New Book Review – The Golden Handoff: How to Buy and Sell a Real Estate Agent’s Business

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This is the first real estate agent/sales/business book I have picked up and thought:

“This is a truly novel concept.”

There are some great ones out there, suggested both in my book, and in my media.  But the entire topic of this book has not been covered yet.  More impressively, I thought the idea was a “unicorn;” I didn’t think the concept itself was possible to successfully execute (honestly, before this book I flat out scoffed at the idea).  Now, I am revisiting my business plan in perfect time for the 2016 selling season.

The concept, handing off or annexing someone else’s real estate business, is obviously attractive for both parties:  “If you retire, I take your customers, and I pay you a referral.”  In practice, though, the customer, the most important part of the business, can decide not to participate!

I am excited to have a handbook for something I haven’t done, which this author has, which offers real income results.  I am also ecstatic to have it early in my career (mid-thirties), so I can game plan this strategy moving forward.

Additionally, though the real estate market is hot currently, this won’t last.  The next time we have a market disruption, the attrition rates, sadly, will be very high.  This has me thinking about how to best leverage the great work, time, and energy of others into success for customers, and, myself.

Without spewing hyperbole, which this book doesn’t, the concept, writing, design, flow, and usability of this book all score “A’s.”  Maybe I will have Nick Krautter, the author, take over my business someday.  I recommend this book as one of the five “must reads” in modern real estate literature.  Enjoy!

Author Site:

Buy on Amazon.

The Value of Vacation

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On September 26, 2015, last week, I sat on a bed in the Flagstaff, Arizona Doubletree Hotel and swiped my iPhone to the right.  I turned it off.  For eight days.

Having it on in the depths of the Grand Canyon atop the emerald green Colorado River would have done me no good, however.  There is absolutely no cell service, not to mention litter, civilization, human made sound, or even shelter down there.  Last night was my first night in a shelter of any kind for over a week; I did not even use a tent (nor did any member of my twenty-six person party).

Smart phone technology, thankfully, gifts us virtually unlimited access to connectivity.  Ironically, if used without discipline, it will disconnect you from yourself.  We now find ourselves with a dilemma before our vacations — “Do I take my phone, or not?”  Subsequently, we have created two types of vacations, connected, and, free.  The first type, I would argue, is not a vacation.

The science regarding uninhibited, constant use of smart phone technology is in, and, is indisputable:

  1. Multi-tasking makes you work slower, not faster.
  2. Multi-tasking leads to worse, as opposed to better, decision making.
  3. Uninhibited, constant cell use causes damaging physical stress.
  4. Breaks from work, including cell use, are a mandatory part of overall physical health.  Longer, more routine breaks (one week plus) are a vital part of this equation.
  5. Reliance on electronic communication weakens, not strengthens, the quality of your most important personal and business relationships.

Oftentimes, particularly in real estate, we believe we (“I”) are the only people who can handle a situation correctly, assuring the closing.  We drift into thinking our customers want our service only, and, that they do not want us to vacation.

Do you know how many millions of real estate transactions will close this year?  Certainly, this will happen with, or without, your distinct constant connection to the industry.  To believe we are the only people whom can handle things, or, that our customers only want us, is intensely arrogant.  The real estate market moves on, with or without us, as does our personal business:

  • I left with nine deals in escrow scheduled to close.
  • In my absence, one closed.
  • All other eight stayed in contract, two of them passing inspection (without me).
  • My wonderful substitute sold two homes for me.
  • Upon my return, all my deals were solid, one had closed, and two more had sold.

(Maybe I should leave more!!!)

Vacations, and here I am referring to those without your phones, are mandatory for your health, optimal success, and the contentment of your life.  Defiance of this set of facts is egotistical, physically damaging, and just plain silly — Doesn’t everyone want to vacation more?

To say a vacation will somehow give you another deal, or two, or more closings, or, more leads, is not only difficult to quantify, it’s also the wrong idea in it’s essence.  We don’t vacation solely or more business or more relaxation or for sharper minds; we vacation because without enjoying and marking our lives with time off and celebration with our loved ones, there’s not anything important to work for.  Vacations are invaluable, both to your business, but, more importantly for your life.

