Being The Real You When It Matters (pt. 2)

Being The Real You When It Matters (pt. 2)

Being The Real You When It Matters (pt. 2)
By Christian Harris | November 6th, 2016
Subscribe HERE 

I left off last month with...
So I have often posed the question to myself… and now I'm asking you, the readers:

“Should I communicate differently with my friends and clients in my articles, emails, social posts and such, then I do in person?
If I use colorful language on occasion and am always joking around in person… is it right or authentic… to “clean it up” and be more “professional” for all my other business writings and interactions?” Sure, being more casual and “non-professional” may not resonate with everyone, but that’s often the problem in my industry. Agents try to appeal to everyone and in so doing, blend in and end up not appealing to no one… They are easily forgettable and known for nothing.

What do you say? Give me your candid feedback.
 
You can check out last month’s full post HERE.


And now for the second part of my thoughts on personal and business image, authenticity, branding and what we become known for:
 
So, when it comes to branding, image, authenticity, and what you're known for… How do you communicate integrity and truly being different?
 
How do you communicate that you're different in the business world? It needs to be more than just a tagline. Everyone has a tagline and many of them sound very similar but how those people conduct their business can be radically different.
 
I think the key to a business' successfully branding and image is that the business owner puts people first (client's and employyes), as well as knows and articulates what's important, both inside and outside the company. This helps to create the business culture, which will then naturally overflow into their online and real-world presence and become what they are known for. The goal being that the message of that business lines up with their clients… or their ideal potential clients.

Now this starts getting into marketing, which can be very complicated and expensive, as there is so much to it and it changes based on your industry, what sort of company you are, what sort of people you want to get in front of and draw to you, your product or services, etc...
 
One of the huge problems I’ve seen in the real estate industry is how other agents go about acquiring new clients. They tend to lack focus (because they never bother to put together any semblance of a business plan), they don’t have an ideal client in mind, they will look anywhere and everywhere for new clients, they generally come off as desperate beggars and instead of being themselves, they try to appeal to everyone… which is a great way to appeal to no one, especially in the realities of the niche economy that we live in.
 
Niche Economy - Today’s consumers want specialist, not generalists.
 

The days of the “General Store” are done. No one wants to go to a store that has everything or a company that does everything (except for Amazon perhaps). If you have a Japanese made car, you want a mechanic that specializes in Japanese cars… not just cars in general. If you have foot pain, you may initially go to your family doctor but they will likely refer you to a foot specialist. If you run marathons… you’re not going to go to Value Shoe Store… you’re going to go to a running store that specializes in running shoes and apparel.
 
Most agents are "generalists" in how they conduct their busines. They have nothing that sets them apart. They have no niche. They will take any "lead" that comes there way. Many agent’s lack focus in acquiring new clients and so spend most of their time looking in the wrong areas. They wait for oportunities to come knocking... or ringing in most cases, when on-line lead-gen. companies come calling, raking in the bucks from desperate agents who don't know how to acquire new clients. They connect with the wrong people using low return sales techniques that annoy more people than it attracts. They don’t have a differentiator or a message, so they have positioned themselves as a low value commodity and a sales person… neither garner much attention or respect.
 
So if most real estate agents approach client acquisition, branding and image so superficially and generically… how is it to be done?
 
Through focusing your unique message to your ideal client, providing value and highly specialized service... creating a movement by drawing like minded people to yourself.
 
Branding… Image… Message… Communicating who you are and what you’re all about as quickly and concisely as possible, before you lose their attention. This is the key to acquiring new clients and becoming known for something bigger and more than just the service you provide.
 
I find myself getting frustrated at times, when I hear about friends or acquaintances who decide to use another agent to buy or sell a house… And it’s not just because of the lost business and sales revenue… It’s also because I run my business so differently and provide such a unique and high-quality service, that I genuinely feel that if they choose to use someone else… there is a very high likelihood that their experience will not be as good as it could have been (or worse yet, I occasionally hear back about them actually having a bad experience with the agent they went with), as opposed to if they had allowed me to serve them.
 
I find myself  thinking, If everyone just knew what I know about myself; if they knew what I know about the realities of the RE industry, and what make me and how I run my business so much different than most every other agent in my space… they would “get it” and there wouldn’t even be a question as to who they would want helping them with their RE needs.

But they (the public) don’t know me… and most people are understandably suspicious and not quick to trust someone new, considering how we are all inundated with dozens, if not hundreds of sales messages, “click-bait” online headlines, bait-and-switch sales tactics, big-hype/low delivery products and services, slick sexy marketing campaigns and just plain false-advertising EVERYDAY.
 
But even outside the simple question of how to acquire new clients via branding and image…what if I want to do something MORE and BIGGER than just acquire new clients? What I have largely been doing in my business is helping people 1-to-1, which is fine but it limits how much good I can really do at a time… how many people I can really serve at a time. I want to start making a difference with a 1-to-many model, which is part of the reason I started The Sea-Town Podcast and started partnering with other small businesses owners to help support and build up the community.
 
Don’t get me wrong, new clients and growing one’s business is essential to putting food on my table each night, but what if I want to impact the community and start a movement that can extend and impact people and communities far beyond just my little circle of friends, acquaintances and business relationships here in West Seattle?

