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Winner Wilma and Loser Larry May 24th, 2010 | Posted in General Real Estate

There are winners and losers in every game. Everyone’s definition of winning and losing is slightly different. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a winner as a person who accomplishes their business goals in net profit and time savings. A loser is defined as someone who does not have either!

“Wilma” and “Larry” are friends who work at the same office. For years, they were both considered to be two of the top agents at the office. Wilma worked with rhythm, and Larry was just crazy busy. Both were always competing for the top spot at the office.

Loser Larry was well-liked by everyone. He had a great personality, working with numerous clients. His listing presentations were at some of the most expensive properties in the area, always with big name clients. Larry filled up his weeks with appointments that sometimes went into the evenings, but he always took the time to talk with the agents in the office, too. His personality drew people in and he had the ability to talk up real estate!

When the market was hot, he was able to tell sellers that it was a time to sell — which it was! He helped buyers get into their dream home before the price went up further. He knew all the lenders in town who could make dreams happen. He drove a car that most would just die for!

During a panel discussion with the local board, Larry shared how 30% of his leads came from his website. He said the balance came from his “network.” Social media was just becoming the next big thing at the time so he began investing his time and money. Using a smarter approach, he actually added value to his postings so people would pay attention to his musings on real estate. Let’s face it — Larry was a great agent!

On the other hand, Winner Wilma was more reserved and methodical. She started each day by having a general outline. She did depend on her sphere of influence for referrals and repeat business, but she always tried to add new names to the mix, too. It was difficult to talk with Wilma at the office because she always seemed to have a short term goal that she was trying to accomplish. She always had a scheduled job duty for an allotted block of time. Some people thought Wilma was aloof because of her reluctance to stop what she was doing and discuss real estate with a fellow agent.

Wilma had the belief that her time was best spent with clients who had the greatest possibility of closing. She felt that she had a gift and that gift could only be shared with a limited number of people. So she spent her time with those who would most benefit from her gift and abilities.

She carefully pre-qualified buyers and sellers before working with them. She lived within her means, owned a sensible vehicle, dressed conservatively, and only had the latest gadgets once they were proven to make money.

Wilma believed that the fastest way to efficient real estate was to leverage the power of the seller. She created income flow from the sale of a listing while using that listing to attract more buyers. She also liked using the leverage of having a buyer to make in roads into non-listed areas of real estate like FSBOs and old expireds. She would use these groups as a basis for a direct mail campaign in her buyer’s neighborhood of interest. This would often create additional sellers for her, too.

She was most excited about the long-term prospects of real estate. Though it was difficult to get a piece of real estate to cash flow at the top of the market, she always used the leverage of being “in the business” to find the right investment properties. She could find properties that actually came close to breaking even or even broke even after taxes. She would use her good credit and savings to obtain a long-term, fixed mortgage; she remembered 18% mortgages! Even if the real estate market dropped, she knew that by maintaining a nice property she could probably maintain a good tenant, eventually paying off the mortgage. The equity reduction combined with appreciation and income tax advantages would create wealth!

Wilma time-blocked her activities so she was doing a little bit of lead generation every day, no matter how busy she was. She also time-blocked her communication: follow up on her pendings, follow up with her buyers and sellers, listing leads in the “A” class, database, social media, and all seller lead generation activities. She time-blocked her day, ensuring certain activities were always completed. She always had fresh listings to attract buyers.

Today, the office is a little different. Buyers are not as excited about buying real estate any more, and there is good reason for that. They now need to make much larger deposits, they have to have much better credit scores, and the promise of future appreciation isn’t what it used to be.

Back in the “good old days,” sellers were excited about selling and starting the process all over again. They saw their net worth increase and they couldn’t wait to use some of it to leverage into a larger property and watch it happen again. Today, those sellers are a little more cautious regarding that jump; for some of the most unfortunate, they have no equity.

In this market, Larry continues to be upbeat; however, he still works without much of a business plan and he waits for the next “hot” buyer or seller to cross his path. There seems to be fewer who cross the path these days. Real estate is not everyone’s favorite subject any longer.

Without a consistent business plan, Larry is spending a lot more time talking with agents in the office. He is hoping this market turns around soon, because then he won’t have to realize any pain of actually sticking to a consistent business plan of pro-active seller lead generation, i.e. going to where the sellers are!

Based on his past great production, Larry is considering an offer from his office to become their new manager. Because of this market, he is seriously considering it!

Wilma seems to be doing as well or even better than in the “good old days.” She still doesn’t have much time to talk with others in the office since her listing inventory has gone up greatly. As part of her plan, she has always maintained a listing inventory to create a certain number of buyers. When the bad times came, she knew that she needed to increase her listings to increase her buyers. Wilma’s larger client base has allowed her to pre-qualify those with massive motivation – sellers who really need to sell and buyers who really need to buy. Those are the only ones who can successfully compete in this market anyway.

Wilma continues to keep hours time-blocked for seller lead generation and buyer follow up. She consistently follows up with her transactions. With the short sales she is working, she has the time to monitor them all since they are time-blocked throughout the week.

Her spending habits have allowed her to maintain her lifestyle and create net income, allowing her to still invest in distressed real estate properties.

Wilma and Larry are still friends, but Wilma doesn’t have a lot of time to talk with Larry. For the last ten years, Wilma has grown accustomed to being home by 5:30 to be with her family. She has a lot of things to accomplish during the day, but she really enjoys the fact that she can become “unavailable” after business hours!

This tale of two agents can be found in nearly every office. Proven systems supported by good technology are what top agents are implementing today. Being available to buyers and sellers and just showing up are tools of a hot market. It is time for a plan, a time-blocked plan — a plan that is easy to follow every day and has proven net profit. Sellers bring buyers, and buyers given off-market inventory bring sellers. Both clients pay you to review the opportunities to buy real estate! This plan made me wealthy, and it continues to make my coaching clients wealthy. Ask yourself this: are you “Wilma” or “Larry”? If you are “Larry,” I’d suggest getting a plan because the times like the “good old days” could be a decade away!

An oil and gas lease lottery millionaire by age 16, Walter S. Sanford was in massive debt by the time he was 22. Taking his winnings, he invested in over 400 units and found that high leverage real estate can be detrimental to your financial health.

Obtaining his real estate brokerage license during the 80s, Walter went on to become what some believe to be one of the top agents in North America. He built his career on systems that are in demand by virtually ever major franchise and top producing agent in the world. 1995 was Walter’s best year, in the midst of a real estate depression in Southern California, where he personally closed 316 transactions.

Walter Sanford now coaches some of the top agents and travels internationally to deliver his seminars based upon systems with velocity increased by technology. He is the author of 10 ground-breaking books and software that assist top real estate producers in not only beating the competition but also providing lasting estates for their future. Systems are his passion.

Walter has been buying or selling real estate for the past 35 years. It took a long time for Walter to find balance, but today, he runs a successful coaching and training business. He enjoys life in “small town America” with his wonderful wife and two darling daughters.

Many speakers and trainers have never been involved in real estate brokerage aspects and none have ever been involved to Walter’s extent. If you would like to know more about Walter, please visit You’ll find more information about how to hire Walter as a speaker or coach and how to obtain his ground-breaking products for your library. Walter can also be reached at 800.792.5837 or

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