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Archive for September, 2012

The Art & Science of Performance… On & Off the Field

The Art & Science of Performance… On & Off the Field
The Art & Science of Performance by Dana Sparks

The Art & Science of Performance… On & Off the Field



We all perform in myriad aspects of our lives. Our performance lies in one or more of many areas: athletics, academics, social, professional and personal. Within this scope of “performance,” in actuality we are all truly in “sales” regardless of what we say we do or for what we get paid! We are all in sales! We are always selling one of four things: a product, a service, an idea or ourselves! Actually, we are always selling ourselves in the form of our thoughts, our point of view, our disdain or our concern and solicitation. Therefore, the more we learn about the art and science of performance and of sales, the better off we will be!

There are four foundations to self-presentation, that is, “sales.” These areas are:

  • Communication
  • Mindset – The Inner Game
  • Success Systems
  • The Arena of Play

Communication: The meaning of your communication is the message that is received regardless of what you intended to convey! It is paramount to utilize powerful “words that work” and influential word patterns (i.e. level shifts, double binds, single binds, future pacing, direct cause and effect, etc.) in order to convey meaning to create shared understanding. When you are presenting yourself, it is imperative to persuade your listener and direct the stream of thoughts, feelings and ideas to those of your choosing.

The influential direction of communication is achieved through the power of questions. By asking questions, you can guide the conversation towards the topics that you choose to discuss. There are five types of questions (tie-downs, “why,” open-ended, selling and permission questions) which when used appropriately, will enable you to out-perform your competition whenever you want… and isn’t that your ultimate goal in a competitive situation?

Another critical skill to master is your own self-talk – what you say to yourself. Have you noticed all the chatter that continually rattles around in your head? Is most of that positive, performance-enhancing ideas or detracting and negative babble? The skill of controlling and directing that self-talk at best and learning how to ignore it at least is critical to your confidence when performing and selling yourself to others and to yourself!

There are many other skills (how to elicit criteria motivation, closing theory, conversational selling and story-selling to name a few) in the area of communication which comprise this quarter of your performance foundation. The stronger and deeper your communication skills, the more powerfully you will be able to present yourself and sell yourself, your ideas, your products or your services.

MindsetThe Inner Game: With a Ph.D. in sport psychology, I could expound endlessly on the role your mind plays in any performance. When you ask any athlete what percentage of their performance can be attributed to their mindset, you will get answers upwards of 85%. Now, ask those same athletes what percent of their practice time they put into preparing for that inner game, and the discrepancy in that percentage will be astounding! When it is “show time,” most people will prepare their minds and get “psyched up” immediately before the game, the sales call, the presentation, the interview, etc.. Imagine the positive effect on your salesmanship and on your stress-level when you have put as much time and effort into systematically preparing your inner game as you have your outer game!

Confidence-building comprises an enormous part of your psychology when presenting yourself to others and in front of others. Your tenacity and determination and assurance go a long way in determining the outcome on and off the field that you wish to achieve.

Your sense of value is another key element in this aspect of the psychology of performance. Do you know your own value, the unique value that you bring to the situation? How are you able to differentiate yourself among your competitors? Are you able to convincingly convey your value and this differentiation to those whom you are trying to influence? This value canvas is a skill which can readily be learned, practiced and honed!

Focus and Trust are two areas which can keep an expected champion performing at the top of his game or prod an underdog to beat all the apparent odds and come from behind to win it all! Where is your focus when you are having to perform at an elite level? Have you practiced the skill of being able to control your focus and pull it back on task when your mind wanders? When you are at work are you truly working? When you are at play are you truly in the moment? Do you trust yourself at that critical moment when it is now or never?

There are many additional components relating to the psychology of sport and performance: rebounding from a loss or from an injury or from the unexpected, blueprinting your intentions for success and high performance results, visualization, identity and psychological rehabilitation following injury, attitude and faith, motivation, energy, commitment and determination, to name a few!

Success Systems: When you create systems in which to streamline your skills, your chances of winning greatly increase. All systems for success should possess an element of accountability and discipline. You should create systems around every element of your practice and preparation time as well as your time in front of others. Some of these areas include: pre-“game” routines, superstitions, core schedules for all the areas of your life, injury schedule, practice time, momentum technology, work-outs, health and diet, re-purposing the stress you encounter in the myriad areas of your life and responding to competitive pressure!

The Arena of Action: It’s showtime! You must bring it to action! You can prepare and practice and hone your skills, yet the true test comes on the field of play! This is where the excitement begins! This is where the elements intermingle and the performance becomes the “thing!” You perform and are “on the field” in many many areas daily! You must perform in athletics, academics, in your career, in your community, in your social environment and in your personal life! Most people do not give themselves credit for the qualities and values they already possess! Skill-transfer and the flexibility to change are vital to your ongoing success in achieving the results you want!

In conclusion, there most definitely is an art and science of performance and sales. At the very least, you must sell yourself on yourself daily; and so often you must sell yourself to others in terms of ideas and thoughts and products and services. Without sales, nothing around you would be in your environment! The computer with which you are reading this blog was sold to you by someone (as was the chair on which your sitting and the clothes you are wearing!) Sales and performance are, in essence, one in the same! The stronger your skills in these four foundations, the greater and more plentiful the results you will achieve in your life!

