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Archive for November, 2008

If You Are Going Through Hell…

I’m lucky… very lucky. I live in a great place that is insulated from the harshest realities that face many communities out there. I get a paycheck and not a commission and I’m 20 years from caring about the stability of my 401k.

I feel for those that are not as lucky and suggest that you follow the advice in this song by country star Rodney Atkins. I have seen many of our local Realtors immobilized – most have never seen a down market and no one has seen the historic crap we seem to step in every other day.

You’d be a fool to take any real estate advice from me, but you’d also be a fool to think that there is nothing you can do to make your situation better. Like the song says, “keep on going.” Do something – read this blog, attend a course, try a new marketing trick, or find a song that motivates you.

Video of Rodney Atkins – If You Are Going Through Hell

Well you know those times
When you feel like there’s a sign there on your back
Says I don’t mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You’d think they can’t get worse than that
And then they do
You step off the straight and narrow
And you don’t know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That’s when you learn the truth
If you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I’d fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah
But the good news
Is there’s angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one’s that you’ve been dragging for so long
You’re on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I’m saying
If your going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, If you’re going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
If you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, If you’re going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, you might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there.

6 comments

R.com – Finally a bailout that interests me… ;-)

I am not a fan of the recent bailouts. (Too many reasons…Let’s don’t go there.)

But Russell Shaw put forth a bailout plan that has intrigued me. You see…the stock market being low has its advantages. Now’s the time to buy back REALTOR.com, NAR. You should be able to get it for a song.

Additional note: Some person named Torb had the audacity to comment on Russell’s post saying that we did not know about how much it costs to pay the engineers who design the site, write the software, blah blah blah…

Well, thanks to the miracle of public companies, the SEC and enquiring minds that want to know…YES WE DO. (grin) According to Move, Inc.’s 10K report for 2007 (dated February 29, 2008), it was $34,656,000 …give or take. And that was for MORE than REALTOR.com. That included Move.com, Moving.com, and TopProducer (a sister company under the Move Inc. umbrella). So that means (in English) that REALTOR.com was only a FRACTION of that. Since I only have access to the consolidated financials, that is as far as I can break it down.

If I said that REALTOR.com was 50% of the engineers would I be too far off? I don’t think so. Let’s just make it an even $20 mil for grins. (It is less IMO, but I am in a generous mood.)

OK, Torb..but those engineers have to be supervised, right? OK, general and administrative expenses were almost $81 million compared to that +/- $35 million. And hang onto your hat…on the same financials, Sales and Marketing Expenses were $108,633,000. Much of those sales and marketing dollars were directed towards marketing AT REALTORS…that’s a LOT more than the guys coding the sites got! Did y’all really need THAT much supervision and sales??

If we did a bailout, wouldn’t much of that be SAVED? (Methinks..YES!)

Torb? If you are looking close I will help you with some other accounting fun…you ready? How many REALTORS are there in NAR? Well, let’s just say that we suffer big losses in our industry and go back to the scary number of 1 MILLION.

And then let’s go back to the $20 Million for the Technicians and Engineers. And let’s add another $20 Million for Administration. (Yes, I am assuming that we spin off TP, and other extraneous stuff.) Let’s say that the R.com Sales and General Expense number is somewhere near $10MM.

Torb – That’s Roughly $50 per member per year. (and it doesn’t count the revenue the site already generates from other industries…which would REDUCE the cost significantly).

While I know that some of us have huge issues with NAR. (point granted. I know that many would rather be done with the whole kit and kaboodle.) But wouldn’t this be a great place to start? I think so and am throwing this out simply as a discussion starter.

The idea of REALTORS actually owning their own trademark again interests me.

If I made any factual mistatements relating to the financials for 2007, please someone at Move, Inc, correct me and they will be edited post haste. (I don’t think I did.) (Check your Consolidated Statements of Operations. That’s where I pulled the numbers from) I want to make sure I have the facts as correct as possible as I further what I think is a capital idea that Russell Shaw started.

Whaddya say?

20 comments

Late Sunday Post: 2009 Starts Today.

I was thinking about what I want to do this year–what I will do, and what I might do.  And a few good thoughts occurred to me.   One:  BHB is about excellence and splendor.   The honor of knowing the people here has been nothing short of inspiring.  The folks that write here do it for a million reasons.  Everyone has raised the bar ever higher, demonstrated leadership and set a fantastic example.   We are all evolving as we learn and lead the 2.0 world.  We’re here–reading or writing–because we want to hold our hand up and be counted with the survivors and the ones who matter.

