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Archive for January, 2013

Can You Spare a Little Change?

Change to Grow

Can you Spare a Little Change? – by Dana Sparks


Change is inevitable and has great impact… so how are you going to let it affect your business?  Change in and of itself is neither good nor bad and how you choose to react to that change will directly influence your real estate business.

Change is not always embraced and is often met with fear and negativity largely due to the overwhelming sense of the unknown and unprepared.  However there are many positive consequences of which you should take advantage.  In the real estate industry, our cyclical market is always changing, interest rates rise & fall, your knowledge and confidence changes with your continuing education and experience, and in every brokerage, staff and systems change and evolve. There are four areas in which you can realize the ast benefits of changes in the real estate industry.


With the ever-changing real estate market, you have the opportunity to learn a new skill and find new people to help.  Have you taken steps to learn the short-sale market?  Learn how to be an REO agent for the bank foreclosures? Learn how to market yourself online and effectively use social media?  There is a wealth (pun intended) of opportunity for you in our current market when you decide to take advantage of what is presented to you.  See Maximum One’s online training calendar throughout the year for classes to assist you with your education for innovation to re-invent your real estate agent self!)

Staying Current

Change forces you to stay on top of your industry, your skills and your systems in order to keep up.  If you do not have an online presence in your real estate business, you are missing out on a lot of business.  If you are not engaging in social media to generate business, you are not being current with how many agents are getting new Buyers & Sellers.  Changes in technology, advertising and relationships force you to stay current in order to become or remain successful in your industry!


Changing markets, changing skills, changing needs and our changing industry paves the way for new business opportunity for you!  When you got your real estate license, did you ever imagine that you would be representing banks as part of your business?  Yet look at all the REO agents in our industry who solely work that 9am – 5pm non-weekend business because their bank clients don’t work those hours either?  Today’s real estate market is replete with opportunity to assist different types of customers and master different types of technology and skills!  There are Sellers in distress, banks needing agents for representation and BPO’s, Buyers looking for homes and investments, developers looking for land and foreclosed partially-built subdivisions, non-distressed Sellers who are being overlooked, and the list goes on and on!  Additionally, the public is looking for properties and agents in new and non-traditional places.  Perhaps you have always enjoyed writing and never knew how to use it in your business… now you can make money from blogging!


The changes we experience in real estate force us to fall behind or enhance our efficiency!  Do you keep track of your appointments on a paper calendar or are you synched up with your smart phone, laptop and tablet so that you can access your schedule, contacts, etc. whenever and wherever you are!  Aren’t you more efficient when showing property by using your GPS rather than spending hours the night before consulting a map and drawing out your route?  Remember the old books that we had to use to find houses that were listed for sale?  As technology and our industry changed, we went from looking through books and attending caravans to being able to find properties online the moment they are listed and being able to see the insides of the property from the comfort of sitting in front of our own computer!

So, the next time something new comes your way (Paperless Pipeline, WolfConnect Extranet, increased interest rates, new contracts, etc.) embrace that change for the growth and experience and opportunity that awaits!  There are more prospects for your real estate services than you can possibly do business with so go find them!  If you keep doing what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always received so if you want something new, be willing to change where you look, what you do and how you do it!

prAna Handbook for Life

Attitude is Everything             prAna Handbook for Life –  

                    courtesy of Mark Willix


“prAna” is the ancient Sanskrit word for breath, life and vitality of the spirit.  There is an online (and brick and mortor) store which makes and sells clothing for yoga, climbing and other sports.  (Check them out at .)  The concept of prAna has guided their actions and lifted their aspirations daily and their “Handbook for Life” is replete with guidance and motivation which will help us all grow as individuals and business owners!  Read below inspiration for Health, Personality, Society and Life.


  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to meditate.
  6. Breathe
  7. Read more books than you did in 2012.
  8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  9. Sleep for 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


  1. Comparing our lives to others is fruitless. We have no idea what their journey is about.
  2. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones especially about things out of our control. Invest energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Try not to over do. Understand limits.
  4. Why take ourselves so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Gossip drains precious energy.
  6. Dream more while we are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. We already have all we need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Let go of our partners mistakes of the past. Focus on our present/future happiness
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  10. Make peace with our past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of our happiness except us.
  12. Realize that life is a school and we are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons we learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. We don’t have to win arguments. It’s ok to agree to disagree.


  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is insignificant compared to what you think of yourself.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends & family will. Stay in touch.


  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Keep only things that are useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. Higher powers heal everything.
  4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  5. No matter how we feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
  6. The best is yet to come.
  7. When we awake alive in the morning, be thankful.
  8. Our Inner most is always happy. Release your “Inner Happy” on the world every day!

Real Estate is a Full Contact Sport

Full Contact Sport

Real Estate is a Full Contact Sport – by Dana Sparks


Real estate is a performance sport – a full contact one at that! To win the game for yourself and your clients, it takes strong skills, mental toughness, preparation, strategy, a good coach and of course… plenty of contacts!

