By Alex Cavelli
—Henry David Thorough
Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken lessons I’ve learned from the work of willpower scientist Colin Robertson and revealed techniques to help you develop the keystone habit of lead generation. Hopefully by now you’ve experimented and found success. Here’s a review:
Part 1: “Do Not Fail” – Choosing your daily contact goal.
Part 2: “The Seinfeld Method” – Forming consistency.
Part 3: “Definite Purpose” – Envisioning your purpose.
Based on the emails I’ve received, it seems that all three parts have made an impact. A recurring question has been, “How do I find time for lead generation when I have all this other stuff going on?” The answer: simplify.
One of my favorite recent stories is about young man named Ryan Nicodemus. Nicodemus, along with his friend Joshua Fields Millburn, are two 20-something Ohioans who once believed they had it all.
“A few years ago, while approaching age 30, we had achieved everything that was supposed to make us happy: great six-figure jobs, nice cars, big houses with more bedrooms than inhabitants, pointless masses of toys, scads of superfluous stuff…The truth is we weren’t successful at all. Maybe we looked successful…but we weren’t truly successful. Because even with all our stuff, we weren’t satisfied with our lives—we weren’t happy.”
Nicodemus needed to make a change to find happiness. To begin their journey, the two friends got together and started evaluating their material possessions. “Where do we start?” asked Nicodemus. Millburn then suggested an idea that changed both their lives forever: “The Packing Party.”
Nicodemus packed all of his possessions into boxes, labeled them, and stuffed them in a spare bedroom. Now these items didn’t just consist of their expensive gadgets. They packed clothes, shoes, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, bedding, plates, paintings, toothpaste, food – everything. It almost looked as if they were getting ready to load a moving truck. The main idea was this: over the next 21 days, Nicodemus would unpack nothing except for what he actually used. Whatever remained would then be sold, donated, or trashed.
The results may surprise you at first. Nicodemus unpacked only about 20 percent of his possessions over three weeks! In other words, nearly 80 percent of his possessions were deemed useless or non-essential. He donated clothes he didn’t wear, sold some of his electronics, and even got rid of those unopened cleaning supplies.
The aftereffects from this packing party were an even bigger surprise. Suddenly they found more time, energy and money to focus on what actually did bring them value. Life became “rich” again as they packed (and unpacked) other parts of their lives – relationships, careers, spending habits, and dieting. Today they travel the country encouraging audiences to pare down their lives and create space for things of real value.
So how did such a simple experiment reveal the root of their discontent? And what’s the relevance to your business? Let’s ask Colin Robertson, our willpower scientist.
When we come up with tasks for ourselves, our brain creates an internal reminder that will nag us until we give those tasks attention. Think about that nagging feeling you get when you’re overdue to check your social media accounts. This mental nagging actually drains our willpower and diminishes our ability to focus on essential actives.
Or think about that sense of accomplishment you get when you cross something off your to-do list. Yes, that feeling can lead to other small successes. But the opposite is also true. If we fail to complete a task, feelings of discontent take form. This experience is known as the Zeigarnik Effect. To avoid this effect, we just need a packing party.
As real estate business people, we’re only as effective as the quality of our schedule and our ability to follow it. If you’re ready to have a “packing party” for your schedule to make room for the essentials, they read on and follow these steps:
- Pull up your 2015 schedule and completely clear it.
- Black out your non-working days first (these are planned days off, holidays, family commitments, vacations, etc.). Now your workdays remain.
- Next, take January 5th and consider it the template for your “ideal workday”.
- Decide the start time to your ideal workday.
- Decide the end time to your ideal workday.
- In between your start and end times, time block these essential activities:
- Hitting your “do not fail” daily contact goal
- Listing appointments
- Apply this schedule to the remainder of your 2015 workdays.
