Posts Tagged ‘ keller williams ’

Ramp it UP!

I skipped the New year’s Day post intentionally…it’s so cliche, and I’ve probably broken any resolutions I’d have put down already anyway!

So I began this year actually pretty mopey, for various reasons.  One of them, I’ve writtenImage about before, and I realize now that I am coming into the end of what I call the Winter Doldrums.  Last January (about a year after my Dad passed away), my Mom got the green-light to have both my Dad’s ashes and my grandfather’s ashes interred at Arlington National Cemetary.  21 Guns and everything.  It was sobering and humbling on so many levels.  Equally awesome is the fact that they are next door to each other.  I’ll visit them both this weekend in honor of Dad’s passing, and I’ll get a photo and put it up here, if I can manage one.  I used to think I do my best thinking while I’m in the shower (some of it, I still do), but now I’ve learned that I do some of my best thinking while I’m visiting Dad.  I don’t know what it is.  I come away from his resting place hopeful, motivated, and optimistic about things to come.

I got Gary Keller’s book, “Shift”–effectively Volume II of the Bible series that he’s written for Realtors–from my brother in-law’s new bride (thanks again, Steph!) for Christmas, and it.  Is.  Fantastic.  The information in there is undeniable, and really gets me riled to get after it.  After all, business won’t find me if I don’t get in its way.  Over and over again, I am thankful that I found a place as committed to giving its agents the tools they need to be successful businesspeople…I don’t see too many NYTimes Bestsellers from folks working at ReMax or Long and Foster, and I definitely don’t see as many of them.  Gary Keller is just a dynamo, and he has recruited the right people (looking at you, Matt Sutter) to find the right talent for the organization.  The folks in this office are the people I thrive on being around.

I think my present situation keeps me pretty well-grounded.  For half of the day, I am a student in the real estate industry, learning everything I can about prospecting, marketing, honing my message, finding what works, learning to be bold, brave, and direct with people. Then, I go to work.

I go from being the student to being the instructor…except nothing’s changed.


Who’s the new guy?

I work at a for-profit aviation maintenance institution, where each night, I give my students every piece of hard-won advice, every tip, trick, mistake I’ve made, and triumph I’ve conquered.  These soon-to-be aircraft mechanics take classes called “Cabin Atmospheres,” “Turbine Engines,” “Fuel and Instruments,” and “Comm/Nav,” where they will be taught all of the ways that airplanes solve difficult problems.  How do airplanes fly themselves?  There’s a system for that.  How do airplanes keep the passengers from freezing when it’s 50 below at 37,000 feet?  There’s a system for that, too.  These things are all in the curriculum, taught from the book, but I’ve found a way to bring my students–my customers–value that many other instructors don’t.  It’s easy, really.

Everyone hates being the new guy.  You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know where the chemicals are kept, where to dump the 40 gallons of fuel you just drained from the plane, where the bathrooms or break room are, who you must report to…it just stinks.  You are being analyzed under a microscope from the moment you walk in, when you’re the new guy.  What I try to instill in my students are knowledge and methods and skills that will make their time as the “F-N-G” (take a guess what that stands for…yep, you’re probably right) as easy as possible.  I make them learn some of the skills they see once at the beginning of school (or sometimes never at all), and not again until they walk onto a hangar deck somewhere.  I do this because they get more inherent value out of that than they do under other instructors.  I work hard to make sure that my students understand that I’ve got nine years of experience, and they can have it all if they’ll just pay attention.  The fear of being the F-N-G has been a wonderful motivator, even to those who don’t much care to pay attention.

I am so looking forward to this year for several reasons:  First, my goal is to really ramp it up when it comes to keeping in touch with the several tribes I have around the country.  (“Tribes” is actually a Seth Godin term, and you are not whole inside until you’ve gotten to know Seth Godin.  Trust me.)  I’ve fallen down on that at times, and if you’re mad at me for it, I’m sorry.  Secondly, this is the year I plan on making my very first six-figure income.  I have the knowledge and a plan, and the courage to implement both this year.  The reason I’m so excited about this isn’t so much money (though, of course, it’ll be nice); it’s that I’ll have the ability to spend more time with those I care most about this year.

