How to Demonstrate Your Expertise by Blogging on These 4 Categories

At the end of this post is an exercise you can download to brainstorm a year’s worth of weekly blog posts in 10 minutes.

I remember the first day after I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.  It was the day I started working with my dad in the commercial real estate industry.  I knew nothing beyond what I picked up from growing up with two parents in real estate.  I didn’t have a license.  I didn’t have business cards.  I was as green as they come.  All I wanted to do was hide in my office.

Photo from istockphoto.com

Photo from istockphoto.com

I remember having the nagging thought:  “Who would want to work with you when they could work with your dad?”  It took me two years to get over that self-doubt.

It is one thing to gain self-confidence, and that takes time.  Your industry also needs to gain confidence in you.  You need to become known as an expert in your field.  I like to talk about this as dominant market presence.  Are you, your company, or your product the first thing that pops into potential clients’ or customers’ minds?

Additionally, if you still haven’t bought the idea that you should be blogging or need help setting up and launching your blog, read this post on the subject.

I believe a blog is the quickest way to gain this dominant market presence.  You can become known as an expert, gain dominant market presence, and cultivate the next generation of clients and customers by blogging in these 4 categories.

Blog on These 4 Categories

  1. Deal Stories – Stories are an incredible way to engage with your audience.  They often allow you to connect with your readers on an emotional level.  This invites your readers into your post and keeps them there.  Stories of real situations are also valuable to your potential future clients.  Plus, stories allow you to demonstrate your expertise without tooting your own horn.  Your deal stories should include these 3 sections:
    1. Situation – Give the context of what was going on.  Why were you hired?  What challenges was your client facing?  Giving the context allows your readers to relate.
    2. Steps – What did you do to solve your clients problems?  What did you do to help maximize your client’s best interests?  Share what happened, but be careful not to sound like a commercial.
    3. Solution – Here is where you describe the results.  This is the culmination of the story.  If done well, the reader will have a better understanding of the service or product you provide and how that product or service can benefit them.
  2. News – Blogging about the news demonstrates that you are in-the-know about what is happening in your industry.  However, the news can be boring.  You do not want to just regurgitate what your readers are hearing from other sources.  If a certain news topic is becoming a topic of conversation at the water cooler, you should blog about it.  Demonstrate your expertise and experience by giving your take.  A word of caution:  only blog about a news topic if it is applicable to your industry.
  3. Market trends – This topic can also be boring so be careful.  I would not blog about market trends more than once a quarter.  However, demonstrating that you are aware of market trends is important.  For some of your readers, this information will be valuable.  It puts you in the position to become a trusted resource for timely information.
  4. 101 Topics – In Commercial Real Estate, every successful investor did their first deal at some point.  Donald Trump did not come out of the womb as an expert.  He had to learn.  By blogging about the basics of your industry, you have the opportunity to educate the next generation of players in your industry.  In the next 20 years, we are about to see the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.  By educating the next generation of your future clients, who do you think will be top-of-mind when the next generation has a need for your product or service for the first time?  You will!

A huge hurdle for many beginning bloggers is the anxiety of knowing what to blog about.  As a bonus to this post, I have included a simple exercise I use with my coaching clients.  In 10 minutes, you can brainstorm these 4 categories and produce a year’s worth of blog topics.

Knowing what you will blog about for the entire next year is like a warm blanket.  This single exercise could lead to your success in building a powerful blog that increases your presence, solidifies you as an expert, and cultivates the next generation of your future clients.

Question: What are you doing to ensure the success of your presence campaign in 2014? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Your Free Exercise

How do You Compare to These 20 Habits of the Wealthy?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Dead Poets Society.  My guess is that you have seen it, but if not, it is inspiring.  It contains some of the best quotes of all time.  My favorite is contained in this clip – see if you can pick it out.

“Sucking the marrow out of life!”  This line taken from a Thoreau poem describes a way of thinking.  A way of living life.

