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Posts made in October, 2008

Mrs. Matkin

As I write this blog I am 48 years old. Nearly 39 years ago I had a teacher in elementary school named Mrs. Matkin. She seemed so old and ancient at the time I had her in school. Mrs. Matkin couldn’t walk fast, her hair had turned gray and her face looked worn and exhausted from her countless years of teaching fourth grade students. Although I cannot remember every detail about what Mrs. Matkin wore on a day to day basis, I can say I remember her always looking her best. But what I remember most about Mrs. Matkin is how she treated her students. Mrs. Matkin played no favorites, never talked down to you as a child, and always showed care and compassion for her clients (fourth grade children). She worked with you if you had trouble reading, showed the math problem again on the board, and she listened to you when you had a long winded story to tell. Mrs. Matkin cared!

It’s funny to think back on your life and know you had a broad number of teachers scattered across your educational career and only remember a handful of their names. I cannot recall numerous college professors’ names, but I can recall and remember Mrs. Matkin.

What kind of impression are you leaving to those around you today? Will you be an example that others will cherish and carry with them throughout their life, or will you be just another face that blends in with thousands of others who left no impression in that persons history? Will you be a boss that employees acknowledge as someone who listened and cared and went to bat for his colleagues whenever they needed a helping hand? Will you be the employee who makes a difference in the organization and others wonder how they will ever do without you? Will you be a Mrs. Matkin?

I’ll always remember the love and kindness Mrs. Matkin showed to me as a child growing up in my hometown. I don’t know if Mrs. Matkin ever realized how her genuine character left an imprint for people like me to carry on for many years to come, and hopefully now to pass on to others for many more years. I’m sure she wondered at times why she was teaching school to a bunch of kids who never listened and were concerned more about the next recess or lunchtime than learning to read and write. I’m sure she questioned and wondered, but I’m glad she hung in there to continue her mission and gift to me and so many other boys and girls my age. To that I say “thank you” Mrs. Matkin! I hope my life as yours will make a difference in someone’s life today like Mrs. Matkin did.

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

– Scott Raymond Adams (1957– ) US cartoonist, created comic strip “Dilbert” 1989

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Shame on you Judy!

The following is from a new book I am working on tentatively entitled “Your Daily Business Coach.”  I would be interested to know how many people would like a book with daily business devotions like this to help encourage, remind and in many situations motivate the reader.

Recently on a business trip I had a tired, weary eyed businessman sit next to me in the airport as we waited for our airplanes to arrive.  I had sat in a nearby gate area across from my boarding vicinity since there were more chairs available in this section.  As we waited I could not help from overhearing a phone conversation this gentleman was having with his boss next to me on his cell phone.  I heard him call his superior Judy, and proceed to explain how tired and exhausted he was from his traveling.  Immediately the man asked if he could fax some papers to her in the morning and if they could discuss this situation from his office.  He went on to explain to Judy that when she had all of the documentation in front of her and he could explain his side of the story it would make more sense.  Evidently this wasn’t good enough for Judy, as she continued to discipline her worker to no avail.  Surprisingly, this conversation must have continued on for 15 to 20 minutes (or longer).  In fact, my boarding call was announced and as I stood in line to leave the airport I glanced back to see the gentleman still on the phone with a sad defeated look on his face. 

There were two things that made an impression on me about this businessman that day.  First, he never lost his temper with Judy.  He always spoke with respect in responding to her demands and threats, and remained professional during the entire conversation.  Second, he tried several times to explain to Judy that this was not the right time or place for him to discuss this problem, and asked if she could wait until tomorrow.  Finally, he admitted responsibility for the problem, and said he would take whatever consequence was due him.

I never met Judy that day, but I can tell you this, if I was their supervisor, I would take the man in the airport over Judy, as my continued worker despite whatever problem he had created for my company.  Why?  Because he admitted and accepted the blame, and he wanted to keep the client happy by offering the incentives he did.  I also appreciated his calm and professional personality he displayed to Judy during this phone conversation.  I wondered how many other people would have been so calm and collective to a supervisor who talked to them as Judy did that day.

The lesson from today’s writing is two-fold:

  • First, if you are in a management authority position, never reprimand a worker in public, and especially from a cell phone conversation.
  • Second, if you become wrapped up in a confrontational issue with a colleague or boss take the advice from this unknown business traveler and remain calm, patient and professional at all times.

