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Archive for August, 2009

If You Want to Close Deals, Force Registration

Let me repeat that: If you want to close more deals, force your users to register to view property listings on your website.  I can back this up with hard data.  I can back this up with recent data.  If you allow open registration on your IDX/RETS site, you do not receive better leads than the broker/agent with forced registration.

Anyone who tells you otherwise has no idea what they are talking about. They either have no data, have never analyzed their data, have never tested, or have never sold or been involved in helping agents sell real estate. Let me repeat that: They have no idea what they are talking about.

I have confirmed these findings with:

Each person listed above gets a minimum of 300 visitors per day from qualified sources – SEO, PPC, or social media ads.  Two people listed above have significantly more data that proves this.

If you don’t get at least 100 visitors per day of potential customers to your site, then you have no real data to confirm or deny these findings.

Every person I know who has tested forced vs. open registration who has significant traffic has opted for forced registration, and has seen an explosion in the number of leads, no degradation in lead quality, and as a result, has closed more deals.

Someone please prove me wrong.  With hard data.

If you want to close more deals, force registration.  The only thing open registration will do for you is get you a table with the cool kids at the conferences.

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  • 83 comments

    Via Video – Smoking Mr. Potato Head

    No doubt. Real Estate agents (and arguably all biz people) should be creating content and publishing it to self hosted blogs that syndicate anywhere and everywhere on a regular basis. At the very least, the act itself makes us all better, (more thoughtful) practitioners at whatever it is we do. At the very best, google blesses us with huge amounts of juicy, free, profitable, organic traffic.

    From a practical point of view, I understand that most folks can’t spew out 500 words of relevant original stuff over a cup of coffee like the folks around BHB can, but I’ll argue that thanks to video it takes almost no real effort or talent to generate interesting online content that yields a high Return on (Time & Money) Invested!

    For The “Record” : Writing = Crappy Relative ROI

    I’ve got proofs empirical from managing and watching the analytics on a nice handful of blogs: Visitors spend much more time on and are more likely to interact with sites that offer a gallery of videos. How much more time? How much more interaction? Try double… YEAH DOUBLE! No poop. Not kidding. You can double the amount of real live interaction you generate from your social media efforts if you finally embrace this video stuff.

    Video’s been the next big thing for years, I know…

    So why aren’t more real estate agents leveraging video to generate lots more biz for themselves?

    1. They don’t know what to record.
    2. They perceive a technical barrier to getting ready for consumption video onto a web page.
    3. Broker Owners still just don’t get it. Put simply, this stuff should be encouraged, enabled, and rewarded by ownership… but it’s not. (yet…)

    Over the next few days, I’ll try to show how easy and profitable leveraging video can be by providing what should be an easy to follow technical roadmap for any agent who chooses to drink the kool aid.

    In the meantime… in order to get some more eyeballs on this venture, here below is “Smoking Mr. Potato Head.” It took 5 minutes to record and get him live on this page. He’s also set to autoplay and loop. Plus Youtube’s default title line has been stripped from the top of the player. He’ll also talk to you a bit, and tell you to do something. So be sure to follow his instructions.

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  • 7 comments

    Unleashing the power of internet technology on real estate transactions

    This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

    We’re wired Realtors, and we always have been. The very first thing I did as a Realtor was to set up a web site to attract clients. We made money on the internet from the very beginning.

    Since then, we’ve adopted every new idea that’s come around, along with inventing quite a few of our own. We publish a national real estate weblog — BloodhoundBlog.com — to help other wired Realtors come to grips with technology.

    Because I’m working with a lot of buyers right now — and because buying a home has become such an ordeal — I’ve been working to make my technogeek status even more robust. Good enough is not good enough any longer. If I want for my clients to get the home of their dreams, my offers have to be first, fastest and best.

    To that end, I just bought a new Apple MacBook Pro, and I’ve been outfitting it with the software I need to do contracts from anywhere, in the fastest possible time.

