Turn Holiday Parties into Networking Opportunities!

As the Holidays approach, many of us will be attending parties, events and just being around more people.  Turn these events into ready-made networking opportunities!

Here are some simple questions to ask to be purposeful in your networking:

  • What are your family traditions during the holidays?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Do you have any vacation plans for the holidays or 2018?
  • Are you currently living in your dream house?
  • What is your “Empty Nest” plan
  • Have you seen a lot of new construction in your area?
  • Who is your Realtor/CPA/Financial Adviser? (ask for an introduction)
  • What community holiday events do you attend each year? (more networking!)

Make it a goal to exchange three business cards at each event and follow up the next week with a personal note.  Be purposeful at the end of 2017 to make sure 2018 starts strong!

Go to Funeral once per year

When I was in high school, i went to 10 funerals in four years.  It was very sad.  There were funerals for teachers, parents of classmates, classmates and friends.  I became very comfortable attending funerals and discussing death.  My mom was 100% Irish.  Irish people tend to have their funerals planned out years, if not decades, in advance.  My mom did and we used to laugh about it!

When my mom passed away, I was 26 and pregnant with my first child.  It was very sad.  The shining light however, was the people.  Many people that attended my mother’s funeral were there because they loved her.  And, there were many people that were there because they loved me.  Ever since then, I sort of became a serial funeral attendee.  It wasn’t to be sad or feel sorry for myself.  It was I wanted to “pay it forward” to people.  Giving a hug, saying I understand and sometimes just being there can go a long way to provide support to people.

What was interesting were the lessons I learned.  In attending funerals, I started to realize what was important.  What is being said about that person? Of the people attending, what impact was had?  It helped me put things into perspective.  Hearing the life stories of people made me think about what my life story is.  What do I want my life story to be?  Going to a funeral, at least once per year, gave me perspective.

In 2015 I hired a professional business coach, Michael Regan of Building Champions.  Part of the process when first starting with Building Champions is to write your obituary.  Write out the story you want told at your funeral.  Tell the world what you want said about you.  It was a very powerful experience.  The best part about writing my obituary is how easily it helped me make decisions about my life.  It helps me with spending time on my work to help positively impact people’s lives with simple one liners.  It helps me in my relationship with Chuck to keep our passion alive.  It helps me make good choices about health and being a better mom.

Part of the process when writing your own obituary is to ready it at least once per month.  I keep it on my desk and ready it regularly.  When I go to a funeral, I am reminded of what I have written about my own obituary.  Going to funeral once per year gives me great perspective.  Making choices every day to make sure the story that is told at my funeral is legacy I choose to leave when I am gone.

Funeral once per year

Funerals.  They are a part of life.  I believe that you need to go to one at least once per year for perspective.  When you sit at a funeral and listen to what is said about the loved one it reminds me on how I want to be remembered.

When I was being coached by Building Champions, my Coach, Michael Regan, asked me to go to a special place and write my Obituary.  I happened to have a trip scheduled to go to Florence.  Fortunately for me, I was able to sit in the Galleria dell’Accademia in front of the David and some unfinished works of Michelangelo.

In writing my own Obituary it reminded me to stay focused how I want to be remembered.  When I attend a funeral once per year, it has the same effect.  It reminds me to stay focused on what is truly important.  There is definitely a reminder to “not sweat the small stuff”  and to have joy in life.

Actions ALWAYS Dictate Commitments

This weekend Chuck challenged me to “unplug” for a few hours while we enjoyed a “Day Date” in Los Gatos.  I have to admit that the first hour was a little weird for me.  The next six hours were fantastic!

This experience reminded me of times when my kids were younger and they made a game out of taking my phone from me so we could watch a movie.  That was a reality check.  How committed am I to my closest relationships if I am not truly present with them?  Does what I say am I committed to show up in my calendar and my actions?

How committed are we to our relationships, business and growth?  If we truly committed it will show up in daily actions.  Is the time blocked on your calendar to make lead generation calls?  Do you have time blocked on your calendar to meet with clients?  When are you leaving the office to go home and recharge with family and friends?

Our commitments are always demonstrated by our actions.  Take a look at how you spend your day to make sure you aligned with your goals and commitments!

No Money Weekends!

After my divorce I made a lot of bad decisions…financial, food, alcohol, relationships. I got myself in bad credit card debt. The journey towards financial success started with “No Money Weekends”. The kids were elementary school age and it turned weekends into creative opportunities to have fun and be mindful of financial choices.

Eventually I became financially free and clear, bought house, had success in health, relationships and professionally.

Today I have more money in the bank than I could have dreamed five years ago and am about to publish my first book, Fortune Cookie Leadership. My kids still tell the stories of “no money weekends” and it is still a lesson of creativity and appreciation for what we have today.

