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Archive for April, 2012

Want More Transactions? Think Chick-fil-A!

Chick Fil A Cows  If you ask anyone at Chick-fil-A what line of work they are in you would expect them to reply “food service” yet all the employees from the CEO to the person taking your order at the drive-through would tell you, “Customer Service!”  Their company purpose is: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”  How do you describe your job…. do you sell real estate or are YOU in the business of customer service?  Are you focused on the transaction or on the relationships you build?

Going the “Extra Mile…”  “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew: 5:41.)  The first mile is what you HAVE to do and the second mile is what you GET to do!  That second mile, or extra step, is where referrals are made and relationships are cemented.  Ask yourself, “what would make this the perfect transaction for me? for my client? for the other agent? for the staff at my office? for the attorney?  the lender?  the inspector?”  Consider how smoothly the deal would go if you went that “extra mile” for all of the others involved in the deal?  You would absolutely get referrals from your client and chances are the other professionals involved will reciprocate in the courtesy.  When you strive to make each transaction run as smoothly as possible for ALL involved, you will do more transactions & enjoy each one a little more!
You are in the business of customer service!  What would impress you in a real estate transaction?  Now do that for others!  A little courtesy goes a long way nowadays!  How often do you ask others, “how may I help you?” When someone asks you to do something do you reply, “ok” or “my pleasure” “with delight?”
Here are some steps you can easily take to do more business and make more money and help more people:
  • Answer your phone
  • Promptly answer your email
  • Provide more information than asked for
  • Leave the lockbox code in the private remarks of the listing service so other agents can easily show your listings
  • Promptly update the listing service with the accurate status of your listing
  • Provide a blank GAR form in the online documents of your listings so non-authorized users can write an offer on your listing on that form
  • Provide a list of important dates per the contract to your client and to your co-op agent to share with their client
  • After the sale, send thank you notes to the lender, closing attorney, co-op agent, asset manager, short-sale negotiator
  • Offer to make a VisualTour for your buyer to share online with their friends & family
  • Send a “handyman” to the Buyer’s house two-weeks after closing to fix up any things that need it in their new home
  • On the final walk-through, leave a bucket of toilet paper, paper towels, light bulbs, windex, etc. for the Buyers
  • Complete all your documents immediately and send them in to the office to help out the staff in processing the transaction
  • Make return-address labels for your new Buyers or for the Seller’s new house and give them to them at closing
  • Bring two US Post Office “Change of Address” kits to closing for the Buyer AND Seller (they’ll have a new address also)
  • Bring bottled water, printouts of the houses you are showing, antibacterial gel, a flashlight and snacks with you when showing property
  • Send the Seller an outline of what to expect while their home is for sale
  • Stay in contact with the Seller every week regardless if you have any new news to tell them or not
  • Thank agents for showing your listings
  • Thank agents for making it easy to show their listings
  • Did I mention answer your phone?!?!?!

Leave people feeling better when they leave you than when you first engaged in conversation with them!  You truly are the CEO of your own small business.  Would others want to buy a “franchise” from you?  If not, what could you do to make that so?  Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our country.  You create jobs and grow our economy.  As an entrepreneur you have a vital role to play when interacting with others.  Make the most of each and every contact and interaction you have with others involved in your real estate business.  Consider that your customer is not only a buyer or seller but the co-op agent; your staff is not only you but the people at the office who review your contracts, process your commission checks, prepare your closings, process the buyer’s loans, inspect properties, make your yard signs, maximize your web site, etc.  Next time you go to Chick-fil-A pay special attention to how they make you feel when patronizing their business.  Remember that it truly is customer service and courtesy which will compel others to do more business with you!

Time is Money: The “PUSH” of the To-Do List vs. the “PULL” of the Core Schedule


 Time Management: The “To Do” List vs. The Schedule. Do you run your business, and your life for that matter, by an omnipresent “to do” list or do you operate from a core schedule? Before you answer that question, ask yourself do you find yourself on that “roller coaster” of production; are you consistently productive in your real estate sales business or do you find yourself running around daily “doing” a lot yet not getting a lot done? There is no right or wrong way to manage your time as long as you use your time effectively and productively based on the results you wish to achieve in your business.

