Survey: Please Help Me Choose My Book Cover

I am very excited to announce that I am almost finished with my first ebook.  In the coming weeks, I will make it available here at

Right now, however, you can play a role in helping me choose my book cover.

Below is a simple survey with four choices.  Please take 15 seconds and let me know which one you prefer.  I would be so grateful!

All you need to do is click on the cover you prefer and click the button at the bottom.  Thanks so much!

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How to Teach Your Kids the Power of Adding Value

I live on a golf course.  If you push it right off the 7th tee, I get to keep your golf ball.  My family spends a good amount of time playing in the back yard.  I’m very thankful that none of us have been hit yet.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Earlier in the summer, I was in the back yard playing pitch and catch with my boys.  Suddenly, a shiny Titleist Pro V1 came flying into the yard.  My 7 year-old ran to grab it.  Then he took it up to the course and sold it back to the owner.  He provided a small service to this man and added value to his life.  He made $2.  I was one proud dad.  My wife was mortified.

Now imagine a 7 year-old toe-head with a huge smile doing a victory dance.  It was awesome.

That episode got me thinking about how my dad taught me how to work when I was a kid.  I mowed his empty lots.  I dug ditches.  I worked at his carwash.  He gave me jobs instead of money, and I am grateful for that.

I’m sure I will do the same with my boys.  However, I want to teach them how to create tremendous value and be paid for it.  I want them to catch the entrepreneur bug at an early age.  If they can learn self-discipline as well, they should never lack.  Or at least they won’t be a burden to the taxpayer.

So here is what we did to start their first business.


We went to my neighbor who has lived on this street for years.  He has thousands of golf balls that he’s collected over the years.  I took my 7 year old with me and we offered to buy some of his golf balls in bulk.  I was going to play the role of the bank and finance their startup.  They could pay me back from their cashflow.

Somewhat unfortunately, my neighbor is so fond of my son, he just gave him about 150 golf balls.  I really wanted them to learn about cost of goods sold, but my neighbor would not take our money.


These are used golf balls.  Many are in great shape.  Many had head-butted cart paths and trees.  Many were just dirty.  So we grabbed a bucket, dumped all the balls in there, and filled it up with water.  Even my 4 year-old baby girl got in on the action to play with the water hose.

We then cleaned and dried them off.  I had the opportunity to discuss quality control with them and the importance of creating an excellent product.


If you are a golfer, you know there is a big difference between some balls and others.  We then sorted all the balls into three groups.  Group A was the Pro V1 and its equal.  Group B was filled with the NXT type.  Group C were the ones you would hit into a corn field and not go looking for them.


When we had our groups sorted, we packed our product.  Each bag contained 5 golf balls – 0ne from Group A and two from both B and C.

Our thinking was if the A ball could be around $5 out of the box, then we would sell the group of 5 for $5.

Sales Pitch

I then taught my boys the sales pitch.  When a golfer tees off and lands close to our yard, the run and grab a bag of their product.  They then locate the golfers ball for them.  “Sir, we have the best deal in town!  Buy a Pro V-1 for $5 and get four balls for free!”  It is a sight to see.

I want my boys to learn how to create value for others and generate income, and they are getting a taste.  It was a joy to see the light in their eyes when they made their first sale.  I love it when we are throwing in the back yard, and they drop their gloves and run to get their “inventory” to sell to a customer.  I hope that it will start a drive in their bellies.

So here’s to Will and Ben – business owners!

Question: How did you learn to sell? What other ways can you think of to equip the next generation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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CS: Prospecting – The 5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!


Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve discussed the first 5 steps of the killer prospecting system:  geography, specialty, database, use the mail, and make the dang cold call.  You have done these 5 steps and now have a meeting with a prospect.  Here is what I used to do.

I would go into the meeting guns blazing about why me, why my company, and why now.  It was all about me.  I would give my canned listing presentation.  I would use this on a 2 acre piece of raw land just like I would with an $8MM apartment complex.  I cringe thinking about this.

With some experience and some great coaching, I learned a better way.  Remember, if you are following my system, this initial meeting should be short.  Actually, you told the prospect that it would be short.  If you connect and the prospect starts asking questions – great.  You may be there 2 hours.  However, you told them short.  Prepare for short as you are making an impression as someone with integrity…or not.

