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A few thoughts from the Social Media and Small Business Panel

A few thoughts from last night’s social media conference I had the great honor of being a part of last night. While there was the usual rant on Facebook and the usual suspects there were a few points that stuck in my mind and that I wanted to share-

  • The main message of the conference was that the paradigm for marketing is changing. You can no longer keep “bankers hours” and expect your clients to come to you when it is convenient to you. Real estate has always been a 24 hour job and now that has become the rule and not the exception in most business. Make sure your clients know that you are available for them in the parameters that you are willing to speak with them- If you close up shop at 10:00 PM let them know that hopefully they will respect your boundaries.
  • One of the panelists (an academic in social media) mentioned that his college students think of Facebook as old fashioned- when they asked him about a change in the class schedule he mentioned that he posted it on Facebook and the student replied –oh there!-(with eyes rolling) for them that is like the yellow pages to us- it’s what our parents use to communicate. While this may not be your market right now it is where the market is going. They won’t read a paragraph when a sentence will do and if you can make that sentence 140 characters the better.  If this isn’t your market it will be- you aren’t a member of Top 5 because you are behind the curve but because you are out in front of it and this is what is coming.
  • Consistency is a huge part of social media as well as knowing your audience. Top 5 provides   RSS feeds for you to post information to your Facebook page- twitter account and linked in page automatically. Is that the most personal way to greet your sphere of influence, probably not but is it keeping your face out there every day with something relevant and timely to say?  Yes it is.  So why not  have an rss feed posting to your social media outlet on a daily basis and  perhaps once a week you  take one of the articles you receive as a member of Top 5 and post it to your  social media outlets adding your personal comments or  hyper localizing the content.  Your new goal is not to make a sale but to build a relationship and that like a cathedral takes time to build and can’t be destroyed in a day.
  • It’s great that you are posting to social media but you need to make sure that you listen as well as talk. There is an old saying that you have two ears and only mouth as you should listen twice as much as you speak.  Social media is a great tool for talking but a better tool for listening to what your clients need and want and positioning yourself to listen to their concerns and respond.
  • Many people think visually- they may not Google you by your name but by the images connected to your name.  Make sure that every image that you post to the web has your name or your brand attached.  In this way whenever someone searches for your brand they will not only see your postings they will see the images as well as the content you provide. Will that help to increase your SEO- of course, but then it’s not about SEO – is its- it’s about being there for your clients – of course  new clients can’t find  you if they don’t know your there…..

As they say the only thing that stays the same is change – and the best way to be ready for change is to be informed. Keep curious and stay in the game!

Some Mobile Marketing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind

You need to start embracing the power of mobile advertising. Smartphone and tablet use are on the rise, and mobile is proving to be the best way to reach customers and get them to take action. Plus, since most consumers are using smartphone and tablets, they’re able to gain more information while on the go, perhaps while they are standing in front of your listing. Look at these statistics and see if Mobile Marketing is something you can ignore.

  1. Adults spend more time accessing media through a mobile device than they do with magazines and newspapers combined.
  2. The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds.
  3. 1 out of every 6 smartphone users will scan a barcode to learn more information..61% of smartphone users use their smartphone to make local searches.
  4. By 2015, more people will access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet than a PC.
  5. In 2011, the use of mobile devices to read emails increased by 34% while the use of desktop PCs to read emails went down by 11%.
  6. In 2011, 7.8 trillion text messages were sent.
  7. 8.91% of smartphone owners have their phone within 3 feet at all times.
  8. The average person will wait 26 hours before reporting a lost wallet. The average person will wait 68 minutes before reporting a lost phone.
  9. 62% of smartphone owners will use a search engine at least once every day.
  10. 59% of consumers have been influenced by a mobile advertisement.

Top 5 helps you win the Marketing Beauty Contest

As Verl Workman is fond of saying marketing today is a beauty contest and a price war and you have to win both- Here is a great tool to help you win the beauty contest -Google Business Photos. 

This is essentially the same as Street View technology used in streets around the world - for your listing.  You can create a high-quality, interactive, 360-degree experience for your listing inside or out. For a quick example clickhere.


Users can now simply drag and drop an orange Pegman on the Map, on a business with available interior photos.  Businesses participating in the program are indicated by small orange circles on the map.

Doing so allows users to see a 360° panoramic view inside the listing.  It’s like a virtual walk through that can bring your listing to life on line. This could be either the interior of the property or a walk around the exterior. The process is simple. You can join the program by hiring a Trusted Photographer to shoot the interior of your listing. They are located around the country and you can search Google’s database of Trusted Photographers, orsubmit a requestif none are available in your area.

