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Business Marketing

What Have We Done?

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realtorlogoHas the poor reputation of the real estate industry created the consumers’ insatiable need for knowledge and information about buying and selling homes?

I know it’s the information age, but we’re standing around naked. We’ve given the public access to everything we’ve got. Realtors used to be the keepers of the information. Now we’ve given it all away. The data that I pay for, the memberships, the classes, the ongoing education, all of that information is available across the www. Consuming and understanding all of it is another thing; buyers and sellers – and of course, those thousands who got their licenses to become the next Trump – try to absorb that galaxy of data. But it’s all there for the taking. How many clients have you worked with that have confidently told you how to write an offer?

In my client interview I ask what experiences they’ve had, if any, with a real estate agent. Has a friend told them of any experience they’ve had? This past weekend is one of the few times I’ve heard a consumer say, “I really like the agent that sold my house. We became good friends and talk every week or so.” Most often, their eyes light up with delight to tell me their uncle’s cousin’s brother bought a lemon and is still in litigation.

My lawyer client and I had a discussion today about who’s lower on the food chain: Realtors or attorneys.

We decided it’s used car salesmen.

By allowing under-qualified, unprofessional agents into the community we’ve allowed them to make us appear to be bottom suckers. There are no real requirements to take the exam. When I took it, the exam hadn’t been updated in years. There was a formula: If the question is X, the answer is C. If the question has Mary Jones in it, the answer is B.

Once the exam is passed, there’s no on-the-job training or apprenticeship. When I was green, I went to my broker, scared to death. “What do I do? How do I do it?” He said, “Go find a client. We’ll tell you what to do.” “WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding me.” At least I had the brains to know that I didn’t know squat and I needed to find out before I took someone’s savings and advised them to buy 3-Mile Island.

The NAR is so proud to tout that there’s 1 billion sold. Quantity doesn’t equate to quality. How about half that number of educated, qualified, professional, knowledgeable, caring, trustworthy, honest individuals.

Every time I see a Realtor advertising as caring, trustworthy, and honest, I have to laugh. If your client can’t figure that out on their own, your telling them isn’t going to make them believe it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next marketing blow-out from NAR – especially after “Real estate is our life.” I can see it now: One billion Realtors. We care. We’re trustworthy and honest too!

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Daniel Rothamel

    October 16, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Transparency is the answer to the problem. That is why blogs like this one, yours, mine, and the like are such good things. The more people know about the real estate industry and REALTORS, the better informed they will be to make decisions on the REALTOR that best meets their needs.

    The only reason slimy or incompetent agents have been allowed to prosper is because the public didn’t know any better, and those agents controlled the flow of information. The game is beginning to change, thankfully.

  2. Lani Anglin

    October 17, 2007 at 3:22 am

    Vicki, these are all great points- I especially like the McDonald’s allusion. You’re right, there are so many that jump on the scene that have no business to, but who do you feel is responsible for curing this problem- NAR or Brokers?

  3. Vicki Moore

    October 17, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    I would have to put the responsibility on a governing body; NAR being the most likely. They could make a sweeping change effective quite quickly.

    Some brokers have stepped up to the challenge. My office has extensive training available. But because we are independent contractors, we can’t be forced to attend. It seems the agents who need the most training are the ones who elect not to participate.

    I like Daniel’s point. I love blogging. It’s been the best thing to ever happen to my business. I’m really alarmed that there’s a chance that I’ll be shut down or “complianced” out of the scene.

    Should we say “class action suit?”

  4. Nicole Mills

    October 18, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Great post, Vicki! I’m glad I stumbled across it. I’m still a newbie blogger, but am reading and learning more everyday. I just wanted to say “Amen” to your comments about the lack of training, and just as importantly, the current inability to prevent the influx of even more fish(e) Realtors in to this over crowded river. The standards for becoming licensed (at least in my state of MN) are a joke, never mind the fact that the instructors of the licensing classes feed you the answers to the exams, because God forbid they not be able to pass everyone that happily forks over their $$$! That might reflect poorly on registration for future classes. And they wouldn’t want word getting out that you might actually have to rely on your own ability to think to get you through. Honestly, I think the recruiters of the big companies are in cahoots with the licensing prep class folks, because the recruiters seem to reel them in as fast as they can be turned out.

  5. Vicki Moore

    October 18, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    My brokerage grew to 12 offices by holding a mirror under the noses of applicants. We’re back down to 7 since the fallout.

    Blogging is addictive. Only one warning – remember you still have to prospect!

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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