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Darren Pujalet Executive Agent of the Month

Inside Features: Tony Faulkner Evergreen Realty HomeSmart Scot Nicol RE/MAX Estate Properties Nicholas Nguyen Prism Link Properties

Purchase Financing:

Compare our stats to the industry. At Evergreen, we’ve never lost sight of the fact that serving real estate industry professionals and their clients is the cornerstone of our success, yesterday, today and tomorrow. As evidence of our focus on the home purchase market, we invite you to review our purchase loan percentage compared to the industry: Purchase Business Percentages

2013 YTD













** Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Percentages reflect portion of total volume that were purchase transactions.

That’s why we’ve developed an infrastructure with systems and procedures that allow us to quickly process loans so that we close On Time and as Promised®. In fact, our entire platform is engineered to close purchase transactions in 14 days*.

But stats are only part of the story. It’s the care and compassion of every Evergreen associate that makes a difference and is felt by the customers we serve. As a lender with strong convictions and a proven track record serving the purchase market, we invite you to become a business partner with Evergreen.

Michelle Coolidge-Tondu Sr. Loan Officer & VP / Corporate Relationships NMLS 176580

tel 310-818-1011 fax 855-296-8279 21250 Hawthorne Blvd Ste 500 Torrance, CA 90503 Branch NMLS 1127143

*The 14-day close does not imply a guarantee of any kind and only references the historical service level provided by Evergreen on standard FHA, VA, and conforming conventional loans. Assumes expeditious and complete cooperation by all parties to the transaction. Not all applications are eligible for a 14-day close, including but not limited to jumbo loans, renovation loans, loans brokered to other lenders, or properties requiring repairs. Not all applicants will qualify; certain restrictions apply. © 2014 Evergreen Home Loans is a registered trade name of Evergreen Moneysource Mortgage Company® NMLS ID 3182. Trade/service marks are the property of Evergreen Home Loans. All rights reserved. Licensed under: Arizona Mortgage Banker License 0910074; California-DBO Residential Mortgage Lending Act License 4130291; Hawaii Mortgage Loan Originator Company License HI-3182; Idaho Mortgage Broker/Lender License MBL-3134; Nevada Mortgage Banker License 3130; Oregon Mortgage Lending License ML-3213; Washington Consumer Loan Company License CL-3182. 1/14


Southern California’s Publication for the Real Estate Professional



June, 2014

South Bay

Cover Story


24 - Linda Brakeall: I Love Complaints!

06 - Sheila Murray Bethel: The Service Boomerang

08 - Saul Klein:

Speed, Convenience, Choice

Fred Arrias Executive Publisher PO Box 73384 San Clemente, CA 92673 Ph: (949) 366-3349 Fax: (949) 266-8757

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX City of Hope.....................................34

28 - Jim Rohn:

Evergreen Home Loans......................2

Creating Opportunity

Evergreen Realty...............................10

15 Darren Pujalet

Executive Agent of the Month

32 - Joan Stewart:

Editors Love Briefs, Fillers, & Quizzes

Mike Ferry........................................12 i Photography Studio.......................21 Kinecta Federal Credit Union..........36 PWAOR.......................................31 SBAOR....................................35 The Termite Guy...............................11

Photography: i Photography Studio, Ian wiant, Rob Paino Graphic Designer: Garon T. Arrias Editorial Manager: Trudy Van Writers: Lalaena Gonzalez–Figueroa, Shannon Hartsoe, Haley Freeman, Julie Brown

22 Tony Faulkner

26 Nicholas Nguyen


© Copyright 2014 Executive Agent Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published materials, Executive Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors.

Scot Nicol

ExecutiveAgent Magazine




Written by Shannon Hartsoe


aving “sales in the family blood’ isn’t a joke for Scot Nicol. “My family always joked about that, but my dad’s first career was selling motorcycles and exotic cars,” Scot says. “He had a book of clients, not a

showroom. I got to see first-hand what it was to personalize the sales process.” Growing up Scot also witnessed the success of his aunt, Karen Odom, as a real estate agent in Redondo Beach. “Seeing her success made me think that real estate sales is a career I could support my family with,” Scot says. And He Was Correct Today Scot is a South Bay real estate specialist with RE/MAX Estate Properties. A proud product of El Segundo High School, Scot earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA before entering the real estate profession. His career began in 2006, working in the title insurance industry for Progressive Title Co., where his territory stretched from Marina del Rey to Long Beach during those seven years. But his dream of following in his family’s footsteps and selling property never left Scot. So he made the switch to sales in February 2013, joining the team at The Barberi Real Estate Group. Thanks to his exposure at a young age to what it takes to be successful in real estate, plus the knowledge he gained from the title industry, Scot has found success in his new sales career. “Together our team matched our 2013 production in the first four months of 2014,” Scot says. Along with title and sales skills, Scot is also a small business owner. He is part owner of a small Mexican restaurant, Beach Mex, in El Segundo. Scot says, “running a small business and selling real estate require similar skills, and those skills have helped him succeed with both.”

