Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Conquer the cold call dragon

I believe my Dad was the one who I can give the credit for this little bit of insight. If there is a portion of a job that you really do not like to do, That you are afraid of , and you become extremely proficient at that particular aspect, of the job you will excel .When I was starting out, in Real Estate, I had a real problem with cold calls, Ron Spencer, would open the telephone book, run his finger down the page and where it stopped was your cold call of the morning. This whole exercise ,let me tell you, struck terror in this farm boys heart. Nothing can bring about such immediate rejection, and such total humiliation in my eyes than calling someone you didn't know, and try to sell them something.
I am just so fortunate; that my broker and mentor strongly believed in sales training. The most important thing when I meet someone or first talk with them on the phone is to strive for them to like and trust me. Practice drill rehearse, remembering the good words and never using the wrong words. Asking questions to receive a positive response, leading to get the response we need to move ahead towards a close. Never push always lead, and always close.
I learned that cold calling is a numbers game ,every no, brings you one call closer to a yes. I finally found the key to self confidence when dealing with cold calling, and for me this simple truth is that no matter what, they can't hurt me. If I have something I truly believe in and try to help people find what I have found,” There is no such thing as failure only the opportunity to practice my performance, and perfect my presentation”( Tom Hopkins).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

When You're Hot You Are Visionary

I read somewhere that “opportunities are present for all of us however only a few recognise them and even fewer act on them.”This being said ;what do we need to do ,to recognise these vast opportunities,and take advantage of them ? I will tell you a little story of what happened to me once upon a time.
I was working for A. R .C. realty now defunct in South Ft. Myers. The whole office consisted of renegades from Remax that wanted a true 100% office so they hired a secretary and everyone paid office fees their own telephone and we had one guy Wayne Kelly who was Broker of record. Most everyone in the office was Cyprus Lake alumni' everyone had gone to school together and known each other forever except me. Ole Harvey Younquest made everything work as he had inventory So I was on fire,selling metro at a dollar a square ft.Well Harvey had sold most of Youngquest Road off I think I sold eight sites.I Was down there one day, when a pickup stopped me and the guy driving asked who owned a particular piece as they were doing work on old 41 and needed a place to get rid of a bunch of busted up concrete didn't know at the time but I got his number and told him I would find out. It turns out Harvey still owned it and had used it to procure the fill for the roads . I asked him about the zoning and he said Hey its all light industrial,you want to buy it? Harv said it would take to much fill to make it worthwhile for him so, he would sell me that two and a half acre piece for twenty thousand.
I told him I would let him know by five o'clock and got on the phone. How much concrete do you have and what kind of deal are you willing to make? Lets meet back down there. He assured me that he would if given the OK remove the soil fill to building spec.bring a dozer in and level everything and put top soil back on top ---I told him, I would call him at five o'clock. I then drove around the corner stopped in on one of my clients,whom I had sold light industrial lots to in the past and said hop in I want to show you something. We drove to the site and I said; How about If I fill this two and one half acre site to speck bring a dozer in and level it and cover it with top soil so that you can build two 10,000sq. ft. warehouses what would you give me He said a dollar a square ft. I said lets write it up.
I put it under contract with Harv, we closed simultaneously at a title company down town,everyone was happy and I was given a check after closing costs of over eighty thousand dollars.
Keep in mind That I disclosed everything to the person I bought it from,and to my client.Harvey got rid of a junk property, the construction co. saved thousands on trucking of the concrete,and my buyer made a couple hundred thousand on the buildings he had built on the lots and sold.Timing was everything and I didn't have to ask permission.Just did it.
That happened a long time ago, I went on to become a land buyer for Flag development,and now I am back in Ft Myers where I started. I do know that attitude and visualization of your end goals will make you HOT.Andlike Jerry Reid says” when your hot YOUR HOT.”

