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Up Your Marketing Game

What tips do you have to share with us to help everyone brush up on their marketing game?


Acting Is Hard…

…and so is hiring an actor for your real estate commercial.  Just ask this guy:

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More Predictions for 2008 (Bigger, Better, Newer, Sparkle-ier)

Miss Cleo tells the futchaToo bad Miss Cleo’s not famous anymore- predictions are left up to those with (as Jeff says) a “cracked crystal ball.” 

So who has the fortune telling skills this year?  Time shall tell!  Get a leg up on ’08 by reading the full articles in the links below:

Jeff Brown’s
predictions include foretelling that the DOW will exceed 15,000.  How’s that for ya? (Oh yeah, this is only his first Volume.  Volume II will include something rude about me, I’m hoping.)

Pat Kitano brought us Economist’s predictions including widespread Open ID and bandwith slowdown.

Adam Ostrow notes that Facebook will go mainstream and newspapers won’t die but will creep into the blogiverse.

Drama 2.0 predicts that there won’t be much new innovation or new faces on the scene.  Huh?


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Mashable Predictions for 2008

Miss Cleo tells the futchaMashable is the Internet’s (well, the globe’s) ultimate source for social media news and information.  Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins is who we all look to for guidance and especially for predictions.  This week, Rizzn put together his predictions for 2008 and here’s why you SHOULD NOT READ his entire article:

1. If you know about Google vs. Facebook.
2. If you are not concerned with the future of Internet privacy and government attention to it.
3. If you don’t care about the impending breakdown of music studio industry.
4. If you already know what APML and ADM mean (or that they’re even buzzwords).
5. Don’t read the article if you are familiar with mandated Clean Tech.
6. If you already are aware that VC money will likely be refocused on green solutions and “me too” ideas.
7. Your crystal ball has predicted the tech bubble burst (or lack thereof).

Otherwise, go read the entire article to get ahead!

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Sweetest Way to Search Amazon

This has to be the most awesome way to search Amazon that I’ve ever seen.  When you search AmazType, your search term is spelled out with book covers.  So, if you search books about blogging, you’ll see this:

amaztype amazon search

Each cover can be enlarged with one click which includes the link to Amazon and instantly shows you pricing and ratings for each title.  Check it out!


The Call Center (and Real Estate Professional) Phone Shuffle

kitteh on phone no wan talk 2 uSeth Godin wrote this week about the customer service call centers set up with conflicting goals.  Regarding his experience with PayPal:

The desired outcome (I go away) doesn’t seem like it’s aligned with the corporate goals (I stick around).

Most call centers reward employees for non-escalated calls and for shorter calls.  I experience this primarily when I call Sprint or the cable company (especially tech support).  The script doesn’t include actual help, it is designed to herd you off the phone or to a different department to boost their individual stats.

What does this have to do with real estate?  We’re in a customer service industry designed to retain clients, but I would say that most Realtors and lenders fail.  [Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed Realtor and although I work in the industry, I maintain a client-like perspective.]

Just try calling a listing agent from your cell.  Naturally, there is rarely an answer.  Occassionally, you’ll get a call back, but if you’re a Realtor or an industry professional (and not an unrepresented buyer), the tone frequently changes and you’re shuffled off the phone.  Try emailing a listing agent and perhaps within 36-48 months you’ll receive a reply, but chances are they’ll never open your message.  The difficulty is that many readers are here to better their profession and this problem does not apply to them but we must all self-evaluate.  As for our company, agents have been let go for lack of communication (yes, you heard that correctly- agents are let go) and lenders (most notably processors) have been let go for lack of communication as well.

Don’t be part of the “not my problem” problem- answer your phone even if you don’t recognize the number.  Don’t ever make a caller feel as if they are unimportant, whether they are a buyer, seller or fellow agent.  Return messages promptly, and if you say you’re going to call by 11am, call by 11am or be prepared at 12pm to call with an apology. 

Let’s change this industry from one equivalent to Seth’s terrible experience with PayPal into the customer service beacon it should be. 


