Connect with us

Business Marketing

Are You An Opinion Leader?

Published

on

photo credit: www.rishimodi.com


Management vs. Leadership

Management is telling people what to do.  Leadership is teaching them how to think.  Opinion leaders tell people what to think.

Despite various surveys indicating how low the general public ranks real estate agents, some agents are highly respected by their clients and peers.  How does that happen? 

To understand how that is accomplished, first let’s look at the concept of influencing the opinions of others.  Various studies have shown that media communication intended to change someone’s buying or voting behavior seldom works directly.  The communication may be directly received by the person it is intended for but is mediated through their social relationships.  There are individuals (depending on the subject) that others consider experts and who are looked to for advice on that particular subject.  There are some people who act as Opinion Leaders – they see themselves and are seen by others as having an influence on others.

Finding Out What To Think

In politics and fashion, for example, there are TV shows hosted by people who have very large audiences who watch the show in order to find out what to think.  Yet, Opinion Leadership is not a trait some people have and others don’t.  Every person who has an elevated interest (and thereby knowledge) in an area, can serve as an opinion leader on that subject to those around them.  It is a natural part of everyday personal relationships.

Research suggests that, in the US, opinion leaders constitute roughly one in ten Americans, and that as a group they tend to serve as a leading indicator of popular trends, from public issues to new product adoption to social attitudes.  Many consumers today place more weight on the word-of-mouth insights of their more influential neighbors than on what they hear on TV or read in the newspaper.

Opinion leaders are people whose opinion on a subject/product is influential on the social group they belong to, although they may or may not have an acknowledged authority over them.  Opinion leaders are not necessarily traditional leaders in society, such as politicians and clergy (although they can be). Rather, they are perceived experts in particular domains – which is exactly the position occupied by a successful residential Realtor.  When it comes to correct pricing and effective marketing of homes there isn’t any substitute for a competent Realtor.  Notice I didn’t say real estate company, as it is the individual agent who is looked to (or not) as the expert.  A company may enjoy a wonderful reputation and there are many instances of an individual and his or her company seeming so inseparable that you can’t think of one without the other – but it would always be the individual that is the opinion leader.  One could join the largest, most successful real estate company in the world and this would not automatically cause them to be perceived as an expert.  Conversely, an individual broker could have a one person shop and be regarded as THE go to person in that area if you had a question concerning real estate.  Opinion Leader Realtors are trusted by their clients because the client can see that the agent has their best interests at heart. 

Scripts to Handle Commission Objections

There are many real estate instructors who teach “scripts” on how to handle commission objections.  The seller doesn’t want to pay “X” commission and they are advocating using a “technique”.  Think of someone you trust and go to for services – like a dentist or physician.  Isn’t that trust based largely on the belief that they don’t recommend a service you “need” based only on their desire for money?  (as opposed to they use “really good scripts”  to handle you).

There is a Scale of Motivation, it goes highest to lowest:

Duty
Personal Conviction
Personal Gain
Money

For example, when one is communicating to their clients about a needed price reduction from the viewpoint of personal conviction or duty, rather than “I want the money” – that “Care Factor” on the part of the agent is visible to all but the worst off in the society.  Please don’t think I am advocating earning less or not reaching all of your financial goals, I’m not.  I believe that great agents operate and handle their clients from the level of Personal Conviction or Duty.  They tell their potential sellers the whole truth every time and don’t hold something back because they might not get a commission.  This isn’t so they can be in compliance with the Code of Ethics, but is just the way they think and operate.

In the next year or so a great many agents will be leaving the real estate industry – but they were really on their way out before this latest crash arrived.  And they were primarily motivated by money or personal gain.  Not the highest level of motivation.  Ever.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Vicki Moore

    September 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    This might be a stupid question, but…what do you see as the difference between the agent who will survive a shift such as this and the one who won’t? I’m seeing many very good, hard-working agents being forced to find other occupations.

    It seems to me that good doesn’t necessarily equal longevity.

  2. Russell Shaw

    September 3, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    The very same thing that is true in any market: the ability to get and keep customers. It makes no difference if your practice is prospecting based or marketing based – it is the ability to get and keep customers. What message or offer is required for successful lead conversion is completely different than in the market we had. But the fundamentals remain the same. Agents who seem “nice” or “honest and dependable” do not always have the ability to get and keep customers. A hot – on fire – market, where even the “we do nothing for less crowd” can sell homes is not much of a test of anything.

    It does not seem like a stupid question. Gary Keller has a new book, just out, called “Shift”. I just ordered two copies so Wendy and I could read it at the same time.

    If you are reading this you probably will want to order a copy.

  3. Jim Duncan

    September 4, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Vicki –

    One component is luck. Another is adaptability and the ability to survive this shift by hunkering/buckling down and preparing for the turn – all the while keeping a positive attitude and a facade of continuing success (and not letting others know about the possible fear and desperation one might feel).

  4. Vicki Moore

    September 4, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Russell – I started reading The Millionaire Agent on your suggestion. It’s been a slow read because I’ve really had to read and digest – read and digest. I have a habit of reading multiple books at the same time so I guess I’ll just add Shift to the stack.

    “Agents who seem “nice” or “honest and dependable” do not always have the ability to get and keep customers.” – Can you elaborate on that. It strikes me as a really interesting point.

    Jim – I completely agree with the facade point. I’ve been networking with a mortgage broker who repeatedly tells me that she can’t get a loan done – she continually tells me how difficult it is and how many deals she’s lost. It sure doesn’t make me want to refer anyone to her.

