We Become What We Think About (transcript)


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We Become What We Think About

Classic line from Earl Nightingale—one of the early pioneers in the personal development movement.  I bought a ton of audio tape series from Nightingale-Conant company when I started out in sales in the late 1980s.

We Become What We Think About is a subject Earl Nightingale talked about in his tape series. 

It’s an old philosophy.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”  From the Bible—King James Version

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”  Buddha

“As a Man Thinketh” is a literary essay by James Allen, published in 1902.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” -Marcus Aurelius  (This is going way back, he was born in the year 121 AD.)

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  Hamlet from William Shakespeare. 

I like you to think about what you think about—what are you feeding your mind? 

Who is influencing you?  Those closest to you in your everyday life have a huge effect on your life even though you don’t realize it at the time?  Your family, your friends, your co-workers.

What are you reading and following on the internet?  Facebook?  News?  Twitter? 

What are you watching on TV? 

What are you listening to when you drive?  Radio?  Talk shows?  Music?

What books are you reading?  Are you reading books? 

Do you take time to reflect?  Time to think?  Time to be creative?  Do you just take some time and be quiet?  Let the quiet go through you?

Do you write your thoughts?  Do you write down your goals?  Do you keep a personal journal?

Do you have meaningful conversations with friends or colleagues about your goals?  Likeminded people who can push you forward and challenge you?

Are you part of a Master Mind Group?

These are all questions I like you to consider—

Let’s look at our daily lives and what we do— 

When we wake up, what do we do first?  Of course after making some coffee.  We check our email.  If there’s a work issue a lot of times we jump right in and we get stressed out on deals we’re working sometimes even before we drink our first cup of coffee. 

What do we do next?  Most of us will check facebook?  Yes, it’s addicting.  I am trying to cut back on facebook because sometimes it can be depressing first thing in the morning.  We see pictures of beautiful beach locations where people are vacationing.  This happens to me all the time and then I get bummed out because it’s 10 degrees in Colorado.  Ha!!

I remember when I was younger I would wake up earlier than I needed to and I would read a book for 30 minutes.  Back then I was reading sales and motivational books which was very positive and uplifting.  I feel this is a great way to start the day.  Nowadays I always wake up earlier than my wife and daughters and I write for my podcast and for other projects I am working on.  I really enjoy getting into a creative flow first thing in the morning.  I recommend you try this—get a book which is positive and motivational and read for 30 minutes every morning before you start your day.  Try it for a month and then let me know how you feel.

This is the key—how we feel affects our thoughts.  We need to do whatever we can to feel good and be positive.  Reading 30 minutes every morning before you start your day is amazing.  Do it.

How about Daily Affirmations?  Some of you might be doing that.  Whatever works best for you. 

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”  Who said that?  You can tweet me or post to facebook the answer.  A classic!

Those closest to you have a huge impact on how you think and feel about yourself.  Family and friends.  Family is a little tricky because you can’t stop seeing your Mom and Dad if they are negative but you can try to minimize your conversations about work and what your goals are—nothing worse they being excited about something and then your Mom or Dad says that’s a stupid idea or you can’t do that. 

Same goes for your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.  If they are fully supportive then that’s awesome but if they’re not then don’t talk so much about your work and what your goals are—

The point here is try to get yourself around as many positive and like minded people like yourself.  It’s always good to get a reality check but you don’t want people tearing you down all the time, it is invigorating to be around people who build you up.

I know when I’ve had lunch with someone who’s positive and challenges me I get so pumped up and the time just flies by.  I get new ideas, I get new enthusiasm because I am talking about subjects and thoughts which are important and meaningful to me. 

I want you to seriously review who you spend the most time with outside of your family.  Here you have a choice.  Remember Elaine from Seinfeld?  The episode where she gets new friends who are the opposite of Jerry, George and Kramer.  Pretty funny.  You can do the same, try to make new friends, network with other people inside or outside of your industry.  The key here is to try and surround yourself with people who will improve who you are by challenging you, motivating you, and pushing you to be more than you are.

