20 different websites, we broadcast emailed it to 16,000+/- CCIM’s. We mailed postcards, contacted neighboring owners, shared it at commercial networking events, called other potential buyers from other industrial listings we had. We even sent out broadcast emails across the country to over 180,000 investors, brokers, and user…not once but twice…and still nothing.
Theoretically, we made all the “right moves” and yet we failed our mission!

Tony Robbins says, “When people succeed they tend to party but when they fail they tend to ponder.”

Here are some of the “take-aways” from this experience.

First, you need to understand that in life and commercial real estate you can do everything right…and still get the wrong result. We did everything right…except sell the property. We marketed, we called, we showed, we mailed and toured and at the end of the day didn’t sell the unit. To give you some context in the same time frame we sold and closed with the original prospect/buyer and leased several other units.

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” Jack Welch

Second, the reality is that we didn’t sell the building. Despite our best efforts the building remained unsold. Newsflash, in commercial real estate and life…sometimes “sh!t” just happens. I have a theory, if you’re not getting in trouble or having upsets your not doing enough business. We can rationalize our actions and efforts, but the reality is that we didn’t sell the building.

Like Tony Robbins says, we lost…so we ponder. We took a critical look at what we did in this case, what we did well, what we could have done better, what we could have done differently. Armed with that critical assessment we decided that this was just one of those cases that “got away”.

Another interesting “take away” was that even though we didn’t sell the property in his letter terminating our agreement the Seller acknowledged all the efforts we had expended on his behalf. Even though we missed the mark the Seller confirmed our marketing process and communication with him.

This is principally why I stay in the business…how much credibility does a coach, guru, or mentor have if they have never done a transaction or haven’t done one in 20 or 30 years. The only constant in commercial real estate is change. That is why we update our Marketing Campaign Checklist© and Listing Retention Letters© monthly to keep the marketing relevant, timely, and effective.

The myth of multi-tasking!

Here is the truth about multi-tasking…you can’t do it!

Have you ever watched a self-proclaimed multi-tasker at work? It’s almost comedic to observe the erstwhile multi-tasker in their state of frenetic, frantic, fantasy. I found a company called Despair.com and they have an awesome poster (below) which I think sums it all up.

courtesy of Despair.com

How do I know? I have tried multi-tasking and must keep reminding myself why it doesn’t work.

First, like the poster says it seems like a do twice the work…but half as well. When I try to multi-task invariably there are mistakes, missing words, and numbers in the wrong place. The result, I must go back and correct the work that I did, taking up the time that I supposedly saved by multi-tasking!

Depending on what I am doing I tend to “commingle” projects where I get pieces of this project mixed in with another project. Again, requiring me to go back and extract the “boo-boo” and clean it up.
I find that I get the best work when I “compartmentalize” and focus on the task at hand. First, I eliminate distractions. I know that if I am interrupted it can take me minutes to remember what I was doing, then I have to reconstruct in my mind what was coming next. Sometimes the “reconstruction” takes longer than others!

Second, I lose stuff. I spent 20 minutes last week looking for my reading glasses…which were pushed up on my head. I walked around the entire office trying to figure out where I had put them down…only to discover them on my forehead.

Third, the sense of gratification at having completed the task. I live by the theory T.R.A.F. or Trash, Refer, Act, or File. I learned this from a book called Organized to be your best, by Susan Silver. In short if it’s not relevant I simply launch it into the circular file. If it’s not within my purview, I simply refer it to whomever is responsible for that department. If it’s something I am interested in, I have learned to act on it immediately. I have on occasion set something “aside” for later only to discover I have put it somewhere so safe I can’t find it. My newer computers have a greater ability to hide things from me than I have a capacity to remember where I put them. Finally, if I don’t need it now but may need it later I File it. That way I can get it off my desk and move on.

Part of my new-found discipline is using a virtual assistant. This was really brought home for me after reading Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek (see book list for additional resources). For a few dollars an hour I can off-load all the busy work that I don’t need, or want to do.

Recently, I had my “assistant” add 300 of my workshop attendees to my database, all while I was sleeping. He did the task as I slumbered, I woke to a complete and updated database. With technology you can employ assistants to do virtually anything inexpensively while you focus on the task that absolutely require your time an attention.

In closing I would suggest if you want to get more done in less time, enjoy less stress, and do an occasional victory dance don’t try to multi-task. Compartmentalize, assign a finite amount of time for the task and watch the task get done. It has been said that “work” expands to fill the time allowed…conversely, if a specific time block is assigned it’s amazing how often the task gets done.

Who’s on first…?

Back in the 1937 Bud Abbot and Lou Costello produced an act for the Vaudeville stage called “Who’s on first” it was a riff on the game of baseball and the nicknames and surnames of the “players” on the teams. The upshot is that the routine, while not even new back then, it remains entertaining and illustrates the everyday opportunity to take a seemingly simply situation and “complex” it all up.

I recently listed a warehouse in Sunrise Florida. I have had several showings on the property, a few of which are notable for the complete disregard for the client, common sense, manners or even professional courtesy.

I will try and compress this and keep it succinct. The first of the notable showings is notable because the agent showed up in blue jeans, flip-flops, and a tee shirt. I realize we live and work in Florida and that it is the summer but show a little respect for the clients and your fellow agents.

The second notable showing is turning into a saga. I showed it to the first wave of perspective buyers. Then I showed it to the “B” team of the prospective buyers. And most recently was asked to show the property on a Sunday morning. First, get all your buyers together and show it to them all at once…please. Secondly, commercial brokers as a rule don’t work on Saturday or Sunday…nor do their sellers. Imagine the difficulty getting the Seller there on Saturday the first time let alone Sunday for the third wave of showings.

