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There’s always something to howl about

If you are a working Realtor — if you list and sell residential real estate for a living — the time you spend on social media sites is almost certainly anti-marketing, doing you more financial harm than good.

Chris Johnson pulled this out of our phone conversation the other night, quoting me on Twitter:

People don’t want a relationship with you. They just want your damn services.

We were talking about real estate weblogging, but the principle applies even more firmly to the world of social media — Twitter, Facebook, etc.

The notion that strangers are seeking out Realtors in order to befriend them is absurd. For a Realtor to get invited on a getaway weekend with three people who are not old school chums would require that all the undertakers and life insurance salespeople they know are already engaged. We all know what to expect from Realtors in any sort of social setting — which is why there is an entire mini-industry of RE(education)Camps to train Realtors to resist their smarmy, deal-probing impulses on-line.

That’s point number one, neatly Tweeted by Chris — who is, don’t forget, a vendor: You are the means to your clients’ ends, not an end in yourself. Even though you might sometimes hit it off just right with a client and forge a serious friendship, in virtually all cases — including those where you make a friend — it’s the mission-critical job that matters, not your sweet personality.

And that friendship? It will seem serious to you alone. If you are any good as a Realtor, your deep, deep friendship will be invisible to everyone else. You should be much too busy to be anyone’s friend. If you make a stout effort, you can hold up your end with your spouse and kids, but, beyond that, you should expect to hear this from the people you think of as being your friends: “The only time we ever get to see you is when we’re buying or selling a house!” That is real estate in real life.

Here’s point number two: “Marketing” by social media is a huge waste of time. Selling is one-on-one, focused, time-consuming and goal-directed. Marketing, done properly, is broadcast, diffuse, time-efficient and passive and long-term in its goal-pursuit. Even if you are really doing your best to market your services on-line, if you are doing it by engaging people one-on-one in fleeting media like Twitter or Facebook, you are almost certainly wasting your time.

In other words, if you spent that same time preparing a broadcast direct marketing piece or writing an enduring, canonical weblog post, your efforts would almost certainly produce better cash returns in the long run. Selling is harvesting the crop that you brought to fruition by marketing. If you spend all your time trying to do the sales job — one-on-one direct contact — you will never have a crop to harvest.

But, of course, this is not what you’re doing on Twitter and Facebook, anyway. What you are doing with the irreplaceable hours of your day is schmoozing with other Realtors and with vendors. Yes, I’m sure you’re also sharing cute jokes with potential clients, but we all know what you’re really doing on-line: Wasting time, in order to argue to yourself that you are working when you know you are not.

Want to prove my point? Get all huffy about it. Serious Realtors don’t have time to grumble to the world about how unfair it is to be called on their vices.

But this brings us to my third point: Even if you are actually engaging your clients productively on-line, and even if you can point to some actual paychecks that resulted from your having wasted your precious time on TwitBook, nevertheless, your Tweeting and Facebooking is almost certainly anti-marketing.

Why? Because you are an employee of your clients, that’s why. Even if your client is a high-I who likes the way you kiss his ass in public, he does not want to see you wasting time kissing anyone else’s ass.

Even if your client is a high-S who thinks it’s sweet that you have been so warm-and-fuzzy, so touchy-feely — even that client will start to wonder about your priorities when she sees you reTweeting your twentieth bad joke of the day.

What about the high-Cs? They are unlikely to admire your continuous exhibitionism.

The high-Ds? You’re screwed.

We are lucky as Realtors that our clients — our employers — supervise us so lightly. But if one of your clients is subscribed to your Tweetstream, expect to discover, sooner or later, that he is selling his home with a Realtor who works all day in the real estate business, not in the small-talk trade.

This is me from the Todd Carpenter is the NAR Social Media Piñata thread on ActiveRain:

I say that trying to sell real estate via Twitter/Facebook is a waste of time — and it is anti-marketing even if it seems to produce some results. Why? Because the bulk of your chatter is going to look like… chatter. Your clients might like it when you schmooze with them, but your public schmoozing with every other time-wasting Realtor and vendor in the RE.net is going to look to your clients like just what it is: Time-wasting laziness. God help you if they see you talking behind other people’s backs — as is going on in the Tweetstream that led to this post. If you plan to dispute any part of this argument, I will want to see real numbers. If you won’t produce the numbers, I’m going to assume you are rationalizing failure — a skill at which Realtors excel.

