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The True Definition of Value – Good vs Great – I’ve Seen it

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medium_ink_blot.gifThere is no doubt that I love real estate, I love the art of buying and selling, I love the people, and I love to win- I just do not lose. Let me give you a bit of back story here, because it is the back story that will help you to understand the ending.

For the better part of 60 days, I have worked with two of the country’s all stars in real estate, one in the mortgage industry, and the other in the investment brokerage business on a mega investment deal. During those 60 days, a certain development and developer fell into our laps- literally and figuratively. Now, the price was incredible, the location is impeccable, and the builder was right for a conversation about liquidity versus a hardline stance on their profit. Needless to say, we looked at the big picture and decided to take it head on- not every pick is perfect when the equity proposition is beyond your wildest return dreams- it must be molded and shaped into a cash flowing masterpiece. Now for those of you who are thinking you could have closed this sort of deal with the problems we’ve had in a shorter period, let me correct you now- it simply could not have been done because you simply do not know what we now know about this project. Meaning, I’m imagining that had it been a team of anyone else, you probably would have walked away 72 hours into the project based on the sheer magnitude against the odds of success- I’m sparing you the gory details- and those details have nothing to do with the A Class property investors we’ve had the pleasure of serving.

Working with these two legends in the business means several things- it means, you had better bring your A game, or find yourself sitting on the sidelines, it would mean elevate, or sit down and shut up- you simply let the masters work. As time went on, the frustrations grew, but the temperament was cool, there was a solution in experience at every turn- we spoke a language you would not believe possible. It was one of artful application of process, practice, diplomacy, magic, and a knowledge of the law of numbers that would boggle the mind of any buyer or agent. A process all would have abandoned is now going to docs. Sublime is the only way I can describe it.

As we the team move forward to our next several projects, and I can now take an overnight mental break from the trauma of such an ordeal, and tend to my battle wounds, it got me to thinking about disintermediation. I now know what I did not understand about the Giants of Real Estate, and why they fear not the proposition of disintermediation. Why many times in previous conversations they laughed at the mere mention of competitive business models and disintermediation. I now know that there is no way on earth when the going gets rough that you on your own as a consumer would have made it 24 hours in such a complicated transaction. I realized what value beyond that of the normal means to real estate- what the difference between good and great means. On one hand I am sad that my profession seems to have lost something in the eye of the consumer, but when I experience a greatness of this magnitude I feel a much better. One cannot afford what these gentlemen cost for not only their reputation, but the skill, knowledge, understanding of nuance, and the brilliance of grace under pressure. They have mastered their art, and you simply cannot put a price tag on brilliance.

Anyone (especially my clients) that knows me, knows, I’m pretty damn good at what I do, I bring solutions to the table my buyers and sellers never dreamed possible, but Greatness is not yet on my business card. My first step is to realize and acknowledge that Greatness is given in nature, but time seasons and polishes it into the brilliance I’ve witnessed. I’ve learned that I can still grow.

Today, I am in love with my profession, and my goals in this business are now redefined- to learn half of what these gentlemen have forgotten would elevate me as a professional beyond the idea that any business model can define my value.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Wow. “Greatness is not yet on my business card.” Well, it should be.

  2. Jeff Brown

    November 29, 2007 at 1:43 am

    Benn is being far too modest.

    As the guy on the ground, he carried the water. Benn knows many things, but fear isn’t one of them.

    All he wants to know is — “What needs to be done?” It’s my firm belief he goes to Starbucks with a Plan B AND a Plan C, just to ensure he walks out with his coffee. No lie. 🙂

    There are, as I recently told Benn, great sports heroes. There are those whom the Lord chooses to bless with great natural talent. There are those who became great by shear force of will and a killer work ethic. Then there are guys, like Jerry Rice, who was born with 1 in a million talent, AND worked like a demon to become as great as he could be.

    Benn, in my opinion, is a natural who works harder than most I’ve known.

    Remember his name.

  3. April Groves

    November 29, 2007 at 8:05 am

    As is the norm – I think what Jeff thinks (Jeff – does it feel weird to be right so much of the time?)
    😉

    BTW Benn – I think your inkblot was hanging on the wall in one of Athol’s recent bad MLS pics of the day…seriously – the Nov. 26th one.

  4. Benjamin Bach

    November 29, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Great work Benn
    I have some clients looking down in Texas too – holla at ya boy !

  5. Benn Rosales

    November 29, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Benjamin, I’m already working for you, get on the horn with Brian, and I’ll be calling you on Friday!

