Monday Morning Coffee –

Good Morning!

Seth Godin wrote a great blog post entitled Alienating the 2%

“If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98.”

For those of us (most of us) who care about our service to other people, that 2% is excruciating. We want to please EVERYONE – ALL the time, and take such pride in this that we hang our head in shame when we are not able to please 100% . . . and then we live in fear of the damage those 2% might do to our reputations if they run around telling other people about their dissatisfaction.

I’ll never forget hearing Don Klein Executive Director of our local board of REALTORS say that at the end of every membership luncheon, there are ALWAYS a few people who go out of their way to complain about the food . . .

Guess what?

Most of these 2%ers are “repeat offenders” . . . It tends to be the same folks every time. So, why do they continue to attend an event that does not please them?

We cannot worry about the 2%. Most folks know who they are and don’t hear their complaints because that’s just what they do . . . Their complaints are not much more than “white noise” to the mass of people.

Don’t let these folks hurt your feelings.

Yesterday, Deb & I attended an Open House at one of favorite places on the planet to “Retreat from the grind” where I know they do their very best to please every person who comes for a stay (though I know that the 2% still exists). This is a wonderful “Mountain Retreat” only 75 miles from Nashville just on the edge of Smithville where you’ll enjoy a 4 course, Chef prepared meal in the evening and a “hearty breakfast” in the morning. It’s a great place to run away for a night . . . ANY night.

One of the things they have started doing is what they call “Our Table” . . . All of the food they serve is from Local Tennessee farms . . . even the popcorn.

I like that . . . Deb and I talked about it on the way home . . . and are embracing the use of “Home Grown Local” businesses as we grow Pareto Realty. We know that as we support our local folks, everyone achieves more.

Stay tuned for more news as we support local restaurants and farms and shops and and and . . . We would love any recommendations of local businesses we can embrace.

I hope you have a fabulous week,

I’m just sayin’



Categorizing your Database – Lead Generation that just plain WORKS

First! A couple of posts ago, I wrote about Ninja Selling and got a piece of the story wrong. I gave Zan Monroe credit for the program when the real truth is that The Group, INC Larry Kendall Created that program and Zan is one of their top trainers/speakers.
I think a LOT about things . . . mostly, I want to squeeze the best value out of every minute of every day. What this means to me is that I am always looking for a way to get MORE accomplished in LESS time by strategically doing one LESS thing every iteration . . . I’m on a personal mission to prove that less IS more.
The best time leveraging tool any person on the planet has is a database . . . regardless of that person’s occupation. If you’ve got a “Rolodex” be it on paper or digital, that’s the place you go when you need something . . . Who do I need to call for this?
Without a database, every time you need something (ANYTHING) you’ve gotta start from scratch – do some research – before you can make the right call to the right person. You’re always recreating your wheel.
Additionally, the database offers the ability to categorize your “peeps” such that you can communicate to GROUPS easily such that your Christmas cards go to the right people and your marketing can be targeted to the right people etc.
Stay with me . . . I’m working my way to the real point.
There’s a component of many “Sales Training Programs” that I believe is missing . . . The importance of leveraging networking potential though efficient use of a database . . . I believe that THIS leverage is actually as important as being CRITICAL for community economic recovery.
What we all need to be learning these days is how to connect with each other through a collage of periodic community gatherings. Each “Gathering” offering benefit for all participants in terms of having a real theme identifying a real issue or opportunity in the community and providing a safe space for the participants to have a say.
In my world, I and my firm Pareto Realty, Inc  are offering weekly “Vendor Spotlight Lunch & Learn” events for professionals in the real estate community (REALTORS, Lenders, Title Companies, etc) . . . EVERYONE is invited regardless of community affiliation.
Another community we support is a smaller population – Broker/Owners for a monthly gathering to share ideas and discuss emergent issues in the market.
ALL of this benefits the larger community . . . our CLIENTS as we all become more knowledgeable and effective through our participation in the above-mentioned events. All boats rise with the tide.
None of this happens (efficiently) without good use of a database.
I like the Ninja selling program because it is not based on a HUGE volume of marketing . . . It is based on very targeted relationships and proper use of a well crafted database.
For those who might be struggling with knowing what a “Well crafted Database” looks like, I’ll close with a snapshot of mine.
I have 5 main categories within which there may be subcategories (examples In parentheses)
1. Inner Circle – 200-250 deep relationships for real estate sales – (Friends, Family, Clients – Active & Inactive)
2. Vendors – @ 200 for support/leverage (Lenders, Title Companies, Home Inspectors, Appraisers, etc)
3. Mega-Agents – 250+ (I have @ 500) Top REALTOR contacts in the local market – People to whom you might send personal listing announcements or invite to events (Sub-categorize by Firm Name)
4. Out of Area REALTORS – As many as possible around the country for in/out going referrals (Subcategorize by MSA served for easy reference)
5. Network group . . . Everyone else I’ve ever met (I have @500 here) . . . They stay in the database and get quarterly touches in hopes they will “Graduate” into one of the other categories.
Do all this “Ninja Style” and everyone (including the community) WINS
I’m just sayin’