If you can’t leave your phone behind, start with a trip down the Grand Canyon.  You have to drop your phone, and be swallowed into a peace that leaves unchangeable and vital markings on your intellect.

Here’s the trip we took:


What is my Competitive Advantage?(!)

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What’s wonderful about writing, blogging, and/or journaling, is that it forces you, amongst other things, to consider clear answers for yourself — After working on the topic of competitive advantages (, I had to think, well, what is my true competitive advantage?  What can I really show a customer that other people can’t/don’t attempt to offer?  Why should they really use me?

The answer is a function of what I look for in people I do business with, and, I think, what a lot of people look for:


Nothing turns me off more, when I am shopping for a service, than someone who is not focused on truly listening to me with the intent of understanding me.  They might be giving me lip service.  Maybe they interrupt our conversation to use their phone.  Maybe I can hear them typing emails while they chat with me on the phone.  All of these immediately raise my guard to hiring someone.


  1.  I never use or answer my phone during meetings.
  2. I ask multiple clarifying questions (to the customer – “Can you please explain what you mean by ‘quick sale?’ How ‘quick’ is ‘quick’ to you?”)
  3. I show respect for their concerns, no matter how “weird” their concerns are.

The end result, from these and other factors, is that people feel, and truly are, cared about.  This is simply what I look for in my service providers!  Does this person listen to me, understand what I am saying, and incorporate it into what they are trying to sell me?

What’s amazing about listening is that it is a free competitive advantage.  It does not require paid advertisements, comprehensive understanding of complicated technology, or inclusion in seemingly elite social groups.  Yes, it’s important to be in tune with the reality of how your marketplace works.  But, this is less important to the customer than hiring someone that understands their distinct emotions and needs.

Good luck!

Cell Phone Management

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I ran into my first real estate trainer, whom I truly respect, at Red Robin last week.  I was having a late dinner with my family, and he approached my table and said:

“What, you can’t answer my call?  I called from my table to give you a hard time!”

“I don’t have my phone on me, so you just made a funny ringing noise in an empty car.” I replied.

While this made for a laughing moment amongst us, it spoke to the main “law” he had given me about ten years ago with regard to selling real estate — to always answer your phone.  To this law, I told him:


Then and now, I do not take my phone into restaurants or on vacation.  Or, while walking with my mom, or in the gym.  In fact, I screen most of my calls.  The science is not in question: Being “connected” all the time is not healthy, productive, and necessary for success.  Here are the main reasons I manage my cell phone use:

1.  I am in charge, not my phone.  One day I won’t be with my family, them or I having passed, and on that day, I don’t want to think about all the dinners I spent texting other people.

2.  Multi-tasking, including using your phone, and, bouncing in between tasks, has proven over and over again to produce worse results and more mistakes.  When we are dealing with real estate, these mistakes cost people their life’s work and savings.

3.  Big topics require attention and time.  Who likes the feeling of a service provider wanting to get off the phone with you?  No one.  Who likes it when a service provider is frantically doing other things while they discuss big money with them?  Again, not many people I know.  The truth is we need relaxed and intelligent conversation to understand and direct financial decisions, not trite, short, forced dialogue.

4.  I get way too many sales calls (and you do to!).  Title and escrow companies, lenders, more sales calls –I know you get them because I get dozens per week.  I simply don’t like wasting time on them, or, the awkward interchange with salespeople (whom I respect because I am one!).

5.  It makes it very hard to relax.  Once you get going in real estate, you have 10-40 customers who can and will contact you around the clock.  There is simply no way to relax if you respond immediately to all of this contact!  Relaxation, stillness, and peace are necessary parts of a healthy life.  These customers chose you to be smart, deliberate, and honest, and there is no way to do this if you are “on” all the time.

Generally speaking, business people want meaningful conversation the same day, or within a day, of leaving a voicemail.  Simply setup an office system whereby you can intelligently direct people in the biggest financial moves of their lives.

Doing it with ranch on your fingers in a Red Robin might not be the best way.