But it is just a quote.  To live like this – to maximize your potential – takes intentionality.  It takes discipline.  It takes developing habits that will produce the desired outcome – abundant life.

My mentor emailed me recently a link to a Dave Ramsey blog post.  In that post, Dave sites 20 habits found in wealthy people.  I have included this list below.  As you read this list, I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions.

  1. How do you stack up to this list?
  2. How many of these describe you?
  3. How does this actually make you feel?
  4. How could living life this way help you “suck the marrow out of life?”

20 Habits that Describe the Wealthy – from richhabitsinstitute.com

1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.

2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.

3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.

4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.

5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of poor.

6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.

7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% of poor.

8. 80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls vs. 11% of poor.

9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor.

10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor.

11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.  (This is the one that is most interesting to me.)

12. 79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month vs. 16% of poor.

13. 67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.

14. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.

15. 44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.

16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% of poor.

17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% of poor.

18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% of poor.

19. 86% of wealthy believe in lifelong educational self-improvement vs. 5% of poor.

20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.

This list inspires me.  It reminds me of what I know I should be doing.  It encourages me to do better.

I shared this list for another reason beyond to encourage you to weigh your habits against these.  When Dave Ramsey posted this list, there was an explosion of reaction.  As a result of both the positive and negative reaction he received, he edited his post to include his commentary.  I challenge you to read what he has communicated there – click here to do so.

Question: So how do you stack up to this list? As we finish the last days of this year, what would you most like to change about your habits for 2014? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I’m excited to participate in the CRE Radio Show hosted by Howard Kline today, December 9, 2013.  We are going to be discussing the 3 “P’s” of Marketing Real Estate.  Traditionally, those three were:  put up a sign, put it on line, and pray.  We will be introducing some new options.  You can join us live on the program by calling (619) 393-6492 during the show – 3:30 – 5:00 pm CST.

Date: December 9, 2013
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. CST
Event: CRE Radio: The 3 "P's" of Marketing Real Estate with Bo Barron and Howard Kline
Topic: Three "P's" of Marketing Real Estate
Sponsor: CRE Radio
619-393-6492
Venue: Online and via Radio
619-393-6492
Public: Public

If you would like to engage me to speak at your event, click on my speaking page at the top menu bar of this site.

How to Systematically Pursue Your Former Clients in These 6 Steps

At the end of this post, you can download a worksheet that will help you put these 6 steps into instant application.

As the father of 3 young kids, I’m always finding things in the couch.  Ninja sword.  Costume jewelry.  Goldfish (the snack).  I never know what I’m going to find when I place my hand between the cushions.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Then there is the wonderful experience that comes with winter.  You put on your coat for the first time since last year and find a $20 in the pocket.  I love that feeling.  Found money.

Your previous clients are like the couch cushions and the $20 long forgotten in a winter coat.  We neglect them.  Then every so often, we lower our hands between the cushions.  I submit that you intentionally pursue these past clients.

You can re-engage your former clients by following these 6 steps.

6 Steps to Re-engage Your Past Clients

  1. Make a list – As in, make a list of all your former or inactive clients.
  2. Scrub the list – You can choose who you would like to work with.  Pursue only the clients that you’d like to work with again.
  3. Prepare – Do your homework.  Be informed.  Have they won an award recently?  Did their daughter get married?  Run a google search.  Check out their LinkedIn profile.
  4. Call 2 a week on Friday afternoons – Call 2 on the list every week.  Do it on a Friday afternoon when the week is winding down.  Make it a habit.  If you would do this every week all year, then you would contact about 100 people that have already done business with you.  These are former clients who have hired you before and actually pulled the trigger on a deal.
  5. Have something of value for them – Don’t just call them to check in.  Maximize this opportunity by having something of value to offer them.  Maybe a building sold by one of their properties and you have comp info for them.  Maybe it has been 3 years since anyone evaluated their portfolio.  Offer to do it for them.
  6. Close for the meeting – Keep in mind the you have an existing relationship.  You should know if they love to golf or would rather sit down for a quick cup of coffee.  Use that information to your advantage and be strategic.  But don’t forget to close for the meeting.  Nothing is more effective than getting face to face.