Two:  IF we are pursuing a life of splendor and excellence, there is no room for mediocrity in any part of it. We must display excellent character to our clients, friends, colleagues.   We must be learning constantly, we must seek ways to become more efficient in our jobs, we must honor our consumers.   We must take control of our own finances, our relatonships, and even own waistlines so that the example we set is compelling.  Note: contrary to the luke-warm, make-nice, milquetoast of the RE.NET, it does not display good character when we let trendy-but-terrible ideas get accepted without question.   Just because an Idea comes from a nice guy, it doesn’t mean it’s any good.   Splendor demands excellence, and we must–with focus and intensity, preserve and pursue excellence with all that we have. Mediocrity is a cancer, and a little cancer in your life is too much, and if you hesitate to point out to the whimpering nothings that they are whimpering, you’re allowing the epidemic to continue and there is death on your hands.

Three:  2009 Starts 1 December, 2008 for me. You can have a listless (in every way) December waiting for things to change in January.  You can also change them by taking this short week to focus on how many days you’re going to work and how many cats you’re going to skin.  I decided that I’m going to measure my 2009 starting from December 1st.    I’m going to work 20 days in December this year (taking off Xmas eve, the day after, and working every other, save weekends).   Who else is going to be doing stuff?  Christmas falls on a Thursday this year.  That means you can do some paperwork xmas eve, knock off at noon, have christmas and the day after and then the weekend, and get a refreshing break before you come and kick ass on the 29th. The average month has 20.6 days in it, so there is no reason to have a poor December.

Four:  I want accountability–you do too–to focus on the few must do goals. I’m not an active practitioner of straight real estate or mortgage right now– though I’ll definitely at least $6-8mm  or more next year in combined mortgage & Real Estate business.  I’ve got a few things going, and I want to be held accountable, and I want to work with people that are focused on specific measurable goals–whatever they are.  It could be losing weight (got that goal), hitting an income number, spending less, whatever.  Gotta do it.  Post some interest in the comments and we’ll use bloodhoundblog.net for a little place to be accountability publicly/privately.  (That was the one Take Away from my time with Mike Ferry that mattered a lot).

So–are you ready for 2009?   Are you going to kick ass in December, or let it float away?   And, who’s going to know if you haven’t done the best you can?  Will you even know?

Comments are off for this post

Speaking in tongues: Using the power of a robust text editor to code HTML pages with dispatch

Linked below is a short screencast on how I use the text editor known as TextWrangler to wrangle text into usable formats. This particular episode illustrates how I create coded HTML from my weekly Arizona Republic column. In future screencasts, I’ll want to illustrate more arcane ideas about deploying robust software toward highly productive objectives.

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2 comments

The bottom of the Phoenix real estate market may be in sight — but, alas, the end is not near

This is my column for this week from the Arizona Republic (permanent link).

 
The bottom of the Phoenix real estate market may be in sight — but, alas, the end is not near

When will the Phoenix real estate market finally hit bottom?

Believe it or not, I can answer that question with a high degree of precision: When the number of homes being added to the available inventory each month is generally lower than the number of homes sold each month.

But that’s a sleight of hand, isn’t it? I can’t say which month on the calendar will be the market’s nadir, I can only tell you what kind of market activity to watch for.

So here’s one way of looking at things. A newer suburban tract home in the West Valley is selling for $100 a square foot, on average. Practically speaking, this makes new home building unprofitable. Very few new homes will be built, so that source of new inventory is cut off for now.

Meanwhile, various loan workout programs are depleting the foreclosure pipeline. Where before a house might be offered as a short sale and then as a lender-owned home, now there will be an interregnum for the workout. What had been a gusher of lender-owed homes may slow down to a trickle, at least for the next few years.

Meanwhile, the low prices of currently available lender-owned homes are providing incentives for monied investors to come to Phoenix to snap up bargains. The nationwide economic slowdown might put the brakes on our normal in-migration patterns, but if people do move here, they’re going to be soaking up inventory as well.

So we should see some slowing in newly-listed homes, and we have upticks in demand. Are these enough to stop the general decline in home values in the Phoenix market? Ask me in three months.

But even if they are, we’re very far from being out of trouble. The loan workouts, particularly, may well keep home prices from plummeting. But because they will stretch out what in most cases will be an unavoidable foreclosure process, they will probably keep home prices low for years to come.

