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Black Sheep Realtor

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Black Sheep Realtors


I was recently organizing a progressive brokers open house for a listing of ours and I had a great discussion with one of the participating agents.

Let me explain how I plan these progressive brokers opens. I figure that the more open houses you have in any particular area, more agents will take the time to go visit which will ultimately mean more agent eyes seeing the property. I call all the agents with listings in the vicinity of the property and invite them to host an open house at their property the same day. I go out of my way to coordinate food, prepare a flyer for everyone which I also fax and e-mail to all the brokerages in the area. It’s a lot of work, but guarantees that we get at least 20 agents at each brokers open.

One of the agents I called was extremely nice and agreed to participate although he was not going to be in town that day. He told me that the owner of the property would be glad to host the open house. I asked the agent if he didn’t mind that a lot of Realtors would be talking directly with his seller and this is what he had to say.

Ines, let me be the black sheep Realtor. I don’t advertise, I don’t do open houses, If I have a buyer, I won’t go down my list of brokers opens that I’ve visited to see which one fits my client’s needs the best. I will go to the MLS and look at photos and virtual tours and will preview the house if necessary – no need for me to waste my time at open houses. We all have different styles and what works for me, may not work for you and viseversa.

I have to tell you that this guy was extremely nice and I do agree that we have different styles but here’s my take on Broker’s Opens. I like to know the inventory in the areas that I specialize in. When a customer is looking on-line and calls me on a particular listing, I like to be able to answer questions on the property because I’ve been there. I know this is not an easy task, but the more houses you visit, the more you will become an expert in any particular area. (on a side note – I showed a house the other day I had not seen and my clients response was “OOOOOoooooooh…….a house Ines doesn’t know!”…..it was pretty funny).

We have been discussing the marriage of traditional and web2.0 ways (or at least balance) here in Agent Genius and this is a perfect example. The face to face contact with other agents helps establish relationships, the preparation of the actual progressive brokers open also lets Realtors know that you are the “cooperating type”, the exposure of your listing to other agents is always good, and the fact that you are offering free food doesn’t hurt either.

The irony behind this is that more Realtors agree with him than with me which would ultimately make ME the black sheep. Are you a black sheep Realtor?

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    February 14, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I think you are the black sheep in that you do your clients bidding. You offer a complete package- that alone sets you well above the wolves.

  2. Matt Collinge - the 604homesguy

    February 14, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Ines, I agree. Brokers open houses, or agent’s opens as we call them here are very important way to learn more about the inventory, the community and the realtors you work with everyday. We have them 4 days a week on the Westside of Vancouver and there just isn’t enough time to see them all! I like your idea of setting it up with other listings in the area!

  3. Ines

    February 14, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Benn – It’s not bad being the black sheep, is it? I think that other guy has an identity issue, he gets lost in the herd.

    Matt – knowing the inventory is key for success in a particular area – In Miami is either Tuesdays or Wednesdays (depending on the area) and it really helps to get a group together to increase traffic.

  4. Vicki Moore

    February 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I agree with Benn. You’re the black sheep. He’s the donkey’s butt. Thanks for sharing your open house strategy. I love it.

  5. Ines

    February 14, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    OMG Vicki – you are too funny! I don’t mind sharing at all – we’re here to improve the industry, aren’t we?

  6. Vicki Moore

    February 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Absolutely. As long as it’s fun.

  7. Will

    February 15, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Going to opens, whether you have a client looking for that type of property or not, is a very important part of our day. Absolutely you need to know your buildings/homes/neighbourhoods. You need to talk to everyone there and get the “inside scoop” which no computer can. I don’t have to tell you the number of listing appointments I’ve made off a call and the Seller prospect immediately knows I know their building like it were my own. There’s comfort in that. And with a Buyer, to be able to answer almost all their questions regarding the home or to promote it (before seeing because the MLS pics often do not do the great ones justice) and the immediate neighbourhood… well that just instills confidence.
    There’s nothing worse than your highly paid consultant going “Um, erm, I’ll check on that”, not because it was a difficult question but because they hadn’t done their homework.

  8. Ines

    February 15, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Will – some people want to become experts by relaxing at home waiting for their phone to ring, but the truth is that it takes a lot more than that. And when we start getting too comfortable, it’s time to shake it up a bit and see what we can do differently (at least that’s my stance)

  9. Holly White

    February 24, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I think the idea of doing progressive open houses is a very good thing. The problem for me is time. I am a busy agent and just don’t have the time it seems to visit 4 or 5 homes over a couple hour period of time when I need to be researching everything that fits my clients criteria via MLS even if there is free food. And I don’t know about your market, but here in Nashville, the agents tend to spend more time water cooler talking and eating that free food than paying attention to what the home has to offer. But I do agree with Will that they are important if for no other reason than to gain neighborhood familiarity. We must be experts in our areas and can not obtain that status by sitting on our duffs.

  10. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Holly – some agents do the water coler talking and others pay attention. I personally attend open houses quickly and sometimes don’t eat. Others I am invited by a local agent and I go out of my way to be there. It’s about personal relations as well as knowing the inventory.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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