My acquaintance Dr. Danial Amen wrote about his experience with ants. After a hard day at the office, he arrived home and found thousands of ants in his kitchen as he started to clean them up, an acronym developed in his mind – ANTs.?
Just like the infested kitchen, his patients’ brains were also overrun by ANTs. Yet ants in a different sense:?Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs).? And those thoughts were robbing them of their joy and stealing their happiness.
He started teaching his patients how to eliminate all of the ANTs because that’s what fuels negativity.
Every single time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.
Dr. Amen determined that every time you have a sad, hopeless, mad, cranky, unkind, judgmental, or helpless thought, your brain immediately releases chemicals that make your body feel awful. Your hands get cold and wet, your muscles get tense, your heart beats faster, and your breathing becomes shallower. Additionally, the activity in your frontal and temporal lobes decreases, which negatively affects your judgment, learning, memory.
The opposite is also true – whenever you have a happy, hopeful, loving, kind, or positive thought, your brain releases an entirely different set of chemicals. Your hands get warmer and dryer, your breathing becomes more profound and more regular, your muscles relax, your blood pressure decreases, and your brain works better.
So, if you want to eradicate negativity from your life, work on disciplining your mind to get rid of the ANTs and developing ANTeaters to patrol the streets of your account. (Side note: 2 of my sons our University of California (UCI) Anteaters!)??
Just as there are many species of ants in the world, there are different kinds of negative thought patterns (ANTs). Dr. Amen outlined a few we felt we all should learn to identify:
The masterful art of predicting the worst, even though you don’t have any evidence.
Where you arbitrarily believe that you know what someone else is thinking, even though they didn’t tell you. Many people do this, and more often than not, it gets them into trouble. It’s a significant reason why people have difficulty in relationships. I call it false projecting!
Thinking with words like should, must, ought, and have to. The words we use to talk to ourselves are significant. Guilt is a good motivator for change. Telling yourself, “I should go see my grandmother” rather than “I want to spend time with my grandmother,” only serves to make you feel negative.
Whenever you blame someone else for the problems in your life, you are a victim, and you can’t do anything to change it. Many of us play the blame game, but it rarely helps us. Stay away from blaming thoughts and take personal responsibility for changing the problems you have.
Calling yourself or someone else a derogatory name. This diminishes your ability to see situations clearly, and labels can be very harmful.
So now that you have met some of the ANTs that rob you of your happiness and peace of mind, what do you do about them?
Whenever you find yourself feeling mad, sad, nervous, or out-of-control, write down what you are thinking. Then identify which ANT species is infesting your mind and talk back to it.
Challenging negative thoughts (killing the ANTs) takes away their power and gives YOU control over your thoughts, moods, and behaviors.
The cool thing is we all get to choose how we play the game and learning how to kill the ANTs and develop an internal ANTeater is a great choice!?
Check out his book,? The Brain Warrior’s Way
The paradox is this: we need both uncertainty and certainty in our business and our lives. I’m sure you would agree – without a doubt – we are in uncertain times.
It seems at this moment in time; we have more uncertainty than certainty.
So how can we create a little more certainty?
Get Clear On What You Really Want?
- Create a picture of what it is that you truly want
- Does this excite you?
- Does it move you emotionally?
- Envision it, see how it makes you feel
- These steps help you regain balance and drive
Connect Emotionally With Your Why.
- Getting clear on the purpose of what you want
- You know you found it when your purpose resonates and moves you emotionally
- When you feel stuck or lost, two questions:
- “If I don’t do this, this is what it will cost me,” or
- “If I do this, then this is what I can gain.”
Make It Part Of Everyday!
- Create your daily action checklist and follow it
- What’s the ONE routine you must do every day to win the day?
- Like your P.E.D.S.
- What’s are the critical activities that move the needle?
- Marketing that creates NEW appointments
- Building and maintaining relationships
- Servicing existing clients and prospects
- Anticipating and solving problems BEFORE they arise
- Completing that project
- Place it all in your calendar and protect your time blocks
Have you ever worked backward from Friday? At the end of the week, you are sitting down and looking back… what would make this week great? Vision that and block your calendar accordingly. I like to say work backward from yes!
