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Ghaaa. Unsold listing inventory. What next? Who’s responsible?

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UnSold Listing Inventory

Have you ever heard or thought:

“I need help.  My listing is getting shown a lot — but I haven’t had a single offer.  I know it’s priced right!”?

“I’ve had this listing way too long, why won’t anyone show it, or make an offer?”

Reality Review

Whether a listing is shown frequently or attracts Chihuahua sized showing numbers and zero offers, there are two actions you can do.  Both of them aren’t easy.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  Here you go:

1.  Property Presentation (Merchandising & Staging) –  Humans are human.  We make snap judgments.  We comparison shop.  When house shopping, buyers mostly use their physical senses; eyes, ears and nose to pick and choose.  If it doesn’t look, smell or sound attractive, we pass.  If the property doesn’t compare favorably, buyers keek looking.  There’s no skirting around human behavior.

The first step to amping Property Presentation is to be honest with yourself and your seller.  Ask yourself, is every aspect of the property merchandised and staged in excellent fashion.  Not 80% or 90% – 100%.  Or better than your competition.  Be honest with yourself and your seller(s).  You know if your listing is attractive or not.  You get paid to educate and persuade your sellers to take the actions required to merchandise and stage the interior and exterior of the property so that it compares favorably with it’s competition.  It’s for their own good, you have to be strong in this area.

When sellers won’t agree to merchandise and stage their property in a positive light, they can compensate for the shortfall by adjusting the price downward.  Downward to the point where a comparison shopper would think, “I know it doesn’t look so hot, but the price is so compelling, I’d be foolish not to buy it.”   If you don’t get the property merchandised or staged favorably competitively, it won’t sell.

2.  Positioning Price – If you’ve you taken steps to make the property attractive inside and out, and your property promotion is generating a favorable number of showings, there’s only one thing left to adjust – the Positioning Price.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow.  Asking for a price adjustment sucks for everyone.  Yet, it’s one of our most important responsibilities.  Everyone involved will feel better about this if we’ve done our in-depth homework.  Which means we’ve updated our market analysis and we’ve previewed our competition (just like a buyer does).   After we’ve presented our data, if the seller remains reluctant, set showing appointments to physically show them their competition — then ask again for an appropriate reduction.

 

If you’ve done your part with the property promotion and intergalactic syndication, you’ve shared the value and importance of Property Presentation and choosing a competitive Positioning Price, and the seller(s) remains unmoved and resolute, you should not go down with the ship.  Instead, consider asking the seller to release you from the listing – hit the eject button.

Happy Ending

Like all other types of business, the goal is to make a profit by selling inventory – not lose money by holding onto unsalable listing inventory.   When we hold onto unsalable listing, everyone loses. When we let lazy or fear prevent us from wisely advising the seller, everyone loses.

The next 90 days or so will be the most active of the year, it’s time to suck-it-up and kick ourselves in the butt and come correct.  If we want happy endings we either need to advise and adjust – or release – that’s life my friends.

PS.  There is one other thing that could be out of whack.  Success is doomed if the real estate agent doesn’t have clue-one about the importance of persuasive and pervasive property marketing, promotion and syndication. In this post, I’m assuming you’re on top of your game in this department.

Photo Credit

 

 

 

 

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    June 1, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Well said, Ken. Price and condition (position) are the two golden geese. Price too high, no one comes anyway. Price right but don't stage it well – they come but don't like it. Get both right, you start packing.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    p.s. of the 1600 plus members of our board, only 450 or so even have their emails set up correctly for board information. Kinda wonder how they're positioning their clients if they can't do rudimentary, stay-alive tasks.

    • Ken Brand

      June 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks Joe. Hope your year is shaping up nicely. That's a pretty startling number of unplugged in people. I guess the upside is that In That In The Land Of The Blind The One Eyed Man Is King. Cheers.

  2. Cindi Hagley

    June 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    If a home does not sell, it comes down to one of three "P"s – Price, Property, or Pitch. Pitch, being the marketing of the home, and Property dealing with issues such as staging and curb appeal.

