The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday that is providing $27.8 million to 38 Public Housing Agencies across the country to reduce lead-based paint hazards in older public housing units.

Although lead-based paint was banned for use in homes in 1978, HUD currently estimates that there are approximately 24 million older homes that still have significant lead-based paint hazards. And while most public housing has already undergone abatement for lead, HUD states that there are still some properties where lead-based paint remains or hazards have redeveloped.

As such, HUD is continuing its work to remove lead-based paint from public housing. 

“We have no higher calling than to make certain the public housing that taxpayers support is healthy for our vulnerable families to live in,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a release. “As a doctor who treated many young children, I witnessed the close connection between health and housing. Today we make another critical investment in the futures of young children growing up in public housing.”

According to HUD, these grants will be targeted to approximately 2,800 public housing units, most of which are currently occupied by families with young children.

Beyond that, HUD also announced it will award a record $330 million later this year to clean up lead-based paint and other housing-related health and safety hazards in privately owned low-income housing.

A total of 25 states and 38 housing authorities are listed as recipients of this first round of funding.

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In July, home sales grew 2.4%, ending a nine month climb of year-over-year inventory growth, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report.

RE/MAX reports the number of homes for sale fell 1.4% from 2018’s level and 0.2% from the previous month. This decline represents the smallest month-over-month decrease since July 2013.

July sales snapped back after a tepid June as low interest rates appear to have brought more buyers into the mix, RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said.

“The housing market has been a bit uneven since the early spring, with each encouraging month seemingly followed by one with lukewarm results,” Contos said. “It’s possible the housing market has finally shaken some mud off its boots and can maintain its momentum for the back half of the year. If the broader macro environment hangs on, we could see a potentially strong finish to 2019.”

According to RE/MAX, July posted a 2.7-month supply of inventory, falling from 3.3-month supply in July 2018. Additionally, homes spent 43 days on the market, which is two days longer than they did last year.

The median price for a home was $273,00 in July, rising 9.2% from last year. Even with the increase from a year ago, July’s median price was below June’s all-time record high of $276,000.

“Home prices have risen, year over year, in 88 of the last 90 months dating back to February 2012,” Contos said. “Although lower interest rates help affordability, we have now seen two straight months of accelerating price increases. If the trend continues, it’s not an encouraging development for buyers.”

NOTE: The RE/MAX National Housing Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, including all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. 

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Get ready for 'Anatomy 101' of the American Silver Eagle coin – a condensed description of all of the parts of each of the coins in the program.

Body Parts

'Heads or' Tails'. You guessed it – the American Silver Eagle is no exception – it has one of each as usual – an 'obverse' side or the 'head' so to speak, and the 'reverse' side or the 'tail'. I guess that you could say that there is a third side too, the 'edge', but not very likely to come up in a flip of the Eagle. Each of the sides has an outside rim to protect the impressed inner designs from wear. The edge is 'reeded' with vertical ridges around the circumference that help with gripping the coin. Oh yes, I almost forgot – the coin is round.

Of course, not all coins are round and have rims and reeded edges. Rims are pretty standard now, multi-sided coins are rare, and edges are varied in style – they can be just plain, more decorative, or even lettered with the face value, date or some other identifying mark – on some coins edge patterns are used to assist the blind in identifying their denomination.

On either side of the Silver Eagle and inside the rim is where the real content lies – areas of unique and engraved design, a 'legend' or principal lettering, a mint mark, and other textual inscriptions – all in relief or raised above the flat surface background which is called the 'field' of the coin.

Facial Features

The orientation of content from the obverse to the reverse side of the coin is not something that most people are aware of. It can be a 'coin orientation' – as it is for the American Silver Eagle and all other American coins – or a 'medallic orientation' – as it is for Australian coins. 'Coin orientation' means that you see both sides upright when flipping horizontally. 'Medallic orientation' means that you see both sides upright when flipping vertically.

On the American Silver Eagle's obverse side is the principal design – Adolph Weinman's 'Walking Liberty'. This is a revived version of his original 'Walking Liberty Half Dollar' design, minted prior to 1946. It has been described as:

"a full length Liberty, the fold of the stars and stripes flying to the breeze as a background, progressing in full stride toward the dawn of a new day, carrying branches of laurel and oak symbolic of civil and military glory. figure is outstretched in bestowal of the spirit of liberty. "

Also on the obverse side of the Silver Eagle is the legend, "LIBERTY", stretched across the top half circumference in large letters. In much smaller letters located in the southeast outer area is the inscription, "IN GOD WE TRUST". The mint date is inscribed in the center of the bottom circumference.