The majority of sales people operate from a “to do” list and find themselves constantly exhausted, stopping to grab a quick bite at a fast food place, working late hours and every weekend, and miss a lot of their social time. Understand that there are always things to be done and I believe lists are a wonderful tool… just not necessarily the most efficient way to manage your time if you want to be as productive as you can be. How is it that some people manage to get so much done while others are constantly running around and rarely seem to get the same business results; we all have the same 24 hours each day with which to operate? Let us examine the features and benefits of the “to do” list versus the core schedule.

The “To Do” List: How many lists do you have? How many categories (professional, personal, family, friends, to do, to go, to call, etc.?) Do you have one specific notebook or place that you write your list or do you have hundreds of sticky notes all over? When creating a new list, do you consistently re-write items from previous lists that never seem to get accomplished? Do you get satisfaction from crossing something OFF your “to do” list or even better…. when you complete an activity, do you WRITE it on your list merely so you can scratch through it!?! If you find yourself nodding your head in the affirmative to any of these questions, you are an “A-Lister!”

There are many ways to effectively create and manage a “to-do” list. Books have been written, and many blogs and articles write to the many pros & cons, right ways and wrong ways, features and benefits of the everpresent “to do” list! There are also several electronic applications for your computer, smart phone and even online on how to make your list even easier to manage and complete.

The Schedule: Calendars, daytimers, Filofaxes, smart phones, PDA’s computer programs, notebooks, organizers, and on and on…. there are several methods on paper and electronically to create and keep a schedule. Many of us will schedule an appointment in our cell phones and ALSO write it on our paper calendar… just in case!  Many even color code the items in their schedule to reflect into what category an event fits: Orange for personal, green for closings, hot pink for coaching appointments, yellow for listing appointments, etc.. If you use a schedule are you using it as a method of scheduling your “to do” list, or are you using it as a productivity tool?

By creating a core schedule, you will become more productive in your sales business. Pareto’s principle (The 80/20 Rule) states that 80% of one’s results are achieved by 20% of one’s effort; do you have a core business schedule that accounts for the 20% of your most productive activities to make money in your chosen profession? Rather than scheduling your entire business day, why don’t you schedule your morning until noon and then a couple hours in the afternoon leaving lots of flexibility throughout the rest of the day for whatever presents itself?

For consistent sales business and consistent commission checks, the morning is an excellent time to generate new business and follow-up on potential business whereas the afternoon is the ideal time to go on listing appointments, conduct buyer presentations, contact sellers for price reductions, and negotiate contracts. All of the other “busyness” our the real estate sales business can be done in the non-scheduled times (calling other agents, returning phone calls, servicing clients, entering listings into the listing service, being on the phone with banks for short sale business, etc..) Consider creating a “rainy day” core schedule as well for those days when you cannot work your regular business day (kids home from school, car breaks down, scheduled delivery, etc.)  When you create a core schedule that includes consistent business generation, when you have the discipline to stick to that schedule, when you have a coach to hold you accountable to that schedule, when you act on the 20% of your work responsible for 80% of your results, you WILL see an increase in your sales results and in your wallet!

Comparing The “To-Do” List with The Schedule: Most people manage their time with a combination of both of these methods: schedule the things to do within a specified time created by your core schedule. Probably the biggest difference in these two methods, at least in terms of your productivity, lies in the effect they have on your energy. A “to-do” list has the tendency to feel like a “push” or a burden hanging over your head. A schedule has the effect of feeling like a “pull” pulling you into action! Once you stick to your schedule for any length of time, if you miss a morning of generating new business, throughout the day, you will constantly feel like something is “missing.” Your core schedule “pulls” you into action… productive action!

Give it a try! Be strict on your schedule in the morning and then flexible and open the rest of the afternoon, write it down, try it out, have your coach hold you accountable, and track your results! Now all you have to do is add another “to-do:” create a core schedule!

  Time Management 3

Picture This & Make Money in Real Estate

Picture This

Unless you are a professional artist or the paparazzi, how can you profit from a picture? Remember that “a picture is worth a thousand words!” The wisdom of this ancient Chinese proverb has significant ramifications on many levels, all of which will enhance your productivity business and make you more money in your real estate career. I will simply address two areas: the external and the internal use of pictures.

 As you engage your real estate business as a business, you obviously track many numbers, your own efficiency numbers as well as the many market statistics for the area in which you sell real estate. One of the business systems you should follow is the recurring collection of this data and then its analysis. (Wow! We all probably should have paid more attention in math class, right?!)