    Properly priced and properly marketed any home in any market condition should sell within 30 days. The key word here is yet another "P" – properly!

    Some agents spend so much time chasing the market,it's hard for them to see where the market really is.

    • ken brand

      June 2, 2011 at 5:33 am

      Thanks Cindi, like a lot of things, it's easy to understand, but for some, it's seems hard to do. I think it's the fear of experiencing seller disapproval, anger, disappointment, etc. But that's what we get paid for, sharing the truth. Cheers and all the best for a BIG year.

  3. Cindy Marchant

    June 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Dang…I was hoping for a magic bullet…lol

    • ken brand

      June 2, 2011 at 7:17 am

      I have good news Cindy. If you'll go to your nearest mirror and take a look. You are the Magical Silver Bullet. But, you knew that. Cheers.

  4. John Perkins

    June 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I realize I operate a Full-Motion Video company but I have proven again and again that full-motion separates you from the rest of the market and the ROI is 3-6% above other area listings and the sales time is faster. Why not invest in yourself and your clients. Full-Motion is above Staging because you can reach more interested people who might normally not visit a home from another city if they are exhausted of looking at photo-shop pictures of homes. Buyers want reality and knowledge of the community around the home. This is what entices them. Wherever you are in the country look up a Full-Motion provider and put not only the home but the area around the home (popular downtown, nearby museum, important schools, yada)…. Best on your sales.

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Business Marketing

The science behind using pictures of people in marketing to convert more leads

(MARKETING) People fear using their picture in social networking profiles, but we make the case not only for using pictures of yourself, but of scrapping stock graphics for photos of people that studies show improve conversion rates in marketing.

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To avatar or not to avatar?

After all of these years of people using the web, the debate continues about whether or not people should use their headshots as their profile pictures and avatars on their blogs and their social networks. Many people are uncomfortable with the way they look in photos, and some are never satisfied with their picture, so they settle for their company logo, a cartoon image, or a random photo to share something about who they are. While some believe the argument is subjective, we would argue otherwise.

It is advisable to use a photo of yourself as your profile picture wherever you go, no matter how unsatisfied you are and how uncomfortable. There are many reasons from making it easier to connect with people offline after talking online, to giving people a better way to connect with you, but a personal side has become expected on social networks and blogs, making a profile picture culturally mandatory.

Throw culture out of the window

So let’s say you’re still uncomfortable advertising your face. I personally hate every picture of me taken since I was 11 and had a bad perm, I get it. Profile pictures can send some people into full fledged panic, and at that point, who cares if web culture dictates a photo?

You should, and here’s why… science.

Science? Yep. Any parent knows intuitively, and scientists have studied for years that babies love pictures of other babies, and part of socializing a child is giving them books with pictures of other babies to connect with, learn from, and see other ethnicities. Babies love looking at other babies, it helps them connect and learn, and believe it or not, many studies show that we don’t evolve past that point in our lives, so, adults love looking at other adults.

More science

If that isn’t enough to convince you to use a profile picture, a recent study shows that a website’s conversion rate can be skyrocketed by using human faces. According to KISSmetrics.com, using human faces “get your prospects to focus more and this causes them to draw towards a common point of interest. It doesn’t get more real than that.”

The company cites an A/B test on Medalia.net, an online art shop, which presented paintings from artists on their homepage, and during testing, they swapped out the photos of the paintings with photos of the artists hoping to increase user engagement. KISSmetrics said, “Making this small but relevant change sent their conversion rate through the roof – something they didn’t expect. Their site experienced a whopping 95% increase in conversions!.”

Reading between the lines

Using a photo in your profile pictures is important, it allows people to connect with you, just like babies connect with other babies through photos, and website viewers are converted by human photos. But, read between the lines here – using photos of people in marketing is a concept as old as the idea of marketing, and your using people in your blog photos and marketing can improve your conversion over outdated stock graphics. There are legal ways to obtain photos of people (through creative commons), and using photos of your own can have the most meaningful impact.