On the American Silver Eagle's reverse side is an original relief design by John Mercanti. It is composed of an heraldic eagle behind a shield that signifies American strength. The eagle is holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons. Located above the eagle is a triangular arrangement of thirteen five-pointed stars representing the "Thirteen Colonies".

Also on the reverse side is inscribed ".UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." on the upper half circumference and "1 OZ. FINE SILVER ~ ONE DOLLAR" on the lower half circumference. The words "E PLURIBUS UNUM" appear, as they do by law now on all American coins, in scrolls around the wings of the eagle. Finally, a mint mark is inscribed lower down below the eagle's right wing (on the left side as we see it). Note, however, that there are no mint marks on bullion silver eagles. Proof and uncirculated (burnished) versions have an 'S' for the San Francisco Mint, a 'P' for the Philadelphia Mint or a 'W' for the West Point Mint, depending upon which mint produced the coin.

Different Species

American Silver Eagles are similar but really not all the same – the mint mark or its absence as noted above is one obvious distinction among them, the mint date is obviously another. There is also a quality distinction in the mint version that is due to the different minting processes used for bullion, proof and uncirculated (burnished) coins.

The bullion, the highest production version (about 8.3 million per year on average until 2009), is automatically pressed from standard silver planchets using a single strike – it is less striking in appearance (pardon the pun) than the other versions.

Uncirculated Silver Eagles are created from blanks that have been burnished by tumbling them in a wash of stainless steel shot, resulting in a more polished and satin-like finish. The "W" mint mark is also inscribed on these coins reflecting their striking at the United States Mint at West Point.

Finally, the proof versions undergo a specialized minting process in which burnished planchets are manually fed into presses fitted with special dies that strike multiple times, creating a magnificent appearance of detailed images floating above a mirrored background.

Minor Mutations

There is an unintentional variety or error that was generated when the United States Mint made minor alterations to the 2007 reverse design for 2008 and erroneously used the original 2007 reverse die in a small part of the 2008 production.

Special Issues of the American Silver Eagle over the years have created some other exceptions in their appearance. One example is the inclusion of a special West Point minted proof Silver Eagle coin with a 'W' mint mark in the 1995 '10th Anniversary American Eagle Five Coin Set ". In 1995, regular proof Silver Eagles were minted at the Philadelphia facility and inscribed with a 'P' mint mark. Another striking example (sorry for the pun again) is the 'Reverse Proof Silver Eagle' coin minted at Philadelphia as part of a 3-coin set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the American Silver Eagle program in 2006 – it features a frosted background and mirrored raised surfaces, the opposite of a typical proof coin.


Not all versions of the Silver Eagle were produced every year since the inception of the program in 1986 – with the exception of the bullion. However, its mint source has changed during its history from San Francisco (1986-1998) to Philadelphia and West Point (1999-2000) and to West Point only (2001 to present) – these changes are transparent, however, since bullion Silver Eagle coins bear no mint mark.

Proof Silver Eagles have been produced almost every year – the exceptions being 2009 to the present (June, 2010). Production was heavily allocated in 2008 and was suspended entirely in 2009 after the economic downturn created an unprecedented demand for bullion as a hedge against inflation. It is still not certain whether there will be any production in 2010. Production of proof Silver Eagles started at the San Francisco Mint and continued until 1992 with the inscribed 'S' mint mark. From 1993 until 2000, they were minted at Philadelphia and inscribed with the 'P' mint mark. The West Point Mint took over production with their 'W' mint mark in 2001-2008.

Uncirculated Silver Eagles have had a short history. They were minted with the 'W' mint mark at West Point from 2006-2008. Production was discontinued thereafter because of the same bullion coin priority for silver blanks as suffered by proof coins and dictated by the legal requirement to meet the unprecedented bullion demand.

Dress Up

Although packaging is not really part of the anatomy of the Silver Eagle, it does really embellish them in a fashion. Bullion coins are packaged and shipped in bulk to select authorized purchasers in appropriately labelled green plastic 'monster boxes' – each box contains twenty-five 20-coin plastic tubes, making 500 coins in total. These bullion coins are available to the public through distributers associated with the authorized purchasers.

Silver Eagle proof, uncirculated and special issues are all available directly from the US Mint subject to availability. The proof and uncirculated coins for the most part are packaged individually in a protective plastic capsule mounted in a satin-lined, velvet-covered presentation case and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity – the exception here was the 2006 uncirculated coin capsule which was housed in a velvet drawstring bag instead of the presentation case.