Buy and hold? No problem. Profit on resale? Don’t bet on it, not for a while.

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6 comments

Saving Face(book)

I find it worth mentioning that the first Facebook event invitation I accepted and actually attended was a funeral. I responded ‘Will Attend’ via my iPhone before realizing that the fellow who had sadly passed on was not the person I originally thought he was. Same first name, similar last name, entirely different demons come to find out. All the same, I kept my virtual promise and wore my black suit to the office on Thursday. All day long people kept asking me, “Where are you going?….to a funeral?”

It was a wake, actually. And not the kind of wake that existed before Web 2.0. This wake included an eclectic playlist from the dead man’s iPod, a digital mixed media presentation on a flat screen of his life up until the previous Monday, and no casket anywhere in site. The funeral home was a funeral home though and there was no mistaking it, we were all gathered in a parlor. Parlor D to be exact.

It turned out that I did happen to know this fellow in passing but was, more specifically, a friend of a friend of his on Facebook–you know, that six degrees of separation social network that everyone and his uncle’s friend (including Uncle Geno) belongs to these days. I looked around Parlor D and semi-recognized several of the less stoic faces. Although I’ve exchanged some Wall-to-Wall comments with a few of them in recent weeks no words were spoken on this eve. Perhaps because none of us really look like the best face we chose to make public and just didn’t recognize each other. I, for one, am no where near as cool in real life as my profile picture implies—especially in a funeral parlor, D or otherwise.

I spotted a couple mourners secretly texting and reading emails beneath scarves and winter coats, their backs and bodies turned deliberately askew, diffusing any direct sight lines from the landlined elders–those old school survivors that always roam the rooms at such gatherings. Several others were braving the lake effect Chicago chill, conducting the most pressing voice-to-voice cellular business under the portico out front. And those of us not partaking in the passing of the interactive bong were secretly jonsing for a digital hit. I made a conscious effort not to reach for my own device until I at least signed my name in the guest book. There were no prayer cards. Maybe I’ll get one in my Inbox on Monday, I thought.

I have been intrigued with the whole six degree separation phenomenon ever since one of my buddies married an actress who actually was in a movie with Kevin Bacon, placing me only a few sizzling degrees away from the big Bacon himself. Same deal with our new President-elect. My wife and I are friends with Michelle Obama’s fashion designer here in Chicago. And Michelle, in turn…well do I really need to say it? She’s sleeping with the Man, for chrissakes! Three ticks to the right and it could have been me. (It’s a pretty scary game when you write it all out.)

I made a quick, sad round of nods and handshakes, watched a little video on the flat screen, then headed for the parlor doors. A saying came to mind that I once heard at my own uncle’s memorial service. ‘We come into this world crying and everyone is joyous. We leave this world joyous and everyone is crying.’ I took out my iPhone and began to type the sage dogma into my Notes when I heard…

“Hey Geno.”

I turned and recognized the face of an old friend. A first degree kind of friend. She had lost a lot of weight since the last time we ran into each other. At the time she had just given birth to her second child.

“You look great,” I said.

“Thanks,” she replied. ” And I’m not even wearing black.” And she wasn’t. She was wearing red. Red to a funeral. Very cool. Very 2.0.

“Well,” I said, tugging at my own lapels. “Until they come out with a darker color…” We chatted for a few moments longer before turning to head in opposite directions. Coming, going, joyous, crying. Roaming. Life’s unfair circle.

“Ten more pounds,” she called back over her shoulder “… and I’ll be ready for Facebook.” I walked out into the cold air thinking, ‘what a funny thing to say at a funeral.’ I made it a point to enter the thought when I got back to the car. I checked the 2 New Messages in my Inbox as the engine came to life and warmed up the pitch black night: One cancelled inspection for the next morning. One Facebook Friend Request from someone I did not know. No prayer card.

8 comments

Quick Summary of the Day…..

Okay, here’s a quick summary of the day:

3 Banks got taken over by the FDIC.   The biggest one was Downey Federal, a huge “Option Arm” lender.

While Citibank didn’t go under or get bought out, but their stock was 50% lower tonight than it was Monday morning.

The stock market staged a late day rally but still ended up way down for the week.   Why did it go up this afternoon?   Because President Elect Obama announced that he was selecting Federal Reserve Governor Tim Geithner.   Why did they rally on the announcement?   Best I can say is because they liked the fact that an “insider” who has experience is going to be taking over.