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Scot Nicol Mentors Make The Difference Family members aren’t the only mentors in Scot’s professional life. In his title days, Mary Leaveck and Larry Griffin “helped push me in the direction that best served me,” he says. “I now work with a seasoned Realtor®, Tony Barberi, who has taken me under his wings and ‘toughened me up.’ Realtors® can be sharks, and it’s about knowing how to swim with the shark and navigate your own path, which is something that Tony has really helped me with.” Skills are important, but so is attitude. Scot has the best of both. His philosophy emphasizes teamwork, professionalism and placing the client above all else. “I truly believe in the ‘client-first’ approach,” he says. “Commission checks will come and go but client relationships can last a lifetime. I am personally vested in every deal I am involved in. My clients never feel like a paycheck to me.” Trust is also an important asset to Scot, who tells prospective clients: “If you trust me, work with me. If you’re unsure, think about working with someone else.” “I work hard and tell the truth,” he states. “Life is too short for lies and part-time work.”

clients when I was in title insurance sales, so I saw firsthand how some worked right through the recession and how others fell off the map.” “One of the main tools for staying afloat in real estate sales is educating yourself about the market, trends and keeping your skills at their highest level,” Scot says. “It is our instinct to continue to do what we know and it takes a personal commitment to learn new activities and make them a part of your life as the new normal,” he says. “Each year my goal is to become better than the previous year.” He will achieve this goal when he and his wife welcome a baby girl to the family, which includes their 2-year-old son. Scot is very serious about his work, but his priorities are clear. “My goals always start with family and spill over into work.” Scot Nicol RE/MAX Estate Properties 400 S Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 100 Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Tel: 310.529.5286 CalBRE # 01918400

Scot loves the opportunity to work at RE/MAX Estate Properties, which he says is “as good as it gets.” Those sentiments are rare when your initial venture into real estate was just as the industry began to slide. But those leaner times reinforced something Scot holds onto today, that life is a marathon not a sprint. “Being in real estate for the past seven years allowed me to experience the crash and the slow crawl back up,” he sexplains. “I had a book of close to 200 Realtor®

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


The Service Boomerang


emember the expression, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” They want to know if you are willing to give of yourself, to serve their needs and wants.

They’re not interested in your title, your college degrees, or how much money you have. First, they want to know if you care about them as a person, if you care about helping them solve their problems. Then your knowledge and experience become important. When you are considering the idea and process of giving “good service”, ask yourself, “What would I want if I were dealing with me?” That really brings it home. When you think of service in personal terms you feel the accountability involved. It becomes a personal responsibility, not just a nice idea or phrase. That kind of thinking turns into a philosophy about the service concept. And, that is where you find the real benefit, in both receiving and giving excellent service. We have intelligence quotients and personality quotients. If there were a service quotient, an SQ, how would you score? How would your organization score? It is a very powerful concept to build a life, a career or an organization on the knowledge that good service always boomerangs. Sheila Murray Bethel is a best selling author, television personality and globally acclaimed professional speaker. Sheila’s expertise is Change, Leadership, and Personal Excellence. She is the author of the best-selling book, Making A Difference: 12 Qualities That Make You a Leader, host of the new Public Television Specials, “Making A Difference”, and business woman. Copyright© 2003, Sheila Murray Bethel. All rights reserved. For information about Sheila’s Leadership Seminars and Workshops, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email;


ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Written by Sheila Murray Bethel ExecutiveAgent Magazine



