How To Meet Your 2013 Goals: Look Back, Feel Good – Look Ahead, Get SMART!
by Joe Stumpf

‘Tis the season…
We’re approaching that end-of-the-year time when we start thinking about what we have – and haven’t – accomplished, and what we want to accomplish in the coming year.

When you look back on the past year, is your glass half empty or half full? In other words, do you focus on what you didn’t get done – or do you celebrate what you accomplished?

And what are your goals for 2013? Make more money? Work less hours? Spend more time with your family? Lose weight? Travel someplace besides to your office?

I’d like to share a two-step formula that’s proven highly effective for me for years, and for top-producing agents, lenders, and other successful people when they’re setting goals for both their personal and professional lives.

Step 1: Look Back, Feel Good – Make a List Of The 2012 Accomplishments You’re Most Proud Of, Personal And Professional

Why make a list of your 2012 accomplishments? Because the successful people who are also the happiest are those who can look back and celebrate the joy of their accomplishments. This step will also get you into the right mindset for Step 2, so please don’t skip it.

It’s critical that you plan this step – don’t do it on the fly. Get out your calendar, block out 60 minutes of uninterrupted time, and choose a location where you can have that 60 minutes of uninterrupted time. I can’t emphasize how important it is that you commit this hour to focus on yourself. I know focusing just on yourself for an entire hour may be a stretch for some of you, but be like Nike: Just Do It.

Now, for your list. Take a piece of 8½ x 11 lined paper and draw a line from the top to the bottom. Then number the first 10 lines, one through 10. Write “Professional” at the top of the left column, and “Personal” at the top of the right column.

Then, start writing: the personal and professional accomplishments you’re most proud of in 2012. Don’t hesitate, don’t over-think it, just write whatever comes to mind. The only person who will see your list is you, unless you choose to share it. Don’t stop writing until you have at least 10 items in each column. And don’t overlook an accomplishment you may think is “small” but isn’t. Did you start flossing every day? Accomplishment. Did you make a donation to a charity? Accomplishment. Did you finally watch a movie you’ve wanted to see for ages? Accomplishment. Did you clean out a file cabinet drawer you’ve been meaning to clean out since the first George Bush was president? Accomplishment.

After 30 minutes stop – but only if you’ve listed at least 10 items in each column – and put down your pen. Now you’re going to spend the next 30 minutes reflecting on your accomplishments and how good you feel about them – and about you. Ahhh… Doesn’t that feel good? And look at all you accomplished in 2012! You done good!

Keep your list handy and look at it regularly, until it’s time to create your 2013 accomplishments list.

Step 2: Look Ahead, Get SMART! Reality Check On Your 2013 Goals

I’m not going to suggest any goals for you because you and I and most people have more goals than we’ll ever attain.

But I am going to suggest that the best way to reach a goal is to make sure your goal is SMART. By SMART I mean Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

Here’s what each letter stands for, and how this process will help you reach your goals in 2013.

S = Specific

You have a much greater chance of reaching a specific rather than a general goal. To get specific, answer the six “W” questions:

Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

For example, a general goal is, “Get in shape and lose some weight.” By contrast, a SMART goal with specifics looks like this: “To increase my physical stamina and reduce my body weight by 20 pounds, I will join a health club by January 1 and work out three days a week for the next six months.”

M = Measurable

When a goal is measurable, you establish concrete criteria for tracking progress toward the attainment of the goal. Measuring your progress helps you

• Stay on track
• Reach your target dates.
• Experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to the continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as How much? How many? How will I know when it’s accomplished?

My example above has the measures built into the statement: 20 pounds, three days a week for the next six months. These specific measures support achieving the goal.

A = Attainable

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

R = Realistic

To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you’re the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seemed easy, simply because they were a labor of love.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.
Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past, or to ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

In my example, the elements are attainable and realistic: 20 pounds in six months. Work out three times a week. It doesn’t say 20 pounds in two months or work out six times a week. The goal is attainable and realistic – not impossible.

T = Timely

A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it, there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 20 pounds, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work.

However, if you anchor it within a time frame like “by January 1,” then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

T can also stand for Tangible. A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus, attainable.

So: Step 1, creating your list of accomplishments and reflecting on them. Step 2, using the SMART guidelines to help you succeed at reaching your goals.

I know I said “two-step” formula, but I’m going to add a third:

Step 3: Remember that the secret to attaining your goals is to focus on progress, not perfection. MAKE IT YOUR BEST YEAR EVER !!!

How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever

Tip of the Week

How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever
by Joe Stumpf

I read a fascinating article in Scientific American that dealt with the “secrets of expert minds.” It started me thinking about the relationship between an entrepreneur and his client. Basically, clients are in search of someone with expertise. They need your expertise in consulting, they need your expertise in negotiating, and they need your expertise in overseeing all the transactional details. So if people seek expertise, then your primary goal should be to become a true expert in your profession.

The article discussed the Grand Master’s strategy in the game of chess. To achieve Grand Master status, a chess player must become one of the finest in the world. When chess players begin playing, however, they all start out at the same level, and it takes about five years of constant playing to develop the mental acumen to play the game comfortably on an automatic level of expertise.

