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Making Nothing out of Something or Something out of Nothing

It doesn’t really matter what someone says they are trying to do. Or what they say their motives are. Know them by their actions.

Nothing - Something

Regardless of what anyone says, all any person is ever really doing is attempting to make something out of nothing or they are trying to make nothing out of something. Obviously, this can be accomplished in various ways. The primary effective method is by one’s thoughts. Take a relationship, for example: it exists solely because it is created and as long as it is created. Beings making something out of nothing. A business or organization that exists is an example of of something out of nothing. Sometimes we wonder why anyone would work on making something out of that? Why? Mountain out of a molehill. Not anything that anyone really wants but there it is, “created” for you. So, creation, is neither good or bad, unless one considers the creation “good” or “bad”. There are some things in life that get broad agreement as being “good”. Others that have broad agreement that they are “bad”.

On Human CharacterAll I want to look at here is what do you want? What are you trying to create? What are you attempting to make something of? What directly helps you do that? What people do you come into contact with or receive communication from that cause you to feel like you are more able to create what you want? When you are in communication with them your goals and aspirations are more real. It is easier to see yourself accomplishing them.

How about the flip side: nothing out of something? What are you trying to make nothing of? What are you attempting to reduce the effectiveness of or make smaller? Does making it less powerful or less effective help you to achieve your goals? Does working on that fully align with your stated goals?

There are those that offer advice and counsel on what you ought to be doing. Oddly enough, they haven’t ever actually done it themselves, but they can still clearly see what would be good for you to do. It isn’t really necessary to know why someone is doing something, just notice what they are working on – making something out of nothing or making nothing out of something? There are people who are working, non-stop, on making nothing out of something. And sometimes, that something is you.


Another Happy Customer

Below is an email I just received that I thought I would pass along.

Prey - listings

After talking with your agent this afternoon, I NOW UNDERSTAND how you can advertise that most of your propertys sell in 30 days !!!!!!

YOU PREY on the unfortunate home owners who’s property and there situation are in distress !!!!!! YOUR agent had the GALL to tell me Id have to list my home for under $ 150,000 !!! You know SHE DID NOT EVEN SEE MY PROPERTY !!!!! All her talk about bad times etc, and wanting to know why I wanted to sell was her attempt to , I GUESS , scare me into listing a property worth alot more than that BUT you people DONT want to work for your money as a true real estate person does by seeking buyers for homes priced properly. YOU JUST WANT the distressed propertys so as you can scare the home owner with your talk , get him to list with you at a drastically reduced price so as it will sell in your advertised 30 days with you people doing little to NO work and making your money !!!

Answer this IF YOU CAN !!!! How can your agent MAGICALLY put a value on my property WITHOUT even seeing it, re, condition etc BUT she can magically compare it to another property priced lower WHICH she hasnt even seen neither. How do you people MAGICALLY be able to EVEN compare the two without even seeing EITHER ONE !!! The comparison one could be a piece of #%^# !!!! Mine is not !!!!!!

How do you people even call your self realtors in what you are doing !!!!


Warning: It May Not Be a Good Idea to Drive Agents Out of the Business

To anyone who even suggests that Realtors (and ex-Realtors) can’t organize sequences and work out all the details for a long range plan, I invite you to read this story.

Olga and Helen - Killers

Helen Golay, 77, a former real estate agent in Santa Monica has been convicted of murder. I now recommend avoiding all unnecessary contact with ex-agents, just to be safe.

1 comment

Barry Cunningham is Full of Crap

I mean that in a really nice way. I am just trying to help. Just like Barry is just trying to help Realtors by pointing out various things that are wrong with Realtors,Barry Cunningham-Turd I am trying to help Barry. I mean no insult.  None. And should Barry get even a little bit defensive that would be wrong. He shouldn’t get defensive, I am just talking about Barry MOST of the time since he arrived on BloodhoundBlog. Naturally, I think Barry is wrong about everything he believes and that he charges people way too much money for the mindless, stupid and completely unnecessary things he does for them. He isn’t really a professional, the way he acts. All of his customers could all do a much better job than he does and don’t need him at all and they most certainly don’t need to pay him the outrageous fees he charges. No insult intended. Barry’s business won’t even exist in a few short years, he will fail and go broke. I say this to help Barry. We should be able to discuss this idea like adults. Openly looking at and discussing the idea: is Barry Cunningham completely passive-aggressive towards real estate agents or does Barry Cunningham sincerely believe the half-baked gibberish he writes. Again, no insult intended. None, really. I just feel it is vital to bring this up so we can all join in the discussion.


What Is a Good Free Gift To Give Them?

A follow up email with a question:

You have mentioned to me a couple of months ago on the phone to give 150 people that I know something that would make me go “thanks, that is a cool gift”, and right before I leave turn around and say “oh by the way I am in real estate if you know of any one who wants to buy or sell property, give me a call” (Something around that format). This I idea that I came up with would be giving the a TEN dollar gift card from TIM HORTONS. ( Big Coffee Province loves this coffee) because almost every person in Ontario goes to Tim Horton’s Coffee shop at one time or another.

Do you think that this gift would work for what you are talking about? How do you feel about the amount being spent on the gift or is there a certain amount you should spend?

Do I think it is a good thing to drop off to a hundred people you hardly know? No, not really. Here’s why, first you would – at $10 each – be paying about $1,500Free Gift Inside and a prepaid coffee card would have a very short shelf life.
The list I am talking about is anyone who would recognize you on sight. Not a list of people who have sent you business in the past. For a short list like that, do I think a prepaid coffee card could be a nice thing to give them? Yes, absolutely.

