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So, I love doing these multi-part blog articles for you! If you think about it, a continual discussion about any given subject is, essentially, how we create a more intimate and usable understanding about it. We don’t just talk about it once, or read about it in some journal somewhere and then it’s ours. Rather, we discuss, go back and forth, discuss it some more, add a bit, learn a bit more, do some research, ask someone’s opinion abut it, try it out, tweak our understanding a bit more, and then begin the process of implementing it’s facets into our lives – either business wise or just personally. Hopefully we’re all constantly learning more about what really intrigues us.

Personally, I’m practically and obsessively intrigued with the career path of Real Estate professionals. Craig unleashed the monster within when he invited me to share with him in the education of his students all those years ago.

In my last rant about the conversion of leads to appointments (Conversion 1), I discussed how easy it really is to create face-to-face appointments with those prospects who raise their hands in conjunction with an offer they’ve read, seen, and understood after bumping into it through a marketing campaign wherever it was. What you’ve successfully done through your simple marketing piece is show a prospect how the answers they’re seeking are easily attainable. Then, your offer that ended the marketing piece, allowed them their answers easily and from an unthreatening source. Indeed, a brilliant method of Lead Generation!!

Now, here’s a point you can build on for this month’s discussion: Get immediately comfortable and familiar with making offers to prospects because over the next 24-48 hours you’ll be making a number of verbal offers to them so they eventually become your clients. But DON’T misinterpret that recommendation….I’m NOT talking about using manipulative, hard closing techniques. Nope, you won’t learn that here today because part of understanding our system is seeing that creating motivation is virtually impossible. How often have you laughed at some salespersons hard closing techniques when clearly the prospect has no intention of taking the bait? It’s hilarious but it’s ALSO inappropriate. Treat it as a good lesson…

Making the right offer at the right time is pretty much paramount to you moving forward with the prospect in the direction of eventually turning them into a client. If you say the right thing you intrigue them and can elicit a response of commitment from them easily. But say the WRONG thing, or make the completely WRONG offer and they get defensive, withdraw from the conversation, hang up or leave the office. Let’s look at making a suitable offer for a prospect on the telephone first.

As a student of the Quantum Leap system, using our methods and materials you already know what kind of an offer to make on the phone to create an appointment. If it’s for a BUYER it’s this: “Would you like me to e-mail you the daily updates of all the homes matching your unique home buying criteria. I’ll send you homes for sale from ALL the real estate companies plus I’ll include distressed properties, Foreclosed-on properties and other critical MUST SELL deals available right now.. It’s a free service to use and, there’s certainly no obligation on your part to buy at any time, would that be of help to you and your spouse?”  

Yup, indeed, this is a great offer for a buyer, pretty much identifies that the buyer needs help finding the  home of his/her dreams and that if requested said prospect can easily be introduced all the great deals that exist out there. For a real buying prospect, it’s pretty hard to say “NO” to that offer, right?

Often I change up the words a little but say the same thing offering something of great value to the person I’m talking to: “So <Name> it sounds to me like you’re just getting rolling on the home search process and one of the things that makes it much easier for you is having easy access to every home for sale right now that matches your particular search criteria. Do you have that now?” I wait for the “I’m not sure” answer then I continue: “Well if it would help, I can set you up on the MLS system so not only will you immediately see absolutely everything for sale that matches your wish list but the instant a new home goes up for sale, you’ll be INSTANTLY notified through an e-mail or a text right to your phone. Would that help you?” It’s almost always YES. When it isn’t I deal with the “NO” efficiently. The common hurdle is: “Well, I think we’re getting that already from <they mention their agents name or company>.” My response never waivers from the proven objection handler: “Well, I have no clue what they are sending you but I also track <I list 2 or 3 unique listing categories – all distressed – that I run continual searches for> and I want to tap you in to those as well because they are the best buys out there right now. Or are you already getting those?” (They NEVER are or they say they don’t know.) “OK, so what’s your afternoon like? Would you be available at say 3:00 this afternoon so I can take down your searching criteria or would 7:00 this evening, just after dinner, be better?” We may banter a little on the reason for getting together or sort out a suitable time and of course I always tried to position myself as the LAST agent to meet with them to avoid doing the dreaded two-stepper but guess what, just about ALWAYS the appointment takes place because the prospect can easily perceive the value in getting what they want the way it’s been described.

Ok so what about a SELLER? They have the same needs wants and issues that buyers do, they start their project of selling by hunting around, looking for answers to their questions, usually pertaining to the current state of the market and the selling conditions of their community or subdivision. They want to know how long it’s taking to sell and how much houses like theirs have been selling for. When they react to our marketing they are expecting to receive what we offered – An Evaluation, an Area Sales Report, maybe the 27 Tips Report, or a Home Sellers Kit, or  some other relevant request. Our marketing OFFERED it so once the request arrives, SEND IT ASAP.

However don’t leave it at that. It’s unlikely a selling family will call you and ASK you to come over because of your letter writing and report creation skills. ASAP, call to determine timing and motivation using the UFUS and then make the offer that’s there: “So <Mr. Seller> would you like a comprehensive home evaluation to help you determine just what your home would sell for in this current market? At the same time you can get some strategies on the most effective things to do when selling and, more importantly, the things NOT to do. And to really give you a clear picture, together we could prepare a net sheet and help you determine exactly where you’ll be cash-wise once you’ve sold your home”. Tell them it’s free with no obligation and close for the appt, make sure all the decisions makers are present, pull a copy of the title and go over.

