10 Reasons to List Your Property Now

horse with guns pngSometimes it is just hard to let go of the reins and pull the trigger.

You have already made three trips to the local Good Will. You left your adult children’s soccer trophies in the back seat of their car last time they came over for dinner. You replaced the filter on your furnace just before the relatives came for Christmas dinner.

So what are you waiting for? 

It is true that the “really really BIG”  residential real estate market hits full steam in the spring historically. It is also true that people move all year long. The serious buyers are out there and for them, real estate “spring” begins as soon as the Christmas decorations are put away and the kiddos are back in school.

So if you are still afraid to pull the trigger on listing your home, here are some darn good reasons for you to giddy up partner and get er done!

  1. Pre-Spring buyers are usually serious buyers motivated by need and urgency.
  2. Buyers know that interest rates are low. But that last little rate hike woke them out of their sleepy place and reminded them that they will not stay low forever. 
  3. Gas prices as low as $1.19 (Serious. It was Pleasant Hill, MO but it happened to me)  a gallon make them feel like they’re in high school and that is an optimistic feeling indeed! Money in the pocket makes them want something new…like a house!
  4. It is also putting more money in their pocket for a down payment.
  5. Listing your house in the late winter puts you in front of the herd (catch the play on words again) and at the front end of the buyer cycle.
  6. Buyers are like little schools of fish. They come in groups until they are absorbed into the market. It is true that spring begins for the serious buyer at the end of the holiday season. They are trolling for bait.
  7. Young families are acutely aware of the imminent approach of little kiddos in  swimming suits holding messy popsicles. They have more time to shop for a new home now than they will in ten weeks!
  8. There are fewer houses on the market in February/March than there are in May/June. That’s less competition for you and more money for your house because low supply + high demand = horse power for you!
  9. Selling your home early, gets you more time to shop for what you want during the highest inventory season. 
  10. You’re house will show well compared to the other houses in the neighborhood and you won’t have to mow your lawn every time the realtor calls with a showing.        

So what are you waiting for! Turn that pony loose and pull the trigger!



Three essentials for every capital campaign l The non-negotiables of any successful fundraising battle cry

Embarking on a capital campaign is akin to declaring war on the universe.

Everything is stacked against success. You must overcome an ailing economy, competing magnets for your donor’s dollars, shrinking nest eggs of wealth, naysayers and profits of doom. You will stare adversity in the face. You will claw, fight, and scratch towards your goal.

Knowing this; organizations still choose to declare war on giants. Like David with five small stones; they face the enemy.

David Slays the Giant

David Slays the Giant

In “What’s really in your campaign fundraising frig?”, we talked about avoiding the common mistake of going public with your capital campaign before you have the right ingredients in place.

But there are more basic principles so essential that without them, you will never realize your goal. These are the lifeblood of the campaign.

They transcend strategy, structure and methodology.

If these three essentials are missing; you will quickly face the spinning tire phenomenon. This happens when you are holding the gas pedal to the floor board; yet going nowhere.

Three essentials for every capital campaign.

1)  A strong compelling need 

In other words; do enough people want to realize your building initiative so intensely that they will make personal monetary sacrifices for it? Will they be driven by their need to convince others to get on board? Is the perceived need strong enough to build a solid rationale for your capital campaign initiative?

You must do the homework to verify that the your circle is big enough. Whether you engage in a pre-campaign analysis, a formal feasibility study or informal conversations with key donors, you must evaluate this objectively. You also must verify with reasonable certainty that the need is compelling enough to move donors to action.

2)  A solid gift chart. 

Count on 4-5 legitimate prospect for every major gift. If you cannot fill every slot in your gift chart with the adequate number of prospects for each gift range; you will need to adjust your goal.

Once you’ve identified strong prospects in this chart, the top gift should amount to about 15-25 percent of the monetary campaign goal. The top twenty percent of the donors should account for 80 percent of the total goal.

The fewest number of donors give the most dollars; the largest number of donors give small amounts. This is the cardinal rule of capital campaigns.

If you diagramed your campaign chart it would look like an inverted pyramid with the heaviest dollars on top and the last 20 percent at the bottom tip of the pyramid.

Always, always start with the big gifts. Don’t go public until 70 – 80 percent of goal has been met by signed pledges.

Why? Because you must mitigate the unwelcome possibility that your identified major donors might not come through. Failed public campaigns implant long negative legacies. Take a long sober look at the likelihood of success before you proceed. Major donor work is everything in a capital campaign.

Realize this;  even if your family is large, italian and bound by blood, your 21 aunts, 19 uncles, 52 cousins cannot achieve a $4 million dollar goal with $100, $1,000 or even $10,000 pledges. DO THE MATH!