What you are looking for is something that might wind up on their refrigerator or bulletin board. Something that a person might want to keep – someplace they can see it, so they could easily find and and refer to it. Some kind of list. Restaurants, movie theaters, sports events, anything that you would be happy to get. Surveys are the key to stats (what do they really really want?) so normally I would want to find out the answer to that question first. But the person I am “doing the survey” on, in this case, is you. The reason? I want you to feel like it is a good thing when you pop by to drop one off. The entire purpose of this is to get you in front of people. Face to face. They can see you and see that you are a nice, honest person. The list you have compiled and had printed also has your name, number, etc., along with your photo (current only, please). You are reminding these people that you are in the real estate business and a nice person. Your “value proposition” isn’t that you have something free to give them, it is that you are a nice person. If they already have someone they feel “obligated” to they may not be a very good prospect just now. At all. One question that can be asked is, “If you knew someone who wanted to buy or sell real estate do you currently have someone you would refer them to?” You aren’t trying to get anyone to change their mind. You are looking for people who are not “attached” who sort of know you. What you factually would be doing is instead of making cold calls, you would be making warm calls. The dollar value of the handout is very close to zero. The point isn’t to give them a gift, it is to get you face to face with them.

Maybe one of these people you go to see will have a real estate need. Maybe not. But go see a hundred people and you will get enough business to keep you very very busy for quite some time. Variations on this are the primary way most agents get all of their business. The only two ways to get business are marketing or prospecting. If an agent isn’t marketing (translate: spending significant money up front to get business) they are prospecting.

The main thing that “tricks” agents is time. There is a lag of 30 – 90 days from the time you do the effective work and when you get paid. What you do in the next few weeks will determine your income for July. Your April income was most likely determined in January or February. Top agents either have a geographic or a demographic “farm”.

Do not expect or feel disappointed if no instant result. Just go right on popping by and happily seeing people. Don’t stay long. Ever. Leave them wanting more. The cycle is QUANITY, QUALITY, VIABILITY. At this point you are only working on the QUANITY part.


I Want To Be A Lister – The Listing Presentation – The Objections

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

– Niels Bohr, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

About a year ago I wrote what was really part 1 of The Listing Presentation. Anyone wanting to increase their listing skills will likely find time spent on this post Money Down The Drainand
that first post time well spent. I have mentioned the short list of different things a seller might say (or objections they might have to listing) to you. All good listers know these objections and are not startled or thrown off by the seller bringing them up. In fact, great listers know the objections so well that they want the seller to bring them up and if the seller does not bring them up the agent will bring them up. That’s correct. If you already know what they are thinking, why not just address it before they even mention it? It is usually fun to hit a softball when it is a slow underhand pitch.

As the nature of the objections has never really changed it is really sort of silly for any agent wanting to take a lot of listings to not know – in advance – that these are the concerns of the seller. I know that the internet and these new-brand-new-all-new-discount-really-really-low-maybe-even-no-commission companies have changed the very nature of life on earth, as we know it – but I am pretty sure the main objections that you could hear from a home seller back in 1968 were still the same in 1978.  They are still the same in 2008. I am thinking they may be still quite similar in 2048. Just a guess, but if you are planning on sticking around in this business for a while, perhaps it might be a good idea to know how you are going to respond when they bring these up.

As a really humorous aside, there were also discount companies in 1978 that would list and sell homes for practically nothing. Those companies too were going to change the very nature of how real estate was done. Life just wouldn’t be the same anymore after consumers found out about the existence of those lower cost companies. No one was ever going to pay 6 or 7 % again. Not now, not with them here. Those companies expanded and prospered during the hot seller’s markets and then went broke and shut down completely during the later, much longer buyer’s market. Just like now. If you’re young enough you will get to see this again a few more times before you retire.

I believe that almost all long-term successful residential Realtors in the English speaking world have a listings based business. The three component parts of getting listings are: 1. effectively market oneself or effectively prospect for customers (note: these are the only two methods of getting customers – so get good at one or both). 2., The listing presentation. 3., Closing techniques. I believe that any agent who relies on closing techniques has a crappy or non-existent listing presentation.  I also believe that any agent who will not effectively market themselves or effectively prospect for sellers has a crappy or non-existent listing presentation. This stuff is simple to learn. No heavy lifting. None.

As I was preparing to write this post I received an email from Starpower that had some wonderful material on developing a highly successful listing based business. It is from Larry Kendall. I am including the part from Larry Kendall here in here in its entirety, as point 15, A through E covers the five most common objections a seller will have to listing. To become a great lister pay extra special attention to points 12 – 15.


Star Larry Kendall of The Group, Inc. in Ft. Collins,CO offers a time-tested list of 21 questions to ask yourself to determine whether your business truly operates as a business. He suggests that you read all of them and select one to focus on each week.

