This is the time of year when trainers and speakers remind you that in order to succeed, you need a business plan. What most fail to provide you with, however, are the foundational pieces upon which true real estate success is created.

Recently, I was introduced to Ralph Williams. Williams spent 18 years as a touring musician plus another 30 years as a speaker, consultant, and coach for the real estate industry, private corporations and the U.S. government. He prides himself on "flying under the radar." With no self-promotion, he does 150 speaking gigs a year.

Williams maintains that being a salesperson creates a problem for both the customer and the client. "There’s no way I can sell you something that you don’t want. The current sales model sets up failure for both parties." If the salesperson does not succeed in closing a client on a particular property, then the salesperson is a failure. If the client is manipulated into taking action the client doesn’t want to take, buyer’s remorse occurs.

According to Williams, Realtors must shift from being salespeople to becoming leaders. Your goal is to consistently "lead and direct people to good decisions in moments of truth." Success results when you establish a foundation of trust and you help others discover their moments of truth. In order for this to occur, "the level of trust must be so high that the person we serve is certain that our commitment to them is unbreakable and that our care for their best interest is unquestionable."

Williams uses an eight-step leadership model that is intended to benefit both individuals and corporations. To improve your business in 2010, you must first improve your foundation. Here is how Williams recommends that you do it: 

1. Make them think
The easiest way to help you think differently about your business is to ask questions. Asking the right question can help you shift perspective. For example, instead of looking at what’s not working in your business, ask what is working. No one succeeds at everything. Instead, find your strengths and build on those.

2. Make them want
A key principle in coaching is to have clarity about what you want to attract. If you want to attract more high-quality clients who close more transactions, begin by making out an ideal client list. Next, look at where each of your closed transactions originated. Once you have identified this information, you can then determine which market niches are best suited to your business and skill set. When you decide what you want, write it down and tell others as well. These two steps are critical for making your wants a reality.

3. Make them responsible
It’s one thing to say that you want more business. It’s something else entirely to make yourself responsible for taking the steps that will create that business. According to Williams, rather than looking for reasons to perform, "Most people look for reasons not to perform." Failure to take responsibility results in failure rather than success. …CONTINUED

4. Make them work
Success results from work. Those who achieve mediocre results do only what they want to do. In contrast, those who become highly successful discipline themselves to do what they don’t want to do. You’re the only one who can decide how willing you are to do the work you may not want to do.

5. Make them care
In Williams’ model, caring is the counterbalance for thinking. When you start to care about others, i.e., "have equity in caring," you start to think about your actions in an entirely different way. The shift is from moving from what you want to caring about what others want and then taking actions to help them get it.

6. Make them humble
Williams used the following example to illustrate this point. "I wanted a family more than anything. We have five wonderful sons. As they have become men and I see how wonderful they are, I am humbled by who they have become." Becoming humble is the counterbalance to wanting. It’s expressing gratitude for the positive outcomes in your life.

7. Make them proud
Making them proud is the counterbalance to being responsible. Pride comes from doing your work well. When you are responsible for what you want and you take the necessary actions to make your wants a reality, you can take pride in your accomplishments.

8. Make them happy
No one is happy unless he or she has earned it. Being happy results from the work that one does. We don’t achieve happiness from what is given to us; we achieve happiness from the actions we take.

Williams uses another eight-step model to help his clients move closer to their goals. He says that achieving your goals is the result of completing a process: "Process requires structure. Structure defines discipline. Discipline leads to victory. When you achieve victory, you feel a sense of validation. When you feel validated, you sow the seeds of self-confidence. Self-confidence fuels courage. Courage allows you to accept challenges. Challenges build character. When you become the character of need at the hour of need, you give yourself an incredible edge over your competition."

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at and find her on Twitter: @bross.



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