smoke-298243_640It’s been a loooong weekend — and not in a good way. Have you ever had one of those days that go on forever? When everything you had planned just goes up in smoke? In my case, it started when my youngest kid got sick on Monday, forcing us to keep him out of school for three days. And then my oldest came down with the super fever, and I had to stay home for the day on Thursday.

And then, Thursday turned into snow Friday, turned into Saturday, turned into the Sunday blizzard, which means no office day for me again today to catch up with my team peeps. Sure, there are always conference calls and Skype meetings, but there’s really nothing to replace a good old face-to-face meeting.

In short, I’m craving normalcy. While many can claim there’s no such thing, I can tell you for certain how awesome it was to actually take a shower and put on fresh jeans today. Not to mention how amazingly motivating it was to trim the gorgeous Swedish beard I’ve been (attempting to) style over the past year. All to then sit at my computer (since phone calls just will NOT happen when you have two sick and screeching kids) and get puked on.


So. I’m calling out to you other real estate vets out there, those with kids and those who are also juggling a ton of deals and multiple businesses or muses at once — what’s the best method you’ve found to get you remotivated and back on track? And have you found ways to do it when you’re stuck not being in your zen place?

I realize there are a ton of REI gurus out there that claim to teach the game. Of course, I know that I’m better than most (hehe). But I have yet to find one that talks about what it’s like to continue to maintain time blocking, prioritization, and executing on income-generating activities when all you can hear is screeching from one kid while the other kid who hasn’t eaten in three days, say your name over and over again.

Now there’s a class I’d pay for!  ;-)

Seriously, though — how do you deal, while working from home or with serious distractions, or kids (who I cannot call distractions since then I’d he labeled as a bad father and then DSS would be called and I’d have to tell them that I didn’t say anything wrong and the complaint came from another delusional blog reader who is clearly bored and needs a hobby), and still stay on track? Or do you give in and let those days roll by, attempting to enjoy and take them as they are? Please share your tips, suggestions, and stories!

And, I gotta go — the other one is calling me. Le sigh.


Ready to give up after your first direct-mail piece yielded no results? AARE Director of Acquisitions and Resales, Rob Reutzel shares that marketing is a numbers game that requires persistence and patience.

The average response rate for direct mail is 2-3% AND that number increases exponentially with each subsequent “touch” or communication from you, so follow up, follow up, FOLLOW UP!

Consistency for at least 12 months is key. So don’t give up and fail forward fast. Watch Rob’s video for more:

For those of you who haven’t met her, Lisa Cerqueira (Primary Pitcher and Wordsmith of Something to Crow About) has been working with AARE on branding and marketing for a little over a year now. She’s a lifelong Patriots fan and sent me this article as an idea for a possible blog post. I’m in agreement with all of these points and think it’s great without any further input from me, so I’m passing it along in her own words. Take it away, Lisa!



Pat PatriotWhile I was laying in bed not sleeping after one of the craziest football games I’ve ever seen, it struck me how much there is to learn from the Patriots that can be applied to business. Here are my top take-aways:

Have a plan
Each week, the Patriots coaches create a detailed game plan, the players learn and practice the plan, and go out and execute on game day. They’re not just out there “winging it” or seeing how things work out. Goal setting and action plans are key to success. Once you’ve set goals for the year, ask yourself “What will it take to accomplish this?” Take the answer(s) to that question and write down what you need to do each month, week, and workday to reach that goal, and you’ve got your game plan. Work your plan each day, and you’ll be building towards successfully reaching your goal.

Listen to your coach
Elite teams and athletes all have coaches, and you should, too. Whether it’s your boss, a mentor, a business coach, or an admired guru coaching you via the pages of a book, find someone who is successful at what you want to do and learn from them. If Tom Brady, 5-time Super Bowl champion, 4-time Super Bowl MVP, is still working with a coach and looking for ways to improve his performance, you should be, too.

Study film
Patriots teams are well-known for their study of their opponents, breaking down film, and detailed preparation. Learn everything you can about your field or industry. Identify the key players, learn their tendencies, determine where you can offer value or support. Plan for common situations and practice how to manage them successfully.

“On to Cincinnati”
Learn from your mistakes and move on. The next meeting, deal, or phone call is waiting and once you’ve made corrections for a misstep, it’s time to prepare for what’s next and stop looking in the rearview mirror.

