Surprise Me…

23 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher

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When I least expect it
And you will win my respect.

Disappoint me…
When you’ve set my expectations
And I will be hard to recapture.

Making promises and living up to them is extremely difficult because there are always extenuating circumstances beyond our control.
The goal should always be to under-promise and over-deliver.
But all too often sales people and companies fall into this trap. It’s in our nature to get excited at the prospect of a new endeavor and it takes incredible discipline and strategy to curb that enthusiasm. But this is critical when it comes to managing expectations and winning respect.

No promise is better than a promise not kept.

- When Apple launches a new product – it is full of surprises, and I respect that.
- When Virgin Airlines launched – it was full of surprises, and they won my respect.
- When 3M launches a new product – it is full of surprises, and I respect their innovation.


- When a company announces the launch date of an innovative million dollar website, and it is delayed (with nothing innovative), it can only be a disappointment.
- When a software company makes promises about a new and better browser that pales in comparison to the market, I’ll be surfing elsewhere.
- When a salesman promises a certain level of success to a client, and comes up short, it destroys their credibility and trust.

We are living in a world that moves faster than any other period in history. A technological revolution. Innovative ideas spread like a virus. But only if the idea is innovative, remarkable and exceeds our expectations.



21 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher


“A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom” – Ayn Rand.

I am not as cynical as Ayn Rand, perhaps because I am more of a dreamer…..

But I am too often disappointed by the lack of integrity shown by too many people.

Integrity is a priceless attribute in real estate (and life).

Having integrity is smart business.

Yes, integrity is often put to the test because of a short-term benefit,

But long-term thinking should always trump short-term gain.

Some “smart buyers” lose integrity when it comes to closing a deal.

I’ve been to too many contract signings where the purchaser changes terms – after they were agreed upon, because they have the “seller over a barrel”.

No integrity – but also the last time these people will transact together.

Some “smart sellers” lose integrity when it comes to honoring a deal.

When the market favors their interests, they become penny-wise and pound-foolish by abandoning their agreed deal looking for the last penny from the highest bidder.

No integrity – often resulting in no deal at all.

Some “clever agents” lose integrity when they have a listing that “sells itself”.

They are unresponsive to co-brokers when the request comes, waiting for the full commission that a direct deal may pay.

No integrity – but co-brokers have memories when the tables are turned.

Just this past week, I had someone renege on a prior agreement.

We had a handshake, and an email clarification – which is all one should really need,

(If the person you are dealing with has integrity).

He lost his integrity – and now a bridge has been burned.

Integrity is contagious though, and dealing with people who honor this value is a joy.


It’s the Process, of Course

18 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher


I’ve often wondered what separates GOOD from GREAT.

Not GENIUS…that’s an entirely different thing all together.


Jim Collins wrote a brilliantly inspiring book dedicated to the analysis of the few companies that have evolved from good to great. (A must read for anyone looking to build a GREAT company).

But, how about the things we personally experience and are touched by in our daily lives?

What makes a great broker?

What makes a great musician?

What makes a great builder?

A great reporter? Chef? Architect? Attorney? Doctor? Tailor? Athlete…?

Other than the required intrinsic qualities, raw talent needed, devotion of 10,000 hours (according to Gladwell) and focus, I think it is very much the process…

When I’ve observed great people, I’ve noticed that they have a systematic approach to their greatness. And it is the perfection of that system that enables them to repeat the process.

Again and again.

Great brokers have systems they repeat.

They answer calls promptly.

They inspect any property they haven’t seen.

They update their contact data base efficiently.

They follow up on leads consistently.

They dress appropriately.

They don’t email too much.

They stay abreast of industry trends.

They maintain strong relationships.

They brand themselves.

They read any relative data necessary for a deal.

They ask questions – freely.

Without the structure of a system – chaos reigns!



15 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher


Is essential to success.

The more easily one can communicate an idea, plan or concept to a client – the better.

It is difficult to be succinct. And it is rare that we find this attribute in business. There are so many jumbled messages that it is often hard to comprehend the main idea or point behind the “story” being told.

Some of the most life-changing innovations have been the most “obvious” ideas that, in hindsight, seem to have been the simplest.

Gravity – thanks Newton
E=Mc2 – thanks Einstein
The iPod – thanks Jobs
Amazon – thanks Bezos

… innovators who were passionate about what they believed in.


CORE Talks Interview: NYC, Inspiration and Real Estate with Nicole Miller

10 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher

With New York Fashion Week upon us, I’m pleased to share my latest CORE Talks webisode featuring iconic fashion designer, Nicole Miller. Please join me for a rarely-seen look at Miller’s New York City showroom and production facility as we discuss upcoming Fashion Week, New York City real estate and share trade secrets about our respective industries. There is a natural synergy among fashion, design and architecture that represents our culture. Nicole Miller is an inspiring entrepreneur and a creative icon; she is innovative and always at the cutting edge of how we live.


Game Theory

07 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher


…is serious business, but is still very much under the radar.

About 4 years ago, in my quest to learn from some of the leading economists in the world (through literature) I became aware of Game Theory, and started dabbling in it. The more I read and studied about Game Theory, the more I realized how vital it was to everything we do in the field of negotiation.

(In other words – real estate brokerage)

It is the most significant theory that I have come across that directly relates to the real estate business (and beyond).

Most agents view the standard continuing education requirements of a real estate license as a necessary chore. My advice to anyone reading this entry is to start exploring Game Theory as a practical method to help you represent your clients’ interests. This should be a standard continuing education requirement because you will get invaluable information to help make you a significantly better agent. It is at the very core of our expected skill set and expertise.

There are thousands of references, dating back many centuries, but my strongest recommendation as an entrée into this subject is Dixit and Nalebuff’s book The Art of Strategy. It is thorough, practical and easily understandable (unlike Von Neumann’s books – which need a deeper level of understanding and 4 cups of coffee).

These studies will certainly help those of us who have suffered with the question, (while representing a buyer in a bidding war) “How much do I offer, and when do I submit the bid?”

And much, much more.

Happy learning!


Nobody is Too Important…

03 February, 2011 posted by: Shaun Osher

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…to be unresponsive!

About two years ago, when I first interviewed Barbara Corcoran, I was amazed to experience first-hand that she answered her own phone and dialed her own numbers when she needed to be on a call. Realistically, she probably can’t do that 100% of the time, but the intent was there.

I don’t reach out to people unnecessarily, but when I do, there’s usually a good reason. I make the same assumption about anyone who is calling me.

There is nothing more impolite and disrespectful than someone having to leave more than 2 messages, one email, and wait, only never to get a response.

I return every call…
(The average call takes 2 minutes).
I respond to every email…
(The average email takes 30 seconds to write).

And whenever I can…I send a handwritten note!

When I’m extremely busy, it takes me longer to respond than I’d like – but I still respond. I never know where that next call is going to lead me. I never make a predetermination of where a new business relationship is coming from.

Being responsive is common sense as much as it is good business practice



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