Whether you’re nervous to share your face with the world or not, web culture dictates that you should and studies show that a percentage of people distrust social networkers without a face shot. Independent of all of that, conversion rates improve when people see other people, as it is easier to connect with over stock graphics or abstract images, so take a leap of faith and put your picture out there, and while you’re at it, try to find ways of using photos of humans in your marketing and blogs.

Just remember – babies love looking at pictures of babies, and we’re all just babies when you boil it down.

This story originally ran here on March 6, 2012.

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Business Marketing

4 ways to rise above the noise and get your message heard

(MARKETING) Getting your message heard in this noisy world isn’t impossible, it just takes some purposeful habits on your part.

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When you sit down at your computer or pull your phone out of your pocket, you’re essentially going into battle – a battle for your focus and attention. Will you be able to complete the task you set out to accomplish, or will you get sidetracked by one of dozens of distractions?

Here’s the truth: Your customers aren’t all that different than you. They’re exposed to the same internet noise and onslaught of distractions that you are. If you want your marketing messages to be heard, you must rise above the noise and engage your audience in a clear manner that’s worthy of their focus and attention.

Here are four tips for rising above the noise:

It doesn’t take a lot of foresight or experience to know that the internet is a noisy place. Every single second, 8,015 tweets are sent out, 842 Instagram photos are uploaded, 1,369 Tumblr posts are published, 66,615 Google searches are initiated, 73,580 YouTube videos are viewed, and 2.69 million emails are sent.

There are currently more than 3.8 billion internet users – a 42 percent increase in the last three years – and these figures are ballooning even more. Your customers live in a loud, chaotic internet world where everyone and everything is vying for their attention.

“Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, sports, news, and the list goes on and on,” says Alex Kahan, President of Nomad Communications. “Notifications and alerts bombard us by the second. So what’s a marketer to do? How do brands stay relevant in the face of this digital onslaught?”

The solution isn’t to publish more content or create more noise. This will only make you blend in. If you want to thrive, you must rise above. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Go where people are paying attention

The first step is to go where people are paying attention. People are busy and they don’t have time to visit dozens of different outlets to consume content every day. They’d much rather congregate at a village square where they can get everything in one place.

“In digital terms, that village square is social media,” marketer Justin Gray writes. “That’s why most brands aggregate their content on Facebook and other platforms these days: People turn there for business news because their friends, colleagues, and favorite leaders are there in one place. If you think you’re site is where your buyers eyes are, you’re mistaken.”

2. Get to know your audience.

Do you know your audience, or are you too busy focusing on your own needs and goals to notice what they want, need, and feel?

Before you can ever expect your audience to engage you, you must engage them. Work on getting to know your audience and focus on building a tribe. Eventually, the hope is that this tribe will become your customer base.

3. Be authentic

“Trust is the top factor when it comes to getting heard,” Gray believes. “If your mind is only on revenue, stop—that’s 25 steps down the road. Your first priority should be making sure your content persuades buyers to view you in a different light than every other business on the web.”

How do you breed trust? Through authenticity and transparency, of course. With all the promotional marketing and bogus advertising going around the internet, a brand that’s authentic and genuine will stand out. It takes more work, but it’s worth it in the end.

4. Develop visual content

In an internet landscape where millions of words are published on an hourly basis, you need visual content to stand a chance of rising above the noise. Even then, you aren’t guaranteed any visibility and exposure. Your visual content must be compelling.

Compelling visual content is unique, vibrant, eye-popping, and digestible. You only have a few seconds to make an impact, so you need to get straight to the point. This means prioritizing uniqueness, yet being consistent to what your brand stands for. Over time, your audience should be able to identify a style as being associated with your brand without seeing a logo.

It’s not easy to stand out in a noisy marketplace.

Even brands like Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, and McDonald’s face stiff challenges in this area. In order to be successful, you don’t have to reach the masses. You do, however, have to reach your audience and convince them that your messaging is more valuable, relevant, and worthwhile than everything else that’s competing for their finite attention. It sounds simple, but nothing could be more difficult.

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Business Marketing

Modern best practices for your online design portfolio

(BUSINESS) Do you have an online design portfolio? Does it hold up to modern standards or is it stuck in 1997?