Many, many of our members have mastered the offer to a seller to create that wanted appointment using that format, understanding how to add value to the offer to create a predictable outcome: “So <Mr. Seller> since selling and moving is in your immediate future might I propose a complete and detailed Home Equity Analysis for you using the latest available data. At the same time you and I can review the factors that are really creating profitable sales in this challenging market and the things some folks are doing that actually turn buyers off. And, if you like, we can do up a sales sheet, look at the numbers closely and you’ll know exactly where you stand cash-wise once you’re home is sold. What works for you, 3:00 tomorrow afternoon or 7:00 tomorrow night?”

It works well because the person you are making the offer to sees the value in getting together. Need more appointments from those leads? Make good, value filled offers that make complete sense to the prospect based and get on more appointments…

See you in Los Angeles!!    –Rick

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Hi everyone, Happy Monday…

I know for East Coasters, there’s more important things to worry about today with Hurricane Sandy creating havoc up and down the eastern seaboard and bringing torrential rain and wind all over the NE US and into the Great Lakes region of both the US and Canada. As such, I really hope everyone stays safe, follows the safety instructions and comes out of this unscathed.

For those of you NOT affected by today’s big time news weather events, I wanted to bring a little Monday Methodology to your day to help keep you on track for the week.

Now, first off, a critical reminder to put every one of these calls into your calendars as RECURRING APPOINTMENTS, synch with your phone, put in your paper daytimers, stick in your Outlook calendar, write them on the back of your glove hand, on the mirror where you shave or put your make-up on every day, whatever. Just get these in to your schedule so they pop up and make you join us:

Monday 11:00 AM – HELP LINE CALL

Every Other Wednesday 11:00 AM – COACHING CALL WITH CRAIG

Thursday 11:00 AM – ROLE PLAY CLINIC

Friday 11:00 AM – AD CLINIC

Let’s start by re-analyzing exactly what it is Craig and I want you to accomplish and this is where your current primary focus should be as you continue implementing…

Even if you’re tired of the constant reference to its importance, OPPORTUNITY CREATION for your business using a completely relevant marketing strategy is still the critical juncture for you right now. Operating as a stellar Lead Generator first and a Realtor second will ALWAYS be an important part of your day to day activities. Even after you’ve successfully created a couple of campaigns that drop leads into your lap daily, you’ll NEVER stop looking at their performance indicators – traffic generated, medium(s) used, message presented, market communicated to. It will be a MAINSTAY for the rest of your career.

As such, how much time every day do you actually spend in your lead gen efforts? It can’t just simply be a passing moment or two. It needs to be a focal point of every day, every morning as you work ON your business. Until you’re literally inundated with people asking you for something as a result of the marketing campaigns (on-line or off-line), there’s no value in discussing growing teams or any of that stuff. You can’t succeed unless you have LEADS, you can’t create leads until you get the marketing discussions Craig and I have with you every week. You need to become a totally obsessed with your marketing – believe me, everything else will fall in place when you are getting tons of requests daily. Until then, you need to be RELENTLESS in your marketing efforts…

Your marketing campaigns ABSOLUTELY must reflect the trends locally in terms of sales and what people want so you can easily and predictably create the request for it from them – remember the best marketing simply offers a prospect what they want – that in turn creates your OPPORTUNITY CREATION over and over again, every day.

As an Example: In a local newspaper, one that’s delivered to every home FREE, or that only comes out that comes out one or twice a week, or has a 7 day lifespan can you run 3 classifieds, one display and one editorial based completely on local real estate trends? Not sure? Let’s look at the merits of this print media pillar in your world.

Now some of you have excuses and reasons for NOT spending enough time at your marketing or only doing the bare minimum and here’s my reaction to that: WHY??? Our systemized approach to Lead Generation is completely turnkey, and you often hear me say: “IF YOU CAN COPY, YOU CAN SUCCEED”. It’s completely true…

You came to us looking for a more effective way to earn your keep as an agent, we’ve helped countless agents around the world succeed beyond their expectations using this method, and you asked us to teach it to you.

We have NEVER found a market where it doesn’t work. Are all markets the same? Of course not, I can tell you that Winnipeg’s market is MUCH different than Vancouver’s market, that Moncton, NB’s market is completely different than Manhattan’s market. But before you sit back and say “See Rick, I’m right”, let’s actually look and see if all four of those MLS systems reveal sales for the past 30 days….YUP!! They all do. That means right now, in every market, in every city, in every place there are SELLERS that need to get answers about selling and there are BUYERS that just want access to the best deals they can afford.

How do you get in front of them and where do you allow them to bump in to your marketing and react to it? Here are some suggestions for you to think about.

