Marianne Cusato—author, designer, and creator of the critically-acclaimed “Katrina Cottages”—is out with a new book aimed at house hunters. On first glance, Just the Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving—Or Just Dreaming—Find Your Perfect Match!, to be published April 2013, is aimed directly at your clients. However, there are some things real estate professionals might find useful, especially in the getting-to-know-you part of an agent-client relationship.
Throughout, Cusato engages in a frank discussion with her readers about what they really want in a house and why. You may be thinking, “Easy for her to do; she’s not talking to real people looking for real houses in a real market.” On the other hand, you may wish to adapt some of her probing questions and prioritizing checklists into your routine with buyers. And this book may be especially helpful for newer real estate professionals, to help them get inside the mind of the house hunter.
Perhaps the most enlightening part of the book is where Cusato talks about working with a real estate professional. She coaches buyers on how to be savvy in their choice of real estate professionals. She also notes how REALTORS® are different, mentioning the code of ethics and noting that they’re likely to be well connected, have a deep local knowledge, and be up on the latest industry news. But she also prepares readers with a dose of skepticism and a list of questions to ask agents who are looking to secure their business. Can you answer these questions? Continue reading »
For as avid of a reader and podcast listener as I am, I don’t listen to books very often. Audio books are hard for me to get into because I tend to listen and do at the same time, be it commuting, traveling, or working out (yes, I listen to podcasts while I run. Go ahead and giggle). And if something else grabs my attention, be it a neighborhood dog lunging for my apparently delicious tennis shoes or an announcement of a train delay, I can’t just trace back to where I was in an audio book like I can on paper.
However, when Macmillan Audio contacted me about the audio release of Ann Leary’s The Good House, I accepted their offer of a review copy. I did not regret it.
Leary’s novel about a middle-aged New England real estate professional is a darkly funny yet touching portrait of a woman and her community. Hildy Good is an alcoholic who is (sort of) in recovery, dealing with a slow business year and her fair share of interpersonal relationship problems. Her inner monologue skewers everything from townie weirdness to politically-correct educational methods to East Coast WASPiness with a wry sense of humor. Yet Hildy’s own vulnerabilities keep her brash observations from taking over the story. And as the novel delves into the literary worlds of mysteries and thrillers later in the story, Hildy’s voice is a constant–if unreliable–witness.
For how down-to-earth and practical Hildy is, she has a whimsical side. The undercurrent reference to her persecuted female predecessors, whether they are victims in the Salem witch trials or her misunderstood bipolar mother, puts an interesting twist on Hildy’s “mind reading” parlor tricks and her perceived second-class status as a recovering alcoholic. Continue reading »
It seems that whether you hate continuing education (CE) credits with a passion or you’re a card-carrying member of the Raise the Bar group, you’d agree that good real estate training is hard to find. I hear brokers and sales associates alike complain bitterly about the educational dearth on both the giving and the receiving ends.
“The average real estate training program is no program,” a trainer and former real estate professional told me recently. They went on to say that associates generally don’t try to fill the gap themselves, either, usually because they feel like they’re too busy. “They do CE because they have to… They don’t even know they’re clueless.”
Now Jeff Cobb’s new book, Leading the Learning Revolution, is targeted at people who want to become teachers, lecturers, educational gurus, and the like in this new age of adult learning. And if you fall in that category, I’d recommend it as a resource in your endeavors. But it’s not really aimed at brokers simply trying to train their sales associates. Regardless, in reading the book I came across a chapter that could help solve this real estate training conundrum.
Let’s say you’re a broker trying to offer some useful training to your associates. Why aren’t they showing up in droves, you ask? Well, Cobb has a checklist that might provide some insight as to what you missed. Continue reading »
Is selling a skill, or an innate human characteristic?
In his latest book, To Sell is Human, bestselling author Daniel H. Pink introduces his hypothesis on this question with a story of his cataloguing how he spent the last two weeks of his professional life. His conclusion? “I am a salesman.”
