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Risking the Kunahura in the interest of public knowledge

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Such is the power of the kunahura that I rarely risk even thinking about a commission check until a contract has been signed and escrow’s been closed. The kunahura knows when you’re counting your chickens before they hatch and enjoys squashing those eggs.

Having said that …

This has been a busy week, most likely the busiest week of my career. In a two-week span I’ll have gone on four listing appointments (securing three listings with one in the air) and squired seven separate sets of buyers around the Valley.

One contract is being negotiated now and another should be completed at the builder this afternoon or tomorrow morning, kunahura willing. There’s also still a contract on a short sale pending and a decent chance for at least one more contract in the next couple of days and a slight chance at one or two others.

This may explain the brief blogging hiatus. But that’s not the point of this post.

The greater point is the notion of perseverance, of continuing to work in the manner you believe suits your business best despite the challenges and nay-sayers you will meet along the way.

My marketing plan is simple – I work the Internet. Of the two escrows I currently have, one is a corporate relocation and the other was referred to me by a fellow blogger. Both of the contracts now in play came from the Internet – one from my Arrowhead Ranch site and the other from the blog.

The client I’m meeting tomorrow and the clients I’m meeting Wednesday both came through the Westbrook Village site. Last week’s clients were referred to me by yet another blogger. Saturday’s buyers/sellers are friends of mine.

In short, the web works for me. Yet my attempts at electronic evangelism usually are met with skepticism (at best.) “I don’t know anything about that.” “I’m not techie.” Or my own personal favorite, “I don’t have time.”

It’s amazing that people who have time to spend four hours a week sitting in empty houses twiddling their thumbs, or who have the time (and money) to waste on pretty newspaper or magazine ads or door hangers or calendar magnets or you name it can’t find the time to work on their own web site.

What everyone wants is to pay someone to put together a web site and sit back as the leads and the checks come through. It doesn’t work that way. Prospecting takes time and it takes effort. Put those in and the leads will follow. Maybe not as fast as you hope and as fast as you may need but they will follow.

The naysayers are everywhere. Don’t put your eggs in one basket. The Internet is a fad. Blogging doesn’t work. Only hyper-local blogs work.

Your choice is simple. Listen to the reasons why something won’t work or get your tuchas in gear and show why they will work. It’s pretty much that simple.

Now I’m off to try and dodge the kunahura for another few hours.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 19, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    ha! Jonathan! I think you’re delivering news many in the biz need to hear- another success story! I am very happy to hear your focus on local is working, good for you!

  2. Jay Thompson

    November 20, 2007 at 12:09 am

    OK, I’ll show my ignorance. What the hell is a kunahura?

    “I don’t have time.”

    One of my favorites too. Also, as an agent in my office has said to me on several occasions, “You sure do get lucky with your web stuff!”

  3. Benn Rosales

    November 20, 2007 at 12:50 am

    I honestly don’t know what is it, but we’re now in the top 5 if you search kunahura on google! 🙂 thanks Jonathan! Way to ‘keyword’!

  4. Jay Thompson

    November 20, 2007 at 1:02 am

    I strongly suspect it’s a Yiddish term.

  5. Lani Anglin

    November 19, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Don’t you guys watch Will & Grace???? 🙂

    Jonathan- great post. Bloggers need encouragement to continue tweaking their work until they find the success you have!

  6. Scoot

    November 19, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Great thread, lol!

    I’m fairly new to the whole blog scene, but I’ve noticed lately that I seem to have plenty to get accomplished in a day, and more and more seems to be coming from the internet.

  7. Teresa Boardman

    November 20, 2007 at 11:41 am

    . . so you think this blogging thing works? 🙂

  8. Vicki Moore

    November 20, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    I can always use an uplifting story confirming that I’m heading in the right direction. Congrats and go get ’em!

  9. Jonathan Dalton

    November 20, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Yiddish? Me?

    Well, yeah … it’s yiddish for jinx. I thought my analogy explained it well.

    It appeared the kunahura was winning by around 7 p.m. last night as both of my buyers were waffling like a cook at an IHOP.

    One wrote the contract with the builder at 6 a.m. The other is meeting me shortly to sign off on the counter and take the house.

    Today was buyer number 6 … 14 houses and I think we’ll have an offer by the end of the week.

    Only had to explain why I don’t work on Thanksgiving … less my hang-up than the wife’s.

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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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