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Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It Method

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Fix or FireWise Words

“What ever is happening to YOU now, YOU either created it, YOU allow it or YOU promote it.” ~Unknown

Reread that.  It’s stark truth and reality for 97% of what is going on with our real estate careers.  Success and challenges alike.

Setting things right is simple…take personal responsibility and embrace The Fix It or Fire It Method.

Fix It or Fire It

Current Listing Inventory Not Selling?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Fix how the property shows compared to the competition.  Sellers won’t help themselves?  Fire them.
  2. Adjust the price to a competitive level.  Sellers won’t help themselves? Fire them.
  3. ReEvalute your marketing and promotional competitiveness.   If you are unwilling or unable to compete and deliver as promised, do yourself and you seller(s) a favor – release them and Fire Yourself.

Current Buyer Prospects Not Buying?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Re-Qualify prospects for urgency, motivation and ability.  If buyer prospects can’t or don’t need to buy, Fire Them (firmly but gently) as current buyer prospects, but stay close and earn referral recommendations.
  2. Re-examine what you think your prospects are looking for, Fix It and get back on track.  If you can’t draw it out of them or you aren’t listening, Fire Yourself.
  3. If you believe your prospects are qualified, you understand what they want, you’ve  shown it to them and they still aren’t buying, uncover the barrier/resistence/reluctance/fear/obstacle/etc.  If you can’t figure it out and Fix It, Fire Yourself or refer them to a trusted collegue who beams a different personality.

Current Prospecting Systems Attract Flies, Felons and Phony-Balonies or The Deafening Sound Of Crickets?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Examine all print and direct mail advertising.  Is it paying for itself, plus a profit?  How much have you wasted spent?  Where are you advertising.  How often?  Who’s your target?  What’s your message?  How many closed transactions has it generated in the last 6 months? If it’s not profitable, Fix Something about it (the message, the medium, the frequency, the quality, etc.) and reevaluate in 30 days or Fire It.  Seriously, if it’s not profitable, STOP.

Is Your Leader Really A Loser?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Assuming your committed, dedicated and motivated, does your broker Leader provide you with the intellectual, emotional, technological, strategic support necessary to thrive?  If not, talk to them about meeting your needs, if they are unwilling to adapt, Fire Them.
  2. If you feel you’re working with a bona-fide Leader, but your success is sketchy, examine your commitment, motivation, strategy and execution.  If you’re unwilling to adapt, do your broker leader, yourself and occasional victims clients a favor, Fire Yourself.

Do Your Vendors Make You Look Magnificent and Send You Referrals?

  1. Recommending competent lenders, title companies, painters, plumbers, baby sitters, roofers, etc., is what our clients expect us to do.  If the vendors we recommend aren’t reliable, courteous, professional and a source of referral recommendations, talk to them about your service requirements and your expectation for reciprocal referral recommendations.  If they are unwilling or unable to perform, bang-bang.  Next.

Are You Hugging It Out With Friends or Slugging It Out With Frienemies?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. To have friends, you must be a friend.  If you are and they aren’t, talk to them and fix your relationship.  If they are unwilling to be a friend, Fire Them.
  2. If your friends are Debbie Downers, gossips, back stabbers or two faced, Fire Them.
  3. Hang and hug it out with positive, supportive, bright people.  Like people who read AgentGenius:-)

Our Shiny Future

Like I said, if we look around, evidence is everywhere.  If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll get less and less. I’ve listed six areas where immediate action will yield semi-immediate results.  Listings will sell faster, clients will be happier, marketing dollars will work harder, we’ll attract qualified prospects, the people we bless with business will bless us, we’ll enjoy the benefits of competent leadership and the warmth of true blue friends will make our lives richer.

I guess the obvious question is, “When should we start?”

Photo Credit

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Cheers and thanks for reading.

PS.  If you have a Fix It or Fire It idea, it’d be super cool if you’d share it in the comments.  If you know anyone who would benefit from this memo, please forward.

Thanks:-)

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    February 8, 2010 at 8:56 am

    One bank I would love to fire is Chase Mortgage. Our mortgage was sold to them at some pont and the customer service experiences I’ve had have been so bad I wish I could choose who holds my mortgage. I think I recall having the option to have my loan sold to another bank and I think the next time around I’ll choose no.

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      I’m voting for you as the next Loan Czar. Cheers.

  2. Sue Davis

    February 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Loved this!!

    Shared it with my teenage son (not in real estate and says he never will be) who found it valuable too!

    I fired a seller last year who wouldn’t adjust their price based on new comparables in the market, wouldn’t stage the house to sell, and enjoyed making degrading comments about real estate agents. Ms. Seller was shocked that I would let her go, but boy did it feel good. The seller is still on the market with another agent and likely will be for years to come.

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Cheers to you Sue, you never lose a listing you never had. If it’s not salable it’s not a listing, it’s an Ball and Chain…an expensive one, not a listing.