Friday, August 24, 2007


I think if everything would always go as we planned,and we never had disappointments,Life in itself would become boring.I have worked with clients tirelessly holding their hand ,encouraging them, helping them cross hurdle after hurdle only to have the whole thing blow up days before closing. And in todays market how many of us had all our Ducks in a row and the mortgage company pulls at the last moment? Without the lows how can we appreciate the highs?My life in the Real Estate business has been rocked with endless opportunities for ups and downs. You know what? I wouldn't have it any other ways of course I am disappointed at times ,but the adrenaline rush of the negotiation, the thrill of the counter offer,the satisfaction of the closing;would not be there without the risk of failure. The risk of failure is the thrill we crave every day,I know it sounds like we are a whole lot of thrill crazed individuals,all windblown ,eyes wide open and spooky,like the professor in “Back To The Future”That's us all right just look around at your associates, The 70 year old grandmother who specializes in single family homes, Just watch close at the rapid eye movement, the slight twitch of her lip when she receives a call on one of her listings;Thrill seeker,The semi retired gentleman making his debuts in Real Estate as his second profession,look at his trembling hand as he hands his client an ink pin Thrill seeker,Sure laugh,Look over there at the Single mom ,Working Real Estate to bring a brighter future for her children,and yes of course to fullfill her need –Thrill seeker-- I know that actually all your scoffing ,all your denial, all your arguments only try to hide one thing—That you are a -------- Thrill seeker

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

How to retain good tenants

Good tenants are easy to ignore – until they tell you they are moving out. Why are they leaving? Well, it might be because you ignored them. And when tenants plan to move, it's very, very difficult to get them to change their minds.

The reason you may ignore good tenants is that you spend so much time working on your not-so-good ones; cajoling them to clean up their acts or planning to evict them. When you are always on the phone with Average or Bad tenants A, B, and C, you quickly start thinking of Good tenant D as simply a check that comes in the mail, on time every month, like clockwork. They always say it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil and unfortunately it’s the same with renters But your good tenants are much more than that. They are human beings who:

� Understand that they are paying good money, and expect good service in return

� Notice when their building seems to be going downhill

� Recognize when they are being B.S.ed or treated disrespectfully or dismissively

On the other hand, YOU may not recognize these feelings in your good tenants, simply because they may be reluctant to share them. The complaints are more likely to come from your poorer tenants, and you may be more likely to dismiss them as a result. The good tenants are more likely to suffer in silence, before deciding to move on.

It's vitally important that you retain your good tenants, not only because they make your landlording more pleasant, but because they are so hard to replace. Once that unit is vacant, you may not re-rent it for months, and you have no idea how the next tenant will turn out. He could be just bad enough to make your life really difficult, or so bad that he only lasts for a month or two before eviction.

Since your good tenants are less likely to contact you, you have to stay in touch with them. Try to get a read on their feelings by calling or emailing at least once a month. Here's a short checklist of questions:

� Does anything need repairs in the unit?

� Are you noticing any maintenance issues in common areas?

� Do you have any suggestions for me?

� How are your neighbors?

Not only have you learned how satisfied your good tenants feel, you've made them feel important and wanted. Now you need to follow up by addressing their concerns, if any, sincerely and quickly. Bear in mind as you do so that you can't get into trouble for being nicer to your good tenants than your bad ones. If a good tenant's got a maintenance issue, generally make it your first priority – the only more important issues will relate to safety or potential for very serious problems, such as fire or water damage hazards. If a good tenant's got a beef with a neighbor, get all the facts and deal with it right away – making sure you get the neighbor's side of the story before making a judgment. If a good and bad tenant are having a dispute, and neither is clearly in the right, it's okay to side with the good tenant. The old adage remember which side your bread is buttered on rings true here.

While you're at it, ask your good tenants if they're thinking about moving. Yes, that's pretty blunt. But it's the only way you'll ever find out if a tenant is planning to move before he or she actually signs a lease for another unit. Once they sign that lease, they're gone – and no amount of cajoling is going to get them back.

If a tenant IS planning to move, ask why and press (nicely!) until you get an answer. Hopefully their decision will be based on a problem you can fix. The unit feels kind of old and grimy? Offer to repaint it. It's too hot in the summer? Get them an air conditioner. It's too small? Maybe you have a larger unit vacant, even if it's in another building – and you'll help them move for free. A very cheap,guarantee,of occupancy and timely rents

Some of these fixes run into some serious money. You need to compare them to the cost of finding a new tenant. That is a certain amount of lost income, plus the cost of marketing the unit, plus any necessary renovations to make it re-rentable. If the unit needs paint anyway, then painting it to motivate a good tenant to stay is much better than painting to get a new tenant. If the money looks REALLY serious, ask them to sign a new lease. Point out that they would have to if they moved to a different building anyway.