As a professional real estate agent, you track many facets of the market: sale prices, number of sales, days on the market, active listings, pending listings, sold listings, failed listings, market velocity, market trends and on and on! These calculations and the trends they show are key to your real estate success when working with sellers and buyers. When you are on an appointment with a potential client, you already know the importance of conveying this information in a meaningful way. You must get the client’s attention and agreement in order to properly price and position a listing to sell or craft a great offer for the purchase of a house so that you can get paid! Therefore, simplify your presentation and make sense of these statistics by putting them in charts and graphs… in other words, in pictures! These pictures will not only be worth a thousand words they will also be worth a thousand mathematical equations!

There is yet another way to use pictures to make your real estate business more lucrative. These are the images you create in your mind as you approach anything and everything you do within your daily activities. Your “treasure map” or “vision board” is a physical representation in pictures of your future. Assist the realization of your goals by visualizing the outcomes of your activities in your imagination!

For example, when preparing for a listing appointment, it is vital that you illustrate in your mind the seller saying “yes” to give yourself the best chance of getting a signed contract! When telephone prospecting, picture someone answering the phone and inviting you over for an appointment, see your sellers agreeing to price reductions, see your buyers writing a contract on the home of their dreams, see your co-op agents returning your accepted counter-offer! Visualize your foreclosure and short-sale deals being approved quicker!  When your brain is filled with images and thoughts of positive outcomes related to your business, you will approach your transactions more positively and others involved in the transaction will respond to your energy!  It is always more pleasant doing business with and negotiating through issues when it is a less contentious situation!  Contact Dana for more information on how to specifically visualize other aspects of your real estate sales business in a way to bring you more money in less time.

There is scientific evidence that the images we visualize in our minds have physical manifestations in our bodies. You have specific experience with this yourself! Has there ever been a time when you imagined a lemon? A big, bright, plump, ripe lemon… Imagine rolling it between your palms to really loosen up all the juices, then you slowly cut into the lemon. The tangy juice drips down your hands and onto the counter. You pick up half of this plump lemon in order to bite into it. As you slowly bring it close to your mouth, your eyes squint and the insides of your mouth pucker as you anticipate the pungent, sour taste of the juice!…. Just reading that description physically makes you pucker and salivate! Now picture a pickle! (wink! wink!)

The more vivid your images, the more money you will make! The mindset you possess in approaching your real estate career will definitely influence the outcome you receive from your activities. In this aspect, perhaps a picture is worth a thousand dollars (or more!)

Happy Passover & Easter

 Easter Passover

During these Holidays we reflect on our history, our past, those who came before us and those who have paved the way for our own journeys!   What is it that led you to where you currently are?  Think of all the people and situations in your life who have encouraged and inspired you to go into business for yourself!  What are the alternatives to you for practicing real estate?  It is vital to be grateful to those who support us now or in the past who have led us to where we are now.  Thank the loved ones in your life who support your entrepreneurial endeavor; thank whomever inspired you to get into real estate; appreciate the teachers, mentors and coaches who have helped you create a thriving and successful business out of an idea & enthusiasm!

As you relish your career, take some time to reflect on all that you achieve, the people you help, the knowledge you possess, the skills you have, the flexibility of time you control!  If you are not enjoying your business as much as you feel you should, what else would you be doing if not real estate?  What would that do to your control over your time & schedule?  Would you rather HAVE a boss or BE your own boss?  What other profession allows you to make as much money as you want AND have total flexibility and freedom to be the CEO of your own company right off the bat?  Consider what led you to real estate as a career initially?  Think of how excited you were embarking on a new career… a new profession!!

When you sell a house, you truly are doing a noble thing!  You are creating or perpetuating many jobs!  Think of all the people involved in getting that transaction closed: the lender, underwriter, processor, closing attorney, pre-closer, personell at both real estate companies who process the paperwork and checks from your transactions, inspector, the seller’s lender who closes out their loan, two sets of movers, the office-staff at the moving companies, the people working at the utility companies who take the utilities out of one person’s name and put them into another person’s name, etc!  You are also a potential match-maker!  How many people do you know that are married to their childhood or high school sweetheart?  They would not have met their spouse if you did not help their parents select and close on a home in that particular neighborhood!

