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Seasonal Comfort and Invisibility or 13 Simple Steps To Omnipresence and 2010 Comeback.

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Crown_of_Thorns_by_rkudryashov2009 Completely Sucked.  It’s Not OVER.  Don’t Fret.

Did your business grow up or shrivel in 2009?  Did you earn more or less?  Were sales easier to close or harder?  Were people stressed or blissful?

You made it this far anyway, right?  Congrats!  You made it through the first 9 months of the worst year EVER.

You and I are apparently survivors – Yea!

What’s 2010 Next?

If you’ve been around awhile, you know seasonality in the real estate business will shrink the opportunity pie through January 2010.  Doesn’t mean there’s NO business for you and I, just a smaller pie.

Some will decide to bask in the seductive glow of the Holiday Season.

We Have Some Choices..

Most will slow to smell the pine-cones and sip eggnog.  The cozy-comfort crowd will hibernate till January 7th, then Spring forward, blah, blah?  That’s what most will do.  Because it’s the easy thing to do. It’s a cozy-comfort zone and common.

Can I ask You A Semi-Personal Question?

How’d you work your way from  bloody-back-there to hopeful here?  How did you scratch, bite, claw and hard-work-navigate through the Wall Street Melt Down, the Rip-Snort-Recession and Housing-Bubble-Blow-Up?  By doing what’s easy and comfortable?

Hell NO!  I didn’t think so.

What’s Next?

Here’s what might happen…

  1. Job losses begin slowing – less people lose their houses, more people can afford stuff, the economy turns.
  2. Corporations begin reporting profits – people feel confident, companies hire more people, people spend more money.
  3. Retirement portfolios are slowly re-inflating – people feel safer.
  4. Interest rates will most likely remain low the 1st half of 2010;  but talking bobble heads warn double digit interest rates loom – this creates a sense of urgency and fear of loss (loss of flea sized interest rates).
  5. Case Schiller reports home prices are on the rise – previously cautious buyers begin to feel homes have bottomed.  6 month and 1 year leases begin to expire; the flood of families who chose to rent consider taking advantage of supremely low rates and bottomed home prices.
  6. People who have the ability to up-size, downsize, rightsize, etc., have postponed needs and desires; this is called pent up demand.  Desire and need doesn’t go away, it smolders and sparks to eventual satisfaction. When it’s safe, these able buyers and sellers will leap. This is called pent-up demand and a screaming opportunity for the prepared (you and me).
  7. Instead of my Pollyanna perspective, imagine your worst nightmare scenario unfolding in FUBAR slow-motion.

Pick your recovery mode; V, U, W or FUBAR; relaxing into the Holiday Season will kill your chances to explode into the 2010 New Year.

Knowing the “slow season” will seduce most into a cozy-comfort zone of inactivity and invisibility, you can choose the same and hope for the best in 2010 or you can choose…

Hyper Visibility and 2010 Majesty.

You Can Do It...If You FOCUS.

The plan is simple, but not easy.  Sprint for the next 91 days. Take your visibility, remarkability and relevancy to new heights.  While others become invisible, become omnipresent.  When the snow melts, you’ll be a shiny Top Of Mind Awareness North Star!

  1. Make time to hug, love, celebrate, smell pine-cones, sip eggnog and position yourself for 2010 majesty.
  2. Engage in On-Purpose, In-Person Conversation and Contact.
  3. Schedule some Open Houses – Meet new people and promote like P.T. Barnum.
  4. Send handwritten Note-Cards after talking to people on the phone.
  5. Take some friends to the movies.
  6. Set up some neighborhood auto-notifications.
  7. Flood your blog with relevant content.
  8. Recontact all those renters you placed in the last 12 months.
  9. Call everyone and wish them happy holidays – no need to mention Real Estate, just say “Hi, blessings”.  Then send a note card.
  10. Find out where the local Holiday festival, Lighting Of The Doves, etc. are being held, send the information to everyone, post on your blog, post links in FB.
  11. Daily, check the Facebook Status of your friends, clients, suspects, prospects and past clients.  Comment.  Engage.
  12. Use the Add-Friends-Feature of Facebook to scan your email accounts for friends – add them.  Send invitations to everyone else.
  13. You know what to do.  Do what you did to survive this mess, just do it harder, deeper, longer….for 91 days.
  14. Please share any bright, simple, effective, proven, remarkable, easy actions and activities you might recommend, in the comments.  Thanks.

What say you?  Cozy Comfort, In-Activity and Invisibility or Counter-Comfort, Hyper Visibility and 2010 Majesty?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Cheers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Duke Long

    October 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

    NICE !!!

  2. Atlanta Real Estate

    October 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Ken-

    Great advice, entertainingly written.

    Smell the pine cones baby,

    RM

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Great idea’s not just for the 4th quarter but all the time.

  4. Ken Brand

    October 5, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks friends. Cheers.

  5. Lee Taylor

    October 6, 2009 at 5:24 am

    That was a fun read. Everybody just pick up the banner and keep marching!

  6. Matt Stigliano

    October 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    #7 Flood your blog with relevant content.

    Take it from a guy who had absolutely no visibility one year ago – this is huge. And it doesn’t have to be 100% real estate either. Write every day if you can manage it. If you can’t, find a way to.

  7. Jeffrey Douglass

    October 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I am with Matt, blogging is so important in real estate.

  8. Paula Henry

    October 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Ken – I’m sending this to my team. Thanks!

  9. Joe Loomer

    October 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Gotta state another “ditto” on #7 – I too was invisible on the web last February – not so anymore…. Lots of that has to do with the link love I get here and on other relevant sites.

    The Facebook tips are also top-notch, I would add that it’s important to remember it’s Social Media – not your person listing selling site. When you say “engage” – I’m sure you’re intent is to remind us to use Social Media for what it’s intended – and to keep the sales push gentle and if at all possible – somewhat covert…. People are on there to communicate with friends/associates from current and past lives – it’s ok to make sure they know you’re a Realtor – but they won’t go to your listing links if you don’t make it fun or creative!

    Thanks Ken!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Ken Brand

    October 9, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Lee – Amen brother, hup-2-3-4.

    Matt & Jeffery – Ditto squared.

    Paula – Thanks, grace and good fortune.

    Joe – Boo-Ya Joe, engage as in conversation, listening and sharing ~vs~ muscle monologue, shouting, chasing, capturing and chasing.

  11. Gloria Singer

    November 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

    The most effective and affordable marketing we can do is to regularly communicate with our “A” list. That is the core of my business plan and it really makes a difference!

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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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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.

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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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