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Degrees of Separation Between You and Your Next Short Sale?



Anyone who has read my blog posts before knows that I love this unique and challenging real estate market.

Businessman I absolutely adore short sales! One of the reasons that I go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over short sales is because they are not a difficult listing to obtain. And . . . I do seem to recall some of the old school real estate trainers yelling from the rooftops, “If you don’t list, you don’t last.”

Well, here’s a great opportunity to list and last. Get a short sale listing. Actually, get two, three . . . ten. Since the actual closing date for a short sale is difficult to calculate with precision, put a slew of short sales in your pipeline so that you can see closing after closing after closing.

If you don’t have any short sale listings right now, you might be wondering: Where should I begin?

The answer to that question is easy: begin with the people you know—your sphere of influence. If you have not done so before, create a database that includes 200 people you know. This list should include the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails if possible. If you cannot create a list of 200 people, start smaller. The key is to create the list. And, as people begin to contact you and you begin to close transactions, add those new individuals that you meet to your list. This is your sphere of influence.

In my last post, I alluded to the six degrees of separation theory. I mentioned that everyone knows someone who knows someone who might be having trouble making ends meet. With our current unemployment rate at over 10% and with billions of dollars in loans set to adjust this year, certainly there must be someone you know who might need some help exploring options available to avoid foreclosure.

I was thinking this morning that there are four degrees of separation between yours truly and President Barack Obama, and I’m three degrees from Jay Leno. However, I do not believe that either of those individuals are current short sale prospects. But, I must know someone who needs my help.

Using email campaigns, postcards, telephone campaigns and other marketing strategies, spread the word that you are available to provide real estate services to anyone from your sphere and beyond. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jay Leno or the guy down the street. Make a marketing plan and stick to that plan day in and day out. If you do that, there will be zero degrees between you and your next short sale listing.

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.

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  1. stephanie crawford

    January 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I don’t think Leno will need any help, but Conan might! LOL

  2. Jeff Green

    January 20, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Great article on short sale listing Melissa. No doubt, this will be very helpful for all in such a situation. Excellent resource. Keep it up.

  3. luxuryrealestateinsider

    January 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    That’s good to know that it’s fairly easy to market for short sales. It is a reality in California real estate, but I find it hard to ask people if they know somebody who is upside down and needs to get out of their house. I have heard that the process is getting quicker and easier for agents to get thru the banking mess of trying to help somebody get out from under their debt. Thanks for the suggestions and thoughts.

    • Melissa Zavala

      January 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Short sales are getting a little bit easier; that’s for sure. The new guidelines for the HAFA program (effective 4/5/10) may even help to improve upon short sales a little bit more!

  4. Chris Amstutz

    February 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I live in the Bradenton-Sarasota Florida area. If you can’t market short sales here you’re in the wrong business. With over 2000+ properties headed into foreclsoure in 2010 there’s sure to be an abundance of short sale prospects.

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.



easy advocacy welcome page

Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.



The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.



instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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