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The Wild West or Playing Nice in Kindergarten

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Where is Wyatt Earp when you need him?

I love a good discussion. It is stimulating, and if folks stay on topic, and debate the issue both sides can come away learning from each other and gain a new perspective.

Opinions

There are lots of opinions floating around in the blogosphere, there are dozens of techniques to marketing and there are varying opinions on what works and what does not work in any given market.

Last year, I met a Realtor online through Activerain. She has a huge business. But, how she grows her business is not what is comfortable for me. She really wanted me to try the program she was involved in and had built her business around, but I told her, “I’m sorry I just don’t do cold calls”. (Never have and never will).

Some agents love OPEN Houses and swear by them. (I did one this whole year.)

I love my Pay per Click campaigns and yes, I love capturing and engaging those leads. Yet there are many people that don’t agree and want to generate all their business organically. (54% of all closings this year via PPC.)

My point

We can learn from one another and be respectful of whatever techniques we use to grow our business, without it getting personal. A good discussion is healthy for us all.  When it gets personal it shuts the door on any opportunity for everyone to grow and it kills the relationship. Now if I was sitting around not doing much business, I might have been more open to cold calling. (Not really) But, I respect this Realtor and admire the success she and her team have accomplished.

Be Respectful

The way we run our business, the model we choose to follow is not for everyone. When the discussion goes from respect to an attitude of self-righteousness we close the door on the relationship. We were taught to play nice in kindergarten therefore I don’t feel it is too far fetched for us to agree to disagree respectfully.

In many ways the blogosphere is similar to the Wild, Wild West, without the influence of Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. The last I heard there is not and never will be one way to do things.

One person does not hold the sum total of all truth.

Photo Credit

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Paula Henry

    January 8, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    You know what they say about opinions:) What works for one agent may or may not work for the next – it looks like you have found what works for you and are successful with it.

    Respect will go further toward strengthening a relationship than other attitude.

  2. Brian Block

    January 9, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Missy, just as there are agents who swear by cold calling and others that put their faith in client parties and mailers, there are top agents who move tons of real estate ever year and have never even heard of the internet. Different strokes for different folks.

    There’s more than one way to be successful in this business.

    However in the end, it all comes down to good customer service once you’ve got the clients if you truly want to rise above the crowd.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    January 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Missy – It is amazing to me since I started just how many “methods” there are to getting business done in real estate. I’m a bit of an oddity in my office as not many people enjoy the computer side of things and swear by some older schools of thought…and they are successful. When I spoke with Jeff Turner we had spoken about the hard sell method. I hate it, I despise it, and can’t figure out why anyone would want to use it. Jeff had the best answer – because it works. I might not see how it works and probably would be terrible at it, but if it didn’t work for the people who use it, they wouldn’t be using it. There’s a lot of options out there and I think all agents just need to find the one(s) that fit and they can work most comfortably in that are successful for them.

  4. Chris Shouse

    January 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I keep hearing you rave about PPC maybe it is something I should try. I get told I am not aggressive enough but am not comfortable pushing people. I would rather give them all the information they need, meet their needs and become friends. Great post BTW

  5. Elaine Reese

    January 9, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    A lot of people say that agents should have a blog in order to be successful in the future. While I love my blog, I see lots of agents who are quite successful with doing hardly anything on the Internet. The reason is they have a lot of connections with their sphere, are active in their community, have a spouse or kids that broaden their sphere even more.

    If those agents were drop the time they spend face-to-face in order to spend time on the Internet, then their business might suffer.

    I heard someone make a comment on TV saying “there’s a lid for every pot”. Our business is like that as well. We do what fits our personality or circumstances or market. It’s good to be different because we’re each appealing to a different set of clients.

  6. Thomas Johnson

    January 9, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    “One person does not hold the sum total of all truth.”

    Missy: Great post. I think Wyatt would agree that the guy with 4 aces is pretty close to the sum total.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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