Deer in the Headlights II: Where do We Go from Here

Last edition, I wrote about being positive, communication with your lenders and partners, brainstorming at S.E.C. meetings and with your acquaintances, figuring out what works in a recession and upgrading your skills. This edition, I want to concentrate on personal development, focus, and time management.

Let there be no doubt about it, even if you did not vote for President Obama, he is now our president and the leader of the free world – and there is going to be change. Our goal must be to stay ahead of the change. Imagine being on a surfboard ahead of the biggest wave you have ever seen. As long as you stay on the board, you will be OK. Just ride the wave to the shore. But if you lose your balance, you are going to be swept into the undertow. This is where we are at this moment in time. So you can choose to participate or you can stay on the bank. It is your choice. But if you believe in the United States of America, you probably want to take some risks. No one ever improved their lot in life sitting on the porch. Be a big dog and run at the head of the pack. So here it goes with numbers 8-15.

8. Get an accountability partner. What the heck is an accountability partner? Well, first, it probably is not your wife or husband or your best friend. People that close to you usually won’t tell you the truth. Find someone to brainstorm with who will keep you on track. It helps if you both have similar goals. This might be a fellow broker that you each work cold calls with. It might be someone in the gym that you work out with to make certain you both show up, ready to lift, at the designated time without hangovers from the night before. Find someone that will help you stay on track on whatever your goals might be. Note: Your accountability partner should be someone that is positive. If you get someone that is negative, it won’t work. See # 10 below.

9. Stop and Think before you act. Dad used to tell me, “Engage brain before engaging mouth.” It was good advice. Spend some time alone really studying the situation before you act on instinct. At a time where deep discount deals are starting to flow and we are like kids in candy stores, we can fall prey to our “deal junky” mentality. Most of the Type A’s love doing deals but would be very happy to hand them off to someone like Ted Blank or Ed Berlinski – the detail guys. Make certain the deal makes sense. In order to do that, we have to stop and engage brain. Plan a quiet time to think.

10. The Best Loss is the Early Loss. The best loss is always the first loss you can take. Imagine a stock falling. It goes from $50 per share to $40 per share. But if I hold it, it will return to $45 per share and I will sell then! Sell the losers early and let the winners run. This is true of real estate deals and even more so when it comes to clients. The first time I took Jim Brondino’s Counseling for Action, I immediately went home and fired a client. She was wasting my time. Don’t “spend” your most valuable asset – your time – with clients or real estate that is not working. Get away from losers quickly. Free up your time.

11. Stay in the Fairway. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was to stay in the middle of the action. Pay what it costs to stay in prime real estate (or clients). It always looks good to be able to pick up the retail pad for $8.00 when the best pads are selling for $15.00. But there is probably a reason for the discount. One thing we know for certain, is that you can always rent/sell/ground lease Class A locations for something. There are times that you can’t give away the Class B- to Class C locations away. And during this time in the market, you can usually find deals right in the middle of the action. For those of us that syndicate deals or exclusively handle client’s money, most of the best clients know that they need to be “in the market” all the time. This does not necessarily mean buying or selling all the time but the best clients are usually always ready to talk to you. Those that are going to “use” you only want to talk to you when they see opportunity or need help with the mistakes they have acquired. Stick with property and clients that are worth your time.

12. Don’t Give Your Time Away for Free. Brokerage has historically been a contingency business. Let me have the listing and IF I sell the property, you can pay me a fee. It is not uncommon to have the prospective client (a potential client that you were not able to get a written agreement with) take your information and work around you. Been there. Done that. Never again! If you give your time away for free, the prospective client thinks you should be valued at that price – $0.00. Zero! Consider charging an hourly fee and then applying it to the deal. It is called Counseling! Bill Broadbent, Cliff Weaver, Chuck Chatham and Colby Sandlian brought counseling to the forefront of S.E.C. and Jim Brondino, Ted Blank, Ron Bowden, Larry Browning and others have taken it to a new level. Ask them how they counsel their clients.

13. Donate Your Time. If you are going to give time and expertise away for free, be certain it is for a cause that you are excited about. Church, Scouts, the community hospital, cancer awareness, developing a course to teach for S.E.C., etc. It is amazing how many people I have met at events and activities where I intend to make no profit that have wound up being clients or partners.

14. What About the Kids? Our nation is going through some really tough times. Many of us have younger children. We are kidding ourselves if we think that our children aged 10 – 16 don’t know what is going on. They read newspapers, listen to the news and even more, they talk to their friends. Talk to your kids. Tell them what is going on. Enlist them to tell you if the neighbor has lost their job, etc. Let them know that your family is going to make it through but that they need to watch how they spend the family budget. They will be stronger for it. Enlist them in the process. Ask the kids which games or clothes are in vogue and which ones are “dumb.” You would be surprised how many professional stock pickers always ask their children’s opinions.

Congress just passed, and the president signed into law, a huge stimulus package. It is YOUR money. Now, what are you going to do about it?

Texas Governor Rick Perry made it clear from the start that he did not like the way Congress was going about “fixing” the economy but he also plainly stated that if the government was going to give away the hard earned dollars of Texans, he was going to do everything in his power to make certain that the State of Texas gets as much of it as possible. Isn’t it the same for us individually? Although we might not get much of the stimulus package directly, we can certainly work the lenders we know and take advantage of the outfall of dollars. When asked by law enforcement officials why he robbed banks, Willie Horton stated plainly, “Well, that is where the money is.” I am not suggesting that we go rob a bank but we need to work where the money is. Remember the 1980’s? When the financial institutions finally did start turning loose of the money (loans), things got better quickly in Texas. Let’s find out where the money is going to be and be and then wait with our own “shovel ready” projects.

Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One” stated, “100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” Gretzky, born in 1961 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, right down the road from where Darryl McCullough lives, never knew the meaning of “can’t.” He won the Hart eight times and was one of the most successful hockey players ever. Even if our careers are not as public as Wayne’s, our wins can propel us to where we want to be. But first we must know where we want to go.

Next issue:
15. Use Coyotes.
16. Burn some gas.
17. Seek the Enemy.
18. Keep the “A Bag.”
19. Trust Your Instincts – Act.
20. The 40%/40%/20% Rule.
21. Counsel Your Clients.

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