At that point, things change. Players begin developing a new skill, one of learning something new every day. They gain a new perspective, a new insight. This lasts for another five to eight years, so after 10 or more years of constant effort, they’ve built a repertoire of over 100,000 possibilities.

At this level of expertise, the Grand Master can simply glance at any chess game in progress and almost automatically identify the best next moves.

Most agents in their early years in the real estate industry are learning the basic moves. You learned how to handle some common objections and you developed a discipline to handle basic problems. You did many things for the first time, and each of these added to the breadth of your experience. After five years, you begin to get the feeling that you’ve seen it all, done it all, and you begin to feel comfortable and secure in your profession; you consider yourself a true expert. That’s a critical point in your business: You either stop learning and go stagnant, or you take the next step toward becoming a Grand Master.

The best in the business don’t stop. They develop a new mindset, and that mindset is “I’m just getting started.” And from there, the expert mind begins developing those 100,000 possibilities for looking at any situation, automatically. Each day begins with the affirmation, “I commit to learning a new move today.” And at the end of each day, a Grand Master reviews that new learning, lodging it firmly in memory so the experience is ready for use the next day.

Imagine sitting down with clients and listening to their unique circumstances. As you listen, their scenario unfolds as if it’s on a game board with pieces you’ve played hundreds of times. As you listen, you see all the moves, the counter moves, and the counter-counter moves instantly, and you can give your clients the best advice immediately. You can do this because you have a wealth of learning that’s contributed to your expertise.

And the secret is, after five years, you are just getting started. So each and every day, commit to learning something new in your expertise area, keeping in mind that even something subtle can be significant. It’s important to recognize that only a handful of people are willing to make the commitment to becoming Grand Masters at consulting, negotiating, and overseeing transactional details. If you’re now at that point in your career, now is the time to start learning the things you don’t know that you don’t know.

Two ways to begin are to start reading, and to start studying successful people. What you gain from reading is obvious — textbook knowledge from expert practitioners and leaders in their fields. You don’t need to focus on an author in your field; many people write books about skills that transfer easily from profession to profession. Here are my Top Three suggested books for Grand Masters:

Value-Based Selling by Bill Bachrach
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

By studying and internalizing the successful habits of others, you can take yourself and your business to the next level.

The true experts in our industry are continuing to have their best year ever, despite the challenges in the market. And they’re doing this because they’ve committed themselves to learning something new every single day so they have 100,000 possibilities for anything they encounter. Those with less expertise are struggling to weather the storm.

Now is the time to concentrate on becoming a Grand Master in this market. Start reading. Start studying successful individuals in all walks of life. Learn, adjust, and adapt.

The Home Inspection Man

We strive to be a complement to your professional sales process and not a hindrance!

We’re the inspection firm that won’t kill your deal!

When it’s time for a home inspection for your client, please give us a call.

888 690-6903 or 815 690-6903

What Is The Optimal Time to Ask for Referrals?

The Optimal Time to Ask for Referrals
by Joe Stumpf

As a Realtor or Lender, do you know the optimal time to ask your client for a referral?

Not an “OK” time, or a “good” time, but — the optimal time to ask for referrals?

The optimal time to ask for referrals is when you’re in the process of helping someone buy, sell, or borrow. This is when you’re in the most frequent contact with your client, and this is when you’re dazzling them with your world-class service.

During the transaction you’re acting as their:

You lead the process, ask important questions, and offer expert guidance and advice.

You utilize your experience and skill to evaluate their options and help them make the best choices.

Transactional Details:
You manage paperwork, electronic communications, telephone calls, and hundreds of details to bring their transaction to a successful conclusion.

On a daily basis you’re anticipating problems, finding solutions, and sometimes working miracles. You’ve been known to leap tall buildings with a single bound. So right now, as you’re performing these feats, is the optimal time to ask for referrals.

And did you notice that it didn’t cost you anything?

But here’s the catch: Your clients don’t know that you want their referrals because you haven’t told them. Do not — repeat — do not assume that your efforts will prompt your clients to connect the dots and say, “World-class service like that deserves a referral!”

No. That does not happen.

Fortunately, it’s easy to let your clients know — right up front, in the first few minutes of your first meeting — that you want their referrals, and that you intend to earn them. Here’s the language you use:

“Mr. and Mrs. Client, my goal is for you to be so happy with the help I provide that you’ll gladly introduce me to at least two people you really care about before your transaction closes.”

With this one simple sentence you’ve:
Demonstrated your resolution to provide world-class service.
Clarified your commitment to the client being happy with their buying, selling, or borrowing experience.
Let the client know that their introductions are crucial to your business.

Then, in the days and weeks ahead, as you’re anticipating problems, finding solutions (and perhaps leaping a tall building or two), when your clients say “Thank you,” gently remind them,

“You’ll remember that at our first meeting I said my goal was for you to be so happy with the help I provide that you’ll gladly introduce me to at least two people you really care about before your transaction closes.

“The next time you’re in a conversation with a family member, friend or coworker and they say they really want to get out of their apartment and into their own home, or perhaps they’re expecting a baby and they need a larger home, or maybe they’re empty nesters and they’re ready to sell their house and get into a condo — please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help them.”

Delivering world-class service is how you earn referrals. Using this language is how you get them.

P.S from ‘The Home Inspection Man’ tell to call us fir their home inspection 