These various components of success are synergistic and must all be addressed in concert. How many times in sports have you witnessed this fact? The most talented do not always win; the most mentally tough do not always win; the most prepared do not always win; those with the best strategies do not always win. There are countless stories of extremely talented athletes who do not win championships just as there are many “Cinderella teams” who do win championships against teams with more skills. None of these elements in and of themselves are enough for sustained success; “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” So how does this apply to gaining & keeping contacts in order to achieve a successful and profitable real estate sales business?

Skills: Your basic skills provide the foundation for your business.

In sports, we often refer to this variable as “talent.” Talent can come naturally and can be learned and honed. In business, sales skills can definitely be learned, practiced and refined. It is not about one’s background or one’s personality, success in establishing a profitable and productive business relies on getting good real estate training and having a good real estate coach to keep you moving forward!  Some skills in real estate include:

  • The Sales Contract – terms, time frames, consequences – protecting contacts
  • Lead Generation – you must identify those who need your services – finding contacts
  • Communication Skills – what to say to engage them in conversation – speaking with contacts
  • Client Conversion – you don’t really “have them at hello!” – persuading contacts
  • Your Value Curve – what you have to serve your clients to get them what they want – exceeding contacts’ expectations
  • Market Analysis – how to price a listing to properly position a clients home to sell and how to guide a buyer towards an equitable contract price for a home – being responsible to contacts

Mental Toughness: Your positive mindset is vital to your career.

Ask any athlete how important their mental game is to their physical game and you will get answers of “90% of my game” and up! With a Ph.D. in Sport Psychology, I devoted seven years to the study of performance enhancement through one’s mindset! This area permeates all areas of your life. William James, 19th century psychologist and philosopher, summed it up well, “People by and large become what they think about themselves.” A real estate coach or broker who is focused on achieving results in your performance can definitely help you continually develop and refine your “Inner Game of Real Estate!”

  • Knowing and Trusting yourself to serve your clients better than anyone else in the industry
  • Focusing on what you need to do in your business when you need to do it to move forward vs. focusing on the negative “what-if’s”
  • Blueprinting your intentions so the inevitable “bumps in the road” do not take you off course from your destination
  • Visualizing your goals as if you have already accomplished them
  • Mentally “Staying In The Game” so you will do what it takes to move yourself and others forward regarding their real estate investments and your real estate career
  • Developing and maintaining that sense of Personal Confidence and Professional Competence
  • Exuding the Attitude and Energy of the Leader your clients and colleagues so desperately seek

Preparation: Effective Business Systems will keep your business running smoothly and profitably.

Have you considered that athletes spend more of their time preparing than they do actually performing? To win at sports, athletes spend an inordinate amount of time on the practice field, in the training room, in the weight room, reviewing game films of past and upcoming games, memorizing playbook, polishing pre-shot routines, developing pre-game superstitions. AND… to assure their victory, many athletes have coaches for every aspect of their preparation and their game-day performance! How much time do you devote to not only preparing for an appointment but to learning and practicing your skills? Do you have at least one coach/mentor/partner?

  • Lead Generation – do you have a systematic approach for who are you going to contact and how are you going to reach them
  • Inventory Management – your clients hire you to do a job therefore you must stay apprised of the market in order to fulfill on your employment
  • Consistent Client Contact – they just want to know what is going on – good new or bad
  • After-The-Sale Follow Up – as a real estate agent, you play a major role in people’s lives; if you are not staying in touch with your past clients, someone else is!
  • Past Client and Sphere of Influence (SOI) Servicing – your past clients and SOI will continually welcome your calls when you provide them with information about the market rather than simply asking them for a referral without providing them with something of value (not simply a recipe or forget-me-not flower seeds)
  • Effective Communication Skills – you make a living through your words, how persuasive are they? Are you role-playing with peers? With your broker? With a coach?
  • Informative Presentations – do you know your customer’s motivation and criteria for making a move? Do you present to their needs or do you have the same listing/buying presentation for everyone?

Strategy: Being able to navigate the real estate market of today

Upon entering any competition, a good athlete has a game-plan, a strategy to direct them towards winning! Athletes know their competition’s strengths and weaknesses, they know what plays their opponents perform in specific situations. Individual athletes, like golfers, know the course, the greens, the weather conditions. As a professional real estate agent, how well do you know your strategy for successfully selling in today’s market? Even if you are not a “numbers person,” you must know what is truly going on in today’s market to form your strategy!

  • Market Management – thorough analysis of the activity in your local area
  • Market Velocity – the speed of the real estate activity where you work: what this means and how to calculate the velocity
  • Trend Prediction – it is all “hidden” right out there in the open! Real estate cycles follow a predictable cycle and forecast these cycles in advance so you can keep your clients ahead of the market rather than “chasing” the market
  • Economic Variables – the overall financial impact on one’s decision to buy or sell today
  • Tax Consequences of selling and buying property – now and with expected tax changes
  • Act Now or Wait – financial analysis to compare the overall monetary effect to a client given changes in interest rates, house prices, amount of inventory, etc.
  • Public Perception as propagated by the Media and “Professional Experts” – perception versus the statistics of your market
  • Distressed Properties – past the tipping point to create pricing pressure on your market or not?
  • Agent Competition – the agents that are doing business in your marketplace – do you know their track record, strengths, weaknesses – “full contact” indeed! (wink wink!)

