When was the last time you tried something new?

by Renita Dastrup

My daughter turned 16 and was so excited to get her license.  In my State, young drivers must have their “learner’s permit” for six months before they can test for their drivers license.  In the world of driving where a 4,000 pound machine is in the hands of a teenager (scary thought) I can see the wisdom of making sure there is six months of practice.  After all, practice makes perfect, right?

I remember the first time she got behind the wheel; we went to an empty parking lot, where she practiced accelerating, braking, and turning without the distractions of other vehicles.  Then we eased into local community streets where there was an occasional car, but nothing too crazy.  We mastered stop signs and then traffic lights, un-protected left turns and freeway on ramps. Each time I introduced something new there was a slight panic in her eyes, and an occasional voice of “this is way too much to remember”.

After months of practicing, obeying traffic laws and parallel parking the day came for her to take the test, she passed, and now was ready to drive on her own.  However, there was a new obstacle for her to overcome – the dreaded manual transmission.  “What if I stall?” Once again something new and “way too much to remember” was standing between her and the freedom to drive alone. I assured her that with enough practice all this would be second nature and she would not even consciously think about clutch in, clutch out, first gear, second gear, stopping and starting on a hill and all else that accompanies the “complexities” of  shifting gears.  Apprehensively she left for school and later reported that she had stalled twice, but had made it to school just fine.  By the end of the day she had overcome her fears and the smile on her face was priceless.

Do you remember when you learned to drive?  Do you remember the uncertainty, apprehension and overwhelming feelings that accompany any new endeavor?  Now years later, do you still have the same apprehension when driving?  Probably not!

How about picking up the phone to call an Expired or For Sale By Owner lead?  Are you overwhelmed or have feelings of apprehension?  Are you afraid that they might have an objection you can’t overcome?  Just like learning to drive the car, with practice comes perfection and if you simply keep dialing, keep talking, and continue to face those obstacles, I promise you prospecting will become second nature and you won’t even consciously think about “shifting gears.”

Renita Dastrup is the Director of Business Development for The REDX.

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Links for May 2- May 8

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from May 2 through May 8, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Apr 25 – May 1

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 25 through May 1, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter April – 2010: Einstein and Me

By Jennifer Cummings

My self-appointed mentor, Albert Einstein, once said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” I am a big fan of both the man and the message.  And here’s why, simply put…our own unwillingness to accept ourselves as creative beings bogs us down.  I happen to believe we are ALL wonderfully creative.  However, I also know that most of the time we don’t feel that way, especially when we’re working on marketing campaigns and other promotional endeavors in our work.

For example, how many times have you sat in front of your computer screen and willed a brilliant ad to materialize?  If this sounds familiar to you, then I have a question:

How big is your marketing antenna?

What I mean by this is that creativity is simply being open to inspiration, and, if you have your antenna up – that is to say that if you are paying attention to other good marketing out there – you WILL learn the secrets of the master marketers.  And I’m going to share one of those secrets with you right now!  Do you have your antenna up?  Well, get ready folks, this is a good one…

It is better to edit than to create!

Now you may be saying, “Just what does that mean?’  Well, let me explain. Creativity is driven by curiosity.  Pay attention! Ask questions!  Get inspired!  Success leaves clues, my friend!  Have that antenna up and you will find inspiration in the most unlikely places.  If you need to create a postcard, for example, you may find something really juicy you can use on the back of your grocery receipt, or in the way a dish is described on a menu.  Or your teenager might actually say something incredible that you can use!  Perhaps you can even justify reading that tabloid because the ads in the back have amazing copy that really gets your own writing juices flowing. The National Enquirer is one of the most expensive magazines to advertise in, so those ads in the back HAVE TO work!

By taking an existing marketing piece and editing it as your own, all the work is done for you! You just have to breathe it all in and then make it our own – what a relief, huh?!

Einstein was absolutely right, “Creativity is being mindful enough to be stimulated by your environment.  You then simply edit and mold that environment to fit your needs.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time we have to create a new ad or marketing piece – we simply have to let our surroundings illuminate our own wheels turning inside our heads.

That Einstein was onto something. Maybe he was so in-tune with his environment that the theory of relativity was something he creatively lifted from him own surroundings!  If we sharpen our own antennas, we could ALL be little Einstein’s…changing the world one postcard at a time!