And finally, if I’ve taken home six figures this year, it means I’ve done between 10 and 13 transactions, which means what?  Exactly–I won’t be the FNG any longer!

Here’s to an unbelievable 2013.  How are you challenging yourself this year?  Are you the FNG?  What can you do to make that phase last only as long as it needs to?  What are you a student of this year?  What are you teaching yourself, or taking a class to learn?  What do you plan on getting better at?

As always, I appreciate that you took the time to read my post here.  I’ll talk to you all again soon!


Human Business Works

I.    Am officially.   A “startup.” startup

In the business world, a “startup” is just that–a brand new company with an idea, product or service which hasn’t quite gotten going.  It needs to have its affairs in order, begin drawing as many customers as possible to it, build buzz around it by word of mouth or other marketing techniques, and most of all, start making money.  A startup almost (emphasis on almost) always runs in the red for a period of time before its revenues overtake initial launch and operating costs (read: “makes more than it spends”).

Well, all of that applies to me, at the moment.  Since beginning in real estate, I’ve had relatively small startup costs, but I do owe it to those invested in me to repay them in short order, and do with their funds exactly what I said I would.  (I’m working on it, and I have.)  I’ve convinced my first few clients to hire me as their Realtor, and I’m busting my butt to provide the highest level of customer service that I know how to, in hopes that they will like me enough to refer others to me.  What more can I do, right?

Well, there is something.

Besides staying informed by reading blogs like Seth Godin’s, Marcus Brotherton’s and Mark Cuban’s (among others), there are ways to boost business.  Chief among them is to partner with someone who knows what they are doing (which I’ve done at Keller-Williams Capital Properties by hiring a 20-year-veteran mentor).  Well, after doing a lot of homework, here’s the next big thing for me.

If you are running a business–or WANT to run a business–you need to sign up for this newsletter.  This guy’s name is Chris Brogan, and the man is unbelievable.  His newsletters show up in your email once a week on Sunday mornings, and they are the perfect way to open up the day:  I literally make my coffee, then sit down and start reading for about 4-5 minutes, and come away uplifted and motivated and creative.  His messages aren’t canned, and probably 90% of the time, they aren’t even sales pitches.  Hell, looking back on it–I didn’t even know what he was selling until about 4 weeks in, when I went to the site on my own.  The guy just puts down in words the ethos that he lives each day, and if you can harness some of his (err, actually, your own) energy, it really sets you up to face the week positioned well from the outset.  I’m serious–it’s one of the highlights of my weekend.

He’s got a brand new book (which I’ll be getting on order this weekend), and no, he hasn’t paid me to say any of these things.

He responds to emails when you have questions, he’s an established businessman…it’s like having an even BIGGER mentor, in my opinion.  Seems like a smart, logical next-step for a startup like me.  I’ll be “leading with revenue,” of course, but I’ve got my eye on some of the courses on the Human Business Works website.

Are any of you out there already affiliated with Chris or HBW?  Have you ever taken any of the courses?  What did you think??


Real Estate Initial Impressions…

So it’s been three or four weeks since I passed the test.  That very next day, I walked into a brokerage which is lead by a guy I was put in contact with probably four or five months ago–Matthew Sutter, at Keller-Williams Capital Properties in Fairfax, VA (or, KWCP, for short).  He and I shook hands, sat down, and I signed the papers which would make me officially affiliated with KWCP as a real estate salesperson.

