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I Heart Outlook

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The Magic Key

When I was new – and I hate to admit that occasionally I still do – look for the magic key to success in real estate.  I’ve purchased and bought into far too many products.  In fact, before you buy anything, call me.  I probably already have it.  I’m sure we can make a deal.

After going through several contact management products, I ended up where I started – back using Outlook. 

Pulling Out My Hair

I wish I knew how to email mail merge before, especially the other day when I was pulling out my hair.  I didn’t even think of it.  You too can send a “personalized” email to several people at once, which actually makes it completely unpersonal, but it looks personal.

All the instructions are there for you – probably in a better format than I could recreate here.  So go over there and look. 

The fact is that the price of a product sold to an agent is multiplied ten-fold compared to the same type of product sold to the average business person.  So before you buy into it, think about who their market share is.  If it’s just us, then look somewhere else.  Uh-oh, I’m getting on my soapbox again…

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    October 6, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I heart Outlook too, and that was a great tutorial. Thanks I subscribed and skimmed the topics of the blog so I am sure I will get many tips, if not I’ll call you. 🙂

  2. Will

    October 6, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I also Heart Outlook… especially the customised version from Sonoma Enterprises called Active Agent. Very cool real estate modified outlook that gives you absolutely everything you could want from Outlook with a very simple layout, no monthly fees, and really terrific (from my experience) support.
    The website for this little known firm is https://www.sonomaenterprises.com/outlook.htm
    (They really should do a better job marketing as I just stumbled on them once several years ago and while I have looked at others could not find a better bang for the buck).

  3. Dan Connolly

    October 6, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I have been very happy with Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager. The only thing missing for me is that the program doesn’t have a field for spouse. I guess in business applications the spouse doesn’t exist. So to send a note to John and Mary Smith, John’s middle name has to be “and Mary”.

    The greatest feature is the email automatic linking, so any email in or out is automatically saved to the client file, so I can read it and erase it from the inbox yet it is there in the client’s file when I need it later.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 7, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Vicki – funny thing is that we use TP and about 2 months ago decided that they were not working and we should switch to outlook. I just have to get around to it – thanks for the push.

  5. Bob Schenkenberger

    October 7, 2008 at 11:08 am

    As much as I love Outlook, I continue to look for ways to increase the productivity and get away from the limitations. I use Outlook, and have an Exchange Server, so I can share contacts, and calendars with my team.

    I’m currently looking into migrating into gmail, google calendar, etc…

    Email is great, Calendar is OK, Contacts Suck, and no such thing as Task Management unless you go the add-on route with something like “Remember the Milk”.

    I’m love the sharing possibilities, not sure the funtionality will be sufficient.

    I’d love to hear from anyone else that has migrated from Outlook to Google, it sure would help me get rid of a $50/month hosted exchange bill!

  6. Vicki Moore

    October 7, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Missy – Please do. 🙂

    Will – Another option is
    https://patzaby.com/Products/product.asp?Id={9E8F1F94-A443-4C4F-94FE-56CE967B4969} One of the few things I haven’t purchased so I can’t attest to how well it works.

    Ines – I had TP too. I had the software then switch to 8 – I think it is. I got sick of paying monthly for a ton of features I never used.

    Bob – I haven’t used Outlook-Google. Can someone help with that??

  7. Vicki Moore

    October 7, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Dan. Here’s a link to what Dan’s referring to: https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP102186731033.aspx

  8. Patti Smith

    October 7, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you. This came at the right time as I have been reading reviews on the many products on the market. I am sure some of the products are more advanced than Outlook, but you can’t beat the cost.

  9. Vicki Moore

    October 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Patti – I agree. You can talk yourself into or out of buying something. I’ve gotten by just fine with Outlook. There are a lot of add-ons and ways to get around the shortfalls. I guess you just have to decide if the expenditure is worth it. Although it’s smart for the provider, I don’t like the monthly charge products – like Top Producer. It adds up to a ton of money.

  10. David Fanale

    October 20, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I use Outlook for email and TP for contact management for recruiting agents for sending out letters and keeping notes. I am curious: If you are or would be recruited to another company, what method would work best?

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Who’s teaching Gen Z to adapt to working with other generations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Gen Z patch 1.1: How to work with other generations. The newest tech savy generation might need an update to work well with others

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generation z

We know the current work force is made up of a multitude of generations which is the first time so many have been working at the same time in history and this is should be absolutely fascinating to dig in to the research and how this drastically affects businesses.