Happy Labor Day (Leave your phone at your office!)!




Listing Marketing Ideas

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Recently, listing blog posts have been getting a lot of traction, as have any podcasts I have heard or been a part of that related to listings.  To supplement the fantastic dialogue about “getting listings,” and, to give examples of listing marketing (Chapters 19, 20, and 21 in The Real Estate Sales Secret), here are seven examples of listing marketing you can use, and subsequently show during your listing presentations:

1. Drone photography – If the listing has interesting features and/or land not evident in still photos, hire drone photography for about $250 (email me about the laws regarding hiring drone service).

2. Outbound electronic mail to top agents – Gather the emails of top local agents and send them electronic advertising for your listings.  This both markets your listing, and, develops a social network for you.

3. Local television – This week, I reached out to a local news magazine (t.v. show) that has a weekly spot on cool real estate.  They decided to shoot a listing of mine, for free, because they needed content.  A one-time ad on this same show for real estate was about $10,000.  Sellers LOVE this type of advertising.

4. Local print media – Again, are local newspapers or magazines looking for content?  Find a reason one, or some, of your listings are interesting, and, pitch a story.  I would bet if you send out five inquiries, you will get one “yes,” to write a short story about a home of yours. 

5. Blogs – Reach out to prominent bloggers and ask if they (not you) want to do a piece on one of your homes.

6. Floorplans – I don’t think it will be too long until floorpans are included with all listings.  Get a simple floorpan made of your listings, and sellers AND buyers will be impressed with the amount of useful information you are giving customers.

7. Champions – Develop an email list of people you know will promote your listings.  Then, send them a first glance at your listings, the second you put them on the market, so they feel privileged and excited to share your listings first.

These are just a start!  I guarantee the other agents in your office aren’t using all of these.  Use them as a competitive advantage: Blog on Competitive Advantages.


What is a Competitive Advantage?

By | Agents, Listing Agents, Listing Presentation, Listings, marketing, New Agents, Uncategorized | No Comments

Recently, I noticed a small dead hummingbird laying on a warm concrete paver outside the window of the building I live in.

Raised by a mother who prefers soil to diamonds, I felt pulled to walk outside, pick up the soft little bird, and nestle his innocent green body in a bush as a proper burial.

Have you ever picked up a hummingbird?  I hope you don’t have to.  If you do, you will be amazed at how light it is.  It’s hard to imagine a hummingbird weighs more than a paperclip (although technically it may).  How did this tiny little creature make it through six billion years of life on this planet?

The same way every single organism, and human, has:  distinct competitive advantage (and a little help from whatever higher power you acknowledge!).

Hummingbirds are meaningless in size.  As a result, they require relatively little heavy calorie consumption and are so fast that scientists still struggle to discern exactly how they flap their wings so quickly.  Can you imagine an eagle, the grandest of physical avian creatures, threatening a hummingbird?  Or a lion?  What about a snake?

None of these can come close to impeding the life of a hummingbird, though, ironically, it might be considered the feeblest of avian creatures.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 7.37.17 AM


A competitive advantage is easily defined.  For any salesperson it answers the question: “Why should your customer choose YOU specifically?”

Let’s be honest — there are a lot of good, skilled, worthy, and moral real estate salespeople.  Having said that, you deserve your piece of pie, your sip of nectar if you were a hummingbird.  You deserve your best life too.

So, why should your customer choose YOU specifically?

What have you done to educate your customers about your competitive advantage?

Karri Flatla ( sent me a piece of marketing material that, if she used it in my market, would probably get her a call before me (this is just to say it really shows a high level of professionalism).  In all honesty, I can’t specifically recite what she had in there, but, if I were a consumer I would remember holding this example of marketing skill and professionalism.

Competitive advantage in this case = unique, high quality marketing, the likes of which, I had not seen.

We all have, or can develop, competitive advantages.



Mario Jannatpour?  One of his is HONESTY (

Karri?  One of hers is high quality MARKETING.

All work.  So, it’s not important what yours are, but, that you have them.

(We talked about this in the podcast