Hopefully you are working with at least 3 (yes, three!!!) or more of these all day every day plus the others that aren’t on this quick list…

  • GOOGLE AdWord should be running for your business using a moderate daily budget
  • Direct Mail should be running offering the right solution for Sellers
  • Inexpensive Newspaper Ads like Classifieds, display ads, and Editorials should be running for you
  • USP Marketing of your listings should be setting you apart in the marketplace
  • Facebook PPC can easily introduce a compelling call-to-action message in your local network or city
  • On-Line classifieds like Kijiji, Craigslist, BackPage, and other local site should be utilized every morning.
  • For Sale signage should be creating traffic to either a landing page or a hotline message box
  • Compelling Call-to-Action E-Mail into your database?

It’s not rocket science that getting good at marketing for leads is a crucial practice for your business. If it were, I’d be in serious trouble. Focus your efforts in your marketing rolling across an effective, multi-layered program and the leads will flow in, easily and predictably, all day long.

Have a good week,

-Rick

So if you recall, last month we began a logical discussion about how creating leads for your business leads to predictable income. That, as long as a proven formula for creating appointments is used. You may recall my thoughts that being a good lead generator but a poor “follow upper” actually works against you. It’s true. There’s been much said and written in the last few years about that precious resource, the fertile crop of prospects, that exists in every market place.  Any business coach, (not just real estate trainers) who understands the ‘real’ ideology behind lead generation, couples up the value of a conversion skill-set when they discuss success in detail.

Every Thursday, in our Success Training curriculum, we request, in fact INSIST that our members join James MacDonald, Craig and often me on our conversion, our role-play tele-clinic. For our coached members, this call is part of the program, and shouldn’t be treated as optional. Think of it as a requirement in your mastery of the system and attending every Thursday at 11:00 am should be a no-brainer.

Remember, our lead conversion framework is built on the natural conversational fit of our Universal Follow-Up Script, or as I often refer to it, the “UFUS” in a direct response, lead generation model.

One of most precious resources hard working, lead-generating agents have is that fertile crop of local, market based prospects that simply need an appropriate amount of nurturing. Not even closing, just a helping hand without them even realizing at first they are being helped.

When I started with Craig, I developed a valuable guideline that we applied to the lead generation and conversion side of our business. It’s a simple 3 part plan that makes lots of sense when you reason on it logically…

1.     We run appropriate marketing to simply create requests for more information. (LEAD GENERATION)

2.     We follow up on THESE REQUESTS to determine timing & motivation creating face-to-face appointments. (CONVERSION 1)

3.     We conduct that appointment to create a”Client” relationship. (CONVERSION 2)

This article, along with last months, deals primarily with point #2, converting the leads to appointments. I can’t stress enough the importance of being engaged in this constantly . We work with many agents who come to us having never really mastered this skill because of continuing to hunt for the right thing to say and ultimately saying all the worng things in the conversion conversation.

Look, know this: This particular conversation DOESN’T need a 25 minute discussion on the phone with you believing you need to impress the prospect with your skill, real estate prowess, and market knowledge. In fact, going down that conversational path often requires you to give up control of the conversation and the vast majority of times; you hang up the phone with neither an appointment to meet the prospect, or a clear picture of what’s next.

If a prospect simply comes and says “give me more” what should you do? Simple answer: GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. If you market that you have a report on “what happens to a home in a divorce” and they ask for it, send it to them. Then, when you call to follow up, acknowledge their request, confirm it being sent out (post mail or e-mail) and carry on with the NATURAL conversion discussion. Once they’ve thanked you, ask them what’s going on: “So (prospect name) are you folks considering a move in the near future?”

Guess what they tell you? Yes or no! And probably some details about timing the sale and subsequent move. In your quest to determine timing and motivation, the UFUS takes you through a controlled conversation: You could now ask them about their plans for causing the move: “And with your impending move, will you be leaving the area or staying local?

Again, another natural question to bring in to the discussion as you attempt to clearly understand their timing and motivation. By the way, at this point in the life of the prospect, nothing else maters except you understanding that, Timing and Motivation! Harsh? Perhaps, but truthful in the conversion skill set!

The next thing that makes sense is to try and get a handle on the exact timing of their impending project so you could go a little deeper, asking for some finer details:  “OK (prospect name), that all makes sense so what’s your timing on this, when would you like to have this selling project buttoned up and completely finished?”

Again, they’ll simply tell you. Interesting how engaging a prospect in a simple conversation about Real Estate is so easy when you don’t come across as a hard closer, a nosey parker, or an over-the-top, know-it-all Real Estate agent. Yes, there’s a little bit of branding and realization going on here but not enough to turn a prospect off. The conversation still sounds as if it’s totally benefiting them, perfect! At this point in the conversation, here’s what I say, already knowing the answer 85% of the time: “So are you working with an agent yet? Sometimes they mention one, but usually they say no. (I live in a city of 1.2 million people with only 5500 agents.)

Now looking back over the conversation, suppose they answered an earlier question with the idea in mind that they will be staying local and they will be buying again (the most common answer we get). Maybe it’s a move up, (low interest rates right now, good levels of inventory, prices still down) maybe it’s a downsize, maybe it’s just a lateral move to a new area, newer home, closer to work, closer to school, etc.

That being answered, the sensible conversational continuation has you now querying them about that aspect of the entire project: “So with your impending move, are you looking for a new home now, before you’ve sold your current home, or are you just currently focused on selling first before buying?”