Question: So what are you going to do now? I challenge you to make your list and then do three things: first, schedule a task on your calendar for every Friday; second, send this article to a friend whom you know needs to read it; and third, tell me when you are done by leaving a comment below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Free Worksheet

 

Me with my little brother - Capt. Jay Barron.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting my little brother in North Carolina.  He is a CH-53 helicopter pilot in the United State Marine Corp.  I could not be more proud of him.  In this picture, we are standing in his bird.  On this Veteran’s Day, I salute my little bro and all who have sacrificed and served our great nation.

How to Find Your Specialty by Answering 3 Questions

At the end of this post, I will share with you how to download a free worksheet of the exercise I describe in this post. It will allow you to visually see where your sweet spot lies.

I am continually surprised by Commercial Real Estate brokers who lack a specialty.  All top performers in CRE have a specialty.  Yet, those mired in mediocrity refuse to hone in on what they can be awesome at doing.  In fact, business owners of all kinds often have this problem.

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

I had a call last week with one of our advisors on the East Coast.  He was traditionally a specialist in hospitality.  Because of some changes in his life, he needed to shift his specialty to something he could practice locally.  His question was what should he specialize in.  What would you tell him?

Many of my coaching clients face this question as well.  It doesn’t matter if you are new to the business or you are mid-career.  Making this decision correctly will have a profound impact on your career.  Not only can it determine the amount of income you can make, but it can determine if you will like going to work every morning.

A CRE broker, or any business owner or salesperson, can find his/her sweet spot by answering 3 questions.

Three Questions to Find Your Specialty/Sweet Spot

1.  What do you like?

You should always start here.  What product type do you like?  What would you own if you could?  For me, I love multi-family.  I love to broker these deals.  I own this property type.  I understand it.  I don’t like industrial properties.  They don’t fit my eye.  I don’t enjoy being in industrial parks.  It just isn’t my thing.

You need to answer for yourself – what are my favorite 3 product types?  Write them down.

2.  What are you good at?

This is completely different than what you like.  Consider what you are good at.  Do you enjoy intense underwriting and analysis?  If so, multi-family might be your thing?  Do you enjoy fast paced prospecting and deal making?  If so, then maybe Single Tenant Net Lease (STNL) is your thing?  Maybe you love evaluating how the business aspect of hospitality properties and convenient stores impact value?

Again, list what product types fit your skill set.  Write them down.

3.  Where is the market velocity?

I did this exercise in 2009.  The market had dried up everywhere.  My business was suffering.  I looked around and saw that Dollar Stores were still trading at a rapid rate.  That was the only market velocity I saw anywhere in Kentucky.

Now I already told you that I love multi-family and it fits my skill set.  But no apartments were selling.  If I would have chosen apartments as the object of my prospecting campaign, I would have failed.  Instead, I began focusing on Dollar Stores.  It was a great move, and I learned to love that product type.

Look around your market.  Where is the transactional velocity?  Write those down as well.

Now look at your lists.  Where the answers to the three questions overlap is where you should specialize.  This is your sweet spot.

Now I want you to do two things:

  1. Regardless of what industry you are in, what benefits would you realize by finding your sweet spot and being known as the expert in your specialty? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  2. You have a friend that needs to find their sweet spot. I challenge you to email this post to them so they can do this simple exercise. It could change the trajectory of their career.

To download a free worksheet that will allow you to work this exercise and visually find your sweet spot, click the button below.

Download Your Free Worksheet

 

How to Overcome the 4 Fears of Blogging – and Launch!

I previously wrote a post on the 8 Reasons Why You Should Blog. This post is the follow-up.
You may have heard the question, “When is the best time to plant a tree?”  The answer is 100 years ago.  The second best time?  Today!