Use your judgment for important activities like attending team meetings, following up with sellers, preparing for appointments, and completing essential paperwork. For example, I call my sellers every Friday between noon and 1:00pm. Some agents choose Wednesdays. I also time block time for daily administrative work between 1:00pm and 2:00pm. If I have no appointments or essential admin work, I can always work on generating leads. When planning, it’ll be helpful to keep these averages in mind:
- 8 contacts = 1 hour
- Top agents prospect 3 to 4 hours per day, between 8:00am and noon, 5 days per week.
- 1 listing appointment = 1 hour
- Top agents spend 30 minutes or less on listing appointment, schedule them between 3:00pm and 7:00pm, 5 days per week.
- Negotiation = 30 minutes
- Top agents will typically negotiate before 7:30am, between 1:00pm and 2:00pm, and/or after evening appointments.
You still have eight working days left in 2014 to start building momentum for the new year. Just as Nicodemus and Millburn started their journey to happiness by paring down their possessions, you can also pare down your business by starting with your schedule. Not only will free up willpower to hit your daily “do not fail” goal, you’ll discover the time and energy to surpass it and list more real estate.
For other techniques and lead generation habit tools, visit and “like” this Facebook page.
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Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast. Connect with Alex via linkedin.com/in/cavelli or Alexcavelli@kw.com.
Provided by the National Safety Council
By Charlie Allred
What if every time you posted something online, you thought about providing the most value to the person looking for that information? How would your online presence change? My guess is that it would become more focused.
You have an area of expertise, right? The Internet and your potential clients online don’t know that unless you tell them. Your website and/or blog should be your way of telling these potential clients what you are doing in real life.
For example, instead of writing about Mesa, Ariz., write about a specific neighborhood in Mesa. Or you can talk about upcoming events in that specific neighborhood. If you are very specific, your content is much more likely to show up in organic search results.
When planning your blog posts, think about the buying cycle for your area and try to publish content based on readers’ needs. Ask yourself what community information you can provide your potential client to add real value.
Real estate is all about the community. Find out what community or neighborhood information a potential buyer might seek, then provide it in an easy-to-read, and digestible format on your blog.
A couple of examples from my blog:
- Area information for people who are thinking about moving to Arizona
- Community information about the districts of Old Town Scottsdale
- Real estate information about Old Town Scottsdale homes
The myth in real estate is that you might miss out on sales if you specialize in one neighborhood. But I suggest that you find a niche, dominate it, and then move on to another niche. Writing an article about one specific neighborhood doesn’t mean that next week you can’t write about the adjacent neighborhood. Eventually, you can write an article on each of the neighborhoods in which you specialize. And that’s the real value for your readers (and potential clients).
Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She is a Pinterest expert coaching agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.
In 2012, consumers purchased 24.5 million real and 10.9 million fake Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
Which are more environmentally friendly? Help homeowners answer that question by tweeting a free article, “Real Christmas Trees vs. Fake Christmas Trees: Which are Greener”, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the December “Deck-orate the Halls!” article package. Share all five today.
By Anand Patel
As we close out the year, you may be looking for opportunities and new avenues to success in 2015. I’m here to tell you that you’re doing it all wrong.
The last few months, while speaking at REALTOR® associations as well as with my own agents, I have been sharing three specific thoughts that have been weighing on my mind as we wrap up 2014. I think that together, they can open up your life to success more than any attempt to hunt down “opportunity.”
“Opportunities? They are all around us…There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.”
–Orison Swett Marden, inspirational author and founder of Success Magazine
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “hindsight is 20/20.” With that in mind, take a moment and look back at past events in your life that you may have initially perceived as negative and reevaluate them with the notion that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps it’s a negative comment someone said to you when you were young that stuck with you instead of a positive quality a teacher or parent saw in you. Maybe it was an event where you failed at something and instead of focusing on the lessons learned, you held onto the failure itself. Looking back at these memories in this light will open you up to a totally new perspective. My father shared this notion with me over ten years ago that everything, EVERYTHING happens for a reason and nothing happens by chance. It took me a while to fully understand what he meant, but once I did interesting things began to happen for me.