  1. Your Database. Do you have an operational database of names, addresses, phone numbers and information about your clients readily available at your desk? Do you have a mobile and perhaps condensed version of it for when you are away?
  2. Hour of Power. Do you have scheduled time that you block out from all other activities in which you communicate with your clients/friends without interruption? Do you do this consistently? Do you meet with your clients once a year for a review of their real estate?
  3. Lead-Generation Systems. Do you have systems in place for generating a continuous flow of buyers and sellers? Are you at the cause of what is happening or the effect of what is happening?
  4. Routines and Rituals. Do you have routines that keep you in balance and rituals that help you perform at your best?
  5. Standardized Letters and Forms. Are your most common letters and forms standardized or do you take the time to create an original every time you communicate with someone?
  6. Using MLS. Do you know how to use the Multiple Listing Service and CountyRecords to do an accurate Comparative Market Analysis?
  7. CMA Presentation. Do you have a professional-looking CMA presentation? Have you trained a team member how to put this together (order of pages etc…) in a bound book perhaps, for easy and fast generation?
  8. Working with a Builder. Do you have a system for coaching your builder? Do you have a sound marketing plan?
  9. Finances. Is your financial house in order so you are not distracted? Do you have a set of books that you review regularly so you know if your business is profitable? Are your taxes paid? Do you have a “feel-good” account? Do you have wealth creation on automatic pilot?
  10. Goals and a Business Plan. Do you have clearly written goals and a formal business plan? Do you specifically know where your business comes from? Do you have a plan to build a business based on customer satisfaction and referrals? Do you have a long-term career plan?
  11. Buyer Call-In Sheet. Do you have a buyer call-in sheet and a buyer packet readily available?
  12. Pre-Listing Interview Form. Do you have a pre-listing interview for near each phone?
  13. Pre-Listing Book. Do you have an updated, professional-looking pre-listing book? Do you use it?
  14. Listing Presentation. Do you have a powerful listing presentation that:
    • a. Clearly shows your customers the odds of selling their home?
    • b. Explains how to price their home to sell – and sell quickly?
    • c. Differentiates you from the competition?
    • d. Demonstrates how you add value to the seller?
    • e. Offers at least five benefits that you and your company provide sellers that your competitors do not?
  15. Objection-Handling. Are you prepared to answer the five most common objections to listing? Are you prepared with facts, dialogues, visual aids, stories and research?
    • a. Need more money.
    • b. Commission is too high.
    • c. Do not want to be tied down – maximum of 30-day list period.
    • d. Another agent said he/she could get more.
    • e. We are in no hurry to sell.
  16. Pricing and Staging Videos. Do you have effective pricing and staging videos?
  17. Marketing Plan. Do you have a well thought-out marketing plan and a checklist for your listings?
  18. Impact Opening. Do you have a great opening (your starting script for opening your listing presentation) that:
    • 1. Engages the seller?
    • 2. Makes them like you?
    • 3. Has a bonding statement and/or question?
    • 4. Includes a value statement?
  19. Mind-set. Do you have dialogues and visual aids to help shift a seller from a “price-shopping” mind-set to a “results-shopping” mind-set?
  20. Buyer Packages. Do you have several Relocation Packages and Buyer Packages at your desk so that they are easily accessible when you need them?
  21. Product, Market and Competition. How well do you know your product, your market and your competition? Do you know these three better than your customers and competitors?


I know you were wanting me to tell you the “correct answers” to 15, a – e. I don’t mind giving you some scripts but I really believe that any answers you find elsewhere will have far more value if you have personally thought the questions all the way through for yourself. What seems to make the most sense to say? Why? If you were the seller would it impress you? Why? (hint: the correct answer is seldom going to be, “I really want the commission”)


What Do I Do Now?

Below are two emails I’ve received in the past week. One is from a successful veteran agent in Texas and the other is from a young man from Canada in the business just over a year. Their stories are a bit different but my response is going to be the same to both.


From the veteran agent:

I just wanted to say Hi and wondered how things are going in your market?

Our market has seemed to turn into a foreclosure market and a significant chunk has come from that direction! 90% of listings are over-priced…but one story homes and REALLY nice homes are selling.

Interest rates are causing the market to fluctuate…and the stock market seems to be doing the same thing.

At best my business is breaking even after paying me and my wife’s salary of $200k a year….which I guess is good. If things continue then my profitability will have dropped over 50% this year. We generally NET $420,000 -$470,000 per year on sales of 1 Million.


Much longer when from the new agent:

Hi Russell,

Thank you for returning my call and giving me the correct email address. I have a lot on my mind with this career called real estate and I need a real person who understands the psychology of the business and who can point me in the right direction. With your proven track record I know I can use what you have already applied and take it to the next level, because the company I work and the broker’s are not seeing the big picture that I am seeing and it is a little frustrating. There are great trainers say that “if you want something go out and find people that is doing what you want to be doing, and start to do what they do on a regular basis”.

Just to give you a little bit about me and to get you up to speed on where I am at in my career, and what I am looking to accomplish. I have been in Real estate for a little over a year and my first year Gross sales were $75,000. My Business came from 3 Open Houses, 1 Cold Call, 1 Referral, 1 Agent Duty walk-in ( BUY & SELL ),1 Call Sign, 2 Family Referrals. I started Late February 2007. I was told through my office in June 2007 I was recommended to take a course called the Leader’s Choice Program ( Which is a cold calling course) and I did enjoy the program and I start to do what they program said to do was pick up the phone and call. Since then I have been studying this program for the last seven months and I know the dialogue in and out. I am actively on the phone prospecting, calling FSBO’s but I am not seeing that I am getting anywhere. I know that you don’t get excited about Tommy Hopkins or the man with the last name Ferry and they sound like a sleazy salesman, and these scripted sales people almost always talk to much and not focused on what the customer wants. I figured that if I talk to enough people someone’s is going to say ”yes! Come list my house tonight.” Now after month of prospecting on the phone and going on listing appointments, and getting belly to belly and talking with potential clients it seem likes no one is selling anything at all! Or I am just a really bad real estate agent. It seems to be turning into a buyer’s market in Canada because “Cautious Canadians” are worried about the American Housing market, but at the end of the day someone is going to sell something, and I just can not get them. So I come to you to see how I can turn this around.

