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The 3 People Principle



The Mysterious Magic Of 3

3 Genie Wishes.  3 Bears.  3 Musketeers.  3 Blind Mice.  3 Stooges. MP3.  Holy Trinity. 3 Magic Beans.  3 Leaf Clover.  Menage-a-3.  3 Wise Men. Mind, Body, and Soul.   Lights, Camera, Action. Of The People, By The People, For The People.  Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Shake, Rattle, and Roll, On your mark, Get Set, Go!

It’s Not Scientifically Proven

It is evident.  Mysterious energy dances, dips and butterfly kisses things in threes.

3 dances with real estate agents too. Do you have a pair of comfortable dancing shoes?

The 3 People Principle – Everyone Knows 3

You can test the “3 People Principle”. 

1.  Walk to your car.  Get in.  Fasten your seat belt.  Start your car.  Drive to your bank. Withdraw 3 crisp Franklins.

2.  Drive to your nearest Starbucks.  Lock your car.  Walk inside.  Approach anyone.

3.  Pull out your  3 crisp $100 bills.  Smile.   Ask, “I will give you $100 for the name of each person you personally know who sold or bought a house in the last 12 months.  It can be a coworker, friend or neighbor, someone from church, bunco, Yoga….anyone you know by name?  Smile, listen and hand it over.

Odds are, you’ll leave Starbucks with a Latte, an empty wallet and a by-golly belief in the 3 People Principal.

Point your newfound belief like a platinum plated hand cannon and like Jack’s 3 magic beans, you’ll turn 3 $100 bills into a sky climbing money vine and crowds of grinning clients.

The 3 People Principle X People You Know

Here’s the deal.  Average agents focus their prospecting on people they know and chasing or attracting strangers – fine.  Here’s where average, mediocre and poor agents pollute the program. They focus on people in their sphere/network asking themselves, “Who in my sphere/network is going to buy or sell soon?”  They focus on a lonely tree, not the rich green forest.   Wrong mindset!  Like Agent Orange murders a felt green forest, ill-focused mindset strangles your personal forest of  potential, possibility and prosperity.  


Statistically, people move every 7-12 years. Know 100 people, on average, at best, maybe 7 of the 100 will move this year.  Assume these 100 fine folks know you, like you and trust you.  Assume you touch base consistently.  Assume you have routine on-purpose, in-person conversation.  Of the 7 possible moves, how many can you reasonably expect to list and sell?  Half would be fantastic, probably less is realistic, right?  So, you know 100 people, with luck, skill and strategy, you might be hired 2-4 times.  You can’t thrive on that number, can you? 

Focusing your minds eye on the 3 People Principal you will comfortably Sansabelt Stretch your potential, possibility and profitability. Stop, soak and swallow.  Digest, rest and assimilate – your 100 know 300 who will make a move in the next year.  If you’re having in-person, on-purpose contact and conversation with 200, they know 600.  If you know 300 they know 900 and so on.  Holy crap right? 

The 3 People Principle Packs A Punch

Don’t drop friendly, good people to chase strangers.  Even when you know your friendly, good people won’t move in this century, this year they will know 3 people who move.  Do stay in on-purpose, in-person touch, build trust, create Top Of Mind Awareness and earn the opportunity to politely, professionally and consistently ask for referrals.  They’ll gladly give them to you, if you ask.

Do visualize a Mike Tyson style tattoo on their forehead, inked in regret green, it reads, “I know 3 – Ask Me Who?”

Don’t ask people in your sphere/network when they are going to move. Because you’re engaged in frequent, relevant contact and conversation, you’ll discover these opportunities naturally. 

Do ask, “Of your friends at (fill in the blank, ie., work, in your neighborhood, at Yoga, in Bunco, Tennis League, etc.) who is the next to make a move?”

It’s that simple.  Kicking to the curb people who like you, trust you and aren’t moving soon is paving a deep path to mediocre and broker. When you create a new relationship with someone you like, stay in touch forever, it’s easier than ever with the phone and all the social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, eCards, eNewsletters, Blogs, etc.).  

Get to it, grow your network, deepen your relationships, start conversations and bam-boom your business.