Pretty much the entire financial sector of the stock market got hammered this week.

The disconnect between Treasuries and Mortgage Backed Securities has never been clearer than it is this week.

Based on some of the people I’m reading, the way that yields on Treasuries have moved this week are indicative of huge amounts of fear and tension in the markets.

The Big Three auto makers showed up in Washington begging for money, didn’t get any and left us all with a feeling that no matter whether they get it eventually or not, it’s going to be painful.

After a very calm week last week, the volatility returned to mortgage rates.

Have a good weekend!

Tom Vanderwell

22 comments

Get friendz and generate adulation by using the App that expresses so you don’t have to. “Ideal for the imaginatively challenged”

My brow is furrowed again and I should get this out before my wife gets home to hear yet, another one of my Andy Rooney-ish tirades on ‘how my day was’

So help me out here.  How is this application helpful?  In being social in any environment we are more or less on the same page.  Most people feel insecure about something if not many things.   It takes effort to expand beyond your own self-consciousness sometimes to get a thought out past your own nose.   So why, when we are shielded with the plastic from our computers, and most likely miles between us, would you feel the need to be more excepted for what you express?

Taking a look at the ‘what’s it for‘ page, let’s run it down:

  • “How many hours have you wasted trying to think of something suitably witty, funny and original for your status on Facebook or Twitter?”

Not nearly as many I’m sure as days that are wasted mindlessly sitting in front of the TV.  Thinking is genuinely regarded as a natural and healthy thing to do and not something to be discouraged.  That is, unless you are watching TV 😉

  • “Let’s face it, a status like “Dave is mowing the lawn” or “Kate is asleep” is not going to impress that huge entourage of friends you’ve amassed.”

Gee, you mean now that I have amassed my very own entourage I should just spend my time with cut-n-paste churned updates from the bot.  I got one even better.  Why not just hire myself a social media assistant to churn babble for me.  I’ve got better things to do like take Italian lessons using Rosetta Stone to build an entourage of Real Estate/Vespa enthusiasts in on Meemi.com.   My take is that it’s opt in on social networks anyway.  I understand everyone’s complaints about the banality of updates like Sbux is out of half and half or I’m walking my dog, but what if it does mean something in the context of how you are relating to others in the moment.  I love to hear my family and friends are up through Facebook et al.   It helps fill in the blanks and creates even more meaningful conversations when we have time to be present with one another.  I’m sure all of us by now have benefited from the use of Social Platforms, at least over the past year or so, we know our President Elect has.  What if all of a sudden your friends and family started speaking bot, giving you updates on a Thursday afternoon like “Johnny is boycotting shampoo and demanding real poo!”  I would either stop paying attention altogether or put plan an diaper intervention.

  • “Never fear! Your days of boring status updates are over! Simply type your name, indicate whether you are a boy or a girl, then hit Generate.”

What, so gender specific?  Obviously not for those with ‘San Francisco Values‘ 😀

  • “You will be served up a brand new, sparkly status all ready to be copied and pasted into Facebook, Twitter or whichever social networking site you like best.”

The bots can’t have everything.  You give them your time, your attention, and money.  Hand them over your free will to think, create, and share the uniqueness of who you are, then what’s next?   Yeah, I know, it’s not a big deal when you’re objective is to be liked.  So whatever is clever for you and yours.. reblip, reblog, and generatus into the next half-life.  Better yet, twitterfeed you reblogs, reblip your amazon suggestions, jott your tweetlaters to later set for automatic updates and canned message ‘welcomes’.  Oh wait, your microblog is now blinged and your Facebook page is generating ‘generatus’ too.  Don’t forget to Magpie your twitter, so your profile is now just a flash banner ad away from being a genuine splog.  For the sake of having a more buckshot Social Media strategy I would further suggest you Ping.fm all of these updates in order to have a consistent multi-platform outreach, you never know who’s out their ‘listening’ or feeding on your friendship.  If your friendz don’t love you, the google bots will.  I’m sure a specific niche use keyword packer for generated status updates is in the works.  You might just want to name your first born ‘Meta tag’ Goo goo ga ga – what will baby Meta’s first words be?

I don’t care what you do with social media really, let’s just not forget that it is the technology that allows us to be more social, not the other way around.  Just because we can do more tricks doesn’t mean we have to.   Now I’m starting to sound like a real curmudgeon.. oops!..  feeling a bit self-conscious.  Let’s defer to the generator’s tag cloud and..  yes, manufactured response says: “Brad is more than ever before”  Status update complete.

