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My Tool Box

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The Great Debate

The great debate continues: Open houses, blogging, cold calling, door knocking, postcards, coaching, newsletters, drip email. If you listen to vendors, they have the answer.

Seems to me Realtors will buy anything – including myself. I’m always looking for the magic key and I like to check out new products. If someone has an idea, I want to hear it. RE/MAX has a whole catalogue of stuff to buy. They call it the Approved Supplier Catalogue. I used to think that that meant I should buy what’s in there, it was approved! Oh brother, have I come a long way since then, but I still may not be all the way there – wherever there is.

Some Things We All Need

There are some things that we all need. Business cards – check. Laptop – check. Car – check (there was an agent in my office who didn’t). Cell phone – check. Website – check. Pens – for how often I accidentally/on purpose lose them, they’re worth buying a box. Signs – check. Personalized letterhead – check. Name badge – check – do I wear it? That’s another post. Brand clothing? Um, if the company gives it to me, I’ll wear it. Moving van? Liability, gas, parking – that would be a no. Car wrap? I want to be able to make illegal u-turns, speed and inadvertently get too close to other cars with anonymity – that would be a no. Blog – love it – double check. Camera – not for houses, for the blog – check.

Once you get past the obvious, it gets a little blurry. When the phone solicitors call and say, “If you make ONE DEAL off of our product, it will be worth it.” I came back with: If I made all of my business decisions that way, I’d be out of business. Then I’d get, “It’s not that expensive.” I went to: It’s not in the budget or I’ve already made my budget and that’s not in it. They don’t have a come back for that one – give them time.

So Then What?

So how do you determine what you need to operate a successful business? That depends. I say get the essentials, make some money then research, research, research.

If you hate doing open houses, don’t. You won’t be good at them. I have a great time. I like to turn them into social events. I invite my friends and clients, have food and music. I typically have another agent or mortgage person there to keep me entertained when there aren’t any visitors or I bring something to do. If no one comes to the open, I try to be satisfied with the fact that hundreds of drivers have seen my name as they pass my signs – I use as many as possible. Do opens work for me? Of course they do. What is the ROI? I have no idea. I like doing them. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t work.

Time Spent Prospecting

That’s not to say you shouldn’t do what you don’t like. I was in a focus group the other day. There was some banter with a struggling agent about how to get business. I said, “70% of your time should be spent prospecting.” He responded, “I don’t like prospecting.” Okay, now, if that’s the case, get another job.

I have to agree with Jonathan; hearing go back to the basics is like the Macarena. It was catchy when it came out. Now it’s just annoying. Any time I read the subject line of an email similar to “the key to selling homes in this down market,” I think here we go again. I’ve got to see what the pill is; but if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Making Millions In Real Estate

The true answer to making millions in real estate: Work your a** off. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. Sorry to disappoint any of you get-rich-quickers.

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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jacksonville Florida Realtor

    February 13, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Real Estate has always been about getting in front of people who want to buy or sell homes.

    This can be done through the use phone calls, networking groups, a blog, etc. I have seen different Realtors succeed with each.

    Just make sure your chose method is something you enjoy and then do it everyday. Because you do have to work you’re a** off in this business.

  2. Athol Kay

    February 13, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I think the great problem with the get rich quickers is that there is a whole industry that exists off of training a bunch of real estate newbies before they quit the business. So there are very few people actually saying real estate is actual work to people before they get into the business.

  3. Mark Harrison

    February 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I’d intended writing about business cards, but having read comment number 3, I feel I have to respond. I’m speaking as someone who runs (UK) training in real estate here.

    I _do_ say that making money is a lot of hard work over a long time. This means that I’ve not had the stellar success of some of my “competitors” who preach a “make money fast” approach.

    Interestingly, 5 years in from starting that business, most of my competitors have vanished, but I’m still around, pretty much entirely working on referral business 🙂

    The best filter question I’ve found for the property trainers:

    – Do you, personally, make more money from rental property, or from running training courses?

    Right – now to business cards – I stopped using them about 2 years ago. Instead, I now COLLECT business cards, or hand out forms inviting people to signup to my free newsletter. In either case, once I have a potential customer’s contact details, I can make sure they get updates about the property market, legal changes and the like. It typically takes 6-12 months before someone is comfortable enough with the way I think for them to buy a book or go on a training course I run. I realise that the Realtor experience is different – when people KNOW they want to buy / sell a house, they know where to go. When people THINK they want to start investing in real estate, they don’t really know where to turn.

  4. Mack in Atlanta

    February 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Vicki, your last paragraph sums up this business the best. It is amazing but “The harder I work the luckier I get”. There are no magic pills as we would be led to believe. It blows my mind how many of the telemarketers to the real estate industry start their spill with would you like to do more business or can you stand to sell a few more homes every month.

    What each agent needs to do is select several prospecting techniques that they are comfortable with and utilize them.

  5. Vicki Moore

    February 14, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for your input, guys. I think there’s a lot more to this topic that needs to be said. I’m going to work on that.

  6. Steve Simon

    September 24, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Nothing real Earth Shattering to add, I just liked reading your post; it must be your style of writing, it was entertaining 🙂
    I have been telling students for over twenty years;
    “Work at the business half ass and you should be OK, because most I see are at about a quarter ass…”

  7. Vicki Moore

    September 24, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks Steve. I think I’m pretty funny – glad you do too. I’ve never heard about the “quarter ass.” That’s a good one.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand in 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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