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I was meeting with a Realtor today to discuss blogging.  We were discussing low-cost marketing ideas to gain new customers and got onto the topic of public speaking engagements.

Now, I’m not necessarily talking big conferences, but more intimate discussions.  He has conducted several first time buyer classes with an average size of the class being less than 10, but he gets at least one transaction out of it.  He holds it in his company conference room and provides minimal refreshments.  The costs are less than $15 and the return is easily in the thousands.

This seems like a no-brainer to me.  In my day job, I teach several classes a week and have seen several customers use our company due to the education I have provided.  But I don’t see too many real estate classes in my area for consumers.  Maybe I’m isolated, but maybe not.  And the classes I do see are almost always first time buyer classes.  Why not get your preferred lender in to discuss loan types and terms?  Or an appraiser to come in to discuss improvements that will improve the value?  Or a home stager to give some quick tips?  You get the idea.

Again, marketing costs would be extremely low since many of these people you may bring in would probably do it for free in order to get the exposure.  The Realtor I met with today also uses a no-pressure sales technique – he leaves cards by the door and lets people know that if they want more information, they have to give him their contact information. Yet he still gets business without being pushy.

I do understand that some people can sell incredibly well one-on-one or very small groups, but when you get in front of a group and behind a podium, it all falls apart.  I am very fortunate, when I was in college I became a SCUBA instructor.  My instructor one night told me I had to conduct the dive physics lecture.  ACK!  I barely remembered the concepts, but I prepped, went in, got grilled by the students and came out okay.  I moved on to a level where I was actually teaching others to teach and now I have no problem getting up in front of large groups discussing a variety of topics.

If that’s not you, I strongly recommend doing something about it.  If you can talk to thousands of people via your blog, shouldn’t you be able to talk to a room of a hundred?  I agree that real estate is all about face to face connections and education is a great tool to connect with people and prove your expertise.

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Mariana Wagner

    March 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I love talking to people. I am currently working on being internationally certified to train for Keller Williams and will be on a panel for the 2008 Colorado REALTOR Rally on 3/19. I love sitting on panels and being up front, training agents. The larger the group, the better, IMHO.

  2. florida remax realty

    March 18, 2008 at 5:16 am

    I love this idea and it can help so many with questions. Should I sell now, what to do to prepare for a sale. For the buyer the lending process, finding a realtor, today’s market. All of these would be so helpful I wish they had it when I first bought me realtor lead me thru the process but being informed is the best way and why not classes. I think the lending and how to make your house stand out for sale in buyers market will be the best attended sessions.

  3. Gatlinburg Real Estate

    March 18, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Talking to a group is probably the #1 fear for most people. I have gotten much better and much more comfortable at doing it with small groups. 5 years ago I would have puked right where I stand at the thought of having to do any public speaking. It has gotten better with age and definately helps when you are confident in what you are talking about. Good tips on providing different speakers to discuss the many facets of real estate Nick.

  4. Toby & Sadie

    March 18, 2008 at 9:27 am

    The “buyer’s seminars” have run their course in Delaware. Lots of agents just used them as an “about me” time and didnt’ get a good response.

    I’m working on a “seller’s seminar” for next month that is looking pretty interesting. We have a home stager, a mortgage guy to talk about stream-lined 203b loans, a new home builder, title company, and myself. It should be interesting.

  5. Bill Lublin

    March 18, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Nick; You might want to check out the Library at – There is some terrific material you can use that is not a “look at me” type of program, but a good checklist to use for any sort of consumer seminar. Our agents are doing buyer and seller seminars on a regular basis, and while the number of attendees vary, people are still interested in good information about buying and selling , and seem to react well to the knowledgable professional who presents that material to them in an objective manner

  6. Nick

    March 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    @mizzle – I am actually honestly amazed at the Realtors I see at the conventions I attend, it definitely takes some guts to get up in front of huge groups of attendees and frequently say things that push many outside their comfort boundaries. Do you do classes for consumers as well?

    Gatlinburg – That’s great that you’ve forced yourself to keep going instead of simply giving up. One of the parts of my life that helped the most was when I assisted in teaching people to actually teach SCUBA. We had to score our students on effectiveness, use of crutch words and general presentation skills. When you start teaching others, you see your own mistakes even more clearly and have to clean up your act.

    Toby & Sadie – if you don’t mind my asking, are you having to pay any of the outside pro’s a dime to be there?

    Bill – I’ve never been too good at navigating, a little help? Or do I have to be a NAR member to access the information you’re speaking of? I’m thinking of a Home Depot-like model where they have classes a few times a week on a variety of topics. Maybe I don’t care about tile, but I want to replace my sink. In Real Estate, that could be classes on how to Feng Shui your house, green living or basic landscaping. Same type of idea, if the Realtor isn’t the pro on these things, get a pro to come in to teach, but it still gives face time for the Realtor and the office.

  7. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Nick, this is a great concept we’ve begun pioneering here in Austin and you know what? It sure is a lot like a blog but in person! If you have a great partnership with someone like you in Title (preferrably the marketing department), a progressive new-fashioned Realtor, and a mortgage guy or gal, the process becomes much more fluid.

    Keep the great ideas coming! 🙂

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    March 18, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Great ideas, Nick. I will say, there are some very well written bloggers who aren’t that comfortable in front of people. I think a good place for these folks to start is in small, short sessions talking about what they are comfortable with.

    With the information that is all over the internet, agents could get a good response, if they began doing a better job of getting in front of the consumer. Most buyers use the first agent they encounter…

    Partnerships that provide a variety of information is a great place to start!

  9. Bill Lublin

    March 18, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Nick – is the resource for members of NAR, but you can get some of those design and architecture ideas from REALTOR Magazines web site – the direct link would be and should not require a login (I tried it from my home computer, and unless I had a cookie I’m unaware of from an earlier login I think you;re good to go) And I have to agree with your analysis of how different related experts can work for would work for a REALTOR peoviding an educational opportunity for home buyers or sellers – Good ideas – In fact they might even have a tech person their to talk about smart homes and wireless networks 🙂
    Nick: I forgot to mention what a great link the toastmasters is for people without speaking experience- having taught and lectured and presneted in a variety of venues over the years, I tend to forget that people might need some practice the first time – and that seems like a great place to get that help – well done sir!

  10. Australian Toastmasters Champion

    March 21, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Speaking is one of the best ways to market yourself. the main reason why it is so good is that most people are afraid of public speaking. Therefore when they see someone speaking, the audience automatically believes that they are an expert! Therefore they must know what they are on about!


    Darren Fleming
    Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

  11. Martin Ng

    February 11, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Excellent business idea, and a great way to become familiar with public speaking, doing it for such small groups. In classrooms you don’t need a mic and can’t hear your own echo – much less intimidating.

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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.



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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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.



Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.



Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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