I am always constantly looking for ways that successful agents have used to get the results that they have, and use it to get results that I want. I while ago my partner that I work with he told me about BloodhoundBlog and told me there was some valuable information that we could use. So I started watching your pod cast and you started to talk about numerous things that I started to try right away. I even wrote the notes that you put on the board so I could see exactly what you were speaking about at the time.

There was one presentation that you did for conference call talking about how you use the internet to generate leads, and also #1expert and how it all work to get buyers to you see your listings and then buy your listings. After seeing the presentation at my office with my partner I look in to how I could control the buyer on the website. So I fixed my website to capture leads and I started a home buying program called I now needed the internet traffic to get there so I went a head to GOOGLE and set up ad campaigns. I had no idea how to do this but I set them up and started to get pay-per-click on my website.( Which was expensive!) I know you said on one of you pod cast that to generate more business you need more leads. You need 6x the amount of leads coming in.  I set it up with the budget for online advertisings and start to put my listings on free websites to trying to get more leads. After I you mentioned to get more business to pick up the phone. So I started to pick up the phone and prospect for people who wanted to sell their house today. If I got the right price and the right terms I would take the listings, because I am better off playing cards or doing something I love then having an over priced listing. After months of Cold calling and changing my listing presentation to the supply and demand and showing how we get the property sold by using the internet I am still at the same spot 2 current listings as of right now. I am doing a deal every 5 weeks on average. I am so focused on getting business there seem to be none coming in.

I want to become the next Russell Shaw in Canada , and I am committed to becoming the best, and the only way to become the best or the most recognised in the province of Ontario Canada is to work with the best. I will be attending this year STAR POWER in Orlando and will be talking to some of the leading experts, however July is too far away and I need to do something right now.

You have mentioned to me a couple of month ago on the phone to give 150 people that I know something that would make me go “thanks, that is a cool gift”, and right before I leave turn around and say “oh by the way I am in real estate if you know of any one looking to buy or sell, give me a call” (Something around that format).This I idea that I came up with would be giving the a TEN dollar gift card from TIM HORTONS. ( Big Coffee Province loves this coffee) because almost every person in Ontario go to Tim Horton’s Coffee shop at one time or another. Do you think that this gift would work for what you are talking about? How do you feel about the amount being spent on the gift or is there a certain amount you should spend?

The Next question that I have is do you use a canned listing presentation, do you have a process from start to finish during the listings presentation that you use, and what is in your listings presentation? (Could you forward me your listing presentation so I could see it)

What is the best ways to really isolate the buyers on the internet?

Is there internet tool such as Programs, companies, Website Designers, Ad Words campaigns, that I should use or anything else that would work for this effect to capture more leads?

What should I be doing different to get better results? My brokers say I am too hard on the phone only because she thinks that I “always trying to close people” however she doesn’t hear how the conversation is going. She told me she doesn’t like to be cold called so that is why I think she is saying these things.

I am working so hard to work my way up to become the best and the vision I have for the future is bigger then what 98% of what my office thinks they can accomplish. It’s like I work with people that are not that inspiring or motivated to be come there best and that there is always a excuse for something, and I think differently. I know that I can become the Next (YOU) Russell Shaw and that I can one day share my story with STAR POWER and be the one of the leading experts in real estate in Canada.

All I need is a mentor to help me along this journey, and I ask for your help. Will you guide me through this journey?

I am committed to becoming a leader in the industry and I will fly from Toronto to Arizona to meet you in person and discuss what my inspirations are for my future and then there you could make a decision if you could assist me. I promise you one thing that if you take time to meet me I am 100% committed to becoming a Leader.

Look forward to hearing from You!


As you are both with KW, I will start by pointing out something I learned from Gary Keller: your goal would not be to have a good year but to have a great career. There is no one in real estate who didn’t get a big whack by the market this last year. No one. Many companies have gone completely out of business and shut their doors. National discount companies that have not gone completely out of business have had hundreds of their offices shut down completely. Nationally, several hundred thousand agents have dropped their membership in in their local, state associations and the NAR. They are no longer in the business at all. And this does not take into consideration the 1/3 of the members of any given MLS across the country that sell nothing in a year. Read that again. One third of all of the members of the NAR have NO sales in any year. It isn’t always the same 1/3 but the 1/3 is pretty much a constant. This includes “good years”. No sales. The fact that you have survived says something about you. You are still in the game.

So you made less. So did I, about 400k less. My gross and net income was down just a bit over $400,000. I am not saying this to get sympathy nor am I going to feel sorry for you. The company I am with has lost almost 150 agents. They had almost 900 and now are down to about 750 agents. There has simply been less business to go around in 2007 than there was in 2006. My fixed (hard costs) overhead is well over 110k a month. Any month I get less than 110k in net commissions (my share) we are paying for the privilege of being in business. In the 4th quarter (and therefore my first quarter earnings are down, as well) we were grossing around 30 – 35k a month in commission income. We were paying 75 – 80k a month to get to sell real estate.

Oh it’s fun, but not so much fun that anyone would want to keep doing it for long if that part wasn’t going to change.

