My Blog

Astound yourself.

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This month, our Fox & Roach Friday Forum featured Brian P. Moran, author of the New York Times best-selling book The 12 Week Year. Brian talked about his groundbreaking time-management principles, which teach people how to accomplish more in far less time. During his presentation, he mentioned a quotation from Thomas Edison - one of the most well-known, prolific inventors of all time - that I’ve been thinking about ever since: 

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Do you feel regret when you read those words, thinking maybe you haven’t been fulfilling your true potential? I believe it’s natural to feel like you always could have done more. I find it helpful to remember that you can’t change the past. It’s history. You can, however, change your next decision. While we may not always feel remarkable, our potential to accomplish remarkable things is always present. Acknowledge that the potential is there and your goals will feel reachable. Barriers usually have more to do with thinking than anything else. 

Once you’ve acknowledged your potential, what else will help you accomplish more? Think about action steps to achieve your goals. Maybe you want to read a book like The 12 Week Year or take a class to learn how to maximize your time. Maybe you want to identify a list of steps that will get you closer to your goal - actually write them down or print them out to stay motivated. Or, you could work with an accountability partner. This means forming a partnership in which you mutually agree to coach each other on a regular basis. You speak daily or weekly through feedback sessions, where you share wins and talk about your current challenges. Your action steps are up to you, but should be specific efforts that you see as the best path to your goals. 

Even if you haven’t astounded yourself lately, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of astounding things in the future, starting today. Okay, so I don’t recommend that anyone directly compare their accomplishments to those of Thomas Edison … but I can assure you that you have potential and you can be truly remarkable. 

How do you feel when you read Edison’s words? What steps have you found helpful in working to reach your potential? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots.

Control how you react to change.

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The art of life is constant readjustment in the face of change. Shifts in the market … pandemic protocols and how they affect your family, your health, and your business … changes in the political landscape … life transitions … to be frank, the list is endless. It can be easy to feel like you’re in over your head. While we have no control over any change itself, there is one thing you can control. 

I’ve been reflecting on this topic lately, since I returned from a Bright MLS retreat where I heard Colonol Gregory Dimitri Gadson speak. He is a West Point graduate, motivational speaker, and retired colonel in the United States Army. He is also a bilateral above-the-knee amputee. In 2007, while returning from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade, he lost both his legs and severely injured his right arm in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. Colonel Gadson went on to join the Giants as a captain, helping lead the team to two Super Bowl rings. He is now an avid skiier and sky diver.

Despite major changes in his life, Colonel Gadson said that he is able to continue to thrive because his leadership and strength come from his mind and heart. He also made a conscious decision to have a positive attitude. I know that each of you out there may be struggling with different challenges, but Colonel Gadson’s main message is applicable to all of us. It’s this:

Be in control of how you react to change because that is the only thing you can control.

It’s essential to accept the fact that you can’t control that endless list of changes life will throw your way. The good news is that you will always have a choice of how you react. Your attitude will determine the quality of your life, just like it has for Colonel Gadson. 

I hope this message brings a little hope and inspiration to your day. And to those of you currently confronting changes — whether they be internal or external — I wish you strength and resiliency. 

Do you think it’s good advice to focus on how you react to change rather than dwelling on the change itself? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots.

Engage with your community now.

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Community involvement has always been a great way for sales professionals to give back and raise visibility. But let’s face it: it’s been tougher during the pandemic to find creative ways to stand out, reach out, and demonstrate value to the community. However, it’s more than possible to accomplish! Keep reading for my do-it-yourself ideas on how to stay involved and engaged with your community, even in today’s new normal. 

You’ve likely heard stories of “Zoom fatigue,” but the reality is that most Americans are continuing to social distance to some extent. This means that video calls and large virtual meetings aren’t going away tomorrow. So, what about planning a Zoom event or livestream for your community? Team up with other local professionals – health professionals or service professionals come to mind – who will be a further draw for the public to participate and ask questions about various hot topics. Both you and the professional co-presenters will market the event to your networks, expanding opportunities for everyone.

You could also partner with other local professionals to make videos for social media. For example, join forces with a local electrician to create a did-you-know video about home repairs and safety issues. The electrician will market the video through his/her social media, getting you in front of that audience as well. This model translates to insurance professionals, landscapers, plumbers … almost anyone! The other professional will appreciate the help with their marketing and you’re exposed to a broad, diverse audience in the community. Plus, you’re demonstrating value! Another great benefit: Your reputation as a real estate expert is enhanced.

