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Spare me your Excuse Party

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My business is slow because the market’s down. Buyers are hiding in the woodwork and sellers don’t want to think about selling right now. My marketing is just not working and I need something new and shiny. It’s the fall and it’s always like this in the fall. But when spring rolls around, and when that stimulus passes, and when those leads start rolling in and when that software brings discipline to my business and when I attend that conference and when I start reading blogs every morning, and as soon as this social media thing kicks in…and…and.

I don’t want to hear it.

Do you want to know the Truth: You don’t want it bad enough. Nothing more, nothing less. Nelson Mandela spent 28 years in a South African prison for his opposition to apartheid and overcame it to become the country’s president and and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Elie Weisel was put in Auschwitz-Birkenau at age 16 and not only survived but went on to become a best selling author, professor and lecturer. But these are special people, you might say. Regular folks  not only survive tragedy, extreme financial problems, disease, poverty but flourish to become what others deemed impossible, EVERY DAY. The human power of will is strong enough to surpass the toughest obstacles life can pose. You mean to tell me, it can’t overcome your slow season, anemic conversion rate or weight loss troubles?

You already know “The Dance”

We all have been through a period of time (albeit, short) when we were on the ball, focused and productive, locked in and intense. We all have gone Nazi on ourselves when we decided to lose weight and stop trying to do so. We all have tucked away Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Hulu, Drudge Report or HuffPost to focus solely on closing business. I don’t need to tell you the results because you  know them. You know exactly what works because you have done it before. So what’s stopping you?

Troubling Trends

Two trends that I see in social media on a regular basis bother me like a pack of flies in a backyard cookout. The first is the Extreme Honesty Bridge to Nowhere trend. This is when someone is brutally honest about the troubles that they’re facing and go public with them in their blog or social media sites. The idea here is to involve your peers in your struggle and have them hold you accountable for results by proxy. This part of the idea I actually like. What happens next is … nothing. They move on to the next best idea they have only to return with another lame post about the same thing. You can do whatever floats your boat to get your focus in order, but DO something. The second is the “I’m an Idea Collector” trend. This is when someone reads articles from blogs and newspapers religiously every morning collecting great ideas but never acting on a single one of them. That’s the ultimate preparing to prepare surefire recipe to wasting your time. Antidote: Take one idea per week and put it to work. Internalize it and make it part of your repertoir. Way before I became a contributor on AG, I read a post by Lani on how to find Creative Commons licensed images to use in your posts with Flickr. Since that day, that’s what I do every time I blog. I read another post from Ken on the power of sending handwritten notes to clients to generate referrals. Now, that’s part of my M.O. Reading great content is better than not reading it but not doing something with the information will lead you to the exact same place. Nowhere.

Harsh?

I hope I wasn’t unclear. Did you find this a bit harsh? I can understand that. But I hope knowing that this rant was not only directed  to you but to me as well, can heal some of those bruised feelings. Now go out there and DO SOMETHING.

Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ian Greenleigh

    August 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Not too interested in “going Nazi” on myself, but I get your point. I don’t think your post is too harsh, either. It needs to be said.

  2. BawldGuy

    August 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Erion, there are talkers and there are doers. What you’ve done here is pull the talkers’ pants down.

    Harsh is the only thing they understand. When their pants are bunched around their ankles, they either have to listen and acquiesce to reality, or turn and run, providing a stellar impression of a frightened penguin. 🙂

  3. Ken Brand

    August 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    If it was easy, everybody could do it. Excuses suck. There are unexpected circumstances and barriers and obstacles and challenge…your last two words “DO SOMETHING” sum it up. Even it’s it wrong and done poorly, get started, take action, begin.

    Cheers. Thanks for the reality check.

  4. Jeffrey Douglass

    August 6, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Every day I get up and do something – sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. The next day I try something else. Your post puts our struggles in context.

    I just hope that I’m not on the bridge to Nowhere…LOL

  5. Marie Kratsios

    August 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Erion, you should post this on every Realtor posting site available so that as many Realtors as possible read it. I think that if every Realtor isn’t committed to trying to speak to at least 30 people a day about real estate in this market (and why not in any market?), they should just turn in their license.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    August 6, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    @ErionHouston – This is one of those posts where I feel like all I can say is “Great post.” I don’t have anything to really add. You’re dead on and if this is harsh, I want to see severe punishment from you. Take it out on all of us. Call me names. Whatever you want if it slaps me around the head like this one. Keep ’em coming. Please. You have a hungry population waiting to be given the harsh reality in plain old English. I’m tired of sugar coated frosted puffs.

  7. Erion Shehaj

    August 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    @Ian

    “Going Nazi on myself” is my wife’s way of describing my dieting 🙂

    @Bawldguy

    I’d pay the price of admission to see a “stellar impression of a frightened penguin”.