TV?  How much mindless TV are you watching?  I know I fall prey to watching sports on TV.  I am trying to cut back.  I tape the games and then I can fast forward a lot of the game if it’s not interesting.  Be careful of watching too much TV.  Before you know it your life will pass you by and watching all those episodes of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and Mad Men will not do much to improve your life.  My point here is just don’t go overboard.  Life’s too short.  Make something for yourself and your life. 

Radio in your car?  When you’re driving around it’s a great opportunity to listen to positive and meaningful content on CD’s or now you can even download podcasts on your smart device and listen to them in your car.  A great resource for those of us who drive a lot during the day.

Are you reading books?  I talked about that already.  It’s so easy nowadays to get good books from your library.  There is no excuse for anyone today to not be a reader.  Read for 30 minutes every day in the morning.  It will change your life.

Do you take some quiet time during the week?  30 to 40 minutes and just reflect.  Visualize your future.  Visualize your goals.  Visualize what you want out of your life.  Thinking and reflecting is energizing.  I do this when I can.  I listen to music to help me visualize and see my future.  Radiohead—OK Computer—best music ever for getting the creative juices flowing.  I do visualization listening to music to help me think and create.  When you’re visualizing your future you are being creative.  Visualization is a powerful tool for improving our thoughts and how we feel about ourselves.

Do you keep a journal?  Do you write down your goals?  Do you write down your thoughts?  Journal writing is a powerful way to express your thoughts and generate new ideas.  I know writing for me helps me so much.  If you are not doing it then start keeping a journal.  Try writing your thoughts and some ideas as least once a week.  So easy nowadays to do this since all of us have computers. 

The last point I want to talk about is creating a Mastermind group.  What is a Mastermind group?  Well, it’s not hanging out with people with huge brains like the cartoon “Megamind?”  Or aliens from the early Star Trek TV shows?

No, no.

A Mastermind group comes from Napoleon Hill and his book:  “Think and Grow Rich.”

Napoleon Hill wrote about the mastermind group principle as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”  “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind].”

How it works is you get together with a small group of people, at least 3 is the minimum and to start I would not have more than 7-8 people in the group.  You set out your goals and objectives for the group.  For example you could have a group of small business owners and you discuss and focus—How to grow your business to the next level?   How to recruit and maintain strong and loyal employees?  Marketing ideas on a small budget.  Social Media strategies to build brand identity.  I suggest you meet at least once a month at minimum.  Each member of the Mastermind group has to talk and contribute.  No ideas or thoughts are too silly.  The key is to build momentum by talking and throwing out ideas and thoughts then the third entity—the Mastermind—will increase in power and generate ideas for your group.  I have been a part of Mastermind groups when I was younger and I have to admit they are effective but you have to stick with it and have like minded individuals who take it seriously and put in the effort to contribute. 

Right now Mastermind groups are all the rage with social media experts.  They are actually charging people to be a part of their Mastermind group and they are charging a premium in the range of $500 to $1,000 I have seen.  I think this is bogus.  I don’t believe this is what Napoleon Hill had in mind when he came up with the idea.

Try it.  Nowadays you can create a Mastermind group virtually with Google hangouts.  That would be cool to have people from around the country where you’re not competing with them for business and you can help each other.

OK, wow, that was a lot more info than I thought it was going to be for this episode.

Feel free to email me any thoughts or questions you have on this topic.  Movetocolo@gmail.com.  You can also find me on facebook, Twitter, and my webpage  www.mariojann.com

Talk soon. 



