Monday Morning Coffee – Raising the bar

Good Morning!

Hoping you’re off to a good start for the week.

(Long post this AM)

I think most all of us are aware of the phrase “raising the bar” and most of us think of it from the perspective of performance – as in, we continually over time strive to do more, jump higher, excel . . . On a perpetual quest to make this one better than the one before.

I googled it and found only a few references mostly to a TV series that did not survive long . . . and then this one

During the “high economic times” when virtually anyone could make money simply by breathing and taking action, “raising the bar” seemed to apply more to volume (quantity) than substance (quality). A “generalist” could do quite well without the need for highly specialized knowledge or expertise.

Average was good enough!

Quality, Service, and Cleanliness were relegated to lip service. Organizations continued to spew the scripts and dialogs of offering the best, but my experience was that as they got bigger and bigger, the bar they were raising was all about the money.

“How can we sell more and decrease our cost of sales so that we can make MORE PROFIT?”

The HUGE operators were winning a disproportionate share of the sales and were literally starving the medium and small companies to death . . . and then cannibalising whatever was left of them.

The small, local businesses became an endangered species.

I think they were raising the wrong bar.

Things changed!

The economy imploded and suddenly sales dropped exponentially. The big corps’ ships were too big to maneuver around . . . attempted to go through . . . and were swallowed by their own largess. those machines were so big, they could not downsize fast enough to save their hides.

The whole world watched with dismay as one behemoth after another fell into the abyss.

This event liberated a LOT of VERY talented people with the initial shock of losing their comfortable jobs and the understandable fear of losing their income source.

For many, this event became a blessing in disguise . . . suddenly free from the encumbrances of “working for the man” . . . Sharp folks started playing with entrepreneurial ideas. Many of the corporations who downsized still had the need for the talents of the people they were releasing . . . and were willing to hire “contract talent” giving rise to a whole new and interesting layer of businesses. “Consultants” started showing up in every conceivable industry.

Additionally, there has been a veritable groundswell of new Small businesses popping into view.

People were noticing that “Average is no longer good enough” and began developing smaller businesses with lower overhead and more agility . . . These businesses can “turn on a dime” when the environment changes and are running circles around the larger lethargic companies.

I love it (now)!

We ALL ultimately stand to benefit from this as the bar that is being raised now is the bar of exceptional Quality and Service.

I found myself “suddenly available” in March of this year . . . and rekindled my real estate sales business . . . and worked at that as I considered all of the above. The writing on my wall clearly instructed me to SHOW UP in the form of creating a company that models this raising of the bar of excellence.

We are well under way with Pareto Realty, and we know that we have a LONG way to go.

The collective commitment of everyone who joins our firm is to a level of performance in life that is continually improving . . . We are raising the bar of Excellence in the Nashville, TN Real Estate market daily and are inviting other firms to adopt this same mentality such that we can ALL work together to do our part to ensure that each real estate transaction we do is better and smoother than the one before.

What opportunities are out there NOW for YOU to show up and take responsibility for raising the bar of excellence in your industry? 

This stuff ain’t for the feint of heart!

I’m just sayin’



Scarcity creates value.

“Scarcity creates value.”

These 3 words were the final words in Seth Godin’s post this morning.

The unique houses with surprising features often sell faster for more money than the rest of the herd.

When you’re selling something (ANYTHING), consider scarcity.

What is it about this thing that’s scarce relative to other things that generally meet the same need the Buyer seeks?

To know this, you must first know what else is out there. For the REALTOR, this means that previewing houses is actually a service to her clients . . . The better she knows the other houses on the competition, the better she will be able to identify any scarcity that exists.

What if they’re all the same?

Can we CREATE scarcity?

Sure! We can add a fence or a screened in porch . . . or leave a car in the garage for the new Buyer . . . or price it below market . . . or offer incentives no-one else has thought of like a year membership to the local health club . . . or a 5 day cruise in Alaska.

The magic pill for selling anything in this market is scarcity.

