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Real Estate Karaoke at the Redhead Lounge

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In case you missed all the fun, last week I hosted a virtual real estate discussion in the Redhead Lounge. This second installment includes the same illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry, as well as two party crashers, Joe Loomer and Tanya Nouwens. These leaders in marketing and real estate were asked to answer questions in ten words or less, in between karaoke numbers and shooters. Grant Hammond, the bouncer on duty, had his work cut out for him. They have imparted some great words of wisdom, but watch what happens when I ply them with booze and become the master puppeteer!

 GBB: Hey guys, who’s buying? KB: Loomer is. Here’s his wallet – I moonlight as a pickpocket.  Paula provided a distraction by slapping Joe upside his head. GBB: Speaking of team work…do y’all think it’s advisable to have a business partner? KB: Everyone should have a trusted working partner.  Someone who can cover their business….  Most don’t need a partner/split … I’ve rarely seen a partnership work, except with spouses. PH: Yeah, long term business relationships rarely last. GBB: Two words: Bill and Hillary.  JL: That’s three words in Georgia. BY: I love having a partner…each of us morphs naturally into a role with the client, with one being the one that must, at times, bring some order to the relationship…GBB: Brandie,  I’m not sure anyone will bring you to order if you don’t slow down on those margaritas. BY:You’re right – the salt is giving me kankles. JL:What in the hell are kankles? Do we need to call an exterminator? BY: Bloated ankles, dufus. Get your hand off my Swedish meatballs… JL: I will if you will.

GBB: Come to order, delinquents. Hey, look who just walked in – Tanya Nouwens. You’re late, put a buck in my money jar. TN: But I drove in from Canada… GBB:Hey, there will be no cryin’ for you Argentina. Try driving across Los Angeles! So give us some advice, Tanya: Should agents who are resistant to texting start doing so? TN: Yes, because it makes us seem 10 years younger than we really are.  And it’s way less expensive than cosmetic surgery. GH:Did you say sexting? Hell yes! GBB: Grant, stop stalking us and go back to your post at the door. PH: Clients who text expect to be answered in the same manner; besides it’s quick and efficient. GBB: So you ladies think we need to be technologically current…  I carry a Smith and Wesson – does that count?

GBB: What is the most important quality about a house?  JL: If the bar is stocked.  Oh, you mean buying one? The honesty in the disclosure statement and the state of repair. PH: Location. Duh. Now stop bothering me. I’m warming up my pipes for my real estate karaoke song. I plan to rock the joint with “Our House.” GBB: Did you say “Outhouse?”  You’re slurring. You’ll be rockin’ with only two stumps if you touch my money jar again. KB: Whatever my clients think is most important about a house is most important to me. GBB: Good answer, Ken, but I didn’t ask you, so put a buck in the jar. And what’s your real estate karaoke song, tonight?” KB: Brandie and I are doing a duet of “Sugar Shack.” JL:Ken, you’re making a bold assumption that Brandie can walk on those meadow muffins that are squeezing out of her shoes. Gwen, shoot her in the kankles before she lifts off!

GBB:  Ken, while you buy another round with Joe’s money, maybe Tanya can tell us what issue worries her clients the most. Tanya? TN: That they won’t get the value out of their property that they have already attributed to it based on a scientific study consisting of talking with their neighbors and friends and consulting Uncle Edward who used to sell real estate in the area in 1958. PH: Boy, you’re a chatty l’il thing…but I agree. They are concerned about whether or not they’re paying or receiving the best price. GBB: So we all agree on something? JL: My clients also worry about inspections…and the smells emanating from garage freezers. GBB:Zip it, Loomer. 

GBB: What troubles you the most about the loan process? BY: There’s no rigor.  The underwriters have way too much power.  The lenders are still in panic mode. KB: You’d be in panic mode, too, if you could see your kankles from where I’m sitting! BY: Don’t make me hurt you, Ken. GBB: Joe, any loan process woes? JL: Buyers who arrive “pre-qualified” by internet or out of town lenders. Gwen, let’s team up for “House of the Rising Sun.”  GBB:  No, you’ll hog the microphone. KB: If you don’t pre-prepare your clients for the often bumpy and anger inspiring process in getting a loan, you’ll get blamed… GBB:  That’s why I pack a Smith and Wesson. 