Using this tool your clients can walk around, explore, and interact with your listing like never before. Not only does this tool allow you to show people more of your property on line it allows more people to find your property on line.  These images appear on Google searches, Google Maps, and Google+ Local, and you can easily embed Street View on your own website, social media pages, and more!

For more information try http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/index.html

The Pie is Big Enough For All of Us

Recently I was promoted to branch broker of our second-largest office. Sounds good on the surface, but dig a little deeper and it has actually been a challenging opportunity. I am filling the shoes of a longtime broker beloved by his agents who has chosen to retire.

People’s responses to change are varied, but tend to lean towards the apprehensive and fearful side of the spectrum. I’ve had to find myself reassuring agents that their world is not crumbling around them and that all will be well as I help them build and grow their business.

During this exciting and interesting week I had the opportunity to spend several hours with an agent I have been trying to recruit. Her story reminded me of the principle of abundance and the power behind it.

abundant blueberries image via shutterstock

This agent got her license four years ago. Yeah, right as the market was heading south, she jumped into real estate with both feet. She actually feels that she was lucky to get in when she did. As agents around her were complaining about the market, she didn’t know any better and just went to work.

She found an interesting niche in the market by partnering with the local high school’s sports programs. Armed with her love of photography, she started attending games and taking high-quality photos of the kids as they competed. She would then post these to her website and make them available free of charge to the kids and their parents to use. In addition, she supported the sports programs, sponsored the snack shack, and even created special books for the seniors containing their highlights. Both the kids and their parents love her; in fact, many of the kids call her mom!

I told this agent that instead of us competing against her in this space of high school sports, we wanted to partner with her and help her grow this to the next level. She looked me square in the eye and said, “Chris, the pie is big enough for all of us.”

pie image by Karynsig

There is a very powerful lesson in that statement. Not that I was trying to intimidate her with the thought of us competing against her, but she knew, without a doubt, that there was plenty of opportunity out there and that the pie was big enough for both of us. Immediately, I knew I needed to have this agent in my office, simply for her attitude of abundance.

My experience with this agent and the agents struggling with change reminded me of three important lessons:

1. You have to give before you get. You wouldn’t go to your bank to withdraw money you hadn’t already deposited, would you? So many agents think the business owes them something, when they haven’t made the necessary deposits. This agent made tremendous deposits in her community, and they’ve paid handsomely. She closed 33 transactions last year — just from the high school group!

2. “Be a baker, not an eater.” This quote is from Guy Kawasaki and takes the pie concept to a new level. A baker knows he can make more pies … an eater thinks there is only one pie. There’s freedom in believing that you can bake more pies. You increase your choices and opportunities with this outlook.

3. “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein knew a little something about facing challenges and finding solutions. The agent I am hoping to recruit is actually trying to create difficulty and change to find opportunity. She just let go of her assistant and team and is looking to make a change, all for the purpose of resetting and finding new opportunities.

Going through a change myself, I found the lessons she reminded me of to be both timely and helpful. I hope it struck a chord with you as well. Now get busy baking!

Complacency Kills

Growing up, I wanted more than anything to be a fighter jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Sadly that dream didn’t come true; apparently, I didn’t eat enough carrots growing up. I put my heart and soul into this dream and learned many lessons as I interacted with the Air Force via its ROTC program. One lesson that really stuck with me is the principle of “Complacency kills.”

That statement couldn’t be truer for all of the branches of the military. One lapse of judgment or awareness, whether in battle or even training, could have disastrous effects, the least of which could result in death.

Hence the phrase, “Complacency kills.”

Fortunately, in real estate, complacency doesn’t kill, but it certainly could cost you — or even more important, your client — thousands of dollars.

Recently one of my agents approached me with a question about the due diligence deadline on a contract where he represented the seller. As I examined the contract, I became acutely aware that the buyer’s agent had used an older version of our state-approved real estate purchase contract. This older version provided deadline extensions based upon notice to the seller of concerns and response from the seller to the buyer. This provided up to 10 additional days past the due diligence deadline, which might have effected the disposition of the earnest money. Thankfully, even with the additional extensions, the buyer had gone past the new deadline and our client would have collected the earnest money.

This could have turned out very differently though. My agent, unfortunately, had been complacent, and assumed that the contract was the current version of our state’s contract. It’s easy to look at these standard forms and assume they are the current version. If we are just glancing at what’s been written in blank fields and assuming that the rest is standard approved language, we are practicing a dangerous form of complacency that could cost our clients money, us money, and potentially even put our license at risk.

A professional thoroughly reviews a contract with his client. Had my agent thoroughly reviewed this contract with his client, he would have discovered that this was the old version of the contract. Instead, by not doing this, he and his client were obligated to the terms they signed on that outdated version.

It’s easy to assume that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck. But making assumptions has no place when it comes to real estate contracts. Don’t let complacency “kill” your real estate career.

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