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Are You Still Talking At Your Clients?



The Agenda

I was reading a Seth Godin blog post this week, and one line jumped out at me. “The key in understanding someone’s actions is understanding their agenda.” While the context of the post wasn’t referring to homebuyers or sellers, it is completely appropriate. This is true from the first meeting with them, when you are figuring out if the client relationship is going to bloom, to the negotiation process, when you are working to get them everything they want in a purchase/sale contract.

Since I’ve been focusing so much on public relations, and prospecting for new business, this was definite food for thought. Then, I read a blog post by David Meerman Scott on implementing the new rules of marketing and public relations. He advises to cut back on “product-centric advertising and communications,” and get out to talk to potential clients (he calls them ‘buyer personas’) to understand how they make decisions and what is most important to them. Across the board, every marketing/advertising/public relations source I’m reading is now advising that relationship marketing is how to reach consumers.

People are Bombarded

Interruption marketing (television ads, print media) is now passe. People are bombarded with so many messages that they now tune them out. Tivo = no commercials! Think about it from a real estate standpoint: are they actually looking at your just listed or just sold postcards? You can’t build a client base with “look at me” messages, when the consumer wants to know “how does this benefit me?”

Using social media as a way of communicating with your clients is a logical progression: interupption marketing has given way to permission marketing, as the consumer allows you to engage them in genuine conversation, and you allow them to know you as both a professional and a source of information. Keep in mind that the goal is to converse with your clients, not talk at them.

photo credit

Heather is a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. She's also the 2008 VARBuzz Blog Brawl Champion, mom to four fantastic kids, and the wife of a golf professional. If she had free time, she'd probably read a good book or play golf. You can find her on twitter, @hthrflynn, or writing on her blog,

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  1. Derek Overbey

    October 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    This is a great post. You and I have similar PR backgrounds so we have seen how the “pitch” has changed over the last several years. This “pitch” is no different in real estate. You are looking to source business and engage with clients. The twist is how you go about sourcing that business. We are seeing a whole new wave of agents that understand how the consumers want to be touched and communicated with, not at. Unfortunately, there are still many out there that are trying to use the old tried and true methods and can’t understand why their business is shrinking. Hopefully they will get it before it’s too late.

  2. Ken Brand

    October 23, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Damn skippy Heather. Your post reminded of a comment/share I heard at the Houston REBarCamp yesterday (it was great!). I wish I remember who said it, I wrote it down, but don’t remember who said it, dang.

    Here’s what was said, I’m paraphrasing, “We’re all bombarded with hundreds of advertising message every day, you know you’re on track and cutting through the clutter when your advertising turns to information. People desire “information” not advertising talk”.

    Amen right? Don’ capture and cuff – attract, magnetize and delight. Don’t tell – show. Don’t slug it out – hug it out. Conversations not confrontations. Etc.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Paula Henry

    October 23, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Heather – So right on – people are tired of being talked at! We need to let them know we care, we are listening and not selling them! I love what Ken paraphrased:)

  4. Todd Carpenter

    October 23, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “The key in understanding someone’s actions is understanding their agenda.”

    Seth Godin might be a Henry Ford Fan.

    “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

    Made sense a hundred years ago. Still works today.

  5. Katie Minkus, R(B)

    March 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Great post, Heather. Reminds me of an old saying, “We have one mouth and two ears for a reason…” Happy Monday! Warm aloha, Katie Minkus, R(B).

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Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.



Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?



blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.



Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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