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.