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How Fast Can You Evolve?



Position Yourself to See the Trend

Back in the spring I drove over to my favorite title company on an errand I no longer recall. Odds are that it involved an escrow either in process or recently completed; as much as I love Lawyers Landamerica Title’s Arrowhead branch and the ladies therein, I don’t often stop by unless there’s a particular reason.

As I pulled up the branch manager was outside in the smoking lounge with two other agents, at least one of whom voiced his passing interest in working with Canadian buyers. What was notable is he had no agenda, no plans, no concept of how to attract this business. But he did recognize the shift, which in itself was a step in the right direction (though just one step.)

If not for my work in various retirement communities in the Valley of the Sun, I might also have missed the shift in currency exchanges that led to Canadian interest in Phoenix real estate to grow. I was fortunate in as much as the plan never had been to work exclusively with Canadian buyers, but Canadians became a large part of my business this past year.

Eggs in Many Baskets

But they’ve not been my entire business. That would be foolish.

There was an agent in my old office who for two years was by far the leading agent in the office – sales, volume, gross commissions, you name it. How? He worked with a predominantly investor clientele. Now that the investors (and/or speculators) have lost their money, how well do you think he’s faring? This isn’t an attempt to laugh at someone else’s woes. But it is indicative of the risk of not diversifying if for no other reason than to be positioned when the current changes.

My All Phoenix Real Estate blog often has been accused of being unfocused. And that’s actually okay with me because it’s in that lack of focus that I’ve been able to attract clients from a number of different areas – Canadians, investors, first-time buyers, sellers, REO junkies … a shotgun approach has returned a wide variety of clients.

This becomes even more important in times like this. At the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in July, I told an audience listening to my panel’s discussion of “Tapping the Global Real Estate Market” that there was a limited window of opportunity when it came to Canadian (and by extension, almost any foreign) buyers. The dollar was equal to about $1.04 Canadian and was at $1.53 to a Euro, give or take a few cents.

As of last week, the dollar equaled $1.25 Canadian and was at $1.28 to a Euro; the weak dollar that spurred interest in the Phoenix area and elsewhere in the states is disappearing.

Where to turn now?

Adapt Before the Need Arises

The basic reality is those who had not prepared for the changes are going to have a rough couple of months while they shift gears. Russell Shaw has said that there’s a 90-day lag between action and result – a closed sale. There are exceptions, depending on how you look at things … clients who call one day to view some homes and are escrow days later. But odds are, there was a couple of months’ work leading up to the time the client darkened your Inbox.

None of this is to say that it’s too late to make the changes you need to make to thrive in your market. In some ways it goes back to Charles Schwab’s theory of when to invest in the stock market – today’s always a good day to start, the thought being that if you’re in it for the long term, it doesn’t matter when you begin as long as you begin.

As for me, the big change I will be working on over the coming weeks and months is to build an inventory of listings. In my hunt for buyers, given market conditions, I’ve essentially neglected any effort to try and attract listings. I call this over-evolution … I’ve adapted to the more apparent conditions in play but have missed the obvious factors that always seem to exist.

We can evolve all we want but at the end of the day we still need oxygen. And at the end of the day, this still is a listings driven business.

My next frontier awaits … what’s yours?

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  1. Daniel Bates

    October 27, 2008 at 5:48 am

    This is a great reminder, but I don’t think a lot of people know how to diversify anymore. I saw a future in vacation rental management a few years ago and started building clientele and it has really helped me as the sales market cooled, the rentals haven’t really lessened in pace and it’s a great way to meet new people and get your foot in the door with people who may be moving to the area down the road. There are hundreds of ways to diversify the trick is just keeping your eyes open to the trends that are occurring in your market and reacting appropriately.

  2. sheilabragg

    October 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    How Fast Can You Evolve?: Scientists may have discovered that commenting on this article may extend y..

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 27, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Jonathan, there was a Realtor in Ann Arbor that marketed straight as a builder agent. 99% of her marketing. It was a great niche, (for years). We had so much new construction going on here. Guess what?

    In this market we are doing a lot of things differently to connect with buyers, have to or go belly up.

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Business Marketing

Hiring managers keep you on your toes – make them take the 1st step

(MARKETING) If you want to stand out from other job applicants, weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – or it could backfire.



hiring managers interview

According to research by employment search website Simply Hired, hiring managers get an average of 34 applications per job listing, but they spend time genuinely considering an average of only 12.6% of them – that’s less than 1/3. Some applicants may feel the need to go above and beyond the average application and do something unusual or unexpected to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

Simply Hired conducted a survey to find out whether or not “nontraditional” strategies to stand out are worth the risk, or whether it makes sense to stick to a traditional resume and cover letter. They surveyed over 500 hiring managers and over 500 job applicants to find out what sort of outside-of-the-box approaches applicants are willing to take, and which ones do and don’t pay off.

Most notably, the survey found that over 63% of hiring managers find attention-grabbing gimmicks totally unacceptable, with only 20.2% saying they were acceptable. Hiring managers were also given a list of unusual strategies to rank from most to least acceptable. Unsurprisingly, the least acceptable strategy was offering to sleep with the hiring manager – which should really go without saying.

Interestingly, hiring managers also really disliked when applicants persistently emailed their resumes over and over until they got a response. One or two follow-up emails after your initial application aren’t such a bad idea – but if you don’t get a response after that, continuing to pester the hiring manager isn’t going to help.

While sending baked goods to the office was considered a somewhat acceptable strategy, sending those same cookies to the manager’s home address was a big no-no. Desserts might sweeten your application, but not if you cross a professional boundary by bringing them to someone’s home – that’s just creepy.

Another tactic that hiring managers received fairly positively was “enduring extreme weather to hand-deliver a resume” – but waiting around for inclement weather to apply for a job doesn’t seem very efficient. However, hiring managers did respond well to applicants who went out of their way to demonstrate a skill, for example, by creating a mock product or presentation or completing their interview in a second language. A librarian who was surveyed said she landed her job by making her resume into a book and creating QR codes with links to her portfolio, while a woman applying to work at the hotel hopped behind the counter and started checking customers in.

It’s worth noting that while most hiring managers aren’t into your gimmicks and games, of the 12.9% of applicants who said they have risked an unusual strategy, 67.7% of those actually landed the job.

Still, it’s probably a safer bet to stick to the protocol and not try any theatrics. So then, what can you actually do to improve your chances of landing the job?

Applicants surveyed tended to focus most of their time on their resumes, but according to hiring managers, the interview and cover letter are “the top ways to stand out among the rest.” Sure, brush up your resume, but make sure to give equal time to writing a strong cover letter and practicing potential interview questions.

In the survey, applicants also tended to overestimate the importance of knowing people within the company and having a “unique” cover letter and interview question answers; meanwhile, they underestimated the importance of asking smart questions at the interview and personality. In fact, hiring managers reported that personality was the most impactful factor in their hiring decisions.

It appears that the best way to stand out in a job interview is to wow them with your personality and nail the interview. Weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – and in fact, may backfire.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?




Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.



Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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