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Passively marketing yourself in the field at a low cost

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I’m on a budget.

A Realtor friend of mine asked the other day how he can market himself better. We went over blogging, social networking, which events to make it to, business card design and more. He was enthusiastic about revamping some of his current efforts and was inspired to get to his laptop.

We were wrapping up our conversation when he declined another coffee, “I’m here all the time, I don’t even work at the office anymore, I work here, in the Starbucks.”

Interestingly, it was the very Starbucks we were sitting in last year when an older gentleman overheard us talking about brokerage models and said, “I couldn’t help but overhear you, are you a Realtor?” While we’re not, our buddy sitting with us was. They had a talk about investments and how the older man had bought a house up the street sight unseen through a broker he never met and he had a great experience and wanted to invest more in Austin. Our friend had a client.

But what if we hadn’t been chuckling and talking openly and not whispering about real estate? That opportunity would never have happened. But what if you’re alone and can’t chuckle and talk openly?

Visible branding = opening doors

If you’re a coffee shop worker-ista, there are a few ways we can suggest vamping up your visible marketing to passively market yourself and not break the bank! When we shared these with our friend, you would have thought he just discovered the internet- he was so pumped. So without further ado:

  1. Get to know StickerMule which offers custom skins for your smartphones, tablets or laptop, or you can simply order die cut stickers. Get your branding seen by putting it on your phone, your laptop, your folders and heck, since you’re in a coffee shop, instead of your business card, tack up a few stickers on the corkboard. Be sure to have your url as your branding, so remax.com instead of just remax. While you’re at it, hand them out as business cards from time to time, at tech and social events.
  2. Get a couple of polo tops or t-shirts with your logo and url printed on them- be a walking billboard. We never got around to it but wanted to have “Realtor on duty” shirts designed. Super clever, no? Very approachable. For quick orders, check out UberPrints.com or for custom screen printing that is higher quality, try Rural Rooster in Austin.
  3. Car magnets or car wraps if not cheesy can be low key yet high impact. Don’t put your phone number on the car because I’ll just call you to cuss you out when you cut me off, simply put your url. “JoeJackRealEstate.com” is all you need for a sticker or magnet. There are a lot of options, but you can order a cheap (but not necessarily high quality) work from VistaPrint or higher quality from BuildASign.
  4. Get some pens with your URL printed up just about anywhere and when you leave a table for the day, leave a pen, leave one at the grocery store for check writers and the like. So long as they’re not ugly, they’ll circulate (although this is a very low impact method).

A combination of one or some of these can help not only with your branding but by opening the door and allowing people come to you. Some people choose to wear their name tags which works too, but if that doesn’t feel right to you, laptop stickers are another great way to go.

Readers, tell us in comments how YOU passively market yourself in public. The opportunities are endless.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Ben Fisher

    May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    All great ideas here. I'm also a big fan getting work done in Sbucks.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      Ben, us too. We don't often get a chance to, but it's a great weekend work spot sometimes!

  2. Teresa boardman

    May 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I call it working in public.

  3. ken brand

    May 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Oh my, real world, supremely logical, unsexy/unshiny object, Collide With Opportunity strategies that will work if we do. Thanks. Why oh why wouldn't we do every one of these.

    As for the "I don't feel comfortable doing _________." on your list, I guess each person has to weigh it out.

    Which is more uncomfortable; no money, no listing, no buyers, no respect and no prospects.

    Or

    I feel kinda funny wearing a name badge (or doing anything else on the list), but I'll do it because I want money, listings, buyers, respect and a future.

    We choose every day, don't we?

    My rant for the evening. Thanks for a great share. Cheers everyone, this is going to be a GREAT year for the workers. Yea!

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Great year for workers indeed!

      Where I was going with my personal level of comfort is that I am not a sales person, never have been, never will be (it's not my bag), and even a nametag seems aggressive to me whereas a sticker on my laptop is more passive and more my pace… make sense? If I were in a position to sell, however, I'd have my frickin' nametag tattooed on my forehead 😉

  4. Randy Pereira

    May 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Great post, and Thanks for the tips!

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Glad to have you here, Randy! Let us know if any of the tips work for you. 🙂

  5. Jordan Gilbreath

    May 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Getting out in the crowd. Nose to Nose. That's what it takes. Picked up a client today in a coffee shop myself…she overheard us talking.

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Business Marketing

How to make sure your newly remote team stays productive.

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The tide of change is rolling in and may never recede again, so managers should know how to handle the new normal, here’s some advice.

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managers new role

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Working from home is the new normal. It’s not only employees who have to think about how they perform, but managers have to learn new skills to keep their team engaged and efficient. I’ve worked on remote teams for over 6 years. Here are some things that have helped me.

Ask “What can I do to help you?”

I’ve worked with some great managers and some awful ones. The best ones had a collaborative attitude when discussing problems. Instead of laying blame, the question was “what can we do to correct this?” It takes a little longer to think in those terms if you’re not used to it, but it reduces stress. If you’re communicating through email or message apps, it pays to reread before hitting send. We’re all learning new skills in this new normal.

Make sure your employees have the technology they need

One of the companies I work for has specific programs they use and technology requirements. Before I was allowed to proceed through their final onboarding, they made sure that I could access their technology. If your team is working from home, they need to have the resources to be productive. It’s not just computers and software, but access to internet. One of my friends said that it took them over an hour to upload a 5-minute video to Facebook.

Define success; don’t micro-manage

As I’m writing this, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green posted a question about “what’s reasonable to expect from parents who are working from home. Just a reminder that managers may have to lower expectations from their team, not only for parents, but for everyone. I don’t have kids at home, but there are many distractions out of the ordinary. Managers have to accept that people aren’t going to be as productive in these not-so-normal-times. Identify priorities. Check in when you’re on a deadline. Find a balance between managing and micro-managing.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all adapting to these crazy times. How managers handle their teams will set the tone for years to come. If you want to keep those employees who have been hard workers, you’re going to have to adjust to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Business Marketing

Easy email signature builder quickly updates your info

(BUSINESS MARKETING) When’s the last time you updated your email signature? That long? You might want to look at just sign, a new, quick, and easy, email signature generator.

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just sign email

The last thing any of us are thinking about right now is email. While we’re all staying safer at home, though, it’s a good time to think about all the little things that need our attention, but typically get neglected: clearing out the email inbox, unsubscribing from things no longer relevant, and updating our email signatures. Why the email signature?

Oftentimes, we change emails when we change jobs and forget to change our signatures to reflect our new address. The same is true with social media; if we happen to change jobs, due to our own choice or by necessity thanks to the virus, we may need to update our social media profiles accordingly, especially if the new job suddenly makes this a requirement.

One of the fastest ways to update your email signature is with a generator. An email signature generator can help you quickly make a professional looking signature in about half the time it would take you to manually add each individual component.

Just Sign is one of the quickest options I’ve seen. This email signature generator is ultra simple, ultra easy, and ultra effective. It allows you to add clickable social links, a profile picture or logo, and all relevant contact information. It also allows you to choose a color scheme and tailor the formatting a bit to your preferences. As you begin to add options to your signature, you can see a preview of what the final product will look like in the right-hand panel.

Just Sign welcome

This allows you to make any necessary changes before downloading the finished product. When you have your signature perfected, simply click the purple “generate signature” button and you’re ready to go.

Just Sign is an easy, quick way to check another thing off your to-do list while we’re all at home. If you have already updated your signature, you might save this link for later use as it’s a good idea to revisit your signature a few times a year. Oftentimes, I revise mine simply to keep the attached picture updated. Have you updated your signature lately? Do you plan to? Let us know what you think of Just Sign.

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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