Chemistry and Stature

To complete our anatomy 101 lesson on the American Silver Eagle, there are some other important properties that should be mentioned as follows (they are the same for all variations of the Silver Eagle coin noted above):

Mass: 31.103 g (1.00 troy oz)
Diameter: 40.6 mm (1.598 in)
Thickness: 2.98 mm (0.1193 in)
Composition: 99.9% Ag and 00.1% Cu

QED – American Silver Eagle Anatomy 101

Source by Tim MacKenzie

ATTOM Data Solutions has appointed Martha Notaras to its board of directors. 

This announcement comes after ATTOM was acquired earlier this year by Lovell Minnick Partners, a private equity firm. 

“I am delighted to serve on the ATTOM Data Solutions board of directors,” Notaras said. “ATTOM is transforming the future of property data through innovative technology and I look forward to helping power this innovation by guiding strategic initiatives to expand ATTOM’s reach into various industries, with a strong focus on insurance-specific solutions.”

Martha NotarasNotaras is a partner at venture capital fund, XL Innovate, investing in insurtech and fintech. She serves on the boards of four of XL Innovate’s portfolio companies; Cape Analytics, Pillar Technologies, GeoQuant and Notion

Prior to her appointment at ATTOM, Notaras ran corporate development for the business data and analytics division of the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Notaras has also served as board director for companies in their early stages, with a specific focus on fintech, insurtech, proptech, edtech and digital media. 

Notaras has also spent time in investment banking at Merrill Lynch and commercial banking at Credit Suisse

“We’re delighted to have Martha Notaras join our board and we look forward to her valuable contributions,” said Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM Data Solutions. “Martha’s deep professional background and corporate development experience in technology, information and financial service companies, will continue to strengthen our position as the premier one-stop shop for high-quality real estate data and fuel future growth and innovation.”

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If you're waiting for a nod from the Powers-That-Be to do something you are secretly dying to do, you are wasting your time … literally. The Powers-That-Be – you know, "those people" from whom you are waiting to receive permission? They really don't care about you and what you do or don't do. At least not nearly as much as you think they do.

For most of us, including this Southern female, we have bought (because we've been taught!) That we were supposed to please others. Pleasing bosses and others in real or imagined authority was expected, if not demanded, of us.

There is order in conformity. There is safety in submission. And disappointment and regret fill the last days of a life unlived.

I recently had lunch with a couple of my male contemporaries who have both already settled into "end of the road" mode. As I passionately spoke of some of my upcoming ventures and plans, these two pointedly asked me, "When are you going to slow down?" There was even the suggestion that there was something dysfunctional in my make up that I would be making grand plans "at my age"!

I find joy in creating. Creating and building are my hobbies. Why would I ever want to "slow down" and stop doing the things I love to do?

If you're waiting for "permission" from someone outside yourself – or from that wee voice inside your own head – to do something you're dying to do … Don't die before you do it!

Source by Linda Barnby

Three apartment complexes are headed to an Opportunity Zone in downtown Phoenix, addressing the need for affordable housing. These projects are valued at $61 million.

Investment company Pacific Oak Capital and Defer Gain, an Arizona-based real estate development company specializing in Opportunity Zone investments, have announced a joint venture to develop, finance, and operate multi-family, commercial, and industrial income-producing properties in Arizona Opportunity Zones.

In this first phase, three multi-family housing complexes are being built in downtown Phoenix, the 241-unit St. Ambrose Apartments and the 84-unit Presidential Apartments, and another housing development called Imperial Apartments. 

“It’s exciting to see Opportunity Zone developments providing support to a critical component of our state’s economy — the workforce,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We thank Pacific Oak and Defer Gain for advancing these three projects in downtown Phoenix neighborhoods.”

These properties will include amenities such as mail rooms including secured lockers for packages, grocery delivery and cold/ freezer storage, clubhouses, multi-purpose rooms, private conference rooms, exercise facilities, resort style swimming pools, cabanas with private BBQ’s, and access to public transportation. There will also be street level retail and mixed use opportunities for the community. 

“Adding quality housing is a top priority for our city. I am excited to see new housing, including much-needed workforce units, near our key job corridors in the downtown and airport area,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. 

Construction on the apartments will begin in September.

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The median rent for a Manhattan apartment rose to $3,595 in July, a 5.7% gain from a year earlier, and reached a new high of $3,000 in Brooklyn, up 1.7%, as potential homebuyers waited to see what effect the state’s “mansion tax” would have on New York’s real estate.

The number of new leases in Manhattan increased 5.1% to 6,460 and gained 13% to 1,759 in Brooklyn, according to the report by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

“The rental market in Manhattan and Brooklyn continued to strengthen again this month,” said Hal Gavzie, executive manager of leasing for Douglas Elliman. “This is partly a result of the ongoing uncertainty in the sales market, with potential buyers still camping out with rentals.”