To think how we each have our work ethic and style influenced by so many factors on how and when (and where) we were raised, plus what generation our parents were in and what was passed down to them from the generation before. Millennials received a lot of attention for being entitled and lazy. Gen X receive constant jokes that they are the forgotten generation. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “OK Boomer” meme theme recently.

Now we have moved on to Gen Z (b. ~ 1997-2012) in the work force and many are currently attending college. There were other considerations for their name: Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, and Zoomers. If you google about them, there are many books to read about this generation that has never NOT known technology.

They are used to being seconds away to finding an answer on Google, sending their current status to friends via a fun picture or video and learning anything they want to learn via their laptop (for example on YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Google online courses, Udemy, Teachable, among others). They are no strangers to businesses evolving to continue to be consumer-minded and have an app for that when it comes to convenience like: ordering your coffee before you get there, order a ride from no matter where you are, order your groceries online and pick them up outside the grocery store or (gasp!) even have them delivered to you via some other third-party app. And let’s not forget, there better be Wi-Fi on the plane.

There are a lot of wonderful things about every generation and maybe some things we all contribute to regarding stereotypes. No matter age, experience or style, it’s key to learn about the people you are working with (peers, supervisors, leadership teams) or if you are an entrepreneur and business owner: your customers and any differences needed for them (should you be on Tik Tok? Is Instagram still where it’s at? How do you add online appointments to your site? Do you need an app for that?).

In this world of instant gratification, we have all adapted to the conveniences of technology so why would this new generation be any different. There’s been research shared with how they shop and even how they learn. Is anyone teaching them about those that came before them when they enter the work force or look to gain professional experience working with entrepreneurs, startups or small business owners?

I’d like to recommend taking a look at Lindsey Pollak’s research, read or listen (thank you, Audible) to her latest book, The Remix, How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace and even her new podcast, The Work Remix, for any limited on time or attention span. It is really powerful how she is able to easily translate lots of research in to actionable items (let’s bring back apprenticeships! Skip the ping pong table for more time in nature!). She is kind and provides refreshing ideas on how to adapt our work styles to others as well as what is important in the workforce. She is also really against generational shaming. ALL OF IT. And that’s beautiful.

So, before we roll our eyes and throw a generational comment at someone, can we get to know each other better and be flexible and adaptable in how we find and work toward our common goals? For one, I’m excited working with iGen and am always asking myself (as a loud and proud Gen Xer) how I can adapt or meet their learning styles. All in fun, I do wish they would read my emails but I might have to let that go and get more used to text.

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Business Marketing

Malomo helps online retailers keep up with retail giants

(BUSINESS MARKETING) With giant companies like amazon able to offer free shipping, and super fast arrival times, how can a smaller company keep up?

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Malomo home page

When Amazon is out here offering two-day shipping on all kinds of products from televisions to toothbrushes, ordering something from a smaller online retailer can have an almost humbling effect.

When faced with a basic UPS tracking number and shipping email, you realize how accustomed you’ve gotten to receiving play-by-play shipping information and a little photograph of your package when it arrives at your front step.

People have come to expect a lot from their online shopping experience. Huge online retailers, like Amazon, are crafting these expectations as another strategy to edge out competition. It’s all by design. So, how are smaller companies supposed to keep up with this demand?

Online retailers need tools that allow them to compete with the big boys and Malomo is here to help. Malomo is a shipment tracking platform designed for ecommerce marketers who want to level up their customer experience. Their mission is to help brands build authentic relationships with customers. Their platform allows online retailers to keep their customers up-to-date with shipping information using a beautiful branded platform.

Malomo could be a game changer for online retailers looking to build a more faithful customer base. Malomo’s platform can do so much more than send tracking information. The platform adds another layer to the customer journey by letting you create a digital space where your business can continue to build that customer brand connection.

Online retailers can use the platform to inform customers if there are any issues with their order such as a late shipment or a problem with an item. The platform can also be used to advertise other products, educate customers about the brand, or send targeted coupons.

In addition to offering a beautiful platform, Malomo provides online retailers with valuable analytics on customer behavior such as click-through rates on tracking information. Malomo integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify making it a smooth addition to your overall strategy.

By integrating these ecommerce tools online retailers can harness the power of data to improve their customer experience, drive future sales, and keep up with customer demands for a world-class shipping experience.

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