I did some homework and met with a Long and Foster broker out here near the house before I signed up with KW; she was pleasant, but never once mentioned the words “building a team” or “managing your business,” whereas I’ve known that a major emphasis is put on that at KWCP since well before I was licensed.  I chose KWCP mainly because Matt turned out to be one of the first people I’ve ever mentioned my big, hairy, audacious goal to who literally didn’t flinch when he heard it.   See, Matt’s a special breed.  He seems like he’s barely older than me–35, max–and he’s achieved a 7th-level business in Austin, TX, and moved here to northern VA as a Team Leader (downplaying title for a CEO within KW) to get this office off the ground.  They have grown like crazy over the past three years, making it onto the Inc. 5000 list for all three of them–almost unheard of for companies, especially for a real estate brokerage firm.  He’s fit, (presumably) financially stable, driven, and successful.  The day I met this guy, I remember thinking, “I want this to be me in ten years.”

At this point, I’m a licensed real estate agent, but I’m still finding my direction.  I show up to team meetings every couple of weeks, and do whatever I can to help out during them or other office-related events; this is mainly because I have learned how to be a good worker and houseguest over the past ten years–and both are successful doing these things among company old and new.  But the fact is, I’m still adjusting to the entrepreneurial aspect of this, and despite the comfort I take from feeling helpful, doing what I can to help out around the office carries the same productivity level as spending three hours designing a business card:  Exactly zero.

The truth is, I’m not quite sure what it is I’m supposed to do yet.  They say that the hours between 9 and 12 should be spent “Lead Generating,” whatever the heck that means…I’ve heard some agents say they cold-call everyone and their mother, and others say they have never had to bother with it.  Still others say they’ll knock on doors, or focus on a technology-based lead generation system.  I’ve learned that there are probably ten good ways to generate leads, but I don’t know which one suits me.  Hell, I haven’t tried a one of them yet.

I may not be a lead-generating monster yet, but I haven’t stopped networking.  The book to the left of this column has blown my mind on several levels, but one of them really struck a chord with me:  Networking is best done around a dinner table.  Think about it: people tend to open up and show their colors when there’s food–and plenty of wine–around, and for me personally, I get so energized around meeting new people that I decided to have the first of many dinner parties to come, in a week or so.  Heading into the holiday season, we’ll probably only do one more–if that–but come the new year, we’ll be running them probably once a month.

The great thing is, it isn’t even about the food.  A homemade meal is almost universally appreciated (even if it’s terrible, people usually appreciate the effort), but something I learned from “the Orange Book,” as I call it, is that the point is to get people around the table.  It’s a traditional, communal thing for us humans to do this, and I have a firm belief that around a table is where humans are at their most intimate (excepting the obvious other place that they are, of course!).  It’s true now, among all of my closest friends in my adult life, but it’s also been true among all sides of my family since I was a kid.  In my family, there’s been a kids’ table and an adults’ table since I could remember–simply because we couldn’t fit 25 or 30 people around the table–but it didn’t matter.  When a hilarious story comes up, it’s usually shared with the whole room, no matter who’s sitting where.  Christmases, Thanksgivings, Pool Parties, July 4th Parties, Tailgate Parties…everyone gets together, eats too much, pops that belt buckle out a notch, and talks candidly about politics, football, opinions on so-en-so’s kid heading down the wrong path–it’s all there, and it’s all because of food (and beer or wine…and in some cases, Bag-O).  I feel very close with a good majority of my cousins simply because of that time we spent each year hanging out and catching up.  It’s still the same as it ever was…only now the kids’ table is all grown adults, and some of them have their own kids to look after 😉

The really great thing is that I’m expecting between 6 and 12 people to show up for dinner, but it really isn’t to corral them into buying something or giving me leads.  I’m not selling timeshares in the Carribbean, for god’s sake.  In fact, I don’t want to talk shop much at all (unless it comes up naturally) because I won’t subject my friends to any kind of manipulation just because they’re a captive audience.  That’s just crappy, far as I’m concerned.  I really just enjoy the company of people around my dinner table, and I love introducing people to each other who can help each other accomplish things, or just get along well.  One of my best friends told me once, “You’re the glue that keeps this group together;” well, now I’m starting to take that seriously, and make it into something bigger than myself.  Here’s to the journey!

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