Thanks for this reminder Darren Hardy!

Life is about Choices

Every day we make choices.  Do we set the alarm to get up early and exercise?  Do we make time to pray, plan, love, play and be massively productive?  Every little choice turns into habits that lead to our results, both positively and negatively.

How you plan you day is a demonstration to the world and yourself on your priorities.  Even if you don’t make a choice, that is a choice.  Letting the day go the direction of other people’s choices is still a choice.  You demonstrate your commitments by how you spend your day.

Every day you have choices, some large and some small, that will define your day, week, month, year and your life.  As an exercise when I was coached by Building Champions, they had me write my obituary.  It was very sobering and very enlightening.  The clarity of my daily choices was profound.  Am I making the daily choices that will lead to the future obituary I want written about my life?

Make your choices wisely.  It is the legacy you leave each day, that will one day be the legacy of your life.


No or low cost ways to create real estate business

Looking for new real estate clients on a limited budget?  Check out these suggestions…

  • Interview top producers at your office
    • Ask how they got started
       Previous experience
       Who mentored them
    •  What they love about real estate
      • What their biggest challenge is
      • Magic Wand Question…if they had a magic wand to change three things about their business, what would it be?
         Listen
         Take notes
      • Ask if they need help
         Distributing flyers
         Runner for marketing items
         Follow up calls
         Showing Assistant
         Door knocking homes or business parks
         Hold open houses


  • Go meet with Builders in the area (www.NewHomeSource.com)
    • Introduce yourself
      o Preview the models
      o Ask to host a broker preview for the office-coordinate with the Manager
      o Ask to do a Facebook Live video on the models
      o Find out if any potential buyers have house to sell before buyer
    • Ask to be on the list of preferred Realtors
    • You will help to make sure the house is sold so the buyer can get into the new construction home
    • Ask what they do with prospective buyers that do not qualify at that price point
       Can you follow up with them?
       Can you give them a referral fee for anyone that buys with you
       What other projects are coming up for that builder
    • Become a New Construction specialist
       Facebook
       Instagram
       Videos on YouTube
       Go visit 5-10 builders every week and promote it on social media


  • Starbucks
    • Bring business cards & laptop/iPad
    • Go to each table
    • Drop of your cards
       I am a Realtor in the area, if you have any questions, please let me know
       I will be sitting over there
    • Open up your laptop/iPad
       Research nearby homes for sale
       Research open houses that weekend
       Research new construction projects (www.newhomesource.com)
    • Be friendly
    • If you don’t know the answer, take down their info and call them back after to talk to your mentor or Manager
    • Have fun!!

Happy Realtors Sell MORE Homes!

Mentors have hindsight that is your foresight

If hindsight is 20/20…find someone that has your foresight as their hindsight.

When I as about nine years old, my parents invited my Dad’s co-worker, Cathy Fitzgerald, over for dinner.  I believe she was probably about 25 years old then.  My Dad worked for a small “startup” in 1980 called Tandem Computers.  Tandem built mainframe computers, so I grew up with those old magnet tapes all over the garage and cold rooms at my dad’s office.  Dad was in Sales Support.  Once the sales team had identified an opportunity and done an initial needs analysis, the sales support team would come in to make sure the technical aspects of the transactions were done well.  Cathy Fitzgerald was the top sales person at Tandem and in my eyes, an absolute rock star.  I had already demonstrated my ability to sell by the first grade and at the ripe old age of nine, an accomplished fourth grader, I was in amazement.  It was the first time I realized that my talents as a salesperson could be a REAL job!!  Cathy was the embodiment of what I wanted to be when I grew up!  She arrived at our house in a gorgeous suit, she is smart, beautiful, funny, interesting and successful.  My parents treated her like family and she is still a part of our lives today.

Both directly and indirectly, Cathy became my mentor.  I bought my first suit at the age of nine and haven’t looked back since.  My parents would tell me of Cathy’s successes, opportunities to further her career and personal accomplishments.  Cathy and I have met several times over my life and her insight is always appreciated.  She is a success in multiple aspects of her life, professionally and personally.  Her Christmas card is one I look forward to getting every year.  Writing this reminds me that I need to spend more time with her!  Many of my dreams and aspirations come from things Cathy has done in her life.

If hindsight is 20/20…find someone that has your foresight as their hindsight.   If you want to be a top producing salesperson, go spend time with top producing salespeople.  If you want to learn how to invest in real estate, go meet with people already doing it.  If you want to write a book, meet with people that are doing it.  I have never been a fan of “reinventing the wheel”.  If someone has already done it, follow the recipe.  Once you follow the recipe a few times, then you can go and put your own style or spin on it.   The basics of success leaves clues.  The majority of what successful people have done or not done, in their past can be emulated by you.  I have been very purposeful on who my mentors are.  The areas where I struggle are often the areas where I do not have a mentor.