You should also make sure your tenant recognizes the cost and aggravation of moving.Yes moving is expensive ,Don’t you agree? They'll have to rent a truck, buy or steal boxes, pack everything, arrange for new utilities, physically transport the stuff, and change addresses for all of their mail. Why should they do all that when you can offer them what they want with much less hassle?

On the other hand, they might be moving for reasons you can't control, maybe because they're getting married or taking a new job in a different city or buying a house. Thank the tenant for being a great tenant, and ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in renting the unit.

You have to be committed to keeping your good tenants happy. That doesn't include letting them break rules or pay rent late. Instead, look for little things you can do to be helpful. For example, when tenants move out, they often leave behind one or two objects of some value; bookshelves, portable fans, and so on. I offer these to my remaining good tenants. I also send Christmas cards each year with a gift card to a local coffee shop in each. It's definitely worth $5 to make a good tenant happy.

While you're at it, invest in a few emergency items you can have available for tenants if they need them. Get a couple of electric space heaters (for use if the heating system breaks) and big coolers (if there's a power failure). Now if you get a call about a heating problem or power failure, you can offer some quick relief until the issue is resolved.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cowboy Real Estate

I always liked working with cattle So I will call this cowboy Real Estate.
For a few years I had the opportunity to take care of some registered Romagnola cattle for a Doctor friend of mine who lives in Brooksville Florida.Romagnolas are a breed of cattle from Italy, which are white, but have dark pigmented skin, are able to thrive in a tropical climate as well as the cold are double muscled fine looking cattle that have all the attributes of the Brahma but are gentle ,really gentle. I taught A bull calf and a heifer calf to be halter broke so that we could take them to Houston Texas for the Houston livestock show. Whenever we were to work cattle Dr Bounds would line up some help and ask me what time I was going to pin the cattle ,so the help would be there ,Well after the first Rodeo that we had I learned to tell him a half hour later than when I was actually going to start. When they showed up all the cows would already be all penned up.
What I had learned was that you could get a bunch of guys to come in there with horses and hoop and holler and chase the cattle around and pen them in two hours, and have the cattle totally stressed out; or I could go out with a bucket with a few rocks in it to make noise and I could lead the cattle into the pens in fifteen minutes. And when everyone showed up they would all be calmly munching on hay in the pens.
Working with your people helping them find the home that is just right for them, Is the same, as penning cattle. All the fast talking,tamborine shaking, drum pounding high pressure antics, will make them run in circles not sure where to go afraid at every step, and totally stressed to the max.What they need is ---Soft quiet reassurance, leading them to make the decision they want to make,---that Is what they are desperately crying out for. Lead with self confidence and they will follow you anywhere.
David Shriver


Something almost naturalistic happens whenever the Real-Estate market takes a correction move. It really gets down to the survival of the fittest, or should I say survival of the competent. I feel that I was greatly advantaged to have started out in my Real Estate career on a steady market( of course I was selling Farms and raw land) . My point being ,I was never exposed to the easy money ,the order taking, the I will put you on the waiting list for a Pool home ,that we had only a few years ago. No I didn’t have to walk two miles to school and back in the snow both ways uphill ---But I did have to learn the basics to survive I had to learn to list, I had to learn to handle objections, And yes I had to learn to close. I was also blessed to have a broker who took me under his wing and became my mentor. He stressed sales training and got us involved with training seminars, and had motivational sales meetings once a week. He told me one day” don’t worry about making money selling Real Estate You will never make any money selling ;Real Estate .Where you will make your money and lots and lots of it is in Helping People. Let me repeat You will make your money Helping People. That’s why we are here, that’s the whole Idea, Help people, and you never have to worry about the money. The thing I love about Real Estate is that unlike the automotive industry, Motor homes insurance,mortgage,you name it No other field give us, as great an opportunity to honestly help people become financially secure by leading them with competence.
David Shriver

