Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School - for You Too!

It’s the Beginning.
The beginning of the school year, the beginning of fall. The kids have their backpacks packed, your college students have moved into dorms, registered for classes, hit the books.

What about you? I’m reminded at this new school year, as my own kids open their new books, and don their highlighters and pencils, that I too, need to re-commit to reading a new book. Now is not the time for summer reading, as my wife likes to do.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Is your brain asking you this question? It’s time to feed your brain. Once you land that job, attract a new client, complete that report, don’t get comfortable. Even though classroom learning may be over for now, your necessity to learn and grow doesn’t stop. No matter what your age, you should continue expanding your knowledge and your value for your company. In these changing times your ability to contribute and be creative equals value and therefore – compensation.

It’s time to hit the books.

Never stop reading. Never Stop learning.

The last three books I’ve read:
Goals, by Brian Tracy

Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan

Raising a Modern Day Knight, by Robert Lewis

What are you reading or what have you recently read?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Six Steps to Increase the Success of Open Houses

Follow Up is a vital component if you want to have a successful business. Many of the customers you come in contact with at open houses won’t be ready to buy or sell right now. If left alone, most of the people you meet will work with someone else to meet their real estate needs if you do not remain fresh on their minds and show that you understand their needs and can meet them. Follow up so when they are ready to make a move, they’ll choose you!
Use a contact management system – Whether it is on paper or electronic, a contact management system should include not just contact information like phone number, email address, and physical address, but also a contact log that shows date of contacts, conversation notes, interests, and other information that will help the customer reach their goals.
Listen to others – There are many sales coaches and trainers that have exceptional dialogues that can help you determine what to say when you contact potential customers. Taking the opportunity to learn from others can save a lot of time. Listen to the greats: Tom Hopkins, David Knox, Floyd Wickman, or others make following up easier.
Plan follow up time – To maximize your success and reach income goals, plan your follow up phone call and email times. Do not allow other activities encroach on this time. Follow up phone calling is a true income producing activity. Keep the time sacred on your calendar by treating it like an appointment.
Ignore success – Many agents make calls until they get an appointment. I disagree with that approach. Make a certain amount of calls each time you call or call for a predetermined amount of time no matter how successful you are.
Use a call flow chart – Every call you make should follow essentially the same pattern.
Start by establishing rapport or reconnect. Use the information you gathered from previous conversations to re-engage the customer.
Probe for more information by asking questions. Your questions will depend on the answers you receive from previous questions. Take a lot of notes!
Close for an appointment. Whether a buyer or seller prospect you’ll need to meet in person at some point.

Set the stage for the next contact. Whether you plan to meet in person or just agree to the next follow up conversation, let the customer know what they can expect from you.

Much like all prospecting activities follow up phone calls will begin to produce results over time. Occasionally you’ll get lucky and successfully close for an appointment your first call. Often, it will take multiple contacts to gain the level of trusted advisor. Be prepared to go the distance so you can close more business through a consistent regimen of follow up phone calling.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What, me worry? Nah! Pass the Prozac, please.

When faced with a problem that keeps you up, has you worrying, and doubting yourself, how do you approach it?

If you’ve been in real estate very long, you have come across at least one, but likely more, of the following: an irrational seller, a pushy buyer, an egotistical agent, or disgruntled client.

It helps to have a methodical approach to dealing with worry, and feel free to use these in your personal life, provided you have need.

Dale Carnegie studied Worry. To begin with, he researched books written about worry and found 189 books about ‘Worms’ and only 22 about ‘Worry’ New York public library. Most of what was said in these books was about the physical problems that can result from worry.
I’m sure by now most of us are aware of the illnesses that can result from a lifetime of fretting.

After spending countless hours with people, teaching, and counseling, and collecting data, he came up with some methods to help nearly eliminate worry in his book published in 1944. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:

1. Get the facts. Dean Hawkes, Columbia University said that half of the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.

2. What can I do about it? What are possible solutions?

3. After weighing all the facts come to a decision. Here is what I’m going to do about it.

4. Once a decision is reached- ACT! Get busy carrying out your decision, and dismiss all anxiety about the decision.

By the way, I still think the reward and satisfaction of helping someone buy their first or next home, assisting them to move on to the next phase of their life, still outweighs the problems.

