The lesson develops
In 1987, a movie called TheLast Emperor told the story of Aisin-Gioro “Henry” Pu Yi, who at the age of three was named the Emperor of China, and died as a gardener at the Botanical Gardens of Peking. In one scene, the 15 year old Emperor is being introduced to his tutor, R.J. Johnston (played by Peter O’Toole), who is teaching him how to speak English. The lesson develops in to a conversation about words:
Reginald Fleming ‘R.J.’ Johnston: Words are important.
Pu Yi, at 15: Why are words important?
Reginald Fleming ‘R.J.’ Johnston: If you cannot say what you mean, your majesty, you will never mean what you say and a gentleman should always mean what he says.
Our business is about communication, no matter what the medium, and we can all learn a lesson from good old R.J. (while disavowing his early 1900’s chauvinism). Sometimes we’re not very good at what should be our core skill – communicating clearly. And I mean all of us- brokers, agents, lenders, title insurers, and even consumers (though they are not culpable, since we’re the professionals). Some of it comes from hurrying, some of it from taking the easy way out (being lazy) and some of it comes from bad habits and a lack of conscious thought (or maybe planning). And as a result of all of these things we fail to get the results we want from our communication, or even worse, we end up with unforeseen and unintended consequences.
Let me give you some examples so you can perhaps feel my pain –
Agents who say,
- “Let me tell you the truth” (Why? Have you been lying to me so far?)
- You have to extend the listing, I have spent a lot of time trying to get your property sold! (And as the seller I would care about your time because…why?)
- I’m sorry, the home you’re calling about was sold. (And I’m too lazy to turn this inquiry into an opportunity to sell you another one)
- Here’s a verbal offer on that property. I didn’t put the offer in writing because I didn’t want to waste your time (So you decided that this phone call was less of a waste of time ?)
- I know the property is a foreclosure being sold “as is” but will the bank repair…(What part of “as is” are you having trouble understanding?)
I hate Lenders who say,”If you extend the mortgage approval date, I guarantee we’ll have an approval !”(Does that mean that if you don’t get the approval in a timely manner that you’ll write a check in the amount of the required mortgage?)
I hate when people…
I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SEND EMAILS AND DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT USING LOWER CASE LETTERS IS AN OPTION (or are too lazy to take the Caps Lock off). i also hate when people think they are ee cummiings and dont use punctuation or spell chekker and are too lazy to use eether the shift key or anything that isnt a lower cace lettr
I H8 ppl who txt 2 much OMG LOL (I hate people who text too much Oh My God, Laughing out loud) TMOT J00 TXT PLU BCOS J00 WAN2TLK TSNF (Trust Me On This/You / Text /People Like Us /Because /You /Want To Talk/That’s So Not Fair)
My hate is a gray wraith swirling around the ceiling as I lay and watch the sun rise and though I enjoyed Ulysses —- written by James Joyce in a stream of consciousness during a single day in Dublin showing the flavor and taste of that city at that time with a literary arrogance that desired the reader to take the same amount of time to read and understand the thoughts of the author as the author took to write the massive missive, I don’t want to read emails or letters or other poorly parsed communications from anyone who is neither a literary giant nor dead because I’ll want to kill them myself-
How do we do better?
So how do we do a little better? Maybe with some really basic ideas-
When you are making a point to a client or customer, think through how you phrase your questions. Ask open ended questions (ones that cannot be answered with a yes or no) – these encourage the consumer to provide you with more information by clarifying their position.
Remember that you speak with some authority, and you need to be sure to tell people what you know, not what you think. As a salesperson, I was always taught that its OK to say “I don’t know” as long as you followed it up with the words, “but I’ll find out”.
There are lots of great dialogues and scripts available if you need help in framing the types of questions that will help your buyers and sellers clearly define and express their needs (they are not alone in the communication process – they need your help). And before someone objects to the less then personal mature of prepared dialogues, think for a moment about what you do that is successful in your business – Don’t you find that most people have similar issues and concerns that need to be identified at the start of the buying or selling process?
Don’t leave voice-mail messages when you are upset or need to communicate anything more than the most basic information. I actually had two agents almost come to blows a few years ago because they kept having a voice-mail conversation that started with a sarcastic reply and escalated each time there was a new response. Voice-mail is one way communication. It is best used when you leave a message asking the other party to call you back.
When you write someone a business email, think about who you are writing to. Take the time to write it like a letter and you’ll get better results. Taking just a minute or two to frame your thoughts and reread for grammar and spelling (to make sure that you didn’t have a correctly spelled word other then the one you thought you wanted (like “too” for “two”) so that it doesn’t look like you don’t care about what you were writing. And once more, if you are upset or angry, wait a little while before responding. Also remember that in case of an arbitration or litigation, this is a document which may come back to haunt you, so choose your phrases carefully.
The message you intended
Business communication should be thoughtful, appropriately formal, concise, focused, and easy to understand even if you’re not in the real estate business. When you write to another, re-read your work to be sure that the message they receive will be the message you intended to send. I sure hope this one was.
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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