      Thanks for the compliment Sue, I’m glad you found it helpful.
      🙂

  3. Greg Cook

    February 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    This should be required reading for everyone in our business. One of the biggest complaints that consumers have about the “professionals” in our business is that our professionalism and ethics go out the door when the commission is in danger.
    Fix it or fire it!

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      Amen Greg, we gotta set our boundaries, create standards and shared expectations…then stick by them. Rock on my friend. Cheers.

  4. Joe Loomer

    February 9, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Concise, blunt, and relevant. If you are not constantly evaluating the success (or failure) of ALL of your efforts (from the watchtower of the bottom line), you exist at the leisure of those that do – and you’re already working your way out of business.

    Classic “Candid” Ken Brand. I will be using this at our Team Meeting this morning. I certainly hope I’m back at work tomorrow, otherwise I was part of the problem!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Joe. It’s hard to say “No” to your own previous decisions. But if we can, we whoosh forward. Cheers.

  5. Carl Ericson

    February 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Great article and advice, Ken! A great reminder to always be evaluating and improving our business and lives.

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Amem Carl, it has to be a conscious decision to evaluate what we’re doing vs what we could be doing. Then pull the plug when necessary and move forward. Cheers.

  6. Cindy Marchant

    February 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

    This is an interesting post to me; I agree with it mostly. But, I would add that you need to give it enough time to figure out if it is working. I did the bridal show advertising way too long; so should have fired it sooner. But, take blogging for example, it takes a long time to get that to work and just because it isn’t in the first 90 days doesn’t mean it won’t.
    Maybe you need to add a dollar trigger to the fix/fire decision. If it is costing you money; fix/fire sooner. If it is nominal (blogging) maybe go longer. Of course, it does take time, but I learn every time I write so my time is worth it.
    P.S. Eric, I have my own Chase story…geez…they are a piece of work.

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

      Cindy, you’re point about blogging is sharp and correct and I’m glad you pointed that out. There are some things, blogging for sure that take time to really work. I think most Social Media falls into this category, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, etc. These on-line mediums never go away, they just keep adding up, the Long Tail in action.

      Thanks for sharing that important point. Cheers.

      • Eric Hempler

        February 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

        When we talk about long tail with social media I wonder how far out we’re talking to see results from our efforts. Have any of you seen some meterial on this? I was curious about it.

        • Ken Brand

          February 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

          The Long Tail and Real Estate is a quirky and interesting topic. One of the moving parts that makes it fuzzy, in terms of how long before you see results, depends on several factors, frequency, quality, topic, broadcast power, etc. One thing I’m certain of is that it does add up to positive things, I see it every day. Another factor is that all the SM tools are merging into search. Not long ago, Twitter and Facebook didn’t show up in Google, Bing or Yahoo, now they do. Today Google announces Buzz, this will also change how we’re found and perceived, how we share and connect. To me the main thing is get started, let time and technology do it’s thing. Being absent isn’t the answer.

          Cheers and thanks for the comment.

  7. Janie Coffey

    February 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

    5 Stars for this Ken!

    I feel like you just reached out of the screen and smacked me upside the head and said “Wake UP!” (I could have had a V8)

    You are right and I bet I could find something in each category to fix or fire (Starting with number 1 above!)

    Thanks for being a friend enough to show us Tough Love

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      Sometimes it hard to Fire others or ourselves….sometimes we have so much invested, we think if I go just a little further. Sorta like when you think you lost, but you don’t pull over to look at a map and get direction, before you know it, you have double back and all that time is lost forever. Cheers Janie and thanks for you $1.25:-)

  8. Judson Tate

    February 10, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Ken,
    I loved this article. Thanks for the pep talk. Some of us are taught to stick it out with clients who will do nothing but waste our time. They may eventually end up in a sale but at what cost? Thanks again!

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      The biggest regrets are not the things we FIRE, it’s the listing we kept that never sold, the people we showed who never bought, friends who friends and money we spent on marketing that sucked hard. Cheers. No regrets, forward march.

  9. Ken Brand

    February 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Ummmm, I’m in big hurry, so I bang out my comments, thanks for commenting, anyway, when you read my comments it looks like I’m an illiterate idiot. I’m not, but when I’m rushing and I don’t proof read, well, I misspell and other things that ding my communication. Uggg.

  10. ColoradoHomeFinder

    February 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Great post Greg. Twice a year I sit down and take a look at my marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t. If it isn’t providing ROI I get rid of it – or FIRE IT as you would say! I admire your direct approach and believe that streamlining other parts of my business with fix it or fire it is sound business advice for anybody.

  11. Kevin Baker

    February 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Great Advice!
    Too often as Real Estate Professionals we forget that we are in charge of our own business and not the consumer.
    If they are being unrealistic, unreasonable, or unmotivated then we need to do the sensible thing and unleash them into the world to become someone elses problem.
    Unfortunatly most realtors don’t have enough business or enough courage to do this… if they did they might find more time for someone that would appreciate there ideas.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.

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Man and woman at kitchen table online shopping on laptop together, boosting customer loyalty.

With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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