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Is The Tail Wagging The Dog? Stop Waiting! Here’s How.

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Stop Waiting For Phone CallsOverheard

Got any appointments this afternoon?

I wish.

No sense waste’n the day, wanna go see Cameron’s new AVATAR flick…supposed to be awesome, if we run we can catch the 2:15, maybe it won’t be crowded and we can walk right in, grab some popcorn and check it out?  Since you suck at selling real estate and I’m the greatest of all time, I’ll buy.

Nah, I can’t.  I’m stuck here — waiting on a couple’a important calls.

What’er you talk’n about?  You’re sit’n here, just waiting?  Don’t they have your cell number?  C’mon, let’s go, it’ll be fun…I’m buy’n.  Hell, I’ll even fly too…besides, your car’s a beater.  When you gonna upgrade…it’s holding you back man, I couldn’t drive a car like that.

Two phone calls, one from the listing agent, man, this dude is a loose cannon, ever work with Smedly Fly, what an arrogant ass?  Anyway, I gave him an offer last night and I’m wait’n to hear back.  My car’s paid for.

And, that nightmare file I was telling you about, the one where the husband found his wife and her boyfriend in their backyard hot tub…and beat the guy down…BAD.  Broke the dudes clavicle and three teeth. They had to call the cops and EMS.  Ugly stuff.

Yeah, that’s wild, he’s lucky the guy  didn’t kill him dead…his wife too.

No kidding, can you imagine,  walking in on your wife and her boyfriend, drinking your Crown, naked and bang’n away in the bubbles…right there in your own backyard, in your Jaccuzi?  Anyway, they divorced, I sold her a condo in The Waterway Lofts and I’m waiting to hear from the loan officer.

They were drinking his Crown? That’s so wrong!

When are these clowns supposed to call you?

I don’t really know about the Crown, I was just imagining the worst case scenario — makes a better story.  Anyway, that’s the problem, I don’t know when they’re call’n, that’s why I’m waiting.  I have to wait in the office because I might need some forms, or scan some stuff and send it.

Whad-a-ya mean you don’t know when they’re going to call.  You’re just gonna sit here with your thumb up your butt and wait and hope they call you?  You’re a bigger clown than they are, you’re the King of Clowns!  Why don’t you call’em and find out what’s up, then let’s go to the movies.  It’s playing at Tinseltown.  Starts in 40 minutes.

No, I don’t want to call, it feels pushy and I don’t want’em to get mad at me.  They’ll call soon.  I hope anyway.

I can’t believe you.  You got it all wrong John.  The tail is wagg’n the dog here.  You gotta control and manage your communication, if you don’t, you’ll spend half your life at other peoples beck and call, wait’n around for people to call you, whenever they want.  That sucks, you should do what I do.  It works most of the time.

What’s that Obi Wan, what’s your secret mind control phone trick.

It’s not a trick, it’s genius strategy.  Because you’re kinda lame, you probably couldn’t pull it off like a pro like me does.  I’ll tell you what I don’t do, I don’t  sit around and wait.  Waiting is for amateurs….which I am not.  Seriously, I set expectations. I hold people accountable.

What ever.  Whatta ya mean, what’a’ya do?

Well, for example, when I send an offer to the listing agent I say,  “My clients excited and eager to hear back from your sellers.  So I can keep them relaxed, I’d like to let them know when you think you’ll be able to present the offer and when do you think we’ll hear back from you?” If I ask, most of the time they’re happy to share their timeline.  Then, before I hang up, I confirm the time they’ve committed to and I  let them know if I don’t hear from them, I’ll give them a call.

I’d say something like, “Ok, Mary, I’m excited about working with you.  So good luck on the presentation, if I don’t hear from you by XYZ time, I’ll give you a call to follow up.  Is that OK with you?”.  Now, I don’t have to wait around like some loser.

You don’t know if that guy is gonna call you in 10 minutes or ten o clock tonight, do you?

No, I guess not. Crap.

When I have a loan in underwriting, I do the same thing.  I ask, “When will I hear from you?” and then I tell them, “If I don’t hear from you by XYZ, then I’m calling you”.   If they don’t call me like they said, I call them and unleash hell.

Anyway, bottom line, I do two things.  I confirm when I can expect them to call and I let them know I’m going to call them if I don’t hear.  Like I said, this keeps me from waiting around like some wuss agent and I don’t ever worry about should or shouldn’t I call someone back, am I bug’n them or being too pushy.  They know I’m gonna track them down if I don’t hear from them.  I think most people, if they said they would call by XYZ, they try to do it.  Overall, it puts me more in charge of the conversation.  You should try it, it’ll make a difference.

Now, since you’re not as wise as me and these clowns left you hang’n, call’em right now, find out what’s up, ask them when they’re gonna know something and if you don’t hear from themn, YOU’RE gonna be the one calling them.  Then let’s go see Avatar.  It starts in 38 minutes.

Manage Your Follow-Up Communications

  1. Never let others get back to you without sharing their timeline and the understanding that you will follow-up if they don’t keep their committment.
  2. Always conclude the conversation by asking when you can expect to hear back from them and make a promise to contact them if you don’t hear from them.

How  Do You Manage Your Follow-UP?

If you have a tip or two, things, methods, actions or strategies that help you manage Follow-Up, we’d love to hear them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.  Share with a friend:-)

Photo Credit

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 BrandCandid.com. 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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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. stephanie crawford

    December 16, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Good. This is good. Very motivating. How to YOU remember to follow up if they never call with an answer? Do you put it on your calendar?

    I’m having “to do” list issues. Outlook tasks just doesn’t cut it. What’s better?

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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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