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Business Marketing

The little voice… reputation management on and offline

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When I was a little girl…a long, long time ago, I remember my daddy saying to me, “Remember who you are.” He never failed to say this just about every time I walked out the door for a night of fun with my friends.

He knew that once your reputation is lost it is hard to get it back. This wisdom applies for both our online and off line reputation.

Everyday we deal with agents who when we get an offer from them, there is either a happy dance or a cringe. It will either be a smooth transaction or touch and go the whole way.

In a multiple offer situation, I’ve had agents tell me they would like to work with me because 1) they know I will work and negotiate to the death, and 2) I will be nice about it.

Online

Recently I finished up a transaction with an agent who shouts from the first page of her web-site about what a great communicator she is, including returning phone calls and her top of the line customer service. Ummmm… I don’t think so…One part of me wanted to shout out a status update on Facebook pointing out the discrepancy but the little voice inside me said, “don’t”.

She is on FB and in the midst of a transaction could have recognized it.

Right now there is a big push for management of your online reputation. Most of us have Google Alerts set up for our name and company to get an alert when we are mentioned online (or to see when the never ending splogs steal our content). That is easy to do and the easiest way to monitor our online reputation.

Occasionally on Twitter someone will ask,”anyone know of a good Realtor in______?”

Recently, Zillow opened up their platform for clients to give us reviews. Yelp has been doing this for awhile but at least in my area, I’m not seeing too many Realtor reviews.

Monitoring

Regardless of what method(s) we use, it is up to us to be monitoring our reputation on line. If someone leaves a negative or a not so shinning review, we can respond back.

I use to at the end of every transaction, send a survey out to my past clients. I asked for their honest opinion because I told them I was trying to improve my service.  We included a self addressed,  stamped envelope and we had a good response from our clients.  The last couple of years that ROI decreased on folks mailing them back so we stopped doing it.

Your Google Profile is an awesome place to ask people to review you. I have a couple on there, one was a surprise and one was solicited.

One thing I checked recently was I went Google and put in my name+reviews. It was so informative I even set up a Google Alert for it. The data was different than just doing a search on my name.

In digging down about 10 pages…I found some very old comments indexed where I had commented on different blogs. Now Activerain supposedly has <do not follow> links in the comments but there sure was a lot of comments in that reputation search.

I even found one where I asked someone for a Seafood Recipe!

Managing In Real Life

Managing your name in real life is a lot easier. We either bite our tongues, or loose it with people. We either do a good job of customer service and get referrals, or we don’t serve them well and we never hear from the again.

I can’t count the times I have hung up with a Short Sale negotiator and screamed my head off.

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp said, “I think we live in a new age of transparency, which is a great thing if you’re fantastic at customer service. Customer service is the new marketing.”

If that statement is true and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then it is even more important that we provide great customer service and monitor our reputations. We know blogging and social media is just our voice going out to a larger audience.

People like to do business with people they know, that they feel are like them, that they can trust. Trust… being discrete. Trust…not doing anything or saying anything online we wouldn’t say or do in person. Trust…not just saying you give awesome customer service but actually doing it.

Or as my daddy said, “Don’t forget who you are!”

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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    January 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Love-Love it. I’ll be sharing this with our tribe at our next team meeting. Thanks.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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