Introduction to

Little Things Matter Book

Meet the Author—W. Todd Smith

Todd Smith is a family man as well as an entrepreneur. He has been married to Joy, his high-school sweetheart, for 25 years. They have been blessed with four remarkable children whom Joy has homeschooled. Since Todd works out of his home office, they have been able to forge a unique relationship as a family. Recently his oldest daughter Danielle presented him with his first grandson—Titus Joshua. Todd still can’t believe he’s old enough to be called Gramps.

As a dynamic entrepreneur for 30 years, Todd Smith has enjoyed extraordinary personal and professional success.

However, he did not get off to a good start. Because of a lack of finances, college wasn’t an option. Todd’s first job after graduating from high school was rather nondescript. He was a ditch digger laying cable for the local cable company, making six bucks an hour. That job lasted only five months because the cable company had financial troubles. Then he became a package runner for UPS during the Christmas holidays.

Being laid off from two jobs within six months was an awakening experience for this teenager. It was at this time that his older brother Jack invited him to move to Chicago and start a silk-screening business. He quickly accepted the invitation and the challenge, packed up his few belongings, drove to Chicago, and took up residence in Jack’s guest bedroom.

Over the next four-and-a-half years what started as a small business in a garage became one of the most successful businesses of its type in the Chicago area.

At age 23, they sold that business and Todd became a Realtor™. It was at this time that he started devouring everything that he could get his hands on in the personal and professional success category. In addition to learning from the top teachers in the area of human development and personal achievement, he observed people’s behavior and tried to distinguish the characteristics and skills of those at the top compared to everyone else in their fields.

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As he continued to learn and grow, he felt that something was missing. Most of these great teachers talked about the big things people need to do to succeed—such as setting goals, employing discipline, and having a positive attitude—but his gut told him something was still missing. He saw too many people doing these big things, yet still falling short of reaching their goals.

Then one day, while listening to a story called “The Point System” told by Brian Tracy, the missing pieces came together for Todd.

Brian described two salesmen going head-to-head in an imaginary sales contest. The winner needed to earn 100 points. Both men were well groomed (worth 5 points) and appropriately dressed (worth 8 points). They both kept appointments and followed up as requested (worth 4 points). Each was knowledgeable about their products (worth 6 points) and gave remarkable presentations (worth 10 points). With the evaluations nearly complete, the salesmen were tied at 99 points each. One more factor was taken into account—their pens. One used a Cross pen throughout his presentation (worth 2 points); the other used a Bic pen, which had no point value.

The salesman with the Cross pen won the contest. One Little Thing made the difference between winning and losing a sale. One Little Thing, seemingly insignificant, separated one salesman from the other. One Little Thing mattered.

Todd began applying the little-things-matter concept to his real estate career and the results were almost immediate. He asked himself this question: “What are the things I could do that would ultimately affect a seller’s decision as to whether or not they would select me to market their home?”

Here’s Todd’s personal account of his plan that brought him success and eventually developed into this book.

How Todd Created His Brand—in His Own Words

First, I made a list of the fundamental things that I should do. Realizing that these qualities were the same as those my competitors would list, I needed to take it a step further. I had to be creative and stretch my mind and think of all the Little Things that would give me the edge.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the Little Things that gave me the competitive advantage:

  • I was very friendly in all of my communications.
  • I wore a suit every day even when it was hot.
  • I made sure my tie was in style and the proper length.
  • I kept my shoes shined.
  • I bought a Cadillac that I could not afford because I needed to brand myself as being successful.
  • I carried a pager and returned all my calls within one hour.
  • I arrived for my appointments five to ten minutes early to mentally prepare for the appointments. I rang the doorbell at the exact time I was supposed to be there. I was never late.
  • I greeted people with a smile, a friendly greeting, and a firm handshake.
  • I made equal eye contact with both the husband and wife throughout our conversations.
  • I asked questions about items in their homes to show I cared about their interests.
  • I introduced myself to their children and called them by their names.
  • I petted their dogs or cats even though I was allergic to most animals.
  • I looked for something about which I could sincerely pay them a compliment.
  • I used an attractive, high-quality leather presentation book.
  • I told them with a confident tone that, if they were not completely satisfied with my efforts to sell their home, they could cancel the listing agreement within 24 hours.
  • I always sent a thank-you note after my presentation.
  • Of course, I never left home without my Cross pen.

By applying what I learned, I earned more than $250,000 my first year. During the next three years, as I listened to more self-development tapes, read more books, and observed other successful people, my list grew longer. I was constantly thinking about and looking for the Little Things that would improve my personal brand and help me stand out from my competitors.

One way was to become humble and vulnerable. I learned a lot from my mistakes. When a home-seller selected a competitor over me, I thanked the home-seller for giving me the opportunity to present my services and requested feedback and constructive criticism.

Not only did I focus on the Little Things that mattered, but I also began to master the Little Things by striving for excellence. As I mastered each Little Thing, my value to the market grew exponentially and so did my income.

Within four-and-a-half years, I became one of the nation’s top-selling Realtors, selling more than 115 homes a year and earning the distinction of being one of the youngest Realtors ever inducted into the RE/MAX™ Hall of Fame.

Tired of the long cold Chicago winters, I moved to Florida at age 28 and started my own sales and marketing business. By applying the Little Things Matter way of thinking to my new career, I’ve enjoyed a level of success I had never thought I would achieve. During the last 20 years, my business has generated more than $1 billion in sales and has paid me $23 million in commissions.

Little Things Matter has become a way of thinking that I’ve applied to every part of my life—developing my career, enjoying a marriage of 25 years, parenting four children, volunteering in the community, coaching children’s sports teams, and teaching other entrepreneurs.

The journey hasn’t ended. I continue to look for the Little Things I am not doing and the things I can do better. I hope that by the time you finish reading this book you will decide to join me on this journey.

Now as I write this book, after 25 years of testing and trying, the evidence is undeniable—Little Things Matter.