Keep your focus on the big picture.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Candlelighters Fun Walk

Weichert Realtors – Wayne Murray Properties supports Candlelighters ChildhoodCancer Family Alliance. Candlelighters mission is to provide emotional, educational, and practical support to children with cancer and their families. In addition, Candlelighters desires to promote childhood cancer awareness, and the need for childhood cancer education and research in the Houston community.

Please click this link to watch a video about Candlelighters.

In September, Candlelighters will hold its annual fun run to raise much needed money for its Camp Cliff. Will you please take a moment to read this letter from a father who has been touched by the loving volunteers and staff of Candlelighters?

Dear Friends:

You can make a difference for a child with cancer, Right Now, Today!!!

We are the Camarillos, a Candlelighters family. My name is Gerardo Camarillo and with my wife, Dilma Camarillo, we were blessed with one beautiful daughter, Ivana Laura. Even before birth, Ivana had a tough time. Mom had to undergo surgery on her second trimester to remove some tumors that were outgrowing Ivana. It was at this time that a doctor first touched Ivana, moving her to get to the tumors. Having beaten the odds at such surgery, it came as a tremendous shock when on October 15, 1999 a pediatric oncologist told us that our ten month old Ivana had, among other things, Infant Leukemia. Despite a very poor prognosis, Ivana once again beat the odds and after chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, she is now a happy ten year old child.

During her long treatment period, we became a Candlelighters family, joining other families that have been touched with childhood cancers and finding some joy amongst the nightmare. First it was just finding someone to talk to at parent meetings, someone who had gone through what we were going through. We were overjoyed when Candlelighters honored Ivana at the annual Lights of Courage Luncheon in May of 2002. The greatest surprise, however, came when we first attended Candlelighters’ premiere family outing, Camp CLIFF, a weekend retreat for children diagnosed with cancer and their families.

The experience of Camp Cliff is unlike any other. It is the one place where a family can go and talk of childhood cancer with families that understand the horror you live through. More than that, it is a camp where you remember to have fun again, to laugh, to have a conversation that can be about cancer or about football. Ironically, it is a time to forget, at least for a moment, that childhood cancer can overtake your life. For our family, like many others that have been financially devastated by cancer, it is an opportunity to enjoy a family vacation that we could otherwise not afford. Candlelighters offer this wonderful, magical camp at NO COST, NOT A SINGLE PENNY, to their families.

At the time when Ivana was diagnosed, and throughout her treatment, family friends would always ask, “How can we help, what can we do?” It is human nature to try to alleviate the burden, to help in anyway you can, to be part of the solution. Some of you may be in this situation at this time. Well, the answer is as simple as “take a walk.” On Saturday, September 11, 2010, the Candlelighters Fun Walk 2010 will be held at Hershey Park once again. The theme this year is “Rock the Walk.” Now the Fun Walk is, as everything Candlelighters does, itself a celebration with a Kids area, food, music and fun for everyone. It seems like a carnival where you can’t help but have fun. The walk is part of the festivities.

Candlelighters Fun Walk is also a fundraising event to support families at Camp Cliff. Candlelighters provide everything for the family at Camp Cliff, at an expense of over $500.00 for a family of four. Candlelighters make it easy for you to participate. There are several ways to make a difference and help families of children with cancer:

You can start by raising “Walk money.” Simply ask ten (10) friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, etc. for ten dollars ($10) each. Of course the more donations, the better. Every walker who raises $100 or more will receive a walk t-shirt.
You can be a Team Captain to recruit at least ten (10) walkers. A walk team can consist of family, friends, co-corkers, church members, neighbors, etc. who each collect money on Candlelighters behalf and walk with us.
If you can’t participate in the walk, you can make an online donation. Simply go to, and click on donate. Click again to make a donation. Under event donation select Fun Walk, either team or donation. Fill out the Team Name Team Weichert Gold, if any, and the rest of the information requested. It’s that simple.
If you prefer, you can send a tax-deductible contribution of any amount, made payable to Candlelighters to help, to 8323 Southwest Freeway, Suite 435, Houston, Texas 77074.
The Fun Walk monies support Camp CLIFF, so we hope that you will participate this year in helping us. Every dollar helps send one more child and their family to Candlelighters Camp Cliff. This year Candlelighters, like most charitable organizations, is facing funding problems due to our economy, so this year your participation is more crucial than ever. I am enclosing a walk brochure with more details, but if you would like more information about the walk, please don’t hesitate to call the Candlelighters office at (713) 270-4700.

