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Ding Dong Ditch



deer-001.jpgWhen there’s something I don’t want to do, I recruit someone to do it with me.  I find it much easier to harass someone else into doing things with me instead of trying to make myself do it alone. 

Today was the first day of the rest of our lives – you know, the first day my new door knocking partner (DNP) and I had scheduled to go out into the cold, cruel world.  And here, it’s cold – colder than we’re used to.  I know.  I know.  We’re babies complaining about the low 40 temps we’re having, but it’s cold.  Anyway, my DNP, who will remain nameless, because she now reads this blog, tells me she couldn’t sleep last night, then had trouble getting out of bed.  Huh?  Oh brother. 

So we get in the car and DNP starts with:  “Which way should I take to get to the house?”  I don’t know.  How about the fastest?  We’re on the road looking at the scenery.  I realize she’s taken the most indirect route possible.  Okay.  She needs to work herself up to this. 

On the way we see deer and lots of them.  I say, “Oh, turn around.  That picture would make a great post.”  She goes another mile past at least three opportunities to turn around.  We stop in the middle of the street take a couple of pictures and she drives another mile past three more opportunities to turn around.

We get to the neighborhood, “Where should I park?”  How about right there?  “Right there?”  Yes, just pull over right there in front of that mail box.  “Now what do I do?”  Put the car in park and take off your seat belt.  “Okay.” 

I get my coat, scarf and gloves on, grab my handouts and start heading for the door.  She’s ruffling around in the back seat doing I don’t know what.  I’m knocking on the first door.  I hear from a distance, “Blaaahhhh, blahhhh.”  I don’t know what she’s saying.  She arrives behind me with a hat and sunglasses on – afraid she’s going to be recognized.  I should have taken a picture of THAT.

We do our doors and talk to a whopping two people.  She’s thrilled.  Nobody’s home!  We had so much fun she wants to do it again.  Just what I expected.  It’s not that bad.  You can too.  You might see some deer.  If not, come back and look at this picture.

Here’s some etiquette we made up:
Wear your name tag.
Find something – anything – to compliment the home owner on.  It’s just like a first date.
Closed gate?  Think big dog.
This is not ding dong ditch.  Wait a minute so they can get to the door.
In fact, don’t ring the bell.  It only took me waking one baby up to figure that one out.
Don’t stand too close to the door.  Knock and take a step back.
And the most important one of all…smile!

I know you people have many more to add to the list, so bring it on!

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

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  1. Larry Yatkowsky

    January 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    carry pepper spray – just in case you run into dogs – most have 4 legs but there are a few with 2.

  2. Ricardo Bueno

    January 23, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I’m of the opinion it’s “ok” to hit the same neighborhood twice. You know, show the neighbors your not just a drive-by REALTOR®.

  3. Jeff Brown

    January 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Never ever ask them point blank if they’re thinking of buying or selling. Ask if they know of anyone who is. This accomplishes two things quickly.

    1. You’ve not put them on the spot, 33.2 seconds after knocking on their door. They appreciate this very much.

    2. It could turn out to be twofer for you. They may actually know of someone beside themselves, AND it could be your lucky day, as they were just talking about it last night during dinner.

    I knocked doors for just over two years when I was on the home side of the biz. This approach worked so much better than directly questioning them it wasn’t funny.

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.



Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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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.



small businesses new tech

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.



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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