5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

Your purpose in this meeting is two-fold.  First, you need to find out if there is a problem or an opportunity.  Second, you want to leave with an appointment for a second, longer meeting.  This second meeting is where you will make your proposal.  Here is how to pull it off.

  1. Ooze Gratitude and Excitement – Too many brokers or salespeople act too cool.  If you have done your homework and worked the system, then you are sitting with someone who you want to do business with.  You are sitting across from someone who you have pursued.  Don’t act like you could care less.  Show the prospect that you are excited.  Let them know that you are thankful they have given you some time.  Gratitude and manners go a long way.  “Mr. Prospect, I lost sleep last night I was so excited about meeting with you today.  Thank you so much for the time.”
  2. Arrive Bearing Gifts – To get the meeting, you may have offered them something of value – information on a comparable sale effecting their property’s value, etc.  Be sure you have it.  It is likely they aren’t meeting with you because of your reputation.  Deliver this information in the context of a story.  Stories are a great way to communicate the emotion of the deal.  It will help you connect with the prospect.
  3. Make the meeting about them – This is contrary to a salesperson’s natural inclination.  Don’t drone on about your experience or your company.  You should have researched the prospect.  Try to quickly connect around some common ground.  Did you go to rival colleges?  Do you have children of similar ages?  Ideally, you will be in their office.  This gives you the opportunity to see pictures, awards, diplomas, etc.  Pay attention to detail.
  4. Ask Great Questions – Here is where you are trying to uncover motivations that could lead to a transaction.  Better stated – you are trying to uncover opportunities to serve the prospect and build trust.  Asking open-ended and insightful questions is how you will do it.  Try to find area of frustration or pain.  Ask them what keeps them up at night regarding their property.  The answer could be about an opportunity they are excited about.  It could also be about pain they are having.  Ask them about frustrations they have had with previous broker relationships.  The answers to these questions are gold.  This is the information you will use to prepare your customized proposal to win their business later.
  5. Ask for the next meeting – Now that you have conducted your needs-analysis meeting, ask for the next meeting.  Explain that you will need a little more time for the next meeting to propose how they might achieve their highest interest (this is the same highest interest you learned in step 4).  Once you leave with an appointment, it is now time to prepare for your proposal.

What are your thoughts about an initial needs-analysis meeting?  What are some questions that you would ask?  Please leave your comments below!


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Book of the Month from Dan Pink


I read a lot.  Most of my good ideas come from the books I’ve read.  I am constantly suggesting to my clients books that can help them with problems they are facing.  So I am going to offer to you each month a book for your consideration.

I did not enjoy doing book reports when I was in school.  I don’t plan on doing them now.  However, I am going to try to wet your appetite because these are books that have helped me.  They have helped me learn.  They have helped me grow.  They have helped me to think differently.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones says, “You will be the same today as you will be in 5 years except for two things:  the books you read and the people you meet.”  I agree with him completely.

To Sell Is Human

To Sell Is Human

This month’s book is To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Dan Pink.  You may be thinking to yourself that you don’t want to read another sales book.  If you are, you should reconsider.

Dan Pink is a rock star story-teller.  He is also a world-class researcher.  What he has done in this book is weave together powerful data with engaging stories.  You haven’t enjoyed learning this much in a long time.

And his thesis is true – we are all in sales.  US Labor statistics says that 1 in 9 jobs in America are a sales job.  The other 8 are as well!  We are all in the business of trying to move people.  Are you a teacher?  You are trying to move your students.  Are you in the health-care profession?  You are trying entreat people to live differently – healthier.  You are in sales.

[Quick aside:  I ended a conversation with my little sister to finish this post.  I promised her a shout-out.  Love you Mange!]

This book was an eye opener for me on many levels.  Do you know the most compelling way to make a pitch?  You will after you’ve read this book.

Do you believe the myth that an extrovert is a natural top performing salesperson?  You won’t after this book.  It isn’t the introvert either.

You will also learn:

  • The new ABC’s of selling (Goodbye to Alec Baldwin’s Always Be Closing) – Attune, Buoyancy, and Clarity.
  • How to give the Pixar Pitch.  Hint:  it starts with “Once Upon a Time.”
  • The 6 successors to the elevator pitch.
  • The 3 rules for understanding another’s perspective
  • And much more.