Isn't that what it's really all about... making a difference?

Message… Everyone has one. Everything we hear or see is communicating a message trying to get our attention. Everything is preaching some sort of message to us. But there is so much “noise” out there, all vying for our attention. We try to block it out or we go crazy with distractions and interruptions.

 
It's all a game of attention these days.

How do you cut through the chatter and win at the attention game? Because at the end of the day that's really what it's all about how do you raise your message above the noisy ruckus of cheap ubiquitous (and often valueless) information being slung at us from every direction?

 
When you receive a "one-size-fits-all" E newsletter or flyer in the mail from a real estate agent telling you about “five tips to winterize your home”, or has a list of stats about the real estate market in your area or some other generic, non-personal information that is just designed to get the agents name and brokerage in front of you, yet has not message, doesn't connect with you or inspire you towards anything… it's just more junk mail that goes right into the trash. Am I right?!
 
I want to create a movement to inspire, lift up and make impact in our comunity through my various business endeavors.

This desired purpose of creating and sustaining a movement that not only benefits the client with the community and industry at large… Has a bigger purpose that moves people and that's what I am going for. How do I draw like-minded people to myself and invite them on board this journey with me. People that are already aligned with my personal and business values, how I see the world and how I strive to serve my clients the community and others at large. 

 
My real estate business, The Sea-Town Podcastmy book and new business start up - Sea-Town Media, are all focused on making an impact. Won’t you join me in making a difference in this great city of Seattle!!!


So the question remains: “How do I… how do WE make the biggest impact”?
 
So much more to come…


-Christian Harris

Creator, Author, Real Estate Broker, founder and host of The Sea-Town Podcast
Broker at Live Property Solutions
Find out more about Christian at Sea-Town.com

We have seen the traditional real estate approach disappoint too many people. This is why we've taken to studying the World's greatest investor, Warren Buffett, and his investment philosophy, to develop a unique approach to selling our clients homes. We've discovered, by treating your home as an investment, like a business with a "stock" price - through a Value-Driven Approach - there is a unique way to extract tens of thousands of additional profit from any home on the market.

CLICK HERE to Learn More

Being The "Real You" When It Matters (pt. 1)

Being The "Real You" When It Matters (pt. 1)

By Christian Harris | September 12th, 2016
 
You are probably aware of the idea of having an online persona, the way that we want our friends and acquaintances to view us in our digital lives online and on social media. We tend to put our best foot forward, as we want to be thought well of by others.
 
We gravitate toward just posting updates involving the best moments of our days or family vacations or when our kids say something cute or when we really nail it at work…BOOM! 
 
But it’s much less often that we find ourselves drawn to wanting to post about our failures, the times we lose our temper with our kids, that time you said something stupid in a meeting with your boss, those things that embarrass us and don’t show us in the best light. The end result of this self-filtering of our lives, is that we look way more clean and put-together than we actually are. So everyone is individually thinking that everyone else’s life is way more with-it, successful or happy than they actually are.

We feel that our live pale in comparision to the awesome, fulfilling an dexciting lives of our friends.
 
You can see where problems can and do arise in our false depiction of who we are and the false perception that we get of others’ lives.
It leads everyone to live out of a false-reality. We are portraying a false-reality of who we are and we are observing the false-reality that others portray to us.
...But I have also observed a social trend that has me encouraged
 and seems to be a response and reaction to the online social phenomenon that I am talking about above.
 
Where saving face and keeping up a “I have it all together” façade was the social norm just a generation ago, it seems like that is being supplanted by the higher valuation of authenticity and realness, especially among the younger generation. They seem to be rejecting the duplicitous life style that keeps the various aspects of their lives segregated, never to intersect… and I think this change to being more real is great!

Authenticity and just being yourself seem to be of ever increasing value in today's society.
 
Being authentic really resonates with me. When I first became a real estate agent, it was communicated to me that you don’t want to be “too honest” but rather put on the artificial veneer of being “a professional”. This didn’t sit well with me at all but I was told that being a real estate agent looks this way and they do these things. Which translated means play it safe, stay inside “the box” because this is “how it’s done”, be diplomatic, keep your opinions to yourself and try to appeal to everyone… be just like everyone else.

F**k that!

People like Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary V) have become hugely popular because what you see is what you get with him and de doesn’t pull any punches. He isn’t hiding behind some crappy crafted polished “professional” image.
He just tells it like he sees it and is real…and people love it… I love it!

He is authentic and true to himself. He yells at people to stop complaining and whining about how hard it is to start a new business and tells them to just start, start something, get out there, make a different and be willing to work harder than the other guy, "Hustle" he calls it… and people love him for it.

He has started a movement and has a substantial following. He is making a difference!
 
No one is inspired or moved by safety and vanilla, especially when it’s evident that it’s not the real you. People are drawn to convictions, integrity and wanting to be part of something bigger than themselves… something that is going to make a difference and actually matter, they want to be part of a movement that inspires the good in people to make a difference in their local community and the larger world! Just getting the cheapest price on a product or service isn’t doing it for people anymore. People want to be inspired!
 