Make half-time adjustments
And sometimes, the best-laid plans just don’t work out the way they were intended (ummmm, see Super Bowl LI). When what you’ve been doing isn’t getting the results you want (see the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results), analyze the situation, see where you can shift tactics, and put a new plan into play. Be more concerned with the result than with sticking to “the plan.”

Do your job
Be specific about your role in the plan and do your job — and let other team members do theirs. No one reaches the top on their own — surround yourself with the best team you can find and let them do their jobs. Delegate. When each person does his or her part, the whole is much greater than its parts.

Just as so many thrilling Patriots victories are cemented in the final minutes — sometimes even the final seconds — of a game, success in business requires persistence and perseverance. There are no “overnight” successes. The response rate from direct mail goes up exponentially with each touch or communication — if you quit after the first one or two, you’ll never get results from your actions. Prepare yourself for the long haul, and just keep at it.

Be humble
When you close that deal, sign that contract, or shake hands with a new client, remember the team that got you there. No matter how the media turn themselves inside out trying to get Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, or another member of the team to glory in their individual accomplishments, they always respond with “I couldn’t have gotten here without this amazing team — it was a team effort.” And acknowledge the efforts of contributing team members — did someone stay late to prepare those documents, spend hours making cold calls, or introduce you to a key player? Be sure to give praise and credit wherever it is due.

Take the high road
People will say and do things that will upset you or make your job harder. Do not respond to them in kind and, whatever you do, do NOT provide opponents with “bulletin board material.” Focus on your preparation and your plan without providing any additional motivation to competitors. While it might be satisfying to see Tom Brady dis the commish, we can truly take pride in how the entire Patriots organization handles and responds to adversity. So skip the office politics and do your job.

These are the top-line lessons I came up with on four hours of sleep. Did I miss any? If so, please share your thoughts.

#DoYourJob  #NeverQuit #ShutUpandDoIt #GoPats

Keep calm and rehab on!

NoStopSignLet’s just get one thing straight — anyone who’s in the real estate business — whether they’ve done one, 100, or perhaps hasn’t even completed their first deal yet — we’ve all experienced REJECTION.



ScreamingNoAnd not just a solid “NO.”  LOTS of stuff like this:
“Who the *%#! are you??  How did you get my number?  I’m calling the cops!” or,
“I would have to be an absolute buffoon to accept that offer.  Who do you think you’re dealing with?” and my personal favorite,
“I’ve got a 9mm pistol with your name written all over it if you contact me again.”


NoYikes! And then there’s the WORST kind of NO — the one that disguises itself as a YES — which you only uncover after hours and possibly days of follow up — sometimes EVEN AFTER you have a signed contract — where the seller just drops off the face of the Earth. In fact, we just had a deal where the sellers, after responding to our marketing and weeks of follow-up, finally agreed to meet, knowing they had to act before the foreclosure auction date. They didn’t use e-mail, and instead required us to drive to their home (about 40 minutes each way, ALWAYS in rush hour) 3 separate times, to get paperwork signed. And after we got it all signed? Nothing. They stopped replying to calls, e-mails, etc. Frustrating.


Or there’s the 6-unit building I had under agreement, all set to close the next day. The seller was one of those who owned the building free and clear, and just wanted enough to buy a trailer and live off the grid where he could prepare for the apocalypse. He wanted NO US dollars at closing — instead, we had to pay him $15K in gold coins that ONLY “Jeffrey down the street at ABC Coin Store can git, dropped in a paper bag with my name on it.” My closing attorney laughed, but we had it all set to go — until 3 hours before the closing, when he had a mental breakdown and threatened to kill his tenants and himself if we moved forward with the closing. Needless to say, I rarely hold people to contracts when they are that extreme.


It happens. We’re in a sensitive business, one where people are coming from all facets and stages of life — elderly folks looking to move into assisted living, divorcing couples who hate each other, children of recently deceased parents who are being bombarded with marketing and spam, people who love THINGS instead of people and collect items that fill up every room of their home to fill the empty void in their hearts and souls (worse – it could be CATS!), etc. and so on.


The question becomes how do we, as real estate problem solvers and marketers, KEEP GOING after hearng NO, experiencing REJECTION time and again, and then having deals that explode and turn into big wastes of time and effort? How do we keep going to that NEXT call back, helping that NEXT person who needs us when it’s almost CERTAIN we’ll be stomped on again and again?