New Yorkers are waiting to see what happens to real estate prices after new taxes kicked in on July 1. The new levies boosted the previous 1% fee on all sales of $1 million and above to 1.25% for sales priced above $2 million and 3.9% for a sale of $25 million or more. The transfer tax increased to 0.65% from 0.4% .

In most real estate markets, an increase in taxes on homes priced above $2 million wouldn’t concern most buyers, but in Manhattan the median sale price of new development – typically new condos – was $2.5 million in 2019’s second quarter, according to Miller Samuel.

The report on July rents for New York also showed the median rent in Queens dropped 3.6% to $2,915. It may be a statistical blip based on the mix of units available for rent, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. The number of new leases rose 13.3% to 268, he said.

“The softer market in Queens was a bit of an outlier in July, and it’s too early to call that weakness a trend,” Miller said.

The vacancy rate in Manhattan shows a level of demand that landlords in the rest of the U.S. might envy. While the U.S. rental vacancy rate was 6.8% in the second quarter, matching the year-ago period, the rate in Manhattan was 2%, unchanged from the prior month. 

The lowest national vacancy rate in more than 50 years of Census data was a rate of 4.8% in the first three months of 1979.

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Sales Success Key # 1 – Resilience

In my list of 10 keys to sales success there is only one item that’s comes from the realm of personal psychology. It’s pretty straight forward: resilience. Do you find you give up too easily? How low do you go when you are rejected? How quickly do you recover?

Disappointment, frustration, and hurt are built right into the job description. After all, the role of a salesperson is to influence. People often don’t want to be influenced, so hearing the word ‘no’ is inevitable. As Sartre put it, “Hell is other people.” Interestingly, statistically speaking, the more you ask, the more often you get told no. Almost paradoxically, the more you get told no, the more successful you are (assuming at least a steady rate of yeses).

Resilience is critical in order to contend with the day-to-day struggles. You can have problems finding a customer, keeping a customer, and getting a customer to like you. You can be beaten by a competitor, miss sales targets, and be told your ideas or products or services simply aren’t good enough. You can easily be perceived by colleagues and customers as over-promising, unrealistic, too hard, too soft. But you have to keep going or things get worse. Resilience is a necessary ingredient.

Just how resilient you are depends on a lot of factors — things like: whom you hang around with, the frequency of letdowns, other life pressures, how you were raised, how you are compensated, your physical condition, the strength of your hopes and dreams, the negative consequences of failure, your level of pigheadness, your habits around self-soothing (e.g., babbling, bathing, buying). All these things impact your response, the duration of your recovery period, and your ability to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.

But if you want more resilience and “sticktuitiveness”, where can you get it? Juicy question. Many people have spent a lot of time trying to figure that out.

Self esteem is considered a biggie. That pertains to the extent to which you believe that you are generally able to do what you set out to do, and that you are valuable or worthy, in and of yourself. People with high self esteem tend to be able to override their impulses. Accordingly, the impulse to shy away from rejection, for example, can be overcome if self esteem is high enough.

Managing your own inner monologue or self talk is another means of getting past the impulse to “go to sleep” after a letdown. Actually, what you mumble to yourself can be the cause of a negative attitude as well as a cure. For example, have you heard yourself say, “Yup, that proves it, nobody wants this stuff”? Or, “Our prices are too high,” or, “The competition is much tougher than it used to be,” or, “I’m not very good at this,” or, “I blew it,” or, “We don’t do enough marketing,” or, “There is a lack of internal support,” or, “That customer was a doinker.” Indeed, a negative inner monologue can actually create a negative emotional reaction in your own head. And slow down recovery.

But quick recovery can come from how you reframe your circumstance. Self awareness is the key to this. Recognize yourself responding to rejection. Get really familiar with how you process it. Know what you are saying to yourself, where it comes from in your past and present, exactly what triggers it. Put your finger on how your response might not be rational or might be doing you a disservice. Work hard at overriding that habitual response and replacing it with something like a clenched fist, flexed arm muscles and, in your own private, whacky way, declaring to the universe, “Whoooaa.”

To some extent we’re talking about getting oneself reoriented. For example, when you overcome an impulse (and, in so doing, either manifest or elevate your self esteem), you are essentially reorienting. When you manage your self-talk, you are reorienting. When you talk to your boss after some misfortune, hopefully her leadership reorients you in some way.

Or even change the whole darned paradigm. That’s reorienting at its best. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about mental health or emotional savvy is that one can’t free oneself from negative feelings; but one can either manage one’s life such that hurt is less likely to be the result, or one can try to see things differently.