Nifty Little Trick

nifty-trick-signature.pngWhen others don’t play nicely with your paperless transactions, at least digitize your signature so you can pop it into a doc, pdf it, email it and move on to other deals, taking a nap, organizing your sock drawer or hugging yourself for saving another tree!




Don’t Be Like The Part Timer Queen- You’re Embarassing To The Industry!

please don't be this personThe line was only two people deep at the UPS Store the other day but it seemed to take forever!  I had simply made four copies and wanted nothing more than to slap a dollar on the counter, holler “keep the change, no receipt, thank you” and walk out.  Here in Austin, the service isn’t always at the speed of light because people take the time to say hello and ask about family (we’re convinced we’re a small town despite the continuing population boom).  I felt validated in my hurry hurry attitude because I was on my way to mass and didn’t want to be late, so COME ON, MOVE IT!

Regardless of my toe tapping, the last woman in front of me didn’t even notice the overly emphasized sighs as she put her chest on the counter.  Yes, her chest- her very padded push up bra that was very stressed out to be a part of her wardrobe held her business up to the counter.  I think she was trying to impress the 17 year old cashier (who wasn’t impressed with the cougar chick).  After several more minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting, she finally cashed out.  Hooray, this is it, I’m almost out of here!

But no.  “Hey, if you ever have any odd requests, here’s my card.”  The guy asked “so what do you do?”  She did the hair flip over the shoulder with her mane of 80’s hair band blonde mess and said, “I’m so glad you asked!  I’m a licensed massage therapist and so is my husband!  If you are ever stressed out or know anyone who is, I’m great with my hands…”  Eww.  He didn’t act grossed out, what a gentleman.  “Great, I’ll pass this along.”  She picked up her purse and I inched forward, knowing I was already late for mass.

“Oh, and my husband is an EMT and I also sell jewelry- perfect for the upcoming holidays!”  She offered a little high pitched giggle as she hoisted her over-stressed boulder holder up some more.  “Cool.  Okay, have a great day.”  And then came the kicker that I had clenched my fists waiting for because I just KNEW it was coming…

“Don’t forget- if you know of anyone looking to…”  (everyone say it with me now)  “buy or sell a house…” (DOH!  I KNEW IT!!!)  “please have them call me, I’ll buy you lunch if they tell me you sent them.”

Even the teen knew how ludacris this 10-job chick was.  “So you’re a rennaissance woman, huh?”  He laughed and she thought it was a compliment (but it wasn’t).  Another giggle and she actually moved out of my way.  I interrupted her attempt to talk more with him by saying, “four black and whites.”

The sad part of this story is that I knew this prowling cougar had a real estate license- I mean why not?  She’s got so many other hats, why wouldn’t she wear this one?  I realize that many of you have several jobs other than real estate, but when you present yourself in public, please, for the love of God, just present ONE of your many jobs.  It is truly an embarassment to the profession that pink-lace-boulder lady is out pimping houses, rubbing people down, watching her husband sew up gashes while she strings rocks together for Christmas.  Pick one, stick with it and quit embarassing the rest of the people in each of your various professions.

When I hear people list off several jobs they have, I never ever ever take them seriously.  My thought is, “oh, so you couldn’t make money doing X so you had to pick up Y, Z, H and M?  I’m certainly not in need of half assed services, thank you.”

A while back, April wrote about diversification and I actually applauded her.  Today, she writes about her job description as doing “whatever [she] wants to do” and I applaud her still today.  Sounds hypocritical, right?  Wrong– the key is that if you hold several jobs, make sure they are all tied together or you look like a pathetic hack.  With a common theme, they are all under the same umbrella which is perfectly acceptable, just make sure you’re not telling yourself they are all under the same umbrella.  Selling hand cream, real estate, boats and copiers part time don’t all qualify as sharing an umbrella because they are all “sales,” sorry.  Even in Texas where we all have Southern common courtesy, we will laugh at your hairsprayed ‘do as you leave if you’re the part timer queen.