    The Arizona Association of Realtors gives us all a program called ZipForms as part of our dues. In the abstract, ZipForms makes filling out forms fast and painless. It falls somewhat short of that ideal in reality, but it will do for now.

    But ZipForms integrates with a web-based service called DocuSign, which permits me to capture signatures on-line, in the form of e-signatures.

    So I can whip out a purchase contract in ZipForms while standing in the kitchen of the house we’re buying. Mrs. Buyer might be at her mom’s house in Albuquerque, while Mr. Buyer is in New York on business.

    No matter. I can set up DocuSign for each buyer to sign the contract in sequence, then have it come back to me for my own signature, then forward the whole package to the listing agent. We can literally do the whole job in a half-hour or less — a big improvement over printing and faxing and running documents around to get signatures.

    There are more new technologies we’re playing with. I’ll talk about some others next week.

     
    Spread the word: Click here for a printer-ready version of this column.

    Or: Steal this book: I’ve written over 200 of these real estate columns. They are consistently one of the most popular features on our blogs. Many of them are dated and/or entirely Phoenixocentric. But many others are timeless and generic. If you want to use any of my columns on your weblog or web site, feel free. Three rules: Don’t change my text, credit me as the author and give me a link back to http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/ with appropriate anchor text. Something like this, perhaps:

    <a href="http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/" target="_blank">
    Phoenix Realtor Greg Swann</a> suggested I share this with you:

    Am I link-baiting? You bet. The quid pro quo is free content for your site that pulls eyeballs and excites interest.

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  • 8 comments

    Bing: Not indexing some and indexing others

    Over the last week or so, I have had several people contact me regarding indexing problems with Bing. They claimed that Bing’s search engine has the following maladies:

    1) New sites are OFTEN not indexed for weeks, where Google is picking them up in a MUCH more timely fashion. Yikes (kinda). This lack of indexing occurs even after many links have been pointed at the new site. Some have suggested going to Bing Webmaster Tools (Google that ;-) ) and submitting a sitemap, but that has not worked 100% for me either.

    2) Existing sites that were NO FOLLOWED and NO INDEXED and were getting no exposure in Google, were showing up on Search Engine results in Bing. Yikes Yikes.

    I had a few distractions this past week, but have found several examples of each of these things. Let’s start with No index, No followed sites being indexed in Bing.

    This is a big thing. Many folks have “private” blogs or pages that are now less private or at least may be less private. The problem was acknowledged by a Microsoftie here and he claims that they are working on the problem.

    My opinion on the other issue (Not indexing new sites) is simply this. It appears to me to be one of two things. Either it is a well designed plan on their part to focus their spidering on NEW pages on existing sites rather than on putting new domains into the index…or it is a glitch.

    My opinion so far: Glitch ;-) This is, after all, Microsoft err Bing.

    NOTE TO BING FOLKS: Love your interface. Spending $100MM in advertising to overpower Yahoo was a great move…BUT…if you are going to compete with G! you need to truly be as good as they are.

    And while we are at it, you (Bing guys/gals) have not fixed the Atlanta Real Estate issue yet (Bing that). How many listings for the domain atlantarealestate.net need to appear on the first 10 pages of your results? (grin)

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  • 3 comments

    REBarcamp: It’s not just for Realtors anymore

    Got any thoughts about REbarcamp? I’m not even sure how to spell it. But I went to REbarcamp in Columbus OH-I-O, and had a mahvelous time. The venue was nice, clean, easy for the navigationally challenged to navigate, no waiting lines at the Ladies Room. What more could we ask for? It was well-organized, and the organizers were accommodating.

    A question came up while I was there: Would I go to another rebc? It gave me pause. I like to meet people, so I would certainly be looking for another opportunity to do that again. But rebc? I’m not so sure. I really dislike conferences in general, and on the drive home, just like I did after BHBU, I pondered what I would do to improve my rebc experience.

