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Everyone Loves to Hate a Salesman



real estate salesmanI’m no genius, but you know it, I know it, the whole world knows it – we don’t want to be sold. Shysters, con men, snake oil salesmen, used car dealers and real estate agents – all they want is a quick buck at the other’s expense. They should all be lawyers!

I walk into Nordstroms looking for a Tommy Bahama shirt (for my next listing presentation), every four feet some salesperson asks me if I need help. I’m not tripping over my shoelaces, I’m not using my walker – what kind of help would I need? Thank god for the Internet where I can surf anonymously, live virtually, shop in a pest free environment, and avoid the pitfalls of human interaction.

I often wonder, what’s so difficult with saying – sure, what can you tell me about…

What holds us back? Where’s the threat with engaging someone paid to make our life easier? Vehix, Zillow, Expedia, Priceline and a great many more are attempting to make our lives easier. What’s a riot to me is that removing all human interaction from the process is one of their biggest selling points.

real estate spamerI think it is basically about boundaries and confrontation. Many people have difficulties setting boundaries, they find it difficult to say no, so they want to avoid situations where they have to. Or they feel that they will have to explain their decision to some complete stranger. Who wants to do that? Or they may have to get confrontational to get some rabid salesperson out of their space. Of course, there’s always the fear of being on “THE MAILING LIST,” that infuriating source of endless spam and annoyance.

Okay, you get the feel of it, here’s my point – I don’t know of any professional real estate agent that wants to hassle or annoy people. It’s bad for business. It creates ill will. If a real estate agent is bugging you or spamming you, call their broker and ask the broker to please call off the dogs.

You’re the client (or potential client) YOU’VE GOT the POWER – use it! Use it effectively. Don’t be anonymous, be the driving force in the process.

Buying a house is a complex process. Look at it as a series of steps toward an end. Gathering information and choosing an agent are important steps. Before I got into real estate, I purchased and sold a half dozen houses as I moved the family around the country. Every Realtor I worked with was a treasure trove of good information, advice and assistance. Why, because that is what I wanted – I GOT TO CHOOSE. You do to.

You don’t have to be a genius to choose a good real estate agent, but it does involve human interaction.

Post by John Harper

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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  1. Lani Anglin

    October 11, 2007 at 1:14 am

    John, you make some great points (and an awesome debut by the way). The fear of being spammed or oversold is founded on the reality that so MANY people in any form of sales behave in a non-human spammy way.

    Real estate isn’t exempt from this but for those who embrace the Web 2.0 philosophy of “be yourself” (be it online or in person) will demystify the stigma of being used car salespeople. As my husband said in conversation about your article, he hasn’t PERSONALLY been treated like a used car salesperson, but we witness it primarily online. Stupid spammers- thanks a lot. 🙂

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 11, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Just to clean up my comment to Lani- Never in my career has someone looked at me and said ‘ew, you’re a realtor?” the way they say “ew, you’re a used car saleman?” I do not believe that is the perception of the profession, but I do believe it is a perception that is being spewed by disrupters. The political style attacks waged by would-be revolutionaries have polarized the profession, and it’s unfortunate. I for one am proud of what I do, and anyone who knows me knows I am a salesman last. I’m a facilitator, I’m a friend, and I’m a trusted advisor. My clients respect me and refer me to their friends, that is the proof. No car dealership can tout what I just said. So, in closing, I will say this, I am a closer. That’s what I do.

  3. Mad Gringo

    October 12, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Did you get the shirt?

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.



Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.



Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.



Man and woman at kitchen table online shopping on laptop together, boosting customer loyalty.

With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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