Just to ward off specious objections, vendors like Chris Johnson, lenders like Brian Brady and Realtors like Jeff Brown all have good reasons for marketing on Twitter or Facebook: Their objective is to sell to you — and they know where you can be found. Your potential clients aren’t looking for you on social media sites, and they’re not looking to make you their best-buddy in any case.

To the extent that anyone is paying attention to you as a Realtor, they are looking for reasons to reject you, not to embrace you. If you fool around all day on line, talking trash and ganging up and generally acting like a jackass teenager, people will see right through you. And that’s not the good kind of transparency. Many people like a hail-fellow-well-met when they’re out to have some fun. But when their financial lives are at stake…?

This is reality, deny it at your financial peril: If your front-line, every day job is listing and selling real estate, goofing around on sites like Twitter or Facebook is a huge waste of your time — and a wide-open invitation for everyone in your sphere of influence to turn to a serious Realtor when they have a serious real estate need to fulfill. On the other hand, if your objective is to convince everyone who sees you on-line that you’re a clown, you could not have picked a better marketing strategy.

Related posts:
  • It’s 4:15 pm. Do you know where your Realtor is? A consumer’s guide to using social media to supervise your goof-off employee.
  • Why We Should Rename It SMP (Social Media Prospecting)
  • Lil’ ol’ social me: my name is mike and i like you

  • 48 comments

    48 Comments so far

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Estate Feeds, Real Estate Ninja, My REALTY, Mark Risley, Tom Hunter and others. Tom Hunter said: If you are a working Realtor — if you list and sell residential real estate for a living — the time you spend on s… http://bit.ly/cENaCW [...]

    2. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 6:07 pm

      Crickets…

      When I do a good job, I get very interesting comments.

      When I do a great job — silence.

      You gotta know where you live…

    3. Keith Lutz August 20th, 2010 8:30 pm

      You said: To the extent that anyone is paying attention to you as a Realtor, they are looking for reasons to reject you, not to embrace you.

      Don’t you think that is a little hypocritical, considering all the time you wasted over on ActiveRain the other day?

      BTW, I do not care about what happened, just pointing out that comments are etched in internet stone forever (until deleted anyway!)

    4. Jim Klein August 20th, 2010 9:04 pm

      Maybe Greg has two jobs, Keith. Personally I thought this was a fantastic essay, absolutely key to understanding the business perspective. But I learned a few weeks ago, here in fact, that the majority of real estate people view themselves as professionals, not businessfolk.

      That’s cool, and I wouldn’t dare speak on the value of social media to a professional. Indeed, I gotta hunch there are going to be quite a few doctors, for example, for whom it will prove very valuable. But generally speaking, from a business perspective, most customers are seeking to get the most value for their purchase, period. While for many businesses that means ongoing and long-standing relationships, I’d guess real estate–especially for most agents–is near the bottom of the list when it comes to customers seeking “ongoing” and “long-standing.” I’m pretty sure they’re widely seeking “best buy now, most capably handled.”

      In fairness, though, a home purchase is so huge for most people that they do want to /feel/ as if they have a close relationship with an agent. This can definitely help the business and I suppose there are ways to use social media to help create that feeling. But if that were really the goal, I doubt twittering and facebooking to a wide faceless public would be the best way to go about it.

    5. Eric Bramlett August 20th, 2010 9:17 pm

      I’ve always had this crazy idea that buyers go online to find listings.

    6. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 9:18 pm

      > Don’t you think that is a little hypocritical

      Quite right. I feel a perverse need to help you get better at your job, when I should be devoting my full attention to crushing you in the marketplace. Thanks for pointing out this defect in my character.

      > all the time you wasted

      I never waste my time. With luck, you’ll figure that out before I crush you in the marketplace.

    7. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 9:21 pm

      > I’ve always had this crazy idea that buyers go online to find listings.
      ;) Bless you.

    8. Eric Bramlett August 20th, 2010 9:22 pm

      Sorry. Should have qualified that. I feel like it is a better use of time to make sure and provide an excellent way for buyers to find what they want, rather than try to make then like your personality.

    9. Eric Bramlett August 20th, 2010 9:38 pm

      Ha! Was typing my “qualifier” as you were agreeing! Beautiful.

    10. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 9:39 pm

      I like both arguments.

    11. Eric Bramlett August 20th, 2010 9:43 pm

      Both are valid. It’s whatever bait catches the most fish for you.