Speaking of being an expert, I have one final idea on how you can engage with the community right now: Reach out to local publications. Contact them with a one-paragraph statement on market-related issues or simply make yourself available for real estate news interviews. Imagine the name recognition and credibility that executing this small action will bring!

In short, it’s important to stay involved and engaged with your community and there are many industrious ways to do it, even in this new normal. So, why not try planning a virtual event or livestream, partnering with other professionals, or reaching out to local publications? You will always be successful when you find ways to stand out, reach out, and demonstrate your value no matter what! 

Do you have any additional community involvement/engagement ideas that have helped you? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots.  

Persuasive communication skills - how can you improve?

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Do you consider yourself to be a persuasive communicator? If not, I highly recommend that you get started on improving your skills. Here’s why: persuasive communication skills are critical to working from a position of influence. If you sharpen these skills, I believe you’ll find that you’ll work more effectively, build better relationships, and navigate disruptions with greater ease. 

I watched a Ryan Estis vlog recently about how to influence with impact. He’s known for his innovative ideas on leading change, improving sales effectiveness, and preparing for the future of work. It inspired me to think about how we can all work to become more influential, persuasive communicators. Here are three ways to get started: 

First, be prepared. The most effective communicators practice and prepare their position of value in advance. For example, when you go to a listing appointment, show up having done your homework and ready to establish a strong position. This may sound like common knowledge, but it is easy to overlook or believe you can just “wing” it. Practice your compelling responses to every question you can imagine. Have your research organized in front of you, so that you not only sound prepared, but look prepared as well.

The second way to become a more persuasive communicator is to ask effective open-ended questions. So, not only should you practice your responses, but you’ve got to prepare your questions in advance too. Persuasive communication can be managed not just through the art of speaking, but also through the art of asking competent questions and listening to the answers carefully. As I said in my last blog, you should always listen more than you talk. Your clients and potential clients need to know that you care about them more than you care about the business. 

Lastly, welcome resistance. If you’re trying to navigate change or advance a new idea, it makes sense that you will encounter some resistance. Persuasive communicators are prepared for resistance and even welcome it as a sign that the other person is interested. For example, in 2020, all of us had to adapt to the virtual world of real estate. In turn, we had to lead our clients and potential buyers when it came to virtual open houses and virtual showings. I’m sure that you encountered resistance — a lot of questions, skepticism, and even trepidation. The persuasive communicator was able to navigate these disruptions to the “norm” with greater ease. 

I hope these ideas prove useful in your quest to become a more persuasive communicator who can adeptly work from a position of influence. Keep in mind that persuasion is a process, not an event. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away … but the results will be worth your efforts!

Have you tried any of these ways to become a more persuasive communicator? Or, do you have some tips of your own? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots. 

Be yourself.

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Last week, our Fox & Roach Friday Forum featured author, social media strategist, and nationally-recognized keynote speaker Katie Lance. Her talk focused on social media because it’s become one of the best ways to engage and connect with both potential and current clients. She gave our agents a lot of immediately-actionable, valuable tips and techniques. When it comes to how you should act and “who you should be” on social media, Katie made a memorable and interesting analogy that I want to share with all of you: 

Imagine that you’re throwing a dinner party and have invited your ten biggest clients. Would you consider sending your assistant or an outside representative to host it instead of you? Of course not. Similarly, you should not consider sending anyone else or any other “persona” in your place to represent you and your business on social media. It’s best to be yourself! Consumers do business with people with whom they can relate … people they know, like, and trust. 

It’s not always easy to be yourself. After all, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a tempting opportunity to bend the truth. Resist the temptation! I’m not suggesting that you act unprofessional or rude … that’s hopefully not who you are anyway! However, the personal brand you build should be fashioned around the real you: your core personality and beliefs. It’s okay to show your vulnerabilities. People want to feel that they know you. You’re not perfect and neither is anyone else. 

Being yourself is also much more sustainable. If someone who follows you on social media asks to work with you or invites you to do a listings presentation, they will be expecting to meet the person they see online. If they realize you’re not anything like that person, you will end up disappointing them ... or worse, they’ll see you as fake and phony. It’s akin to meeting someone in-person whose photo you’ve already seen. You’re expecting them to look a certain way and you may feel duped when they look differently.

