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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

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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