I struggled with these type of issues a lot in my first couple years in Real Estate, as it was the first job I’ve ever had that involved having a public facing “image”. Questions like, “What do I want to be known for?”, “How should I dress?”, “How should I talk?”, “How do I brand myself?” where all things I was having to think about.
 
And then the question comes up of how can I be myself and when: How do I see myself and how do other people see me? In my personal life, in my business life, in my church life? How do maintain consistency across all areas of my life and not segregate my behavior depending on how I think I’m supposed to act in each of these areas. I’m still wondering if I should have even dropped the ”F Bomb” a few paragraphs ago... I guess I’ll find out by how many people unsubscribe from this email.
 
So initially I mimicked those around me because I didn’t know how to be a real estate agent. I dressed up and put on a professional air when interacting with clients. Keeping it nice, safe and very vanilla. But it eat away at me… I’m just not a “business casual” kind of guy.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that “being authentic” is synonymous with being an abrasive jerk who swears like a sailor… It’s obviously going to looking different for me than it does for Gary V or anyone else for that matter because we are different people with different personalities and likely working off of different value system with different prioritize. There are a lot of variables there and lots of room for everyone to do their own thing in their own way.
 
So the questions comes down to, am I really going to relegate myself to the boring, plain, colorless world with all the other indistinguishable white collar “professionals” out there with their non-descript button-up shirt and khaki pants?!?           No thanks.
 

I mean, for Heavens sake, My life thus far has actually been pretty interesting: I’ve been a paratrooper in the Army, routinely jumping out of planes and have been in Special Operations for most of my military career, which has taken me places like Thailand and Nepal. When I’m not helping clients navigate the home purchase or sale process in Seattle, I’m “playing Army” with the National Guard as a Military Intelligence Warrant Office. I ride a large loud V-twin motorcycle, drink and smoke cigars, though not all at the same time… usually.

I asked my wife to marry 10 years ago, after dating her for only a month, we then got married not even 2 months after that! I’m a husband, father and Christian who apparently doesn’t have an issue with cussing on occasion and talking frankly. I enjoy thinking about, analyzing and discussing the social hot topics of the day. I am an author and enjoy writing. I'm passionate about my community in West Seattle and helping the other small business owners here, so I started a podcast to help tell their stories through The Sea-Town PodcastI like reading business, history and theology books and watching comic book and sci-fi movies. I love good food, good beer and good company. Being active and out in nature are critical for maintaining my sanity. Observing and analyzing human behavior and why people do what they do fascinates me. I mean really, I could people watch all day…
but I can’t find anyone to pay me to do that, So here I am... trying to start a movement and make a difference through working in the real estate world.

Before I had my revelation that it's ok to be different and do business differently, I allowed myself to be watered-down, to fit in to the narrow bland definition of what a “Real Estate Agent” was. To allow my definition in what I do for a career to be dictated by the negative reputation that is common for my industry (and for good reason, but that's a discussion for another day). No one is going to change the world by just selling real estate behind a desk.
As one of my mentors says, “you have to de-link and disconnect from a ‘negative reputation’ industry, like real estate” (meaning that often times, when you tell someone you’re a real estate agent, they associate you with all the bad, negative stereotypes associated with that profession and are automatically suspicious of you, just as they are of other slick salesy professions… like used cars salesman for example).
 
So I have often posed the question to myself… and now I'm asking you, the readers:
“Should I communicate differently with my friends and clients in my articles, emails, social posts and such, then I do in person?
If I use colorful language on occasion and am always joking around in person… is it right or authentic… to “clean it up” and be more “professional” for all my other business writings and interactions?”

Sure, this may not resonate with everyone, but that’s often the problem in my industry. Agents try to appeal to everyone and in so doing, blend in with all the other and end up not appealing to anyone… They are easily forgettable and known for nothing.

What do you say? Give me your candid feedback.
 
To Be Continued in Part 2 next month…

When Exceptional Is The Standard

When Exceptional Is The Standard

By Christian Harris | August 13th, 2016
 
So how do I follow up last month’s email about having essential been “fired” from my last brokerage for warning my clients about unethical agents in my new book? It still blows my mind that this was the decision my previous managing broker choose to make, instead of dealing with the unethical agents in the office who were causing the fuss.
 
But C’est la vie…

On to bigger and better things...!

I’m absolutely loving the energy, forward thinking culture and opportunities at my new brokerage, Live Property Solutions. It’s always scary making a change because you don’t know how it’s going to turn out and it’s easier to stick with what you know (even if it sucks… or sometimes you don’t even know that it sucks), rather than transition to something new (even if you know it’s going to be way better). It can be quite scary making a change.

So along with life being great because I’m at a new brokerage, I also just got back from a 2 week family vacation on the East Coast with my wife’s family. We flew in to North Carolina and then drove 5+ hours with me, my wife, our 5 year-old son & 91 year old grandma… that's right, Jenny's grandma is 91 and still getting around, crackin’ jokes and loving life! She swears to us that the secret to her longevity is drinking a Dr. Pepper a day. Apparently, Jenny has some good genes in the family! The whole family (Jenny’s mom, dad, brother, his wife & 4 daughters and the aforementioned lot in our vehicle) stayed at a nice lake house cabin on a Mt. lake outside Ashville, NC. It was very nice and relaxing to get away for a while… except for when it wasn’t…
 
Of course 2 days into the trip, my computer crashed! Fortunately, I keep all my work files in Dropbox, so hadn't lost anything and still had access to everything I needed. Where we were staying had no cell service and so the business calls I had to make were over internet VOIP apps and were constantly dropping calls. On top of that, I had multiple real estate deals requiring a high level of attention, in progress during this time but luckily and despite my limited connectivity with the rest of the world, my business partner at my new brokerage handled everything for me flawlessly… all that stressing out while on vacation for nothing.