So what to do? Lets start with attitude. Ignore anyone who says or (even worse, without saying) gets you thinking you aren’t going to come out of this just fine. Do whatever is necessary to get that kind of crap out of your head and straighten out, blunt or cut any communication line that has you “wondering”. It isn’t that all of those people have it in for you but as they themselves are failing, it just wouldn’t be “right” for you to do real well. Anyone spewing failure, succumb or any of that stuff in all of its various guises can be safely ignored. Whatever the activity, if you don’t feel “more up” as a result of doing it or being there, stop it. Real estate offices can be a giant cesspool of contaminating failure. Stop watching the news and stop reading it in the papers. If there is something vital you won’t be able to stop hearing about it anyway.  People, places, things and activities that make you happy – do them. A lot. Every day do something just for you.

Production is the basis of morale. You want to have a high morale? Produce. Find a statistic that you can control. That is vital. Find something that can be measured (number of new contacts, for example) that you can control. Every day work on getting that stat up. Do not focus on the deals or listings you don’t have, focus on that stat. From the Bible, it is Leads, Listings, Leverage. Right now you are only working on leads. Cut out all “lead generating activities” that cost money that are not productive. If it works, keep it in. If not, change the “button” and make it work or get rid of it. You are in the lead generation business. You have no other job.

If you really want to come to Phoenix and talk to me, the very best time is going to be BloodhoundBlog Unchained. I will be there all three days. There isn’t going to be a better time for me to set aside to chat. I will also be at Starpower in Orlando.

But you don’t need to wait. See yourself achieving your goals. Work out specific affirmations. Lots of them. Send them to me. I will do a quality control on them for you. Make them specific and always “positive” and always “now”. Go to Tips for Success and read the articles. Read a new one every day.

Anything that works for you is “good”. Anything that does not is “bad”. This includes Mike Ferry or Tom Hopkins. I learned many things from both of them. Take whatever you need from wherever it is workable for you. It makes no difference what I don’t “like” or what anyone else does not “like”. What is works for you? This includes your broker and anyone else in your office or anywhere else.

ALL of your “problems” stem directly and only from “maybe”. There are three possible answers: Yes, No & Maybe. The problem is always the maybe. Get rid of maybe. Yes or no. In or out. Are you a Realtor? Are you going to survive quite well, regardless of “market conditions”? Well, are you?

It makes no difference what has happened. That is the past. Live in the future. Create it.

Impossible Problem


All In a Day’s Work for Real Estate Agents: Humorous & Heartwarming Stories

Seeing this post on agentgenius made me realize that I had neglected to post this email I received a few weeks ago. If you do pop over to check it out be sure and read the comments, as well.


From: Work Like A Dog Books [] Penquin

Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 3:09 PM
Subject: Realtor Michael Maher suggested I contact you about a project


I recently got in touch with Michael Maher about a book project I’m working on and he thought you would be an excellent person to contact as well for use as a possible source in the book. When he told me you used to be a stand up comedian, I couldn’t have agreed more!

Your assistant suggested I e-mail you with all the information about this funny real estate book project, so here goes!

I’m contacting agents around the country to include their stories in a humorous book I’m writing. It’s called All In a Day’s Work for Real Estate Agents: Humorous & Heartwarming Stories. Think Chicken Soup meets Murphy’s Law. I’ve spent nearly 15 years working with real estate professionals in marketing and public relations and firmly believe EVERY agent has at least one wild story. The book celebrates the real estate profession.

Would you or anyone in your company have a funny, outrageous or touching story to share from your careers? Simply e-mail a reply, letting me know the best phone number/times to contact you. I’ll then call you for the details. The whole process shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.


Realtors with stories included will receive two free copies of the book and local publicity about being included in the book (once book is published). There is absolutely no cost to you.

For complete info., visit Also at the site, you can click the link on the left (ARealtor Submission Updates@) to see which states I have Realtor stories for as well as which companies are currently represented. My goal is to have agents from all 50 states, Canada and beyond in the book. With your help, that can happen. As of today, I have stories from agents in 31 states and counting.

I look forward to hearing about your crazy experiences in the real estate profession. Also, if you=d like to see your state and/or your particular company well-represented in the book, feel free to pass on this e-mail or send the link to our web site, which has all the submission details on it. Agent nominations sent directly to me are also always appreciated!

Thanks for any help you can provide with making this the most entertaining book possible. I look forward to speaking with you by phone. Just let me know the most convenient time to call—mornings, evenings, weekends.

TC McClenning,
Work Like A Dog Books
Seeking real estate agents to interview for:
All In A Day’s Work for Real Estate Agents–
Humorous & Heartwarming Stories


I added the photos so that the email would come across as more humorous.

real estate ad


If Your Neighbor Throws Potatoes At You Is That A Disclose Issue?

To disclose, not to disclose. It is always much easier, in hindsight, to have disclosed. This article, on the front page of the Arizona Republic has the headline, “Home sale lawsuit is over neighbor’s odd behavior“. At issue is whether the neighbor’s behavior constitutes a nuisance that should have been noted on the residential seller’s property-disclosure statement. “She screams and yells at people that are passing by” ,”When my daughter’s in the backyard, the neighbor’s yelling at her and making verbal threats” are a couple of quotes from the current owner. In the Arizona Republic article, according to a police report from days before close of escrow, the former neighbor and seller heard noises in his backyard, and when he went to investigate, found the neighbor throwing potatoes into his yard and screaming obscenities. She accused him of stealing from her freezer. He called police. Yet later when he was selling the house he did not think this was a disclosure issue.

Now I understand that simple carbohydrates are not supposed to be “good” for you, but I like potatoes.

