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Wish I Said That!

Hilarious comments overheard in real estate.

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Some of you may remember a blog I wrote a few months ago called  Un-Real Estate – Shutta Yo Mouth, which quoted some ridiculous comments made by buyers. Well now it’s time to buck up and admit that, as agents, we have often said some things that could have been better stated. And sellers have contributed some classic lines themselves. So here are examples of comments made by agents and sellers…followed by the words we maybe SHOULD have said:

Bite My Tongue

We can’t go any lower. (Unless you’re the governor of South Carolina)

All offers are welcome (Although we may burn them and then stick needles in a doll that looks just like you.)

Maybe the sellers will give a credit. (Oops, there goes a chunk of my commission)

That’s just mildew. (Would you like to borrow my inhaler?)

It’s a great neighborhood. (Why is that guy driving off in my Beemer?)

The elementary school is not much of a problem. (As long as you’re Marlee Matlin.)

The high school is not much of a problem either. (As long as you are Marlee Matlin and you’re unconscious.)

You need a credit cleaner? (No, your uncle Tony the Terminator in Jersey does not factor in to your FICO scores.)

No, I don’t think your bankruptcy is a problem. (But the sheriff’s car coming up the driveway does not bode well.)

True, the bright colors you painted the house sure are “fun.” (Do you have any Dramamine handy?)

Sure, we can sell this for more than any other home in the area. (And I can fly upside down in a cow paddy rain storm while doing the Macarena.)

The Truth Often Bites Back

How clever – a cement yard that only needs a quick wash. (Your wife needs a quick shave, and she’ll still be ugly, too.)

Yes, I think you should disclose the leaky pipe in the basement. (Let’s make it bubble and call it a spa.)

You probably should have gotten a permit. (The sky needle on your house is interesting, but the sparks off the high wires may discourage potential buyers.)

Yes, odors are objective. (Although the corn processing plant down the street smells like infected feet and brings back fond memories of Uncle Herb, you may want to disclose it.)

No, I do not consider $150k less than list price a low ball offer. (Do you consider a slap upside the head assault and battery?)

Sure, we can call the shed a third bedroom. (And we can call your husband a gentleman if he gets his hand out of his pants.)

Yes, your collection needs to be put away before the open house.  (I know you were a porn star, but I was the pogo stick champion of Elm Street, and I don’t carry my equipment with me.)

The duct tape on the window is not a problem. (But the finger print dust may be a deal breaker.)

A shopping center nearby is always a good feature. (But the Bail Bonds Emporium around the corner is best left unmentioned.)

Yes, a septic tank is common in this area. (Perhaps we can call the odiferous brown marsh in your back yard a wild life habitat.)

Don’t Push Your Luck, Dude

Of course you can back out if you get cold feet. (However, I will hobble you so you will never use those cold feet again.)

I agree, the church bells are lovely. (But I think the music from the pub across the street may be your lottery ticket.)

We’ve had no offers in six months, so we need to lower the price. (It will be hard to move this puppy with an agent hanging from a noose in your living room.)

And overheard at a July 4th open house: “The graffiti in the back alley is just the way kids nowadays express themselves.” (The chalk outline on the front walk is just the LAPD being cute.)

For more Un-Real Estate Commentaries, please visit Sherlock of Homes.blogspot.com.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    July 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

    “Infected Feet?” Good Googley Moogley Gwen!!

    I think you ought to write one about what agents say about their clients to other agents – in violation of all Ethics and Fiduciary Duty.

    Had one yesterday call me – he and his buyers are late to the closing table, and I’m sitting there with the attorney. He calls, I have to hold the phone away from my ear because he’s so loud – and the attorney can hear him clearly talking about the 30 IQ his buyers must have because they got lost coming to closing and he has to go find them. Goes on to tell me how he never wants to see them again after closing and the husband is the biggest *@#hole in the world and blah, blah, blah.

    The attorney – a good friend of mine and a retired Navy F-14 pilot – looks at me dead-pan and asked if I was trying to recruit the agent to Keller Williams. I told him he and I would be smoking crack on the mooon before THAT happened.

    Thanks for another great post !

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Gwen Banta

    July 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    That’s a GENIUS idea, Joe. I think I’ll do a survey in the office. It’s also a reminder to “zip it” when frustrated with our clients. I once had another agent tell me she was so fed up with her client that she planned to divorce him. Now THAT was unique!

  3. Kim Curran

    July 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Always enjoy your posts Gwen.

  4. Gwen Banta

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks, Kim – Considering some of the comments I heard just TODAY, WE won’t run out of laughter for awhile. I heard an agent tell his client that he thought FICO stood for Federal International Credit Office. HUH???

  5. Robert Zuniga

    July 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    It’s a fascinating world! Love the Truths you share!

  6. tomferry

    July 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Gwen- this was great!! Thank you for making me laugh OUT LOUD AND LOUD the whole way through! Hey, and if we can’t have a little fun once in a while …!!! thk

    TF

  7. Gwen Banta

    July 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks, Robert – The truth is so funny, who needs fiction?

  8. Gwen Banta

    July 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I am so glad you had a good laugh, Tom – that’s great for the heart AND the soul!