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How to Get Your Buyer’s Offer Accepted in a Seller’s Market

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How to Get Your Buyer’s Offer Accepted in a Seller’s Market

  • Be Professional—you are a part of the decision process.  Listing Agent’s are always evaluating the Buyer’s Agent. 
  • Increase Earnest Money Amount—how much?  Make sure to explain this to your Buyers clearly.  Just shows more commitment from Buyers.
  • Get Home Inspection scheduled right away—some places around the country, they do the home inspection before submitting an Offer.  I would not advise waiving the home inspection clause—I would want all my Buyers to have a right to a home inspection and be protected.
  • Pre-approved with a local Lender with a good reputation—go through the process, not just a pre-qual.  Don’t use a national lender—now some listings specify this in the MLS.  Now I say this but it is very important.
  • Write a clean Contract—have dates tight—meet Closing date requirement of Seller.  Have inspection dates as tight as you can.  Don’t put a lot of conditions in Additional Provisions section—only thing I put standard is Sellers will deliver property in a professionally clean condition.
  • Have your Buyers write a personal letter—highlights—they love the home, love how Sellers have taken care of it, talk about how they will enjoy living it, key is your Buyers have to write it and it needs to be personal.  If your Buyers want to submit a picture with the letter, leave it up to them.
  • If possible deliver the Contract and Earnest Money Check personally to Listing Agent. This will make your Offer stand out since everyone else is emailing Contracts nowadays.
  • How can you beat a cash offer?  Cash Buyers can be flaky and change their mind very easily.
  • The art of over bidding—How much more should your Buyers bid if they want the house?  Has to be a game changer.  If your Buyers over bid then they might have to make up difference between sale price and appraisal price.  Be prepared for this—happening a lot now.   Happened to me with a Builder this year and a number of my deals over the summer there was a difference between sale price and appraisal because market was getting ahead of supporting data—sales.
  • Be professional and calm during the negotiation process.  Have you seen the movie? Argo.  Ben Affleck’s character is awesome.  Calm under fire.  Gives confidence to those around him.  You want to be like that with your Buyers and interacting with other Agent.  Never lose your temper or get snippy with other Agent.
  • Important for your Buyers to show commitment to buying house.  What is most important to Sellers?  They want the best price and terms but they also want a committed Buyer who will not terminate contract.  This is the worst thing which can happen to the Seller because they lose a lot of momentum from their new listing frenzy and when a contract is terminated most people think it’s because of the inspection.
  • If your Offer is accepted then make sure to follow up with items with the Listing Agent and your Buyers.  Post Sell your Buyers and reinforce they made the right decision. Everyone has buyer’s remorse.

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New Realtors: How Do You Choose the Right Real Estate Company to Work For?

How do you choose the right real estate company to work for? 

This is the most important decision you will make as you start your real estate career.  Your choice can end your career before it even starts if you pick the wrong company to work for.  The first two years being a Realtor are the most important.  You are building the foundation for your business.  I know when I first started I was fortunate to work for a good company and I was busy, I closed deals, I had clients.  I was able to start building the snowball for my business.  But I am meeting a lot of new Agents who are in a bad situation and unfortunately they are thinking of quitting in their first year which really disappoints me. 

What I am going to discuss is applicable to new Agents and to Agents who need to switch companies in the future or maybe right now.   

What are the most common mistakes Realtors make when choosing a company?  These are the three biggest mistakes in my opinion.  — 

1.  They focus too much on the pay structure and splits.  This is important but in the first two years you need experience, you need training, you need mentoring, you need support, you need guidance, you need a company that stands behind you, you need a Managing Broker who is available to help you when you need help.  Let’s say you negotiate a great compensation plan and you get a split of 75%.  Well, 75% of nothing is still nothing.  I want you to seriously think about this.  You need to work for a good company which can help you build business for the long-term.  Yes, I get it, money is important but you if you jeopardize your entire career for short term gain then what’s the point.  Big picture, in a job you earn money and learn skills.  Early on as a Realtor you need to learn and acquire skills—much more important in the long run than focusing on just making money the first year.

2.  They end up working for a company where they know someone personally and they don’t research the company and the Managing Broker properly.  Just because you’re referred or you know someone working at a company does not mean the company is right for you. 

3.  They don’t realize they have options and choose the first company that WANTS them. You have leverage.  Companies want you. You have choices. Always remember this. 

Here are 7 tips on the type of companies to avoid: 

 1.  An office where the Managing Broker is not active in the business.  I feel it’s ideal to have a Managing Broker with experience and expertise in the business.  If you are talking to a company and the Managing Broker is not coming to work every day then run away!!!!

