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It’s All About Me – Again

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Aaron Dickinson reminded me of something that always leaves me a little let down. The end of the transaction.

We work extremely closely with our clients, spending a great deal of time with them. We learn about their families, jobs, finances, personal preferences, even their favorite tv shows. We’re creating a relationship, a bond, a trust.

In order to find just the right house, we need to know if they like to garden. Do they have a dog? Big dog? Inside or outside dog? What do they do for a living? How far will they be commuting? Or do they need a home/office? Maybe they bring home a work vehicle. Do they cook and have a lot of gadgets? Do they prefer a gas or electric stove? Do they have one car or two? Have they purchased/sold a home before? Do they enjoy the negotiation process or is it going to keep them up all night? The questions go on and on. Why?

Realtors always have a dilemma: are we providing to much information or not enough? It’s important for the client to be educated, not overwhelmed. They should be comfortable in making decisions, know they’re in control of the process and understand what’s happening and why, know what’s normal for a purchase or sale, and know what the options are in each situation.

We’ve got the criteria. The next challenge begins. Now we have to put it into a tangible property in the right price range, location and condition. That house isn’t always available. We’ve gotten to know the client and now it becomes a concern of them becoming disappointed. We want them to not only be happy with our services but be happy with the process. If they see too many houses they don’t like, it becomes discouraging and frustrating.

We find the one. We review the disclosures and there’s something unappealing about them. Nope, it’s not the one. The process starts all over. By now I know them even better. We’re a team. We’re working toward a common goal. The stakes are really high. If I make a blooper now, it could ruin all the trust I’ve worked so hard to build. And the client is out all of the time and commitment they’ve invested believing that I could do the job for them.

Right from the beginning, I’m fighting an uphill battle. I have to prove that I’m not the same as Aunt Patty’s realtor in Florida who cheated her out of her life savings.

So back to shopping we go. We find the right home. It’s the one they’ve always wanted. The inspections and disclosures are great. Friends and family come by to give their approval. Now I’ll really be a jerk if I screw it up.

We get the appraisal. No problem. Loan documents arrive at the title company. We sit at the table together while they sign them. A few days later, they’re proud, happy home owners holding the keys to their dream. Their new life is off and running.

What about me? I don’t get to see or talk to them several times a week. I lose track of their every day life. Yes, I call to catch up, but it’s not the same. So I’ve gotten quite sneaky. I make them my friends. That way I can call whenever I want, drag them to dinner or a movie, go to the dog park, birthday parties, baseball games. I have to say, it’s worked out quite well.

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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Nice one! We DO work so hard to build a relationship with our clients. We become an intricate part of their lives … until closing. I hate breaking up as much as the next guy. So, I love to make my clients my friends as well, because you never need an excuse to call a friend.

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    As a guy I can say it is no different for me. My clients are everything to me, it’s personal, it’s not about a commission, it’s about winning for them. They see this, know this, live this for the life of a transaction and suddenly it’s over- they’re moved in and the need for you is very small. So you have two choices, 1 get dumped and it’s over, or 2, you do exactly what you described- you make friends. Golf, football, bbqs, whatever- I can honestly say some of my clients have become by greatest friends, many others have become friends of my wife, but one thing is for sure, my life is richer because of them, our relationships go far beyond that of a commission.

  3. Jeremy Hart

    October 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I agree, I’ve been so fortunate to see customers become clients, and clients become friends. Just this week I’ve had lunch with one client-become-friend, golf with another, and then some weekend fun with another. One of the benefits that CAN’T be valued in this business is the opportunity to influence lives, and have yours influenced, by these relationships. Great job Vicki!

  4. Vicki Moore

    October 23, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    It’s one of the best parts of the job. I was calling them client-friends, but I’ve dropped the client part. Somehow the people I don’t like know it and they fire me.

  5. Athol Kay

    October 24, 2007 at 4:44 am

    >>Somehow the people I don’t like know it and they fire me.

    That’s a whole post right there.

  6. Vicki Moore

    October 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Ooooo Athol! Thanks for the direction. I’ll put that together!

  7. Athol Kay

    October 24, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I do what I can. 🙂

  8. Vicki Moore

    October 24, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    You’re the best!

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Business Marketing

5 ways voice is changing the SEO game

(TECH NEWS) As voice assistants take over our lives, you may worry how your SEO fares in this new, uncharted territory. Let’s discuss.

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voice and SEO

SEO is a moving target. The standards change constantly so, despite years of experience, many web designers struggle to meet all the optimization guidelines. How, then, can any business confidently approach the web design process? It starts with recognizing those evolving norms, the newest of which is voice search.

Why Voice Search Matters

For years, the dominant SEO rule has been mobile first. The introduction of voice recognition systems, like Siri and Alexa, to smartphones has dramatically changed how we interact with devices. In fact, 20% of Google searches are voice searches with that number expected to grow rapidly over the next few months. Businesses and web designers, then, need to make sure their sites are voice ready if they want to stay relevant. Though the sites may stay the same visually, they need to gain a new edge functionally.

From The Ground Up

Modifying your website to support voice search isn’t as simple as many other SEO transitions, but if you take a ground up approach to the process, you’ll be able to reshape your website around those changes. Still, you’ll need help to do this correctly. When adapting your website for voice, SEO consultant Aaron Rains recommends hiring an expert for a full site audit and analysis to maintain your page ranking. You don’t want your page to take a rankings hit because you’re trying to keep up with the trends.

Expanding Your Device Options

In addition to its advantages from a mobile perspective, making the move to voice search also means expanding your site’s horizons by making it more accessible to new devices, particularly the smart home speakers that are gaining in popularity. Users are particularly comfortable with these devices because they rely on natural speech patterns rather than half-formed search terms. Children growing up with these smart speakers in their homes seem to view them as part of the family and will be native voice search users as they grow.

Snippets For Search

Part of updating your website for speech is optimizing the content to match changing search patterns. One of the key ways to do this is through the use of featured snippets.

Featured snippets are designed to help put your website in the #0 spot – the top ranking. To do that, you’ll want to put the answers to your most popular queries in the first few sentences on your page. This is especially for purchasing and local search since people frequently use voice search to find local businesses. If you can optimize for the most important snippets early on, you’ll be way ahead on the competition and have a greater ROI.

Rebuild and Reassess

After modifying your website for voice, you may find your rankings initially drop. That’s because you need to request your site be re-indexed. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to match queries with your new site content. Re-indexing will put all of your new information into effect and make it possible for users to search using the featured snippets. Re-indexing your site will also help you ensure that you haven’t interfered with the crawl-ability of your site.

Experts expect half of all searches to be voice-driven by 2020, but since 50% of users with voice search access already use it at least occasionally, now is the time to act. Even if many users are still wary of voice search, you can’t afford to fall behind. Those users will still be able to rely on traditional text search mechanisms, but that won’t help voice enthusiasts. If you lose those early adopters now, they might not come back when you’ve caught up with the voice search revolution.

This editorial was first published here in March of 2018.

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Business Marketing

10 podcasts that every business owner should hear

(MARKETING) If you’re a business and want to learn something, give one of (or all of) these ten podcasts a listen.

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headphones listen podcasts

So many choices, so little time

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

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From interviews with business leaders to industry specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

Business podcasts for your listening enojoyment

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly populat show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further thna Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real world applications and cover everything from marketing to techology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

#LearnSomething

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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