Throwing Potatoes


The Theory Of Sales Relativity

When we upend things in physics these days, it’s not necessarily that the old things were wrong. It’s just that underlying it is a more complete theory. Quantum Web 2mechanics tells us that a ball is made up of atoms, but Newton’s laws still work just fine. You can predict the ball’s trajectory without knowing that the ball is made up of atoms.

Lisa Randall


When I read the quote above by Lisa Randall I knew I had to use that quote to pay homage to this wonderful post by my friend Jeff Brown. What is the benefit of Web 2.0? Transparency. I also really liked the post by Barry and I especially liked the comment by Allen Butler in this thread.

The only problem I see here is simply this: many consumers simply don’t know, or don’t care to know. The whole thing about being “transparent” is great ad copy. However, while we are waiting around for the internet to change our lives, your average Joe is simply looking for one more way to have to actually do less research and less work. The conveniences of modern shopping have led to very lazy consumers. Maybe a Redfin customer would have the gumption to search out the facts & such. Most will not. Real estate consumers fall into two distinct categories: buyers and sellers. The buyers will end up with an agent through sheer happenstance because they don’t know and don’t care.

The sellers will go with whomever is “recommended” to them by a family member of friend. It is usually not until they have expired a few times that they actually start to pay attention.

In a market like ours, the listing agents who get the job done will remain in the game. Those who don’t. . .well, most are already gone.

Gonna go out on a limb here (flame retardant suit loosely fitted to allow breathing room) and say that all this talk of disintermediation and having to prove your value in this new “web 2. . . .world” will not pan out. The consumer is too lazy.

Then again, I’m wrong occasionally.

I don’t think Allen is wrong. I don’t think that what web 2.0 offers is even a little bit new, either. At least not in the “what do customers want” department. What exactly do web 2.0 clients want? What is this unique commodity that they strive to get? Transparency. Isn’t that just a different way of saying, “I can see you aren’t lying to me”? I think it is just that. Customers don’t want to be lied to – not even a little bit.

Yes, you do have to actually have something they want (or need). They have to already want (need it) it or you have to be able to create a want. But as long as they have a choice, they will always prefer to deal with someone they believe will tell them the truth. I noticed many years ago that people who came here from some other country (who could not speak English) who I wound up having as customers had to have a translator. In many instances the person who wound up being the translator was their young son or daughter. Years ago, I had “translators” aged 10 and 11 years old explain the basics in a purchase contract to their mother and father while I listened. I could watch the parent’s faces as the various concepts were being talked about back and forth (in a language I did not speak or understand). From this there were two things I found most interesting: 1. It was actually possible to do this, so long as I understood what it was I was talking about to the 10 year old, and 2, the entire back and forth completely changed once they could tell I wasn’t lying to them. In fact, the main skill they seemed to have developed and relied on the most was determining, is this person lying or is this person telling me the truth. They weren’t nearly as interested in the nuts and bolts of the purchase agreement as they were in figuring out was I telling them the truth.

Over the years I observed that it wasn’t just foreign language cases who behaved in this manner but most customers. They weren’t really that interested in “learning all about it” but were very interested in knowing if I “knew all about it”. And if I would point out the “bad” things right along with the “good” things for them. From observation of this – that once they saw I was honest – it was like a switch had been thrown, from off to on – they would then move ahead rapidly, with no real objections, I was able to exactly identify and change what it was I was attempting to accomplish.

I saw back then that what I was really “selling” was my credibility. Just that one thing. That lesson stayed with me. I have learned since then that the business I am actually in is the lead generation business. In the business of getting and getting rid of listings there are just three parts. Leads, Listings & Leverage. This, of course, is straight out of The Residential Sales Bible. The main hat I wear in my organization is lead generation. In any organization, lead generation, done well enough and in enough volume will pretty much “solve” many of the other problems. One possible problem it does not solve is credibility. It is always vital that one is believable and that the customer feel like they got a “good deal” by using one’s services. This does not even imply that one have the lowest prices, etc., but simply that the customer’s overall experience – in their opinion, was a good one and it was “worth it”. For example, I don’t know of any amusement park on earth that charges more than Disneyland – to my knowledge they are the highest priced amusement park experience on the planet. Yet on any given day, over two thirds of all of the visitors to Disneyland are repeat customers. They come back again and again.  In their estimation they got a “good deal”.

What I don’t want is my customer wondering what kind of Mickey Mouse operation I’m running.

Mickey with logo


Rhymes With Ferry

A couple of things. First, the largest real estate company in Arizona (based on number of agents) is now Homesmart. Homesmart was already pretty damn big but on Tuesday it was finalized – they bought Dan Schwartz Realty. Dan Schwartz Realty was, itself, was already one of the top 3 companies in the state for number of agents. So was Homesmart. It is my understanding that – at least for now – both companies will continue to operate with their current names.

A Little Bird Told Me

And now for the “big” news. I’ve just received a report that Mike Ferry’s coaching business is falling off. Big time. I have long considered him a predator, so I am happy to hear this. His company has had a pattern of high pressuring agents (who attend his free seminars) to sign up for coaching. Coaching is pretty much all he really sells – his events being a giant sales pitch for getting coached by his organization. For those who don’t follow the Mike Ferry coaching advice or who find it unworkable they are in for an additional shock, besides not having all that additional income they were sure to get. If they attempt to cancel their relationship they discover – as they have signed a contract – their account will be turned over to a collection agency.