If you show up for the day with no structure in your calendar and decide to do “urgent” tasks like returning calls and texts and checking Facebook, those activities will expand and eat up all the time you hoped to devote to more “important” activities. You will end the day unfulfilled and have more uncertainty.
We know that work will expand to the time you give it! So assign time blocks to every task. And remember DONE is better than PERFECT every time!
The best way I’ve found to make the “important” significant – and create more certainty in all that you do – is to prioritize them and build them into your calendar first.
Are you tired of not getting what you want? If so, you might want to read this?article about?Mario Lemieux.
What is your next step?
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey
Whether you have been in the business 70 days or 7 years, I often hear the same questions:
- What do I do now?
- My lead generation is inconsistent!
- How do I get better organized?
- What’s my purpose?
So, here are a few suggestions to consider as you start this week:
First, who do you want to be 90 days from now?
It all starts with deciding what you want to achieve in the next three months. Have you created very clear, specific, measurable, and trackable goals? Are they up and visual as a constant reminder?
My research shows there are three types of goals:
- Outcome goals – I want to be #1
- Performance goals – I’ll run the race in 8 minutes or less
- Process goals – I’ll connect with 10 people a day
Process goals win the day. Over 650 studies in goal achievement show that people who break their goals down to a daily process achieve the goal faster and more consistently.
Action #1:?Break your goals down to daily actions
Second, understand where the business comes from.
The National Association of REALTORS? conducted a survey that shows nearly 70% of consumers FIND you from a friend, family, referral or past business relationship. And nearly 70% CHOOSE you based on your perceived reputation, trustworthiness and results. These facts have significant implications for your personal branding and direct response marketing activities.
It’s shocking how many clients I have acquired through the years — just because I made a call or sent a message.
According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent, but the likelihood of selling to an existing client is 60 to 70 percent. It’s much cheaper and easier to retain a client than to go prospecting for a new one. Studies show 90% of consumers would do business again with their?REALTOR? yet only 25% do. Why? Because you suck – no systems in place – at staying in touch and building long term relationships with past clients.
Action #2: Stay in touch at least 4X per year, build relationships and the sales & referrals will follow.
Third, track everything in a database to stay organized
Make it a habit to get contact information from every person you meet. Your goal is to move folks you meet from your outer circle to your inner circle. Create a system – like this.
If you are buying a new car, get the salesperson’s card. Ask your bartender or server for their information when you go out. Every person who gives you their contact information should be placed into your database and contacted – a note; text; card; social media engagement – least 8 times in the first 8 weeks of meeting. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet. It should include the following
- Full name
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
- Preferred social media handles
- Your Notes
In your notes section, you will want to write in things like what the potential client is interested in, first and last time you corresponded with them and how you met them. Relationships matter and relationships create referrals in a personal service business like real estate sales.
Action #3: Take one step to get better organized
Fourth, be like Fred.
Fred Shea was a postal carrier from my home state of Colorado. Apart from the fact that he personally welcomed every new resident, he appeared unremarkable. Yet, a book has been written about him and thousands have been taught his “system” to drive purpose in their life and their business.
Fred had a purpose.
Fred demonstrated you don’t need a promotion; you don’t need anything but creativity to reinvent yourself and add value to yourself and others.
Fred the Postman was quite remarkable in attitude with a warmth and sincerity that was apparent immediately. And his dedication to serving his customers made him extraordinary.
Daily Fred put into practice the principles that became the foundation for the best-selling book,?The Fred Factor, namely that:
- Everyone makes a difference,
- Success is built on relationships,
- You must create value for others, and;
- Reinvent yourself on a regular basis.
Fred the Postman taught me that by bringing passion into our work and life we can all turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Action #4: Be like Fred!
As we wrap up, I have no control over what you do with this information – nor do I want that control. Yet the gift of what I shared today, has helped me in so many ways, and I trust this gift will help you too. So, until we meet again may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Bonus Action #5: Accountability… who is your?accountability partner??
As we celebrate Memorial Day, as we honor those who have fallen, we are reminded that freedom isn’t free. One of my traditions about this time each year is watching “Taking Chance.” A touching story about one marine escorting a fellow marine on his final trip home.