    Jeff, you are to kind… Thanks

    April, I hope that it caught his eye too doesn’t mean I’m as insane as he is!

    Mariana, I’d like to think that because I surround myself with greatness such as yourself, Jeff, Brian, April, and Benjamin that little bits rub off on me.

  6. Chris Lengquist

    November 29, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Nicely done.

  7. Brian Brady

    November 29, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Aw, Benn,

    Lani and Debra did all the work- we just took the credit.

    Nice work, cowboy

  8. Jeff Brown

    November 29, 2007 at 11:28 am

    April — >As is the norm – I think what Jeff thinks (Jeff – does it feel weird to be right so much of the time?)

    I’d love to introduce you to my wife. 🙂

  9. April Groves

    November 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Jeff – Please refer to Mariana’s post yesterday – #14…your request will require at least one side of a reasonable commission
    😉

  10. Marian Brown

    November 29, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    OMG! I didn’t realize what a genius son I raised!…Jeff’s mom

  11. Benn Rosales

    November 29, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Marian, it is a pleasure to have you by agent genius. And yes, Marian, two things come to mind- morally and ethically your son is sound, but his mental health is askew. I blame that on the lead paint chips he eats with his coffee in the morning. 🙂 Seriously, that’s a great kid you’ve got there and his son isn’t to far off the old block.

  12. Benn Rosales

    November 29, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Brian, I would have to agree that we may have washed our hands 24 hours into it ourselves had it not been for Lani & Debra…

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Business Marketing

Hiring managers keep you on your toes – make them take the 1st step

(MARKETING) If you want to stand out from other job applicants, weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – or it could backfire.

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hiring managers interview

According to research by employment search website Simply Hired, hiring managers get an average of 34 applications per job listing, but they spend time genuinely considering an average of only 12.6% of them – that’s less than 1/3. Some applicants may feel the need to go above and beyond the average application and do something unusual or unexpected to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

Simply Hired conducted a survey to find out whether or not “nontraditional” strategies to stand out are worth the risk, or whether it makes sense to stick to a traditional resume and cover letter. They surveyed over 500 hiring managers and over 500 job applicants to find out what sort of outside-of-the-box approaches applicants are willing to take, and which ones do and don’t pay off.

Most notably, the survey found that over 63% of hiring managers find attention-grabbing gimmicks totally unacceptable, with only 20.2% saying they were acceptable. Hiring managers were also given a list of unusual strategies to rank from most to least acceptable. Unsurprisingly, the least acceptable strategy was offering to sleep with the hiring manager – which should really go without saying.

Interestingly, hiring managers also really disliked when applicants persistently emailed their resumes over and over until they got a response. One or two follow-up emails after your initial application aren’t such a bad idea – but if you don’t get a response after that, continuing to pester the hiring manager isn’t going to help.

While sending baked goods to the office was considered a somewhat acceptable strategy, sending those same cookies to the manager’s home address was a big no-no. Desserts might sweeten your application, but not if you cross a professional boundary by bringing them to someone’s home – that’s just creepy.

Another tactic that hiring managers received fairly positively was “enduring extreme weather to hand-deliver a resume” – but waiting around for inclement weather to apply for a job doesn’t seem very efficient. However, hiring managers did respond well to applicants who went out of their way to demonstrate a skill, for example, by creating a mock product or presentation or completing their interview in a second language. A librarian who was surveyed said she landed her job by making her resume into a book and creating QR codes with links to her portfolio, while a woman applying to work at the hotel hopped behind the counter and started checking customers in.

It’s worth noting that while most hiring managers aren’t into your gimmicks and games, of the 12.9% of applicants who said they have risked an unusual strategy, 67.7% of those actually landed the job.

Still, it’s probably a safer bet to stick to the protocol and not try any theatrics. So then, what can you actually do to improve your chances of landing the job?

Applicants surveyed tended to focus most of their time on their resumes, but according to hiring managers, the interview and cover letter are “the top ways to stand out among the rest.” Sure, brush up your resume, but make sure to give equal time to writing a strong cover letter and practicing potential interview questions.

In the survey, applicants also tended to overestimate the importance of knowing people within the company and having a “unique” cover letter and interview question answers; meanwhile, they underestimated the importance of asking smart questions at the interview and personality. In fact, hiring managers reported that personality was the most impactful factor in their hiring decisions.

It appears that the best way to stand out in a job interview is to wow them with your personality and nail the interview. Weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – and in fact, may backfire.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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