It now happens that the state of California (EDD) recently ruled that all the coaches (I think he has averaged about 60 coaches at any given time since 1999) he has been paying as independent contractors are legally employees. Mike appealed and lost. Prediction: a big fine will soon be levied by California and I’m guessing the IRS will soon do the same. Also, from the very same little bird: a lawsuit from ex-coaches will soon be filed and made public to recover any money not recovered via the taxing agencies. My prediction: he will be out of money before any of them can collect anything.

Mike, once you see this you can have one of your attorneys send me a nice threatening letter. Here is my contact information.


Confronting Death – The Last Lecture

A very good friend of mine, Gordon Smith sent me an email a few days ago. Later that day, when I spoke to him he told me about when the doctor told him that life_after_deathhe had good news and bad news. The doctor told Gordon that he had incurable cancer. Gordon responded, “What is the bad news?”. Here is a copy of that email:


I just wanted to let you know that I was diagnosed with Leukemia, and had it confirmed last week. The kind of news you just LOVE to get.

It’s not going to kill me next week or anything that dramatic, but obviously is of concern. (I literally just got off the phone with a local publisher who was asking me about writing a column. I suggested “The lighter side of Leukemia.” He laughed, but did not make a commitment to it.)

I want to thank ALL my family and friends because I’ve been so fortunate in knowing and loving you. May I confess?….. I am EXTREMELY fond of you.

I am fortunate that I have so many people that I love and that love me. I’m really not terribly upset by this diagnosis or what it potentially portends, because I HAVE had such great people in my life. Maybe I’m whistling past the graveyard, as they say, but so far I’m doing fine.

I don’t expect condolences, etc. It’s always hard to find words for that sort of thing anyway, and you have always made me feel pretty appreciated. I know how much you care! ‘Nuff said on that count. (However, I do NOT mean to discourage anyone inclined to send a handsome cash stipend.)

At any rate, thanks for all you have been in my life. (The terms love and laughter come to mind. God, it sounds like a farewell, and it’s not.) Just wanted to let you know what is going on with me.

I plan on being around for awhile…a very long while.



It reminded me of a truly remarkable video I have seen several versions of: Dr. Randy Pausch’s last lecture. It is one of the most remarkable videos I have seen. I liked it so much I want to share it with you.


Fun With Spitzer

Because it is so important.






NAR and the Use of MLS in a URL

I’ve written about this before. This is an issue that just isn’t going to go away. Like most oppressive rules and laws this bad rule (at least as it is currently interpreted and practiced) was a sincere attempt to solve a problem. Unfortunately, the current rule creates a whole new type of problem. The solution is the new problem.

Should any misleading or deceitful statement statement be permitted on a website? No and the NAR Code of Ethics already covered that. But this issue – at least as it now stands – is a good example of “an innocent dolphin caught in a tuna net”. The very idea that an NAR committee came up with a restriction for Realtors that our competitors – who are trying to put us out of business – don’t have to follow is just absurd.

NAR will have no ability whatsoever to stop, inhibit, or prevent anyone BUT Realtors from using the term “MLS” in their URL. So why would it be alright to inhibit a Realtor while other companies are using the term and will continue to use the term (both as a meta tag and as part of the URL)?


Here is another letter Steve Westmark passed along to me.

From: Jim Lee

To: ;

Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 10:35 AM

Subject: Fwd: Letter to NAR VP Cliff Niersbach

Gentlemen, Another Realtor friend of mine, Bill Holt who is in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina, has a URL with those troublesome magic letters “MLS” ( and is having the same issues we are.Fortunately Bill has a member of his board who is on the NAR Professional Standards subcommittee, Policy and Interpretation, or some such name. He has talked with her and another long time member of that subcommittee named Ted Kelly. They both seem to feel that to be in violation of the new COE’s Article 12 that a member’s intent would be very important, i.e. are you trying to pass yourself off as ‘THE’ MLS. Mr. Kelly gave Bill Cliff Niersbach’s name who is some sort of NAR VP to talk with. Bill is sending him the letter below.I just wanted to keep you both in the loop since we’re all dealing with this issue right now.Any advice and suggestions appreciated at any time.