As everyone seems now to be experiencing,  these platforms, especially through blogging are a great place to engage and learn and grow together, but nothing is as game as what happens when the LCD lids shut and we get offline.  It’s the way it will always be, no matter how dependent on the machines we become.

Real generousity come from sharing the gift of what you have to offer.  Now I’ve shared mine.

15 comments

Rethinking Real Estate Web 2.0

What do consumers want? I believe this question has been asked ten times to Sunday as it relates to real estate.

I recently read Marc Davison’s recent blog post at 1000Watt Blog summarizing the results of that exact question, What do Consumers Want?.  The report, commissioned by Keller Williams, was developed and written by an impressive list of MBAs and PhDs.  With that amount of intellectual firepower, it is often difficult to question its credibility.

In addition to the report commissioned by Keller Williams, MBA and PhD’s et al, I read a synopsis of NAR’s buyer and seller’s survey, essentially providing the statistics behind today’s buyers and sellers as well as their needs.   I honed in a three key points in NAR’s report:

1.  “Home buyers are consistent in their expectations of real estate agents. Buyers thought the most important agent services are helping find the right house, and negotiating sales terms and price. Because agents often are chosen based on a referral, or were used in a previous transaction, two-thirds of buyers contacted only one real estate agent in the search process.”

2.  “Primarily, sellers want agents to price their home competitively, market the property, find a buyer and sell within a specific timeframe.”

3.  “The most difficult tasks reported by unrepresented sellers are selling within the planned length of time, getting the right price, preparing the home for sale, and understanding and performing paperwork.”

What I found interesting about the Keller William’s report was its premise –  How do you go about the process of selecting an agent?  What I found interesting about the NAR report was that the premise was more consumer centric, not agent centric.

The question I pose is how many of the current RE Web 2.0 solutions have truly “blue sky” functionality?  What if the premise assumed that there was no real estate agent?   What if a solution existed that allowed the consumer to buy and sell real estate at will without the use of a professional?

Ok – now don’t excommunicate me.  I think from a technology perspective, I believe it is a very valid question.  All too often, solutions are born out of specific functionality – the latest and greatest whiz bang tools, rather than a defined process which could better leverage technology to provide real value-added results.  Where there is value created, consumers tend to pay.

While consumers use the web in numbers greater than 80% to search for a new home, they still rely on a professional to consummate the transaction.  I doubt this chasm is due to technology’s limitations.

As I’ve posted before, no current solution follows the natural flow of a transaction.  What if a solution provided a consistent roadmap from beginning to end?

Where is the inherent value created in the process of using web-enable tools?  Surprisingly, NAR’s report comes closer to defining where those touch points exist versus Keller William’s report.

14 comments

Estately.com grows by more than 50%, adding Chicagoland and Long Island, NY, to it on-line inventory of homes for sale

Seattle-based web search start-up Estately.com adds 120,000 new listings to it inventory today, expanding from the west coast to Chicago and Long Island. The upgrade brings Estately’s inventory to over 300,000 MLS-listed homes. Also a part of today’s announcement, the search-bot will show extended listing histories on homes, a move also recently taken by Redfn.com.

You can play with the Chicago listings by clicking this link. I have a link for the Long Island listings, but I’m not sure it’s working right.

As a matter of disclosure: Estately.com founder Galen Ward writes for BloodhoundBlog.

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8 comments

“…you don’t hear many MSM analysts making this obvious connection”

Interesting piece at kausfiles.com. 

Excerpt:

Real estate prices started to plummet just as expectations of imminent semi-amnesty were turning into the reality of harsher enforcement. Schools in immigrant heavy areas of L.A. for example, reported declining enrollments in 2006.  The nationwide character of the Gran Salida became apparent, even to the press by early 2008. It seems highly plausible to me that there is some non-trivial causality running between the decrease in the net inflow of illegal immigrants and the real estate bust–all the immigrants who have disappeared would have had to live somewhere. Even if they were renters, not buyers, they would ordinarily have bolstered the value of housing stock. (And some were buyers–search for “this borrower has gone back to Mexico and has no intention of returning.”)

Whole idea here.

15 comments

Unchained Notes: SMM is a Process, Not a Fetish

This is the third in an ongoing series of posts sharing some of the gold I found at the Unchained Orlando Conference on Social Media Marketing for Real Estate.  The first post was on theme, the second was philosophy and now it’s time to talk nuts and bolts.

