The problem is…
Recently I perused an article on Sellsius.com where Joseph Ferrara was blogging about selling real estate with sexy ads. It got me thinking about the marketing I have to do now as a real estate educator, as opposed to what I did as a practicing broker. The problem is that I can’t make education “sexy”.
There are very few folks who get excited at the opportunity to learn. I love it! I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to learn. Ok, I’ll be candid, I love the opportunity to know more than someone else! Really, to be the “one” that knows the answer when no one else does, is an awesome feeling. My ability to recall facts and pertinent information in a transaction has served my clients well in many circumstances where the co-operating agent didn’t know what to do.
Agents are employed for many reasons
Agents are employed for a variety of reasons, in some cases it might be that the agent has the lockbox key and the MLS access, but for many other consumers it’s because they simply need help navigating the complicated process of buying or selling real estate.
You’re hired for your brains and frankly, not everyone who has a license has brains. I’ve heard the complaints that pre-license requirements are too easy and too few hours, for most states. I’m not convinced that increasing the hours in a lot of states would be a deterrent. Having taught new agents, I know that many of them think (regardless of how much we pronounce otherwise) that there is a pot of gold at the end of the pre-licensing process. Many will walk thru the fire to get there. Why? Too many brokers are out there telling these folks that they can make $100,000 their first year and make their own schedule. We’ve got tons of “motivational” real estate folks still selling books by telling agents how to take weekends off and make six figures. It’s hard work, many times it’s unappreciated and to do it well, requires true perseverance.
How about making the examination process more exigent? I do agree that this would help, but I know lots of folks who are great with tests and have virtually no commonsensical diligence. This career requires a lot of critical thinking skills and that is a difficult skill to instruct. Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t.
So, where does continued education have it’s place? There is framework and skill sets necessary to be successful in this career. That framework is evident in our Code of Ethics (which in many states is the premise for statutory legislation) and the Real Estate Board regulations. This is a exceptionally legislated industry because of the consumer protection that is needed. RESPA, Fair Housing, Real Estate Boards, MLS rules, Lockbox rules, Code of Ethics, State Statutes, all not only impact our business, but change almost annually. Someone needs to bring this information to you.
So, we’ve all read the advertisements pleading with you to take a class and expressing that Realtors with designations, make 60% more than those that do not.
Courses are difficult
I think this thought process is a case of Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for “after this, therefore because of this.” It’s rarely true. I surmise that professionals take designation courses because this is their career and they know that they have to know their craft well to succeed. Some of the designation courses are unrealistically difficult to achieve and costly. Only those who are succeeding can usually achieve them. If we (we being educational leaders) want folks to take our classes, we’re going to need to make them more appropriate to the market and today’s practitioner. We’ll also need to make them more cost effective and readily available.
Complicated formulas and overpriced courses that a leaner has to hunt down, and then get a home equity line to take, aren’t going to be effective. Knowledge should be easy to access and meet needs. Eight hour courses on print-media-marketing isn’t really a good use of most educational hours. Catering to “how we used to do business” and dwelling on desk duties and open houses don’t astound most people and honestly, how much training does it take to do these tasks?
Do designations help you?
Do designations help you in your career? Yes, I think designations help, if the Realtor knows how to use them in their marketing plan. Just having some letters after one’s name means nothing to most consumers. Remember that many consumers still use the first Realtor that they encounter. So, knowledge gained in education is more important in serving the client, than it is in getting the client.
Many people have repined after classes that the course did not meet their expectations. Why, because they were looking for the silver bullet. Education is a process of learning and developing that never ends. There is no one class that will make you rich. Don’t believe the hype. It’s important for the practitioner to be well rounded, have a good balance of seeking information and being open to receive it from others.
It’s a mess
My state has recently increased the post licensing credit hours to 30 hours in the first year. This is going to be very difficult for many new agents. The courses are difficult to find, as we’ve only offered post licensing for a short time. The hours must be in specific categories and cannot duplicate each other. There is a different segment for experienced agents after their first renewal and the agent has be to be careful to really look at the class to ensure it’s mandatory and offering the correct hours. Honestly, even as elitist as I am about education, it’s become pretty complicated to keep the license in the first year. So, what do most agents do? They take the easy way out and go take a 30 hour online class, that ends up being just a review of the same pre-licensing program that they started out with. It’s a mess…. The end result will be that the agent will be no better educated than day one.
Is knowledge sexy?
Knowledge without wisdom is ineffectual. Agents need to be able to appropriately use what they know and study to know what’s necessary to protect themselves and their clients. Educators have the responsibility to help the leaner build a bridge between the two. Anyone can read a PowerPoint presentation, but it takes a real Educator to bring the information together for the Agent.
Do I think smart is sexy? I certainly hope so, it explains why my awesome wife married me! I “ain’t got” much more going on…
What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups
(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?
Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).
So let’s break it down.
Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.
Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).
What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.
Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.
Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.
How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?
Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.
Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.
Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.
Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.
Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.
Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.
In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!
Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:
- background remover tool
- templates based on popular product niches and themes
- design bundles for your website/store, social media
- annotation tool
- upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
- 1 click brand application
- & much more!
“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.
Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.
Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!
This new Chipotle location will be fully digital
(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.
A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.
To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.
The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.
It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.
Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.
As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.
For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.
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