2.  A small office with only a handful of Agents.  I feel when you start out it’s best to be in an environment where you have other active Agents who are doing deals helping Buyers and Sellers.   One of the best ways to meet new customers is through hosting an Open House and if the office is small and only has a few listings then this is not good for you as a new Agent.

3.  The office has a bunch of Agents but none of them are doing transactions.  Find out during the interview how the other Agents are doing.  How many transactions are they doing?  You want to be in an office where there is energy and business happening.  You don’t want to be in a dead end office and company.

4.  The company has no website or digital presence.  Ask if other Agents are getting leads from the internet in some way?

5. Ask about floor time—how productive is it?  If there is not much activity then be aware.

6.  The company has no formal training or mentoring program for new Agents. They believe in the “shadow” system of just following experienced Agents. This does not work at all for new Agents.  An Agent who has been in the business for 20+ years can’t help new Agents because they have an established business through their sphere and get a lot of business from repeat customers and referrals.  The only value here is learning the process of being a Realtor going from the Offer/Contract stage all the way to the closing.  But new Agents need to learn and focus on generating new business.

7.  The selling style of the Broker does not fit your style—if I had to work for a Broker who mandated cold calls to FSBO’s and expired listings, door knocking neighborhoods and calling people in my sphere constantly I would have hated it. This type of selling does not fit my personality, for better or for worse, I am not wired that way anymore. I did my fair share of cold calling in my early years of selling when I got out of college.

This is what you need to look for in a company—I have 11 bullet points.

1.  An active Managing Broker. Are you getting the point? I don’t know how many times I have said this.  I have been a Realtor since 2003 and I still go to my Managing Broker for advice, to talk strategy and review contract issues.  It’s great having someone you can rely on for help and guidance and for me it’s nice to just talk things out sometimes on complex situations.

2. They have to have a training and mentoring program for new Agents.  This is an absolute must have!!  Real estate school is great teaching you how to pass the real estate exam but you need training on how to succeed and build your business as a Realtor.  I am currently teaching a two day class for new Agents in our offices.  This is a great value.  What type of ongoing training and mentoring is provided?  This is so important.

3.  Find a company where other Agents in the office are supportive and helpful.  Real estate is an individual sport but you want to be in office where other Agents are willing to help you.  What type of office camaraderie do they have?  Do they do fun events as an office to build cooperation and a team atmosphere?  For example, our office in Louisville has an annual Bocce Ball tournament—which I have won in the past—we get together at our local city park—a Lender supplies lunch and we all play and have fun.  It gets pretty competitive—you know how Realtors are.  Our company always has a Holiday Party and we have at least 2-3 Professional Development days where our company, RE/MAX Alliance, brings in national speakers—recently we had Richard Robbins come to our meeting in Denver and he was awesome.

4.  Admin and Office staff supporting the Agents with filing contracts and other day to day activities.  Again, this is so important because you’re new and the office staff is so helpful in getting you through the paperwork process on Contracts.

5.  A good local reputation and ideally a national brand recognition.  One of the things I love about working at RE/MAX is we have national advertising which supports my direct marketing.

6.  How is floor time?  Do Agents get calls or walk-ins? How busy is it?  It would be nice to work for a company where you get practice working the floor and also get new business from.

7.  A company which has a digital presence.  Good website.  Will you get leads from the internet?  Do they offer you a personal Agent page?  This would be ideal.

8.  Physical office space looks professional and presentable.  Access to conference rooms for meeting your clients.

9.  A good printer, scanner and wi-fi.  A must have nowadays.

10.  Is the office easily accessible for clients to come meet you?

11. Lastly, don’t worry about getting a big office for yourself.  As long as you get a cube or a desk that is sufficient but make sure to get your own space so you can come to work every day.  This is very important, when you’re new I feel you need to work at the office and not work from home.  You learn so much from experienced Agents and the office staff which you will not get from working at home. 

OK, that’s it.  Thanks for stopping by and good luck.