At this juncture, let me tell you I personally love this question because now, in my mind, with that simple, well worded question, the entire process for this prospect is framed allowing a seamless, easy transition into the absolute perfect , irresistible seller offer. By the way, your offer needs to match the needs of the prospect, not YOUR needs. (remember to always give a prospect what they want)  so, in order to move forward confidently, the prospect just has to see a simple, easy-to-understand solution to their query, problem, or life. Selling a home a life milestone and our reaction to their impending project will or will not guarantee your participation in that event.

As well, they especially don’t want to sound uneducated to you, they want to feel comfortable and supported in their decision to sell their home. The offer you make needs to subtly cover those bases, dealing with the personal needs of the seller.

So, that last question we asked them will completely describe a seller’s entire process in High Definition, Technicolor for me. How so? Because their answer will present about MOTIVATION and TIMING so that you can easily BECOME THEIR AGENT OF CHOICE even if they don’t know it yet. All that remains now is for an appropriate offer to be made, allowing for that appointment (point #2 of our 3 point plan).

So next month, I’ll share four (4) perfect offers you can make that will get you the appointment practically every time, two for buy first prospects, two for sell first prospects.                         -Rick

So this month, I wanted to revisit the whole discussion on conversion and its role in our business plan. If you spend any time, effort, or money creating opportunity through a predictable, Lead Generation strategy, you know that getting people to react to your marketing really isn’t all that difficult. In fact you’ve likely discovered, like so many of our hard working members, that being overwhelmed with leads is a common situation to be in. This especially once you’re really dialed in to your local market place and have created TRENDING marketing campaigns that seamlessly draw prospects in.

Let me establish a beach head for this discussion: Running direct response marketing to create requests for help from prospective new clients (leads) without effectively following up with them is a complete waste of your hard earned cash, your valuable time, and the world’s supply of bandwidth. Even if you have some automatic system that takes a lead and begins an automated contact drip or info supply system (yes, that’s better than nothing but not much), not physically picking up the phone and calling them to determine their motives for responding to your marketing is costing you THOUSANDS of dollars.

It’s simple to see: NOTHING replaces a quick but pointed conversation with a prospect shortly after they’ve raised their hand. NOTHING IS BETTER than you personally taking that lead and having a carefully controlled discussion to really determine their immediate needs, timing, and ability to sell or buy.

Over the years, we’ve met people who’ve been quick to generate leads, but SLOW to respond as taught. In fact I can recall with great accuracy many conversations I’ve had with people who want to DELEGATE that responsibility as soon as they learn about it. This can be a huge mistake.

It’s really UNproductive to delegate something as DOLLAR-PRODUCTIVE as follow-up calls when you haven’t developed the skills personally to enable you to create appointments at will. Until you can do that, the learning curve for an assistant, taught by you, will be long and steep. I’m not saying this can’t be done, but I’m telling you that YOU have to be killer good at it first, developing some very productive, trackable skills and do it effectively with others listening in. If you haven’t gained the ULTIMATE skill and comfort with this, you WON’T recognize bad habits in those you reluctantly assign this duty to. You WON’T recognize the mistakes they make because you won’t know what they are. Most importantly, you really won’t have the working experience to handle common objections and get around them on the way to creating the appointment. You get better at something by DOING IT. The 10,000 hour rule really carries water here. (read: “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell)

To get that good at something, guess what? You have to WANT to excel at it. You have to be willing to systematically follow a well trodden, possibly bumpy path as you go. For certain, you WILL make mistakes.  No wonder Craig spends most of the first afternoon at every SuperConference talking about converting leads to appointments. No wonder James MacDonald conducts the Role Play clinic EVERY THURSDAY for our Coaching, Mastery, Grad, Platinum, and Diamond members. LEARNING THIS CORRECTLY IS THAT IMPORTANT!

So the words we say, the way we say them, the way we deal with a prospects viewpoints, and the manner in which we conduct this conversation has a huge affect on the expected outcome. Recently I had a chat with a member who said they it was a struggle to get appointments. I asked one simple question: “In your heart, as an experienced agent, do you really believe that the Universal Call Back Script has great merit in your business plan?”

He replied that he had been taught a barrage of scripts and dialogues and he was more concerned about getting in to the right one for a conversation than he was at simply asking 4 or 5 generic questions to quickly learn the prospects timing and motivation. He really thought there was more to it than just simply creating a sit down appointment. He was stuck on the repore thing, trying to build it with the prospect from the very first contact.

So like I did with him,
let’s logically discuss and understand how the simple task of calling a lead back immediately is not only a smart business decision, and using the right mentality and the right words creates an easy route to those highly desired face-to-face appointments all of us want…

Imagine you can actually tap in to that comfort zone of the prospect and your entire production system follows suit? Would that not be absolutely awesome for your business? If you aren’t getting this, give your head a shake. Having people contact you and ASK FOR HELP is the best way to work. That makes the follow up procedure the easiest it can possibly be because those prospects that went looking for you are now predisposed to accepting the help offered already, and they’ve indicated their desire to buy or sell. Here it is: THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY BEGGING IN A STRATEGIC LEAD GEN / CONVERSION SYSTEM (In case you still don’t get it, this is WAY COOL!!!)