Did I also mention that my wife and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary while on the East Coast. Her family generously offered to watch our son while we took a few days to ourselves to celebrate. This was the best part of the trip. We drove to Charleston, SC and spent 3 days relaxing, sleeping in, eating delicious food, walking around the awesome old historic downtown, eating more delicious food and even spending a day at the beach with some Seattle friends who happened to be down there visiting their family too. Such good times! 

Now that I’m back in town and all rested up… I’ve got so much that I need to do and I'm super excited to get started!

I’m back at the helm of my businesses ship, I can truly determine the direction and quality of my business now. I can focus on running my business better and not being dragged down by all the group think of “this is how real estate is done”. I can now fully use my exceptional methods, resulting in exceptional service and not be worried about who in my office is going to try and sabotage me and my business because I’m not towing the brokerage’s party line…
 
I no longer have to worry about any of that and can focus on the $100 per hour or $1,000 per hour activities instead of the $5 per hour activities. “What does that mean”, you ask? I’m developing out platforms and business strategies, not wasting my time on menial pipeline sales tactics that the RE industry has touted for decades, all with shoddy ROI.
I’m developing big picture, long term systems. Gone are the days of being hassled by other agents for doing things differently and "making them look bad"… I’m actually encouraged and inspired daily to NOT be like the other agents. Because frankly, we all know that agents and brokerage are largely indistinguishable from one each other. They all seem to provide the same services, in the same way using the same methods… this makes them a commodity, which is not a good thing in a service industry like real estate.

All this brings me to how my new found freedom at this brokerage has truly set me free to put together a remarkable team, and fine tune my methods and systems in order to really be able to provide a consistently high level of exceptional service to my clients... both buyers and sellers.

My clients have come to expect this standard of exceptional service and results from me.

I only deal with the best in this industry and have set up a team of other “rogue” professionals to help serve my clients. They too are committed to serving their clients better and running their business different than others in their industry. Check them out at the following links:
 

My Preferred Home Contractors

My Preferred Home Services & Maintenance

Enjoy the rest of your summer here in the beautiful North West and let me know how I can serve you!
 
Until next time, be well.
 
 
PS. Want to see check out the “infamous” book that got me fired for calling out the unethicals in my industry? I wrote this book to document my unique approach in helping my clients sell their homes.
CLICK HERE to order your FREE copy today.

I Got Fired For Warning Clients About Unethical Agents!

I Got Fired For Warning Clients About Unethical Agents!

I Got Fired For Warning Clients About The Unethical Agents...

Can you believe that?!
 
Wow! A lot has changed since my I sent out my last eNewsletter a month ago...

It has become clear to me that a notable percentage of the Real Estate industry is more interested in protecting themselves and their self-interests than their clients... whom they are supposed to be protecting and serving above all else.

 

Let me explain:
Earlier this year I finished a book that I had been working on to document my unique Value Driven Approach in helping my clients sell real estate and to inform sellers about what to look out for in unscrupulous real estate agent practices and incompetent agents. About a month ago I finally received a box of the first printing and needless to say was really excited to see my book in print. I made a preliminary announcement on Facebook and received great encouraging feedback from my friends, clients and family. 

... and then the "hate mail" started rolling in from agents in my office who were less than enthusiastic about my book and its warnings against unethical agents.

It's no secret that real estate agents and the industry as a whole doesn't have a great reputation. In my experience, other agents get defensive and feel attached when you simply MENTION that our industry reputation is less than stellar, and forget about trying to have a conversation about why that is or how to fix it...
 
Agents are too busy patting each other on the back and telling themselves how great they are. They live in a self-congratulatory bubble, failing to realized how most of the activity they engage in to garner new business is universally hated by the public (cold calling, door knocking, spam emails, bait-and-switch sales tactics and marketing, etc.).
It's their own fault that the profession is not highly respected. Real estate agents have a bad reputation, just like the rest of the sales world, because they propagate the sales culture of hounding people until they wear them down. Though their attitudes and activities are what creates and perpetuates the low respect that the public has for the real estate profession, they often focus their vitriol on the agent’s brave enough to stand up and say "there is a better way to do business and serve our clients", rather than addressing the issues and policing their own.
 
One agent actually came in my office waiving around a print off of "A Message From The Author" page (part of my FB post) saying that I should be ashamed of myself for encouraging this negative stereotype about real estate agents and the industry, she promptly went down the hall ranting to every other agent in our office who would listen, how disgusting and arrogant it was... without actually having read the book or knowing anything about it other than what was in my FB post.
 
Another agent told me it was liable, yelled at me that I should be fired for writing this book and literally slammed her door in my face.
 
Agents like them get upset about stuff like this becasue:
1.) They have no original ideas of their own as to how to garner new clients and criticize or lash out at agents who are willing to think outside the box and try new ways to help their clients or raise the standard.