“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

PS.  Your mortgage friend know 3, your all-smiles title rep knows 3, your grass stained landscape artist knows 3, your sweaty & stern personal trainer knows 3, your please-come-in appraiser knows 3,  your I-can-fix-anything repair women knows 3, your I-can-turn-Walmart into Neiman’s home stager knows 3, your love-the-camera photographer knows 3, your how-can-I-make-you-shine administrative manager (you don’t call them an assistant do you?), you get the picture right?

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Susie Blackmon

    February 16, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Wow! You make great sense (but please .. this doesn’t apply to men in my life I hope..). Enjoy you on Twitter! I want to be a referring realtor so I can spend more time with my websites, sm, etc., etc. Really enjoyed this post.

  2. Ken Brand

    February 16, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I’m sure in your case, the men in your life would view three as a crowd, not magical. Thanks Susie:-)

  3. Carson

    February 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Love this article.. brilliant as usual. I am a believer. And you just made me feel good about my non-sales sales strategy I have been using (It is working)

  4. Vicki Moore

    February 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    That is so interesting – I never realized there are so many 3’s. The post is interesting too. 🙂

  5. Ken Brand

    February 16, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Carson – Thanks, selling without chasing and capturing is most def the road to happiness – attract on bro.

    Vicki – 3 is a mystic number. Glad you enjoyed the read, hope it brings you a smile and more.

  6. Tim Van Antwerp

    February 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks Ken. By the way who are the three people you personally know right now that are contemplating a move to or from Central Florida?

  7. Barry Wolfert

    February 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Very interesting. Congrats on you being the Carnival’s Top Pick!

  8. Barbara Hammett

    March 16, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Fabulous post! First time I took the time to read, glad I did!

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

    To be honest with you, I have poked and prodded my poor sphere to death. Having come in as the market was tanking – I have almost gotten down on my knees begging for leads. The fact is that your friends will only recommend you to their friends if they want to. Many choose not to “get involved.” Or they want you to have “more experience” before they suggest you.
    I’ve been shocked at the lack of response from friends I’ve had for more than 20 years. So yes, it can work, but it hasn’t panned out in my case – that’s for sure!

  10. Gayle Smith

    November 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Thanks Ken, we are just beginning a new concept for the new year! Needed something new to try.

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.



offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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Business Marketing

What you can learn from Ulta Beauty’s marketing mix up with Kate Spade

(MARKETING) Ulta Beauty’s insensitive marketing email surrounding the Kate Spade brand can be a lesson: Be cautious and respond to crisis appropriately.



Woman typing on computer representing the Ulta Beauty and Kate Spade email scandal

Last week in an email sent to subscribers, Ulta Beauty made light of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. Ulta said the lighthearted connection to Spade’s death was unintentional. The email sparked anger across social media and some national news outlets picked up the story. In an emailed response to the New York Post, Ulta apologized to their customers, their Kate Spade corporate partners, and Kate Spade’s family. They ended by saying they will strive to do better.

Words matter. Messaging matters. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this painful mistake.

Check your tone. It’s one of the early things we teach writing students. The tone should match the content. If the icon you’re using to sell a product ended their own life, perhaps light and fun isn’t the tone you should embrace. Ever. But most businesses won’t be dealing with well-known people whose stories have been shared with millions. It’s up to business owners and those who write their copy to ensure the tone matches the message.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over words going out to the public. Or even a third and fourth. Often those in the creative room are brainstorming messages, reworking copy, and looking for the perfect pitch. And they get it. It sounds good, looks good, is easy to say and share, and, best of all, it will lead to sales. Having a multi-person system in place to check the copy and someone separate to give final approval can help catch the oh-my-God-no great words, but absolutely not pieces of sales copy.

Listen to your customer base and have a system in place to listen quickly. All businesses need systems for immediate customer response in play. Ulta caught their so-called oversight quickly.  But they’re a huge brand and Kate Spade was a beloved fashion icon. The negative response went viral and they had a giant mess to clean up. Companies make messes with their words often, messes that don’t immediately go viral but lead to real pain for consumers. When customers ask you to stop a message, listen to them and act.

Apologies don’t make excuses. If you’re caught in a messaging mess of your own making, I’m sorry goes a long way. If needed, follow that apology up with a plan to show you’re serious about “doing better” and making sure this never happens again.