By engaging in this exciting and wonderful career, you truly touch many people’s lives in a meaningful way!  So reflect on your past and how a real estate agent has touched your life… how you came to live in the various homes throughout your life, what or who influenced you to choose real estate as a profession, and what important work you do in your field!  These thoughts become feelings & actions which will spur you to more activity, more closings and more commission checks!  You get out of it what you put into it!  Take advantage of people around you and the training and mentoring that Maximum One offers so that you can be in a position to positively influence others in so many ways!

Easter Peeps

How Social Do You Have to Be in Today’s Real Estate Market?

Social Media

How social do you have to be in today’s real estate market? It depends on how much business you want to do! It is time to cure your social “dis-ease” and jump in to social media networks to explode your sales business! It is essential to engage some form of social media to enhance your relationships and hence real estate business. As an added bonus…. you will have a lot of fun along the way!

The more relationships you have and can cultivate, the more successful your real estate career will be! It was not all that long ago that an agent would have paid a lot of money to be able to access several thousand people inexpensively… and now there are many social media venues which allow you to do that for FREE, easily, effectively and enjoyably! What an easy way to get back to enjoying your real estate career and creating opportunities to help many people buy and sell real estate and receive many commission checks!

Although there are many “social networking media” marketing avenues, the primary ones include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogging
  • LinkedIn
  • Flickr
  • Active Rain
  • Pinterest

So where do you start and what should you do? (If you wish to check the availability of a specific social networking “username” go to:

Facebook: Facebook is the easiest program to begin your adventure! Simply go to , enter your email address, password, basic information and that is all there is to it! There are many tutorials and blog sites regarding all of the specifics regarding how to navigate your way through. Facebook is designed to “help you connect and share with the people in your life!” The overview is this: find “friends” (from real estate, schools, clients, family, neighborhoods, past places you have lived, etc..) Write in your “status update” what you are doing in terms of your life and your real estate business (i.e. selling in specific geographic areas, specific price range, helping Sellers use their house as a tool, finding dream homes for Buyers, helping people prevent foreclosure, etc..) Your information will be broadcasted on your friends’ walls and news feeds and all of their friends will see that you are a productive, professional (and such a technologically savvy wink wink!) real estate agent! Remember that you are a well-rounded person and “talk” about more than just business! This is networking on steroids! For added business tips, read 10 Facebook Strategies Your Competitors Don’t Want You to Know courtesy of Reggie Nicolay (@ReggieRPR). One caveat to Facebook: it can be addicting!

Twitter: The fastest growing networking site online today for making an impact on your local real estate sales market! Go to and enter your name and twitter identification and password. Then you will “follow” people and others will “follow” you. You can follow us: @Maximum1Realty. Twitter is considered a “micro-blogging” site in that you broadcast your activities, ideas, resources, informative web sites, your blog site, tips and tricks for selling houses, and anything you care to share. However, you are limited to 140 characters per tweet! This is the fastest and most fun way to discover who wants to buy or sell a home in your neighborhood. You engage in conversations with others regarding your business and interests and activities. If you are interested in the latest breaking news, you will find it on twitter before you will anywhere else! There are many ancillary programs on the web to enhance your twitter experience: Tweet Deck, Twitter Local, Twitter Search, TwitPic (to tweet pictures) and the list continues! For a fabulous tutorial on how to grow your network on Twitter, download ( Nicole Nicolay’s (@Nik_Nik) free e-book: “Get Your Tweet On withTwitter for Real Estate Twits v.2.”

Blogging: Blogging is considered the most intensive method for enhancing your online real estate presence. There are many resources for establishing a blog site:,,,, and many others. You can blog on anything: real estate in your area, mortgage information (,) specific neighborhoods, market reports, distressed properties, real estate technology, luxury markets, home inspectors, the closing process, events in your area, school information and test scores, real estate training and coaching,  etc.. Blogging is an extremely effective way to showcase your real estate niche, expertise and passion. Please note that blogging effectively to establish an audience and to organically rise to the top of a Google search takes time and commitment. You can utilize your blog to interact with the buying and selling public, to your past clients, to specific geographic or sociographic farm areas or to other real estate agents. If your intended audience is other real estate agents or if you desire to be informed as to what is happening in real estate throughout the world, Active Rain is the preeminent site for this goal. These weekly newsletters and additional information are posted on the Maximum One Blog!