    12. Dan Connolly August 20th, 2010 10:24 pm

      Well, I agree that trying to make business happen on Facebook or Twitter can be a nauseating spectacle. The quickest way to get me to unfollow or unfriend you is to post links to your new listings or foursquare updates about everything you do.

      But that being said, I still enjoy both Twitter and Facebook and visit both every day, post a bit here and there read some things and find links to things I find interesting. You see I don’t work at this business 24-7 and I don’t want my clients to think that I do. I will work for awhile maybe two hours and then I will take a fifteen minute break and look in on the stream. Then I go back to work. I find it refreshing.

      On Twitter I follow a lot of SEO/SEM types and learn a lot. I follow a bunch of Realtors who make sense and bring things of interest to the conversation. I learn a lot about RE industry and Tech things. I read way more than I post. It’s not for finding clients and I could care less if they see me. I don’t make stupid jokes or say anything that could embarrass myself, and if I lose a client because they think I am wasting my time I could not give less of a shit. There are lots more where they came from. Goodby! & don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

      Facebook is different. All of my friends on Facebook are actually my friends. No business is discussed, and I have a separate account for business connections that I rarely look at. Facebook strengthens bonds between friends, you can look at each others pictures of vacations and birthday parties and keep in touch about things that matter. It builds relationships and the side effect of that is people know you better and if you aren’t an idiot, more business will result. But I do not ever push the business agenda at all in that arena.

      I think it is important for me not to work all the time. I find these things interesting in a hobby kind of way. I see a lot of value in them.

    13. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 10:38 pm

      Very interesting, Dan. I’ve always had the idea that you were aloft at cruising altitude, comfortably in the glide path. In other words, I’ve seen you as having hit a stride where your income is healthy and fairly reliable, that your career is a well-oiled machine. Is that a fair assessment?

    14. Dan Connolly August 20th, 2010 11:10 pm

      I have been at it for a long time but I had a steep learning curve. It wasn’t until I finally was able to find clients online that it became somewhat reliable. That’s been around the last four or so years. Before that it was a struggle and feast or famine was the norm. I never have the idea that it is automatic, and to keep it up requires constant learning and being able to change directions when necessary.

      I find the social media a great way to keep my finger on the pulse of the RE industry and the tech and SEO industries at the same time. I don’t comment that often, but I learn a lot. It’s all about who you follow. It doesn’t hurt to be a speed reader either.

    15. Greg Swann August 20th, 2010 11:34 pm

      I’m not putting the screws to you, I’m just clarifying that it’s not you I’m talking to or about. At least half of the putatively-working agents in the country are starving to death, and yet they are pissing away their time on social media sites instead of making it rain. I’m hoping that this post will prompt a few heart-to-heart talks over the weekend. I suppose that’s not my business, but it seems wrong to me to leave this unsaid, when the argument I am making is so obviously true, and when so many self-annointed experts — many of them vendors — are helping these poor saps rationalize their time-wasting bad habits.

    16. Dan Connolly August 20th, 2010 11:48 pm

      Well I agree with you there! I also hate to see people advising people just starting out, or struggling, to concentrate on social media to find clients. It might work for a few, but i would bet that they also have something else going on. I just wanted to point out that social media doesn’t have to be a total waste of time if you use it for the right reasons.

      The folks who waste their time there, to keep from doing the real work they should be doing are probably doomed anyway, IMHO. If its not Twitter or Facebook they will be studying for a GRI, or a CRS or reorganizing their files, or picking up their dry cleaning or whatever else they can think of to avoid actually talking to someone who needs to buy or sell today.

    17. Greg Swann August 21st, 2010 12:00 am

      Got it. I just kicked How to succeed at failure back up to the top of the blog.

    18. Broker Bryant August 21st, 2010 4:34 am

      Well I agree to a point. First I don’t get twitter and I don’t use it. I didn’t use FB until the last year. I don’t use FB to get business but I do use it to stay in touch with my buyers and sellers. The key is to get them to “friend” you. Once they have I rarely have to have any additional contact. FB is doing my work for me. Staying in touch via FB generates referrals and repeat business.

      But of course I stay on topic. I don’t use any of my social media to just chit chat. I talk real estate. Because real estate is what I do.

    19. Jim Whatley August 21st, 2010 6:03 am

      I am not a lawyer, financial adviser, ect. but would i choose one from facebook or twitter? as he talks about what ever crap comes to mind.

    20. Teri Lussier August 21st, 2010 6:13 am

      Even as I see myself in this post, even as painful as it is to see myself in this way, you’ve done a beautiful job of telling the truth.