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

This is the mindset I encourage you to have when considering whether or not you will start your blog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed in your life, but fear will hold you back. I remember the fear I felt when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  I told my dad before I left that I wanted to go to Parris Island and be the best Marine in my company.  After 10 days on the island, I wrote him a letter.  It told him that I just wanted to survive. Fear holds you back.  It causes you to pause – to hesitate.  Fear can prevent you from doing something great.  Fear is not your friend. You can launch your blog by overcoming these 4 fears.

Overcoming the 4 Fears of Blogging

1.  Who is my audience?

Good question.  Who is your audience?  It isn’t going to be the same as mine – or anyone else’s.  Ask yourself who your ideal client or prospect is.  That is the who you are writing to.  Frankly, I need to remind myself more about this. I was listening to an interview a couple of weeks ago.  The topic was profiling your ideal client or customer.  Do you know how they think?  Do you know their buying habits?  What they like?  How much money they make?  Single or married? Go through an exercise of  answering all of these questions.  Once you are done, name your ideal client.  I call mine Bob.  Now write to Bob. Clarity on this question will allow you to push through the fear.

2.  How do I set it up?

This is really what help me back from starting.  How do I do it?  There are so many blogging platforms.  How will you choose?  I’m going to make this super easier for you, and I’m going to tell you what to do.

    1. Use the wordpress.org platform – Many platforms exist, but this is the one the pro’s use.  It is what I use.  It is the absolute bomb.  It is free.  The absolute best resource to learn how to use WordPress is – http://www.wp101.com/.  It will have you rolling in no-time.
    2. Pick a web host – This is not free, but it is cheap.  There are even more of these to choose from.  Use Bluehost (affiliate link), and here is why.
      • Their support is awesome!  My site got hacked, and they helped me get it back up in no time.  And I don’t have a clue how to do this website stuff.  They have helped me at 2 in the morning.  And they speak great English.
      • In my one year with them, I’ve never had an outage.
      • They don’t allow porn.  This may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me.  And as they generally use shared serves, I love the idea that my site doesn’t “live” next to that stuff.  I love that.
    3. Pick a premium theme – If you are going to do this, then make it look excellent.  A premium them will look like a million bucks.  These can cost anywhere from $50 – $200, but it is a one time fee.  The look of your site augments your brand, so don’t go cheap on me here.  Here are some choices for you to cut through the clutter.
      • Woo Themes – I’ve never used these, but I’ve heard many recommend them.  They have many to choose from, and it will cost you about $100.
      • Standard Theme – I have used this theme and was a big fan.  It will run you $39.  And brokers are cheap, so I might suggest you start here.
      • Elegant Themes – You can get access to all 86 of their themes for just $39, and they are beautiful.  I do think they are on the feminine side, but that’s just me.
      • Get Noticed Theme - This is the one I use.  It is on the expensive side for themes ($197), but I love it.  If you are starting, you may wait until you know you will do this for the long haul before you spend this kind of jack.
    4. Watch this screencast – This is the best tutorial I’ve seen on how to put all of this together.  You can be up and writing your first post in 20 minutes – literally.  Just watch this video and follow along.  This is exactly how I did it.

3.  What do I write about?

This is a post all unto itself, and I will write it soon.  But take it from me, this is so much easier than I thought.  Once you have an outlet for your thoughts, it is like you start thinking differently.  I see potential blog posts in just about everything.  I even have friends that feed me ideas now (thanks David!). I do have a brainstorming exercise that I use to generate post ideas.  I will share this in a subsequent post.  But for now, don’t let this stop you from starting.

4.  How do I find the time?

You have the time.  In fact, you have the same 168 hours a week that everyone else does.  You will spend those hours exactly how you choose to. Personally, I watch less TV.  It may be something different for you that has to go.  I encourage you to consider what you are doing during your non-productive hours.  Those hours when you aren’t producing. When I struggle with this area, I reconnect with my why.  I remind myself about the many benefits of blogging – how this site can go before me and grease the wheels of the sales process.  Connect with your why, and it will drive away the fear.  

Question: So what is holding you back from launching your blog? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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