This book is counter-intuitive and supported by a ton of hard data.  It is compelling and will absolutely challenge long-held beliefs that I bet that you hold.

If you are not familiar with Dan Pink, he has given one of the most viewed TED Talks to date with over 5 million views.  It is an incredible short talk that you should watch.  He is outstanding, and his topic is motivation.

If you have read this book or are about to, I would love to hear you thoughts in comment section.  Let me know what your first ‘Aha’ moment was from the book or his TED Talk.

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What is WOW and 5 Steps to Make it Part of Your Business

My wife has an angelic voice (right now she has laryngitis and is confined to a whisper).  She is a beautiful Southern girl.  Before she gave it up to marry me, her dream was to go to Nashville and be a country singer.



I don’t like country music as a rule.  The main exception to this is I liked the Keith Urban music that she would play.  One year, as a gift to her, I took her to a Keith Urban concert in Memphis.  By this time, I knew his music.

My first observation of that concert was that it was my wife and me and 15,000 17-year-old girls.  I felt completely out-of-place.  Then he started playing.  The songs that I thought were good were suddenly outstanding.  I found myself wondering why the same songs were so much better live.  I was completely blown away.

I think there were a couple of reasons.  First, I play guitar.  I appreciate talented guitar players.  Keith Urban might be the best guitar player I have ever seen live.  I did not expect this to be the case.

Second, the energy in the place was off the charts.  I found myself moved.  I did not expect this either.

Third, the sound and lights coupled with the excellence of the live delivery shocked me.  Urban and his band were awesome musicians.  They played with passion and authenticity.  I could feel the emotion and the connection they had with the music.  Then you add the lights and multi-media experience, and I was loving it.  I completely didn’t expect that.

A couple of months later, I ran a mini-marathon (it didn’t feel mini!).  You know what I listened to for about 2 hours?  Keith Urban.  His concert completely exceeded my expectations.  It gave me goose-bumps.

That is what WOW is – goose-bumps.  I’m still not a country fan, but I will listen to his music anytime.  I’ve had an experience with it.

In his book Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt begins that you must start with WOW.  So how do we know what WOW is?  It is constantly exceeding the expectations of your clients, prospects, customers, volunteers, etc.  It is delivering goose-bumps.

So let’s consider how you can apply the concept of WOW to your business.

How to Apply WOW in Your Business

  1. Be Intentional – you don’t succeed in the WOW category on accident.  How many hours of planning and practice did Keith Urban and his band put into that concert?  Purpose to exceed your clients’ expectations.
  2. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – Have you ever tried to think like your customer?  What is their experience like when they call your office?  Or walk into your waiting room?
  3. Understand their expectations – You can’t be purposeful about exceeding expectations if you don’t understand what they are.  Ask your clients.  Write down what you think.  Involve your team.
  4. Examine every aspect of your business – What I am talking about here is looking at every point where your business touches a client.  Or you can take it a step further and consider how you can exceed the expectations of your employees or team members.  Think about business development, customer service, leadership development, HR, IT, follow-up, etc.
  5. Define the win – You need to be specific about what WOW looks like.  I read a great book called Mr. Schmooze (it is way better than what the title suggests).  In this book, the author uses the term elevate.  Ask yourself constantly how you can elevate the experience of your clients – how can you give them goose-bumps.  Write it down!

These are next practices!

Now ask yourself – do I deliver WOW on a daily basis?  What would your referral business look like if you did?  Share in the comments below how you could do this in your business!


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The One Secret to Winning the Business Every Time

When I started in the Commercial Real Estate Business, I knew that the listing presentation was important.  Very important. I wrote and rewrote.  I practiced and then practiced some more.  I would record myself and play it back while I was driving.

iStockPhoto by hidesy

iStockPhoto by hidesy

It was canned.  I would give that same presentation to an elderly couple wanting to sell their land.  I would give it to a bank looking to relocate a branch.  I would give it to the owner of an office building that needed to lease space.  It didn’t matter who it was.  I had it down.

I would talk about the experience of our company (this was important because I had little experience at the time.)  I would talk about successful transactions we had closed.  I would talk about my Marine Corps service (the only thing I had going for me at the time.)  I would talk about how young and hungry I was.  It was all about me.  This, I believe, is what the normal CRE listing presentation looks like.