3)  A passionate leader

There must be that voice of clarity; the campaign evangelist who preaches your campaign gospel with revival-inspired fervor. This voice is afire with the passion that rises out of a strong compelling need.

He or she can see inside each major donor, identify the ache and mix the right prescription in your campaign medicine cabinet to soothe it.

Passionate leaders see the fruition of the dream long before others can and they are masters at articulating it into a mental picture for everyone else.

Campaigns have a life span; they are living and dynamic. Leaders may be a public figure or they may operate from behind the scenes. But they have certain common qualities.

They are committed to maintaining the vibrant health of the campaign. Strong campaign leaders understand the essential power of momentum. They sense the ebb and flow of the living campaign and recognize when it needs intervention to breath new life into it.

A dynamic campaign leader can pull a waning campaign out of the ditch and set it back on course through the sheer power of their indestructible will.

Passion builds courage in others. It points the way. Someone must be able to infect other people with this passion.

Campaigns without a dynamic, passionate leader are uphill battles often ending with a disillusioned  little army of wondering vagabonds stumbling around the battlefield. They become half blinded by the heavy fog that settles over campaigns without a clear message.

The sense of urgency wanes, timing is blown to heck, compelling needs become muddied waters.

Don’t make the mistake of underplaying the three essentials of a successful capital campaign.

But if you have them, get busy putting the right structure in place and blow the battle horn!

There is a giant waiting to be slain.

A dozen things to remember when working with major donors

  1. Their name probably isn’t Bill Gates; they are individuals who have linkage to your organization.
  2. They give to people, not buildings or programs.
  3. They don’t marry you if you haven’t taken them on a date, much less courted them properly.
  4. They don’t give money; they invest it.
  5. They are looking for a return on their investment.
  6. They crave validation.
  7. Loyalty is reciprocal, they will wander to another cause if you take them for granted.
  8. The more often they give, the more likely they are to give.
  9. They know other major donors just like themselves; their networks are impressive.
  10. They give when they understand what you’re about, identify with your mission and when they decide they want to be a part of it.
  11. They have more to offer than just their dollars; they are rich in skills and experience and can open doors you’ve never gone through before.
  12. They usually don’t give if they haven’t been asked…imagine that.

While about 80-90 percent of all charitable gifts come from individuals, about 80-90 percent of those gifts come from only 10-20 percent of your individual donors.

Build strong relationships for your organization with your proven givers. Respect them as investors by demonstrating your mission clearly and often. Tap into their expertise and resource networks.

If you understand these twelve things, you will build an unshakable foundation for your organization and its mission.

Draw windows not walls around your marketing plan

Fear is one of life’s greatest limitations.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of adding more work to an already overtaxed staff. Fear of where to find the money. Fear of failure.

Fear paralyzes. It prevents us from breaking through standard paradigms and creating our own new reality.

Which brings me to one of life’s greatest liberators.


Creativity bubbles up from the darkness and brings light into the situation. It draws a new box and puts doors and windows in the boxes we’re stuck in.

It smiles at, “there’s no other way to do this,” and says, “there is always a way.” Creativity isn’t crippled by failure. Failure is the teacher.

In this age; creativity is the new economy.

Innovators are not disconnected from experience; but they are not bound by it. They look beyond the circumstances. They see how it can be.

They think less about the cost and more about the outcomes.

Fear sees the end of things as we know it.

Creativity looks around and says, “this is the beginning of something better.”

There is a bawling calf in the room

  So it appears my last blog, Data schmata,  flushed out some sacred cows.

Many of you emailed me, defending to the death your beloved surveys.

I am not a survey hater. In fact, I secretly peruse long lists of everything from census data to those self test in fashion magazines that carry the same validity of fortune cookies.

Surveys can be expensive group therapy or they can be catalyst for action. The real value is not in the survey; but in what you do with it.

Too often, I see organizations, even non-profits engaging research firms like they are consulting with an ancient soothe sayer.

Surveys make them feel like they have something tangible to show for the money they spent.

They pass stacks of data around the board meetings like chiefs smoking peace pipes and tell the ancient stories. Everyone stares at the data and shakes their heads. The next guy suspects the little chief sitting next to him comprehends the mysterious stuff so he too takes his cue.

After staring at the data and shaking his head in solemn agreement, little chief #2 gives an affirmative grunt and passes the data on having no real idea of what he just read or what on earth he should do with it.

Then the CEO, wise one that he is, gingerly transports the survey reports like sacred tablets to his hallowed chambers. Here, it is stored under lock and key like museum artifacts.

Finally, everyone goes back to their tent and cooks the same old fish they cooked last quarter. 