Whoa! Did you feel the weight of what I just wrote? [Moment of silence.]


Ok, first, you need to remember that NEW SELLERS HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR LAST CALL/VISIT. Every single one of them has their own unique problem or reason for calling YOU. It’s up to YOU to find out WHY they need your services — and do NOT transfer the energy from any previous negative dealings into a new call or visit.


RingingPhoneSecond, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CALL. Assuming your business is off the ground and you’ve got your marketing machine up and running (A-HA!  Shameless plug for Complete Dealflow System© here!), your entire week is filled with callbacks. So EVERY SINGLE CALL you get is an opportunity for you to learn. And the way I look at it, EVERY call is practice. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing this for 5 minutes or 5 years, every single call is practice, and you are listening and learning in every interaction with your sellers, who are customer number one.


Imagine if your phone was completely flooded with calls, so that when one seller swears at you and makes you take them off your list, you need to let them go because you have another call coming in from a legitimate person who has already accepted their situation and they know they need you??


Different ballgame, right?


In any event, friends, be it real estate or any other business, we are in the sales business, and we need to smile and hold our heads up high the entire time. Sometimes the only thing we’ll have to rely on is our vision — our vision of helping sellers and the neighborhoods we’re investing in, the vision of our business we want to share with the community, and our vision of bettering our own lives and families — our businesses and missions are bigger and deeper than any amount of NOs or rejection we could go through.


And remember, if you’re here and doing this business as you should, you should feel MORALLY and ETHICALLY obligated to share your services because of how much good they are providing in your local communities. This is another reason why I treasure positive testimonials from my sellers and neighbors so much — when times get tough, THEY keep me going.


You got this. Wipe the sweat, blood, and tears from your face, and keep on changing lives.


Keep Calm and Market On,


~ Nick



I had a really rough workout today — probably the roughest one I’ve ever had. I guess that’s what happens when I go a week or two of no activity and then try to get back into the swing of things all at once. I mean, not that I’m not already an embodiment of men’s physique that everyone swoons over! As I was catching my breath and contemplating this reality, it dawned on me that this was a special year for me.


Death_to_stock_photography_FinallyFree)I wrote down my 10-year work goal, 10 years ago this October. It was a plan I had to become JOB OPTIONAL by 2016 — where everything I planned on growing and doing would finally offset all my expenses by the end of October 2016. In that exercise, I wrote out my ideal day of leisure and day of work, and as I approached this deadline this prompted me to look back on what I had written.


What I didn’t realize those long years ago, is that lifestyle changes, including starting to enjoy life more and having a family would increase those expenses tenfold, and I find myself not quite at that target I set for myself. AND YET, I am super close.  In looking back, I can’t believe all the crap I’ve been put through, the struggling, the successes and MANY failures I’ve had to get to this point — but holy cow, I’m SUPER close to the end goal I made. What an awesome feeling.


This is exactly why I set laserlike targets and goals for myself and my business every January and February. Even if I just come CLOSE to meeting the targets, I have achieved what I set out to do. And what an amazing, almost incredulous thing for absolutely anyone — to visualize something in your head, write it down on a piece of paper, set up an action plan, and literally get it done, every single year, every single month, every single week and boil it down to every single day.


I’m exceedingly grateful for everyone in my life who believes in me and who works alongside me on these goals, and for everything we have achieved together — especially all those who know the struggle, who know what sacrifices have been made by us entrepreneurs, who KNOW the long days and loneliness and the strife when things don’t go as planned — or when your world is completely shaken. THANK YOU, my colleagues, fans, and my team, for believing and for continuing on in our great mission to better neighborhoods all across the East Coast (for now), one at a time.


Death_to_stock_photography_PassionDrive)How are you doing on your 3, 5, 7 or 10-year target for yourself? Oh, you don’t have one?  Make that your first step — get out a notebook or open a new document on your computer and write out your ideal day of work in 5 years, as well as your ideal day of leisure. Once you’ve visualized it, break it down into goals and action steps, which we’ll discuss in a future post.

; – )

In whatever you’re doing — slaving away at a corporate job, slaving away at your own business, working hard to build a legacy, or loving/playing hard with your families, kids, and friends — go seize the day, friends!


“Make it Legit.”  #ShutUpAndDoIt