Gratitude Rocks

Even in trying times try to be a source of good things. Try to cultivate the attitude of thankfulness in your everyday life.
Make a list of things from large to small that you are thankful for every day from the beautiful sunrise, the green light on the way to work, the smile of a co worker, the gifts of your senses sight,smell,touch.Tune in on the beautiful, the fragrant, the pleasant touch, your cats fur,the leather upholstery in your car.
Overwhelm yourself with reasons to be thankful, and then share that feeling by giving. Giving a smile, a phone call to a friend you haven’t talked to in too long, random acts of kindness ,do remarkable things to our attitudes, and it is contagious,it effects people around us and brings out smiles which beget more smiles. I always carry a small flat stone in my left pocket . It is my gratitude rock, whenever I reach in my pocket for my keys I touch it and it reminds me of what it is there for .Gratitude will brighten your day as well as the people around you. It will help you receive the good things in life that you deserve.Gratitude really rocks!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Positive influence

I suppose the greatest influence on my Real Estate career in the beginning was the book Think and grow rich by napoleon hill as it gave me the seed for change .The concept of anything the mind of man can conceive and believe coupled with a burning desire he can achieve. Took me and my spirit totally. At the time I was working as a skilled trades welder at Ford Motor Company. The fact was unknown to me at the time ,but I was the youngest highest paid welder at ford motor company. I had reached my plateau at the age of 27 time to find new goals and mountains to climb. After obtaining my license I had the blessing of a mentor(Ron Spencer) who guided me helped encouraged and taught me the ways of Real Estate and the ways of success. We studied the Tom Hopkins sales techniques practice drilled and rehearsed. In the middle of the 70,s we probably sold more farms in the Midwest than any other small brokerage. I learned the power of positive thinking, the secret, and of course the I never see failure as failure but only as a learning experience I never see failure as failure but only as the negative feedback I need to change course in my direction; I never see failure as failure but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor; I never see failure as failure but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance; I never see failure as failure but only as the game I must play to win . Tom Hopkins wrote it I believed it. In these times it might benefit us all and remember the basic truths the things that got us where we are and helped make us who we are.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Route 66 and how I got into real estate

Back in the late 50,s early 60,s two young good looking guys made a lasting impression an a young farm boy from Illinois as they gypsy across America in a brand new Corvette. The television show of course was entitled Route 66 ;every week these two guys would drive into a different town, find work, couple of good looking girls(always) and stumble in and out of one adventure after another. As well as probably selling more Corvettes for Chevrolet than all the add campaigns combined ;That hour long TV show every week captured the imagination of countless boys and girls across America, I know that I had A dream of My cousin Allen and I Following exactly in their footsteps. By the way I was going to be Buzz. Of course Viet nam came along ,Then Allen met a girl from San Diego and got married then I met a Midwestern girl; who’s dad worked at Ford Motor Co. I went to welding school, got married ,and got on at Ford then made it into skilled trades as a welder. It seemed my life was pretty much laid out for me .Of course you never know
My young bride Karen and I started out buying a nice older house in town, I used the gi bill and things were going along pretty smoothly farm came up for sale that my dad said would be a good investment so--We sold our home and bought 100 acres, we were off to the races The farm had a real nice ranch style home with full finished basement .I bought some farm equipment at farm auctions and worked at ford night shift we were really doing great our first daughter was born then a second ,I made a camp ground atmosphere around the pond and our in-laws and friends would all camp and cookout down by the pond life was pretty good .I was getting a little restless and a little disenchanted with the factory life, and started looking for some more land The reasoning was to eventually have enough land that I could farm fulltime and leave the factory. I found 80 acres for one thousand dollars an acre and bought it .I moved to third shift midnight to 8 in the morning this allowed me to get more farm work done.
All this time I had been racing a stock car on the local dirt tracks ,I had an ingrained need for speed, And this satisfied it .I had raced my Mustang stock car at Findley on Sunday night and got into an altercation resulting in my rear differential being torn loose and my rear axle being askew a wrecker lifted the car on the trailer and I brought it home. Bright and early Monday morning I went out got the tractor and was standing beside the race car trying to figure out how I was going to get it off the trailer when a car drove in Did I say a car? --well it wasn’t just a car it was yes a brand new corvette.
A guy got out of the vette not much older than me and said If you were a little more careful loading that car and weren’t so rough with it pulling it on there It would be a lot easier to unload What a smart ass I thought. Well he introduced himself seems his name was Ron Spencer and he sold Real Estate.