LinkedIn: LinkedIn initially began as an online resume service. It has now expanded into an important online networking site and functions very similarly to Facebook. Many of your past and future clients may be on LinkedIn (or Plaxo – initially an online business card site) solely or in addition to Facebook and Twitter. One of the beauties of is that you can have other colleagues and clients “recommend” your services. These online testimonials can go a long way to enhancing your professional credibility to your prospects who do not yet know you.

Pinterest: Pinterest is an online bulletin board – a visual bookmark of various websites that interest you!  Of all the Social Media sites, in my opinion, Pinterest is the MOST fun, most interesting & most ADDICTIVE!!!  You can find friends through facebook and other sites.  See what interests others & let others see what interests you!  This site is a bit difficult to explain but once you dive in, you’ll never want to leave!!!!  Did I mention this site is ADDICTING!?!?!?

Others: & photo sharing), & (social bookmarking) (video sharing) and many more!

There are several keys to the effective use of your online networking and marketing strategy. Primarily remember that your ultimate goal is to connect with people in order to establish a relationship and help them with their real estate needs and get paid for the value you bring to the situation!

Technically-speaking, make sure that you completely fill out your “profile” on all of these various sites. Include professional and personal aspects (items that make you an interesting person) of your life:

  • Business information
  • Professional associations
  • Professional accolades
  • Your various online presences
  • Hobbies
  • Likes
  • Passions
  • Activities
  • Types of music you like
  • Movies you prefer
  • Academic interests
  • Athletic interests
  • Etc.

Portray yourself as the interesting and well-rounded person that you are so that others will be attracted to do business with you! The tools you use are not as important as the relationship skills you bring to the situation: awareness, conversation and engagement!

Regardless of the method you utilize to meet new customers, you are simply required to cultivate and hone the communication and relationship skills necessary to turn that prospect into a paycheck! They desire the real estate knowledge and expertise you possess and will gladly pay you for that value you uniquely bring to help them move forward with their needs. The fundamental principal of any and all of your marketing efforts is to be able to convey your value to them and to their network in a compelling and provocative way to turn those prospects into clients!


It’s Spring!

   Any way you look at it….. Spring is here!!!!!  Arriving on March 20th in all its glory (& pollen!)  Time to shake off the winter doldrums and emerge with new energy, vigor and verve (in honor of the Vernal Equinox!)  Take time this week to look at all the new growth happening around you and all the beauty it brings!

What does Spring mean to you?     Spring Fever?  Spring Break?    Spring Cleaning?  Perhaps a bit of all three!  Let that Spring Fever heat up your attitude and take some action in your business!  Take a Spring Break from your business to review your business plan:

  • What lead generating techniques are working?
  • What do you need to do to enhance your online presence?
  • What specialized training do you need to add another source of business?
  • How many NEW people are you contacting each week?
  • How many past clients are you asking for referrals?
  • What percentage of your business is listings vs. buyers?
  • How do the number of transactions you have closed year-to-date compare to your production level last year?
  • What are you doing to maintain a confident, positive attitude every day?
  • How many “First Time Home Buyer Seminars” have you conducted?
  • Home many “How to Sell Your Home as a Short Sale” workshops have you organized?
  • How many short sale sellers have you contacted?
  • How many expired listings have you contacted?
  • How many potential renters have you qualified to buy rather than rent?
  • How many listing agents have you contacted to service their sign calls?
  • How many HUD listings have you advertised on Craigslist?
  • What can you do to increase any of these numbers?

What needs Spring Cleaning in your business?  Now is a great time to evaluate what is not working for you and “clean house!”  Take a good look at your environment and determine what is moving you forward towards your goals and what is holding you back!  Remember that your environment includes not only your desk and office space but your car, home, friends and your own attitude!  Ask yourself if the things and people around you, the books you read, the television shows you watch, the conversations you have with others and yourself, foods that you eat…. are all of these in line with what I say I want my life to be like?  Am I surrounded with positive, encouraging, confidence-building, skill-building people and information?  If not, what can I “clean” to clear the way to reach the success for which I strive?

If we can assist you individually or by hosting a specific class, please let us know!  In the meantime…. be sure and take time to stop and smell the flowers along the way!  Enjoy your Spring!  Put some Spring into your step!  Spring into action!

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