      You will get responses telling you why you are wrong, at least partially, and you will get responses saying that they knew it all the time, so there. Neither really matter too much. What could make a difference is that any agent who is wondering about twitter and facebook will find this post and take some time to consider this:

      “Selling is one-on-one, focused, time-consuming and goal-directed. Marketing, done properly, is broadcast, diffuse, time-efficient and passive and long-term in its goal-pursuit.”

      Understanding that can save you all the time I have wasted.

    21. Greg Swann August 21st, 2010 6:35 am

      > Understanding that can save you all the time I have wasted.

      You’re either on the bus or you’re off of the bus. There is no middle. This is a hard way to make an easy living, and it won’t ever happen — for any of us — until we commit all the way to getting the job done. TwitBook is just the latest way Realtors have discovered to pretend to work. The vendors make all-day chatting particularly pernicious, Sirens from the land of the lotus eaters: “Don’t worry about it. We’ll snark, we’ll schmooze, and then I’ll sell you some leads.” But everywhere you look there’s another temptation pulling you away from the work you need to get done. The one sure cure that I can think of is to do your marketing so well that you’re too busy even to think about wasting time.

    22. Greg Swann August 21st, 2010 7:05 am

      > In fairness, though, a home purchase is so huge for most people that they do want to /feel/ as if they have a close relationship with an agent.

      A short, very intense, very intimate marriage. But when it’s over, it is the agent, not the client, who sends the anniversary cards.

      But the self-defeating behavior I’m talking about consists of Realtors chatting with each other and with vendors. There is zero economic benefit to this behavior — unless one’s goal is to become yet another schmoozing vendor.

    23. Janie Coffey August 21st, 2010 9:40 am

      but Greg, quite a few Realtors have a strong SOI model for their business. They are not actively seeking to sell people one house ala used car salesman, they are looking to build long term relationships that last. I 100% agree with you that you are 1) about as likely to sell a listing via SM as you are via an Open House and 2) people are not searching SM for a real estate agent. BUT if SOI is one of your lead generation tools, then SM can help you stay in touch with them, reach their friends and followers and be top of mind. It’s all in the intent and the message. Can it be spammy and a waste of time, abso-frickin-lutely. Can it also result in tighter and better relationships (new and old), of course.

    24. Janie Coffey August 21st, 2010 9:42 am

      oh, one more thing, I did 2 deals in July that were referrals from other agents who I communicate with only on SM, netting me nearly $15K in commissions AFTER referral payouts – so not too bad

    25. Scott Cowan August 21st, 2010 10:12 am

      Greg-

      I’ve been reading this post and the comments and trying to figure out the best way for me to clarify my response. It was not until your last comment that it hit me between the eyes.

      >A short, very intense, very intimate marriage. But when it’s over, it is the agent, not the client, who sends the anniversary cards.

      I think that I have always liked my clients more than they have liked me!

      In most cases I was simply a means to an end. A weekend fling in Vegas if you will. Now, every now and then we will hit it off and continue to date beyond the fling but it will never be the same as it was during that magical weekend.

      Spending time on these social media sites is akin to looking at online dating sites after you have gone out on a one date and wondering if they really liked me all that much?

    26. Greg Swann August 21st, 2010 1:46 pm

      > I think that I have always liked my clients more than they have liked me!

      You need more clients, Scott. ;)

      Heads up, y’all: You know exactly what I am talking about: Realtors and related vendors schmoozing with each other all day every day as a means of avoiding productive, money-making work.

      You know this is ubiquitous, even if you yourself are not doing it. And you know that it is a terrible real estate marketing strategy, for the three reasons I named in this post.

      If you’re talking only to your clients, good on ya. If you’re making a buck or two, here’s to you. But if you are pissing away your days reading, writing and forwarding small-talk from people who cannot write an employment contract with you, then… wait for it…

      YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME!

      Still worse, because you are wasting your time in public, you are telling your past, present and potential clients what really matters to you in your life — and clearly it ain’t real estate.

      This is news to no one — which is why it falls to me to say it. I’m the only internet marketing “expert” with the guts to tell you the obvious truth: The shit you’re doing while the sun is making its slow transit across the sky is wrecking your career.

      Here’s a metric for understanding your life: You should be netting $100 per hour, for every hour you work. Your work day should be at least 10 hours long, so you should be netting $1,000 a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your gross adjusted income for the year should be at least $365,000.