    I did get it wrong about rebc sponsorships, btw. No one pays any attention to who is sponsoring anything, so that is a total non-issue. If you are using sponsorship as advertising, well, um, yeah. Of course the highlight was meeting people I only know online. Meeting face-to-face is one of the best reasons to go to most real estate functions, and rebc is no exception to the rule. What was so wonderful about rebc/OH-I-O is that the vast majority of people there were corn-fed Ohioans, just like me. My people. We have a common bond, we speak the same language, there is an ease and familiarity that follows. I really loved that more than I can express, so I would look for opportunities to get together locally and share ideas- that’s all barcamp is about, right? So here’s where it gets a little sticky to me. What is the big deal?

    Call it Midwest practicality, but it’s local Realtors. And we are talking about local real estate. Think about it. When did this become hoopla-worthy? When did you need a name, an umbrella organization, a fancy venue, a nearby hotel, a website, a logo, sponsors, organizers, nationally known speakers, in order to share ideas about local real estate?

    And so. Come with me to a little meeting with Jesus. I want to get together with other Realtors who are working in the same sort of conditions I am. I want to share things in an as efficient manner as possible. I want to learn as much as possible. That’s really all rebc is set up to do, isn’t it? Unless. Unless I have a product to promote. But if I don’t have anything to promote, then it’s not a big deal, right? I had a good time, but my brain didn’t explode, so would I take the time again? I don’t know.

    Okay, untwist yer panties. I understand that several rebarcamps are Inman appendages of sorts, and they need to be a big deal, designed to accommodate a lot of people, and bless the organizers for getting those done so quickly and efficiently, but this is you and me, we are just folks, just Realtors out in flyover country, in little towns and small cities, no legends in our own minds. We don’t need a venue. What we need is to actively seek out a few like-minded folks in our area, a wifi, and the desire become better Realtors, because all the snazzy tools in the word don’t add up to squat if I’m not doing the best job I can. And here’s what I realized on the way home- I can do all this without months of frenzied organization, and corporate approval, and the beauty part is, the simpler it is, the more likely it will be to continue on a regular basis. So, little me is thinking that what I should be doing is contacting those local folks that “get it”, to use the cool kid’s vernacular, and say something along the lines of “Hey, we are both concerned about quality real estate, Panera has wifi, wanna do coffee? Cool. See ya then.” Done. Next.

    Back to rebc, here’s the thing that has me flummoxed, whatever good intentions rebc started out with, something about it becoming a movement- an rebc in every town- doesn’t quite make sense, and in the back of my head I can’t shake this little bit of tin foil millinery: Either I really don’t get it, highly possible, or, maybe there is something being promoted that would require a captive audience. Because when you think about it, a local rebc is just real estate professionals talking about real estate, which really isn’t such a big deal after all.

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  • 16 comments

    DriveBuy listings: Plug-n-play procedure, knock-out presentation

    We use the term “drive-by listing” to refer to the kind of listing you get with almost no human contact: “The key’s under the doormat. Look it over and tell me what we can get. Email me the paperwork.” I have five of these right now, investor-specials that came in over the transom.

    DriveBuy Technologies makes a cooler use of the “drive-by” sound, though. BloodhoundRealty.com is an official DriveBuy client as of yesterday. I had built a sign on Wednesday, and I put the ad for that sign together today.

    Here’s the sign for the property:

    We’re in a sign-restrictive HOA, so we had to do things differently. On our normal signs, the DriveBuy ad-code would go on the big sign, along with the phone number and the URL for the web site.

    The editing process on the DriveBuy web site was a piece of cake. Everything is template based, so, while your choices are limited, so are your opportunities for screwing things up. If you’re more adventurous than I’ve been, so far, you can learn the DriveBuy CSS and build your own mobile-browser pages.

    But: If you do work with the templates, adding or revising your SMS ads and their respective web pages is a chore you can offload to whomever is already doing your Zillow and PostLets stuff. There is nothing there to to flummox your assistant.