If you find yourself in a place where a public apology is necessary, consider hiring a crisis manager to help with that plan as well.

Part of business today is constant communication with consumers. Try to have systems in place so you don’t find yourself in a “learning to do better” moment like Ulta. Words aren’t just about sales. They have power. Remember that.

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Business Marketing

Experience Design & Marketing: Where do they intersect, where do they diverge?

(MARKETING) The field of marketing has been around the sun and back, whereas experience design is a newer, but growing field. Where do they overlap?



marketing trends and experience design

Identify, understand, educate, promise, and fulfill. Is that marketing or experience design? Is it both? The closer we get to marketing in the digital spaces* being truly organic and less about carpeting mobile sites with pop-ups and interruptions, the more marketing and experience design (XD)** start to intersect.

Software experiences used to be only about getting jobs done and the learning curve it took to operate that software was accepted as unavoidable. There was no expectation for ease of use and the competitive landscape was far smaller. The same can be said of marketing; when the pool of offers and services were drastically smaller, you won with volume or referral. Now there are deep expectations for human-computer interactions, expectations of low friction when dealing with a system or entity, and more choices than there are biting Tweets. Volume rarely wins anymore unless the traffic spend is massive or the niche is narrow. Both of these are the result of crowded, loud marketplaces and way more noise than signal. So what did marketing do? What did XD do? They turn to delivering more curated, personal interactions and messages. Those are now driven not by gross demographics and forty pieces of car dealership push cards in my mailbox, but by extrapolated wants and needs taken from human voices and applied to custom outreach.

  1. XD uses ceremonies and activities to discover and define our version of market evaluation and segmentation.
  2. XD prototypes and iterates based on focus groups, unmoderated testing, business requirements validation, and the things they expose. That’s our audience testing.
  3. XD seeks to remove the uninteresting, unused, or unnecessary parts of a decision tree (journey if we must lingo) based on response and introduce a version sans those things to drive closer to the intent and outcome. This is our nurture.
  4. XD uses continuous feedback to improve, refine, and in some cases recommend next steps, products, adjustments, or augmentations. That is our remarketing/retargeting, it’s how we adjust the “campaign”.

And those are only the most obvious fibers of the common thread the disciplines share. Others with a deeper knowledge of both topics can surely add to this list tenfold. The essence of this examination is to ask the question, should marketing and experience design work in tandem? Under one shingle? Can they coexist as a federated faction under the larger umbrella of CX?

They are both a part of a unified journey and the natural progression from first exposure to adoption to “damn I love this thing, I think I’ll TikTok about it” for products and services. That kind of melding could serve a common goal; seamless brand engagement.

The people that consume whatever is being offered don’t see us, the company, the thing, as a cluster of siloed pods vaguely marching in the same direction. They see us as a whole and our disciplines should support that impression.

Marketers and Experience folk– integrate! Learn each other’s wares and purposes, share things that work and definitely those that don’t. XD gang, I mean really combining to achieve specific goals. Don’t just send them a Jake Knapp YouTube, find common goals. And marketing kin, this means more than citing some Sprinklr data and the latest NPS around trending SEO. Wonder Twin into a test and prove machine, use HCD tactics to undercover new copy strategies, and test it with a group in a Pepsi/Coke standoff. I know you are A/B-ing your work, but you can narrow that lane before you traffic it. We can learn from each other, we can benefit from one another, greatly.

I’m betting we can forge something slightly fresher than passing people through our business cotton gin and expecting them to feel like we are one. What are the afterimages that last from the time I see a LinkedIn post, follow to the affiliate, subscribe/buy and actually get something good out of the product? Don’t tell me there isn’t a marketing/design love story in there.

I look forward to following up on this with an actionable plan and (hopefully) killer outputs.

Be well, feel good, and know peace.

*Experience Design as a proper name encompasses exactly what is in the eponymous name; the experience is every interaction, passive or active, through the entire cycle. From the first shred of awareness of a product or service to the lasting relationship made– that is experience in this context.

**I’m not going to call it Digital Marketing anymore, pretty sure we aren’t doing direct mail along with our IG ads

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