Real estate truly is about results: if you do not perform at your highest and best, you will be sidelined! There are people who need to buy and sell houses.. There are investors who will ammass inventory for their business. Regardless of the economy, people will continue to get married, get divorced, have babies, have grown children move out, get transferred, take in an elderly parent, take in grandchildren, etc.. “Shelter” is a fundamental need truly making your job economic-proof!

The current economy (any economy for that matter) merely effects your approach and skill-set to your job regarding the four areas of this article. Are you performing in a way to get the results you want? If you want to re-establish, create or continue a profitable and fulfilling real estate business, find a supportive and instructional brokerage, good real estate training (within or outside your office) and a real estate coach or broker who will coach you through all four categories: skills, mental toughness, preparation & strategy and you are sure to score a “touchdown” … even in THIS market!

Performance Measured = Performance Increased

Performance Increase

Performance Measured = Performance Increased – by Dana Sparks


We all know the benefits of goal setting; we have all taken a million classes on goal setting.  If you fail to reach your goals or you wish to reach them faster, then you may be missing two elements vital to the success of your performance relative to your goals… tracking and accountability!  When you track your activities (measure your performance) that performance increases; when you report your performance results (be held accountable to your goals) then those increases in performance accelerate!


Tracking your activities relative to what you want to achieve will give you so much relevant information that automatically, you’ll improve in that area and learn specifically what other elements need improvement.  Measuring performance will always make a difference!  The first tenet of every weight-loss program, is to track what you eat.  Regarding real estate sales, when you track the activities you do to generate leads, you will not only get more leads, you will also find out where & how to hone your skills to be able to enjoy even more success.  There are many times that agent are “busy” but not very productive.  Take a week and actually WRITE DOWN how much time you spend generating new business and what you do to generate that business.  You will probably discover that the majority of your day is spent on everything else OTHER than the most important element to sustaining your real estate career… generating new business!

You will also discover in which skills you are proficient and in which you need improvement.  For example, if you generate new business by phone prospecting expired listings, withdrawn listings and FSBO’s here are some areas to track:

  • Time spent on phone
  • Number of calls made
  • Number of conversations
  • Number of appointments set
  • Number of appointments attended
  • Number of listings taken
  • Number of listings sold
  • Number of price reductions
  • Time on market for listings sold
  • Average commission per listing sold

Spend some time creating a list of the elements involved in your various lead-generation techniques:  phone prospecting, internet lead capture, postcard marketing, sphere of influence visits, voicepad/sign-call lead capture, open-houses, etc.)

Here is the integral information you will glean from this performance measurement:

  • If you are on the phone for hours and not talking to many people, perhaps you need to call at a different time of the day.
  • If you are having lots of conversations but not setting many appointments, you need to work on your scripts to present some more compelling reason for that seller to meet with you.
  • If you are going on lots of appointments but not getting many listings, you need to work on your listing presentation.
  • If you are taking lots of listings but they are not selling, you need to hone your CMA techniques and pricing skills.
  • If your average commission check is lower than you like, you need to prospect in a higher price range.
  • If your listings are taking too much time on the market to sell, you need to look at your market statistics and work in a faster-moving market segment (either in terms of location or price.)

This information is essential to your financial success in your chosen field!  You have heard, “work SMARTER not harder,” well this information provides the knowledge you need to work smarter!


The other critical element to having an amazing 2013 in real estate is reporting back your findings on a regular basis to a coach or accountability partner.

Consistent with the weight-loss analogy, if you go on a diet and you tell everyone, then every time you reach for that cookie, one of your friends will question you, “Hey!  I thought you were on a diet!”  Allow the people around you to keep you honest to the goals you say you want for yourself!  Within the list of elements you create to track your lead generation, set a specific goal each week for each element.  Find an accountability partner and have that person keep you on track!  For example:

“Prospect 2 hours each day, set 5 appointments each week, take 3 listings each week.”  When you know you have to report back your performance to someone, it’s a lot harder to hit that snooze button in the morning rather than get out of bed and go to work!  It’s also more exciting when you are on the phone Friday morning and know that you only have to set 1 more appointment for the week and you will have achieved all your weekly goals & you can’t wait to share your success with you partner!  A good accountability partner will NOT let you excuse your way out of achieving the business success that you want and can achieve!

If you really want to make it interesting, put some consequences on not achieving your goals!  For instance, if you do not achieve your weekly goals, you have to wear mis-matched clothes the following day and tell everyone why or you have to donate $100 to the favorite charity of the last agent that you had some problems with!

You may choose to have your children hold you accountable to your goals as well.  Tell your children that if you set 5 appointments each week, you will take them to Disneyworld for Spring Break.  They will most definitely ask you EVERY week how many appointments you have set!

Try these techniques for the first quarter of the year and I guarantee your bank account will thank me!

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