One of my favorite examples of reorienting is a trick I learned from a group of life insurance sales reps I trained 20 years ago. It was about handling the slings and arrows of cold calling and was called the paperclip technique. It’s pretty much an industrial age kind of thing, but that’s how darned old I am.

If you have to call 100 people today, then make a pile of 100 paperclips right in front of your phone. The goal? Move the pile 12 inches over to the right — one paperclip at a time. One for each dial. “Hello, Mr. Smith, got a minute? No? No problem. Have a good day”. Click. Move a clip. Next call. Next clip. Watch your pile move. Stop when you’ve reached your goal. It’s about moving the paperclips, not about getting rejected.

Get it? It’s not about you.

Sales Success Key #2 – Numbers Orientation

Sure, “sales is a numbers game”-but that usually refers to the idea of throwing spaghetti against the wall with the knowledge that inevitably some of it will stick. That’s the simple part of the numbers aspect of selling. There’s a much more rigorous part too.

In my opinion the most successful salespeople think in terms of volume and rates. I don’t just mean they sit with a spreadsheet and crunch and study those numbers-though they might. I’m suggesting that their brains have been trained to actually work that way. Or, they were born that way; the style of thinking is, after all, basically rational. In the same way that you seek to invest your money in accounts with the biggest return, or pay off credit cards that charge the highest interest rate first, salespeople too must invest their primary asset-the minutes of their day-into the activities that yield the best return. In a capitalistic environment, a salesperson ought to sell as much as possible (the volume part), with as much profit per sale (the rate part) as possible. And to do all this in the finite amount of time available.

We don’t want volume alone; we want profitable volume. We don’t want as many appointments as we can get, or to give as many presentations as possible; we want them to be qualified appointments and presentations to audiences who are most likely to proceed with a commitment. It’s a balancing act; we seek to optimize both.

If I have a geographical sales territory, I want to be efficient in my travels. If I manage big accounts, I want to apportion my time based on where I’ll get the biggest bang for my minutes. If I generate leads, I want to know the rate at which they convert and make a science of measuring cost per lead and cost per sale by lead source. If I focus too much on volume, then I might blow it on efficiency. If I focus too much on efficiency, or profitability, or productivity, then I might not get the volume I need.

Every business has its mathematics. The best salespeople think mathematics. In retail, for example, the game is to get as many customers into the door as possible, maximize the rate at which they walk out with a shopping bag in their hand, maximize the average cash register transaction value, and optimize the average profit percentage per transaction. Volume and rates. Volume and rates.

It takes a person with honed left brained intuition to succeed at this game. Or natural skills in differential calculus such that you dream of minimums and maximums. Or a boss who harps.

The problem with all this, of course, is that integrity and compliance with laws and policies need to be woven into the picture. All this striving must be done within certain parameters. Therein is the clash between capitalist values and, well, other stuff.

We’ll save that for another day.

Sales Success Key # 3 – Creating Great First Impressions

Today my daughter is being interviewed for a short-term role at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

No fooling here: I am proud. Whether she wins the opportunity or not, she got exactly this far-and that’s proof enough for me of her star quality.

We were in Philadelphia so I took her to the train station and she would make her own way from there. That seems to be the formula.

When we unloaded her bag from the back of the car there would only be time for a few words and a hug. We’re not really a long-goodbye kind of family. I dug as deep as I could for my best fatherly advice.

One thing that came to mind is a blog post from a couple of weeks ago-Sales Success Key #1-about mustering the right attitude. “As you’re walking into the office or boardroom, wherever the interview is going to take place, give yourself a shot of positive attitude! Let there be an energy about you!”

The other little offering might be seen as two things because there are two traits involved. But they need to be in balance, and that’s the key.

Here it is: don’t forget that first impressions are made out of quick assessments of your warmth and your credibility. If you have warmth and not enough credibility, you’re undoubtedly lovely, but not quite good enough. If you have credibility but lack the warmth, you may not play well with others.

Indeed, I think this advice is good for salespeople too.

It sounds easy, I suppose. But I don’t think it is. I think the warmth and credibility one projects tend to derive from years of complex personal programming. The good news is that they are also self-programmable. We all have the circuitry for compassion and we all have whatever our left-brained cognitive functioning can offer; it’s a question of whether we can flick the right switches at will. Managing to be genuine while keeping those traits front-of-mind is an art.

Which is why my own daughter will wear the badge of modern art, if I say so myself.

Sales Success Key #4 – Empathy

If you tied me up, put a knife to my throat, and demanded that I pick one and only one key to sales success, I would probably blurt, “Empathy!”