2.) As busy bodies in the office, they are too busy meddling in what other agents are doing and trying to make everyone else’s business their own. They spend their time complaining about how incompetent and stupid other agents are instead of trying to improve and hone their own business or serve their clients better.
3.) They are exactly the type of agents I warn about in my book and they don't like me empowering the home seller with the information about how to steer clear of shady agents who are using shady tactics.
 
Well, they got what they wanted. It wasn't 2 days after posting my book announcement on Facebook that I was "let go" due to all the tension in the office that these lady’s drama had created.
 
Leading up to this incident, It had become increasingly apparent that this firm was not a good fit for me anymore and the way I needed to run my business to best serve my clients. Isn't life great how it sometimes forces us to change for our own good? In hindsight, being fired was the best thing that could have happened to me! It freed me to truly be able to run my business in-line with my convictions.
 


This brings me to the GOOD NEWS!
 

I'M AT A NEW BROKERAGE AND LOVING IT!
 
It's been like a breath of fresh air! My friend and prior business college had left that same brokerage at the beginning of the year and started his own indie brokerage in West Seattle, Live Property Solutions, where I now hang my real estate license!
 
I'm finally around others who also embrace thinking outside the box, innovation and serving the client in new and superior ways. I'm just getting rolling here but am excited for all the opportunity presented at this new brokerage and for what I have planned for ramping up my business and continuing to fine-tune it to give my clients the best!
 
 
In the past, it was recommended to me to "keep my messages positive" for my newsletters and articles… meaning don't focus on what is wrong with the industry or bringing to light the negative aspect of what happens in real estate.

In other words, "keep you mouth shut and don't rock the boat".
 
But how are you suppose to stand up to the unethicals, what is wrong in the industry ad protect your clients and if you don’t name it, point it out and expose it for what it is?!
 

I for one have found that if the norm is not known, communicating how you are different, better, unique, "not like the others" or whatever, will have little meaning as there is nothing to contrast it with. Just like trying to explain to someone what light is if they have never experience darkness. The concept will have no meaning with nothing to compare it to.
 
What do you think? Feel free to reply back with your thoughts and comments. I care what you think and want to hear from you.


You can also check out other stuff I've been working on at the links below:
 
The Sea-Town Podcast – Interviewing and telling the stories of Seattle area entrepreneurs and business owners. or subscribe on
www.Sea-TownPodcast.com or subscribe on
itunes
 
New Book – I created "The Value Driven Approach To Selling Real Estate".
Get yourself a free copy if you promise to donate to a charity - http://free-book4charity.com/

 
- Christian Harris
Author, Real Estate Broker, founder and host of The Sea-Town Podcast

Until next time, be well.

How Do You Keep Score?

How Do You Keep Score?

By Christian Harris | May 1, 2016

We all keep score as we go through life. Some "scores" are easier to tally up and keep track of then others. Some people's scores are based on how much money they make and they then judge themselves against others based on the level of material success they have attained. 

Some keep score by their work ethic. How hard they work compared to those other "slackers" who don't work as hard. This may be part of a larger score they are keeping of providing for their family and are willing to make sacrifices in some areas to reach that goal.  

Some keep score based on what their parents or other people in their life told them they should be doing. They are living for someone else' expectations. Maybe even someone else' dreams... but not theirs.

Some people live to influence and inspire people and that is how they keep score... by how many people have they impacted.

Some keep score based on the pursuit and achievement of a relative level of their own personal happiness.

With some, their score is all about conquest, whether it's being the strongest, conquering the biggest mountain or being the best at their job or most recognized. Or it could simply be as base as is common with many young men, quite literally how much can they "score" with the ladies, as crass as that may be, it's a realty for some people.

For others it's the level of satisfaction they have in the work they do.

Another way of putting all this: we all have an idea about what success looks like for us. 

We then base our priorities, life decisions and actions upon our what we think will bring us "success". Much of the time, these priorities that guide our actions and life direction will shift as we go through different life stages. How do you measure your success?

We will make sacrifices, suffer and toil to be successful. We sacrifice idols at the alter of our small "g" gods in our life. Our priorities in life betray our hearts real idols. Asking questions like, "what is most important to me", "what would I do anything for" and "what would I be willing to give up if I could only have...____" will help you discover what is most important to you.

For me, it's often work. I pride myself on my strong work ethic. This often means long hours away from the house and family. By the definition of real estate industry I am a part of, I am successful. However, I struggle to not sacrifice my family at the alter of my business. I have to be intentional about the time I make for my wife and son. I schedule date nights with my wife a couple times a month and regular father-son outings to ensure I'm pursuing my family and maintain some good dedicated quality time with them... they are the real reason that I work so hard. It would be a shame to spend my whole life working to "support my family" and provide them a good life while ironically drifting apart from them and essentially becoming strangers. This would be the lose of the most important thing to me.

When I'm able to provide for my family while also making time to enjoy them, that is a good score in my book.

 

At the core of your life's satisfaction and enjoyment is finding your purpose. Ask yourself, "What is my purpose" because if you don't know what your purpose is then you can never create a score keeping system that enables you to know if your achieving it or not.