2. Be present in the moment.
Being present in the moment means being aware of what is going on around us. It means starting up a conversation with the person behind you in line at the grocery store. It means saying hello to the person sitting next to you in an educational class at your local association. It means putting your cell phone away when having dinner with your family (I get in trouble for this one a lot). It means picking up the phone and calling someone instead of texting them. Being present in the moment means bringing real conversations back into your life. It means asking those around you “how can I help?”
To a certain degree, this will happen automatically when you truly believe everything happens for a reason. By understanding there’s a reason behind the people you encounter, events that happen, and conversations you engage in, you will inevitably begin to make the conscious effort to be present.
3. Opportunity surrounds us.
Understanding that everything happens for a reason and grasping the importance of being present in the moment now leaves you open to the opportunity that surrounds you. Remember that conversation in the grocery store? It turns out they are looking to buy a new home. The real estate professional you chatted with at the association event? She happens to have the perfect buyer for the unique listing you’ve had a tough time selling. When you put your cell phone away at the restaurant? You just had the most interesting conversation with your daughter who had been craving your attention all evening. That time you picked up the phone instead of texting? The conversation led you to finding the business partner of the new brokerage you just opened.
Sound crazy? I promise you, try it and you will be astounded by the number of opportunities that will come to you. If you spend your days looking for opportunity, in essence you are telling yourself opportunity is elusive and you have to seek it out. That is far from the truth.
By believing that everything happens for a reason, and by being present in the moment, we will begin to see that opportunity surrounds us everywhere. So as you prepare for 2015, don’t waste your time looking for opportunity, as it has been waiting for you all along.
Anand Patel is broker and president of Pangea Realty Group based in Tampa, Fla. You can connect with Anand on Twitter: @anand_tampa, Facebook: www.facebook.com/prgtampa, or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anandpatel1.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
If the “2014 Color of the Year” – the bright pink-purplish Radiant Orchard – was too bold for your tastes, you may find Pantone’s 2015 color choice a perfect toned down hue: Marsala. The earthy wine red is expected to warm up more interiors in the new year, and it may become your new go-to color in home staging in 2015.
Since the shade isn’t as overpowering as its predecessor, Marsala can be a unifying color element for interior spaces that can add a pop of color without proving to be a distraction.
“Nurturing and fulfilling, Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances, and linens throughout the home,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
In prepping homes for sale, expect to see the rich red tone to show up in more accent pieces and accessories in 2015, from vases and throw pillows to patterned rugs. Pantone says that textured surfaces enhance the color, which will likely make it also a popular choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture. The color is also expected to be prominent in stripe and floral patterns, such as in printed placemats, dinnerware, bedding, and throws.
Here’s how some designers have been incorporating the hue.
By Alex Cavelli
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
In part 1 and part 2, I used what I’ve learned from Willpower Scientist Colin Robertson to show how you can scientifically develop the keystone habit of lead generation. Before continuing, I suggest reading (or re-reading) both sections.
Now that you have a specific vehicle for keeping yourself on track with prospecting, I want to give you the fuel. But first, an inspiring story…
Think and Grow Rich
Meet Edwin C. Barnes. As a rather poor young man in the early 1900s, Barnes’ obsession was to become the right-hand man to the great Thomas A. Edison.
When the idea first flashed across Barnes’ mind, it was nothing more than a wish. He had no money, no presentable clothing, little education, and zero connection to the inventor. Still, months passed in which Barnes’ imaginary partnership with Edison started to become real in his own mind.
Through his persistent visualization, Barnes developed the self-confidence to take positive action. He snuck onto a freight train to Orange, N.J. in order to meet Edison. As Edison described him, “He stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.”