Thank you in advance for your support and we hope to see you at the Fun Walk on September 11th. Remember, You can make a difference for a child with cancer, Right Now, Today!!!


Gerardo A. Camarillo

Ignore it and it might go away!

All real estate trainers and other sales gurus have some system or plan to overcome objections. Novices in the business and agents with little or no training may just ignore the objection and hope it goes away. Objections often occur when customers have strong positive feelings about a particular home. They are an inevitable part of the buying process. Handling objections appropriately will help an agent close more sales and have satisfied customers.

Six Steps to a Positive Outcome

Pause: Pausing after an objection by a customer allows the customer the opportunity to solve the problem themselves. It also allows the agent the opportunity to gather his thoughts before responding to the objection.

Acknowledge: Waiting too long may make the customer feel that you have fallen asleep. Simply acknowledging the objection by restating it allows the customer to understand that yes, you did hear the objection and clearly understand it.

Isolate: The objection may be no big deal or it may be a reason to not buy a particular home depending on the opinion of the buyer. So, it’s best to ask. Looking to our video for an example, instead of pushing forward with information about schools, the agent could have isolated the buyer’s concern by simply asking, “If it weren’t for the malevolent energy and the dead clown, would you be interested in this home?” If the answer is no, then move on. But, if the buyer answered yes then move on to the next step.

Question: Simply put, asking the right questions will allow the customer the opportunity to solve the problem on his own. For example, “If you bought this home anyway, what would you do about the malevolent energy and the dead clown?” The problem may be solved.

Answer: Yes, sometimes an objection really does have to be answered. Use a question to help move the objection towards a positive outcome. Something like, “What if we got rid of the energy and the clown? Would that work?”

Re-close: There are many closing questions that may be used here. My children often close on me. They have learned not to ask if they can have dessert because I may say no. Instead they give me an alternate of choice. “Dad, may I have ice cream or cookies for dessert?” Choose your favorite way of asking.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ready, Fire, Aim

No, that’s not a typo!
You have a plan, maybe you wrote out your goals on January 1st, 2010. New decade, new goals,new you. You wrote your long term and short term goals, where you wanted to be in a year, month to month benchmarks, the works, and are tweaking it as you go along.

Failure to Launch...
After I get this started, or once I have this much in the bank or if my spouse starts helping more…what has delayed your plans?

Do Something…
The time to Act in NOW! Some of us have the propensity to plan, plan, plan, waiting for the conditions to become just right before we move towards our goals. This stagnancy can gunk up the flow of action, leaving us floating in a pond of scum. Sometimes we over-think a situation. Yes, by all means, plan your financial strategy and in the meantime, listen to a webinar. Take a class, read a book or talk to 5 new people while working your plan.

Some of us have tendency to act first, think second. This may not be a bad strategy – moving in a forward direction, not waiting for all of the planets to align before commencing activity. Your attitude of ‘Do Something Today,’ can propel your activity, leading you one step closer to success. Attitude, Activity, Success. Don’t wait, Act Now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Her Only Bad Habit is Me

So the song by England Tyler goes.
Habits are hard to start, or stop. I'm really bad about them, ask my wife. But I have started the evening habit of watching less TV and reading more. I am continuing my education and talking with my wife more.

After staying in her room, doing nothing, feeling depressed, a teenager shares her story of developing a good habit in an article in Success Magazine, David Lee, August, 2010.

"Complaining the entire walk, Emily reluctantly followed her mom through the neighborhood. But by the time they got home, she was actually starting to feel better. “I felt as if a ton of bricks had been lifted from my heart,” Emily said. “I didn’t know how to handle it.”

Emily had been depressed for so long she didn’t know how to be happy. The bad habit of isolating herself from others was hard to shake. Still, that walk made her life almost feel right again. Soon she started walking her dog every week. As spring bloomed, she discovered different fields and paths to follow on her walks that were filled with flowers. Before she knew it, Emily had developed a healthy habit of walking. And she loved it."

What Happy Habit are you doing?
What can you start or stop doing? It's easier to replace a habit, than just stop it. Are you blogging for 20 minutes in the evening? How much TV do you watch? Are you reading a book every evening to learn about your industry? Are YOU walking every day in the sunshine?

What Happy Habit are you going to start tomorrow?