Through much reading, coaching, and mentoring, I learned there is a much better way.  I was taught the secret.  Before I give it to you, let me tell you a story.

Not too long ago, I received an opportunity through a referral from a CPA (if you aren’t pursuing relationships with CPA’s, smack yourself and start tomorrow.)  Instead of preparing a canned listing presentation for the client’s portfolio of properties, I simply scheduled a meeting.  All I did in that meeting was ask questions.  I didn’t talk at all about me, our company, or my experience – zip.

By the end of that meeting, I knew a few things I didn’t know before.  This prospect was tired of the management and unpredictable net income of multifamily property.  I knew that the prospect wanted to simplify.  I knew that the prospect wanted to be able to hold me accountable throughout the listing.  I knew that communication was extremely important.

I then took that information and crafted a client-centric, customized, benefit driven presentation.  I explained how selling these properties could eliminate the hassle of tenant turnover, dealing with management companies, and fluctuating income.  I showed how a shift to Single Tenant Net Leased properties would essentially produce stable mailbox money.

I explained our commitment to transparency and accountability.  I showed how I could give the prospect 24/7 access to our activities through our cloud-based CRM system, ClientLook.  I promised our commitment to regular communication.  I won the listing over our competition at a higher fee.

If you haven’t figured it out, the secret to winning the business is the Needs-Analysis Interview.  There are many versions of this interview that you can find. I’m not going to plagiarize any of them here.  I am going to give you keys that must be present for this to work.

  1. You have to be authentic – People can tell when you are blowing smoke.  If they care about communication, and you promise it to them, you must be committed to delivering.  If not, they are going to tell all their colleagues.  In the story above, I discovered the prospects highest needs, and then fed them back in a custom listing presentation.  This only works if you are being authentic.
  2. You have to care – Discovering the needs of your prospect is all about putting their needs before your own.  It is about them.  It is about taking the time to craft from your capabilities the solution that meets their needs.  It is about making a difference in solving their problem or helping them capitalize on an opportunity.
  3. You must seek their pain points – You could also say that must understand the opportunity they are trying to seize.  Are they trying to simplify?  Are they trying to pass down a legacy of financial freedom and wealth?  Are they trying to get out from under a mountain of debt and stress that is wrecking their lives?  What is causing them pain.  Learn this and you will be able to earn the business.
  4. You must understand their highest interests – Is maximizing the value their highest interest?  Or is it speed?  How important is visibility to that tenant?  Will they give on price to get the lease term they want?  You can not go to battle for your clients if you don’t know what their desired outcome is.

So I challenge you.  The next opportunity you have at new business, stop.  Don’t go blazing in with your canned presentation.  Schedule the needs-analysis interview.  Let them explain to you how to win their business.  Learn to ask questions and listen, and watch your business explode.

I’d love to hear some stories of how you have used this secret to win business?  Or how do you plan to implement this into your business this year and beyond?  Comment below!

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The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System

In last week’s post, the Difference Between Top Producers and the Others, I made the case that top producers prospect.  That is the difference.  They schedule time to do it.  They have a system that they execute.  It works.  It sets them apart.  I have also written a post on the benefits of systematizing your business.  Both of these posts deal with the “why.”   Before you go any further, I encourage you to take a few moments and take a look at those posts.  Knowing “how” without believing in the “why” will lead to burnout and letdown.



I highly recommend coaching.  Regardless of your level of success, a coach and mentor can provide you with great benefit.  At the beginning of 2010, I hired the Massimo-Group to coach me in my commercial real estate business.  Up until that time, I had never systematized my prospecting efforts.  There was no rhyme or reason.  Often, there was no prospecting at all.  My coach helped me change that and revolutionized my business in the process.

I want to clarify what I mean by prospecting.  Prospecting is a form of business development.  Networking and building a presence – or a platform – is another form of business development.  Their activities are similar.  Their purpose is completely different.  (To read about the difference between prospecting and networking, click here.)  Prospecting involves asking for the business.  That is its only purpose.

Since my last post on prospecting, I’ve received a number of questions about how to do it.  My way is not the only way, but any effective prospecting system will have elements of these 8 steps.  This is exactly how I built my core business.  You can do it too!

