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A few weeks back, Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, showed up at the parking lot where we were tailgating before the game. A group quickly formed around him to talk and get autographs. I looked at my son, Jordan, and said, “Jordan, it’s Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Panthers, and I want you to introduce yourself. I want you to go up to him, look him in the eye and give a good handshake with your right hand. Give him your name as well.”

Jordan walked up to Mr. Richardson and said, “Hi, Mr. Richardson, my name is Jordan.” While there were about 20 people around him at the time, Jordan caught his attention and Mr. Richardson responded, “Jordan, it’s nice to meet you. You gave me a good, firm handshake, and you looked me in the eye. You are going to go a long way in life, son.”

You may be wondering where I’m going with this, but this encounter got me thinking. Opportunities come in front of us every day and the tipping point of success is how well we are positioned for the opportunity when it comes our way.

Think about your particular business. Are you 100% confident in the way you are presenting yourself to someone who may be evaluating you to list their home? If someone like Jerry Richardson came to your open house this weekend and you gave him your business card, what would it say about you? Would you feel ashamed or proud? Or indifferent? If he went to your website, how would you feel about what he saw? Would he feel confident to send someone to your website and show you off? Would your website prove that you are truly the expert above all others?

Take this a step further and ask yourself, “If someone were judging me in less than 20 seconds after getting my business card, how does it help me stand out amongst other REALTORS® and what does that card say about me?”

As a new year approaches, it’s time to reflect on how you want to be perceived in your market. You have to be well prepared for when an opportunity to build your business comes your way. This is why I’m challenging you to ask yourself these questions. You are only as strong as your weakest link, so if your website is just “ho-hum,” people who come across it will assume that you are “ho-hum,” too.

Take Mark Spain’s story for example. Mark recently had the opportunity to be interviewed on 20/20 about the distressed market in Atlanta. When this opportunity arose, do you think he was scrambling to look good and knowledgeable? Absolutely not! He was ready to run the ball down the field with his presentation of, in addition to his knowledge and expertise when it comes to helping people. There are thousands of real estate professionals in the Atlanta area, but Mark was the one who was truly ready for the opportunity when it came in front of him. He was well presented, well positioned and well represented which, in turn, supported the opportunity.

Sometimes the best opportunities are only offered one time. Do you want to make a touchdown on that opportunity or do you want to fumble the ball to your competitor?

As we get ready to welcome 2012, take the time to seize the opportunity, show why you are the one to choose, and prove it!

Tricia Andreassen is CEO/founder of Pro Step Marketing. She is a leading industry Web-strategy expert, a nationally recognized speaker with Broker Agent Speakers Bureau and one of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine’s monthly columnists.

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