    Positive attitude is a daily practice!

  5. Russell Shaw

    September 13, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    >>”Agents who seem “nice” or “honest and dependable” do not always have the ability to get and keep customers.” – Can you elaborate on that. It strikes me as a really interesting point.<<

    Lead conversion (the ability to GET customers) is a specific skill. Handling the customer to *their* satisfaction (keeping customers) is a different skill. Being nice, honest and dependable are all good traits but really don’t even imply that a person has the ability to get or to keep customers. In a “hot” market it is common for agents who lack both skills to succeed. When the market turns those skills or the lack of them make all the difference in the world.

    It is common for a person to believe they are already highly skilled at lead conversion, for example, when they are factually completely incompetent. It is the belief that they already know how to do it (or there isn’t anything to know) that prevents them from learning a simple but quite vital skill.

    The only valid test is: can the person find, get and keep customers. This is reflected in how well they are doing – regardless of “market conditions”.

    It is probably normal – I know it is common – to think of someone as “competent” because we really like them. It is perhaps true that people who never fall into that wrong-headed thinking aren’t very nice people. But how likeable they are isn’t a very good index of how good they are ad lead conversion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

Published

on

family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

These tools customize your Zoom calls with your company’s branding

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Zoom appears to be here to stay. Here are the tools you need to add or update your Zoom background to a more professional – or even branded – background.

Published

on

Zoom call on computer, but there's more options to customize.

If you haven’t had to deal with Zoom in 2021, you may be an essential worker or retired altogether. For the rest of us, Zoom became the go-to online chat platform around mid-March. For several reasons, and despite several security concerns, Zoom quickly pushed past all online video chat competitors in the early COVID-19 lockdown days.

Whether for boozy virtual happy hours, online classes for school or enrichment, business meetings, trivia nights, book clubs, or professional conferences, odds are if you are working or in school, you have been on a Zoom call recently. Many of us have been on weekly, if not daily, Zoom calls.

If you are the techy type, you’ve likely set up a cool Zoom background of a local landmark or a popular spot, a library, or a tropical beach. Comic-con types and movie buffs created appropriate backgrounds to flex their awesome nerdiness and technical smarts.

Many people have held off creating such an individualized background for our virtual meetings for one of any number of reasons. Perhaps it never occurred to them, or maybe they aren’t super comfortable with all things techy. Many people have been holding out hope of returning to their offices, thus seeing no need to rock the boat. I’m here to tell you, though, it’s time. While I, too, hope that we get the pandemic under control, I am realistic enough to see that working or studying from home will continue to be a reality for many people for some time.

Two cool, free tools we’ve found that can help you make your personal Zoom screen look super professional and even branded for business or personal affairs are Canva and HiHello. While each platform has a paid component, creating a Zoom background screen for either application is fairly simple and free.

Here’s how:

Canva is the online design website that made would-be graphic designers out of so many people, especially social media types. It’s fairly user-friendly with lots of tutorials and templates, and the extremely useful capabilities of uploading your own logo and saving your brand colors.

Using Canva, first create your free account with your email. It functions better if you create an account, although you can play around with some of the tools without signing up. The fastest way from Point A to Point B here is to use the search box and search for “Zoom backgrounds.” You now can choose any one of their Zoom background templates, from galaxy to rainbows and unicorn to library books or conference rooms. Choose an inspirational quote if you’d like (but really, please don’t). Download the .jpg or .png, save it, and you can upload it to Zoom.

To create a branded Zoom background in Canva, it will take slightly more work. It was a pain in the butt for me, because I had this vision of a backdrop with my logo repeated, like you see as a backdrop at, you know, SXSW or the Grammys or something. Reach for the stars, right?

OK, the issue with this was that I had to individually add, resize, and place each of the 9 logos I ended up with. I figured out the best way to size them uniformly (I resized one and copied/pasted, instead of adding the original size each time (maybe you’re thinking “Duh,” but it took me a few failed experiments to figure out that was the fastest way to do it).

Once you have your 9 loaded in the middle of the page, start moving them around to place them. I chose 9, because the guiding lines in Canva allow me to ensure I have placed them correctly, in the top left corner, middle left against the margin that pops up, and bottom left. Same scenario for the center row.

Magical guide lines pop up when you have the logo centered perfectly, so I did top, middle, and bottom like that, and repeated for the right hand margin. Then I flipped them, because they were showing up in my view on Zoom as backward. That may mean they are now backward to people on my call; I will need to test that out! Basically, Canva is easy to use, but perhaps my design aspirations made it tricky to figure out.

Good luck and God bless if you choose more than 9 logos to organize. Oh, and if you are REALLY smart, you will add one logo to a solid color or an austere, professionally appropriate photo background and call it a day, for the love of Mary. That would look cool and be easy.

HiHello is an app you can download to scan and keep business cards and create your own, free, handy dandy digital business card. It comes in the form of a scannable QR code you can share with anyone. Plus, you can make a Zoom background with it, which is super cool! It takes about five minutes to set up, truly! It works great!

The Zoom background has your name, the company name, and your position on one side and the QR code on the other. The QR code pulls up a photo, your name, title, phone number, and email address. It’s so nifty! And the process was super easy and intuitive. Now, If I took my logo page from Canva and made that the background for my HiHello virtual Zoom screen, I would be branded out the wazoo.

Remember there are technical requirements if you want to use HiHello on a Mac. For example, if you have a mac with a dual core processor, it requires a QUAD. However, on a PC, it was really simple.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Finally: A smart card that manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

Published

on

Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!