GBB: Okay, here is my rapid fire finale: Ken, wake up – your ankle monitor is beeping! What musical instrument would most help you in real estate?  KB: If I had the Pied Piper’s magic flute, that’d be cool. GBB: Brandie, when is dress important? BY: Always.  Ladies!  The two most important things: manicured nails and shoes that are not destroyed.  It’s the little things. JL: Unlike your ankles… GBB: Brandie, I don’t think Joe can breathe with your IPhone in his esophagus. Paula, you’re on deck with “Homeward Bound,” but before your vocals shatter the neon Bud sign, when do you think agents should present an offer in person? JL (interrupts): When the client is super freakin hot. GBB: We’re cutting you off, Joe. Paula? PH: If there are multiple offers on a great non-bank owned property.  GBB: No wonder you have your own team. I only have two hamsters and a ferret named “W.” 

GBB: Tanya, What is the best housewarming gift for a client? TN: A house. GBB: That was a good answer for someone with a cocktail napkin on her head.  You’re new at The Redhead, so you get a bonus question: What is the biggest hindrance to closing a deal? TN: Egos. GBB: You clever l’il Canadian – I love brevity! KB: That’s what Loomer’s wife says. GBB: Joe, I noticed that Grant is cutting off your oxygen. Before you pass out, can you tell me the most difficult aspect of a real estate deal? JL: Negotiating repairs or dealing with uneducated agents. That, and they rescinded the “shooting idiots” law in Georgia. GBB: And what’s your must successful means of advertising? The Playgirl spread I did, yeah, that’s how I roll.  (Collective groans) 

GBB: Last call, folks. Where’s Brandie? KB: (Bleary eyed and unfazed by his karaoke partner’s disappearance.) Grant bounced her and called the cops five minutes ago for stapling her business cards all over the piano. TN: She sure is a marketing wizard. GBB (yells across the bar to Grant):  Hey Hammerin’ Hammond –  you like your job too much! GH:  Yeah, I believe Forest Gump best described my feelings here with the whole box of chocolates thing. GBB: So where’s Brandie? PH: Forget that miscreant!  More importantly…where’s Waldo? JL: Probably in the cell next to Brandie.  ( They all jump on stage and do a fabulous rendition of “Take me Home.”  They dedicate their song to Brandie as she sobers up in L.A.’s luxurious County Lockup.)

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in virtual mayhem. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Tanya Nouwens  has combined 29 years of Montreal real estate experience with the home staging experience of Ready, Set…Sold! Inc to form a Canadian power team.  Joe Loomer  is Assistant Team Leader at Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners and author of the wise and witty blog, Fruit of the Loomer.  Grant Hammond, our “bouncer,” just joined us. He is an award winning  Nashville real estate market expert. Los Angeles host and blogger Gwen Banta  can be found at www.L.A.Homesite.com, or checking coats at The Redhead Lounge – tips welcome.

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Oh the Humanity.

    My head feels like Gwen’s ankles after that night out!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride!

  2. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Those huge “kankles” belonged to our dear friend Brandie Young. I’m the one who was stuck with the huge bar bill. Are Grant’s thumb prints still in your neck? (I think our rendition of “House of the Rising Sun” drove him over the edge.)

  3. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hey friends (and sworn enemies) – I forgot to ask what your real Estate Karaoke song is – it must have something to do with real estate in the title…

  4. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    “Tanya has combined 29 years of Montreal real estate experience…” Oy vey! How old do you think I am? Granted, I always age after a night of “spirited” karaoke, and cosmetic surgery may have been more prudent than that lesson in texting from the marketing whiz kid named “U”, but cherie….it’s my BROKER who has lasted 29 years in this nutty biz. Though she in fact looks younger than me. OK nevermind. Pass the wine please.