Best regards,



I received your name and contact information from Ted Kelly after a lengthy discussion with Ted on Wednesday evening regarding the recently published Standard of Practice (12-10) regardingprohibition on use of deceptive meta tags, key words, and other devices intended to direct/drive Internet traffic to REALTORS’ websites’. I have prepared some information in hopes you will review it and lend me guidance on the issue as it relates to my specific circumstances. I have been on the MLS Committee for 5+ years and presently sit as Chair of that Committee which also carries with it a seat on the Association of REALTORS BOD. Based on how the President reads the Code Interpretation, she has called and asked me to take down my web domain stating to me it is in violation. ( As a 31 year member of the National Association of REALTORS, I have held myself to the high standards I swore to follow each time I took the oath (3 separate Associations in 2 states and several times as a Line officer once as President).In 2000, when I began my relocation to North Carolina, I registered several domains to use in marketing my Real Estate business. I studied and learned about the web for many years under folks like Saul Klein, John Reilly, Jack Harper & Mike Barnett through their creation and energies put forward in many mediums including seed development of and Real Town – Internet Crusade. Jack Harper was the first web designer I used in 1995/6. I have always followed the rules and have always directed those I use in web design and positioning to stay clear of many things ‘we’, as REALTORS, are unable to do as we follow the Code of Ethics we work under.I purchased the above referenced domain on May 15, 2000. I had purchased on April 4, 2000 and on March 15, 2000. I have numerous other domains in ownership; all except are not being used at this time. Through my education from those mentioned above, I purchased the one I presently use as it is short and easy to remember and memorable for my customers and clients. I have never marketed myself as the MLS. I use as an unregistered (at this time) business service mark beginning with a lease on a Xerox Printer I leased back in 2000 when I first began my business on the Outer Banks in NC. I do not use as it could easily be confused as being associated with the local MLS. I do retain rights to it so no one else will use it. After relocating here I purchased a custom license plate for my vehicle with the same letters ‘OBXMLS’ and to this day, I use it on my truck. Within the laws of NC, I universally use the term as a business trade name/service mark.As I stay current on trends and issues in RE, I have followed with keen interest, the issues relative to use of the term ‘REALTOR’ and it prohibition of use in domain keyword/meta tag marketing. Upon becoming aware of the NAR’s energies to prohibit the use of Meta tags, keywords and other devices back in 2006 or 2007, I carefully reviewed my web site to make sure I was in compliance with the spirit and intent of NAR anticipated position. Having found no potential issue with my Meta Tags or Keywords and assuring myself I was not doing anything that would mistakenly allow my site to be perceived as the site of the local MLS, I added a notice on the front page (above any visual line of any size or resolution monitor) of my site stating I was not the official site of the MLS or Association. Disclosure, Disclosure!  [ NOTICE: WWW.OBXMLS.COM is NOT the official website of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. WWW.OBXMLS.COM & its contents are the copyrighted property of Bill Holt, a NC Licensed Real Estate Broker & Member of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. ]As evidenced in the documents attached, any search done by a member of the public, or a REALTOR, will not bring up my site for many pages deep into a search on Google. If you do a search on Google for ‘Outer Banks MLS’ my site does not come up until page 15. That is nearly 148 sites deep, hardly a threat to anyone. The only reasons I can find within my site for it showing up at all, is the above notice on page one, which I am using as a disclosure/disclaimer. There are however, many pages of apparent violations of Standards of Practice 12-10 in the search results. Many of my competitors apparently are using Meta Tags, Keywords or other devices intended to direct and drive traffic to their sites.

One of the early internet friends I made back in 1995, Jim Lee of Knoxville, TN, has a similar site that is used by Internet Crusade in their presentation and training within the ePRO™ certification course offered as a designation within the family of designation at NAR. He was instrumental in my selection of the domain I am presently using. We, together with many others around the country, are staying current and are following all cases on this issue as they are important to our livelihood and ongoing business marketing and success. After many years of marketing a web site to our client/consumer base, a changed forced upon us, by an organization with apparently no legal registration or copyright on the term ‘MLS’, could be considered a ‘restraint of trade’.

I received a call from our Association President Wednesday afternoon. She asked me directly ‘In light of the recent Standard of Practice being published are you planning on taking your domain name down’? To avoid controversy, I simply stated I was well aware of the SOP and that I was incompliance with the intent of the SOP. I informed her I would not be taking the site down. She indicated she felt that as a member of the BOD and Chair of the MLS Committee, that the SOP clearly stated the use of MLS in a domain, was a violation and she would have to bring the issue to the BOD. Our meeting is Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM where I anticipate she will carry her conversation on with the BOD in an effort to force me to take it down. Obviously, regardless of my positions within the Association, I am entitled to due process afforded me through the Grievance and Professional Standards processes.

I carefully informed her that she needed to do her research and consider the intent and actual wording in the SOP prior to presenting her position to the BOD. Unfortunately, I am not perceived to be in her favor as I was a challenger for the seat on the BOD as well as other reasons leading to the belief that this is more personal, not factual. To that end, I choose my normal course and rise above personal issues and act as the Professional I have always been. I then contacted Ted Kelly as he was the Professional Standards Trainer who directed our training in 2007, which I did attend even though I was not a member of that Committee at the time.

Our Code of Ethics is a living Code and is adjusted accordingly as business needs and practices warrant. I have always followed it to the Letter and feel I have done everything possible to represent myself professionally and live by the Code I swore to uphold. Could you please take the time to review the circumstances presented here, along with the documents I have provided in PDF format for your review, and send me a recommendation on how NAR would truly look at the issue relative to my circumstance. The intent of the SOP applicable here is the key. I believe I have complied with the intent of the SOP in full.

Thank you for taking the time to look and review. I look forward to hearing from you after reviewing the issue. I can be reached via cell – 252.619.7010 or Toll Free 866.629.6571 (866.OBXMLS1); or by email – .

Respectfully presented,

Bill Holt
RE/MAX Ocean Realty


Me?  I’m thinking of adding this to all of my sites.

MLS Stop


Save $100 If You Are Going To Starpower This Year

This year it is July 23 – 26, in Orlando. Here is the email I received from Howard. I think you know I want to be a hero.


Greetings to our Stars!

It’s hard to believe that we’re only about four months away from this year’s STAR POWER Annual Conference! Obviously, in today’s market, your fellow REALTORS® need the ideas, insights, and inspiration from top producers like you now more than ever! That is why attached you will find a very special Star Referral Credit that we encourage you to share with as many real estate professionals as possible. It will save them $100 off their Annual Conference registration and make you a hero in their eyes! You
certainly are a hero to us!

Thanks for helping to make the 2008 STAR POWER Annual Conference the most important event in the lives and careers of so many of your peers! Together, we’ll thrive in these changing times!

Have a positively productive day!

Your partner in success,

Howard Brinton

2008 Conference Star Coupon - Russell Shaw

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