      Not there yet? Me, neither. But I work a lot more than 10 hours a day, and I don’t waste a second of my time on tasks that will not advance my goals.

      The next time you sit down to read and write on Twitter, when you could and should be making it rain, just imagine yourself burning a $100 bill for every hour that passes — a $20 bill for every 12 minutes. If that doesn’t cure you of your schmoozing addiction right away, you need more help than I can give you.

    27. Janie Coffey August 21st, 2010 2:59 pm

      great metric! thanks for sharing that. I use a similar metric when deciding how to spend marketing dollars (I have a four legged approach to marketing/prospecting: 1) SOI 2) Social Media (inc blogging) 3) Farming cards 4) Expireds. So every decision is based on “how many more marketing postcards could I send out with this?” estimating 1 card = $.50. If you estimate 50 people in your farm = 1 sale/yr, every $25= 1 sale. Soooo if you are analyzing a new marketing/prospecting “thing” that will cost you $100/mo, will it equal 4 or more sales per year? only if YES is it a GO!

    28. Sean Purcell August 22nd, 2010 8:22 am

      You should be much too busy to be anyone’s friend. If you make a stout effort, you can hold up your end with your spouse and kids, but, beyond that, you should expect to hear this from the people you think of as being your friends: “The only time we ever get to see you is when we’re buying or selling a house!” That is real estate in real life.

      I don’t do SM, Greg. I didn’t give it the thorough (and in hindsight: accurate) analysis you did, which statement I could repeat over a number of topic areas. For me it was more intuitive: the whole effort just never struck me as useful.

      But it’s a long stretch to go from not wasting time with poorly executed “time fillers,” to your above referenced statement. To each their own angels, as you often say, but I’m compelled to speak out on behalf of those who do not believe an 80 hour work week is necessary… or healthy. The sum of a person’s life is a unique form of math and not a universal axiom. We find our treasures in many ways and in many places. I have no patience for someone who does not seek out the treasures of their life in every way and every day, but I share little in common with someone who seeks only one treasure for all of their days.

      You set as a metric $100/hour and 70 hours a week. I value my time at well over $200/hour, but I am interested in less billable hours. My time working out, my time with my boys, my time with quiet meditation… I actually value all of these activities at a great deal more than $200/hour. Maybe one day I’ll value my time at $300/hour, affording me the choice to make more money with the same hours worked, or the same money with less hours worked. The only tricky part is actually being willing to take the responsibility of owning that hour and providing that value. Me? I’ll work less and spend more of my hours on health, love and a fulfilling life. After all, those hours have a value that run into the $1000s.

    29. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 8:42 am

      > 70 hours a week

      I was going easy on people. Realtors who are going to pull ahead of the pack are going to work quite a bit more than 70 hours a week.

      > Me? I’ll work less and spend more of my hours on health, love and a fulfilling life.

      Your business. I don’t tell other people what to do, not ever. But the numbers I gave are the minimum, I would think, for a striving Realtor to make enough money and to build enough momentum to get to the glide path. If the goal is escape velocity — passive income — the work is going to be that much harder.

      Here’s my life: Jeff and Al and other people here like to marvel about how much I work. I remarked to Cathleen last night that if things keep going the way they have been, we stand a good chance of getting back to where we were in January of 2006. Five years to recover from this market. We have it worse here than almost anywhere, I know, and formerly big-name listers are all now clawing at each other to get REO listings. But to my knowledge there is no way to make it in residential real estate without putting in the hours — and keep in mind that I am the king of automating everything that can be automated.

      Gotta run. I’ve been up and working since 6, and I’m showing two parties 23 homes all over the Valley today — this along with everything else I will have to do today.

    30. Sean Purcell August 22nd, 2010 9:54 am

      Caveat: I’m not discussing the number of hours (and certainly not the hourly value) of an agent starting out or starting over. I’m talking about an agent who has already started the rock to rollin’.

    31. Jeffrey Gordon August 22nd, 2010 12:23 pm

      Intriguing discussion here Greg!

      Many pointed and painful truths well worth contemplating!

      I have had the opportunity in the last week (while sitting on the beach writing a business plan for my new business) to go back over your posts for the last couple of years, your writing has been an interesting story, this last post had a unique tenor to it from your typical post.

      It would be helpful to see a breakdown of what your 70+ hour a week schedule model includes as well as what it would generate in activities and gross sales in your market area.

      I know from reading some of Russell Shaw’s older posts that in recent days his monthly 100k overhead was not being covered by his 40k month revenue.