How to Build a Prospecting System

  1. Define your geography – This is as simple as it sounds.  You have to know what geography you are working in.  I come from a small tertiary market.  To have enough Single Tenant Net Lease (STNL) properties to go after, I built a state-wide database.  I’ve heard different numbers, but you need at least 350 properties in your farm area.  If you are in Los Angeles like one of my clients, you may just have a section of such a large city.  Regardless, you need to be able to articulate it with clarity.
  2. Choose your specialty – If there is one thing true of top produces, other than they prospect, it is that they are specialists.  Use this test.  What are you good at?  What do you like?  And where is the deal velocity?  Your specialty should be where these three answers intersect.  A quick note:  it is OK to be a geographical specialist.  The number one broker from the number one CRE firm in New York City is a geographical specialist.  And he kills it!
  3. Build your database – Once you know your geography and your specialty, it is time to build your database.  It should include all the properties in your farm area.  You need to know who owns what, how long they’ve owned it, what they paid, and their contact information.  I’ve heard brokers talk about how they used to have all that information on notecards.  My assistant built mine using Excel.  We then imported it into my cloud-based CRM solution.  All of that info is now in my iPhone.
  4. Send them something in the mail – This could be a book, a letter, anything of value.  The whole idea here is you want to raise your chances that they will take your call and talk to you.  Letters are cheap.  There is no reason not to send them.  Get creative.  You want them to want to take your call.
  5. Make the dang call – This is the scary part for most brokers and salespeople.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of sounding and feeling stupid.  You must overcome those fears.  You must prepare – but not so much that you never make the call.  The entire goal of the cold call is to get a meeting.  That is it.  If you spend 30 minutes talking, you have missed the point.  Get the face to face meeting.
  6. Have the meeting – Face to face is where the top producers excel.  These meetings can take two forms.  I prefer the first meeting to be a needs-analysis meeting.  I am asking questions of the prospect and it is all about them.  Then the second meeting is where I make my proposal.  That isn’t always possible, but it is certainly ideal.
  7. Make the proposal – Sometimes, step 6 and 7 happen at the same time.  Ideally, you have had the needs-analysis interview and then gone and crafted a custom proposal that addresses the specific needs of that specific prospect.  This beats a canned-presentation every time.
  8. Win the listing/Make the sale – this is what success looks like.  After a while of doing this, you will know that if I make X amount of calls, I will get this many meetings.  If I get X amount of meetings, I will make this many proposals.  If I make X amount of proposals, I will win this many listings.

How do you prospect?  Do you have a system?  What can you add that I have overlooked?  Please don’t hesitate to comment.  We want to hear from you, and it will benefit the entire community.

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5 Steps to Crafting a Powerful Elevator Speech

In a previous post – 12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! – I shared that one of those keys is reading.  I mentioned in that section that I had wanted to improve the impact of my elevator speech so I read Small Message, Big Impact by Terri Sjodin.  Great book.  This is a must read for anyone in sales.  By the way, we are all in sales in some way.

Cory Spanko commented on that post asking if I would share that elevator speech.  So this is my response to his request.  (Thanks Cory for giving me the idea for this post!  DM me your address on twitter – I’d like to send you this book.)

About a year ago, I was in Chicago for the Sperry Van Ness National Convention. It is always a great event.  I leave with dozens of actionable ideas from the first-class advisors that attend.  This convention had a competition called SVN Idol.  The premise of the competition was 4 advisors would compete in giving “The Presentation.”  The winner won $1000.  I was one of the four.  I was going to win that prize.

We were told in advance that we would compete in giving the canned SVN listing presentation.  (I don’t like canned presentations, but that is a topic for another post.)  We were not told that there would be round two.  In round two, we had to give an elevator speech.  I was not prepared.  Transparently, I tend to be good when I’m prepared.  I’m not awesome on the fly.  I did well in round 1.  I bombed round 2.  My good friend Henry Hanna left victorious.  I left knowing that I had a few books to read.

The key to a powerful elevator speech is that it gets you a meeting.  That is all it needs to do.  If I’m in line at Starbucks and have an opportunity, can I get a meeting with a prospect in 90 seconds?  Not only must it be powerful, but it needs to be adaptable.  Too many people look for the magic bullet – if I say these 3 things, I’ll get that meeting.  No.  You need a powerful framework that can be custom fit to the prospect.