Are you living out of your purpose? How are you keeping score? What does success look like to you? Have you made it? Are you still striving for it?

If you're unsatisfied in life right now, it's possible that you're not living out of your purpose.

For many people these questions about how they keep score or what success is to them are never verbalized... maybe they are never even asked and the vague questions linger and dwell somewhere in their subconscious, taunting them from deep within. 

I think that many people avoid these more difficult life questions because it is hard and can be painful to consider. To ask these questions requires self-reflection and contemplation and frankly, I don't think that a lot of people like the answers they get when they slow down enough to start hearing themselves think again. I would venture to say that this is a big part of the appeal of our current culture of entertainment and stimulation, it keeps us from having to stop and think about the harder and sometimes more unpleasant aspects of life. We keep a continual flow of stimulation coming at us to respond to, instead of generating our own ideas, vision, goals and objectives. The bombardment of constant stimulation directs and controls us, we rarely use our technology to serve us these days. Not nearly as much as we serve it... but I digress.

I've noticed many people in my life who have never asked themselves these questions and therefore have no answers. Instead of figuring out what the important questions are in life and then living an intentional life, in pursuit of those priorities... they drift. They drift through life reacting to the demands of life and other people's influence on them instead of living on purpose, with intentionality, goals and conviction.

Do you want to be a drifter, living an un-intentional life. Unsure of where you're going or what it's all for? Of course not!

Live life on purpose! Live it big. Make it count. Live the one life you have to the fullest! Don't make your life's great aim simply to avoid boredom, just trying to make the time go by, keeping yourself perpetually entertained and numb to the real and deeper joys in life. Get up and get out there.

Do the hard work up front so you can enjoy the long term enjoyment and satisfaction of living a life that has direction and meaning.

So, how do you keep score in your life?

 

To get this content in an email each month, sign up here - http://eepurl.com/bU3ZK1

 

The Sea-Town Podcast Is Here!

The Sea-Town Podcast Is Here!

Announcing...

The launch of my much anticipated new Podcast! At least it was much anticipated for me ;-)

The Sea-Town Podcast

Here in Seattle, we take great pride in our various neighborhoods we live in and all the things that make this area of the country so great… and the local businesses are a large part of what shape the flavor and character of these great neighborhoods that we love.

I creating this podcast to help tell the stories of these Seattle based businesses, entrepreneurs and other people involved in the community. I want to highlight these people and what they are doing in serving others and their community here in Seattle.

I mean really... Who doesn't want to know more about our local businesses and the brave souls that started them? Who doesn’t want to support them and see them and our neighborhoods thrive?!

Thus far, I have 8 episodes live. I launched the podcast about two months ago at the beginning of March and I release a new episode every weekend. It has taken me this long to streamline the process and recording methods. The initial interviews were a bit rough figuring out the best way to record and do post-production... not to mention simply learning out to interview my guests. I think it's starting to get better now but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Please check out The Sea-Town Podcast and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback.

As well, do you know someone in the Seattle area who has an important message or story to tell? Maybe your favorite local shop or restaurant?
I would love to hear about them and see about having them on my podcast.


Several ways for you to check out The Sea-Town Podcast:
The most preferable would be for you to listen and subscribe to “The Sea-Town Podcast” on iTunes - http://tinyurl.com/gwvk9s5

Or to listen to all the episodes on the web, visit “The Sea-Town Podcast” site at www.Sea-TownPodcast.com

If your more of a visual person, you can WATCH the interviews - go to my YouTube page - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdFjxnxv01o1BjI_LcrsHZ72LXe1SccI_

Thank you. I hope you enjoy the interviews and getting some "behind the scenes" of some local businesses.

If you really want to help and spread the word about this podcast and these great businesses serving our community, please take a couple minutes to share out the link(s) on your social media.

Thanks again,

Until next time, be well.

 

The Dark Side of Real Estate - What Other Agents Don't Want You To Know

The Dark Side of Real Estate - What Other Agents Don't Want You To Know

Defensiveness

This is what I get from other Real Estate (RE) Agents when I try to engage them in conversation about what is wrong with our industry and our need to advocate for higher standards and different ways of doing things. I don't think many of them actually realize that RE Agents have a bad reputation (or they are simply in denial). They don't realized that the average agent is seen as an unscrupulous pestering "sales men” and beggar.

I have to be careful what I say when around other agents, as most of them have drunk the Koolaid and have been doing so for years. The Harris Poll publishes polls each year, listing the most (and least) trusted professions. Real Estate Agents are chronically at the bottom of the list, alongside stockbrokers, auto mechanics, lawyers and insurance agents.

Why is that? Why is Real Estate not a very well respected industry? Why are they often seen as little more than pestering salesmen? Why does no kid say that they want to be a Real Estate agent when they grow up? Amongst agents, it's often joked about how this is a career that people fall into, it's almost never a intentional choice or goal. It happens by accident.


I feel like there are 3 main reasons that Real Estate Agents get a bad (though often deserved) rap.


1. They won't stop talking!

They won't stop talk about themselves, how awesome they are, how successful they are, how much better than other agents they are, how much money they make... need I go on? 

And the inverse of this... being a poor listener.
When I talk with my friends who bought homes before I got into this business, I like to ask about their experience with their RE Agent and the most common criticism I heard was that their agent didn't listen to them. 