    This is the main web site for 1946 East Vista Drive, and this is the DriveBuy site I built this morning. Obviously, the mobile-browser site is a lot more limited (and you’ll note that it looks a lot like the demo page Ian Greenleigh of DriveBuy made for us). But Cathleen had no trouble pumping in a dozen photos, and the page features all the mission-critical information, along with a link back to the main web site.

    I’m in love with this already, and the DriveBuy folks are interested in hearing ideas about how to improve the product. Over the weekend, I’m going to play with building a page for my investor-special listings. My rating so far: Totally rocks.

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  • 3 comments

    A Pig with Lipstick – The Financial Services Oversight Council

    With the push to establish the Financial Services Oversight Council, is President Barack Obama just recycling flawed regulatory measures by reshuffling the current regulatory deck and coining it with fresh “changed” names? From all indications, that is exactly what it appears; or to leverage one of the presidential campaign terms…”it’s a pig with lipstick.”

    In March of 2008, President Obama made a campaign speech at the Cooper Union in which he vociferated a need for a “modern regulatory scheme.” In his speech to the black suit and red tie attendees in New York, he stated:

    “Old institutions cannot adequately oversee new practices. Old rules may not fit the roads where our economy is leading.”

    While most individuals would not disagree with his rather broad and all encompassing generic/comprehensive statement, his actions have in fact been in conflict with what he stated. For example, under his leadership, the Public-Private Investment Program (P-PIP) and Temporary Asset Relief Program (TARP) have been directed and managed under the same regulatory bodies. In addition, the same antiquated or obsolete regulatory apothegms he referenced in his Cooper Union speech have also been extended to non-banking organizations such as Chrysler, GM and AIG.

    Whether you fall into the left, middle or right politically, each person must acknowledge Obama’s abnegation to regenerate our regulatory structure, did not come to fruition when he announced his Financial Regulatory Reform Plan. Instead of constructing a fresh regulatory approach and foundation, he simply reconfigured the same regulators, coined new titles and utilized the same rules of regulatory application he had previously disqualified as antiquated in his Cooper Union speech.

    As part of the Financial Regulatory Reform Plan, Obama proposes the Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) plus four other agencies form what is labeled the Financial Services Oversight Council. The macro intent of The Council is to gather the identified regulatory agencies and have them work cooperatively to identify unsafe financial instruments and organizations systematically at risk. It is also tasked with providing direction to the Federal Reserve to help them identify Tier 1 Financial Holding Companies that don’t meet the Bank Holding Company Act requirements.

    Good idea, right? However, again it is not a new idea; rather it is a re-branded 1988 presidential executive order (Executive Order 12631) from none other than President Ronald Reagan.

    In Executive Order 12631, Reagan established a very similar regulatory group also composed of the Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC). In 1988, the group was nicknamed the Brady Bunch, because it was lead by then Treasury Secretary [Nicholas] Brady. In its essence, according to a former Fed official; “Obama’s bunch have the same responsibilities, they’re just formalized in the Plan slightly, but nothing new in its essence.”

    I can continue providing further historical footnotes and data highlighting the fact that in its truest essence, the new regulation is just repackaged regulatory dressing and also, while the regulatory demands will most likely grow, the end result will most likely not prevent what the regulation was meant to resolve or prevent. Really, we will most likely get more of the same stuff that did not work before.

    If you ask me, more regulation just for the sake of more regulation makes no sense.

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  • 5 comments

    How Good is Google Voice Transcription?

    Apparently, if you’re all business and speak clearly, it’s really good:

    rose-transcription

    But, if you’re one of “my boys” and talk really fast…not so good

    stewart-transcription

    Regardless, Google Voice is mad cool.  Here are some instructions on trying it out as Voicemail.