Another movie came to mind: “Rudy.” Rudy is a true story about persistence, tenacity, grit, and football. A football game isn’t won on the field. The game is won in the days, weeks, and even months leading up to the actual game. The game is won in preparation. Watching films of previous games, memorizing plays, hitting the gym, eating correctly, and even getting enough sleep.
Professional real estate sales is no different.
I’ve been spending some time with our top 1% documenting what they do. Curious?
Here are the top six things our top 1% do consistently:
- They do their research & marketing.
- They’re genuinely interested in and understand others’ personality style.
- They’re prepared for anything, especially the objections and most frequently asked questions.
- They leave their ego in the car.
- They are a master of managing expectations.
- They debrief and learn from every situation.
Research and Marketing
We know from the National Association of REALTORS? that 63% of consumers find us through a referral from a friend or a past business relationship. And 68% of consumers choose us based on our perceived trustworthiness, experience, and reputation.
Top producers know these numbers and invest their time, energy, and effort into where the business is most likely to be generated.
What we have observed from top producers to those struggling is glaring. Top producers genuinely care about the relationship while those struggling care about making a buck.
We use a unique system called B.A.N.K. to pinpoint anyone’s personality in nanoseconds. It’s fun, engaging, and creates instant rapport. Crack your code now, it’s easy: www.jparcode.com
This high emotional intelligence approach leverages the best assessment tools, high-energy training, and cutting-edge technology to maximize results.
Leave Nothing To Chance
Our top performers rehearse or role-play frequently; many do this every day! Here are some tips I picked up:
- Make a list of every question, concern, or objection that your prospect might bring up. Create a list of everything that could go wrong.
- Develop a clear, logical, and persuasive response to every possible question, concern, and objection.
- Think of how you can get ahead of these circumstances by using stories and anecdotes, case studies and testimonials, statistics, and facts.
- Have your information, ideas, and documentation well organized so you can reference the appropriate notes and materials at any time.
Gary Vaynerchuk put it well: “When you care more about the other person than you care about hitting your quota – when you make that shift – you go into the Jedi-ness of becoming a great salesperson.”
The professional real estate salesperson with a massive ego can easily mistake refusal with rejection. When you make this mistake, it’s all too easy to take it personally. The truth? Far more people will say no than say yes.
So, how do you deal with this?
Our top 1% have learned not to internalize rejection. Top performers exert power over their emotions and know this is a critical skill to master.
As the Chief Executive of a large organization, I get the problems that others have not solved. And literally, I’ve been tracking these and guess what – they all have a common root. Uneven expectations!
Many things have to happen, often in a specific sequence, before a transaction closes. Do you know what these things are? Do you know where you’re at in the process with each client, prospect, and partner?
- Seek to understand what has come before each step
- Don’t assume everyone knows what will happen next
- Anticipate needs before others
- Communicate constantly and clearly
- Under-promise and over-deliver
Debriefing is a structured learning process designed to evolve plans while they’re being executed continuously. It originated in the military as a way to learn quickly in rapidly changing situations and to address mistakes or changes in the field. Infact I shared this document with my team – glad to be here – after the Blue Angels flew over Dallas.
In business, debriefing has been widely documented as critical to accelerating projects, innovating novel approaches, and hitting challenging objectives. It also brings a team together, strengthens relationships, and fosters team learning.
Our top producers have this concept mastered and execute this discipline more often than others. As such, these high performing teams are more tight-knit than those who don’t.
The game is won or lost way before you step on the playing field. So, before you play in sales again, do your research, be genuinely interested in others, be prepared for anything, leave your ego in the car and become a master of managing expectations. Finally – just like the Blue Angels – debrief and learn from every situation.
The art and science of goal achievement are driven by your desire, your decisions, your determination, and discipline. Let’s dig in.
Tony Robbins said it best:
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
And Price Pritchett, the author of “You2” wrote it best:
“You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, but you do need to know where you want to go!”
There is magic in operating with a sharply defined mental image of the outcome you seek.
Visualize your arrival.
When you visualize, it is like a magnet to the ways and means and the methods to get there. The solutions begin to appear, and the answers come to you.
A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet near the river the next morning.
The next morning, they met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him toward the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out, yet Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled his head out of the water, and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air.
Socrates asked, ‘What did you want the most when you were there?” The boy replied, “Air.” Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it.” There is no other secret.
Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce an excellent result. A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishments.? If you genuinely want to achieve your stated goal, the first step is desire. You must want it badly enough to make an unshakeable commitment and to be willing to make sacrifices.
I have found from my own experience that I was getting in my way. Can you relate? You know the doubts, anxieties, ego, fear, and those never-ending critical inner voices. The very things that keep us from taking action. And not taking action is a decision in and of itself, yes?
And thus, the second D is Decision. Getting out of my way meant becoming more self-aware of those thoughts that held me back and the courage and mental toughness to step forward.
Some time ago, I was worried about whether or not I should take on a new consulting assignment. By this time, I was learning how I could get out of my way, so I stopped for a moment of reflection and gratitude. That time allowed me to be curious rather than being consumed by fear and worry. I reflected on the meaning I was attaching to things associated with this new assignment. The shift drove my thoughts away from the distractions and simply allowed me to be present and aware. By doing so, I was free to find clarity and to make a more rational decision about this new assignment. Fear and worry became optional for me, and the clarity to make a decision and move forward powerfully became easier.
Are you ready, right now, to decide to do whatever is necessary, to be willing to pay any price, go any distance, to achieve your goal?
The third D, Determination.
- Richard Branson has dyslexia;
- Walt Disney spoke with nearly 300 possible investors before anyone took interest;
- Bill Gates’ whose first business failed;
- Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four;
- Jim Carrey was homeless, and
- Stephen King, the first novel was rejected 30 times.
So, what is more, significant in your life right now. Excuses as to why you are not achieving as much as you want? Or mega doses of determination to get what you want?
I have learned that determination is a function of three factors: a goal, a commitment, and a focus.
Let’s BREAK that down:
Goals – Goals are like magnets that attract us to higher ground and new horizons. They give our eyes a focus, our mind an aim, and our strength a purpose. Without their pull, we would remain forever stationary, incapable of moving forward.
A goal is a possibility that fulfills a dream.
You know the importance of setting goals, so why is it so hard to keep and reach them?
We have all felt the excitement that comes with setting a new goal, but then, as time progresses, excitement can morph into anxiety. Is this because we are facing the reality that we are so far from our goal, and we have no framework or strategy of how to get there. Let’s start with the three types of goals:
? ? ? ? ? Outcome Goals?An outcome goal is one that is not really under your control. Instead, it is based on outside circumstances. For example, your goal is to the #1 selling agent in your market. Great goal, you just don’t have any control over what other agents will do.
? ? ? ? ?Performance Goals?Performance goals are personal achievement goals. They are the building blocks that help you reach your outcome goal. A good performance goal example is to “beat my record of 21 homes sold in a year.”
? ? ? ? ?Process Goals?Process goals are entirely under your control and are composed of the things you do daily, like habits and routines. Think of these as the small steps you take to get to your performance and outcome goals every single day. An example of a process goal would be to “spend 90 minutes prospecting daily” or “call 30 FSBO’s every Monday.”
In over 650 studies completed with over 50,000 participants, scientists analyzed what worked best when goal setting. Overall, individuals who focused on Process Goals had more success in reaching their goals than those who simply set Performance or Outcome Goals.
Commitment – The Scottish mountaineer, William Hutchison Murray, wrote about commitment in his book, “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.” He wrote: “Until one is committed there is hesitancy…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves in. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”
Finally, Focus – Dr. Allen Zimmerman wrote about focus this way. It is merely another way of saying you have got to keep your eye on the goal.
One of my three boys learned just that. As they were playing in the deep snow, a neighbor asked them if they wanted to race. He said he would give a prize to the winner.
It sounded good to the boys, so they gathered around the man to learn more. He told them the winner would not be the one who ran the fastest but the one who ran the straightest line. He said he would go to the other end of the field, give a signal, and have them race to him.
The boys took off. The first one looked at his feet as he ran to make sure they were pointing straight ahead. The second boy wondered how straight the boys on either side of him were running and tried to line himself up with them. The third boy just kept his eyes fixed on the man at the end of the field. He kept his sights set on the goal. And, of course, he won the race. His line was by far the straightest.
Two of them lost their focus. They got distracted from the goal. They made the two most common mistakes people make when trying to achieve their goals.