Do you have a mentor?  Are you a mentor?  The best way to learn is to teach.  When you find a mentor that can guide you in the direction you want to go, there is nothing better.  Also, make sure you are being a mentor to others.  The days of the old boys club can live on with one mentoring relationship at a time.  The mentorship of the old boys club are a great example of taking someone under their wing to guide and teach the next generation to success.  Be clear on where you want to go…then find someone that has already been there!

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. “A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. “Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. “Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out”

Win or Learn…never lose!!

I am a competitor.  Everything to me is a competition.  When my sister, Mom and I would play cards, I would use every advantage to win the hand or the game.  In most board games, the instructions include the rules of the game and how play.  I have never read the instructions in any game on How to Win!  Strategy to win is learned by playing the game, learning from others and observation.  This sound familiar?  Strategy for how to be successful in business is learned the same way.

My son, Nathan, is also a competitor.  He has always been that way.  Nathan always wants to play a game, race someone or challenge someone in trivia.  When Nathan was in the fifth grade, he was playing Little League baseball and had already proven himself as an All Star.  The team he was on had some kids who had not ever played baseball.  As a pitcher, Nathan would pitch a great few innings, then the team would sometimes lose the game due to inexperience of some of the new players.    He came off the field visibly frustrated.  I could understand the frustration and I wanted him to be a good teammate.

I was once taught to say after a child’s sporting event, to say, “I love to watch you play”.  In fact, that is the reason you are there, to watch the joy in your child’s face when they play a game they love.  This particular instance, Nathan was not loving the game.  I have to admit that I was not happy with his attitude.  So after he had a minute to vent his frustration, I reminded him that this may not be the season that they win a lot of games.  This would be a season of learning.  Did you learn anything today? Did you watch someone make a great play and learn from it?  Did you watch someone make a mistake and learn from it?  Was there a previous lesson that was reinforced by your performance or the performance of your teammate?  Did you learn how to be a better leader, to be more compassionate, to be a good friend?  What lesson did you learn on the field today?  If you lose the game and don’t learn anything from it, when why play?  Losing doesn’t feel good, and, it is rarely fatal.  Losing is a reminder of how badly we want to win and to test our commitment to getting better.

Failure is part of playing in any game.  In sales we win and lose clients, negotiations and opportunities.  Did you learn anything?  There are so many examples of great leaders that have failed and continued to learn to get and do better.  Oprah, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Anthony Rizzo, and the list goes on to people you know personally.  What lesson did you learn to make you better with your most recent loss?  Are you still committed to your dreams, whether it be to become a Hall of Fame baseball player or take amazing vacations?  The dream and the commitment to it is up to you.  Keep failing, it is the best teacher.  Win or Learn…Never Lose!

Don’t Force It!!

This is for my Dad.   My Dad is a math major, so is my sister, Karolyn.  I’m pretty sure they think I am from a different planet.  My Dad and I look alike and that is where the similarities end. Since my Dad is a High “C”, ( DiSC behavioral assessment) analytics, numbers, black and white, all come very naturally to him.  He is the guy that actually reads the instructions before putting something together.  In fact, I believe he actually reads them twice!!  Once, we went 15 rounds of an “Italian discussion” over my philosophy on a computer program, of “let’s just try a few buttons and figure it out quickly” and my Dad’s philosophy of “Let’s get out the operations manual before we proceed.”

My father is always reminding me not to “force it”.  My childhood memories are mostly with the phrase being used when putting something together or taking something apart.  Of course, as an impatient person, and a child, I had to test the theory.  Usually, Dad was right.  My efforts often resulted in less than a desirable result.

This same moto of “don’t force it” can be applied to sales.  The best opportunities, clients, promotions, etc. are often the ones that seem to present themselves seamlessly.  We have all had experiences with clients or prospects where it felt like wedging a square peg into a round hole.  It just doesn’t work.  Those seem to drain our energy, rob us of our joy and make us question our instincts.  I think the “don’t force it” philosophy can be closely tied to the “trust your gut” philosophy.

Joel Osteen once wrote that when you work in God’s plan it is effortless and when you work outside of God’s plan, it is rough and draining.  In sales, we need to trust our internal guidance system.  Do you need EVERYONE you meet to be your client?  How many clients do you really need to meet or even exceed your goals?  It is OK to fire a client, step away from a bad opportunity or business relationship to welcome the good ones.

Don’t Force It!  Sometimes it is ok to read the directions, take a deep breath, look around and remember that you are amazing.  Your product, service, experience and talents are not for everyone.  They are for the clients that are a joy to serve.  Those clients that you look forward to working with them, even during a tough transaction.  Your willingness to be vulnerable, to share your gift and your wisdom is what will get you to success.  No need to force it.