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Don’t Look to Your Local REALTOR Association to Save You

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The theme had come up once at one of my office sales meetings and today again at lunch. Says one title company’s account executive, the time has come for individual REALTORS to write to the Arizona Association of REALTORS and demand they work diligently to counter the negative press about our industry.

Something struck me as wrong about this concept from the get-go, and I finally narrowed it down to a handful of bullet points:

1) Who’s your audience? The local newspapers and television stations aren’t going to care about a poor trade group being ganged up on, especially when they’re the ones doing the ganging up. Misery sells papers but not when trade professionals are involved.

Hell, the Arizona Republic can’t even spot loan fraud exposed in its own story if there’s no angle that blames the real estate industry or investors and not your average homeowner.

2) Who will believe them? NAR has ruined the credibility of an industry with the spin placed on monthly home sales. Now you want the local branch of that association somehow to aid in our effort to regain our credibility?

3) Negative news isn’t necessarily incorrect news. Sales are slow. Prices are dropping. An increasingly large percentage of homes are going into foreclosure. This is reality, negative as it may be.

“It’s always a great time to buy,” the standard slogan of NAR, is wholely inappropriate. This IS a great time to buy for those with the means to purchase a property and hold it for the long term, for those who have real money to use as a down payment. But that doesn’t mean that this is a great time to buy for everyone.

4) You create your own success. Stop pointing fingers – it’s the builders, it’s the mortgage industry, it’s the prices, it’s the bubble bloggers. You fail or succeed on your own merits. Period. If I’m out of this business in a year it’s because I didn’t work hard enough to stay in it. Stop looking for scapegoats.

If you don’t have the number of clients you want, increase your own prospecting efforts. Those that choose not to buy now because of the press or who were looking for reasons not to use a real estate professional because of perception weren’t going to do business with you anyway.

As David Knox says, “Let go.”

Focus on those folks who know the truth behind the mainstream media’s b.s., work to earn their trust and create your own success.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Vicki Moore

    October 24, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Such as it is in life. The only person responsible for you is you.

  2. Jay Thompson

    October 24, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Oh puhleeze… I’m supposed to ask the AAR to stick up for me??

    “Dear AAR – why is everyone always picking on us? Please do something! Make the bad man at the newspaper stop it!”

    Gimme a F’ing break.

    This was a *damn* fine post!

  3. Benn Rosales

    October 24, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Amen- preach on.

  4. Athol Kay

    October 24, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    But I pay dues…

  5. J. Ferris

    October 25, 2007 at 4:24 am

    Oh NAR, why do you bother?

    Intergalactic Proton Powered Electrical Tenticle Advertising Droids!
    Intergalactic Proton Powered Electrical Tenticle Advertising Droids!

    The age of money falling off the trees for anyone willing to sit through a one week crash course in real estate is over.

    The “mom and pop” homegrown way of doing business is over.

    “There has never been a better time to buy a home!” is over.

    NAR should look into hiring a new scriber with something more to the tune of “There has never been a better time to buy a home utilizing the services of a qualified and educated professional. You will have to do more than accept the Realtor® designation as a sign of this level of skill and education because we give it to anyone who gives us money.” It hasn’t happened yet but we are in for a big shift and I can’t wait to see the industry morph to a point where the MAJORITY of real estate agents are actual professionals. What a day that will be…

  6. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:26 am

    “You fail or succeed on your own merits.”
    BRAVO.
    Regardless of the market, that statement will ALWAYS be true. I think that the finger pointers are just using the market as a crutch and an excuse for why they personally just suck.

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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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