Now of course, there could be many reasons for this:
The agent heard what the client said but didn't understand their client or their expectations, so they mis-interpreted what they wanted. 
The agent was more concerned with "up-selling" their client into a more expensive house, so kept showing them properties outside of their price range.
They were too busy talking and trying to prove how smart, knowledgable, successful, etc, rather than listening to and serving their client.
Or they were simply too busy in general, to provide quality time and service that their client desired and deserved.

I have found that there are 2 main reasons that agents are "too busy":

1. They are disorganized and inefficient in how they run their business.
In my observation, this is the biggest culprit of the "too busy" agent. They simply have never bothered to develop a system or get organized and they spend all their time scrambling from one task to the next, in a flurry of inefficient and un-prioritized busyness.

2. They can't say "no". 
In order to say "yes" to the right clients, you need to be able to say "no" to the clients who aren’t a good fit for your business. "No" to tasks that suck your time but provide no benefit. "No" to the demands of the "tyranny of the urgent", which are constantly trying to draw your attention away from what matters, to that which doesn't.

Reason number 2 that RE Agents get a bad rap:


2. They are viewed as unscrupulous.

It's hard to look at the industries commission structure and wonder how it's not a conflict of interest. The more a home sells for, the higher the commission an agent receives is, so how is it that part of the buyers agents job is to negotiate on the buyers behalf for the lowest possible price? He is negotiating for a lower financial compensation for himself. If your agent is less than ethical and more concerned about his bottom line then doing his job of serving your best interest, this could prove to be a problem.

Trust
If you don't have it with your agent, you don't have anything. You need to find an agent that you trust to do their very best for you, advocate for you and serve YOUR best interest... even in the rare situation where your best interest is not theirs. 


3. Incompetence

There are many factors to why an agent could come across as incompetent.
The most obvious reason would be that they are only doing Real Estate part time. Maybe they have a day job for the security of the paycheck, or maybe they are a stay-at-home mom or simply don't want to work full-time. Either way, as real estate agents we are handling the sale of our clients largest assets, being an expert is critical. An expert in the market. An expert in navigating the complex buying and selling process. An expert negotiator, etc. And how does one become an expert at something? Experience. They do it all the time. And frankly, Part-time agents typically don't have the experience necessary not to make basic mistakes (which could spell large financial liability for the client). On an even more basic level, they likely won't be available when you most need them. Maybe they'll return your call during their lunch hour or after they get off work or check their messages. But with today's fast-paced real estate business, an agent being unavailable is unacceptable and could cost you the deal.

There is also just the factor of laziness. There are lots of good agents but then there are those who become complacent and just expect to make big money but no-longer care to put in the work and hours to do their due diligence and take proper care of their clients.

Where is the agents focus? What do they spend the majority of their time doing?
So much of the focus is on where is the agents next transaction is going to come from. The "accountability questions" from the broker are often along the lines of, 'how many homes do you want to sell this year?', 'how much money do you want to make?'. It's no wonder most RE Agents are 'transactional' in their focus and just move from one client to the next as any sales person would, versus doing the hard work of developing legitimate and long lasting relationships with their clients.

RE Agents are told that this job is all about relationships but then at the same time told that our main job and most of our time should be spent "prospecting"... which in many cases, is a nice way of saying begging for business. We are taught to "ask for business" at every opportunity. We are told that "every 'No' is closer to a 'Yes'..." setting up the expectation that rejection is normal, just keep bugging people until someone agrees to work with you.

It's really should be no surprise to me that agents prefer to bury their head in the sand regarding the reputation of our profession. The industry as a whole is very inward looking. Always giving kudos and pats on the back to each other for a great sales year, 'Top Producer' status, 'golden circle awards' and other meaningless awards for making the brokerage firm money. The agents and firms alike think that they are pretty great and are so entrenchment in the status-quo that I don't think they genuinely see how most people or society at large views them. On top of that blindness, the industry resists change at every turn, even change that would be best for our clients. Change that would result in increased efficiency, saved money for clients or revolution how the industry works... they all see it as a threat to the system and their livelihood. A threat to how 'things have always been done'. I understand being scared of the unknown but in no other industry have I seen such resistance to new technology, resistance to new ways of doing things or new models that may actually serve our clients better than we are able to do now.

In the end, I think the industry has largely done this to themselves by fighting to maintain the status quo and not policing up the 'bad apples'. Organizations like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) lobby to keep the bar for becoming a RE Agent, nice and low (The more agents there are, the more dues can be paid to them and the more money and power they have). You need more credit hours to become a hair stylist then you do to get your RE License... Kind of crazy. And the engrained sales culture and brokerage model lends itself to bringing in "go getters" who are more focused on the numbers and size of sales, rather than the quality of each transaction and conducting the business in a way that is best for their clients and the industry as a whole. Brokerages know it's a number game - get as many agents in your office as possible and some of them will end up making them money... the quality of the agent are rarely a factor.

These are just a few of the issues I have with the industry as a whole and why I'm committed to doing things differently... doing it better!
But in all fairness... I do believe there are more good agents out there then bad ones and as is the case with many things in our information age, it's the bad news and "horror stories" that spread the fastest and furthest. It's the bad experiences everyone hears about, not the trusted agents who are quietly doing their job with integrity and competence, leading to well served and happy clients.