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    How to Run a Real Estate Business: Finding Wisdom in a Baseball Storm

    “Last night I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out.”  (Ba-da-bum-ching.) That’s an oldie but a goodie.  I had a similar experience recently:  I went to a baseball game and a business class broke out.  About an hour north of me is the Padres Single A affiliate, The Storm.  If you’re a fan of baseball and haven’t made it to a minor league game, you really should; they are a blast.  But that’s a different story.  Because I attended the game with a friend from the Padres organization, I was lucky enough to meet the Storm’s President, Dave Oster and we got to talk a little business.

    What’s that you say?  What does minor league baseball have to do with real estate?  By now you should know that business is business.  In the end, if you’re an agent, you’re running a business and I suggest we take every opportunity we get to learn from other successful business people.  As a matter of fact, I’m going to come right out and say you learn more from someone running a business different from yours than you’ll ever learn going to another 5000 seat auditorium and listening to some “real estate expert” who hasn’t sold anything but seats for years.  (Sorry… another tangent).

    When Dave and I first got to talking, my goal was to ask him about his marketing philosophy.  I am always interested in learning what someone can share on marketing.  It’s been my experience that most people (and agents in particular) do a poor job of it.  Actually, that’s misleading.  The problem most people have is they don’t know the difference between advertising and marketing.  Genuine Chris Johnson wrote a post yesterday (and Jeff Brown is famous for them :) ) wherein they lay out that difference, but I wonder how many people are seeing it.  In any case, that’s another post for another day because Dave gave me a humdinger of an answer.  During the course of our conversation though, he said something you almost never hear, yet it may be the most important concept in running a business.  That’s today’s topic.

    I was asking, in a very general way, about the group of people who work for him.  After a bit of hesitation Dave said (and I’m paraphrasing):  “It’s hard for me to answer questions about everyone who works here as a whole.  I see them as two very distinct groups: there’s those who create revenue and then there’s everyone else…  everyone else being a cost.”  That is probably the most important concept any one of us will ever learn about running a business.  Sound simple?  Play it through.  Let’s stick to baseball for a moment: the people taking tickets are certainly taking in revenue; so are they creating revenue or are they a cost?  That’s right, they’re on the debit side.  Same goes for the people behind the hot dog window and the ushers and even the guy who turns the lights on.  They may all be important (God knows the beer vendors are important) but they all count as costs.  Who creates revenue?  Anyone whose actions or ideas directly translate into more people coming through the gates.  This is so rarely understood that even the big guys get it wrong.  But if you start to view business, any business… your business, through this lens – profits go up.

    Real estate, believe it or not, adapts to this way of thinking quite easily.  If you are a rainmaker, which is to say: if you are someone who goes out and brings in closed business, then you are a revenue creator.  Everyone surrounding you, however, represents a cost no matter how important they might be.  Your transaction coordinator? Cost.  Your trusted assistant?  Cost.  Your buyer’s agent, your receptionist, even your broker?  They are all a drain on your revenue.  Why is this important?  Because small business owners often lose track of the bottom line.  We lose track of who’s important – and that’s a sure way to lose your money too.  The first thing any business owner should do is take a look around and categorize every single person who gets paid… including themselves.  You will normally find there is one, maybe two people who are generating closed sales: revenue.  Everyone else who gets paid is getting paid out of those revenues.  That does not mean what they do is unimportant.  It might even be integral.  But it does allow you to assess your resources with a much more accurate eye.  It also aides in creating chains of command.  Far, far too many people in the work-a-day world believe they are important to a company when in fact their position might be important.  They themselves are simply a cost and their importance is tenuous at best.

    There’s one other way to look at this and maybe it will help.  Those who generate revenue are integral to the firm.  Those who are a cost might fill a role that is integral, but they themselves are replaceable.  Get it?  Your assistant might be very important to your success, but he can be replaced.  How do you replace the person who generates actual revenue?  Never lose sight of the ledger in your business.

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  • 4 comments

    Real Estate Branding, Post-Google

    Do real estate brands mean anything to homebuyers post-Google?

    When the MLS was printed in a binder that brokers hid under their desks and consumers had to shop for an agent first, brand mattered to buyers.