It’s important to stay focused on your message: what you love about real estate, what makes you different, tips based on your personal experience, etc. Don’t be shy to speak to your expertise — it’s not boasting; it builds your credibility and lets your clients and potential clients feel closer to you. 

In short, make sure YOU show up to the proverbial dinner party. Remember, social media is a place to build your business reputation, create meaningful relationships, and reinforce who you are and what you can do.

Be sure to connect with me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram so that we can keep in touch. 

Action is power.


Last week, we were thrilled to have author, performance coach, and change management specialist Don Day speak at our Fox & Roach Friday Forum. He talked about how to apply laser focus to achieving our goals. Not only did Don inform us, but he motivated and inspired us as well. I’ve been thinking some more about one of the points he made that day: ACTION is power. 

I want all sales professionals to reflect on that. Your best chance to get everything you want and need is what YOU do. You have enough information at your fingertips that you can be successful at anything you want to do. Knowledge is foundational, but action is power. 

What action are you performing today that will get you one step closer to your goals? Can you increase that action, even slightly each day, to bring you to the next level? For example, try increasing your calls to past clients by one person each week and then each day. Or, for your E-mail campaigns, add five people to your database of contacts this week and increase it by two each subsequent week. These focused actions will prove to be worthwhile over time. As I mentioned in a previous blog, habits are key. If you can turn your actions into habits, you have the best chance of continuing in the right direction. No matter how accomplished you are, there is still likely something you could be doing to achieve an even higher level of success.

This may sound like common sense, but that doesn’t mean it is common practice. Sometimes, everyone needs to be reminded that their future success lies in their own hands. So, activate your best chance to get what you want: you! 

Do you believe that action is power? Share your thoughts with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots.

They chose another agent?


If you’re in the industry long enough, it’s bound to happen. It can be devastating. And uncomfortable. It can make you question both the quality of your work and the strength of your relationships. 

I’m talking about when a family member or close friend chooses to work with another real estate agent … instead of you.  

As a sales professional, your sphere of influence is one of your most valuable resources. You’d like to think that your family and close friends know your value and have your back. So, why would this happen and what should you do when it does? 

To start, I recommend looking inward. Is there anything you could’ve done differently? Were you in front of them as a hard-working and serious sales professional — or could they have forgotten? Take some time to analyze what the agent they chose is doing in their business that you’re not. What could you have done to make sure everyone remembers you as a sales professional? Evaluate the situation and take this as an opportunity to improve your outreach. Simple things that you can do include updating your E-mail signature and making sure your social media accounts prominently display your profession. Also, post photos of your listings and sales. If you don’t have any listings to post, ask permission from your colleagues to post photos of their listings and give them full public credit. Whether they realize it or not, people see these posts and quickly affiliate these accomplishments with your competency. Be the kind of agent your family and friends want to hire, not someone to whom they feel obligated.  

If you’re already doing all of these things to stay top of mind, try not to take their decision personally. There are many valid reasons why a family member or friend may choose another agent over you. They may be embarrassed about their finances. They could fear being put in a position where they’d have to fire you and damage the relationship. Or, simply, they believe that people shouldn’t mix family or friends with business. 

Next, if it’s a very close relationship, I recommend giving them a call to address the situation. If you never bring it up, it could become the elephant in the room every time you’re together. Remember that they will likely be uncomfortable, so don’t approach it in an aggressive way. You might really learn something that can help you moving forward. Let them know that you respect their decision and remain there for them if they have any future real estate needs or know someone else who is looking to buy or sell.

At that point, you really do need to move on. Don’t cross them off your list. They may have future needs or feel comfortable sending referrals your way. Remember that this happens to all sales professionals at one point or another. People buying and selling are excited and stressed; they’re just trying to make what they believe are the best decisions for themselves. In fact, someone you’re working with right now may have a family member or close friend in the business … and they chose to work with you instead!

Has this ever happened to you? If so, how did you react? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots. 

Intention matters ... a lot.


We had the pleasure of welcoming world-renowned technology specialist and futurist Crystal Washington to our Fox & Roach Friday Forum last week. If you’re a Fox & Roach sales professional, I'm sure you remember Crystal - and her creative, strategic advice - when she joined us at a live agent event a few years ago. Her words are so memorable. She made a great analogy last week that I've been thinking about ever since. It has to do with intention. 