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Whether you’re looking for your next gig or full time opportunity, your online portfolio is your showcase, your chance to shine. But so frequently, we see creatives that either don’t have an online portfolio, or an awful (or incomplete) portfolio. It’s a challenge, because you often sign NDAs and are not at liberty to share all of your work, it’s a challenge.

Let’s talk about the modern best practices for your online portfolio.

First, before you even open a browser tab, put pen to paper and commit to your goals and consider what you are looking to express. Look around at what others are doing so you know what to compete with. Are you just going to slap up some pics of your work, or are you going to tell the story about the process and why you made certain choices? The language you use will differ if you’re looking for a job or for a client.

Second, where are you pointing people to? If you have some thumbnails on your Geocities site from 1997, you’ve already lost. Owning your own site is the best method, and the most common option used in the industry is WordPress (here are 50 themes to consider), and ideally you own the URL for your name that points to any site hosting your portfolio.

If WordPress feels too advanced for you, Squarespace is the most popular drag and drop option in the industry, and some even use Wix (which was recently improved). Or, you could consider a design portfolio platform like Big Black Bag or Behance.

Next, consider what you’ll display. You’re in a real catch-22, because you want to express experience, diversity, and quality, but if some of your work doesn’t apply to what you want to be hired for, it could actually work against you. Think of this as an art show at a museum – they would never show every piece of your work, rather they would curate specific pieces to tell a story.

And if your portfolio is light on applicable work, create your own concepts and redesigns (so long as you label it as such). Hate Google’s logo redesign or maybe the search interface? Mock up your own, show a before and after, then disclose it as a concept piece you’ve imagined. You could even have a section for concepts that is separated from client work.

Your display should match your work – if you design mobile websites but your portfolio isn’t responsive, you’ve screwed yourself. If you’re an animator, your portfolio shouldn’t be a bunch of websites you redesigned. If you’re a graphic designer, your portfolio shouldn’t showcase a bunch of emailers you created copy for. People are judging you within the first three seconds, so your offering better match the story you’re trying to tell about yourself. If you’re not a deconstructionist designer, your website design better not be deconstructionist. Get it?

Always be updating your portfolio, even if you’re not looking for clients or employment. It’s harder to go back in time to recreate a portfolio than updating as you go. But remember – you can’t just slap up 800 images of a project, again, you’re curating. Select only the best images and add them as you go to save endless time. Try doing this at least monthly (plus, it’s a great way to tell search engines that your site is fresh, thereby improving your ranking).

If much of your work is physical or print, take the time to take high quality photos of these works, potentially even mocking them up on physical products (you can use a site like Smart Mockups as a shortcut).

Next, you want to make sure that your online portfolio serves client or employers’ needs. Is your About page sparse, or does it talk about how you connect with your profession? Does your site tell people who you are, where you are, who you’ve worked for, what kind of work you’re looking for, how you charge, and how they can contact you? If you can’t answer each question in under three seconds, you’re losing opportunities. Design your portfolio for them, not for you. Do you have a logo and tagline? Testimonials? Can they find you elsewhere online (do you have social media buttons in the header or footer)? Everything we’ve mentioned in this paragraph is the equivalent of dozens of “Hire Me” buttons, so don’t take this part lightly.

Make sure that your portfolio is error free. Test every single page to make sure it works, then before going live to the world and sharing the URL, have at least three people (ideally that are writers or editors) review all of the copy for accuracy. You’re not a professional writer, so trust their input if they suggest the copy is off.

If you have the time and capacity, blogging is the cherry on top. Not only does it help your search engine rankings (don’t stress too much about SEO, though), it creates new opportunities for your thoughts to be shared, expanding your reach. You’re smart, you know not to blog about conspiracy theories or politics, blog about your work – why did you choose this profession, what enriches you, why do you make certain design choices, what do you think of large brand designs, etc.

Get the word out. Be sure to add the URL to your design portfolio on all of your social media profiles, even LinkedIn. Audit your online profiles annually to make sure they point to the place that will generate business opportunities for you.

TL;DR – get a WordPress site, curate your best work, make it easy to contact you.

And if your brain needs some samples of modern design, start clicking:

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