Speed Convenience Choice


he Real Estate Professionals and companies that survive the major changes taking place in this industry are those that can quantify what they do and how they earn their money. One method of doing this is to look at what consumers, not just real estate consumers, but all consumers are looking for today as they shop for products and services. These items can be referred to as “Consumer Demands” and when you look at what you do, how you do it, and how you market it, bring as many of these driving forces to bear as possible: Speed - think of fast food and 1 hour film developing. The quicker you can take care of the administrative aspects of a purchase or sale, the more valuable you are. Convenience - think of Seven Eleven stores. Also 8

remember that people will often pay a premium for convenience. What do you do for the convenience and comfort of your clients? Choice - the more alternatives initially, the more consumers like it, but then they narrow it down. Don’t we all enjoy choice, from ice cream (31 Flavors) to Coffee (Starbucks). What can you do to give your client more alternatives. Value-added - people like to get MORE than they pay for, this is value added. Real Estate Professionals provide value added services everyday, but few take the time to reenforce it to their clients. Have you ever cleaned or painted a house for a client after a sale? Helped them move something...or something like that, an extra, that WASN’T in the listing agreement but you did it anyway? That’s “Value Added”

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Written By Saul Klein

Discounts - If it is convenient enough, you will use a coupon. Lots of people look for discounts in everything they do. This doesn’t mean you should offer discounts, but you must be aware that for many this is a “driving force” so play to your strengths in your marketing Quality - Are you willing to pay more for quality? Many people are Service - think of Norstroms who prides itself in its service

Deliver the above at every available opportunity and your clients will not only love you, they will send you more business. Saul Klein is a principal of RealTown™, an Internet training, consulting, and publishing company. For additional information, please contact The Frog Pond Group at 800-704-FROG (3764) or email: susie@

Information - this is the age of information! Consumers won’t buy a toaster or a microwave without first buying a copy of “Consumer’s Guide”, let alone a piece of real estate. Make it quick (speed) and convenient for your clients to access lots of (choice) information.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine






Plus Bonus Day! Monday, July 28 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm BECOMING A SUPERSTAR LISTING AGENT Learn How To: Price listings so they sell NOW Dramatically increase your personal listing power Make an enthusiastic, powerful listing presentation Get a seller to choose you versus the competition Maintain a large inventory whether the market increases or decreases To purchase tickets to this event please visit us at:

WWW.MIKEFERRY.COM Or Call a Customer Service Representative at 800-448-0647

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MIKE FERRY DISCOUNTED ROOM RATES! Discounted Rate of $139 per Night + $20 per Night Resort Fee

Offer Valid Through Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 To Book Your Discounted Room, Call Venetian: 877-385-3885 or Palazzo: 866-659-9659

©2014 The Mike Ferry Organization | Management reserves all rights | | 800-448-0647


The Mike Ferry Organization Monthly Report


s my great group of connections has grown dramatically, I’ve discovered that 80% of my 20,000+ connections are Real Estate salespeople or Real Estate brokers and 20% are a wide variety of businesspeople from various professions. The good news is, when I write these monthly reports to my great connections, I get a variety of responses because 20% are not really sure why I’m talking about topics like “prequalifying” or “how to be a more effective listing agent”. So, if you’re reading the report this month, I’m going to take a different approach with all of you ... hopefully one that you can appreciate, learn from, and share. I was very fortunate throughout my career to have 3 great mentors in my business and personal life. Many of you will recognize these names, and they may be new for some of you. My first mentor was Earl Nightingale, who was a profound writer and a very successful radio commentator, as well as a man that recorded some very important motivational messages for people to live their lives by. Earl became famous for one particular and very important statement that he made, which was ... “You become what you think about most of the time.” There have been hundreds of articles and recordings done about this particular thought, but if we apply it to our own lives and businesses ... we can see the importance of such a simple statement. Earl’s belief was that if we have a goal, objective, or something we’re passionate about ... something we want to accomplish or do with our business or life ... and we spend the major portion of our time focusing on that, our subconscious mind will take us in that direction and move us to the reality of accomplishing that goal or objective. So, what is it you are trying to accomplish, and are you giving it the thought, the time, and the action required to make that happen?

they’re competing with tremendous numbers of people for the same objective. Gunther’s thought was, find out what everybody else is doing and do the opposite. If you are a Real Estate agent, as an example, and everybody is contacting the For Sale By Owners in your area ... you contact the Expireds. My third mentor was Michael Vance, who worked with Walt Disney for many, many years before setting up his own creative thinking consulting company. Michael always talked about the same thing ... “We have to learn to think outside the box if we want to be creative and move our business and lives forward.” The more outside the box we think, the better chance we have. Most people are too concerned about making sure that what they do fits exactly into the same thought process as everyone else. Mike’s thought was if you want to become highly creative, you have to do something a little bit different. So here’s a thought for all of us ... do any of these three thought processes apply to any of us today? If the answer is yes, look at how they apply and what you want to do to put the ideas to work. Look forward to sharing more ideas with you next month.

