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I Shall Call Him… Mini-Me.

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you know you want to do the voice... go ahead.I was talking with my father the other day – a mutual acquaintance had called us both, an agent in a different city who in the course of conversation was bragging about his success, that he had just brought on his second Buyer’s agent.

My father was adamant: he would never want to list his house with someone who separates Buyers and Sellers to different people.  Last time Dad sold a house, he listed with a guy who just lists and lists and lists and passes off all buyers to his team.  Pop’s impression was that his agent listed his house and was never seen from again.  I have a feeling there were major lack of communication issues there, but regardless, that’s how he sees it.

I was trying to explain the division of labor and the reasons behind having a team set up that way, but he wouldn’t hear of it.  No way, he says.  I want to list my house with the people who work with Buyers.  Those are the people who know house values and are more likely to know a large group of Buyers who might want my home.

We didn’t get to finish that conversation, but it was something that got me thinking.  Should we be specialists?  Or more well-rounded?  In a successful growing business, you eventually run into human limits and have to hire help in order to satisfy growing demand.  So does Team Housechick have a listing specialist and buyer specialists?  Or do I create a couple of mini-me’s who can handle either side with ease?  And more importantly, what’s best for the consumer?

(and then – can I hire a dude under team housechick?  what if they turn out to be ill-tempered?  have i limited myself to only half of the agent population?)

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at KelleyKoehler.com, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Athol Kay

    November 5, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I think it sounds like the listing agent did just disappear into the sunset as soon as the listing was signed. Bad communication there.

    Your Dad is wrong on the needing to know the buyers front. Agents and buyers are just getting their info from the MLS, the odds of “hey I know a guy” are pretty slim these days. And then, even if you “know a guy” you should still put the house on the MLS anyway and see what other buyers get interested.

    At some point you’ll need to group it up to develop business beyond what you can do yourself. It’s the way I think all RE business will head. Be a team leader, join a team, or start missing out.

    >>can I hire a dude under team housechick?

    /raises eyebrows…

  2. Daniel Rothamel

    November 6, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    I agree with Athol on this one. If the agent your Dad worked with had tons of buyer clients, would his experience have been any different? Probably not. As an agent, I have worked with other agents who specialize, and those that do both almost equally and very well. Does it make a difference? Not in my experience. Good agents are good agents, regardless of the nature of their clients.

  3. Toby Boyce

    November 7, 2007 at 2:16 am

    This is a great topic, and as a single agent — I believe that there is a difference between the two. Of course, the key being that GOOD agents are good agents regardless of what they are doing.
    However, I’ve seen too many “listers” that don’t have the communication skills or management system in place to balance the volume of listings.
    Of course, the same can be said (and is true) of single agents.

  4. Benn Rosales

    November 8, 2007 at 7:40 am

    I do not agree with a team approach. I think it has its place, but personally, I think there are better ways to get from a-b. Your dad likes the old way of doing business- he isn’t into being a product, he wants to be respected with a handshake and a cup of coffee, a gentlemans agreement, and results by reputation. That’s back when an agent earned his 3-6, it wasn’t maximized into fastfood real estate.

  5. Ken Jansen

    July 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I think it would be funny to be the guy on the housechick team. You could were a kilt to the office. Ok, maybe not. I have seen both sides of the team argument played out well and poorly. There are some teams in Kansas City that are great and I would and have referred friends and family to them. There are other teams where they operate just like your dad envisioned and I can’t stand to work with them. The same is true of individual agents. It really depends on the professsionalism, systems, and abilities of those involved.

    Thanks!

    Ken

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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