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Turn it Off and Change Your Life

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SHOCK!

I was in complete shock. The numbers were so startling that I had to repeat them out loud and read it again to make sure my eyes weren’t playing a trick on me. They weren’t. There in plain type was the statistics in the report:

“The average American viewer watched 151 hours of television per month in the fourth quarter of 2008 — the most ever…”

151 HOURS!

151 hours! A month. I don’t think I watch that many hours of television in a year. In fact, I know that I don’t. My wife and I watch so little television that back in December we gave away our living room television and bought a 65 gallon fishtank. We were sick and tired of the television being the focal point of the living room, especially since it sits idle. The fishtank is prettier, it brings life into the room, and guess what… the fish never report bad news (well, unless one croaks).

Walk in to any office in America — walk in to your real estate office. You’ll hear conversations about the latest t.v. show, discussions about last night’s game, and complaints over how high the cable bills been getting. We’ve become a nation of t.v. junkies. (Disclaimer: I’ll admit that I do watch Lost, but only because I can’t give it up now, Dancing with the Stars — cut me some slack, my wife’s a ballroom dance instructor, and an occasional episode of The Family Guy)

Sitting on the couch, clicker in hand, is not going to improve your life and it certainly is not going to improve your real estate business. I hear so many agents these days complain about the market, the economy, the lack of sales, the listings that won’t sell, the buyers who won’t buy — yet these same agents can tell you everything about the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

T.V. reports bad news. That’s their job. The doom & gloom of the real estate and mortgage markets is always a hot topic for television. Keep watching and you’ll get depressed. Really depressed. There’s nothing on t.v. that will help you in your real estate business (maybe with the exception of a few bits on HGTV).

TURN IT OFF

Turn off the t.v. Try it for a couple of days. Extend that to a week. After a month, you’ll never know it was gone. Trust me, no client is going to turn you down as their agent because you don’t watch their favorite t.v. show.

REPLACE T.V. TIME WITH PRODUCTIVE TIME

Here’s a few things that you can do to replace that time spent staring at the screen to increase your sales:

  • Read a book. Better yet, read a book about real estate. Read a book about sales. When’s the last time you read a book about negotiating, Mr. or Mrs. Crack Real Estate Negotiator? One of my favorite sales gurus, Jeffrey Gitomer says that if you read about something for 30 minutes a day, in a couple of years, you’ll truly be an expert. Become an expert and sell a home.
  • Write a blog post. Read a blog post. There’s a lot to learn out there in the blogosphere whether it’s here on Agent Genius or elsewhere. Learn the latest about SEO. Bring in buyer traffic to your blog. Sell them a home.
  • Spend some time with your family. Rediscover the art of conversation. If your family or friends are up to it, maybe you can role play a listing appointment and hone your objection fighting skills. Maybe your friend or family member is in the real estate market and you didn’t even know it. Sell them a home.
  • Call a friend or past client you haven’t spoken to in a while. Chit chat. Ask them who’s the next person they know who needs to buy or sell a home. Follow up and sell a home.
  • Go preview some homes. Get to know some more neighborhoods. Meet the neighbors. Sell their homes.
  • Join a club. Meet some like-minded, fun-loving friends. Sell them a home.

Before you know it, you’ll be so busy that you don’t have time for t.v. Don’t worry, you can always Tivo your favorite show and watch it after your next settlement.

Brian Block practiced law until he heard every single attorney joke and decided becoming a real estate broker was a more fun way to earn a living. Proud of the plaques and diplomas adorning his office wall, he's even more proud of his marriage to a beautiful and talented ballroom dance teacher and fellow entrepreneur. Every day, you can find Brian, doing what he does best – advising Northern Virginia home buyers and sellers. If you want, you can follow him on Twitter @blockrealestate.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chuck G

    February 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

    151 hours…in a 30 day month that’s 6.3 days of 24/7 TV every month…or about 5 hours each and every day. No wonder we’re in a recession.

    For those who blog, the TV screen has been supplanted by the computer screen. And I’d be willing to bet that some are approaching that 151 hours/mo number in front of the latter?

    Oops, gotta run…Oprah’s coming on in a few minutes…

  2. Missy Caulk

    February 26, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Wow, that is amazing. Not that many good programs, except American Idol !

    TV can be so negative you really have to watch yourself with the news.

  3. John Kalinowski

    February 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    It’s not all bad. A little brainless humor is good for the soul, and it can be quite therapeutic to watch the funny video shows, or American Idol, etc. I also enjoy watching The History Channel, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet with my children.

    Sometimes melting into the couch in front of some completely meaningless show can do wonders for an overworked cranium.

  4. Matthew Hardy

    February 26, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I have notice a correlation between my experience of well-being and how much television I watch. Less is better. A good replacement: books or backgammon. A better replacement: writing software while I mountain bike. A best replacement: no thought.

  5. Jayson

    February 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    That’s an absurd amount of TV, but based on what I hear people talking about, and what I hear them say they do, I believe it. I certainly agree that less television is the way to go; I don’t see the majority of Americans believing that any time soon. It’s the death of our production.

    Thanks for the stats and read

  6. Matt Wilkins

    February 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I think that our society’s addicition to TV stems from the “I have this all this nice A/V equipment I should put it to god use”. I do have to agree with Chuck that if you include computer screntime in that the figure becomes more believeable in my opinion.

    I personally cut cable about a year ago once the monthly bil skirted $100/month. I don’t miss it at all as the shows I DO watch are on the major broadcast networks and/or available to watch on the web.

  7. fred

    February 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Turn off my 52″ Samsung 1080p? Are you kidding LOL. 151 hours is a bit much but we should all still tune in and stay connected to the world. At least watch CNN right?

  8. Carson

    March 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    A agree with Matt on the A/V equipment. Worse, once a person gets sucked in to a 52″ screen, it’s hard for them to let go. Add a DVR and it’s like crack.

  9. Christi Borden

    March 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I am often asked how I can find time to read? It is easy… I turn off the boob tube. Yes, there is the occasional news program or old movie that might catch my eye, but I am usually found behind the pages of a good read instead of trying to figure out which washed up television star is the best dancer or who will get the rose and who will go home? Not superior… just trying to find a way to better use my limited personal time. My kids are readers, too and it shows… National Merit Scholars!

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.

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easy advocacy welcome page

Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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