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Be Prepared



boy scout shirtBe prepared, is one of the Boy Scouts mottos. Over the years it has been shortened to B.-P. In the Scouts it means being prepared in mind and body to do your duty.

As a Realtor, it is important to B.-P. in any situation to full fill your duties as a Licensed professional Realtor.

Listing Presentations

Over the years I have found being prepared can mean the difference in getting the listing or the seller choosing someone else. There are many ways to be prepared for a listing presentation, these are only a few that have worked for me.

One of the most important for me is to send over prior to the first meeting with the sellers my Pre-Listing Questionnaire. In it I can determine how motivated they are to sell, what they owe, if they are willing to put money into staging, how many other Realtors they are interviewing, if there are any are friends or church members they would feel obligated to work with, and what their current financial state is.

Once I was referred to a family from a past client who was a builder, I had sold several of his homes over the years, including his personal home. I “assumed” I had the listing and didn’t send my pre-listing presentation. I found out later after I didn’t get the listing that the other side of the family also had a Realtor friend and since they lived locally that is who they went with.

I could have found all of this out if I had sent the pre-listing questionnaire and not “assumed” because it was referred I had the listing.

Marketing Plan

Before I meet with the potential sellers I also send over my Marketing Plan. I asked them to check out everywhere their house will be seen, and read my blogs. When I am in their home, I can spend all my time getting to know THEM and not talking about me.

I do ask them if they reviewed the marketing plan and have any questions. Most do not.  However, I always point out two things that they may have overlooked: 1) I don’t do print advertising 2) I don’t do Open Houses.

My favorite quote

Here is my favorite quote I put in the Electronic Listing Presentation from Consumer Reports in 1990.

“ Beware that some devious agents will at first suggest a very handsome price. Then, after they have the listing and the house hasn’t sold they’ll come back a with a pitch to lower the price.”

Know the Area

Most sellers are familiar to some extent on their neighborhood, subdivision or community. To be prepared we need to know it too. The past sales, the current inventory, and the absorption rate.

Social Media

One of the recent things I have added to my Pre-listing presentation is all the social media sites I engage in. Why? I think it is important they know you are in relationships with agents all over the country. That you are out there and that being out there engaging can bring in buyers for their home.

It goes without saying here on AG that a FaceBook page and Twitter Local has brought connections into your that can help in selling their home.

Being prepared can be the difference in the sellers choosing you or someone else. What do you do that shows you’re prepared to get that listing?

Photo Credit

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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  1. Ken Brand

    September 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Amen. The listing appointment is everything, planning and preparation are key.

    When showtime is about to begin, I’d pull my cell phone out and turn it off in front of them. It shows I’m completely focused on them, plus, If I’m in a competitive situation and the other agent answers their phone during their appointment, I look even better.

    Like you said, success is won one small victory at a time.


  2. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Ken – like the cell phone gesture.

    Missy – if they answer in the Pre-Listing Questionnaire that there may be friends or church members they would feel obligated to work with, what happens next?

    In the last two years, I’ve had exactly four listings. In the environment we have been, I have been concentrating on buyers who are qualified and ready. Primarily people relocating to Atlanta.

    Thanks and good post,


  3. Doug Francis

    September 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I agree, never assume that you are the only one they are talking to about selling their home.

    My best tip, be on time!

  4. JoeAndColleen

    September 8, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I love the Pre-Listing Questionnaire idea. We always screen the potential seller, but never thought to send a questionnaire, especially with some of the questions you pose. Thanks Missy.

  5. Joe Loomer

    September 8, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I think I’ll adopt the pre-listing questionaire myself ! Thanks Missy.

    I made a similar mistake on a referred listing – was not as prepared as I would normally be and consequently lost it to another agent.

    Market statistics are my bread and butter – they can’t argue with the numbers and it makes you a better agent anyway. Study, study, study – know the micro and macro levels of your area, use graphs and charts to make the numbers more visually understandable. I’ve had sellers pitch a royal fit when they find out what the market is ACTUALLY doing versus the rosy picture painted by local politicians and neighbors. Many are stunned to learn we have not seen any appreciation in value since 2006.

    Another agent in our firm – a succesful lister – shows up and makes the prospects get in her car and go to every other home on the market in their subdivision BEFORE she sits down for her listing appointment. Knowing the competition first-hand usually shows she is indeed the one to hire for their area.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  6. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 8, 2009 at 9:02 am

    @Joe L

    I like the drive them through the neighborhood idea. How could anyone lose a listing after doing that!?

    That and the turn the cell phone off and the pre-listing qualification and we’ve got three unique game changers, only available here on AG!



  7. Matt Stigliano

    September 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Cell phone off is a must, but putting it on the table and shutting down? What a way to show that this time is their time.

    I still haven’t really firmed up a solid listing presentation and it’s one of the next things for me to tackle (my list gets bigger everyday it seems). As always, Missy gives me a bit more insight into what it takes to be on top. Thanks Missy!

  8. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm


    No doubt, the list just grows and grows. And every time you check in and do some blogging, it grows again.

    Probably this will never change.


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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.



Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.



Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.


Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

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Business Marketing

Spice up your remote team building with a fully virtual escape room

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As part of a remote team, team building has become even more of a groan. But this virtual escape room seeks to make a fun and unique challenge for remote teams.



Woman waving at laptop in living room, on team building activity.

Team building events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some enjoy getting to know coworkers they don’t normally socialize with, others dread the day before it arrives. Plus, there’s always work that needs to be taken care of, and using some of that time to mingle might seem like a waste of time.

Love it or hate it, working remotely has made team building slightly better, maybe? You don’t have to worry about physically being present in a place you don’t want to be. You’re not awkwardly talking to a co-worker whose name you can’t quite remember.

Nonetheless, it also has its downsides. We don’t see each other anymore so it’s easier to not be on the same page, and this makes learning how to work together much harder.

We’re almost a year into the pandemic and happy hour Zoom calls no longer hold the glamour they once did. So, what else is there to do in this virtual world?

Skyrocket Your Team has just the answer for you. This company provides virtual team building experiences through collaborative online escape rooms. The escape rooms are designed with remote teams in mind and can be tailored to accommodate different sized groups.

“If you’re working remotely, Skyrocket Your Team will help your team feel closer together and improve your internal communication,” wrote Co-Founder Jorge Sánchez Hernández. “Our puzzles are designed for teams by adult educators to trigger a set of emotions, feelings, and situations. Everyone sees a different screen and you need to communicate in order to get through the challenges. There is no way to continue without teamwork!”

From the comfort of your office or couch, each team member joins from their own computer and location. The escape room consists of an immersive story about astronauts trapped in a damaged spaceship. By solving puzzles and challenges, the team must work together to repair the spaceship and return to earth.

After hopefully, safely landing your rocket, there is a debriefing session. During this time, teams can share their experiences and discuss what they learned.

Skyrocket Your Team says their new form of team building will bring your company several benefits like:

  • Bringing your team closer together
  • Fostering collaboration instead of internal competition
  • Improving communication across your company

The end goal of the experience is to learn how to communicate effectively by solving the different sets of problems together. And, I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.

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