Web 2.0 is dead, Web 3.0 is on its deathbed…


If you haven’t been following the rhetoric on tech sites such as Mashable, you should get started.  Many people are just grasping the concept of Web 2.0 but did you know it’s already dead?  So, we move on from shiny badges and transparent speech and move to Web 3.0 with network integration.  That’s the ticket (to steal a line from Jeff)!

But wait, that ship is already leaving the dock!  Just as you grasp Web 2.0, Web FOUR POINT OH is born!!!  Get ready tech nerds and noobs alike- the competition is cut throat to find the perfect mathematical equation to apply all of this new data. 

Who do you suspect is at the starting line while most people didn’t know a race was even on?  Let us know in the comments!


Don’t feel badly, traditional brokers- even FRENCH people hate Stahl

Nicolas Sarkosy ditches The StahlFor those of you not up to speed, the 10 second version of why we can’t stand Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes dates back a few months to a grossly slanted piece that amounted to Stahl’s stacking the story to “prove” that traditional real estate brokerages are stupid swindlers even if they discount and turned the article into a free PR piece for Redfin (the west coast based “revolutionary” rebate real estate firm).

Then, take it back a few more years to the “Axis of Weasel” comprised of the French government officials… ringing a bell?  Freedom fries, anyone?  That said, French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed hesitantly to an interview with Stahl and after only minutes of the “stupid interview” (his words, not mine), he cut the interview off by removing his earpiece and half-assedly shaking her hand goodbye.

So, for all of you traditional brokers (or discounters who had thunder stolen by Stahl’s Redfin ad), don’t feel badly- even FRENCH people can’t stomach Stahl.  I’m seriously feeling pro-France… imagine that!

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You may be missing something…

If you don’t comment on others’ blogs, you are missing a core element of blogging. Bulk up on your blog muscles before NAR Big Brother bans blogging.


Big Trouble Brewing at Google…

3stooges-pic.jpgRecently, we discussed Google blocking ads against which has led to much negative talk in the blogosphere about Google. 

As if their PR department wasn’t working overtime already, ProBlogger alleges Google’s AdSense is committing what appears to be conversion fraud.

I’ll say it again- Google is invincible today, but if the entire world decides that their shady methods won’t fly, they may be moving to a lower rent building for their headquarters.


Google Blocks Ads? Disturbing…

angry-cat-2.jpgAccording to Mashable, Google may be blocking ads.  What? I mean… wait, what?  Google should tread lightly- they say that the Republican ad campaign against the MoveOn site violates Google policy, yet MoveOn ads do not.  In fairness, my argument may be in vain- MoveOn may have requested removal for trademark violation which is a deal breaker, but even so-  regardless of my political affiliation, this just doesn’t smell right.

That said, how many of us place Google ads?  If someone at Google closely follows real estate blogs and finds a sword duel between two bloggers, do they arbitrarily take a side and suddenly block the ads belonging to the dueler they disagree with? 

Not only is Big Brother acting unfairly, they are damaging their business.  It seems to me that Google should steer clear of taking sides because it could severely hurt their bottom line.  Google is invincible today, but if the entire world decides that their gestapo style political selection process of advertisers won’t fly, they may be moving to a lower rent building for their headquarters.


Wall Street & Fed Cut Sittin’ in a Tree…

I know Jeff’s working on a whopper of an article to follow up on his last gem; what do YOU think of the rate cuts?


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President Bush Unveils “FHA-Secure” Program Today

Today, President Bush Announced Steps At The Federal Level To Help Homeowners In Need Of Assistance Avoid Foreclosure. These steps will help homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgages and ensure that the problems now disrupting the housing industry do not happen again. The fundamentals of America’s economy are strong – economic growth is healthy, wages are rising, and unemployment is low. The markets are in a period of transition as participants are re-assessing and re-pricing risk. 

The White House insists that this is not a bailout.  What are your thoughts?  What are the benefits or disadvantages of this temporary plan that aims to alleviate the pressure on the subprime drama?

Comments are encouraged!



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