ActiveRain: A Resource for All Real Estate Agents

ActiveRain: A Resource for All Real Estate Agents

ActiveRain: A Resource for All Real Estate Agents

If you have been on ActiveRain for any length of time, you already know what a resource this site is for your real estate business.  What is ActiveRain?  It is an online community of real estate blogs designed to connect you to other agents, lenders, closing attorneys, inspectors, etc. throughout the country.  It is a great way to discover what real estate is like for agents in other parts of the country as well as a fabulous resource for ideas and strategies on how to handle certain issues with transactions or areas of your business.  There are specialized groups and channels as well to find information on any aspect of your real estate business that needs your attention:  Shorts Sales, Relocation, New Construction, Blogging, increasing SEO to your website, Marketing ideas, Lead generation, REO’s, Social Marketing Assistance, Seller Servicing, Buyer Servicing, etc!  Anythiing and everything you ever wanted to know or had a question about has been written in a blog by someone on ActiveRain.

Just to get an idea of the myriad blogposts, some of the titles include:

  • Foreclosing During Negotiations… Shocking
  • How to Use the Housing Turnover Rate to Beat Your Competition
  • What is a Mortgage Assumption
  • You Have Turned in Your Short Sale Documents, Now What
  • Which Sign is Best for My Branding?
  • 3 Big Reasons to Give Away Real Estate Information
  • We Attract a Mirror Image of Who We Are
  • Where on Social Media Should We Be Posting Our Content
  • Top Social Media Tools
  • Why Use Video for Your Blog?
  • Move Over… Fully Useable Real Estate Search Now on Facebook
  • The iPhone Selling System for Realtors
  • 3 Things to Stop Doing EveryDay
  • Wrap Around Mortgages
  • Lease-Option Investing
  • Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Why Google Keeps Changing its Algorithms
  • Buyers & Sellers: Are Both the Best

Check it out for free, sign up for a free account or you can also pay for a “Rainmaker” account.  This real estate network is also a great referral source for sending or receiving referrals around the country (& world!)  It’s more than simply exposure on the internet, it’s about finding out what works to get more business and more transactions closed, what doesn’t work, sharing in triumphs & frustrations, sharing ideas, growing your business, creating new friendships, and learning from each other!  Check it out & let me know what you think!  Go to: .

Labor Day: Work on Systems in 4 Key Areas for More Real Estate Closings

Labor Day: Work on Systems in 4 Key Areas for More Real Estate Closings
Happy Labor Day from Maximum One

Labor Day: Work on Systems in 4 Key Areas for More Real Estate Closings

Labor Day is a day of celebration! Labor Day was originally founded as a national tribute to honor the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity & well-being of our country. It is also a day that marks the end of Summer vacation and the excitement of getting “back to work” for most of us! While we enjoy our holiday barbecues, outings on the lake and time relaxing with family and friends, we also gear-up for a prosperous end of the year! The most important things to focus on when you come back to work are the systems that run your business. There are four general areas that need systems and strategies in place to run your successful real estate business.

These areas are:

  • Generating Business
  • Servicing Active Business
  • Following Up AFTER Closing
  • Following Up Long Term

Systems for Generating Business: How are you generating real estate clients? You should have a specific time every morning for GENERATING the business. That is your job! That is the main thing you get paid for… finding people who need your help to buy or sell real estate. Whether you use the internet, the telephone, your car, the US postal service or a combination of all of these, what you do every work day morning should be focused on this activity alone.

Systems for Servicing Active Business: In today’s real estate market, it is extremely easy for this portion of your job to tend to take up the majority of your time. It is imperative to begin this part of your daily activities AFTER you have spent your time generating new business. As challenging as it may be to get a transaction closed, once it is closed, it will behoove you to have another client ready to go (or preferably already in the works) rather than having to start from scratch. Avoid the typical “roller coaster” of production and activity in your real estate business. When focusing and honing your strategies for getting pending transactions closed, remember to include your co-op agents, lenders and closing attorneys when refining your strategies (i.e. consider a message on your voice mail that lets callers know when they can expect a return call, an auto-reply on your email with contact information or current status updates & access information on your listings, etc.)

Systems for Following up AFTER Closing: You can gain a huge percentage increase in your business year after year by developing strategies in this one area of your sales business. Think back to the last major purchase you made (a car, furniture, a computer system, home theater system, etc.) have you heard back from the salesperson that sold that item to you? What kind of an impression would that have made on you in terms of future or referral business? Simply sending a hand-written thank-you note to ALL the parties involved will greatly enhance your business. There are many other ways you can service your clients and co-op agents and other parties AFTER the close of your real estate transaction.

Systems for Following Up LONG TERM: Long Term follow up is another area of your business replete with opportunity for more sales! How systematic are you in following up with your past clients? Co-op Clients after the sale? Vendors to whom you give business? If you have not contacted a past client in a while (a LONG while) pick up the phone NOW! They DO NOT know that you should have been in touch with them on a regular basis! Chances are, if they are still living at the same address (wink wink) they will be delighted to hear from you! What about your co-op agents… perhaps they are out of business and would love to make money from the referral fees you give them from THEIR past clients! Your favorite inspector has made a lot of money from the clients you have sent his way, have you asked him whom HE knows who needs to buy or sell? Do you contact people on their birthdays (the closing attorney gets a copy of the parties’ drivers licenses!) There are so many opportunities to make an impression and offer your services to help people with their real estate needs!

It is vitally important for you to have systems and strategies in place in every aspect of your business for enhanced real estate sales! Not only will you get more business, but you will also alleviate some of the stress you feel from the frenetic way you are handling your career. If you have systems in place, Labor Day is a good time every year to evaluate your checklists, organization, procedures and policies that operate your real estate business!  These systems will contribute to the strength, prosperity and well-being of your real estate sales business!


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