Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Recipe for Success…The “MAGICAL” Ingredient!

With most good recipes you take a lot of little things… add them together… mix with care and you transform the little things into a really good larger thing. Deviate from the original recipe and you may come up with a completely different result…sometimes just as good or even better…or maybe with the wrong mixtures… something disastrous!
“It’s usually the little details which are most vital to your success… an orchestrated sequence of effective little things help the big successes to materialize”.
We see many different “recipes” for success in real estate…many different gurus with their plan for your success. Honestly there is not that much difference in the programs…In fact…the successful “recipes” all have the identical 3 main ingredients: 

The problem we see time and time again is associates go into their new business building phase guns blazing for the first 2-3 months… then they start to lose accountability just as they start to get results. They actually stop doing the activities they learned…the very activities which made them “busy” in the first place.
How is ICU-Coaching different? We add in a 4th ingredient…It isn’t a secret ingredient, but it is almost magical! 
SELF-ACCOUNTABILITY: Merriam Webster defines accountability as “the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions”
Mahatma Gandhi once said ...“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one's own acts.” 
In business Gandhi’s words ring true…you cannot escape the consequences of failing to do the little things… (the orchestrated sequence of events which lead to larger success).

ICU-Coaching teaches you to become self-accountable for your daily activities…You take on an “If it is to be….It is up to me” attitude. You will no longer place blame on the market or high interest rates or government policies…you lay the blame at your own feet and you march straight over your failures by becoming accountable for your actions  and accepting the consequences…good or bad.

Here are a few “Little Things” you can do to become self-accountable: 

·        Formulate a written business plan

·        Set written goals

·        Time block your day to include your success activities

·        Have a written “to do” list and stick to it

·        Pre-plan your prospecting activities and know who you will be contacting prior to starting…don’t waste time trying to decide “who”

·        Make every activity efficient… driving to a closing? What else can you do on the way there and on the way back? Going to an inspection? Take a few note cards and your “to do” list and make the time doubly productive!

·        Track your activities and your successes…know where each piece of your business is coming from

·        Keep a detailed accounting of each transaction…know time and money spent and know your true “net income” for every transaction

·        Stay positive and at the end of your workday mentally go through your day to hold yourself accountable for your actions…what did you get accomplished and most importantly what needs to be at the top of tomorrows “to do” list! 

Becoming self-accountable is not going to be easy for some…but with determination, a little hard work, and self-confidence mixed together you will have the perfect recipe to take your business to a higher level. 

Eddie Brown©2013





Thursday, February 21, 2013

Working at the Speed of Life!

Many associates we come in contact with have the common issue of lacking appropriate time management skills and the ability to weave work/life schedules together. Holding yourself accountable to a business commitment when life steps in the way is difficult for most independent contractors… especially those who have no one to hold them accountable.

What would you do if you are about to start an hour of scheduled prospecting and you get a call from a sick child who needs to come home from school…or your vehicle suddenly starts making a strange clicking noise? I know from experience most will push the prospecting aside and take care of the “barking dog” in your life. Don’t get me wrong…I am not suggesting you ignore either of these important issues which instantaneously popped up in your daily lives…you simply have to learn to “adapt and improvise”.

Your child is important…Your vehicle being in good working condition is also important. But your income is what feeds both of them… so it is also just as important…wouldn’t you agree?

Below are six tips on how to maintain a steady flow of new business prospects into your pipeline even when life’s improbabilities get all up in your face.

·        Don’t put off prospecting… merely postpone it. If an issue gets in the way of the time you have schedule to grow your business move it into the next available timeslot. If you put it off …you will never get that time back…trust me… I have seen it time and time again, even in my own life. Example: You miss a day of going to the gym…that is a day you will never get back. You rarely will “double-up” on the next block of time you have set aside for the activity missed.

Factoid: Missing two hours of prospecting time per week added up for a 12 month period equals 104 hours or 2.6 work weeks of time missed filling your pipeline with new business…How much business did you miss by blowing off 2.6 weeks? You will never know!

·        Use your time wisely by getting all the important things done by 10am… I call this “Get it in by Ten”.  The must make calls to clients, inspectors, attorneys, or lenders need to be put at the top of your to-do list.

·        Eat Your Frog First: Perform your most difficult task of the day first… calling a difficult seller about a price reduction or a repair negotiation may feel like eating a "live frog" sometimes… so get it done first and the remainder of your list will pale by comparison.

·        Take frequent breaks…walk outside for 5 minutes, or go grab a healthy snack to clear your mind. Try not to think of work or the stress of the day for 5-10 minutes several times throughout the day. This will reduce your total stress and you will come back recharged ready to tackle the next item on the agenda with vigor.

·        Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you can’t change it, or if in 2 months it will be insignificant to your life, your family, or your career …just let it go. Always remember you will never…ever…make everybody happy. No matter how good you are and how hard you try… you will only place additional stress on yourself and those around you.

·        Pick your battles wisely…know which ones are lost before they start. Learn to compromise or walk away in these situations and you will be a happier person in the long run.

©2013 Eddie Brown

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is your Value Proposition?

What acts of significance difference do you bring to the table for your clients? What items of value will you provide which other REALTORS will not provide? Below is a list of suggestions to step up your Value Proposition performance for your clients.

 ·      Deliver what you said you would deliver... "Over promise" and "over deliver" is something most agents are not willing  (or simply cannot) do for their clients...Do what you say you will do... and then some!

·         Tell the client what they “need to hear” not what they “want to hear”… Your credibility is at stake…Some REALTORS will make the mistake of procuring a listing by being dishonest about value, condition, location and will list the home for what the seller “wants to get” instead of a price related to the market conditions. Take the time to make honest recommendations to them about "getting their home ready to show." Provide them with the names of vendors who can do work with them if they need the contact.

