I love my dog – I truly do. Sophie has been my dedicated companion for almost fifteen years. To me, everything she does is cute. I even excused the hole in my Persian rug as an accident (aw, com’on – there was a stuffed toy involved.) Nonetheless, when she brought in a mangled foreign object with a tail and laid it at my feet today, I was completely underwhelmed by her cuteness. Eventually I revived myself and decided, out of necessity, that Happy Hour would begin early in the Banta household.
It turns out that the rat-looking object was a stuffed something she had buried in the yard until it had been appropriately seasoned. I was consoled (the Scotch helped), but it did occur to me that there have been many incidents involving man’s best friend that should serve as reminders of why we should demand, and I mean DEMAND, that the little bowsers not be present at an open house. The following incidents – all true – make my case:
I’LL BE DOGGONE
1) One seller had an amorous dog that had an obsession with humping. (I never caught the dog’s name, so I will call him Charlie Sheen.) This provided many nervous laughs at one open house, but it is probably not the most dignified presentation a Listing Agent can offer. In fact, a dead body in the corner with a cooler and a sign that says “Have a Cold One” might cause less discomfort. Unless he’s bearing flowers and a diamond, put humping Charlie in the dog house.
2) There was a dog named Bob with a penchant for lifting his leg on foreign objects. Apparently he considered visitors “foreign.” Let’s be honest folks, no one needs pee on their leg – not even if it’s their own. Sure, maybe you could offer hip boots to the guests or give Bob a Bobbit, but a better choice would be to show Bob the door.
3) Scooter did exactly that – he scooted. Everywhere. From tile to Berber, Scooter liked to scoot the pooter. This is not usually appetizing. Of course, it would be worse if the Listing Agent did it, but it is tasteless nonetheless. Unless you can put a Swiffer cloth on his bottom and get him to do the hardwood, demand that cheeky Scooter launch his haunches outside.
4) My client, Lori, had the cutest German Shepard puppy you have ever seen. Cuter than an Easter peep. Unfortunately, his new food did not suit his plumbing. Just before one open house, as Lori was about to leave, Bowie suddenly left a pile. And another. And yet another. It was like an explosion in a Hershey factory. As Lori tried to clean up and get him into his cage, visitors began to arrive. I was frantic as I directed people where to step in order to avoid the strategically placed land mines. Bowie and Lori are still my friends, and the house did sell, but I learned that “cute” is not a synonym for “fragrant;” and digested food is not a good decorating choice.
FUR THE LOVE OF SANITY!
5) Okay, this one involves a cat. But the paw count is the same. My partner was holding an open house, when he decided to show of the hand made custom cabinets in the kitchen. He opened the pantry, and a cat jumped down from the shelf, landing on him like Cato Fong in The Pink Panther. My partner screamed like a girly man, as did the prospective buyers. Thus I conclude that cats, too, should be sent to Club Med during an open house…unless the seller has a defibrillator handy.
6) One woman had a dog who loved to turn in circles. Unfortunately, the dog would make himself dizzy and then fall on the ground in a heap. I was told this was very entertaining…but not when witnessed without explanation. It seems an agent was showing the property to several people when the dog decided to do its cabaret act in the back yard. The dog spun, flopped, and lay there in a heap of fur. Those who witnessed the stunt all screamed as the agent quickly called 911. When the paramedics arrived, they were directed to the back yard. The dog, excited to have a new audience, popped up and launched into an encore. Everyone had a great laugh, but the agent never got to pitch the house. The dog, however, got his own reality show.
7) I heard about a dog that was left in the yard during showings – certainly a better choice than being inside. The dog, however, had had its vocal chords operated on to remove a growth. He still barked, but his bark was more like a gargle. When the listing agent followed up with the agent of a prospective buyer, he was told that the client loved the house but, “could never live next door to the old guy who was constantly hacking up phlegm.” (On the positive side, at least the old guy wasn’t mistaken for a scooter.)
8) Blanchie is now in doggie heaven, but she was a good ol’ girl – very loving and sensitive. Her masters, my clients, had already purchased their next home and were packing up to move while their house was on the market. As I was showing the house, I detected a peculiar, and somewhat offensive, odor in one room. After the open house, I mentioned it to my client. She was baffled and began to search the area. It seems that Blanchie, when fearful of abandonment, always had dyspepsia. Upon seeing the suitcases set out in the room, she had promptly walked over and vomited on top of the clothes.
Blanchie made her point…and I hope I did, too. Our furry creatures, no matter how adorable, do not belong at Open Houses. Yes, a case can be made that they behave better than some people, which is the subject of my next blog. If you thought pets were a challenge, the best is yet to come…
For More Real Estate Humor, Please Visit https://www.sherlockofhomes.blogspot.com/
Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking
(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!
Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.
With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.
With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.
If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.
Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.
The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.
If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!
Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales
(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?
Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”
The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.
The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.
A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.
Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.
This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.
When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.
The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.
It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.
In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.
Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions
(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.
Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.
This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.
To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.
Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.
Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.
In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.
Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.
For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.
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