My second mentor was Dr. Gunther Klaus. He said to me time and time again, “Always remember the 180 degree theory.” He was referring to the fact that whatever you said you wanted to do, in most cases, if you do exactly the opposite, you’re going to succeed at a much higher level because the competition simply doesn’t exist. Most people do exactly the same thing all the time and ExecutiveAgent Magazine

Mike Ferry - CEO The Mike Ferry Organization 7220 S. Cimarron Road, Suite 300 Las Vegas, NV 89113 800-448-0647 702-430-4406 (Fax)




Nominate a fellow REALTOR速 to be featured in one of our feature stories; on the cover as Executive Agent of the Month, or as a special feature story. All candidates must be nominated by a real estate professional. The selection process includes a questionnaire, personal interview, reference check and final approval by the Advisory Council. Candidates are evaluated based upon professionalism, length of service and uniqueness of story, as well as industry and community involvement.

I Nominate: Name:___________________________________ Company:________________________________ Address:_________________________________ _________________________________________ City/State/Zip:____________________________ _________________________________________ Phone:___________________________________ Email:___________________________________ Submitted By: Fax/Email nomination to: Executive Agent Magazine PO Box 73384 San Clemente, CA 92673 Fax: 949.266.8757 Email: Tel: 949.366.3349

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Cover Story

Darren Pujalet Executive Agent of the Month

ExecutiveAgent Magazine

Darren Pujalet “Think Outside The Box” Written by Steven McReynolds - Ian Wiant Photographer


that would allow me to settle down, provide for my family, help others, apply my work ethic to, and give me a chance to pursue other passions as well, such as my music, travel, and surfing,” he says. “Real Estate is a great fit for me.”

“After selling pencils in elementary school, I graduated to selling lollipops for 25 cents,” he says. For Darren, it was but a small taste of things to come. He gained an interest in sales from his family, who sold real estate, paper and shoes, he says.

His sister’s success selling real estate in San Diego helped convince Darren that selling property might be the path he should pursue as well. “My entire family has always been involved in real estate,” says Darren. “There is a creative side to me that loves design and architecture, and I also like the idea of helping people during times of transition. I also have an affinity for numbers and business.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from San Diego State University, Darren’s business skills were honed in the music business. “I had spent a decade as a professional touring drummer, and I was looking for a career

Seven years later, Darren’s diverse background in sales has provided him with the tools needed to make him a top producer with RE/MAX Estate Properties in Manhattan Beach.

arren Pujalet’s sales career began long before he was even old enough to hold a job. For his classmates in a San Francisco elementary school, Darren was “one to know” when you wanted an NFL team pencil. For 15 cents, he could set you up with one boasting an Oakland Raiders or Los Angeles Rams logo.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine

From L to R; Amanda Neely, Laura Heckman, Darren & Genevieve Pujalet, Rocio Medina

Like any newcomer to a competitive industry, building a career in real estate sales has taken a lot of hard work, but that has never been a deterrent to Darren. “The first year was really tough and frustrating. I felt like I was working so hard and getting nowhere,” he recalls. “At just over a year, all of my hard work started to pay off. I have to keep working hard, though. I don’t think I’ve taken my foot off the gas pedal since then. There is a lot of competition out there.” Darren works about 10-12 hours per day during the week, sometimes from the office, sometimes from home, or even from Starbucks. “I often work Saturdays, either showing property, catching up on administrative work or holding an open house. I’m almost always accessible to

my clients by email or phone. But, I do try really hard to take Sundays off.” That hard work is paying off. Darren says he gets many referrals and repeat clients, including from friends. He also pursues expired listings and sends mailers to several different local farms and is quickly becoming a highly sought after real estate consultant. “I am also not above door-knocking and cold-calling, and I’ve done plenty of both with some success. I started in a challenging market, and I’ve had to roll up my sleeves and get in the trenches,” he says. “As a buyer or seller, the process of residential real estate can be frustrating, challenging and emotional. But in the end, we all need help to get things done,” he acknowledges.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine

A World-Class Realtor® and Rising Star

And Darren gets things done. His clients have nothing but the highest of praise for his hard work and determined spirit. “Darren is a great Realtor® and I highly recommend him,” says Christine Shultz. “He helped us buy our first home in Hermosa Beach. He knows his stuff and he is very easy to work with, very genuine.” Added former client Tracey Larrabee: “Darren is knowledgeable and up-to-date on the ever-changing South Bay market. He not only sold my home at top dollar, but helped me score a premium property in a highly desirable area for a great price. You are in good hands with Darren.” Darren is quick to credit his team – executive assistant Amanda Neely and marketing coordinator Laura Heckman. Calling expired listings is one of the tools Darren uses to his advantage. “There are numerous reasons why a home may not sell initially. However, if they were interested in selling recently, there’s a decent chance they’re still interested,” Darren says. “And if the reason it expired

was a timing issue or an agent issue, then I see that as a great opportunity to capture a listing.” He’s also a firm believer in using social media and modern technological advances to promote properties. “I blog, I do a lot with video, I utilize social media as much as possible,” he states. “Plain and simple, every time I put something real estate-related up on Facebook, for example, it’s free advertising and gets a lot of exposure very quickly.” While social media helps Darren spread the word about his listings and gets his name in the mix, communicating directly with his clients is at the center of his approach to business. Darren believes that consistent communication helps reduce the complexity of real estate transactions that can sometimes overwhelm a client. “Real estate can be overwhelming to buyers and sellers -- and emotional. It’s important to make each client feel like you are on top of things and in their corner,” he says.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine

my life with as much integrity and compassion for others as possible. And I eventually hope to live my life by design: ‘want to’ feels better than ‘have to’ for everyone, I think.” While his professional life is certainly busy, his personal life is growing as well. Darren and his wife Genevieve recently became the proud parents of twin boys, Austin Jacob Pujalet and Noah Dylan Pujalet. “We’re certainly blessed,” he says. “Becoming a father is one of the best things in my life.” “I take pride in making positive changes, whether it’s through real estate, philanthropy, or day-to-day life. I’ve always said that if I can change one person’s life or help a family find a home that they can make memories in for many years, then I have done my job and I can rest peacefully at night.”

“I think many of my clients can attest to the fact that I often go the extra mile. Sometimes challenges arise either during the process or after escrow closes that are technically not an agent’s responsibility, but I always try to help out as much as I can,” he reveals, adding: “The client relationship doesn’t end just because you closed escrow.” Another priority for him is product knowledge. Without it, he says, there’s no way an agent can give a client the best possible service, representation or deal. “In this industry, the market dictates just about everything, so if you don’t know the local market really well, your clients will suffer,” he says. It’s also crucial to understand the area in general -- the school systems, what environmental hazards may exist, the area’s demographics, etc. “It’s ALL important to prospective buyers and helps dictate the price that a seller can obtain from a sale,” he explains. “You have to do your homework -- constantly.” Darren defines success as being able to pay the bills comfortably and still balance work with life’s other pleasures -- family, friends, travel, hobbies, etc. “Living ExecutiveAgent Magazine

Darren Pujalet

RE/MAX Estate Properties 1401 Highland Avenue Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Ph: 310.613.1690 CalBRE # 01845166

ExecutiveAgent Magazine



Tony Faulkner ExecutiveAgent Magazine

Written by Shannon Hartsoe


hen you’ve earned about as many awards for real estate production as you possibly can and you’re at the top of your game, what’s next? For Tony Faulkner, the answer was easy. “Mentoring became a natural next step for me once I had reached a place where I had a fair amount of knowledge under my belt,” he says. “Managing an office and helping other agents grow into their full potential is something I love doing.” With more than 20 years of real estate sales experience, Tony has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others. In that time he’s seen market shifts and implemented systems and protocols to help keep him on track and successfully serving his clients. As he looked back over his own career, Tony knew he wanted to make a difference for other agents, but he wanted to partner with the perfect brokerage. Today, as the managing broker of the new Laguna Niguel branch of Evergreen Realty HomeSmart, he has that chance. “The culture at Evergreen Realty is just phenomenal,” he says. “I couldn’t ask for a better place with more forward-thinking ideas. Their respect for their agents, the tools they have available, all of it is exceptional and we’re looking forward to taking the company to the next level.” A New Era in Real Estate Evergreen Realty has a 20-year history in Orange County real estate. What started as a “mom and pop” operation has grown to eight offices and more than 1,100 agents throughout the area. As one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in the nation, it would be easy to assume the company has lost the personal touch that contributed to its early growth. Nothing could be further from the truth. For five years running, the company has been voted one of the Top Workplaces in Orange County by the Orange County Register, and it remains family-run. “That family-run feeling is one of the things that attracted me to the company,” says Tony. “The company values its agents as part of that family.” Passionate, trustworthy and hard-working (as a young boy, he would mow lawns and clean windows for extra money. He went on to serve 22 years and retired from the United States Marines and AirForce), Tony says that Evergreen’s philosophy of customer service closely matches his own. Having helped build two previous brokerages from the ground up, he’s looking forward to working closely with Evergreen’s agents and building a greater market share. His open-door, collaborative management style keeps him

