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How To Really Economize Your Business

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During slow market conditions the prevailing advice for us business owners is to “economize your business.”

At the surface level, this makes sense, right? Unfortunately, too many agents mis-interpret this advice and end up costing themselves more than they need to – it can even cost them their real estate career.

Savvy agents don’t think of economizing as slashing budgets, instead they make sure their marketing is going to get them the biggest bang for their buck.

Now, we could go down a tangent here and relate this to scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset, or reactive versus proactive but let’s stay away from ideologies and look at practical business sense.

Practical Business Sense

Your business is fueled by sales. Clearly, sales profits are the only true objective measure for business success. Without them, you don’t have a business you have a hobby. And as you know, marketing creates sales.

Those that mis-interpret “economize your business” to mean “slash your budgets” are going to be in a world of hurt.

Sure, you may have a full pipeline of prospects today but if you slash your marketing – the one thing that fills your pipeline – you’re going to run dry in about 3 months time and you will not have a sustainable business. Bye-bye real estate, hello retail sales.

How To Really “Economize”

First off, it’s important to recognize that there are two types of marketing – expensive and inexpensive. Savvy agents know that expensive marketing doesn’t cover the investment they’ve made, while inexpensive pays rich returns.

See, economizing has nothing to do with cost but everything to do with results. This is why it’s so important to track your sources of business.

Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Test your investment – before rolling out a large scale campaign, conduct a small test so you can track the results to see if a larger campaign is even worthwhile.
  • Focus on the past – stay in touch with past clients since they already have expressed their trust and faith in you. They’re in prime positions to give referrals and may even be ready to become repeat clients.
  • Commit to a plan – the bane of many businesses is trying to do a little of this and a little of that. In the end, there’s no major impact. Commit to a focused plan and stick to it.
  • Create timeless marketing – many agents waste money on marketing that must continually be updated and re-created. Make your marketing timeless. For example, rather than being in business for 7 years, say that you’ve been in business since 2001.
  • Target wisely – don’t waste precious time and resources on folks not likely to buy from you. Instead, turn your efforts to your most likely prospects and profitable clients.
  • Hire a pro – amateur marketing is an invitation to disaster. To get the biggest results it makes sense to hire a designer/copywriter/consultant to create a powerful template, then produce new materials following the same format.

Obviously, these tips are timeless and should be followed in both boom and down markets.

Here’s the thing: marketing creates sales and you need to market smart in order to survive.

Yes, economize your business – demand a return for your investments. But don’t start slashing the budget to that which fuels your business.

If you don’t invest in smart marketing today, you’ll have less to invest tomorrow.

What are you doing to “economize” and get the biggest bang for your marketing dollar?

photo credit

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Rob Aubrey

    November 27, 2008 at 8:46 am

    A shifted market makes you really look at each item on the budget and ask are you carrying you weight?

    It is healthy for your business to get rid of bad habits (spending money on crap that doesn’t create profit).

    The trick is to NOT CUT the quality of service.

    One of the things that will help an agent survive is to stop using words like up or down market.

    There is no such thing as a good or bad market. It is a buyer’s or seller’s market and the shift between.

    During the unprecedented seller’s market it was not always good for the buyer and no one called that a bad market. It was called a hot or great market, the people that it was great for were the unskilled, because they could make money in spite of their lacking.

    I would like to ad one more tip. Understand what is selling in your market and go there. It sounds very obvious. But most are not doing it. If you sold higher end homes, then you need to become a student of FHA and learn how to get people to the table, tht is what you are paid for.

  2. Missy Caulk

    November 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Test, test, test. If it works continue on and if it isn’t then move on to what does, or put more money in the things that are bringing in business.

  3. Russell Shaw

    November 28, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Wonderful post, Mark! Great job. Real words of wisdom. This was something I had intended – for about a month – to write about and never got around to it.

    Cutting out all promotion to “save money” is a sure-fire route to complete failure.

  4. Mark Eckenrode

    December 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

    great additions and comments from folks. thanks.

    i find most folks are quick to cut their marketing because they don’t see returns from it – meaning, they don’t actually track where business is coming from.

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Business Marketing

How to make sure your newly remote team stays productive.

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The tide of change is rolling in and may never recede again, so managers should know how to handle the new normal, here’s some advice.

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managers new role

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Working from home is the new normal. It’s not only employees who have to think about how they perform, but managers have to learn new skills to keep their team engaged and efficient. I’ve worked on remote teams for over 6 years. Here are some things that have helped me.

Ask “What can I do to help you?”

I’ve worked with some great managers and some awful ones. The best ones had a collaborative attitude when discussing problems. Instead of laying blame, the question was “what can we do to correct this?” It takes a little longer to think in those terms if you’re not used to it, but it reduces stress. If you’re communicating through email or message apps, it pays to reread before hitting send. We’re all learning new skills in this new normal.

Make sure your employees have the technology they need

One of the companies I work for has specific programs they use and technology requirements. Before I was allowed to proceed through their final onboarding, they made sure that I could access their technology. If your team is working from home, they need to have the resources to be productive. It’s not just computers and software, but access to internet. One of my friends said that it took them over an hour to upload a 5-minute video to Facebook.

Define success; don’t micro-manage

As I’m writing this, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green posted a question about “what’s reasonable to expect from parents who are working from home. Just a reminder that managers may have to lower expectations from their team, not only for parents, but for everyone. I don’t have kids at home, but there are many distractions out of the ordinary. Managers have to accept that people aren’t going to be as productive in these not-so-normal-times. Identify priorities. Check in when you’re on a deadline. Find a balance between managing and micro-managing.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all adapting to these crazy times. How managers handle their teams will set the tone for years to come. If you want to keep those employees who have been hard workers, you’re going to have to adjust to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Business Marketing

Easy email signature builder quickly updates your info

(BUSINESS MARKETING) When’s the last time you updated your email signature? That long? You might want to look at just sign, a new, quick, and easy, email signature generator.

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just sign email

The last thing any of us are thinking about right now is email. While we’re all staying safer at home, though, it’s a good time to think about all the little things that need our attention, but typically get neglected: clearing out the email inbox, unsubscribing from things no longer relevant, and updating our email signatures. Why the email signature?

Oftentimes, we change emails when we change jobs and forget to change our signatures to reflect our new address. The same is true with social media; if we happen to change jobs, due to our own choice or by necessity thanks to the virus, we may need to update our social media profiles accordingly, especially if the new job suddenly makes this a requirement.

One of the fastest ways to update your email signature is with a generator. An email signature generator can help you quickly make a professional looking signature in about half the time it would take you to manually add each individual component.

Just Sign is one of the quickest options I’ve seen. This email signature generator is ultra simple, ultra easy, and ultra effective. It allows you to add clickable social links, a profile picture or logo, and all relevant contact information. It also allows you to choose a color scheme and tailor the formatting a bit to your preferences. As you begin to add options to your signature, you can see a preview of what the final product will look like in the right-hand panel.

Just Sign welcome

This allows you to make any necessary changes before downloading the finished product. When you have your signature perfected, simply click the purple “generate signature” button and you’re ready to go.

Just Sign is an easy, quick way to check another thing off your to-do list while we’re all at home. If you have already updated your signature, you might save this link for later use as it’s a good idea to revisit your signature a few times a year. Oftentimes, I revise mine simply to keep the attached picture updated. Have you updated your signature lately? Do you plan to? Let us know what you think of Just Sign.

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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