Let me illustrate this for you further: Let’s make some calls. Open your phone book and start calling the M’s and let’s see how long it takes to even find interest. OK, you found someone after 79 calls but how hard was it? How much rejection did you encounter? How discouraged did you feel at begging conversation 23 or 57? Honestly, how easy was getting an appointment from a cold call? C’mon be honest with yourself, cold calling? Are you serious? Now, go to your inbox or your voice mail message box, and call back the people who asked you for something this morning.

Again, as mentioned earlier, let’s just imagine we have a “Free Over the Phone Home Evaluation Postcard” campaign running and 2000 houses get your card every three weeks.  Once you receive their request for the evaluation, go to your MLS, print off 4 or 5 of the properties that have sold around their home recently, drop them in the mail with a letter and then simply call to let them know it’s on the way. Go ahead, do it now and begin that conversation with them saying this:

“Hi Mr. (their name), it’s (your name) with (your company) and I just wanted to let you know that earlier today I received your request for the over the ‘phone evaluation of your home over in (AREA) and I just thought I’d let you know that I dropped the last (5) closed sales in this morning’s mail for you, I hope that’s OK. By the way, in light of your request, are you folks planning to sell your home this summer?

So, how hard is that introduction to a say? Frankly, it’s pretty easy. It’s not complicated; it draws the prospect in to the conversation because they are actually expecting this after asking for it.

Or how about the person who calls you off your ad in Homes and Lands magazine or calls you because you have a prominent For Sale sign swinging on a popular street. Is there any difference? Try this:

Oh hi (name) thanks for calling, that property was listed 2 weeks ago, are you folks looking for a home in the (neighbourhood name) area? Have you seen any other homes in there that you are looking for information on or is our listing the only one that interests you? So instead of me simply TELLING you about that home, would you like a fully loaded, full color feature sheet of that home sent? Great, by the way are you folks planning a move this summer?

Again, wouldn’t this be the natural conversation starter to have with a prospect that has called you or contacted you or left a note on your landing page or a message in your hotline mailbox? ALL DAY LONG! In fact, going off on tangents with a prospect at this stage in the process discussing how great you are, how many houses you’ve sold, and all that usual jazz actually turns prospects off in the beginning, preventing the conversation from progressing. Why? Because that presumes they were out looking for you. They weren’t yet you’ve generated their request for MORE info. WOW!

Next month, we’ll talk about this even more and I’ll show you to how easily transition into an EASY, APPOINTMENT GENERATING conversation.  -Rick

Let’s look at our Real Estate business from a real business person’s perspective this month. I mean, lets really imagine how you would like your business to look.

First, the dreaming room: If you could close your eyes and transport yourself 5 or 10 years into the future, imagine exactly what you want your business to look like then. This could be fun. I can honestly say that a dozen or so years ago when I found the Quantum Leap system and decided to create my “Marketing Based” business model as Craig taught me, I never, EVER dreamed my life would look like it does today. I always envisioned a working, blue collar existence, earning commissions and being a good dad and husband. The biggest, unimagined benefit that came from implementing the Quantum Leap system was a life I had only heard about. In fact, growing up as I did, I didn’t even have friends who did the things that Carol and I get to do today.

I’m NOT trying to sound boastful but because of the simple but effective training I was willing to absorb (and yes, it took some discipline and there were lots of personal stubbornness challenges as I changed the way I thought about selling houses) from my mentor Craig, today we have a lifestyle that’s the nucleus of who we are. I’ve said it a thousand times: “I have no interest in my gravestone saying HE WAS A GOOD REALTOR.” Sure, we still need to do some work, and we still need to be in touch with our local market, but overall, we spend an inordinate amount of time doing the things that WE want to do. We travel extensively. By the time you read this, I will have already returned home from yet another GREAT motorcycle touring trip up the west coast with some great friends. We’ll have been toSan Diego, all overArizona, the Grand Canyon,ZionPark, andYellowstone. Later this year, we’re riding through Mexico, then out to Chicago, and all the way back to our home in Phoenix on Historic Route 66. As well in August, Carol takes her yearly “girls only” vacation out east and ends up in New York, New England, and possibly Miami.

Carol and I will split our time for the balance of 2012 between our home in Calgary and our home on the west side of Phoenix.

Next, make an “alignment” decision: So if you want to have the life and the business you just finished thinking about (sorry to regale you with my dream) and if getting there is a complete challenge then the logical decision is to look for some help from someone who at least shares part of your dream. I’ve learned over the years that many people build dreams around simply emulating someone’s lifestyle or accomplishments that seem intriguing. Many young and aspiring athletes model their practice, routine, and performance after that sports most dominant star. Many look at the lives of celebrities portrayed on TV and work towards something similar.  Regardless of the dream, there’s much good advice out there in gaining momentum after studying what others have done. This falls in line with the belief that the success leaves clues an those clues are there for each one of us to grab, study and emulate.

In business, there’s countless business schools that offer the latest and greatest methods, the best education, the most up to date, in-tune education. Donald Trump clearly and openly tells anyone who asks him that he believes that success and education go hand in hand. Donald Trump himself runs a business training seminar business and for a fee, you can supposedly tap in to his expertise and knowledge for the purpose of improving your results.