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Find Your Marketing Groove as a Realtor

Climber on the summit of a rock spire after a successful ascent.

Find Your Marketing Groove as a Realtor 

The other day I attended a webinar on Social Media for Realtors.  It was interesting and there was a lot of information coming across the screen.  I wanted to see how all of the material was presented to Realtors.  After about twenty minutes I was overwhelmed by all of the social media programs that are out there today.  It’s mind boggling how many programs are available for us in the real estate business to market our companies, ourselves, our business, our listings and our services.  As I sat there taking it all in I had a mini epiphany.  How in the world can one Realtor and especially new ones use ALL of these programs?  It’s just too much. 

Here’s the list of programs out there today, and in no particular order:  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Google +, and LinkedIn.  These are the biggies, there are many more new ones popping up.   

Then you need to blog, the most popular choices there are ActiveRain, WordPress and Tumblr.   

And to top it off you need to have your own website.  

In addition to social media you have to do Sphere Marketing to everyone you know to generate business and get referrals.  And once you get past your first year you need to stay in touch with past clients for referrals and repeat business down the line.  Sphere marketing is the heart of any Realtor’s marketing tool kit since 70-80% of your business comes from this area. 

Other marketing you will be doing are direct mail, networking, phone calls, door knocking and canvassing neighborhoods for some, newsletters, and leaving goodies at the door. 

Wow!  Is all I can say.  It is overwhelming.  Can any of us do all these forms of marketing?  Especially if you are an individual Realtor working on your own—a lot of us are not on a team and don’t have a personal assistant.  In reality it’s really impossible for us to do all of these forms of marketing in addition to our responsibilities of being a day-to-day Realtor helping Buyers, helping Sellers, submitting Offers, reviewing Offers, negotiating, doing deals and holding deals together.   

So what do you do, especially if you’re new?  I believe you just have to take it one step at a time and here’s the best advice I can give you. 

Try to map your marketing up with your innate talents and abilities.  For example I am comfortable doing YouTube videos, I can talk in a relaxed and informative manner and develop a relationship with a potential customer through my videos.  But nowadays I don’t like to do hard core prospecting so I don’t canvass neighborhoods by knocking on doors—not that it’s a bad idea it just doesn’t fit my style anymore. 

Maybe you are an above average photographer.  You have an eye for taking great pictures.  Then you can focus your marketing efforts on Instagram and Pinterest. 

Or you love to write and have a real talent for writing interesting posts and articles.  Then a blog is the area for you to focus your marketing activities. 

Each of the marketing options we have as Realtors can match up to our strengths based on our life experience. 

Another thought is maybe you love taking videos of the outdoors—that is a great fit for YouTube.  Potential customers love to see videos on local places such as parks, lakes, beach, mountains, schools, local events, etc. 

What is great today about social media marketing is they can all tie in together—you can take pictures of your area and you can post the pictures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Your Blog, Your Website.  YouTube videos are highly portable on all of the social media sites and you can take the embed code from a YouTube video and post it directly to your blog. 

The other benefit of all of these social media sites when you post pictures, videos and the written word is they are easily accessible on mobile devices and this is where more and more people today are reading and following content providers.  You have to make sure the content you are creating is available on mobile devices.   

So what do you do if you need to start on creating a social media marketing plan for yourself?  A lot of new Realtors need to do this as well as many experienced Realtors who need to create one.  You’d be surprised at the number of Realtors who have been in the business for over ten years do not have a strong presence on the internet.  For them they can get by with marketing to their past clients and people they know in addition to their traditional marketing methods through direct mail, personalized cards, customer appreciation parties and leaving goodies at the door. 

Here’s my advice to any Realtors looking to build a presence online today—create a step by step plan, starting with the easiest and doing it all for free.  A quick point here is you need to have a philosophy online of providing valuable information for your target audience.  I talk about this in my book and my videos.  “Content Marketing” is the popular term nowadays.  The best book out there on content marketing is:  “Launch” by Michael Stelzner.  An easy book to read and it’s filled with tons of valuable advice and tips on how to create and build a strong content marketing program.  OK, here’s my list on developing a digital presence to start today. 