He was hired. Even after months of menial work with no promise of promotion, Barnes kept his burning desire in the forefront of his mind while awaiting his opportunity. When Edison perfected the Ediphone, none of his salesmen were excited about this odd device. Except for Barnes. Because of Barnes’ particular enthusiasm, Edison gave Barnes the opportunity to sell the Ediphone. Barnes sold it so successfully that Edison gave him the contract to distribute all over the nation. Turns out this business alliance lasted for thirty more years, and Barnes finally achieved his burning desire.
How did Barnes rise to the top? Let’s ask our willpower scientist.
Colin Robertson says there are three different types of willpower, each using distinct parts of the brain.
1. “I WILL” POWER
We use this to do the tough things that accomplish our goals. We use it to exercise, organize our desks, and pick up the phone to dial another prospect.
2. “I WON’T” POWER
This is the power we use to resist the various temptations in our lives. We call upon this to resist the burger and fries on the lunch menu, our true feelings about rude clients, and daily distractions that keep us from prospecting.
3. “I WANT” POWER
This is the most important type of willpower. It’s the part of the brain that remembers our long-term goals, dreams and desires—what we really want. You may have experienced this type of willpower when you were inspired by a great speech or leader, or when you found extra motivation to meet a seemingly impossible sales goal.
This is the type of willpower that Barnes drew upon to go from an “ordinary tramp” to partner with Thomas Edison. Because willpower is like a muscle, the more Barnes reinforced his vision and desire, the stronger his willpower became. This gave him the inspiration to take action and persevere through years of working at the bottom.
To increase your “I want” power, you must visualize your ultimate business. Ask yourself these specific questions about what your business will look like when you retire from real estate:
- How will it run?
- Will you have a large and dominating brokerage, or a relatively small but mighty team?
- What excites you about this vision?
- Most importantly, what does this ultimate business mean for you, your family, and community? And what will you be able to do and give as a result?
The clearer your vision of your long-term goal, the easier it will be to use your “I want” power to achieve it. Once you have visualized your ultimate business, you need to be able to see the steps to get there. Barnes may have had a large vision, but he also had the discipline to complete the day-to-day tasks that would get him there. Ask yourself these questions to help you visualize your prospecting process:
- What time do you start?
- Who are you calling?
- How do your conversations go?
- What does setting an appointment each day look like? How about setting five appointments per day?
- Are you consistent?
- Are you having fun?
To get started, you can try this visualization exercise.
One caution: When we visualize our burning desire, we can get a false sense of reward as if it’s already happened for us. And when we get that sense of reward we can lose the motivation to take action toward it. So be sure to use visualization as a starting point for action. Positive thoughts mean nothing if they’re not followed by positive action.
Let us learn from Edwin C. Barnes. He succeeded because he backed his burning desire with definite plan of action. If you want to be the best and enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of what that affords, you have to first envision what life is like at your best.
Visualization has a snowball effect. I find that the more consistently I visualize, the clearer my vision becomes and the easier it is to see the path. When the path becomes easy to see, taking definite action is both simpler and more fun. As Napoleon Hill concluded, “Oh, what a different story men would have to tell if they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming desire.”
Get started today. Write out your raw, unedited visualization and e-mail it to me. I’ll even share mine with you.
Submitted by Nikos Phelps, president, Utopian Landscape of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET)
It’s that time of year where home owners are busy decorating their exteriors with holiday lights and making them for festival for the holidays. Many landscape and lawn care companies support their clients year-round by providing snow removal and holiday lighting in the winter. There are many safety concerns that home owners should take into consideration when putting up their own holiday lights, such as:
1. Inspect the lights and wires.
Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords before using. Wires can become brittle.Throw lights away if there is exposed copper or broken sockets.
2. Don’t overload circuits and watch for electrical concerns.
Avoid connecting five or more strands end to end, otherwise the circuit can be overloaded. However, for many LEDs you can add more than five strands. Also, do not pull the strands too tight so they can reach an outlet. Other electrical concerns to watch for:
- Tears in the wiring surface could result in electrocution.
- When creating a lighting configuration on a lawn, make sure to keep connections out of depressions that could collect ground water.