So, this exercise of seeking out the BEST help you can find is really all about you, your business, your success, your family life, your future. Understanding this simply helps you realize that aligning yourself with someone capable and able who’ll teach you, show you, explain to you, and give you the needed instruction to succeed means you are coachable, you have humility, and your can continue to learn as you grow.  Few if any people really attain a sustainable measure of success without seeking help.

In our industry, coaches are thick and plenty, many claiming to be the most capable, yet many of them have NEVER had a real estate license. My career was affected greatly when I agreed to let Craig coach me. His methods for teaching business management, integrating fundamental systems for real estate, and sharing a sustainable lead creation strategy are cutting edge, the best in the industry. As well, Craig was an accomplished Realtor as well so he understood exactly what I was faced with. I struggled to find my next pay cheque before Craig took me on. I didn’t really understand how the business worked, even though I’d been in and out of it for almost 10 years. If you have the chance to be coached by Craig, my advice is TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY.

Then, Hang with like minded folks: Seeking out people who, like you, want to reach a certain mastery plateau is a GREAT idea. There’s an old saying “You are who your friends are”. This is simple to understand, hang with people that will encourage you to stretch and grow, and do it on a regular basis. Do you mastermind with like minded professionals? Do you seek out other aspiring entrepreneurs eager to learn, be coached, and humble enough accept criticism. In every industry, there are standards of excellence to reach for. There are also acceptable measuring sticks that indicate progress. Do the associates you’ve chosen share the same level of intensity that you do trying to stretch to new heights?

I remember the first time I attended a SuperConference. I was mesmerized by the level of champion real estate agents in attendance. Of course I was intimidated, I felt like a fish completely out of water. But I REALLY liked the fact that most of the people I met were there to grow professionally like me and the sharing, giving sprit that existed was simply awesome. I have friends today that I made from my first event.

Our Inner Circlemembers, who are fully engaged in learning the basic fundamentals of lead generation and lead conversion, have this very opportunity. Attending the next Super Conference is something every member should be planning to do. If only to see the complete manifestation of the Quantum Leap system, the event affords everyone the best chance of implementing a profit engineering real estate system.

There are a number of things to take advantage of at the event. For example; one of the key systems Craig teaches is LEAD GENERATION. At the SuperConference you get to see first hand what our top members from across North America do every day to create opportunity in their business. Typical real estate behavior is to AVOID this discussion and focus on brand building and image marketing – because that looks like more fun on the surface. At the SuperConference, one of the first key lessons is this: Marketing serves one major purpose – to grow your opportunity base NOT help you win a popularity contest. Hanging with 2000 people who agree that this, amongst others, is a crucial message to really implement into the business plan is accepted business practice in 2012. Think of it as the retreat your business needs you to take so you can work ON IT for a few days, incorporating some much needed changes. Come find me when you arrive, I’m anxious to meet you and help you make the much needed right turn. See you there…   -Rick

OK, we’re rolling, we’re working our butts off because we’re well into 2012 and we DON’T want a repeat of last year. We’re supposed to be IMPROVING year after year aren’t we? That’s what they told me at Real Estate school the year I spend a whopping 3 weeks sitting in a class listening to the instructors teach me how to fill out a practice Offer to Purchase, broker load a new listing, and learn how to do an evaluation using my own personal residence. I remember with vivid detail the instructor telling me that if I worked hard for a few years, made thousands of cold calls, did my floor duty, wasted countless hours doing ineffective open houses, dutifully attended all the office meetings, franchise pep rallies and industry training events that my career would blossom and grow and every year I would increase my sales. I was told to pay my dues.

How odd that none of those real estate school instructors that pushed me through the boring and very dull (but required) curriculum are in the business today. Interesting how that curriculum – similar to getting my teeth drilled at the dentist office – NEVER dealt with the profit generating small business fundamentals. In fact, the other day I found a class list from when I took my basic Real Estate 101 course and here’s something interesting. There were 51 people in the class and now, some 22 years later, I can only find three names from that list still in the business, and one of them is mine. Even the so-called office top producers teaching us “the way” are long gone.

SO it bears thinking about our mortality as realtors if we rely on the “establishment” for our success. Frankly, I learned within the first few years that depending on worn out methods, photocopied instruction manuals from the Real Estate board, and he regurgitated scripts and dialogues found in practically all of that dinosaur training has long past it’s prime. But look at what agents are STILL being told to do. There’s no shortage of COLD CALLING, BEGGING-FOR-BUSINESS programs available to an agent. In fact, as a research exercise for this article I Google searched “Cold Calling Methods” and came up with pages and pages of people, companies, and programs all prepared to take my money to teach me a better way to succeed at cold calling a database, a geo farm area, or the phone book. Cold calling? REALLY? I mean REALLY???

I was recently invited to participate in yet another franchise based training program and guess what the theme of it was? How to successfully COLD CALL your database and create 3 times the income from it in less than 6 months. They had some crazy Acronym title for the program all designed to entice and attract me into the program. They claimed my LIFE would be better and in more control if I became proficient at Cold Calling. “Do it our way using the latest techniques and the most up to date scripts and dialogues and succeed beyond your wildest dreams”. They even promised to fly in the latest and greatest trained instructor to teach the course.