  5. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “Tiptoe…Through the Tulips.”

  6. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    And on other days, “I Will Survive.”

  7. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Sorry, Tanya – I misquoted your website material. That happens when one’s arteries harden. I meant to say that you LOOK 29, and when I had to pick you up off the floor at the Redhead, you still looked 29 – dissipated, but 29. Here, let me top that off for you….

  8. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I love them both, Tanya, although tulips are hard to find in real estate. I’m thinking of more prickly flowers, such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” by Guns and Roses. Of course, I work in Los Angeles, so that may explain my cynicism. “I Will Survive” is a very positive attitude, although I may have considered “Love This Pain” by Lady Antebellum.

  9. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hic – uh, ok, – hic – uh, ok – hic – uh, ok – Brandie? Where’s my wallet? Ken? This dude’s looking at me funny, Gwen, I’m going all Desert Storm on him if he don’t quit.

    Ok, Brandie!! Brandie!! where are you? Well s#%#cicles, there goes my ride – I can’t call the Wiff. Jen! Jen!! Ken! Whatever the $##% your name is! Gimme my wallet!! I swear I got a “Get Home Free” card in there somewhere from Gwen’s last party! C’mon! The “Places OJ slept” Open House doesn’t close for another thirty minutes! We can be there in ten! Who you gotta *#$% to get a cab in this place? #%% it, I’m going back to Georgia, at least there I can call my wife and sister (no, they’re not one and the same) to come get me on a night like this.

    Navy (hic), Navy (hic) Navy (hic), Maybe (hic), Baby (hic), oh %#$# it, see you next weee(hic) next week

  10. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    You are seriously in need of help, Mr. Loomer. There was no Jen there, but now that I recall, there was a Jim. I saw him winking at you when you were doing your karaoke number. Is there anything you want to share with your AG pals? C’mon – spill it!

  11. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Twenty one years of service to this country and THIS is what I get? MORE sexual predeliction comments? Good googley moogley. Hair of the Dog time! Honey? Where’s my drink? Jim? Jim!! I’m talking to you!

  12. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Oh #%#. Wife just saw the last post. I got some ‘splainin to do!

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Before Sherri confines you to the house for your own safety, tell me quickly: What is your Real Estate Karaoke song? I love the answers I’m getting!

  14. Ken Brand

    March 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Ummm, I don’t remember anything. I think I blacked out, my forehead’s bruised.

  15. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    And yet you still managed to impart some sage advice, Ken – you must have brain cells to burn!

  16. Michael Bertoldi

    March 20, 2010 at 12:48 am

    LOL, You guys have owned the comments and this post. You all crack me up.

    (Smart real estate peeps are crazy!) Shhh

  17. Gwen Banta

    March 20, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Emphasis on the “smart.” Even geniuses know how to roll. Thanks, Michael.

  18. Joe Loomer

    March 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Our House – Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young)

  19. Brandie Young

    March 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    First, you are all terribly insensitive to chide me on my fat ankles.

    Update: I made some new friends in the lockup – probably because I look fabulous in an orange jumpsuit! p.s. Gwen, thanks for the bail money. I promise the IOU is as good as the cocktail napkin on which it’s written.

    Finally, for our next number, Ken Brand and I will sing our own rendition of “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads.

    Cheers!

  20. Gwen Banta

    March 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Brandie, I have no doubt you made new friends; and with your brilliant marketing skills, they probably all became clients. We all could learn a lot from you…if we could just stop staring at your ankles 🙂

  21. Gwen Banta

    March 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Incidentally, Brandie, I like the karaoke choice. I was thinking of performing “This House is On Fire” by Natalie Merchant. I couldn’t find a song title that said, “Buy this House Dammit – We’ve Seen A Hundred Already!”

  22. Nashville Grant

    March 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Never has selling real estate been this entertaining or fun. Not even in 2005.

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

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Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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