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Will This Post Win The Inman Innovation Award?

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Actual link to Google Maps


Looking For Something New

What you are looking at is an actual image from Google maps.  If you want to see what others are saying about it, you can find it on various sites.  Is it innovative?  A little bit, maybe.  But in the end, probably not.  Does a Realtor really need to “be innovative” to succeed?  I don’t think so.  There are more and more “out of the box” ideas that are presented to the real estate industry almost every day.  Loads and loads of “new” stuff that is really just more old stuff.  Most of the agents I talk to about various seminars seem to be looking for something new.  Something different.



Get Out of the Box?

I don’t believe that we need to get out of the box.  I believe most of us need to get all the way in the box.  One reason?  You can not depart from a location you have never arrived at.  You must get all the way in before you could need to work on “getting out”.

Our business is really pretty simple.  Get and keep customers is the main issue.  Lead generation (if it is going to matter) is really lead conversion.  If we are looking at the subject of getting and getting rid of listings, here is a concept to look at:

Getting to the Table

All “problems” in getting listings are either in getting to the table or at the table.  About 70% of all sellers talk to only one agent prior to making their decision to list with them.  About 15% talk to only two agents prior to deciding.  This data alone clearly suggests that the main problem is not at the table but getting to the table.  Get to the table and you are likely to win.  The various ideas for getting to the table (that actually work) all seem to me to be very “low tech”.  Very low tech.  Finding out what is really wanted and needed and then providing just that – that sort of thing.

Unless you have a rather amazing list of names in your Rolodex, it will usually be the number of people you can ask to do business with you that will determine the outcome – and your income.

Will someone please let Inman know I am standing by for my prize?

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    August 31, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Amen brother, truer words were never spoke.

    It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you as a trust worthy, can do, Realtor Icon.

    Contact > Conversation > Connection > Discovery > Service/Help > Get Hired/Referred.

    You gotta make Contact to write Contracts.

    Nice reminder. You have my vote.

    kb

  2. Missy Caulk

    August 31, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Lots of things get us to the table, it is up to us when AT the table to listen, connect, and prove we can get the job done. Getting out of the office is one way. Getting OFF the computer, meeting new folks & remembering the past clients all are critical.

  3. Bill Lublin

    August 31, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Russell – as always you take the obvious and remind us that we’ve been overlooking it!
    If you aren’t asking someone to buy or sell a piece of property, you aren’t working!
    Well done! (And is that really your lawn?)

  4. Christina Ethridge

    August 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    This is precisely why, although we are on the web, blogging, virtual tours, etc., I do not adopt “innovative things” immediately.

    I’m still busy prospecting prospecting prospecting, well technically I mostly market for leads, but I do prospect those leads once I get ’em 🙂

    I do it all with really old school things like DIRECT MAIL and TELEVISION (no radio, yet).

  5. Vicki Moore

    September 1, 2008 at 2:10 am

    New ways are coming faster and faster; it’s difficult for me to keep up. Thanks for making it okay for me to stay a little behind.

  6. Mack in Atlanta

    September 1, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Russell, you may not win an award from Inman but how about an Attaboy from AG readers. As I was reading your post I was thinking that so many agents are looking for the silver bullet instead of doing the tried and true actions that produce income. Once they have mastered those actions then maybe they could add to their collection of income producing activities.

  7. Glenn fm Naples

    September 1, 2008 at 6:21 am

    You are right it getting to the table that counts and we cannot forget our basics for the development of income.

  8. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    September 3, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Great post. Sometimes, it is important to be shaken by the collar.

    Perhaps I’ll see you on the stage at Connect. . .

    🙂

  9. BawldGuy

    September 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Belly to belly is still the bottom line.

    The young bulls keep runnin’ around tellin’ us old bulls how it’s done.

    You just told ’em how you keep walkin’ down to the meadow to get ’em all. 🙂

    Needed a laugh today, and as usual, you didn’t let me down. Thanks

  10. Jenn

    January 11, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Great Point, Innovation is what drives business and marketing!

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.

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Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.

Conclusion

Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

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Business Marketing

Spice up your remote team building with a fully virtual escape room

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As part of a remote team, team building has become even more of a groan. But this virtual escape room seeks to make a fun and unique challenge for remote teams.

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Woman waving at laptop in living room, on team building activity.

Team building events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some enjoy getting to know coworkers they don’t normally socialize with, others dread the day before it arrives. Plus, there’s always work that needs to be taken care of, and using some of that time to mingle might seem like a waste of time.

Love it or hate it, working remotely has made team building slightly better, maybe? You don’t have to worry about physically being present in a place you don’t want to be. You’re not awkwardly talking to a co-worker whose name you can’t quite remember.

Nonetheless, it also has its downsides. We don’t see each other anymore so it’s easier to not be on the same page, and this makes learning how to work together much harder.

We’re almost a year into the pandemic and happy hour Zoom calls no longer hold the glamour they once did. So, what else is there to do in this virtual world?

Skyrocket Your Team has just the answer for you. This company provides virtual team building experiences through collaborative online escape rooms. The escape rooms are designed with remote teams in mind and can be tailored to accommodate different sized groups.

“If you’re working remotely, Skyrocket Your Team will help your team feel closer together and improve your internal communication,” wrote Co-Founder Jorge Sánchez Hernández. “Our puzzles are designed for teams by adult educators to trigger a set of emotions, feelings, and situations. Everyone sees a different screen and you need to communicate in order to get through the challenges. There is no way to continue without teamwork!”

From the comfort of your office or couch, each team member joins from their own computer and location. The escape room consists of an immersive story about astronauts trapped in a damaged spaceship. By solving puzzles and challenges, the team must work together to repair the spaceship and return to earth.

After hopefully, safely landing your rocket, there is a debriefing session. During this time, teams can share their experiences and discuss what they learned.

Skyrocket Your Team says their new form of team building will bring your company several benefits like:

  • Bringing your team closer together
  • Fostering collaboration instead of internal competition
  • Improving communication across your company

The end goal of the experience is to learn how to communicate effectively by solving the different sets of problems together. And, I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.

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