If it ain’t there, CREATE it . . . and know that until it’s there, you’re going to sit dead in the water just like the others and watch the “scarce” houses flash in – then quickly out of the market (SOLD)/

2 follow up thoughts – We created Pareto Realty based in large part on this scarcity mentality. What we offer to our agents is refreshingly different from the herd of other options even to the extent that we have made a conscious decision not to “Hawk” at all the REALTORS in an attempt to coerce them into joining us.

Interestingly in the 2 weeks we have been open we have not made any “recruiting calls” yet we are gaining agent commitments daily – People who have heard hints of our model and have shown up out of curiosity . . . Looking for scarcity.

Home Sellers . . . Let’s talk about finding or creating scarcity for YOUR home such that IT flashes through the market.

I’m just sayin’



Round up your posse and save the damsel in distress.


I’m goin’ “Cowboys and Indians on ya today!

As I develop Pareto Realty, i often stop myself and think about WHO to invite to the party and WHY each person would be a good fit. What does each person bring to the table that will help all of us achieve our goals?

That then tumbles into thoughts of what the “end game” – The true mission of a real estate firm (or ANY organization for that matter) is?

Why are we in business in the first place?

Is it all about the money and personal success?

If I create a company that churns out lots of profit and makes tons of money for all of the employees, does that in and of itself make the venture a successful venture?

Maybe so in some folk’s minds, but that’s not good enough in my book. Without question, we do need to make money. We also would like our organization to be sustainable . . .

Sustainability comes from building a reputation of authenticity to something that is perceived by the end customer/client as being desirable and worthy of their investment (the money they pay for your widget or service).

So . . . the organization (that “Gets” this) FIRST builds a strong staff (Posse) that understands that their real job is to administer the firm in  such a way that THEIR primary customers (The Sales Force – REALTORS) can make a great living and develop a healthy balance of live, work, and play.

Each member of the sales force in turn develops his/her own posse of support outside the firm . . . The “right people” who can fill in all of the gaps (Lenders, Inspectors, Appraisers, Insurance, Title etc).

Posse comitatus (common law), a group of men assembled to assist in law enforcement (From wiki)

The posse’s job is to serve and protect the end client, the home Buyer and/or Seller, from all of the dangers and pitfalls lurking in the shadows of the real estate transaction.

I believe that all posses are not necessarily created equal and that the firm can sometimes do things that inhibit the agent’s ability to build his own posse. This issue arises when the firm makes what I believe to be an “addicted to cash flow” decision to align themselves with “affinity relationships” or “Joint ventures” and subsequently coerces the sales force to encourage their clients to use THESE “in-house” vendors instead of others (just to bring more dollars to the bottom line of the firm).

My issue with this is that it creates a friction for the Agent that can actually be inhibiting to personal performance . . . That friction comes from the nuance that the agent loses the power of having his OWN posse . . . a group of professionals who can support him unconditionally – work with him as sponsors for his business and who will refer him business . . . sort of his own personal “Chamber of Commerce”.

So we made a decision with Pareto Realty. A big part of our mission includes serving our associates in such a way that we educate them on the power of the posse and stay out of their way such that they can turn all of their energies towards their CLIENTS.

We think of Leverage through others . . . and this blog post comes from thoughts stemming from a few tough questions about why hire a Pareto Realty agent instead one of those other better known, larger, more “established” firms?

the answer gets easier when the agent can simply say that his firm provides appropriate administrative support, training and coaching, and collective depth of experience to enable him serve his clients at the highest level . . . and his POSSE has his back if anything goes awry.

I’m just sayin’



Does Zero Down Still Exist?

How certain are you of what lending options are available these days?

With the options and rules changing almost daily, I rely heavily on the knowledge of a few Mortgage Professionals.

Got me thinking . . . I’ll bet there are other REALTORS out there with the same kinds of questions.

So . . . I asked my friend (and very well qualified Mortgage professional) Gavin Gossett if he would consider speaking to a group of REALTORS.

Gavin agreed . . . and even offered to buy lunch for everyone who comes (30 Max) . . . .

He will give a brief presentation (Rural Housing, VA, THDA, Affordable Housing Fund, Fannie Mae’s HomePath program and FHA 203K Renovation Loans) followed by plenty of opportunities for discussion and/or questions.