on the floor and interacting with agents every step of the way. “If they need me for anything, I’m here,” he says. One of the most exciting things for him is the ability to attract real estate talent through unique and cuttingedge technology. “The reason many agents get into the business is the ability to have a flexible schedule and to maintain a healthy work/life balance,” Tony says. “When they realize they’re spending too much time at the office and the balance isn’t as healthy as it should be, we lose them. Evergreen has some of the most advanced systems in place so that agents can work from anywhere they choose. It’s a flexible and paperless system. This is just another way the company shows appreciation and respect for its agents.” The company is also 100 percent commission. “Too many agents are spending too much of their hard-earned commission by giving it back to the brokerage,” says Tony. “We want to see agents keep more of what they earn and experience more success.” A True Community A man who describes himself as “Faith, Family and Service, Tony has been married for 20 years to his wife Maria and they are proud parents of 5 children and 3 grandchildren.” Tony also believes in giving back to the community, something he says is also reflected in Evergreen’s mission statement. He is a member of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce as well as the Prince Hall Masons. He is also on the board of directors and the past president of the 100 BMOC, the local chapter of a national organization dedicated to mentorship and support to at-risk youth. “Our goal is to come alongside these young men and give them some direction,” he says. “Our goal is to get them to go to college and keep them off the streets because so many of our young men today don’t have strong role models. We want to change that.” For Tony, working at Evergreen Realty HomeSmart has provided him the perfect opportunity to do what he does best – help others. “I like to see people go from being good to being great and this is the perfect place to do that!” Tony Faulkner – Managing Broker Evergreen Realty HomeSmart 24050 Aliso Creek Rd., Ste. C Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 Tel: 949-230-1597 – 949-600-8932 Email: Web: CalBRE # 01182716

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


I LOVE Complaints!


hether you’re selling loans, homes, computers, widgets, or are a stay at home Mom, your own personal person-to-person “customer service” when there is a problem is a benchmark of your ultimate success. How do you react when someone complains to you? There are several typical approaches: 1. Some people take it personally; get defensive and aggressive. 2. Others simply ignore complaints. 3. Some blame it on others. 4. Some get efficient and solve the problem without dealing with the person’s feelings. 5. And others greet all complaints with delight. DELIGHT! Delight? Why? How could you be delighted when someone complains? Because, she said confidentially, people only complain to you when they want to continue the relationship! Isn’t that delightful? (Well, except for Mr. X , but that’s a story for another day.) Think about the last time you had a problem at a retail store with maybe a slow check out. If it’s a store where you seldom shop, for a product that you can easily get


elsewhere, you may very well just leave the product on the counter and walk out. But if you encounter a slow check out at a store that is usually efficient, you may be quietly understanding; knowing that this is the exception not the rule. Or you might talk with the manager. Even if you are aggravated and angry about the slow service, the only reason you’d take your time to talk with the manager is if you wanted to continue to shop there. In essence you are giving them a second chance to apologize, make it better and win you back. This is the single biggest area where you have a chance at increasing your profitability, repeat customers and referrals. This is the place where you build lasting relationships and a better bottom line because repeat customers are responsible for 8 times the profit of a new customer! Anyone can give good customer service when things are going well - at work or at home. It’s when things go wrong, systems break down, or unforeseen obstacles pop up, that you have a chance to demonstrate your commitment to the relationship. Just what are you willing to do to make this work? To make this right? To forge a stronger bond?

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Have you ever broken a bone? It HURTS! But if you give a little extra care and coddle it for a few weeks, it is stronger because that bone has been reinforced as it healed. Broken relationships are like that too. If the store manager says, _Thank you for telling me. Let me get another clerk up at the front and let me personally check you so you can get on your way. “You’ll think, WOW! He actually cares!, and he didn’t get mad. HE THANKED ME?!?! And you’ll continue to shop there. And you might tell your friends. With your customers, when you can “make it better”, they often tell their friends, “We had a nasty thing happen while we working with Pat and Pat made sure it was fixed in no time. It’s good to know people who can efficiently deal with problems when they come up. We’ll use Pat again.”