Now, that would usually be enough of a story is it weren’t for the “follow-up”! I got an urgent call from a real estate professional that absolutely, positively, had to show it Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 pm. I made the arrangements to show the property as requested. The showing was a massive inconvenience for me as I was in the neighboring county just prior to the showing.

Anyhow, I burn rubber to make the showing only to find that the “agent” had already been there, she was early showed the property, told the owner she was stepping out to take a call and disappeared. I arrived at the appointed hour only to find that not only had she “hauled-ass” but texted me at the appointed hour to tell me they had already seen the space and they weren’t interested.

Meanwhile, a local “scumbag” developer decided that he was going to try and insert himself into the transaction. He had developed the park and a reputation for shady dealings. As I approached the subject property I observed the gentlemen in question duck in the front door of the warehouse. I exited my truck only to find that the “Buyer” from Ms. Flip-flops (above) was being shown the space by the developer. As I stepped into the warehouse I see Mr. Developer darting around the rear entrance of the warehouse with a prospect and his 8-year-old son in tow.

That evening as I was relaxing and watching American Idol, I get a call from Mr. Developer telling me the most fantastic story about how this buyer just happened to wander in off the street in to his office and before he knew it the prospect was dashing into the office of my listing. I told him that I didn’t believe a word he was saying…but thanked him for a most entertaining and enjoyable story. He was aghast that I didn’t believe him and asked me what I thought had happened. I told him that he and I both know what was going on and that I wouldn’t dignify the conversation with and answer.

As if that weren’t enough the following morning I get a call from yet another broker who has a client that want the property. So, after the requisite qualifying questions I agree to show the property that afternoon. I meet the agent at the property at the appointed hour with two of his four buyers in tow. He tells me that two other “buyers” will be joining us shortly. A few minutes later the “buyers” show up and exit the car…they don’t even bother to come in to the building. I thought it odd, so I decided to step outside and ask what was unacceptable only to discover the entire party jumping back into their vehicles. It seems that these buyers were the same “buyers” I had shown the property to on Saturday the week before.

So, if I have lost you the first buyer came back with another broker and scumbag. The scumbag in question not only doesn’t have a real estate license but was actively soliciting the seller to list the property with his daughter who had just opened her own firm. Buyer two came back with another broker as well and when they got recognized dove back into their cars and sped away.
I called and messaged Ms. Flip-flops and let her know her buyer was touring the same property with other brokers. To date she has not responded (nearly 2 weeks). I notified broker two that here buyers were touring with another broker and she asked me to speculate why they would do something like that?

The scumbag developer has since slinked back to his office and has not been heard from since.

I know, you’re now saying how can you prevent this silliness? Prior to showing a property or sending your listing package get the Broker and the Buyer to sign Seller and Buyer confidentiality and or non-circumvent agreements.

You will get some blow back from less seasoned brokers, but you can save yourself a ton of wasted time and energy. If the cooperating broker is unwilling to sign a Cooperating Brokers Agreement that tells me volumes about their business acumen. If a Buyer isn’t disposed to signing they aren’t really a buyer. And don’t forget part of your job is to save the seller from unnecessary interruptions, unqualified buyers, and time waster. Another benefit, among many is that you now have established who is entitled to the cooperating brokers fee if any.

If you don’t have a Cooperating Brokers Agreement or a Buyer Confidentiality Agreement get one…today and make it a part of your best practices.

If you can’t explain it simply…

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Albert Einstein

I have been thinking about that a lot lately. I have been listening to some “guru’s” that hold themselves out as experts in the field, and I marvel at how many of them resort to “jargon”. It has been my experience that most of the people that use “jargon” have a very shallow understanding of the subject matter. They often pepper their speech with “buzz-words” or “catch-phrases” to make it sound like they know what they are talking about.

Just the other day I heard an SME (Subject Matter Expert…Jargon) make a statement that was patently false…I mean completely and unequivocally wrong! I recently went to a doctor and he was explaining what my problem was…I said so what you are trying to say Doc is “the knee bone is connected to the leg bone…and the leg bone is connected to the hip bone” he started laughing.

Think about this next time your looking at a contract full of wherefore’s and hereof’s how does that language improve the parties understanding? How does it improve clarity? I think if you can’t explain it to your 13 year old son, daughter, niece, or nephew you might need check your knowledge base.

❷✖Your Commissions with an IRS 170 Bargain Sale Transaction ❷✖

Haven’t heard of a an IRS 170 Bargain and Sale…?

Most agents haven’t either…Check this out it’s way older than a 1031…

It allows an individual to make charitable donation, get cash, and huge…HUGE…HUGE tax benefits!

Don’t get stuck on the donation part…savvy brokers can make a fee on the donation…and if they have the relationship…on the sale from the charity!

That’s two fees…one going into the charity and one coming out!

There’s way to much to explain in an email so join me and Chuck Pettet, Senior Acquisitions Sales Associate from Welfont…the Nationals Largest provider of IRS 170 Bargain and Sale service for all the details.

Chuck will explain the process…and how you can get “certified” in the IRS 170 Bargain and Sale process for free.

I’m excited about this “additional” revenue stream for my practice and I think it’s something you won’t want to miss!

Were going online at 11 am EST Today…REGISTER here!

Don’t miss this opportunity to 2X your commissions!

Hope you can join us…

Adam