And, if you put the knife down and casually began to untie me, asking, “What’s empathy?” I would say it’s your ability to identify with the perspectives and feelings of another person. It’s not just about understanding the person, or being able to describe what’s on their mind; it’s about allowing yourself, in some sense, to BECOME the person-to take on, at least for a few moments, their orientation, values, stance, concerns, emotions, desires, worldview.

Some salespeople find the task particularly difficult because they get so obsessed with the goal of selling that they forget to listen. Paradoxically, the intensity of the obsession is inversely proportional to the ease of satisfying it. It’s not like running where the harder you try the faster you go. The paradox explains why salespeople are perceived to talk too much, be too pushy, not listen, and even sell features rather than benefits. They know better, of course-we all know it’s important to listen, but pressure from things like the economy, the boss, the competition, and the need for success get in the way.

Empathy doesn’t just inform a salesperson about what the customer seeks and avoids, it also helps the customer to FEEL a connection. That’s actually the biggie here. Think about it. Think of a salesperson you really trusted and from whom you enjoyed buying-one you would gladly buy from again. I bet that person made you feel heard. You sensed that he or she fully understood your stance on the product or service you were considering. You shared something, yes?

Can empathy be learned? Many people say no. You’ve either got it, or not. But I disagree most wholeheartedly. Except for certain psychotic people, we are all born with circuitry for compassion built right into our wiring. The challenge is to learn to switch that circuit on, to keep it on, and to integrate its contribution into the moments of a dialogue.

Now let’s you and I put away the tools of aggression and be friends.

Sales Success Key # 5 – Goal Orientation

Let’s face it, some people don’t really want to get anywhere. And that’s totally fine with me. Sometimes I think trying to get somewhere just takes my attention away from what’s important in the here-and-now.

That being said, the best salespeople I’ve met do want to get somewhere. They effectively steer sales conversations, they tend to be deliberate in their customer relationships, and they guide their careers towards long-term targets. They are goal oriented.

Think of goal orientation as motivation-with-a-sense-of-direction. It’s emotion, put somewhere. It’s not just having a goal; it’s the disposition to go after it.

Where does goal orientation come from? Desperation can be a motivator. Even the most rambling conversationalists get a whole lot more focused in a threatening atmosphere, such as with a tough boss, big financial needs at home, or a suffering marketplace in a bleak economy. In the carrot and stick motivational paradigm, desperation comes from the stick.

Compensation plans and opportunities for recognition and career advancement are examples of carrots. They move people. They lure people.

Notwithstanding the power of these somewhat externally-based sources, there’s also the goal orientation that’s hardwired right into the human brain. Some people are just more competitive by nature and many people are quite inclined to hunt and farm like crazy-all of which are conducive to sales success. In fact the predisposition to move towards goals is something a good interviewer can uncover during the recruiting process.

What happens AFTER somebody is on board is one of the challenges of sales management. Beyond the standard carrot and stick strategies, what kind of education is called for? For that matter, how can YOU improve your goal orientation?

For one thing, you can’t reach goals if you don’t have them-so, as cliche as it sounds, set them. And create time-bound, tactical plans to achieve them. Be sure they are genuine goals (as opposed to objectives to which you give “lip service”) or they won’t really motivate you.

We become more goal-oriented when we officially commit to goals so it helps to tell others exactly what you are committed to accomplishing. When there’s “skin in the game” we become very focused.

One biggie on this: mindfulness helps a lot. It’s a corny word. I know. In one sense the word ‘concentration’ applies here, but concentrating is about work. In fact many of us find it difficult to sustain concentration over a 2 minute period, let alone a whole career. Mindfulness suggests that when you get really good at it, you don’t have to concentrate so much anymore. As with other things, being goal oriented can become second nature with proficiency.

What’s it look like? Well, if you start a conversation knowing exactly what you want out of it, and you keep your eye on that ball, effectively juggling all the diversions that naturally arise in a dialogue, you become the true agent of your goal. That’s a beautiful thing. Throw in some authentic empathy and integrity, and, well, you’ll be famous.

It’s those diversions that will challenge you. They work against goal orientation. There’s the jumble of ideas in your head, and there’s the jumble of ideas being thrown at you. Effective jumble management allows your will (you) to come to the fore.

And the essence of jumble management? Well, in the case of customer conversations, knowing the essential dialogue steps helps; it buys you some bandwidth so you have brain-space to concentrate. Knowing what your reactions are while you are having them helps because it allows you to self manage. Knowing how to respond when the other party wants to veer off your planned conversational path also grants you presence of mind. Oh, and and then there’s the goal itself; there’s got to be a purpose.

That’s why they call it capitalism.

