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Are You a Renegade Realtor®? Just Wondering …

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For those of you who know me even a little bit, you have often heard me say, “I can’t STAND real estate agents” as I roll my eyes in utter disgust. Ugh… My life would be so much easier if it weren’t for so many of those “people” that have those “real estate licenses”. Yes. I can be quite the little ranter. Someone once called me down off of my soapbox long enough to tell me that I should call become a Renegade Realtor®. Pretty sure they were joking, but it DOES have a nice ring to it …

A couple days ago I read REALTOR MOST DESPISED – AN OPEN LETTER (an absolute MUST READ) where RE comrade (and fellow Genius) Realtor® Benn Rosales looks at the current real estate agent “situation” through the eyes of the public and makes some dead-on observations about the perception of Realtor®.

That post got me thinking, and those who know me, know that me=thinking is not always productive and often gets me into trouble. Well, this time it brought back some memories, as well as an itch that still needs to be scratched.

If you have read my “real estate rants” for any amount of time, then you probably read: Perception = Reality: Real Estate Agents Suck – in which I go off on the awful, yet well-deserved reputation that has followed real estate agents throughout the decades. (Funny thing, if you type “Real Estate Agents Suck” in to Google, a version of this post pops up as #1. I outrank an agent-hating FSBO. Gotta love that Google-Juice, there!?!)

Of course, I AM a real estate agent, a Realtor® in fact. Many of my BFF’s are in “the business”, too. (For those of you without the “luxury” of raising a teenager (lucky you) and having to learn the “code”… BFF= Best Friends Forever.) And, I completely stand behind what I wrote. But I also stand behind the small-but-growing population of RE agents that seem to “get it”. Maybe a “new wave” of agents will become the motivating force in the paradigm shift that NEEDS to take place in the world of real estate and rebuild a better reputationa better business.

Now, I have found (over the past year) that many of the others who share my view are mostly here, in the Blogosphere – other real estate agents whose skins crawl at the current image propagated by a large chunk of “our” industry. (Is there a correlation between “those who blog” and “those who promote stereotype busting“? Hmmm … Maybe.)

Anyway, so now what?

What needs to happen now? We all know that things need to change. (I can say “we” because I know that there are not any of those “other” agents reading this.) What forces need to rise above the Blogosphere … enter into the real-world of real estate and hijack the current reputation and turn it into something that we can all be proud of? What are YOU actively doing to change OUR reputation?

Are YOU a Renegade Realtor®? … just wondering.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ines

    October 23, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Woooo Hoooo!! Pretty awesome Mariana! I can tell you that you are probably right about the blogging Realtors…..we’re a different breed.

    I am a Renegade Realtor and will blog away until I have bloody fingers.

  2. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 3:54 am

    A different breed indeed. Now, let’s go take over the world.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    October 23, 2007 at 3:59 am

    It’s funny, because I’ve had so many RE agents and Loan officers ask me about blogging, and how they can get business through it. I’ve also had a relative handful ask me about blogging because of their advocacy of the industry. It’s the advocates who go on to blog.

    The greatest thing about blogging is that it’s a affordable and effective marketing tool that only the “good guys” seem to have the creativity and thoughtfulness to implement.

  4. Vicki Moore

    October 23, 2007 at 4:11 am

    You are awesome. I’m getting a feed right now.

  5. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Hi Todd – You said it perfectly. The advocates ARE the ones out there blogging.

    Hey Vicki, Thanks!

  6. monika

    October 23, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Mariana…You ROCK! That original post took on a life of it’s own! LOL!
    I’m one of those REALTORS whose skin crawls when I hear and see what some other agents do. Change happens but it sure does seem to going slowly!

  7. Lovely

    October 23, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Did someone say “Renegade”?? I’m in 🙂

  8. Carey

    October 23, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Mariana congratulations on being a genius!

    Part of the reason your skin crawls when dealing with the “other” agent is because they do not know who they work for. It has become so much about getting a check (especially in this market) and not so much about doing what is best for the client. I love it when I get a new agent or a discounter(who only gets part of the cooperating compenstaion) making offers on my listings. I know I can beat them into submission because it is only about the bens for them. The referrals keep rolling in when you know who you work for and communicate that through action and words to the client.

  9. Benn Rosales

    October 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    haha Mariana, what a kick ass post, and a kick ass way to kick off your contribution to agent genius- absolutely fantastic! I heart renegades.

  10. Mariana

    October 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Monika- HEY THERE! I just hope that at some point some critical mass is obtained and the current slow-go turns into a hurricane of action.

    Lovely – OF COURSE you are in! Duh.

    Carey- You hit the nail on the head: Are you working for your client? Or are you working for the Benjamins? It makes all the difference in the world.

    Benn- Wow! Thanks! Your recent post really re-fanned that fire that I have in my head about this issue. I *heart* renegades, too!

  11. Bonnie Erickson

    October 24, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hmmmm. Out of the box, into blogging, like quality, look out for the client instead of me? Sounds pretty revolutionary to me! Quality, professional, REAL? Has anyone thought about putting the REAL back into REALTOR? If all of that makes me a renegade, then I’m in, too!

  12. Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop

    October 24, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Putting the REAL back into REALTOR… I like that.

  13. Nicole Mills

    November 1, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Geez, I’m so glad I’ve started hanging out here! Great Post, Mariana!

    I found AG through Bloodhound (I think, anyway…the memory isn’t what it used to be), and I have to say that AG is definitely more my speed. Bloodhound is wise & worldly, but doesn’t quite feel like home to me. If there’s room for one more Renegade…

  14. Toby & Sadie

    December 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    I love it! Renegade REALTOR®! I think I am one and didn’t even know it. Wait till I tell my wife 🙂

  15. Mariana

    December 18, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I think it should be an official NAR Designation: Renegade Realtor…

  16. Lesley

    September 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I am a complete renegade realtor! After this post I am ready to leather up and kick some bad realtor butt!

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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