You hear a lot about Social Media Marketing. It is variously described as the future of prospecting, a revolutionary version of networking for a 2.0 world, the miracle of permission based marketing and – if I remember correctly – a cure for the common cold.  But more often than not you’re hearing from someone who talks about it as opposed to someone out here in the trenches doing it.  You can always tell because the person just talking about it doesn’t give a whole lot of information on how it works. You hear all the sizzle but what’s needed is for someone to actually throw a big, juicy steak on your plate.  Well, I hope you’re hungry because Brian Brady worked the grill for hours at the Unchained Conference in Orlando and he did not disappoint.  Not only did he serve up the meat of the matter, he cut it into bite size pieces and made it easy to digest.

Why
As with all teaching opportunities, Brian started with the “Why.”  Why do we market and why, specifically, is Social Media Marketing important.  The answer to the first question was easy.  Farming for new customers creates new customers and they are the life-blood of our practice.  It was the answer to the latter question that hit me right between the eyes.  The Internet allows us to automate our Unique Selling Proposition.  Think about the power in that last statement.  Automating your USP and reaching an exponentially larger audience with no extra effort or cost is a magical formula.

Brian identified the five pillars of Social Media Marketing:

  1. Declaration of Identity
  2. Identity by Association
  3. Consumer Generated Conversation
  4. Provider Generated Conversation
  5. Off-Line Conversation

He went on to show us how to “set traps” using these five pillars.  What did he mean by “setting traps?”  Being in the right place at the right time by design – that’s how I would describe it.  You are most definitely NOT trapping your clients.  Rather, you are setting yourself up to be in front of them at that exact moment when they realize they are going to need the services of someone like you.  You are trapping their epiphany and directing it toward you.

This is accomplished by being in the various communities your clients, potential clients, prospects and just plain consumers visit.  How do you find them?  The easiest way he shared is simply to ask them where they go.  Brilliant in its simplicity.  Once there you follow the five pillars: make sure you create and update a profile that tells people who you are and what you do.  Join communities you want to be associated with and with whom you want to associate.  Listen to the consumers and provide useful content that answers their questions.  Most importantly: pick up the phone and talk to them.  Real Estate is still belly-to-belly.  (This reminded me of a little retail wisdom I heard from Home Depot’s founders.  They said “we didn’t spend all that money paying for advertising and purchasing inventory just to have the consumer walk away because the check-out line was too long.”  When someone walks up to your register with money in their hand… engage them!)

Goals
The goal of Social Media Marketing is to get people onto your landing page, blog or web site.  Once there you want them to subscribe to your Provider Generated Conversation.  Of course, the only way to do that is to first listen to the Consumer Generated Conversation and then provide useful, relevant information created for their benefit.  If you do this well you will begin to collect data and build a community of your own.  This is the ultimate goal: create a community of raving fans by continuously feeding them good ideas and relevant information.  Once you’ve done that, you can run for mayor.

There are a great many places to practice the art of Social Media Marketing, from LinkedIn to YouTube.  Brian, of course, goes into more detail (if want to see it all you can read my post on Social Media Marketing for Real Estate), but in the end it’s all about being in front of your prospects, consumers, clients and community on a regular basis.  It is the process of creating your community, being where they are, making sure they know who you are and giving them answers and information they can use.  Consumers have the power in the real estate business relationship.  They can choose to learn about you (or not learn about you) as they see fit.  They reject most forms of “push” marketing (cold calls, email spam, fliers on the door step, etc.) and are out there – in the various mediums just mentioned.  Imagine a potential client stumbling across your front doorstep… make sure your porch-light is on and your door is open.  Maybe even offer them a steak.

In the next installment of Unchained Notes, the amazing Teri Lussier shows us how to Build a Community by blogging.

14 comments

Setting Goals Part 3 of 4.

Seeking splendor requires going after the best there is, not merely the best you think you can do. Holding yourself to the highest possible standards, and that’s what BHB is all about. We want to make sure that everyone with the stones to get after a life of freedom and independence has the right tools to do it. And one of the ways to do it is to ALWAYS know where you stand, in reality.

Realtor math, I called it, because people always inflated their transactions. Why? Because they couldn’t bear the thought of knowing that they were mediocre. Your mind reinvents the truth, as some of the ghosts.