Negotiating a Real Estate Deal in Today’s market.

I’m sensing some trepidation with respect to negotiating in today’s business environment. There are so many “What ifs” and changing lender requirements and uncertainties.

What’s the secret to over-coming these fears and negotiating with confidence and conviction?

How can we keep our clients at ease if we are not calm, cool, and collected?

First and foremost and throughout the experience, whether you are the Buyer, the Seller, agent, lender (whoever) don’t EVER lose sight of the fact that Buying or selling a home is a PROCESS and NOT an EVENT!

With that in mind, understand that this process does not flow in a vacuum. There are myriad “outside” forces swirling around in this complex business environment all of which individually and combined have potential for complicating or altering the process at any time.

Everyone involved in the transaction has his/her own “story” humming along in the background whether it be personal issues and needs, or level of experience, or the fact that she missed breakfast this morning.

Here’s a dose of reality! The Buying or Selling of a house has ALWAYS been a process (not an event), so blaming emergent issues on the National Economy isn’t productive use of your energy. It is what it is and has always been – an “outside force” that is in perpetual transformation (like the weather) . . . an uncontrollable.

We must work THROUGH these emergent issues just as we don rain gear when it rains.

There’s no negotiation until someone makes an offer . . . I don’t remember ever seeing a rule book, and I am certain that if there were a rule book there would be no requirement for the Buyer to always be the one to make the initial offer . . . Sellers can make offers to Buyers who appear to have an interest.

What the initial offer is . . . is not relevant. Doesn’t matter to me if the price is 5% or 30% off the mark or if the timing is good or any other pesky details . . . I’m just thankful to have an offer . . . The negotiating part of the process is when those details can iron out.

I LOVE negotiating because I know that if I am negotiating all parties are significantly closer to success simply be the nature of the fact that there is a conversation happening.

What keeps a negotiation alive is not 100% the responsibility of the professional negotiators. The motivation of the “Parties” to the negotiation is the fuel that keeps it going. We cannot create motivation . . . we CAN stoke it with continual encouragement and reminders as to why we entered the negotiation in the first place thereby keeping eyes on the ball (the goal). 

Drama works against the parties in a negotiation. Emotional balance will prevail. Those who allow their passion to overcome reason have a high probability of impulsively blowing the deal or agreeing to unrealistic terms and often harbor resentment . . . Resentment is unhealthy.

Statistics (Comparables) are not much more than the kindling that provides the base of the negotiation. They give us a base camp from which we can operate (originate) . . . a point of reference . . . don’t forget that motivation – when What the buyer is willing to pay is in alignment with what the seller is willing to accept is the end game.

I’m of the opinion that there’s no value in ugliness in a negotiation. We either Agree to agree or we don’t. Persistence is a good thing because sometimes it takes some folks to “see the (your) light” . . .

I see each negotiation as being a living and breathing organism . . . Breathe in and breathe out . . . Hyperventilate occasionally . . . a little breath holding . . . some biting of the tongue . . . As long as the patient is breathing, there’s a reasonable chance of success.