    @Ken

    I would add that hanging with people that take action instead of perfecting your moping skills by the water cooler can lead to better results instantaneously

    @Jeffrey

    Persist as long as you are taking action. Results will follow. Thanks for the comment, Sir. Just followed you on Twitter and looking forward to connecting.

    @Marie

    Thanks for the kind words. Perhaps you can help me in the quest of posting this everywhere Realtors roam 🙂 This has nothing to do with the post, but I LOOOOVE Greek Food!

    @Matt

    I appreciate the comment, brother. It’s not everyday I impress a rockstar. We all need a kick in our “upper thigh” from time to time to get going. I may need you to return the favor one of these days.

  8. Joe Loomer

    August 7, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Nobody plans to fail, they fail to plan….

    I’m with Matt on this – can’t add anything that you didn’t put in clear terms already….

    Glad you’re here Erion.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  9. Melina Tomson

    August 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    I can see how people get totally overwhelmed. I have book marked articles for so many great ideas. Initially I tried to implement too many at once, and got totally overwhelmed. I stepped back and I started doing what you did which is just take one per week. There is so much information about there that your heads starts to spin after a while.

    I needed to step back and look at the big picture, rather than the right now picture. I mean if you take one idea per week, that is 52 new things that you are doing for your business each year. That is incredible when you think about it.

  10. MIssy Caulk

    August 8, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Great thoughts and vision.

    Learn one thing at a time, implement it, systemitize it then go to the next.

    With all the links and things to try it is too easy to drag to my “do it later” folder in my inbox.

    Now that is so big…..I need to delete and start over.

  11. Jim Rake

    August 8, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Spot on…

    As on of those comic book heroes said on the big screen a couple of years ago, “It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.”

    The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) model for change and improvement hinges on its basis of Action, but oftentimes those good intentions never see the light of day.

    Always appreciate the reminder…and Erion, you’re right…”no excuse, Sir”!

  12. Karen Goodman

    August 8, 2009 at 11:07 am

    You hit the nail on the head.

    There ARE people that are succeeding in this market. What are they doing differently than the people that sit and complain?

    They work their butts off. They figure out what is working and they do more of that. They take the slow times as an opportunity to implement new action plans.

    I think the one thing that agents can do to improve their business is to surround themselves with positive agents that are either selling homes or are working hard to make it happen. This is the time to start going into the office more, attend training, give your website a makeover. Whatever it takes. The best thing I did recently was switch from an office with naysayers to one with energized, succeeding agents.

    Thanks for saying it out loud.

    @karenstl

  13. Matthew Hardy

    August 8, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Let’s be honest. Much of what we do online is a complete waste of time. (Yes, I see the irony of writing that statement online.) It’s activity for the sake of activity; adding little to nothing to our *income* nor creating real value for our business. Unless you really understand the value of copyrights and are producing digital works that you can leverage over time, it’s just bar chatter.

    One thing that *always* works for me: I spend time getting out of time. I spend time purposefully not thinking – I call it “getting to zero” – where I am fully awake and aware but not thinking. Then, I introduce something I want to solve or do in the most efficient, purely targeted way I can. I always produce my best work from that place and the work is always more meaningful.

    Make a choice. Decide what you want. Continue until you get it or change your mind. Repeat.

  14. Debra McDowell

    August 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I agree. Yes, I know we should be internet savy and yes most people view realestate on line first. BUT, to make a SALE either from a listing or buyer, you HAVE to be there in PERSON! How do so many people have the time to sit at their computers and twitter, facebook, etc and watch lisiting on realtor.com? Business will always be PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP and knowing people……not a bunch of BS on line. How can you tell if someone is telling you the truth unless you know or can see their body language?

  15. Jeffrey Douglass

    August 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Debra, A bunch of BS on line won’t get your business, but providing good, honest content will. Real Estate is a personal relationship business – but to succeed in the future you have to be found and first understood on the Internet. Trust, rather from on-line or face to face must be earned with time – plenty of consumers real on-line content and spin to make that determination first, before they ever pick up the phone.

    BTW – Twitter, facebook, etc can be updated in the field on your smart phone – so no more need to sit at your desktop.

    Times have changed, are you going to?

  16. Erion Shehaj

    August 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Debra

    There’s no doubt that real estate success happens when there’s “belly to belly” meaningful conversations between the pro and their clients. But you should understand that people like myself who interact with clients in a 2.0 way (if you will) don’t do so because it’s the cool thing to do. We believe that in this new real estate landscape, that’s where the consumer is and she is demanding that we demonstrate our value and expertise in these media BEFORE they pick up the phone and schedule that appointment. As an example, take a look at what’s happened in this latest downturn. Many weathered agents that were relying on classical marketing methods faced extreme difficulties that in some cases drove them out of business. In contrast, some new age agents had their best year. I’m not suggesting that new tools work better than old school marketing because they don’t. But when you combine new age savvy with some traditional common sense methods, it’s pure magic.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

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It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

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Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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