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Web2.0 Real Estate Reality Check



onlineshopper_500.jpgI’m simply going to break down the anatomy of a real life transaction, my summary may surprise you:

Who shops online?

  • Apparently 88% of consumers shop online for just about everything, including real estate.

When do they shop online?

  • Generally at work. By my own appraisal of my family’s Internet use, we’re using the Internet to Google anything from coffee, restaurants, homes and more. Are we buying? Generally, no. Last year, shopping for my television was a seven month process. My car shopping experience has lasted well over 10 months. Why am I taking so long? I’m a typical procrastinator.

How many folks actually purchase online after shopping there?

  • Great question. Based on my own evaluation of myself, not often.


  • For my television, I actually had to leave the house- I wanted to see the picture, press the buttons, and decide how it would look on my wall or on my media cabinet.

Did I buy on my first trip?

  • No, I actually bought the very day the sales guy at Fry’s Electronics told me everything I needed to hear- price, quality, and that I was buying a television well under the value I found it for online. He sold me- he closed me, and I let him. Because like most of you, when I’m willing, ready, and able, it simply takes a great closer to box the deal into a pretty package.

What does this have to do with a home sale?

  • Buyers by their very nature are lookie lous. Everyone wants to look at the pretty pictures. Everyone wants to kill that lunch hour; hell, some of them want to kill the whole day, and in between a round of yahoo literati, they take a swing around craigslist, up the road to google, maybe even peruse the all common search phrase ‘search name of city homes‘, they may even pick up the phone and talk to an agent for a minute or less, all while balancing the boss’ needs or answering the other line. The fact is that 88% is just that- a nameless time killer that may or may not be buying sooner than later and at the same time are day dreaming of the new car they’ll search for next.

What’s the point of all of this, and what does it have to do with you?

  • Think back to the last first home buyer you had- remember how afraid they were? How long had they been looking before they hooked up with you? An even better question is- how long had they been thinking about buying? In my experience, the answer more times than not is, “a couple of years.” Other times, the answer has always been, “for a while.” When I would inquire further, I’d ask why they hadn’t purchased sooner (I’m always looking for the answers procrastinating buyers have) and the answer is almost every time an astounding “we didn’t know we could buy.” Credit, leases, income, and more are always in the top three reasons for procrastinating. I’ve met second and third home buyers that fit this same profile, and they’re all simply looking for someone who will relate to them and answer the questions they need answered.

I’m (not) a Realtor by profession, I’m (not even) a real estate agent. Further, I’m (not even) a guy who sells homes- I’m a closer. By knowing my buyers and sellers, I’m the reason they move from Internet entertainment and real estate porn to the closing table. I make their dreams a reality and their fears a thing of the past. I educate, I elevate, I build them into property owners- they are achieving a goal, and even more, they’re living the dream.

I can do what no real estate website in the world can do, I can do more than any a.v.m., I can survive what technology companies cannot. How? By leaving my office and engaging. I will survive down markets, 2.0 or not. Focusing more energy on the state of the real estate union will leave you current on feuds and statistics, but behind on the business of closing.

Web2.0 is only a tool, it is not the answer. 88% of consumers may shop online, but 98% of consumers I meet buy and or sell through me.

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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  1. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:40 am

    I am going to memorize this, ok? That was just unbelievably awesome. Thank you.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    October 25, 2007 at 4:42 am

    You know, I didn’t even scroll down to see who wrote this post. I could tell by the read it was you. Great job. And true to life.

  3. J. Ferris

    October 25, 2007 at 5:22 am

    I just sent this to my broker. VERY, VERY good post!

  4. Jim Duncan

    October 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Excellent post, and one that all those suffering from the effects of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt should learn from. Technology is a tool, but not (yet) a means to replace the experience of touching, feeling and smelling.

  5. Benn Rosales

    October 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jim, this is as yet as it will ever be. Touching & feeling? There are 5 of those senses that must be pleased to give you comfort.

    An even bigger point is this I don’t think it’s just about the senses as much as it is about ‘affirmation.’ Wrap your mind around that one…

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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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