Occasionally the CEO retrieves the survey report and blows off the dust to share with some young chief in training. This one too, shakes his head in reverence and is initiated into the data gathering tribe.

Surveys are not an end in themselves; they should inform and clarify what you know already if you are watching the shop.

If they are not a catalyst to refine your mission, fashion your message, increase sales, or close major donors; they are nothing more than folklore.

Great for charming organizations into inertia…not great for driving revenue.

Data schmata

Anyone who thinks data is for left-brainers who need fact-filled spreadsheets to make them feel better is mostly right.

Sometimes we just make this whole marketing thing way too complicated.

Well yes, of course, your mother wanted you to eat your carrots because “it’s  a proven fact that it will make your eyes bigger”. That was useful data.

We owe the fact that we are not all legally blind to empirically supported data assimilated by our mothers. And they demanded we look them in the eye when they were assimilating.

But long surveys that asks predictable questions written for the purpose of getting statistically relevant answers to tell you what you already know?

Then there is the interpretive analysis. This too tells you what you already know; but in words you can understand.

Some firms insist on several expensive “custom” surveys. They have lots of fancy names for these. They like to call them instruments of measurement. They have proprietary names for them like, “Whimpy’s Empirical Burger and Fry measurement medium”.

You can find most of the data you want about the demographic mix of your market area already. For free.

But since you are busy doing whatever it is you do best; you probably would rather pay someone else to figure it out.  Maybe you need them to read it to you from a multi-media power presentation while you sip coffee and chew your bagel.

Maybe it is comforting to write that check before you write that other check you need to write to do something with all that data.

For those who are not so inclined there is another way. You could get to know your customer. Fact is, they are the folks who will tell you what you really need to know. They are your proven ground.


Ask them. Study them. Analyze their buying habits. Look for the common threads that tie them all together.

Follow them; figuratively.  Because wherever they go, it will probably lead to more apples just like them.

There is another wise,  sound instrument of measurement that my mother assimilated. This usually related to shopping for friends or prom dates.

“If you want an apple; don’t shop for it in an orange grove.”

If you want more customers like the ones you already have; look for them in the right place. For most businesses and services, this means geographic reach; demographic likeness.

Your customers are coming to you because they share some collective ache and you’ve got the suave to soothe it. Understand your customer, understand the ache and figure out what you have to soothe it.

Then speak the message in the places they are most likely to hear it. Speak it directly to them. And look them in the eye when you do.

Negotiation is a gift; closing is a skill

Dear Kid who was in front of us in the grocery line,

Sorry about your items that ended up in my grocery bag tonight.

Getting home to find that the spoils of all that hard negotiation with your mom were completely absent from the grocery haul must have been a real heartbreaker.

The haggling it must have taken to land those starburst in the cart…well, I’ll give you a wink and a tongue click on that one.

But pulling out those cool tupperware popsicle molds stopped me in my tracks. I’m benefiting from the spoils.

At this moment, I’m digging through my upper cabinets for that old box of jello pudding mix in hopes of reliving my own homemade popsicle days.

I must tip my hat. What a score. I fancy my own childhood as the makings of a negotiating child prodigy. Still I thought, “this kid’s got potential”.

To land two impulse purchase items in one shopping trip with your mom in tow is respectable.

I was reasonably impressed.

But then, to the utter delight of my non-shopping husband, whom I forced into the grocery store at gunpoint tonight, there emerged a bag of Heath bars nestled underneath the lettuce. They were the mini kind with ample chocolate coating in every bite. I know your own dad was counting on you to bring home the good stuff. And with it being Father’s Day and all, it is a tough break.

But let me tell you, you made my kids’ dad a happy man. Take this important lesson from one of childhood’s legendary negotiators…the close is always what seperates the pros from the green horns. Don’t worry, it will come with time. Follow-up is the key.

How many marketers, advanced in years and experience have poured thousands into slick advertising and lead generation campaigns only to drop the ball in the last inning. There’s nothing like working a potential customer into a buying frenzy so that someone else can reap the benefits.

Still, tonight I have brushed spheres with my own childhood soul mate.

You surely used some of the more advanced techniques in handling your mom’s objections.

You probably made her believe you deserved it; that the sugar wasn’t really bad for you since it served as reward for being such an amazing kid. I’ll bet you even had her believing it was her idea.

I will never shop again without wistfully eyeing every 7-year-old skinned-kneed kid in tow at Hy-vee while I wonder…could she be the child genius who inadvertently stocked my grocery bag with unexpected treats?

Kudos to you whoever you are. Just remember while you continue to fine-tune the art of negotiation, that you’re not a real hero until you get the contract and cash the check.

Keep it up kid; you are destined for greatness.

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