Sales Success Key #6 – Pattern Recognition Skills

You recognize patterns all day, every day. When a situation you’ve seen before arises yet again, you probably know what’s going on and you probably know how to address it. If a colleague says there’s a certain problem that pertains to your area of expertise, you know what to do about it. Perhaps your child comes crying to you about something that’s happened time and time again-you know exactly what’s going on and you know what to say or do. Or your friend plays out behaviour you’ve seen before, you recognize it for what it is, and either address it or go about your day.

I think it was the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead who once said, “Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.” In other words, when you get good at something, you don’t rethink it every time the matter arises; you address it somewhat on automatic pilot so your attention can go to bigger and better things.

Similarly, experienced salespeople recognize patterns in client situations or selling opportunities and can crank out success with their eyes closed. Really good sales people recognize more complex patterns-situations filled with nuance-and they stickhandle with ease around all the obstacles and the details.

Some salespeople are better than others at recognizing patterns and responding appropriately. How come?

Basically, smarts, experience, and training. There is ample evidence that somebody with a high IQ is faster at recognizing patterns and more able to detect complex ones. It’s self evident that experienced people have, well, experience going for them. And when a salesperson is well trained on the patterns of client situations, in terms of what they are, how to uncover them, and how to address them, that salesperson will be more effective.

For example, a salesman who “gets it” might recognize through a quick conversation with a prospective customer exactly what features and benefits of his products he’ll need to highlight in a formal proposal in order to differentiate himself. He’ll also, from that one conversation, be able to predict what objections the buyer is going to get from her own organization and what it will take to equip her with ammunition to counter those objections.

Of course, recognizing patterns is also the root of bias. When we too quickly judge something to fit into one pattern, we might miss critical details. “Oh, I’ve seen this before,” our unconscious minds quickly conclude. And bingo, we screw up.

When sales trainers go to cocktail parties and get a little tipsy they are known to chat with each other about the trade. One might ask another, “Do you teach salespeople to go looking for certain problems or d’you teach ’em to go in with an open mind?” The other might reply, “Upsides and downsides, my friend; upsides and downsides. But it sounds like you’re new to the game. Hey Billie,” he hollers across the room, “this guy’s a newbie!”

Sales Success Key #7 – Work Ethic

If the Platitude WORKS…

Work, tactics, strategy: A bicycle does its thing when effort turns the pedals, the back wheel actualizes the energy, and the front wheel steers the way.

Omphalopsychites (naval gazers) violate their wonderment via their sustained inactivity.

Requisite for work: work.

Knowledge is only half the battle.

Steam is to heat, as success is to industry.

Sales Success Key #8 – Building Rapport

Twenty-five years ago I was on a canoe trip pondering a name for a new sales model. I came up with “One Mind Selling”. It was meant to highlight the need for a salesperson to establish such finely tuned rapport with a customer that the two of them would become one. Their values would be aligned, their conversational direction would be mutually satisfying, and their pacing would match up perfectly. They would hum right along with the tune of the transaction.

Ultimately I dropped that name for the model because it sounded like hooey.

But it’s been in my heart ever since.

I think I also gave it up because of a deep frustration that when you teach someone a beautiful way of “being”, and it sings for them, it eventually gets normalized and devolves into a simple technique. That’s a real problem.

It’s one thing for rapport to flow naturally from multiple dimensions of commonality; it’s another thing for somebody to be “doing” commonality on purpose. I have the same problem with the notion of “making friends”; if you try to make friends, then it’s just not natural.

I swear on my life the resolution of this problem in the world of sales comes from integrating – not balancing – one’s self-interests with a genuine interest in helping the other.

Not that scientists can actually touch motives yet, in terms of motives being measurable, observable thingys, but it seems to me that motives define one’s integrity. For what it’s worth, this notion gives me hope in the possibility of commercial authenticity.

Sales Success Key #9 – Memetic Mastery

The best salespeople are what I would call natural ‘memeticists’. They package ideas and spread them like mad.

The system of thought that explains how ideas spread is called “memetics”. Thinkers in that field (e.g., Dawkins, Hofstadter, Dennett) use the word ‘meme’ to refer to an “idea that spreads”.

Salespeople “position” their products and their pricing. A position statement is a meme. Leaders provide followers with a “frame” or view of how to see a situation. A frame is a meme. Slogans are memes. Memes are, well, memes (after all, we both know that, as of at least now, they’ve spread all the way to your awareness).

Genes are to genetics, as memes are to memetics. Genes are not fussy about whose genes they get paired up with (intra-species, at least); any genetic pattern will do. They just want to reproduce. Neither are memes fussy. And they too just want to reproduce.

Yup, ideas spread, especially when they’re nicely packaged and exposed to lots of people.