Do you remember when your parent or caretaker made you toast as a child? Or maybe when your significant other prepared you a cup of tea when you weren’t feeling well recently? Even though you have access to the same ingredients and can make both toast and tea yourself, the taste is somehow different. When it’s done for you with love, it’s like you can taste the intention.

This is a great analogy to remember when building your relationships. A client can tell in the first minute of your conversation if your intention is only to make a sale. Especially in 2020, it’s all about helping people. As I said in a previous blog, you need to show your value. People want to hear from experts, not salespeople. It’s important to remember this when it comes to all of the relationships in your sphere of influence — prospective clients, past clients, peers, and vendors. 

You can show your intention by keeping other people’s needs in mind and contacting them with helpful ideas that may have nothing to do with real estate. For example, you remember a conversation you had with a past client who expressed frustration with home-schooling children. And then you hear about a new resource or read an insightful article on the subject. So, you share that information with them and include a thoughtful note. 

You can also build your relationships by allowing yourself to be more three-dimensional as a person. This does not mean you have to overshare or be unprofessional. Just be willing to contribute your own experiences and show your genuine self. This is even more important when you’re speaking virtually because it can be more difficult to connect online than in a room together. 

So, next time you’re getting ready to reach out to someone in your sphere of influence, think about that delicious piece of toast or that soothing cup of tea … and remember that intention really matters!

Be sure to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that we can keep in touch. 

Default vs. design


Some people treat life as something that happens to them. When things go wrong, it's someone else's fault. When a transaction goes haywire, when their team falls short, when the end product doesn't quite come to fruition, they are never to blame. They often feel like a passenger in the backseat of their own car, being driven to unfamiliar destinations by an unknown driver. These people live by default. 

Then there are people who walk in and take the wheel. They wake up with intention and know what needs to get done. When something goes wrong, they’re the first to take responsibility. They know that success is a process and are willing to go through that process, realizing it will lead to something bigger. These people live by design. 

Which one are you? 

Personally, I make a conscious effort to live by design. There are, of course, some things that are out of all of our hands. However, it is how you react and recalibrate that keeps you in as much control as possible. 

If you’re someone who realizes that you are living by default and want to change that, I recommend that you identify the areas where you want to take control and work to form habits. Habits are key! Wake up in the morning and have the new activity in mind. And then do it. Do it over and over and over again. Don’t take a day off from it. To make real change, you have to form positive habits. Before you know it, you have formed the habit and reached the goal that is important to you. 

Your dream life might take months to design, but soon your newly-formed habits will lead you to more success than you thought possible. So, get in the driver’s seat!

Do you live by default or by design? Have you ever successfully changed your habits to meet a goal? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots.

Do you have the time?


Last month, I wrote about the importance of showing your value to your clients and how a true connection is needed more than ever. Now that stay-at-home restrictions have started to lift, I’m wondering if you’ve been finding it more difficult to stay connected. You’ve had plenty of time stuck at home the past few months to reach out and have conversations with your clients and sphere of influence. Now, it’s likely that you have a lot more activities in your life. So, how can you maintain that same level of connection …
plus be sure all of your marketing is on point … plus get to each settlement table without any mistakes … plus everything else that you’re juggling? 

My advice is to try time blocking. 

Time blocking is the practice of planning your day in advance and dedicating specific “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities. While a standard to-do list tells you what you need to do, time blocking tells you when you’re going to do it. It’s a powerful time management strategy because it’s designed for focus. 

When time blocking, some people like to place buffers between tasks, add blocks for reactive tasks, schedule meals or breaks, and create bookends to begin/end each day. No matter how you choose to design your day, I suggest that you start with your highest priorities when it comes to connecting with your sphere of influence. Focus on those that are likely to give you a referral or another piece of business. Make time for meaningful conversations and opportunities. Remember to show your value by sharing observations and expert advice. 

We’re all beholden to our calendars. The more you can be in control of what’s on there, the more in control you’ll be of your time, focus, and productivity. I want to wish you the best in this very busy season! 

Are you interested in trying time blocking? Are you already doing it and, if so, has it been successful? Do you use a simple paper and pen or a special app? Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Use #joansjots. 
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