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Cause we’re really not that Different



We’re Not That Different

“I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry. And I know you do the same things too, so we are not really that different, me and you.” Colin Rae

I love the above line from We’re Not That Different, a song by Colin Rae, a country singer, and songwriter. I like it because it is true, we are all the same in many ways. We are all made with the same DNA, and we all have the same basic needs.

Is this true for you?

When my family calls me, as soon as I pick up the phone, I can tell in an instant what is going on with them. No not the exact details but whether this is a good call or a serious one. I can tell if they are upset, bothered or excited about something.  I bet you can tell the same thing when people close to you call.

When my kids were younger they would say, “Mama, you’re yelling at us one minute and then a client calls and you are like, “oh hey…how are you?” You get all happy, your voice totally changes.

Well not really, but…I definitely have an attitude check before I speak with a client and I bet you do too.

Let your emotions shine through the phone

Did you know people can hear sincerity in your voice? When you smile and you are on the phone it comes through the phone line. Have you ever followed up leads or called past clients in a ho hum mood? Not much success, not many warm and fuzzy feelings going back and forth. No real connection.

Next time you call a client, or a lead put a smile on your face. It is not just the words we say but also the emotions that come through that create a connection. It has been said that people will not remember what you do but how you how you made THEM feel.

In the midst of a tough negotiation with another agent, change your posture, or your facial expression. It only takes one person to change the tone and direction of a conversation. Be sincere, they will know you care even if you can’t agree on the subject at hand.

Photo Credit

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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  1. Matt Stigliano

    January 19, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Missy – I recently had an experience where someone called my phone, started rapid fire asking questions and got me a bit flustered. I was in the middle of something when they called and it threw me off completely. I got a little squirrely and the questions coming at me one after the other didn’t help. In the middle of it all, I took a deep breath and tried to change the tide of the conversation by slowing down and communicating (instead of being interrogated). Suddenly the conversation changed, the person on the phone settled down, and all started to move in the right direction.

    Good advice for anyone. Stop, wait a moment, rethink, and continue with a new attitude/tone of voice/line of questioning/vibe. It will work wonders.

  2. Elaine Reese

    January 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    TRUE, TRUE, TRUE! I always try to take a second to change my face muscles to a smile. Makes such a difference to voice tone. Likewise, if it’s one of those darn lead generating calls, I frown! 🙂

  3. Karen Goodman

    January 20, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Years ago I worked for a short while as a receptionist, and was trained to stop and smile before answering the phone. It really does make a difference in the tone that comes across.

  4. Thomas Johnson

    January 20, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    When you have to hammer the phones, hang a mirror in front of yourself and smile. Goofy but it works!

  5. Lola Audu

    January 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Missy, this is so important. When you can’t see who you’re talking to, the non-verbal elements of communication are transmitted through less tangible elements like tone and inflection. Many of us don’t realise how important these ‘little’ things can be during a conversation or negotiation.

  6. Paula Henry

    January 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Missy – My children have said the same thing to me. Even my husband! We have to be prepared for business when we answer the phone and how we prepare can make a difference in the outcome. A big smile and pleasant disposition is usually a big win!

  7. Ken Brand

    January 23, 2009 at 7:23 am

    You and Og Mandino are on the same page:

    “I seek constantly 2 improve my manners & graces, for they R the sugar to which all are attracted.” – Og Mandino

    Rock ON Missy and friends.

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.



Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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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.



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.



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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