For example, you don’t want your kids introduced to drugs or sex or, darn it, even rock and roll, because even exposing them to the notion might start them on a path of no return. You KNOW those particular memes are nasty. On the other hand, surely you’ve packaged up a few favourable memes for the kids around you: “do a good deed for somebody every day”, or “let’s use our ‘inside voices’ please!”. Just this morning I heard someone at my office spread a client’s meme: “profitable volume”. Memes are everywhere.

Salespeople are one medium through which (hopefully) commercial memes spread. Really good salespeople spread memes like wildfire via the frequency, consistency, clarity, and allure of their utterances.

When you’ve come up with the right response to a price objection, and it seems to work for you, you’ve created a meme. When you and your colleagues say it again and again, it jumps from person to person and thereby reproduces itself – customers believe it and they even learn to justify your price to others.

When a customer is playing “hard to get” (that’s a meme), highly skilled salespeople know the most powerful response (another meme). When a customer complaint scenario arises, it too is a meme. And there is undoubtedly a series of memes to deal with it. “Been there, done that”.

So why are some salespeople better at meme spreading than others? The best salespeople seek, practice and master the phrases that work, the conversation steps that push the right buttons, the responses to challenges, the multitude of magnificent memetic maneuvers that make merriment and money for the masses. Mmmm good. That’s what Campbell’s soups are.

Sales Success – Key #10 Genuine Stewardship

If you want to sell to me, don’t put your interests in front of mine. It’s that simple.

Most salespeople wrestle with this “whose team am I on?” issue. It’s built right into the job description. They must sell, but at the same time they are somehow supposed to be stewards–taking responsibility for their customer’s interests.

Some ask themselves, Am I being too pushy? Others wonder from the opposite perspective: Am I forgetting my job? Many go back and forth depending on things like the pressure they are under and how well they get along with the customer.

Self-managing which of your motives is front-of-mind is a skill. The idea is to know and embrace your goals, but in conversation, and even during some of your planning time in advance of conversation, put your noble intention first. Serve. Nature does take its course.

As my grandmother, who didn’t like the way I buttered toast, once said: “Arthur, Arthur, Arthur-when you butter the toast, just butter around the edge; the middle will take care of itself.”

Source by Arthur Horn

Prices for goods used in residential construction increased by 0.7% in July, according to a report from the National Association of Home Builders that cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The price of goods used in residential construction has risen 2.8% in 2019, half the time it took to increase in 2018. 

The report says that the price of softwood lumber went up 2% in July – the most it’s risen in four months. Prices paid for plywood fell 0.3% in July, and the index for goods in maintenance and repair increased 0.6%.

The price index for gypsum products – which usually means drywall used for the walls of new homes – reversed its downward trend in July, increasing 2.2% seasonally adjusted. Gypsum prices have increased in four of the prior 12 months, but have declined by 4.1% since January 2019. This was only the second year since 2012 in which the prices for gypsum products was lower in July than it was in January.

In June, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that construction spending was 1.3% lower than the June 2018 estimate of $1.31 trillion. That level was the largest decline since November 2018

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The average American home listing price rose 5.5% to $315,000 in July, according to’s Housing Trend Report.

Although this rate is only 0.2% down from June, it’s a significant decrease from the 8.7% growth experienced during the same time period in 2018.

With an annual decline of 3.2%, July’s lackluster reading marks the earliest seasonal slowdown in home prices since 2012, according to the company.

“July’s data highlight tension in the housing markets between buyers eager to take advantage of lower mortgage rates and potential sellers concerned about slowing price growth,” said George Ratiu,’s senior economist. “The decline in newly listed properties suggests that some would-be sellers are stepping back from the market, during the peak buying season, when most people are searching for their next home.”

While housing inventory is growing, the number of homes in the entry-level segment are declining, Ratiu said. Now that trends are shifting for the market as a whole, challenges for entry-level and first-time buyers are mounting, he said.

The inventory of properties priced below $200,000 in July fell 9.9% year-over-year, while, the inventory of homes priced above $750,000 increased 6.6%, according to

Competition for entry-level homes continues to be tight as homes priced below $200,000 only spent 56 days on the market, whereas properties priced over $750,000 spent a total of 81 days on the market, said.

A recent report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, indicates that only 54% of Americans can afford an entry level home that is priced at 20% of the median home price in their area.

Although this figure seems bleak, the report notes that affordability is improving as a recent drop in mortgage rates has spurred growth by 3%.

“The plunge in mortgage rates has created homeownership possibilities for 2.7 million more households as well as move-up possibilities for current homeowners with enough equity,” the analysts wrote. “This will spur home-buying activity this year, possibly averting the decline in volume we have been forecasting.”

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