Greg Anderson, former NBA forward/center for the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks said, “although our inattention can contribute to our lack of total well-being, we also have the power to choose positive behaviors and responses.  In that choice we change our every experience of life!”

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Yesterday my real estate company decided to have a roundtable discussion on ways to generate more sales. We talked about everything from lease/purchase transactions to selling bonuses to price reductions along with many other marketing gimmicks and ideas. Wow, what a refreshing and needed experience! The agents who did take time out to participate shared their troubles and issues facing them in today’s real estate business. The ironic part to all of this is that everyone struggles with the same trials and tribulations, and we all need help discovering new ideas on what can jumpstart our real estate careers. As a real estate survivor from the 1980’s, it brought back a vivid memory for me called “creativity.” No, I’m not talking about the creativity in financing that I believe contributed to this mess a few years ago, but rather our approach to selling real estate in the early 80’s when interest rates were near (if not at) 20%, and millions of people were without work. During that time era real estate professionals had to get creative in many ways to sell property. Back then, buyers did not want to participate in buying real estate because interest rates were too high and most people were fearful of losing their jobs. Owner financing and loan assumptions became popular avenues to help sell properties. Sellers offered extra incentives to the selling agents hoping their real estate would stand out among the crowd, and holding a buyers seminar was as common as holding an open house. The bottom line back then (and is applicable today) is that you had to become creative and you had to stay focused and work hard to get business. If you failed at either of those areas, you left the business.

Our meeting yesterday put a shot of fresh air in all of our team members who participated and it generated several “great” ideas on how we can sell more properties during this economic storm. We identified our current problems with how buyers and sellers were facing the real estate market and then put possible solutions to solve those barriers. The exciting part for me, was the reminder it brought to my life in how this was the secret to survival in the 1980’s, working together as a team, becoming creative, and discovering new ways to help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.

If your team has not spent an hour or two brainstorming ideas on what might work for your marketplace I encourage you to do so today. For some excellent ideas on brainstorming with your group, visit I love his 35 Game. Best of luck! John Mayfield –

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REALTOR® Associations and Brokerage Offices Need to Go Green!

“Go Green” seems to be the new buzz words in almost every industry. Green homes, green office environments, green living and more! Yet, many REALTOR® associations and real estate companies are still handing out mounds of information to new and existing real estate agents the old fashion way. There are alternatives and effective ways to provide information to your team and posting your valuable content to the World Wide Web in new and effective formats that your members will read!

I have created a brand new Webinar entitled “Helping Your Team Go Green,” that I would love to offer to you at no cost. Click Here to enroll for this “FREE” and informative Webinar!


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70% of the Agents Are Gone!

I remember hearing one of my favorite golfers, Tom Watson comment about his joy for playing golf in the rain. Tom said that he liked the rain because it eliminated 70% of the golfers from the tournament because they simply “gave up!” I believe the same can be said for our real estate industry, a large percentage of agents have “given up” and left the business (physically or mentally) because of the current economic conditions. As a speaker and real estate coach I find it beneficial to continue a full-time career in the trenches listing, selling and managing real estate. Yes, I said all three because like so many changes our industry takes from time to time, it is imperative for many brokers to go back to wearing the hat of selling broker/manager to survive the current storm. This was a common trait for many of real estate brokers during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s real estate era. What is interesting is the fact that I’m discovering the huge sector of business available that is going untapped! In the early 1980’s we learned to survive the real estate crisis by being creative with financing alternatives, implementing basic prospecting techniques and staying motivated by listening to positive and uplifting tapes in our automobiles. Today, you can turn on your XM satellite radio and listen to ten to twenty “stinking thinking” news stations all telling you that real estate is dead and the economy is crumbling.

My advice for those of you who do not want to be a part of the 70% who are throwing in the towel today?

  • Get back to the basics! Knock on doors, work fsbo’s, expired’s and your sphere of influence on a daily basis. Yes, daily!
  • Listen to positive CD’s, MP3’s and read inspiring books.
  • Set goals, and write your goals down and read them every day. Read daily!
  • Remind yourself that you’re a winner! Yes, it’s okay to be a Stuart Smalley in your can and remind yourself of positive affirmations.
  • Remember, this too will pass. Our great nation has seen many similar events and we have always rebounded to bigger and better things.

Yes, 70% of the agents may be gone, but I trust you’ll join me as being part of the 30% who will stay around and reap the benefits of what’s still out there and what’s to come!

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