      I know most of my peers with many years in the residential business are all finding a much tougher row to hoe than they are used to.

      You do seem to have a lot of things automated,

      I am also struck though that on a Sunday in the end of August YOU are spending a full day touring a bunch of homes with buyers.

      From what I can gather from your posts you and your wife work pretty much on your own–I dont recall you mentioning a team or assistants etc?

      You also might be one of the most prolific blogger and re tech innovators I have come across online.

      What is not really clear to me is whether your post applies to your own time spent on line as well or whether you see your social media efforts as part of your business plan to market to other real estate agents etc.?

      I for one truly believe most online marketing is significantly less profitable than the same amount of time and money spent in more traditional marketing efforts–.5 to 4% conversion pales in comparison to 50%+ face to face conversion and requires a lot less upfront capital and an incredibly smaller prospect list.

      That being said, I do feel a WordPress blog with quality content and IDX map based MLS search tool are a bare minimum for most real estate agents.

      Happy hunting today, hopefully your efforts bear fruit.

      jeffrey

    32. Brian Brady August 22nd, 2010 1:23 pm

      I can show you plenty of consumer-direct transactions which originated from social media efforts. What I can’t do is defend that effort as a more productive use of time than a swap mart booth.

    33. Cheryl Johnson August 22nd, 2010 3:24 pm

      I think of working most social media sites the same way I think of working a Chamber of Commerce mixer, or a Rotary lunch meeting. You circle the room a few times, shake hands, hand out cards, laugh at a couple dumb jokes, tell a couple dumb jokes yourself, and try to slip quietly back out the door before anyone knows you’re gone. :-)

      And the etiquette is pretty much the same, too. You’re not talking hardcore business, but you are careful not to say anything too personal or controversial. You’re just aiming for that top-of-mind name-recognition thing.

    34. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 7:11 pm

      > I’m talking about an agent who has already started the rock to rollin’.

      I don’t think that describes anyone in Phoenix, right now. Surely anyone who is not deeply concerned about where his next deal is coming from probably does not have a next deal to be concerned with. The good news, from my point of view, is that the whole world is up for grabs. There is no one in this market who looks unassailable to me.

    35. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 7:15 pm

      > What I can’t do is defend that effort as a more productive use of time than a swap mart booth.

      I said something like this in the @tcar thread on ActiveRain and they thought I was recommending handing out business cards at Safeway, instead. None so blind…

    36. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 7:26 pm

      > I think of working most social media sites the same way I think of working a Chamber of Commerce mixer, or a Rotary lunch meeting.

      Not what I’m talking about, either, although I’m not in love with that kind of thing — even doing it your way — as a hugely productive use of time. :)

      > You’re just aiming for that top-of-mind name-recognition thing.

      This is something that drives my thinking lately: The fact that real estate has been such a colossal drain on America’s wealth seems likely to me to make consumers a lot choosier about the Realtor they work with, going forward. This should work very well for us. People in the schmooze business, even if they are actually good at it, may not do as well.

    37. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 7:58 pm

      > Happy hunting today, hopefully your efforts bear fruit.

      Thanks. I don’t know that you’re asking questions as much as making observations from your reading. I do think reading our archives repays effort. Someday, I may have an assistant comb through everything to rebuild the Enduring Interest category to highlight the posts that everyone should read.

      Why am I working like this? Because we’re broke, and we have been for several years. We’ve never had the volume to support a staff, although I am using an unlicensed assistant right now for .5 to 2 hours a day, doing marketing work for me. I worked out an algorithm today to do what she’s doing with software, but I have a lot of other work for her — more than I can afford to pay for right now. We throw nickels around like they’re manhole covers, this also as a matter of long-standing habit. We never hesitate to spend whatever it takes to do the mission-critical job, but we are necessarily very tight with all other spending.

      Our numbers: We closed 32 transactions in the past 12 months, for $5.084 million in gross volume. I thought that was pretty pathetic until we joined the Redfin partner program and discovered that we look like top producers in that crowd.

      Since then, I’ve run a lot of numbers in the MLS, and it looks like we’re doing better than a lot of stand-alone agents and small teams. This is uniquely related to the Phoenix market, and, as badly as we’re doing, we’re either attracting better prospects or we’re doing a better job of converting them. Or both. Interestingly, of those 32 closed transactions, in 20 of them we represented principals who own two or more homes. This is a demographic we are happy to see more of.