    Now, buyers come armed with a list of properties that are relevant to them and each property comes with an agent, a broker, and a brand attached.

    Consumers don’t need agents in order to shop, so relevance trumps brand on the buyer side. That has huge implications if you are a listing broker or agent.

    I manage B2C eCommerce sites outside of real estate.  It is apparent to me that, until the moment a consumer contacts an agent and becomes a “homebuyer”,  listing brokers and agents are B2C eCommerce merchants, and your product is the content you develop around your listings.

    Listing content = product. Think about it:  Merchandising is about tapping into learned behavior. Most homebuyers are in the market once every 10 years, so for the last 10 years today’s homebuyers have been buyng books on Amazon and shoes on Zappos.

    In their lizard brains, when they are on a real estate site looking at properties they are just on another eCommerce site looking at a product.

    But brokers and agents devalue their product by giving all of  it away, for free, in the name of advertising.

    There are many best practices from the wider world of B2C eCommerce that can be applied to real estate, and it starts with understanding how to develop product content and how that differs from advertising.  Plus, using an eCommerce framework to understand and influence consumer behavior is the kind of thing you can point to where brand does still matter — with sellers.

    Sellers still shop for an agent or a broker. Sellers may feel that one local broker can market their property better than other brokers. Feelings can be influenced by branding, and branding works best when it is backed up by real differentiation.

    Showing sellers that you understand how to package their listing as an eCommerce product that is distinct from the adverting that you use to get interested buyers to that product/property detail page is the kind of difference upon which brands can be built, post-Google.

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  • 9 comments

    Ian Greenleigh of DriveBuy Technologies used the Bawldguy technique to promote SMS marketing by social media — and sold his product to the biggest-nosed sneezer in the RE.net

    Not to undermine Chris Johnson’s message about salesmanship, which is spot-on and very-much-needed, but Ian Greenleigh of DriveBuy Technologies, in agreeing with Chris, demonstrated the value of social media marketing to the sales process.

    How?

    By posting a comment to Chris’ post, he drew attention to his product — a product we have been actively shopping for.

    SMS promotion is next on my radar. I want to be able to add SMS marketing to our signs: “For more information about this property, text HOUND7 to 88000.” We got this from SmarterAgent for our MLS client (text HOUND to 87778), and we knew at once that it would be wicked cool to have as a tool for promoting our listings.

    As with our signs, we knew what we wanted before we knew it even existed. Over the weekend, I web-shopped some generic SMS marketing vendors, but I hadn’t moved beyond the window-shopping stage.

    And then today Ian posted his comment. And the product is precisely what we need, precisely the way we want it. The price is sweet — eight bucks a month per ad-code — and the codes are reusable. We’ll start tomorrow with five ad-codes, then grow as the business grows. For $40 a month, paid monthly, I’ll have something way better than IVR that delivers tons of value to our listing clients and to our buyer prospects. That totally rocks, and it’s a nice proof of the Bawldguy technique of comment-based marketing.

    I have a feature request, of course: We’re moving to SalesForce.com as our CRM — probably next month — and I would love it if DriveBuy would devote some attention to direct integration with SalesForce. They’re already there with TopProducer.

    Ian Greenleigh works on commission, just like us. If you buy his product, reward his enterprise by buying from him. The link at the start of this paragraph is his email address. His direct phone number is 512-410-0282.

    (As a matter of disclosure, I have no financial stake in promoting DriveBuy. But they’re doing a job I want done, so I want to help them and Ian make more money. If you bristle at the term “vendorslut,” you might reflect on what BloodhoundBlog can do for you, should you focus your attention on delivering value to respected clients instead of quarrying for more boobs to hustle out of their money — and more stooges to bribe for phony endorsements.)

    I have other great products that I’ve been meaning to write about, but DriveBuy is going to be an important tool for us, so I’m delighted to talk about it today.

     
    Further notice: Text HOUND7 to 88000 as indicated above. Ian built a demo out of one of our listings. I have an iPhone and a Palm Centro, and it looks great on both.