I can’t see it working despite the claims and the fact that they can still fleece the $$$ from the hard working agents. Here’s a problem with hunting down business that way (and it’s a HUGE problem): The percentage of prospects out there looking for a REALTOR to help them is so miniscule that failure is simply imminent. In fact, most working trainers still don’t get the mental position of the common prospect. Here’s what I mean; by the way it’s what you already know…

HOME BUYERS almost always begin the process of buying by looking at houses for sale that fit in to a price range they are approved for. Buyers love PICTURES on-line to BEGIN the process. They usually search based on affordability, location, and house size.

SELLERS go looking for recent, comparable sales in their neighborhoods FIRST that they can compare their home to. Then they look at their overall neighborhood performance, the tax and assessment roll, and when possible, look at addresses of recently sold homes.

Does your marketing for new BUYER and SELLER opportunities reflect these trending behaviors of your prospects? OK, here’s what consistent producing agents know already. Few prospects START the process by actively searching out Real Estate agents. AT LEAST NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH to support the amount of “LOOK AT ME I’M THE GREATEST” image style marketing that exists out there. They open up their minds initially to the gathering process by searching for relevant and pertinent information about their project. By the way, to a prospect about to either buy or sell, it’s almost MONUMENTAL in their minds. They spend countless hours pouring through web sites, Google searches, and sites that feature current information.  That’s why month after month, year after year, this marketing method works better than anything else, it flies right in to what I call the “NEED” base of the prospect. In other words, they NEED (and really want) this information to make a decision about their impending project. Once they are comfortable with that they’ve found, they confidently and comfortably move forward.

Contrasting that, step in to a prospects face with the WRONG message – because we’re trying to “convince” then to do something they don’t want yet – and BOOM! they fade and disappear faster than a rainbow after a summer rainstorm. Turn them off with the WRONG message and “CLICK” goes the phone. Make an inappropriate first impression with your on-line marketing message and they surf away faster than they logged in. Last time I checked, that’s NOT conducive to growth for a realtor.

If you want to know what’s trending locally in terms of Real Estate issues, and learn how to become really good at creating solution based, direct response marketing here are a few tips to get you pointed and started.

  • Become very aware of the most common Real Estate related news items.
  • Become aware of the MOST ACTIVE price points in the local market.
  • Become VERY aware of the most important averages locally – DOM, List to Sales ratios, Av sales price, most popular sales areas.
  •  Understand locally what the majority of people are really looking for.

In the world of corporate advertising, this is called a market study. It’s easy for you to do on your own. I’ve said it a million times; most MLS providers produce a monthly stat package for their members. Be sure to subscribe to that and become very familiar with it. As an agent, you enjoy unbridled access to the most informative database of trends available – use it to it’s fullest advantage and grow you local knowledge to the point of knowing intimately what’s going on locally.

So, the conclusion? Create a solution based marketing campaign that will easily and predictably create droves of leads from folks locally who need to sell or buy but just need some information to get started. Once you’ve perfected the first one, do it again and again until your marketing permeates every active sector of the local market…  -Rick

“When I dream of you, I’m alright for a while, ‘cause when I dream of you, I wake up with a smile…”    -anonymous

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     For my dear friend, compadre, and close pal, Daniel Passante. (1964-2012)

     Sometimes we forget that life itself is the most fragile commodity in our daily existence. We spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing the things we THINK are important when in fact, if you really stop and consider it, it’s LIFE itself that carries all the weight. As I’ve aged and gained strength through maturity, I’ve learned the importance of looking at things from a more relaxed perspective. It takes a lot these days to really get a rise out of me, my once shorter fuse has grown longer, more resilient, and patience has blossomed in my personality. As well, I’ve learned to see things in a much more relaxed light.

     However, life lessons remind us the end is as close as turning off a light switch.

     As a young man, totally infused with power and strength and enthusiasm, my last daily consideration was about having it all come crashing down around me. Sure, I knew folks that had been taken by death, it had distantly visited our family (both of my Scottish grandparents passed when I was young) but the intense helplessness that accompanies the pain and sting of death didn’t really hit me hard until I was almost 40. In 1997 my father passed away. Even though our relationship had been quite distant and somewhat fractured as I grew up, the loss of my father had a huge affect on me. Even though it had been expected, he was stricken with the Cancer as a result of smoking 2 packs a day for most of his life and he just wasn’t a healthy man, there was no way of filling the void his death left in my life. Despite the overwhelming evidence of an impending end, when it eventually happened, my father’s death hit me like a Mack truck. It was the first time in my entire life that the passing of an individual hurt so much. I was glad when the initial heartache and pain  subsided to the point where I could close my eyes and think about my Dad with out tearing up.