So while I don't doubt that the reputation for the industry as a whole is largely deserved, it doesn't mean that all agents fall into this camp. It's critically important that you know what makes a good Real Estate Agent and that you engage one as part of your trusted team when it comes time for you to research your options in buying or selling your home.

Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have a real estate "horror story" to share with us Tell us in the comments below... we want to hear from you!

Now when your ready, you know who will tell it to you straight and who you can trust to serve you best.

Until next time, be well.

A New Way Forward!

A New Way Forward!

Over the last few months I have been experienced an "Awakening", not necessarily the kind that has The Force involved but non-the-less. It has caused me to take a closer look at myself and my approach to business. I have come to the stark conclusion that in my first couple years in real estate, I was simply a clone. You see, I got into this industry in the Fall of 2013, I had my business cards, my company website, my text books and hours upon hours of "education" under my belt, all ready for your real estate business needs. Yet, I wasn't any different than the rest of the agents who just got their license. Without realizing it, I had become a real estate agent... you know, a pestering, always looking for new business, member of an industry that consistently ranks lowest in respect, and thought of about as fondly as used car sales men. 

How could I fix this perception? "I'm different. I know! I just need more training and education", I would tell myself. "That will make me a sure-fire top agent, who makes lots and lots of money." Or at least help limit my hemorrhaging savings account, as I was trying to figure out this new career.
 
Really, I honestly thought that was the fix. The obvious next step was to enter a hardcore 8 week sales, aches... I mean "real estate training" workshop, make 100 calls a week, call For Sale By Owners, reach out to expired and cancelled listings, ask all my friends and family for referrals, etc, etc. 

Yes, YES! This will do the trick... but alas, it did not. I felt worse. The only thing I hate more then cold calling, is receiving a cold call. The sales person on the other end only has one goal in mind: to sell you a service. 

"When are you going to be ready to choose the right agent to sell your home?". 

"Who do you know who is looking to buy or sell real estate, that I should know?". 

I'm only 5 "no" answers away from a "yes" answer. 

If they say "no", there are plenty more people to call, it's simply a numbers game. 

I can go on with all the tips and tricks and scripts to get your business... but here's the thing: I can remember after my first year in the business, thinking to myself. This doesn't work. All of the ways the long-time agents are telling me to do things are garbage. They have been doing this stuff for decades and no one likes being on the receiving end of these sales-tactics. 

My eyes started to open.

I didn't just hate cold calling and the rejection... I hated doing everything that I was told was necessary to be a successful in real estate. This wasn't me. This is not how I wanted to interact with people. In that moment, I wanted to punch myself in the face!

I needed to make a change... but how? 

Then it hit at some point last year. After trying to fill that gap between what I SHOULD be doing to generate new business (more cold calls, more emails, more door knocking, more mail flyers), and what I was ACTUALLY doing (playing catchup to "hit my weekly numbers" and feeling like a failure when I didn't), I stopped drinking the Koolaid. I discovered a new way... A better way.

Yes, it wasn't just a new way, it was MY WAY. 

Let me explain: I'm a Seattle guy, I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, eating good food and drinking good beer. I love spending time with my family and "rough housing" with my son. I'm a diehard UNC Tarheels basketball fan (I have to be, my wife is an Alumni). I probably swear more than I should. I like watching movies and reading books, especially anything having to do with the American Revolutionary War or great thinkers and leaders throughout history. I often worry about wether I'm going to be able to pay the bills and provide well for my family, considering the inconsistent nature of 100% commission income. I place my faith in Jesus and I love my friends and church family. I love my country and serve it as an officer in the WA State National Guard. I believe that I can make this world a better place by genuinely caring about and enhancing the lives of everyone I come in contact with. Oh, and by the way, I also happen to help people buy and sell homes. 

That's MY WAY. This is me and I really enjoy making connections with people who share the same interests and values as me and whom I can serve with what has been given to me. My personality is laid back, I enjoy making people laugh and I'm organized, detail oriented and if you ask my wife, probably borderline OCD... and I will fight to the bitter end to take care of my clients.
Client who normally end up being friends long after the deal closes.

In one word... Authenticity.

So what does this mean for you? It means no more garbage from me in your inbox (I actually stopped those generic, one-size-fits all, "how to winterize your house" type emails months ago). 

Nothing, no more. 

No more, "hey knuckle head, it's Day Light Savings Time" reminders. 

NO MORE GARBAGE.
From now on, when you get an email from me, it will be legit, real, from my own fingers. 

If this resinates with you, then I'm happy to have you travel with me on this journey of authenticity. 
Let me know what you thing
The only way this works is if we create a dialog along the way. 
What do you think about this new way of connecting with people in an industry stained with so many impersonal agents? 
Am I on to something or just a blind fool. Send me your thoughts and comments.

My passion is to serve people and leave this planet a better place then when I arrived. Along the way, I will make a living by helping folks buy and sell homes. In the end, I will do this with honor, integrity and authenticity... and quite possibly with a hot cup of coffee or an ice-cold beer in my hand! 

Until next time, be well.