clients, marriages and parenting, are never problem-free, but the people involved have learned how to confront issues and deal with them with some charm and grace. The next time an inevitable problem arises, greet the complaint with delight, deal with the problem efficiently, the people considerately, and you will maintain the relationship. Linda Brakeall, GRI, CRB, is a nationally recognized expert in sales and marketing for Realtors®. Linda, a Realtor® for 13 years, three of which were as an award wining sales person, spent the next ten years as a manager and corporate trainer. She has been speaking professionally speaking, training and consulting since 1992. Copyright© Linda Brakeall. All rights reserved. For information about Linda, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email;

Relationships that last a long time, including customers, ExecutiveAgent Magazine




Written by Shannon Hartsoe

Nicholas Nguyen ExecutiveAgent Magazine


ick Nguyen didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. In fact, he says his skill for business was forged out of necessity rather than choice. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good at it. As one of five siblings born to Vietnamese immigrants, Nick says his family didn’t have much in terms of material things. What they did have was a strong work ethic, a drive to succeed and a faith that kept them positive even when times were hard. As a result, he learned the sales skills necessary to support himself, long before he even knew what an “entrepreneur” was. “I didn’t have the luxury of depending on my parents for financial help like a lot of my friends,” says Nick. “So even at a young age, I was creating little businesses for myself to make extra money. I’d go into the garage at the age of six or seven and look for things to sell.” That self-reliance remained with him even as a high school student, when he would ride his bike from his neighborhood to the Nellie Gail neighborhood to wash cars for the spending money so many others took for granted.So when the opportunity to work with a successful real estate agent presented itself, Nick didn’t hesitate. His parents introduced him to a family friend who was a Realtor®. After learning about what she did, Nick was intrigued. She helped him get started and from there, he was off and running. “She really took me under her wing and taught me the basics of financing and how to handle more difficult transactions,” says Nick. “Right from the beginning I was fascinated and it turns out that real estate was an ideal match for my personality and for my work ethic.” Nick spent a number of years honing his real estate skills while using them to start his own personal real estate portfolio. Building his own home from a lot to finished product helped Nick gain an even deeper understanding of the entire real estate process – something he uses to his clients’ advantage today. “I tell my clients that real estate is like a game of chess – it’s all strategy,” he explains. “Fortunately, I’m a very detail-oriented person.” But he had a decision to make – keep working in real estate part time, or settle in and get serious? He chose the latter. That single decision has led to Nick establishing himself as one of the area’s most successful Realtors® and owner of Prism Link Properties.

By working closely with his clients and treating each transaction as if it was his own, Nick says he’s able to give a level of customer service that is unmatched anywhere. His goal is not simply to meet expectations, but to exceed them. “I’m very passionate about what I do,” he states. “I have a good read on situations and I’m always thinking outside of the box to find and manage creative ways to seal the deal without sacrificing the interests of my clients. I’m not satisfied unless they are.” As the owner of Prism Link, Nick is acutely aware of the value of the transaction to the client, and takes his responsibility very seriously. One mistake, he says, could prove costly, so he leaves nothing to chance. He’s constantly looking for ways to improve upon his past successes and to learn from every real estate sale or purchase. “It amazes me how an agent can help alter the course and outcome of their clients’ deal,” he says. “That’s why it’s important for consumers to work with the right agent --- one who knows how to maneuver carefully throughout the transaction in order to maximize and protect their clients’ needs. Like an attorney, the agent’s negotiation skills are vital in order to create that personal advantage.” Nick’s agents, each with their own strengths and areas of specialization, all follow the same philosophy of customer service that has made Nick so successful. His hard work, determination and unwavering commitment to a job done well have made him an Orange County favorite. That dynamic approach to business has earned him the respect of his colleagues and clients alike, but Nick says it’s his faith that keeps him motivated. “The one constant that keeps me going is my faith in Jesus Christ,” says Nick. “It makes me more accountable for any actions that I take and helps me to stay strong when the going gets tough. I serve Him by serving my clients well and create a positive reflection of His work in me. Nothing is more important.” Nicholas Nguyen Prism Link Properties Tel: 949-374-3957 Email: Web: CalBRE # 01364249

