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Listing Agents: Where’s The Beef?

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heres-the-beef.jpgHow do you market yourself to sellers? Do you harp on about your track record, or how you won the gold star award 2 years in a row back in 2002? Do you flash cool agent extensions such as e-Pro, and say that you know how to “harness” the power of the “Internet” (that’s the one with the email..right?)? Do you use clever slogans that rhyme so well they baffle the mind?…

Of course you do! And there is nothing wrong with that. But please, for your own sake, do not stop there. Like any service-based business, you must define deliverables . As an agent, you may not want to do this, but there is real value in eliminating the mystery from your service offerings. What will I get when I hire you to sell my house? People are tired of empty promises, because these days, they are a dime a dozen. “I will work tirelessly to sell your home at the right price”… Well, how? “We use online tools and marketing techniques to effectively market your house”… What tools?

These questions can be answered easily, but you really can’t publish them unless you define real marketing processes and commit to them. Do you always hire a professional photographer? Do you make a 4 page flyer every time? Do you use video or virtual tours? Online listing services and classifieds? Which ones? How many? I could go on and on.

“It depends on price”… This may be true, but even if you define the bare minimum marketing practices, you will go a lot further with potential clients than with nothing at all. When you define expectations, your trust level will skyrocket over your competition and puncture a hole in their hot-air balloon. This is especially true in online marketing, where the customer may not know you. If you have a blog that is helping them get to know you, useful and honest information about local market conditions, as well as a clearly defined list of deliverables you use when listing every home… You may be irresistible. This is before first contact!

Trim the fat and show me the beef!

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mariana

    October 26, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    I feel that it is important to provided detailed examples of what is going ot be offered to Sellers. I also believe that there should be systems in place that keep the agent accountable to the Seller for everything that the agent promised.

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    The fear of this approach is once you set in stone what you will do, it’s not enough and you lose them. Many feel it is better to get in front of the seller and demonstrate. Have you ever seen a good example of this firm approach related to real estate?

  3. Carson

    October 30, 2007 at 3:26 am

    Well, no. But I would think if an agent had a ton of tools and methods they use, it would be a good idea to list them out… So when a prospect learns of these tools through your site and then asks another realtor (R?) if they list on Trulia or something, and that realtor has no idea what that is (totally possible), you will appear to be a genius. Just a theory.

  4. Kelley Koehler

    October 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Hmm. I’m in the not detailing out a specific plan camp. I want my Sellers to buy into me as their marketing expert – therefore this is generally what I am going to do, here is data on why it works, here’s an example, and this is what my systems look like, and here’s how you’re always going to know exactly what I’m doing and when, so that you and I both know what’s going on.

    I go into great detail for a few tools/methods as examples, a demonstration that I can leverage that medium beyond the typical agent, and always hit internet advertising in detail – as a differentiation tool – but try to keep the marketing presentation part short and sweet. If I can’t get someone to trust me and want to hire me in 15 minutes or less, I’m not sure that blabbing on for half an hour or more will change their minds. I want people to be convinced I’m an expert and hire me for that – hire me because they believe in my abilities, not because I pitched a specific plan, or (horror) said I’d do a virtual tour.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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