Newsletter April – 2010: Behind Every Great Man

By Andrew Smith

It has been said that “behind every great man is an even better woman.”  Can that be true?  If so, then can a man be great without a woman?  Along those same lines of thinking, what about great women?  Who is behind them?  What about men without women behind them, or women without any men in front of them?  The more one thinks about this, the less that statement makes sense.  Perhaps, however, that statement was originally meant to convey a different message.  It seems more realistic that the idea presented above was actually intended to reinforce the idea of a mentor in general.

The great figures in history had someone who not only helped and supported them but forced them to view their status through a magnifying glass.  Think of some of the most influential people in history:  Alexander the Great, the Reformers, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, even Tiger Woods (before the scandal).  Not a single person just mentioned had their ingenuity or skill level matched by any other, but even they started somewhere.  Even they had a teacher, parent, coach, or peer who challenged them to push harder than they thought possible.  More important than being presented with challenges, however, these great individuals were held accountable for everything that they faced.

The benefits of having a mentor, or a coach, in real estate are no different than those listed above.  The difficulty with being a real estate professional stems from the fact that there is often little or no accountability.  Sure road blocks exist in the form of a slow market or competition, or a thousand other excuses, but there are still agents who experience huge success in the slowest of markets while surrounded by competitors.  The difference between those agents and the average agent is that they set their standards higher, and hold themselves accountable.  Simply working with, or near, someone does not automatically engender a sense of accountability.  It is for this reason that so many real estate professionals will seek the help of a mentor.

In a very literal way, the difference between becoming successful with real estate and having to move in with the in-laws can be determined by whether or not a mentor is brought in early enough to make a difference.   Working with the right mentor will help an agent learn how to fit a solution to the needs of the clients-regardless of whether the focus is on buyers, listings or both.  It is easy to get into the rut of thinking that only working with referrals is a great way to do business-and it can be-but in today’s market, the successful agents are the ones picking up the phones and making calls.  To one who is neither experienced nor comfortable contacting a cold lead, having the added accountability of a mentor will help add motivation to pick up the phone.

Ultimately, it is not about making so many calls or doing so many money making activities that helps agents to be successful when working with a mentor, it is the simple fact that no one wants to say that they didn’t perform as promised.  That is even more uncomfortable than calling a total stranger.  After a while, an astute student will start developing habits.  Consistently acting on those habits will yield results.  In real estate, the end result is all about the commission, and that is exactly why having a mentor can help any agent, struggling or not, who has the right attitude to be successful.

Links for Apr 18 – Apr 24

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 18 through Apr 24, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for April 11 – April 17

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Apr 11 through Apr 17, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Links for Mar 28 – Apr 10

The following news articles were shared through our social media outlets from Mar 28 through Apr 10, 2010. The purpose for sharing these links is to provide relevant and timely content for real estate professionals. We hope by sharing this information every day on Twitter & Facebook we can provide REALTOR’s important information that they can use to grow their business.

Newsletter March- 2010: Building a World-Class Operation

By Amy Stoehr

What does a world-class real estate operation look like? Over the years a consistent model of success has arisen for all teams I’ve coached. A world-class real estate operation:

1. Rewards its clients with world-class service that they not only count on, but also enthusiastically tell others about.
2. Operates with a net profit. Period.
3. Runs on systems that are constantly being fine-tuned and enhanced.
4. Offers a happy and productive environment that everyone looks forward to participating in daily.
5. Looks, smells, and feels like a world-class operation.

For those of you who’ve read Good to Great by Jim Collins, you’re already familiar with the concept of making sure that first, you have the right people on the bus, and second, you make sure everyone is in the right seat on the bus. Having the right people on your team, in the roles where they excel the most and benefit each other the most, is paramount.

Your goal as a team is to work together to make sure that all actions going forward support your world-class vision. Each member of the team deserves to be happy, productive, and valued. If you’ve never heard of the Canoe Theory by Dave Hibbard, I suggest you pick up a copy. It takes the concept of Jim Collins’ bus and expands on it further, and if you can get your hands on a copy, the audio format is worthwhile for everyone on the team to listen to individually and later discuss as a group.

An important component of world-class operations is clearly-articulated consistency. Examine your standards of operation in the next week. How consistent are you being as a team? Do you have a clearly articulated dress code? Hours of operation? Script for answering the phone? Time-off policy? All of these things communicate to the world what your team is about. I’d be willing to bet that if I asked each of your team members separately their perception of what each of these examples currently are, they would likely generate varying (inconsistent) responses.

People and standards come first. When those are solid, you’ll find it exponentially easier to work together on the five components above.