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Creating Opportunity


f those pursuits were good enough for the framers of our venerated Constitution, is it safe to presume they are more than good enough for us sales professionals who nobly endeavor to feed, clothe and house our kin with the money we earn through the listing and sale of real estate. One need only walk a week in the shoes of a productive, successful agent to know how truly challenging, stressful, exhilarating, frustrating and fulfilling the profession of real estate is today. To be enterprising is to keep your eyes open and your mind active. It’s to be skilled enough, confident enough, creative enough and disciplined enough to seize opportunities that present themselves...regardless of the economy. A person with an enterprising attitude says, “Find out what you can before action is taken.” Do your homework. Do the research. Be prepared. Be resourceful. Do all you can in preparation of what’s to come. Enterprising people always see the future in the present. Enterprising people always find a way to take advantage of a situation, not be burdened by it. And enterprising people aren’t lazy. They don’t wait for opportunities to come to them, they go after the opportunities. Enterprise means always finding a way to keep yourself actively working toward your ambition. Enterprise is two things. The first is creativity. You need creativity to see what’s out there and to shape it to your advantage. You need creativity to look at the world a little differently. You need creativity to take a different approach, to be different. What goes hand-in-hand with the creativity of enterprise is the second requirement: the courage to be creative. You need courage to see things differently, courage to go against the crowd, courage to take a different approach, courage to stand alone if you have to, courage to choose activity over inactivity. And lastly, being enterprising doesn’t just relate to the ability to make money. Being enterprising also means feeling good enough about yourself, having enough self-worth to want to seek advantages and opportunities that will make a difference in your future. And by doing so you will increase your confidence, your courage, your creativity and your self-worth - your enterprising nature. Jim Rohn knows the secrets of success - in business and in life. He has devoted his life to a study of the fundamentals of human behavior and personal motivation that affect professional performance. He can awaken the unlimited power of achievement within you! Copyright© 2003, Jim Rohn. All rights reserved. For information about Jim’s keynote presentations and seminars, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704. FROG(3764) or email;


ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Written By Jim Rohn

ExecutiveAgent Magazine






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ick up any national magazine, flip through the pages, and count the number of short articles you see. They can include those little 3-inch fillers, short quizzes, 400word “how-to” articles or resource boxes. Editors love them. And you can generate some fabulous publicity for yourself by writing them. 1. Because they are so short, editors often rely on them to “fill a hole” on the page. A 75-word brief stands a much better chance of being published than a 750-article. 2. Briefs help portray you as an expert in your field. 3. They appeal to readers with short attention spans and can be skimmed quickly. 4. They’re easy to write. And you don’t need to submit a query letter to editors. Simply snail-mail, fax or e-mail the copy. 5. Unlike a story idea pitch, or a longer article you are submitting, you can usually submit briefs to editors at a variety of non-competing publications at the same time. Editors don’t expect exclusivity on these items and usually don’t care if they appear in other publications. 6. You can promote yourself, or your product, service, cause or issue much more in a brief than you can in an article you would write. 7. Briefs are an excellent way to promote a new book, particularly if you are willing to give away free advice in the brief that ties into the book. You can include a web site


URL or contact information where readers can buy from you. Types of Briefs Briefs come in all shapes, sizes and formats. They include how-to articles, tips sheets, quizzes, new product announcements accompanied by a photo, and polls and surveys. If you work within a particular industry that has its own jargon, you can also supply a list of industry words and definitions so readers can better understand your industry. Sometimes all you need to do is provide editors with a list of resources on a particular topic. If you write books on marketing, for example, you might provide a list of the top three marketing web sites, top three marketing magazines and top three audio tapes on the topic of marketing for small-businesses. This brief can be used as-is, or it can be used as a sidebar to accompany a longer article on marketing that someone else has submitted. Joan Stewart is a speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in developing and maintaining good relations with the print and abroadcast media. Reprinted from “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” a free ezine featuring tips, tricks and tools for generating free publicity. For information about Joan, Copyright© 2006, Joan Stewart. All right reserved. For information contact FrogPond at email

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Editors Love Briefs, Fillers & Quizzes

Written By Joan Stewart

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


Our bone marrow transplant reunion is now standing room only. Each year, City of Hope invites bone marrow transplant recipients and their families to attend the “Celebration of Life” event. It’s a joyous time during which survivors of blood cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma embrace their health, their life and each other. It began more than 35 years ago when City of Hope created what is now one of the largest and most successful bone marrow transplant programs in the world. In fact, we’ve completed over 11,000 transplants and, according to national reports, our outcomes are among the best in the nation. The goal of curing cancer isn’t just something we work at. It’s what we live for. If you have cancer, make us your first call. Or ask your doctor for a referral. We accept most insurance. 800-826-HOPE

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WE LIVE TO CURE CANCER. Science saving lives.

11/25/13 6:02 PM

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June 2014 south bay  
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