      Our momentum is very strong — we should finish this year at 40 or more closed transactions, and we could end up crowding 50. Next year promises to be even better — controlling for factors we can’t control ;) — and, if it is, then we will have the money we need to grow into a very potent force in the Valley of the Sun. I can see a lot more targets than I have the resources to hit, right now, so accumulating greater resources should bring us a lot of very happy news.

      I wish you every good fortune with your new venture.

    38. JD Smith August 22nd, 2010 9:08 pm

      Hi Greg,
      I’ve been a realtor for about 11 years now and although I kinda pulled out over the last few years, I’m ready to get my feet wet again. I realize now that blogging has become pretty important in real estate and starting to read up and learn all the new stuff that realtors are starting to do.

      I really like your information about facebook and twitter etc. Seems like most of my research has led to this type of “keep in touch” marketing and I gotta say…your thoughts on the matter really impressed me. I thought I was alone in this cause I just couldn’t see wasting all my time on facebook. Yes I tried it for a few weeks with friends and acquaitances before deciding if I wanted to invite my past clients to join me. A few weeks ago I realized that I’m probably following the advice of 93% of the realtors out there which is a major bad decision.

      Thanks for your article here, I’m glad I ran across it cause I was starting to think that if I have to befriend all the clients I meet with and hang out with them every weekend and visit with them every night on facebook…How in the hell am I gonna get anything done? LOL!

      I guess it’s true that you will definitely end up just like the people you most listen to so good thing I ran across this blog cause I almost placed myself back into that 93% category or much worse, decided this real estate thing wasn’t gonna pan out if I have to spend time kissing all these folks asses sor hours and hours til I finally get a sale.

      Not to be rude about it but I do focus on how much time I have invested with each client so I can determine how to change things to increase my hourly and I don’t think many realtors realize how many hours they spend on facebook every night.

      You’re totally right, I don’t make decisions on the professional I hire by his personal life. I just want the guy to the job I hired him for to the best of his ability so I can drive on with life. Although I have a few clients that have become friends I try my best to keep it professional cause if I had to hangout every weekend with every client I meet…FORGET THAT!

      This article really helped me Greg, just wanted you to know that. Best of Success for the fall and winter. Take care!

    39. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 9:32 pm

      > None so blind…

      And what a dipshit I am. I just now made the connection to sales call reluctance. Now it all makes sense to me: 4,000 imaginary dates a year — all with imaginary supermodels, even. When you’re closing on a name and not a paycheck, you’re gonna need all the richness the imagination can afford.

    40. Greg Swann August 22nd, 2010 11:15 pm

      Hi, JD. Very nice to meet you. I love your positive attitude.

      I’ve been working on this problem — how to market real estate representation on the internet — for nine years. We’ve been talking about this topic — me and dozens of others — here for four years now. There is a lot of money in our archives, if you make the time to mine for it. Here’s a strategy, if you like: Shop for something good at bedtime and print it out, then read it on the treadmill in the morning.

    41. JD Smith August 22nd, 2010 11:42 pm

      LMAO! WHEW… I was reading your last post on “none so blind” Greg and thought…BAM, I don’t know what this dudes trying to tell me but he’s pretty upfront about it whatever it is. HAHAHA!

      Anyway, glad that was for someone else. I thought your intelligent verbiage was so deep even I couldn’t figure it out! lol.

      I will take your advice on the archives and do plan to visit on a regular basis. I think I could learn alot here and you know the saying:

      “If you want things in your life to change, you have to change things in your life”. This seems like a great place to brainstorm and I like what I read so far. JD

    42. Teresa boardman August 23rd, 2010 4:17 pm

      I could not agree more. They are looking for a realtor not a new friend. I don’t have Facebook friends for business. My blog serves as a site that has information and people find it and me but not to make friends to hire a realtor which is good because I like selling real estate.

    43. Byron August 23rd, 2010 8:08 pm

      I really enjoyed this article and all the different point of views that it stirred up.

    44. jeffrey gordon August 23rd, 2010 10:47 pm

      Thanks for the details Greg!

      Grass can often look greener on the other side of the fence–makes one stop in your tracks when you realize you might be working a better row than the guys in the next row over you were envying before lunch huh?

      I keep telling myself, it is always the worst of times and the best of times, the key is what we focus our targeting radar on!

      I do feel we are in a new era and I am only thankful I was able to trust my instincts 5 years ago and back off my risk/debt exposure, liquidate almost all of my non-core significant real estate holdings and go to ground for 4 years and support my family during some very challenging times.