He cites examples such as trying to get an editor to abandon a story idea and requesting a seat change from a flight attendant as evidence of his sales cred. He extends that notion to his audience, saying they’re all “pitching colleagues, persuading funders, cajoling kids. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.”
Now? I thought to myself. Was there a time when people didn’t pitch or when parents didn’t convince their children to do what they’re told? Isn’t this just the art of How to Win Friends and Influence People redux?
Now, Pink’s motive is overall a good one. He’s trying to convince people who aren’t “in sales” to abandon their preconceived notions of sales as something bad or slippery or a necessary evil:
“The capacity to sell isn’t some unnatural adaptation to the merciless world of commerce. It is part of who we are… selling is fundamentally human.”
I appreciated the sentiment, so I read on. While his first chapter begins with a fascinating profile of the last Fuller Brush door-to-door salesman, he then delves into a study he undertook to illuminate his hypothesis by asking people what they do at work. While a majority of his respondents said they spent more time “processing information” than they did “selling a product or service,” he noted that they all admitted to these “three activities at the heart of non-sales selling”:
- teaching, coaching, or instructing others
- serving clients or customers
- persuading or convincing others
In the classic cult comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Sir Arthur and his knights must answer three questions each in order to pass over a bridge. It’s a study in inanity, something those Pythons do wonderfully.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. What… is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel…
[Galahad is thrown over the edge]
Bridgekeeper: Hee hee heh.
Does that sound familiar? How about this:
What… is your name?
What… is your price range?
What… is your favorite reason to pass on a house?
Jeff Shore wants you to move from what to why. In his new book, The 4:2 Formula: Getting Buyers Off the Fence and Into a Home, Shore pleads with readers to stop trying to get to know prospects by asking them how many bedrooms they want. Continue reading »
OK, I realize it’s bowl season, so let’s just get this out in the open right now: I love watching football; I’m just not that into college ball.
Maybe it’s because during my undergraduate career I worked at a bar that was stumbling distance from a dry, but very popular football college stadium, whose team was mired in scandal that my tuition helped pay for.
Or maybe it’s the professionalism of NFL players, or the closer games, or the fact that I always seem to be busy on Saturdays. Regardless, I was a little worried I wouldn’t “get” Jeff Beals’ new book, Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips From College Football.
On the contrary, I really enjoyed learning more about college ball (without having to actually watch it). Beals’ first five chapters are almost exclusively stories from the gridiron and the recruitment trips that back it up.
While the stories are interesting, the initial advice Beals pulls from them lacks the specificity that leads to inspiration. “Adapting to unfamiliar surroundings” and “keeping up with the changing game” are vague action items that lack the “easy-to-implement sales and marketing techniques” Beals promises in his preface. Later in that same preface, Beals encourages readers to picture themselves in the situations he describes throughout the book and “imagine how the situation relates to the marketing and sales work you do.”
Wait. If coming up with my own brilliant analogies of how your sports stories relate to me is my job, I’d rather read a Vince Lombardi biography. Continue reading »
Back when her life ran smack into the foreclosure crisis, Stephanie Alison Walker started blogging. It didn’t stop offers from evaporating or credit scores from plummeting. It didn’t keep her and her husband out of bankruptcy court. But it did turn out to be a great little love story.
Walker strung together her blog entries and created a book called Love in the Time of Foreclosure. You ride with her and her husband, Bob, down the rocky path that millions have traveled since the start of the housing crisis. Originally they had put 20% down on a 30-year, fixed-interest loan, with the income to back it up. Then, Bob lost his job and their dream house wasn’t too far behind.
Here at the Book Scan blog, we’ve covered the real estate + romance novel mashup. But Walker’s story isn’t about poofy blouses or forbidden trysts. This memoir is about how to keep a marriage together and romance alive under one of the most stressful situations a couple can go through together. And this isn’t about the perfect couple that can handle any of life’s problems, either. Stephanie and Bob have almost broken up before. What’s to say the end of homeownership might not also be the end of their union? Continue reading »