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  • 7 comments

    Social Media’s Dirty Secret: It’s Not About You, It’s Not About Marketing

    The Realtor® Fantasy that is part of social media fascinates me.

    Social Media “experts” have attitude that if you’re cool enough, transparent enough, and seem to care enough, a brinks truck full of money will be backed up to your door, you’ll get on the cover of a National Real Estate Magazine, and you’ll be given the recognition that you’ve always wanted.

    Your “personal bland” will dominate the landscape and you will become the recipient of tickertape parades all across the country.

    As if.

    We are…salespeople.  We have intimate relationships with people’s finances.  We must sell people on our own competence.  Not coolness.  We must sell people on the idea that we care.  And, buddy, that doesn’t happen when we ‘drip’ on them.   We must truly be caring and competent, or else we’re screwed.  And we’ve gotta convey it.  (Dan Melson again comes to mind).

    There is no Search Engine technique that will cause the web to organize itself to have presold buyers slobbering to pay us 6 percent on something.  There ‘s no blogging technique that will eliminate the need for someone to answer questions and be a fiduciary

    We…are salespeople.  Social media is just a way of meeting, reaching, helping and working with fun people.  It’s nothing more than that.  Your marketing is probably generating leads.  Your leads can’t be sent to AMEX to pay the bill.

    But are you closing them?  Are you reaching out to demonstrate-definitively–that you are their best and most caring option?  That you have sharpened your skills to navigate this market.   Probably not.  And that’s where the problem lies.   You are not selling.  You are not reaching out, risking rejection and trying to help.  And despite the cries that people have that they “don’t wanna be sold to.”   They “don’t wanna be sold to” by a moron.  Don’t be a moron.  People need someone to take charge.  They need some expert in Real Estate, Mortgage or wherever to just get the damn thing moving forward.

    When you’re building a “you-centric” personal brand, website that is bereft of information that your friends might want…you’re not selling.  Your social media is not selling.  It’s broadcasting, spamming, looking cool, but NOT SELLING.  I am cleaning the clock of web people that are legitimately better than me.  I’m doing it with–no lie–a shoebox and index cards.  Every time I see someone’s website I can make better, I write it down.   I call those people up, introduce myself…and sell them.  I dump ‘em into aweber or wherever eventually.

    And I’m not that good at sales yet.  I sell a lot, but on a scale of 1-10 of selling, I’m probably a 3.5 or 4.  I just do it.  Call, ask, repeat.   I’m digging myself out of the IRS hole that I spotted the world (current estimated emancipation date is 1 November 2009).    But still–I’m not that good.  But I don’t suffer the entitlementality that is sweeping the social media landscape.  I’m not gonna get mad if someone rejects me or needs a refund.  It’s business.  My own soul isn’t so heavily invested in this stuff

    I don’t expect you to think I’m cool, or be impressed enough to call me.  I don’t expect you to call me.  I don’t care if you don’t.  I’ll call you and do the best job I can helping you get whatever the hell you need.  Because all of us in our professions–are fundamentally salespeople.

    We must embrace–not eschew–that concept if we’re gonna win anything.    And we must not use the marketing we do to insulate us from salesmanship.  Get it?  Good.  None of us are gonna become superstars…unless we’re here to help other people.  It’s about what someone else wants, beeing there to meet the need.  Social media is not gonna make people genuflect at our greatness.

    Now…follow up matters, auto-responders work.  But none of it performs at half the level it could without the passion and enthusiasm of an earnest and dedicated salesman.

    Don’t think of sales as a redheaded stepchild.  Marketing is good, but it’s a poor substitute for sales.  It gets you a date, but it get doesn’t you upstairs.

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    And you thought being a REALTOR was tough…

    You know, it is funny…

    Brad Coy sent me a nice note last night and just while I was appreciating that, my wife started laughing and sent me this little snippet from Fox News.

    Two quick points.