- Be sure to tape down extension cords if they cross walkways.
3. Read the labels carefully for outdoor use.
LED lights re more energy efficient and require less wattage than incandescent bulbs. But make sure the lights and extension cords are rated for indoor and outdoor use or specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs.). Also, don’t replace light bulbs without unplugging the light strand or decoration.
4. Take caution on rooftops or elevated areas.
Ladders should be inspected – look for lose or missing screws, hinges, bolts and nuts before using and be sure they are stable and in good condition. Be sure to ground the ladder on a solid, even surface with no risk of sliding.
Don’t overreach when on ladders. When stringing lights, climb down and move the ladder often. Also, keep ladders as far as possible from electrical lines. Finally, if the roof is too steep or too high, don’t risk scaling it and endangering yourself. Hire a trained landscape professional that has the training to offer unique installation methods and premium quality products with the latest trends in decoration and technology.
5. Remove lights at the end of the holiday season. Over a period of time, lights exposed to the weather can have damage to the wires, lights, and sockets. Watch for any weather damage before you tow the lights away for next year.
Sellers’ snug bathroom doesn’t have to be a disappointment to potential buyers. Show them how to max out its potential by e-mailing a free article: “10 Inside Tips from a Designer Who Specializes in Small Baths” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Save Big While Boosting Home Value” article package you can e-mail or share on any of your social media today.
By Alex Cavelli
“Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.”
After Robertson helped me decide on my personal do-not-fail goal for the number of contacts I was to make each day, he then introduced the key to this approach: consistent action.
The Seinfeld Method
After a live performance, legendary comic Jerry Seinfeld was approached by a young and aspiring comedian. The young comic asked what was the No. 1 thing that contributed to Seinfield’s stratospheric success. Seinfeld’s answer was simple: “In order to succeed at comedy, you need to tell better jokes. In order to tell better jokes, you need to write jokes every day. So what you need to do is get a giant calendar of the whole year. Every day that you write a new joke, mark a big red X on that day. Then, just don’t break the chain.”
Let’s pretend Seinfeld was talking to you and me as real estate sales professionals. He might say, “In order to succeed in real estate, you need to talk to more people about real estate. And in order to talk to more people, you need to prospect every day. So what you need to do is get a giant calendar of the whole year. Every day that you prospect, mark a big red X on that day. Then just don’t break the chain.”
Most of us experience a constant tug-of-war between motivation and procrastination. The world’s top performers, from CEOs to professional athletes, all have one thing in common: consistency. The best performers in every walk of life, like Seinfeld explained, do their work with remarkable consistency and consider everything else a distraction.
The Seinfeld Strategy works because it’s process-oriented and not results-oriented. It’s not about waiting for the “perfect moment” of inspiration; it’s about making progress every single day. And every time we make progress, we achieve a small win and gain confidence that we can “continue the chain.” The longer the chain gets, the harder it will be for you to break it. And that’s a good thing.
Here’s how to make it real: Take the remainder of your 2014 schedule and decide which days you will accomplish your do-not-fail daily contact goal. Let go of everything else in your business and devote your willpower to the Seinfeld Method. When you hit your daily goal, mark it somewhere you can see. Use a calendar (like this) or e-mail me and I will send you a complimentary real estate Seinfeld Method spreadsheet.
If you break the chain (and you probably will), start over. It may be comforting to know that even the best free-throw shooters in the NBA score only 80 percent of the time from the line. Imagine prospecting 80 percent of the days you said you would. For most of us that’s still 4 days out of the workweek!
The law of accumulation and the law of cause and effect are your best friends. These consistent efforts over time will yield consistent results over time. I challenge you to think of a more effective way.
Next time we’ll talk about the science of “definiteness of purpose” as it relates to lead generation. In the meantime, if you’re curious about my progress and would like to discuss a lead generation plan that works for you, please contact me.
Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast. Connect with Alex via linkedin.com/in/cavelli or Alexcavelli@kw.com.