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Business Marketing

7 low-budget marketing ideas for small businesses to grow their reach

(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.

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The following marketing ideas are provided to you buy Threadsy:

No matter the size of your business, marketing matters! It’s important for small and big businesses alike to attract new customers, establish brand awareness, and to create buzz around products and services. But we know that not every business owner has tons of funds to devote to their marketing strategy. The good news? There are some highly effective marketing tactics that are also budget-friendly!

Here are seven low-budget marketing strategies for small business owners and side hustlers to grow their reach:

1. Sponsor Local Events

One of the best ways to get to know potential customers? Actually meet and talk to them! When you sponsor local events, you can be on-site to help people put a face with your business’s name. Sponsoring events is also a fantastic way to offer branded merchandise that can help you get your name and your logo out there.

Besides branded materials like signs, banners, or fliers, think about offering some fun items like wine bags to give away to attendees. Goody bags also make fantastic take-home options for local events. A branded canvas tote can be repurposed as an environmentally-friendly grocery bag, lunch bag for work, or a carry-all accessory for conventions and tradeshows. Print your logo on the outside and fill your goody bags with customized items like water bottles, notebooks, pens, and towels.

2. Let Your Colors Fly

Make some cool t-shirts featuring your logo! Wear them to the sponsored events mentioned above, out in the community, or anywhere you may encounter potential customers and can strike up a conversation. You can also offer t-shirts at a discount in-store or online, and turn your loyal customers into advertisers.

Quick tip: Purchase wholesale shirts to reduce manufacturing costs.

3. Social Media

If you’re not already leveraging social media to promote your business, it’s time to start! Think your customers aren’t using social networks? While certain demographics use various platforms more than others, according to fundera, 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions. Plus, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

So use your social media channels to level the playing field. To maximize your time and effort, determine where your audience members spend their time. Which platforms are they using? If you have a dedicated social media strategist on staff, they can perform audience research to tailor your approach to your existing and potential customers. If you’re running your own social strategy, spend some time digging into the demographics to determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. From there, you’ll need to decide on the types of content you want to post, how to interact with your customers online, and create a social media calendar to plan your strategy.

4. Host a Giveaway

Once you’ve got your social media strategy up and running, why not host an online giveaway/sweepstakes to build some buzz, boost engagement, and attract followers? Pick a social media platform where you already engage with your customers. You’ll want to offer an item as the prize. This can be anything from a free product, a discount on an expensive product or service, or inexpensive swag like hats to help you promote your brand.

Once you’ve chosen the prize(s), decide on the terms for your giveaway. For example, an Instagram sweepstakes might look like this:

  • Create posts about the giveaway and explain the rules (multiple stories and 1 or 2 posts depending on the length of the contest)
  • These posts should specify the terms, for example:
    – In order to enter, potential winners must follow you
    – Encourage your followers to tag other people who may be interested. Each “tag” gets them another entry into the contest
    – You can also specify that contest applicants must share your post on their own profile
  • Once the contest has ended, pick a winner. Tag them in a post and story announcing what they’ve won and ask them to also share these posts to their own profile

Quick tip: You can also offer smaller or less-expensive items as consolation prizes. People love free swag and it’s an easy way to get your name out there!

5. Referral Discounts

Offering friends and family discounts on your products or services can help you establish loyalty and promote exclusivity. Offer discount codes or create a refer-a-friend program. You can also offer small incentives for customers who share about your brand on social media. Referral discounts are a great marketing strategy whether you use them in-store, online, or both.

6. Create or Update Your Blog

If you already have a website, you can put it to use to help build brand awareness and attract high-funnel customers. Blogging is a low-cost way to generate organic traffic (website visitors via Google or other search engines). If you don’t already have a blog, there are a number of free and inexpensive blog platforms you can use including Wix and WordPress.

You’ll want to write about topics that are related to your product or service and are of interest to your customers. For example, if you offer graphic design, you might want to create content about how to find an effective graphic designer online, or which projects you can do with an online platform like Canva vs. more complex projects where you should hire a professional designer.

Your website and blog are also great places to post “about us” content to offer website visitors an opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and your mission and values.

7. Update Your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to share important information about your business like your address, hours of operation, and contact information. When your listing is optimized with this information, it’s displayed in Google Search and will also appear in Google Maps, which can help you attract local customers.

To get started, you need to create a GMB profile and verify your business information. This is a relatively simple but important step to ensure customers are able to find your business or service online. Make sure to keep your listing updated if you change any information like your website URL, address, or hours.

The takeaway:

When creating your marketing strategy, remember to stay true to your brand. Not every tactic will be the most effective for every business. Choose the tactics that make sense for your brand or product offering. Another way to prioritize is to consider the perceived impact and effort of each marketing strategy. Use the strategies that require the lowest effort but will potentially drive the highest return.

Once you have those in place, decide which of the other strategies make sense for your customers and your business goals. Also, make sure to keep track of all of your marketing expenditures and the sales from these tactics so you can assess which ones were successful and which ones you may need to re-evaluate or alter.

Remember, when it comes to marketing, it’s an ever-evolving system. Trust the process and try to have some fun with your marketing strategy!

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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