·         Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate. Let your client know what they should expect from you. How often are you going to contact them and what information will you be sharing with them. A client’s expectation of your level of communication may not be aligned with reality…make sure up front to educate them to your methods and frequency of communication. Ask them how they wish to receive communication (email, text, voice, etc.) and then use the form of communication they prefer.

·         Every client deserves a personalized business plan for buying or selling their home. This spells out in writing what they can expect from you… and what you expect of them. It also lays out their goals for buying or selling, which allows you the ability to bring them back and re-visit their goals when they get off track.

·         Marketing Report. Provide you client, at least twice a month, a written marketing report documenting your showings, your marketing, feedback and any other information which will be helpful to them in looking at the overall picture of their home. This requires a lot more work, but as a professional who is getting paid handsomely for their efforts, this is a document the seller deserves. But remember: All the marketing in the world will not sell an over-priced listing!

·         Pre-Planning Contracts. Hopefully, before you have ever received an offer on your listing, your clients have seen what the Offer to Purchase & Contract looks like. One of the quickest ways to earn your commission in a Sellers mind is to negotiate the best terms/price for them. Become an expert Negotiator! Getting a Seller $5000 more or a Buyer bellowed appraised value on their dream home or negotiating favorable terms... Show them your strategy for negotiations on their behalf and let them know you are looking out for their interests.

·         Once the contract is accepted, take the contract and extrapolate all of the important dates into one document and e-mail it to the Seller. They are then able to follow along with what is going to happen next and know that you are on top of their transaction. Provide the same list to the other Agent so that everyone is on the same page.

·         Follow through. Dot I's and cross T's. You want all of your transactions to close, But if there is a problem, you want to know about it immediately and do everything you can to address the issue at hand. Never push a transaction to close for your benefit…make it all about the client… not about “I need to make my car payment this week”.

·         Go to every Closing. Never miss a closing!!! This is your opportunity to get referrals and build further trust. I am surprised at how many agents have stopped attending closings or send an assistant to closing. This is not acceptable and can make your client feel unimportant or unworthy of your time.

How can someone align to something when they don’t know the purpose behind it? Be clear to educate your clients of every detail of the buying and/or selling process. Provide benefits to your clients which go purely beyond your personal financial rewards…Be willing to “inconvenience” yourself to the convenience of your client…but remember to stay in control of the entire transaction…losing control can be a detriment to all parties involved.
Eddie Brown  © 2013




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Senator Bob Rucho’s NC “Tax Overhaul” plan

How does Senator Bob Rucho’s NC “Tax Overhaul” plan effect real estate?

As you may have heard, The NC General Assembly will be looking at ways to reform our tax code in 2013. We all want to make sure North Carolina is an attractive place to live and work for many years down the road. I applaud the efforts to support business however we need to ensure there are no unintended consequences to the General Assemblies decisions.

While nothing has been set in stone, Senator Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) will likely propose from the Senate a series of reforms which if voted in would replace the state’s largest revenue source, income tax, with a broader sales tax and business license fee… and as co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee Rucho is leading the charge for the plan with strong Senate GOP support.

Key Components of the Rucho Tax Proposal:
1.       Repeal personal income taxes, currently at 7.75% at the top bracket.

How will this effect real estate? If there is not a total repeal of personal income taxes we believe there will be a cut or repeal to the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the property tax deduction

2.       Repeal Corporate Income Taxes …currently 6.9%

3.       Repeal the current franchise tax, currently at .0015%

4.       Create a new franchise tax (coined the “Business License Tax”) which will be applicable to all business formations. The tax will be 1-1.25% of the value of the firm’s capital stock or a LLC’s owner’s equity with a minimum of $500 a year.

5.       Tax all goods and services at a rate of 8.05%. This would be in addition to current state and local taxes allowed under state law. State sales tax is currently 4.75%

How will this effect real estate?  There will be 168 identified services which will be taxed included are almost all services pertaining to a real estate closing. This tax will cause the price of a closing to increase, making it more difficult for the buyer to afford the home they may want or need to purchase.

6.       Create a statewide Real Estate Transfer Tax of 1% on each closed real estate transaction which would replace the state’s existing Deed Stamp Tax which is currently at .02%.

How will this effect real estate?  This tax will be an additional closing cost for the Seller and will take away equity which has already been squeezed over the past 6 years.

In the fiscal year 2012 $10.27 billion of tax revenue came from personal income tax, $1.1 billion from corporate income taxes, and $5.2 billion from sales and use taxes. This new plan will replace the lost revenues from income taxes with the taxes collected when goods and services are used here in North Carolina.


·         North Carolinians will see more money in their paychecks.

·         The repeal of income tax could create growth as it has in states like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee when they did away with income taxes.

·         It becomes a voluntary tax for the most part, where if you don’t buy something you don’t pay tax.

·         People from outside of the State will also have to pay the tax when they purchase goods or use services here in North Carolina…so they will share in the cost of running the state…and help pay for the roads and utilities they use while here.

·         Everyone pays when they purchase, there is no loop-hole on this one.


·         A Sales Tax can be regressive with poorer individuals paying a greater percentage of their income on the necessities of life.

·         It could hurt real estate sales if both MID and property tax deductions are killed, and the 1% Transfer Tax is passed

·         This is a sweeping change and there could be unseen consequences with repealing the vehicle which funds over half of the state’s budget.

 Rucho’s plan does not nibble around the edges of tax reform… it goes right to the very foundation of the system. Rucho was quoted to say “Other proposals failed because we have been narrow minded…you may agree to disagree, but someone has to come up with a better answer.”