We want to know what we’re doing so we can do it more and better, and we want to know where we stand so we know what to pick up. How much do you have, how much do you weigh? How much have you gained year to date, how much WILL you do.

Google Docs isn’t perfect, but it’s free and it’s a 20 minute setup.

In case you missed the other parts:

part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

So what we’ll end up with is this:

Now, for me, when I was selling this stuff, I couldn’t live without daily numbers. How much/how many, all the time. 50 loans is my goal, but I’m on pace for 38…something isn’t working. I got to the point where I had a daily excel spreadsheet tracking 60 things. That was too much, but just barely.

The thing you need to do to make this work–and yes, i know there are workarounds, is use the ‘named range,’ tool. You’re calling a cell something so when you drag stuff over all the math is calculated for you. Then you have:

1.) a way to input your goals.
2.) a way to tabulate them
and
3.) a way to put them into context.

The next thing you’ll need is

4.) a way to share them and embed them, and that’s what’s coming.

See video for details on how to do it:

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Creating an Online Policy and Procedure Manual

A question for other small independent brokerage owners and managers:

I have almost completed the online version policy and procedure manual for my smallish, independent brokerage office.  It’s been a lot of work.  Who knew?  I ended up using a WordPress platform, since I didn’t have the energy to learn all the ins and outs of designing around the wiki format.

Here’s the question:  Can the online version completely replace a printed version?  Do you add a paragraph to your agent’s contracts stating they have read the online manual (yeah, right) and they agree to comply with the policies and procedures?

Creating a printed version kinda defeats the purpose, though I suppose I could install one of those “Turn-Your-Blog-into-a-Book” plugins.

Thoughts, suggestions, anyone?

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Introducing BloodhoundBlog.net, free WordPress weblogs for real estate professionals

Say hello to BloodhoundBlog.net, free WordPress Multi-user weblogs for real estate professionals.

We talked about doing this in Orlando, at the scenius on Swallow Hill Road. Where we started was with the idea of WordPress blogs for the CyberProfessionals to practice on.

We saw that the right system could serve the same function for any novice bloggers — including all of the folks on Active Rain looking to make the leap to WordPress weblogging.

And BloodhoundBlog.net can also be a space for BloodhoundBlog Unchained instructors to help their students get their homework together before coming to Phoenix.

Will this be your last word in real estate weblogging? It can be, but that strikes me as a poor idea. What we’re offering is a free weblogging platform where real estate professionals can learn and grow, ultimately to go off and set up their own WordPress.org weblogs.

And you had better know this is an Unchained weblogging world: You can import content from a host of blogging platforms, and everything you do on BloodhoundBlog.net is easily exported when you’re ready to move on.

If you want to go ahead and get started, just go to BloodhoundBlog.net and set up a new blog. It’s fast, easy and fun.

Still here? Who should set up a BloodhoundBlog.net weblog?

  • Stone newbies. If you want to learn to weblog, you might as well start with the best software, among people who can help you develop the best possible practices.
  • Intermediate bloggers. If you’ve been toying with Active Rain or with real estate forums, it might be time to put away childish things. The work you do with us will transfer easily to a full-blown WordPress.org weblog.
  • Kindred spirits. If you want to build a community of like minds, the price of doing so here can’t be beat.
  • Adhocracy activists. A weblog is the perfect means of coordinating, for example, the Wine-Tasting Realtors of Biloxi.
  • Teachers of lessons profound and arcane — starting with the slave-drivers of BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Phoenix.

How can we do this? We have the horsepower — dawgpower — that’s how. Even so, we’re not letting you all the way off the leash. There are plug-ins, but only at the macro level. You won’t be able to install you own, although I’ll listen to appeals for good plug-ins that work well in the WP-Mu environment. Same for themes. We have about 15 to start with, but you should feel free to recommend more. They’re not risk-free — Brian Brady has already crashed one — but they’re less risky than plug-ins. In a BloodhoundBlog.net weblog, you’re limited to naming your posts Bloodhound-style, with numbers. When you move your content, you can do what you want, and keyword-based naming should help you beat your old posts in the search engines. Finally, you’ll be constrained by our Terms of Service, which basically say, “Don’t be a jackass.”

We’ve talked about starting a forum, and this is something we may do, eventually. But a weblog creates its own management structure — “for each one spot shall prove Beloved over all” — plus we think it is the best kind of social media marketing most real estate professionals can do. BloodhoundBlog.net is a place where you can learn to do it for free.

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