That framework is Monroe’s Motivational Sequence (MMS).  Thank you @terrisjodin for writing a fantastic book!  MMS is a logical and sequential 5 step process to motivate someone to take action.  This method does not have to be an elevator speech.  It could be much longer.  It works brilliantly for a super short speech, however.

The 5 Steps of Monroe’s Motivational Sequence

  1. Attention – I always think about Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross here.  But you don’t have to be a complete jerk to get someone’s attention.  You do have to be interesting.  You do have to understand what is important to your prospect.  Example: “There is only one way to maximize the value of your property, and my company is the only one that can do it.”
  2. Problem – This could also be an opportunity.  I’ve heard John McDermott say 100 times that people sell property because they have a problem or an opportunity.  That’s it.  I think the same is true of anyone buying or selling anything.  They have a problem or an opportunity.  You need to know what it is, and hone in on it here.
  3. Solution – Share with them the solution to their problem or opportunity.  Ideally, how you can solve their problem or help them capitalize on their opportunity.
  4. Visualize – This step hooks them.  Here you want to encourage them to visualize the glorious future destiny that awaits them if your solution becomes a reality for them.  Use the word “imagine.”  “Imagine how much fun it will be, Mr. Prospect, when multiple capable buyers are competing for your property and driving up the price!”
  5. Action – Now you share with them what you would like them to do.  In the context of an elevator speech, you want them to agree to have the next meeting.  If you are a politician, you want their vote.  Be specific.  Ask them to sign on the line that is dotted!

As a parting example, watch this video of my dad making his announcement speech to run for office.  It is short and sweet.  See if you can pick out the steps above.  [Skip to the 4 minute mark]

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  Share a story of an elevator speech opportunity that went well.  Or that bombed.  What other elevator speech methods have you used with success?

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12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 2

The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.  In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  In this post, I cover the second 6 keys.  (You can find Part 1 here.)

In my last post, I introduced the first 6 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!  Before I share 7 – 12, let me briefly review the first 6:

  1. Obtain Knowledge
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers
  3. Hire a coach!
  4. Go to Conferences
  5. Read!
  6. Systematize Your Business

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

7.  Use Technology for its Time Management & Efficiency Benefits – I am not the tech geek that can explain to you how things actually work.  I just love using technology to squeeze more productivity out of a day.  Top producers are fanatical about time management and efficiency.  I have written posts that go into more depth about this:

8.  Build a Team – Top producers are team oriented.  Top Producers are not loners.  They don’t try to do everything.  They understand the value of a team.  And not only just having a team, but maximizing the production of that team.  Rod Santomassimo discusses this in his best-selling CRE book – Brokers Who Dominate.  Beyond the fact that I am profiled – along with about 22 others – this is must reading for any CRE practitioner.

Top producing brokerage teams are generally made up of a Senior Producer (Rainmaker), and Junior/New to the Business advisor, and an administrative assistant.  The key to the best teams is hiring/recruiting well and assigning tasks according to the strengths of the team.  The best teams run like a well-oiled machine (or the Colts offense in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game!).  They do so because everyone knows the plays.  They know their roles.  Systems and communication are vital.  Read more about systems here.

9.  Treat Your Business Like a Business – The alternative is treating it like a hobby.  You’d be shocked at how many brokers treat their businesses like a hobby.  I can look at your books and tell you in 30 seconds whether you have a hobby or a business.  The difference?  Brokers that treat their business like a business invest in it.  They spend money hiring a coach.  They advertise.  They go to conferences (see key #4 above).  They hire talented team members.  Brokers that have a hobby tend to whine about not having money to put in their business.  It is really that simple.  Top producers invest in their business.

10.  Focused and Positive – Top producers work while they are at work.  This seems so simple, but it is not.  Top producers don’t spend much time chatting with others in the office.  They are not found at the water cooler.  They never take an hour “off” for lunch.  They may have a lunch meeting, but they never shut it down for an hour in the middle of the day.

They also have unwavering positive attitudes.  PMA – positive mental attitude.  They choose to be positive – optimistic.  They understand the message of Dead Poet’s Society because they live it.

11.  Specialization – In retrospect, specialization should be #2 on the list.  Top producers are not generalists.  They specialize in an asset vertical or at least a geography.  (I have to throw the geography part in here because I am a small town geographical specialist – at least in part.)  This allows them to create presence as an expert – to be the go-to guy.  If you are the broker who will work on anything – stop it.  Pick a lane and become the subject matter expert in that lane.