      That being said, I also feel the majority of the players in almost any field are sitting by the side of the road licking their wounds and trying to determine if they are going to survive and a bit exhausted trying to fight the onslaught of waves that seem to keep on coming at them.

      At 56 I am beginning the ramp up to relocate and start a brand new real estate sales venture working with investors. I am very appreciative I found Jeff Brown on your site whom I could model in the investment property niche which is where I truly belong with my experience and knowledge.

      Your article helped me, once again, remember that the role of my online assets is important, but once set up and updated from time to time with most likely short video segments for those that dont read–i.e. almost the entire public under 40–and for traffic love–the majority of my time needs to be in generating face to face meetings with a relatively small group of prospective clients where my knowledge and consulting skills should provide in excess of 50% conversion.

      I have done the 100 new leads a week approach as a Proctor student in the last decade and like you I cringe whenever I consider repeating that experience again!

      Thanks, there is powerful stuff in this blog, for what it is worth, I suspect the universe is sending you great rewards for creating it, and I suspect that you might even decide to monetize it some day as well.

      PS you should be proud to know I have been following your watch my pennies advice and looking at some Rondo’s as the new ridge :)

      jeffrey gordon

    45. Greg Swann August 24th, 2010 7:32 am

      > I have been following your watch my pennies advice and looking at some Rondo’s

      The crossover is the new station wagon, inherently staid and suburban, but the Rondo is an excellent real estate car for parties of three or fewer people.

    46. Greg Swann August 24th, 2010 9:37 pm

      > Thanks, there is powerful stuff in this blog, for what it is worth, I suspect the universe is sending you great rewards for creating it

      Just in passing, I thought that was funny. BloodhoundBlog has been very fulfilling for me, but most of what the universe outside of my mind has sent me, in compensation, has been pretty hideous — vitriol, calumnies, outright lies, rank betrayals of my trust, no end of smarmy back-stabbing, vicious insults issued straight to my face, etc.

      I had huge hopes, when I started this, that it would lead to a cleaner, more honorable style of real estate representation. We’ve done better that I had any right to expect, I suppose, but the folks who betrayed my trust — most of them vendors in one form or another — also led a very large number of agents off of the path of righteousness.

      This is what I have been writing about for the past few days — everything we’ve been right about, all along, and every erroneous notion the vendorslut mafia has taught Realtors, to their catastrophic financial detriment.

      I’m an armadillo emotionally. My own self image is a lot more important to me than any other person’s opinion of me — or conduct toward me. But I hate it that so much of the wired real estate world has missed out on what we have to teach here.

      But even though I try to guide my life by the philosophical precepts perfected by Socrates, my time here has left me feeling more like Prometheus. I love, love, love the very good friends I’ve made through BloodhoundBlog, and I love the Scenius-like synergy we can throw off, when we’re working at our best. But I would have done better for my own interests, I think — and I probably would have done a better job of inducing bad agents to become better agents — had I devoted my spare time over the last four years to crushing my competitors, rather than trying to help them. This is a defect in my thinking I am taking pains to correct. ;)

      But: Redemption is egoism in action. If you take ideas you learn here and run with them, and if you make Splendor from your efforts, this is the compensation I want from this weblog. I want to do better, personally, at everything I do. But I want for every living human being to do better, the best each one of us can do. If some people pursue error, and if some others encourage people to pursue error — there is a finite limit to what I can do about that. But what I can do — what all of us here can do do — what we have been doing here — is shine a bright light on the truth as we know it. If you or other people profit, that’s wonderful. If not, oh well.

      And if someone decides he wants to make me pay for standing up for what I believe in…? Hide and watch. The best lesson I have to teach, I think, is how to be indomitable. BloodhoundBlog has given me lots of opportunities to demonstrate what I know about that style of life — that style of mind.

    47. Karen A. August 24th, 2010 10:21 pm

      Wow. My comment seems rather trite after all the above, but I’m still going to post. For most businesses, social media shouldn’t be a way to make ‘friends’. It is only a way to keep a brand in front of customers – like a logo inscribed pencil or soccer team sponsorship. It doesn’t directly sell anything, but keeps a name in the forefront, as the first answer when a past client is asked “Who sells houses?”.

      And there’s no pizza party at the end of the season.

    48. [...] to business development.  Greg Swann did a nice job of identifying this problem when he said that time spent on social media marketing is wasteful: “Marketing” by social media is a huge waste of time. Selling is one-on-one, focused, [...]