The human mind, with all of its intricacies, depth and power is also a powerful memory bank. Recently, the pain of my father’s passing came back to visit and it’s almost as strong now as it was then.  On Sunday March 25, 2012 my very good friend, Daniel Passante died behind the wheel of his car. I was absolutely shocked to the point of almost fainting when I heard the news. You see Daniel was a very close friend, someone I loved, respected and trusted. We were constant companions at SuperConference events; we spoke weekly on the phone, we texted back and forth practically daily and we always chatted before embarking on something special. We laughed and shared success stories 
together. We worked together on numerous projects, I went to Toronto a couple of times to help Daniel present his Investor and Rent-to-Own seminars, he came to Calgary to my home to simply hang out.  At all the SuperConference events he and I had in common we always had lunch together. In fact when Carol came to the events, at lunch her question to Daniel wasn’t “what do you want?” she simply confirmed his standing order with her. She’d order lunch for all of us, sometimes 8 or 9 people, we’d get it delivered to our room, I’d finish up what I was doing, Daniel would do the same, a quick text to each other ensued confirming room number and we’d all meet at either my room or his, loosen the ties, have a few laughs, relax a bit and just be friends. My wife Carol really enjoyed Daniels company  

     What everyone should know about my friend Daniel was the type of person he was. Firstly, whenever it was work related, Daniel was almost always in a suit and tie, he was concerned about making correct impressions on people. He cared much about the impression he made on others when carrying the responsibility of representing someone. He carried himself with dignity, professionalism, approachableness, and humility. He was the highest producing agent in the Canadian Century 21 system and was a most willing student of anything he could gravitate towards that involved stretching his paradigm and learning more. If you were in the same room as Daniel, you were immediately drawn to him for on reason – his friendliness and his huge constant smile. A couple of years ago, I took a few people fromCalgaryto a Keller Williams event inToronto. Of course I invited Daniel to join us and, of course, he did. The people I traveled with (Stacey, Sheila, and Holly) were immediately taken by his warmth and happy demeanor. But then, everyone was. If you look at the picture above, the smile in that picture is the way I’ll remember Daniel. That smile was his business card, the one thing that always distinguished him from others. When you see pictures of Daniels young son Julian, you see the exact same smile. Julian was lucky to have a dad as great as Daniel; the DNA Julian will grow up with will serve him very well, especially when it involves people.

     Earlier this year, inAnaheim, Daniel and I decided to sneak out for lunch the day before the event began and as was our custom, we rented a car. This time, Daniel drove. Leaving the Marriott, had no clear decision about our ultimate destination, we simply set out find a good lunch. We both lick our chops for good seafood so we felt going west towards the ocean would be a good strategy. We ended up going west and south, much farther than anticipated but it was a nice day, the sky was blue, the ocean looked gorgeous so we slid down the coastal freeway a bit and eventually ended up at the Santa Monica Pier where, along with some hilarious people watching, enjoyed a stellar lunch and, as usual, laughed our asses off at the silliest of things. I couldn’t tell you today what we laughed about, it doesn’t matter. The common denominator was enjoyment. I always enjoyed spending time with Daniel, plain and simple. Looking back, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of memories I have of spending time with Daniel.

     Over the years, I’ve done much in Toronto with Craig and the coaching team and whenever I was summoned to Toronto for an event, it was Daniel who picked me up at the Airport. I couldn’t tell you how many times he did that. Even when I ended up flying in late and simply going straight to the hotel, it was usually Daniel who picked me up. It was always good to see him. In LA last year we did the same thing and that time Daniel and I ended up inBeverly Hillswandering aroundRodeo Driveand a very cool antiques market in the park.

     Obviously I could go on forever. I’m sad to share these memories, would much rather sit down and stare at Daniels grin and work on a presentation PowerPoint together, it was hard to sit and have to remember these things, I would have like to have had him here, across my desk to confer with as some of the dates and places and times are a little muddy, just because there’s been so many over the past dozen years or so. Sitting here now, trying to make sense of such a sad event, I can only say that his passing has created much pain in my heart. But I’m a better person for having known Daniel, he contributed much to my outlook on things and his enthusiasm was contagious.

     I’ll end with a quick note about a recent conversation Daniel and I had. As I mentioned earlier, recently Daniel had taken a trip toIndia. That’s a long way from home and he went with a tour of folks he didn’t know but I’m sure he made friends as he traveled. Close to the end of his trip, Daniel picked up a disposable cell phone over there and called me. All the way fromIndia, he called just to say hi and tell me about his trip. He was feeling very rested and relaxed, ready to get home and get back to work, his time travelling had given him some thinking time and he had some ideas for his assigned coaching members that he was looking forward to getting back to work with. Carol and I happened to be on a long walk in up atSouthMountainpark inPhoenixand I just sat down on a big rock to enjoy my conversation with Daniel. As always he asked how Carol was, how the weather was inPhoenix. We talked about the upcoming SuperConference inAnaheimand he asked if Carol and I would like to join him atDisneylandif he brought Julian with him to the event. Of course our answer was an emphatic yes!  

     So now he’s not with us anymore. Yes, I’ll miss him, it will be a huge void that will be hard to fill. I still have our texts on my phone; I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, probably not much. As I read through them this morning, I was moved by one that simply said this: “Hey dude, what’s happening? Are you coming to Toronto in April?  Looks like CP has something going on.” My reply: “Not sure, be good to see you, we can go to dinner if I do.”

     Today, I wish we could have had just one more dinner…

     Luv ya brother, already miss you like crazy.  -Rick