12.  Passion – Top producers bleed passion.  It oozes out of their pores.  They can’t wait to get to work in the morning and absolutely love what they do.  Everyone has tough days, but passion is what top producers rely on to persevere.  Passion is the ingredient that brings the other 11 keys together into a sum that is much great than its parts.  Passion sells – it is obvious to your clients whether you possess it – or you don’t!

So those are my 12 keys.  Which one speaks to you as most important?  What did I leave off the list?  I encourage you to share your thoughts below!
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12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster! Part 1

This post is the first in a two-part series on Top Producers.  You can find the second part here.

The Commercial Real Estate industry – or any industry really – is often so different from the Marine Corps.  I’m specifically thinking about advancement – growth – achievement.  In the Marines, there was a formula for promotion – at least at the lower enlisted ranks.  I knew exactly how to earn promotion.

Time in Grade – Time in Service – Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score – Education.  Add it all up, and you were ranked against all your peers.  You always knew where you stood.

Not so in CRE – or any other industry I’ve seen.  The path to success is not clearly marked.  It is muddled.  It is foggy.  You realize you have gone off the path as you get up from the ditch.

In this 2-part post, I want to help shed light on the path to success by sharing the 12 keys to becoming a top producer – faster!

12 Keys to Becoming a Top Producer – Faster!

  1. Obtain Knowledge – In the Commercial Real Estate industry, the best place to start is the CCIM Curriculum.  It is the best I’ve seen.  Additionally, regularly meet with and befriend commercial lenders, property owners, appraisers, and other agents.  They can give you key insights into your market.  Purpose to be the absolute market expert in your geography and niche.  You can do this quickly, but it is hard work.  Knowledge is what makes you valuable to those you wish to serve.  The following keys are meaningless without it.
  2. Become a Student of Top Producers – Find the top producers in your office or market.  Study them.  Ask them to meet with you.  Learn when they get to the office.  Dress like they dress.  Do what they do.  Read what they read.  How many calls do they make in a week?  How many meetings do they have?  Go and do likewise.  You do not need to recreate the wheel.
  3. Hire a coach – Nothing will speed your progress and personal growth faster than hiring the best coach you can afford.  All the best athletes in the world have coaches.  I have paid for a personal coach for 3 years now.  It is an investment in myself and my company and worth every penny.  It is like strapping a jet-pack on my back in my flight to success.  Here are 6 reasons why:
    • A coach allows you to learn from someone that has successfully walked the road that is ahead of you.
    • A coach prevents you from making crippling mistakes.
    • A coach gives you a fresh and objective set of eyes on your business.
    • A coach provides accountability for what you have committed to do.
    • A coach facilitates clarity.  This is huge and often so hard to grasp while inside your own business.
    • A coach evaluates honestly.  From an independent and objective place, a coach can critically critique or encourage according to the need of the moment.
  4. Go to Conferences – Go to your company’s conference.  Go to industry conferences like the CCIM/IREM National Conference or the ICSC.  These events can completely broaden your thinking.  You can expand your network and learn from the best.  I always leave a conference with new connections that I’m thankful to have met as well as great actionable ideas to move my business forward.  Here are some conferences I plan to attend in the coming months and years:
  5. Read – I’ve read and been told that once you’ve read 3 books on a subject, you are an expert in that subject.  Just 3 books.  Top Performers are constantly sharpening their skills by reading.  When I wanted to learn the sales process, I read the classic Tom Hopkins book How to Master the Art of Selling.  When I wanted to learn more about building a platform and blogging, I read the new best-seller Platform by Michael Hyatt.  When I wanted to improve my impact with an elevator speech, I read a great book Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect by Terri Sjodin.  And this can be so cheap!  Go check 3 books (or audio-books) out from your local library and be an expert in a month!
  6. Systematize Your Business – Systems allow you to break a process or procedure down into its smallest parts.  You then delegate those tasks to your team.  This allows them to operate in their giftedness (if you hired well).  You then do only the tasks that only you can do – HDAs!  High Dollar Activities.  I’ve written an entire post on this topic that you can read here.
Be on the lookout for the second post detailing the other 6 keys to become a top performer – faster!  In the meantime, what would you add to the list?
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