    1) Apparently REALTORS are not the only ones with an industry image problem. My line of work has it too! (grin)

    2) Friendless? Note to my industry…if you are not making friends and networking as you go, you are not building True Authority. You are doing it wrong. (too funny…) I suppose that we all sit in our basement and hack all day as well….grin

    I did not pick my profession, it picked me. And I certainly did not select it because I wanted to be anti-social. Far from it!

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    “Pardon me sir, but have you seen the special on Grey Poupon at Wal Mart?”

    rolls_royce_phantom_wal_mar

    UPDATE: Buy the T-Shirt at Cafe Press!

    Yep, that’s a Rolls Royce Phantom (2008 MSRP $340,000) in the parking lot of the Newport RI Wal Mart captured with my phone on Saturday.

    The headline is my best shot at a caption (YouTube has the old Grey Poupon commercial). What’s yours?

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    Embracing Compliant Speech

    August 14, 2019  is a sad day for me because I realize that I ruined my family’s future.  Oh, how I wish I would have kept my mouth shut  !

    My daughter, a brilliant and accomplished student was rejected by all the Ivy League colleges despite her stellar work in high school.  Each rejection letter said the same thing; ideologically undesirable.  Fortunately, she was accepted at my Alma Mater but her inability to access student loans (she was branded as “ideologically undesirable”) left her with no money for college.

    She’ll have an opportunity to attend a State-sponsored college if she successfully completes her mandatory service in Organizing for America.  She’s going to have to keep her mouth shut and tow the line, though.  She is atoning for her 9th grade paper entitled “God Will Provide:  Why We Shouldn’t Fret About Climate Change“.  Her teacher reported her to the Government website and that, combined with my record of dissent, determined her future.  We almost lost her to the Child Education Services Agency with that little transgression.

    President Robert Menendez signed the Good Children Can’t Be Left Behind Act of 2017.  That Law taxed the money I’d saved in her 529 plan, at 75%, to support the education of disadvantaged youth and I protested on Twitter.  I suppose my protest was misguided in retrospect.

    President Menendez was elected by a sweeping margin when he ran against former Senator Mel Martinez in the first ever race-neutral Presidential election.  Former President Obama signed the Neutrality in Elections Act of 2013 and it was agreed that Presidential elections would be held with a specific race/ethnicity as the qualifying factor, every eight years, so as to offer opportunity to all Americans.  We  The G.O.P originally nominated George P. Bush but his ambiguous ethnicity disqualified him for this particular election; he’ll have his chance in 16 years.

    I called that reverse discrimination on Facebook.  A so-called “friend” reported that status update to the Government website and I was heavily fined for that comment six months later.

    I mentioned that I was short on cash.  Fed Chairman Summers capped real estate and mortgage brokerage fees at $500/file under the Consumer Financial Protection Act.  I had hoped to land one of the Federal Housing Counselor jobs where I could perform the pre-closing counseling, prior to the 14-day rescission period, because that paid twice as much but I was branded as ideologically undesirable back in 2010.  The fine I incurred for seditious speech, on Mortgage Rates Report, when Fed Chairman Summers was confirmed sealed that fate.

    My poor wife was dumb enough to stick with me after she rejected the advances of one of the State Environmental Appraisers, on an inspection for one of our clients.  Had she accepted his proposition, my daughter might be off to Brown University and my wife would be enjoying quarterly vacations in Europe.  Today, she’s stuck with annual stay-cations (we’re not supposed to travel more than 250 miles without a permit) and you already know about my daughter.

    All is not completely lost; I have my memories of Bloodhound Blog.  What a lively bunch we were…so full of idealism !  Al used to wave the flag, Greg warned us of the Government-Industrial Complex, Don drew parallels between old movies and political shenanigans, and Sean was sure the Government would zap his brain.  Alas, I realize that those memories must stay in my mind because I can’t afford the luxury of free seditious speech anymore. 

    Don’t feel sorry for me, though.  It’s not so bad.  I still have my health (care).

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