You’re invited at NO COST – (Gavin is partnering with a Title Company to provide lunch at their expense)

Please contact me for more information – 30 Seats are available

 BTW – This meeting has NO Real Estate firm boundaries and is NOT a recruiting event although I’m sure Gavin would appreciate the opportunity to work with your clients 🙂

Here’s a little bit about Gavin Gossett in his own words:

“I am a rare breed these days: A Native Nashvillian! Growing up in Nashville in a real estimate family has given me an invaluable perspective on the local real estate market. I attended Freed-Hardeman University in West Tennessee, where I studied business, art and music. After earning my BBA degree in Finance in 1987, I returned to make my home in Nashville and went into business for myself. My experience as a business owner and my financial background – combined with my in-depth knowledge of Nashville’s real estimate market – gives me a powerful advantage as a mortgage lender. My greatest strength, however, is my genuine concern for people. I am a devoted husband and father to two children, and I am very involved in my church and my community. I am extremely knowledgeable of conventional, FHA & VA financing options for the complete range of buyers from condos to jumbos. My specialty is the extraordinary care I take with clients who are buying their first home. You will find that my easy, confident manner is refreshing and reassuring. I am a seasoned mortgage veteran, and have worked for the most prestigious financial institutions in the world including Wells Fargo, SunTrust Bank and Bank of America. My successful career has led me Peoples Home Equity (PHE), Tennessee’s premier billion-dollar mortgage lender. I am the Senior Loan Officer and Branch Manager of PHE’s new Green Hills office. If you ever have mortgage questions, or if you are considering purchasing or refinancing, I hope you will call me at (615) 400-HOME.”

What’s next? The multitasking myth.

Remember while in school, you might “tune out” occasionally in class while the teacher droned on about matters that you felt had no significance in your life (EVER)?

Your mind would wander off to wonderful places, but your body was imprisoned in that class room til the bell rang.

And then . . . WHAM!

Out of the bliss of your mental escape come the question directed at you: “BARRY OWEN! Considering all that I just explained why IS x equal to 7?


That feeble attempt at multi-tasking implodes and panic sets in as you dig in to the recesses of your mind trying to conjure up even a few of the words spoken in the past 10 minutes. No dice! . . . the teacher waits until she is certain the point is made and lets you off the hook by giving the answer and reminding you to pay attention in class . . . or else . . . !

Many folks brag about their ability to multitask even though it has been proven over and over and over again that multitasking is FAR LESS EFFICIENT than single tasking . . . or “sequential action”

Most of the folks who claim fame to super-human multitasking abilities are really not much more than very fast singletaskers (Even computers handle one task at a time very quickly) . . . or they are simply delusional . . . showing a lot of motion but not doing much of anything completely or well.

I’m as ADD as anyone . . . that’s an affliction I have grown up with and still hear stories from my early school days of teachers sitting me next to their desk so they could “control” me and keep me on task. It wasn’t until I entered the working world that I began to see and understand the inefficiencies of multitasking . . . that flying by the seat of my pants in all things was not moving me forward very quickly.

and so, i decided to fix myself as much as possible such that I could actually FOCUS and get something accomplished before moving on to the next thing.

The only trick that I’ve ever learned that works EVERY time is the question: “What’s Next?”

this doesn’t always work because my innate tendencies are to let my mind wander about in etherland . . . but at the point at which I realize that I’ve strayed off course and started down some obscure bunny trail, I simply ask myself “WHAT’S NEXT?”

That sole, simple question nearly always brings me back on task (SINGLE TASK) as I remind myself that I must finish THIS task before moving on to what’s next.

This ain’t rocket science, but it sure feels good when I hear someone say: WOW! How did you get ALL of that DONE today?

I just “What’s next?” my way along sequentially til it was all done 🙂

I’m just sayin’



PS – Pareto Realty begins our educational training calendar next week. We are offering vendor presentations on Wednesdays (Gavin Gossett with Peoples Home Equity on 10/6), I’ll be doing a session on “time Blocking” and getting the most out of every day on Thursday . . . and Masterminds on Friday. Every session starts at noon, and ANYONE is welcome.