The first boy became self-conscious. He spent too much time worrying about the possible mistakes he was making.
The second boy spent too much time wondering how his competitors were doing.
Do not make those mistakes. You will not only lose the race, but you’ will also lose your determination for other races in life.
The fourth D. You know what you need or desire to do, yet you derail yourself with unaligned behaviors! Can you relate?
Typically, those that succeed in goal achievement follow a pattern.
A pattern of having a compelling reason why they want to accomplish the goal; they develop an unwavering commitment and accountability; that create rewards and penalties; they develop personal standards, and they gamify or create a competitive environment.
Those that succeed in goal achievement know that we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
In “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg said it best. In the book, he delivers a framework for understanding how habits work and a guide to experimenting with how they might change. That framework is:
Triggers: the event that starts the habit
Routines: the behavior you perform (and how you can switch that if it does not serve you)
Rewards: the benefit that is associated with the behavior
Once we understand our triggers, our routines, and our rewards, we can proactively make the change. Switching out poor routines with more empowering routines and thus create disciplined behaviors that are more aligned with the goals.
Primarily, this all comes down to making simple agreements with yourself. Agreements about what you will and will not accept are the cornerstone of discipline. It then requires holding yourself accountable for following through with these agreements.
All of this boils down to regulating and correcting your behavior whenever you get off track.
Excuses are like noses. We have all got one, and they smell.
Are you going to continue to settle for safe or take a different direction?
Some practical steps to consider this week:
My Dad was a Navy man early in his life, and when he passed away, I was able to read his journals from that era and review some of the Navy material in his memory box.
One of the pamphlets he kept was “Surviving In The Water, A Sailors Guide.” I can’t imagine being overboard in the water, and the nearest lifeboat is 100 meters away. Yet, during this time of crisis, we’ve set the intention to be a “virtual lifeboat” for our JPAR family and others. We all need that lifeline, especially in times of crisis.
So how do we keep our business and our lives afloat during a crisis? Running our lives, operating our real estate practices these days, looks different for all of us.
People are doing the best they can, but these times aren’t without emotional and financial struggles. This isn’t a time to reach out and ask for business, but to be a resource.
Check-in with your tribe, prospects, and past clients.
Share credible stories and information on financial assistance and timely news updates, like:
NAR Resource For Property Owners
Keeping Current Matters
Your Local University –?Like Texas A&M
It’s always been an excellent strategy to be the “HUB” for your tribe, yet now more than ever, this is our time to shine as professionals who care about people first.
Adhere to state and local guidelines when running your business.
It’s more important than ever to keep your business in compliance. Like we say here at JPAR “Do Your Part. Have Patience. Stay Safe.”
Pivot and Adapt.
Embrace the uncertainty and take this time to adapt. That comes easier for some of us, yet we know it’s a critical survival skill.?Redesigning your comfort zone has never been more critical.
Focus on your business strengths and evaluate weaknesses. We have the gift of time now more than ever before. While it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of social media and news coverage, focus on productivity. Tap into virtual listing appointments and buyer consults.
- Who needs the most help in your community? Help support and promote.
- Look up your favorite local restaurants and businesses and share their posts on social media.
Get on camera
- Create a one-to-one video.
- Use Zoom for group video chat, virtual happy hours with your neighbors, past clients and sphere. ??
- It’s time to dig deep and get creative, like:
- Host a live video tour and virtual open house, send email blasts or pay for professional virtual tours or video marketing for your active listings.
- Create and drop off “care packages” with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and or more.
Sharpen Your Axe
Dig into your CRM, practice your presentations, refine your marketing, refine your social media strategy, figure out how to use Zoom, and FaceTime for listing presentations and buyer consultations.
That stack of books you’ve piled up and haven’t read yet??Start now.
What about those dialogues and conversation tracks you haven’t quite mastered??Jump on the David Knox library?and then Zoom with a partner and practice. Even Julie Roberts and Richard Gere practice their scripts!
Tech skills you’ve wanted to learn.?Take an online course?like the Real Estate Playbook and your CRM offering.
As I said on today’s –?Quarantine Relief Series??– being intentional has never been more critical. Tough times don’t last yet tough people do!