Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons
I was attending the Spring Meetings of REOMAC (The REO Manager’s Association of California) in Indian Wells California earlier this month. This event is one of two annual meetings of the Nation’s premier Default Management Organization. It attracts many members, and a number of wannabe REO specialists.
Many of these agents have determined that they are the next great thing to assist the mortgage industry in the liquidation of real property. So they come to these meetings to get face time with lenders who are frankly more concerned with dealing with the issues involved in asset disposition and loss mitigation then they are with meeting the “next new best thing”.
At the end of one panel I was talking to a long standing client when we were interrupted by a real estate professional who asked her if she knew that her agents in the San Diego market were stretched beyond their capacities and having difficulty handling their inventory. She politely replied that’s she was not hearing that from her agents. The agent then changed his comments stating that he had heard that from buyers and other agents. He then told her that there were missing lock-boxes, some properties without electricity, and that “her agents” weren’t returning calls from to her agents. She replied (with commendable restraint) that her firm monitored the work of their agents and the results of their efforts, firing any agents that didn’t meet their standards. He smiled at her and said, “That makes me feel much better, if you need more agents in that market, here is my card”.
A few minutes later, another agent introduced himself to her and told her about the bad agents in his market who didn’t return calls, and didn’t provide what he considered sufficient information in their MLS entries . He also complained that there often weren’t enough photos in the MLS, and a number of other whining criticisms. The lender’s representative explained that REO agents often limited the information they supplied to the MLS since they received very little information from the client, but had full liability for any information printed in the MLS. He nodded, smiled and asked if he could contact her in the future to see if he could list properties for her.
So This was a Strategy?
So let’s back up and figure out what the strategy was here.
These agents read articles about REO business. Since the market is slow and there are REO properties springing up in their area, they thought they should be listing them. Or maybe they paid for a course or bought an REO certification, and thought they were ready to find the clients.
They were spent some time and money advertising or prospecting or emailing mortgage companies, or attending REO functions. And then they finally met someone who actually assigns REO business to real estate agents. Their heart pounded furiously, their cheeks were red and flushed, the adrenaline is coursed through their veins as they stepped in past the throng of agents waving cards at their prey, and positioned themselves found face to face with a potential client. And each one did the same thing…
- He handed his a card to the potential lender client, he told them the market he’s in, and that he had a question.
- Then he asked a question framed to indicate to them that their hiring process is so flawed that they have employed incompetent, uncommunicative and irresponsible agents.
- As a follow up to this master stroke, he asked questions and made statements to indicate that they (the potential client) had failed to monitor the actions of those agents.
Having shown them that they (the potential client) are failing at their job (to hire and monitor agents for their firm) he went on to show them that he’s smarter then they are! So he provided them with his opinion of their agent to demonstrate that they (the lender client) misunderstand the job of selling real estate.
The next step was to indicate to them that they are so uninformed they don’t realize that their current agent is failing. And finally,because this agent is not only smart but generous, the final strategic move was to tell them that he was prepared to forgive the faults of his potential client and allow them to hire him, thereby remedying all of the problems they face in their marketing strategy.
It does however raise the question of why he would want to be associated with such a moron… Doesn’t sound like much of a plan does it?
Ok, I get it…
I understand that foreclosure properties and short sales are seen as the best place for agents to go finding new business. There is a perception that it is easy to list bank owned properties, they require less maintenance on the part of the agent, you don’t have to deal with Mr. & Mrs. Seller, and the corporate client is an ongoing source of business which can make the successful REO broker financially more secure. The fact that these perceptions are only a small piece of the picture has little or no relevance to the burgeoning foreclosure specialist.
I’m not going to bore you with horror stories of checking occupancy and finding a hostile former mortgagor in possession of the property, or an outraged tenant who was clueless that there was a foreclosure in process. We don’t need to talk about trash filled, flea infested properties, urine soaked carpets, or the really tough, urban marketplaces where some of these properties are located. Those are part of the REO business, and if you weren’t aware that such things were part of the process, stop reading, find a post on something else, because this one isn’t directed at you (or read on to enter new territory and be dazzled by my wit and wisdom)
The truth is that REO business, while it has its own particular issues and needs is a good specialty in the real estate business, but getting started in it is not really different from doing any other piece of business. It requires a long list of tasks not included in a “regular” real estate listing, and financial commitments that some agents are unwilling or unable to make. But getting started in it requires a lot of cold calling and door knocking to meet corporate clients who are so busy handling their existing work load that increasing their circle of new friends is not real high on their”To Do” list. And with the current market, the competition for this business is even more intense then it is for “regular” real estate business. So it is understandable that when you meet an Asset manager you want to make the greatest impact possible in the short amount of time available to you. That however is not in itself any excuse for bad behavior.
So Here’s the Problem
You never make yourself look good, in either B2B or “regular” real estate by making someone else look bad. Your competition’s incompetence doesn’t make you more competent any more then their competence makes you an idiot.
Over many years as a trainer and as a company owner, I have shared an experience of mine that illustrates that point.
As an active agent, I called on FSBOs regularly. As part of that schedule I met on a particularly sharp retired electrician. Years before the Do Not Call List this man was so organized that he had a special unlisted phone line installed just so he could preserve his privacy while marketing his home. When this line rang, he knew it was an inquiry on his home and answered the phone appropriately.
I and two other agents were in the final consideration for listing the home when he decided to get professional help marketing the home. At the final interview, he asked me what I thought of the other two agents. I told him that I had nothing negative to say about either of them. I thought that they were fine agents, working for good companies, that would do almost as good a job as I would, but that in order for me to do my job, I had to believe that I would do the best job of any agent in the marketplace. I then asked him when he would be making his decision. He told me that he already had – he was giving me the listing.
Of the three agents he interviewed, the other two each one had something negative to say about the other, and I was the only person that had nothing negative to say about anyone. As a result, that night I listed his house,the next week I listed his daughter’s house and shortly after, sold his daughter another house (which I sold again for her several years later when I sold her the next home she bought).
I tell you this not because I was better then the other agents – they really were good agents, but we differed in one respect. I just never understood the idea of talking poorly about the competition. Maybe its an unconscious concern about Karma, or that what goes around really does come around, but the idea of promoting yourself by demoting others just doesn’t seem to me to be a good plan – long term or short term.
So What’s the Answer?
You’ve gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy (up to the maximum)
Bring gloom (down) down to the minimum
Otherwise (otherwise) pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene
From: AC-CENT-TCHU-ATE THE POSITIVE (Mister In-Between) by Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen
- Differentiate yourself from the competition in a positive manner.
- When you sell services, sell what you have or do, not what the competition does or does not do.
- Stay on the moral high ground, you don’t make yourself look better trying to make someone else look bad
- Answer the four simple questions that are in every potential client’s mind thoroughly –
- Why should I use a real estate agent
- Why should I use your brand?
- Why Should I use your company
- Why should I use you?
If you can do that, you really don’t need to trash the other person do you?
Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.
Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.
Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.
In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!
Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:
- background remover tool
- templates based on popular product niches and themes
- design bundles for your website/store, social media
- annotation tool
- upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
- 1 click brand application
- & much more!
“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.
Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.
Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!
This new Chipotle location will be fully digital
(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.
A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.
To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.
The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.
It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.
Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.
As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.
For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.
Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think
(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.
We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.
For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.
In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.
In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.
You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.
How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.
If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!
In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.
So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:
- Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
- Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
- Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.
Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.
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