I could proselytize for another 12 pages (or so) . . . Suffice it to say that I LOVE negotiating in ANY market environment.

How ’bout you?

I’m just sayin’



PS – I could always use more practice so if you know anyone thinking about Buying or Selling a house in Middle TN, contact me so we can get the process started 🙂

Ninja strategy

Zan Monroe gets it . . . so much so that he has created an entire selling philosophy around the notion of Ninja selling.

To hear him tell the story, he started thinking about it because of one particular agent in his office who was always the TOP home Seller . . . and was seldom seen in the office. This top seller would somehow magically visit the office sight unseen and POOF – The staff would find piles of folders with new listings and sales each morning . . . How the files got there and how he was able to do so much business was a mystery.

That’s how ninjas work . . . Silent but deadly!

So . . . Was this guy a magician . . . or a mega-marketer?

Turns out, the guy was just a regular guy who understood a very simple fundamental concept . . . that sales is a relationship business . . . and that the deeper the relationships, the better the odds of having more opportunities to do business.


Simple . . . Identify 200-250 people who you know who know, like, and trust you and intentionally make PERSONAL contact with each one of them every 30 days . . . PERIOD!

Could it really be that simple?

Whatever happened to farming and working expired and withdrawn listings and FSBOs? How could this happen without TV and radio air time, billboards, grocery cart placards, newspaper ads and inserts, Drug store bag ads, and thousands of direct mail pieces each month?

Aren’t you s’posed to spend money to make money?

Conventional wisdom be GONE!

Scrub your database and pick out your top 200 closest contacts and give this theory a test drive. Call 10 of them each business day . . . Follow each call with a handwritten note . . . Do this FIRST THING every morning or you’ll never get it done.

I’m in the midst of doing this . . . Just scrubbed my “Inner Circle” from @ 450 people to 217 and started calling each morning @ 8:15. It takes me about an hour and a half to make the 10 calls and write 15 notes (I also write “Thank You” notes to people I saw the day before).

After 5 days (50 contacts), I had 5 new leads . . .

Hmmm – 7 1/2 hours invested doing something I enjoy with no financial commitment other than $22 in postage nets 5 leads?

Sneak out . . . serve those 5 leads impeccably . . . sneak back in and deliver the proceeds . . . NINJA style 🙂

Could life get any better than this?

I’m just sayin’



PS – My friend Gwen advises (wisely) that when you scrub your database, save the information of the ones you remove in a group that you can “touch” in other ways – Periodic direct mail etc.

Tattling on yourself?

How often do you hear phrases coming out of other peoples’ mouths and immediately get the gut feeling that what you just heard is hypocrisy?

From Wiki:

  • The claim or pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, standards, qualities, opinions or virtues that one does not actually possess. [from early 13th c.]
  • Moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.
  • How often do words come out of YOUR mouth that others might get that gut feeling?

    I think a lot more than I probably should about Authenticity – PERSONAL Authenticity.

    Do you know who you are, and are you projecting an outer persona that is the essence of you?

    My optimistic outlook is that I believe most people care about their own authenticity. After all, that exudes integrity and builds the trust and loyalty of other people.

    We all have cracks in our armor, though!

    And we tattle on ourselves with the words we choose and the body language we project,

    So . . .

    Be aware of words like:

    “It’s not that I am trying to be . . . ” (Difficult or judgemental)

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, BUT . . . ”

    Any time you use the word “But” you cancel out whatever came before it.

    “I HATE it when she does THAT!”


    “I don’t like it when she says . . . ”

    (Often said when a person sees or hears something from another person that he doesn’t like about himself)

    Any time judgemental thoughts pop into your mind . . . before you tattle on yourself by inserting your entire foot in your mouth . . . check yourself in your virtual mirror and learn something about yourself.

    AND use the word “and” very intentionally as you journey through your days . . . That’ll force you to “come from contribution” 🙂

    Etiquette 101, eh?

    and Personal Authenticity . . . It’s worth considering!

    I’m just sayin’