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How’s Business? Please Don’t Snore Me!



When Scurrying…

Ever search high and low for your reading glasses. . . realizing your wearing them?

Ever scamper up and down the stairs, mumbling about your lost car keys. . . and you’re holding them?

Ever race to chase suspects masquerading as prospects. . . and discover a parade of prospects is chasing you?

My friends, I can’t help with your peepers or your keys, however, I do have a thought or two about opportunities that are hiding in plain sight.

How’s Business?

How many times a day are you asked some variation of this question, “How’s business?”.

When I posed this question in a Sales Meeting, our icon team members reported being asked this question an average of 2 times a day. What’s your average?

Let’s say you’re asked 2 times per day, 5 times a week, 50 weeks a year. That’d be 500 times a year someone asks you about your business or your real estate market.

If you believe in the 3 People Principle, 500 question asking souls know 1500 people who are going to move within 12 months. You might be thinking that you talk to some of these folks over and over. So chop that number in half to 750. Still a big number eh? Hmmm.

Ponder the possibilities. People who ask you about your business know 750 people who will move in the next 365 days. That’s about 2 per day. Wow.

Bonus: If people move an average of every 10 years, out of the 500 question askers, 50 will move in the next 12 months.

Add the 50 to the 750 and you have 800 possibilities to serve, list and sell.

To turn your opportunities into reality, I propose answering the question, “How’s business?” in memorable rather than forgettable snoredom fashion.


FORGETTABLE happens when the answer is unrehearsed and flaccid like the following;

“Business is great!” [Yawn.]

“I’m really busy.” [Boooorrrriinnngggg! Yawn-Yawn.]

“The market’s picking up.” [Sure it is. Yawn-Yawn-Yawn.]

“Unbelievable.” [Whatever. Yawn to the 10th power.]

“It’s slow.” [Loser. Yawn-ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz]

Don’t hate. If you’re hyper rushed, these puny sound bites might be ok. Any other time, they’re lame. Sorry.

Blurting FORGETTABLE is brain dead simple, bleat your answer like every other sheep and 800 opportunities implode into instant undone deals.


MEMORABLE flash flames your possibilities when the answer is artfully crafted, interesting and unexpected. MEMORABLE leads to Top Of Mind Awareness. Top Of Mind Awareness leads to getting hired and getting referred. When MEMORABLE happens 800 opportunities bon-fire into real possibilities. Creating MEMORABLE isn’t hard, it’s a simple matter of creating a habit of answering with an engaging story.

Super Short Story Telling

I see you scratching your head, thinking, I don’t have time to tell a big stupid long story. You don’t and you won’t. Your story will be super short. Short like a well told joke. Speaking of jokes, we know a good joke when we hear one, yet not everyone is a natural joke teller. I’m not. Tiny engaging stories work the same way. Everyone knows one when they hear one, not everyone is comfortable telling one.  Good news if this describes you.

First, your super short stories won’t be stupid, they’ll be cool like you, because they’ll revolve around personally familiar and fun events.

Second, there’s a simple proven formula for creating memorable stories. Let me share it with you.

Engaging stories have 4 primary elements.

1. Exposition is the information needed to understand a story. Bottom line, exposition means include details like names, dates, addresses, locations, time frame, observations, color, sound, etc. Details add believability, character and interest to your story.

2. Complication is the catalyst that reveals a problem. Bottom line, complication means sharing a problem that needs solving. Paradoxically, your problem might also be something exciting and positive for you and that’s OK. For example, you have a new listing and you’re looking for a buyer. You’re sharing woot worthy news about the $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Credit and you’re looking for beneficiaries. You’re working with a cool qualified couple, you’ve shown everything and nothing on the market fits them.

3. Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when you share how the complication/problem can be solved. Bottom line, you reveal how you will solve the complication/problem. Using examples in 2. above, you might share that you’re a whirling marketing dervish for your new listing. You’re burning up the cell waves calling all your friends about the Tax Credit and you’re showing your buyers new inventory this weekend.

4. Resolution is the event that brings the story to a close. Bottom line, you’ve shared how you can solve the problem, now you share how they can “help” you solve the problem faster. In this instance, “help” is event of asking for a referral. Using examples in 2. above, you might ask for a referral like so, “Do you know anyone at the country club who’s shared they’re looking for a home on the golf course?” or “This Tax Credit is like free money, do you have any friends that have kids who might be thinking about buying their first home?”

Can you see yourself weaving short stories instead of bleating forgettable? Try it.

Getting Real

Creating new habits takes 21 repetitions. Be prepared to feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. Uncomfortable is a natural feeling when shoving yourself beyond the fringes of your old comfort zone.

For best results, when you and the sun rise, before you leave the house, practice what you’re going to say when asked “How’s business?”. Consider doing what the best story tellers do, write it out first, then story tell.

Lastly, remind yourself, if you always answer the way you’ve always answered, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten…which is forgotten. Rise up.

Let me know how it goes. Thanks.

Photo Credit: Complicated by ~Emindeath on deviantART

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Austin Smith -

    March 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Interesting points, Ken. Funnily enough I asked my dad how business was going the other day, and he responded “I’m really Busy!!”

    Luckily I had shades on or he probably would have detected my eyelids being closed. 🙂

    I like your idea of responding with a story, rather than the usual, canned response. I will try it next time someone asks me about work.

  2. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    March 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Damn Ken – I was just thinking about this telling myself that I need to change my ways. I get the question at least twice a day and try to be sharp each time….although sometimes I am not in the mood.

    My fave is when I am snarky (I know you are wondering “snarky? you? nah?”) – yesterday’s answer was

    “business? what business? I sell real estate for fun, not business!!” …(I’m thinking that person will not contact me) 😉

  3. Matt Stigliano

    March 23, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Ken – As one one of the most long-winded writers of all time (just wait until I write the real estate industry’s “Atlas Shrugged”) you’ve just given me both an exciting and dreaded challenge. I accept and will see what I can come up with. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, you can call the authorities as I have probably gone mad.

  4. Missy Caulk

    March 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Nice to meet you Ken.

    Gosh, I need to quit giving folks a yawn. Great thoughts, now what should I say?

  5. Ken Brand

    March 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Austin – Good luck with your story telling, I know it will make a difference. Who doesn’t like a good story?

    Ines – Snarky…oh yeah, I know what snarkey looks and sounds like. I hear you, you can create sharp memorable without telling a story. Thanks for reading.

    Matt – I’ll be looking for your tome and I know I’ll enjoy reading. Unleash your flaming pen…or keyboard.

    Missy – Thanks reading and good luck with your story telling too. I’m sure you have some doozies.

  6. Mark Eckenrode

    March 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    my favorite way to reply when asked “how’s business?”


    whether business is great or dismal, it still makes sense 🙂

  7. Susie Blackmon

    February 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I give them the numbers and the truth. And I don’t think we have bottomed out yet either.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…



Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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