  • Create a Facebook business page for yourself.  Get your company logo up there.  My advice to you is to have a nice picture of yourself and pictures of the area in your territory.  Make sure to fill out the “About” section on you and your business—make sure to personalize it, this is where you get to shine as an individual.  Remember real estate is a relationship business so you have to put yourself out there.  Everybody has a story to tell about themselves.  This is how you will connect with people.  Then start posting some useful links on the area.  Once you start getting listings you can post the listing links on your fb page.  Another feature to look for in fb is “Groups” for the area you live or the area where you will work.  I am seeing “Groups” pop up for cities and towns.  Join them on fb and follow the posts and contribute when you can—don’t try to sell yourself, just be a resource.
  • Second, I’d create a Pinterest page.  This is very easy to do and Pinterest is an awesome program for Realtors.  I have to confess I need to use it more because it’s perfect for real estate.  Post pictures of your area, have a board for Open Houses you hold and others in the area, create a board on decorating tips, remodeling tips (before and after), staging tips, local events, and there are so many more boards you can create.  Great thing about Pinterest is you can post pictures and links on your board.  You can add value by posting valuable content on your boards for your target customers.  Now if you don’t know how to use Pinterest then get on it.  There are a lot of free resources out there to help you learn how to use it effectively.
  • I’d create a blog where I can post my content to on a consistent basis.  You have different options here.  ActiveRain, but it costs money to join and have a blog.  WordPress—very easy to use and it’s free unless you want to create your own URL which is a minimal cost.  Tumblr—a very popular blog site now for Realtors.  I use WordPress and I am very happy with it.  You can easily create a blog and it will also look like your website with the templates they have.
  • Now if you’re just starting out then the first three are sufficient to get going.  Once you get going then you need to start creating content on YouTube.  This to me is HUGE.  Then I suggest you start using Instagram to post pictures of your area and your market.  Great thing about Instagram is that it’s owned by Facebook so it will be a platform which will continue to grow in the future.
  • The last point I want to make about your marketing is to not forget about your sphere—especially you newbies!!  The great thing about building your presence online is that it will help you connect and stay more connected with your sphere—all the people you know, past customers, current customers, people in your network.  You will notice over time you sphere will get bigger as a result of your work online.  

Good luck.

I hope this helps, especially those of you who are new to social media. You have to start slowly and build it over time.  Don’t let all of the programs out there intimidate you.  Stay with it, the more content you build the more visible you will become and the more value you will add to your potential clients.

Over time I will talk more about social media but this is a great start for you.

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Testimonial–Buyers Moving from California to Colorado

Hamid and Rebecca


“Mario has been a fantastic realtor.  Thoughtful, thorough, giving guidance and mastery in the negotiation process at just the right times.  We got our house, truly, because of Mario.  We began looking in Boulder.  We were attracted to specific areas, and moving from out of town, we started with attention to areas we thought we wanted, but with time, our eyes go wiser.  Mario worked with us throughout this time.  The community that we are now excited to be a part of – the wonderful combination of a relaxed, invested community with all of the beauty of the area – is Louisville.

Mario worked with us over 2 years, for multiple visits, while we began exploring of moving.  Once we were ‘ready’ to really look in Fall 2014, we had our house within two weeks (two visits).  He worked deftly through the negotiation, guiding us to a grounded position.  This was something I did not think was possible with real estate.  My husband and I felt like we were entirely clear.  Mario negotiated with a position of integrity and honesty.  We got the house with two offers on the table, due to our clarity and his wise-compassionate negotiation approach.

In the end, our offer was $10K below the other, and it was the way we did the offer and process that made the difference.  We couldn’t be more happy and satisfied.  The sellers are very satisfied too, and they confirmed all we thought.  Mario helped us materialize deeper than a property-financial transaction.  He is masterful, exceptional, and authentically someone who can make things happen.  Very happy to recommend him.”

Rebecca and Family:  Moving from the Bay Area in California to Louisville, Colorado

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