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What Business Are We REALLY In? Are You Sure?

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If it's not "Magical" is it "Muggel"?Sizzling Steak and Magic

I love dinner.  I love eating out.  I love to eat dinner at Flemings Steak House.

I live in Houston Texas.  Steak Houses are everywhere.  They all cook Steak and serve cocktails.

What’s the real business of a Steak House?  Is it to cook steak and sling drinks?

NO.

Their real business, if they crave raving fans, Yelps and profits, is to serve “Emotionally Evocative Experiences”, “Visual Delights”, “Tongue Tease” and “Feel Good”.  It’s not ALL about cooking steak, it’s about the entire dining experience.

What Business Are We In?

[FYI: This share was inspired by content and comments contained in twos posts authored by Erion and Lani.  Check’m out:  E = ONE and L = TWO.]

I hear, ” I sell houses”.   I say, “WRONG”.

Selling a house is the result of what WE DO. A myopic focus on selling houses leads to survival, short term success and finally, Burn-Out.  Want to open a can of Break-Out Thrival?  Read on.

We live, work and play in a Trust (Consistent, Accurate, Timely, Honest, Safe), Experience (Evocative and Engaging) and Entertainment (Fun, Interesting, Unique, Provocative) society.

Serving true Trust, emotionally evocative Experiences and Entertainment leads to loyal fans, perpetual referral recommendations, closed sales, big-bank and Break-Out Thrival.

IMHO, Our Real Business Is Communication. Presentation. Solutions. Inspiration and Leadership.

Communication:  How we broadcast and share.

Is what we say Interesting or do we drone?

Are we believable, accurate and trustworthy or do we BS in broad generalities and frustrate with inconsistencies?

Do we roll rigid and old-school-antique or do we Watusi 2010 style with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Email, Text, Blog, etc. (I remind myself, all this 2010 whiz-bang is simply a tool to create opportunities to meet, share, connect and conversate in person.)

Do we hope and opine for incoming contact or do we reach out, help out, engage, educate, serve and solve?

Do we shout and monologue  or dialogue and share?

Do we chase, capture and churn or attract, connect and loyalize?

Presentation:  How we create impressions and perceptions through our physical, verbal, digital and collateral actions and manifestations.

Are our marketing messages fresh, clean, bright, encouraging and professionally designed or Jurassic, aimless and amateur.

When our stomach’s in knots, our patience frazzles and our dauber’s down, do we host a pity party or RISE UP?

Does What, Where, How and When we present, position us as the authoritative Go To Icon or invisible, forgettable and broke.

Solutions, Hassle Prevention and Friction Free Convenience:

Nobody wants a pain in the ass experience.  Everybody enjoys, employs and referral recommends providers of convenience, speed and reliability.

How’s our track record for returning calls and emails?

When crisis and challenge flash-flame, do we solve and resolve with confidence and deliberation or do we melt into a squishy puddle of paralyzation?

Is it all about our schedule, our rules, our ways or is about client convenience, flexibility and custom-fit ?

Is it complicated or simple?

Do we follow a proven system or fly by the skid-marked seat of our underpants?

Inspiration and Leadership:

Hugh MacLeod, “The market for hope is infinite”.  Napoleon, ” A leader is a dealer in hope”.

Does our attitude attract or repel?

Are we stingy or generous?

Are we credible?

Do we surprise and delight or disappoint?

Does our physical appearance and demeanor ooze confidence?

Do we smile, encourage and support or discourage and criticize?

Do we complain, blame, gossip and spit excuses?  These traits are the opposite of attractive, which means they repel or are repulsive.

Do we listen and understand or plow forward and puke?

Are we passionate, candid and real or mercenaries, opportunists and posers?

Do we preach too much?  Ummmm, yikes, I’m feeling guilty.   I’m gonna wrap it up by saying, IMO, the most successful and happiest people don’t focus on selling real estate, they focus on delivering experiences worth repeating and sharing. Selling houses is just a slice of the over-arching business and lifestyle of a successful and rewarding real estate career.

My 27cents.  Cheers.

PS.  What business are you in?

PS.  On reflection, this is a long list of aspirational stuff.  Nobody can be all these, all the time.  For me, the goal, the fun and the surprise, is all balled up in the fizzy journey towards doing better.  Thanks for reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit


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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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    September 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Reading your posts are like watchin a dubbed kung fu move. Whats the plot… reading the subtitles… trying to understand the storyline. Uggg! Still fun though 🙂

  2. Joe Loomer

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life….

    Last week, at a new construction listing, my buyers asked for a minute to talk privately. I took the opportunity to take a short walk down the street and noted another home that fit their needs but had not been on the list of homes we’d worked hard to put together.

    When I went back to get them, I suggested we view the home they had previously excluded. They loved it and wrote a contract. I think it was because I like what I do and didn’t just go outside and stop being an agent while they talked. My professional interest was peaked by the exterior aesthetics of the other property, I liked it, and thought they would too.

    I like what I do, and the reasons have a lot more to do with the “Taking Care of Sailors” attitude I was taught as a young Chief than they do with making a living. Thank God for great leaders and teachers in my life that don’t let me take anything for granted – including my own attitude. You’re one of them, Ken – thanks for another hit.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Ken Brand

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Fred – Thanks for the feedback. Sorry it’s hard to read, hell half the time I’m not even sure what it is I’m talking about and I’m doing the talking. Seriously, thanks, I’m not trying to make it harder that it should be. I’ll work on simplifying. Cheers.

    Joe – Amen, you gotta love it or leave it. Rock on Joe.

  4. Ian Greenleigh

    September 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Ken-

    Providers of experiences we all are. People like you are providers of GOOD experiences. Such are the kind that make it unnecessary to ask for referrals, testimonials, or introductions. Give someone a good experience and they want others to share it, and share it they will. It’s amazing what can be accomplished by treating people right, deviating from the “script” when needed, truly listening and being honest. You’ve got the right stuff, Ken. I love reading your observations.

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning texting in your 2010 toolkit.

  5. Bob Gibbs

    September 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I agree that focusing on “Selling a house”, or “Lead Generation” comes from a place of lack. It is much more rewarding and fulfilling to actually help someone with that person’s best interest in mind. Even if it means no paycheck for us. I have found that keeping a focus on the clients best interest actually results in more business. I have received many referrals from people who have yet to have a transaction with me.

  6. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    I agree and good post.

    After the first meeting or two, my cleints and I are just having a GOOD TIME. Hey, why not.

    Laughing, joking, casually going through the showings, being candid, etc.

    Check out some of the feedback in which this resonates:

    https://www.atlantarealestateinfo.com/grgresults.php

    “Also, he was very fun to ride around with and we enjoyed his company. Use him! T&K”

    I’m not bragging on myself, just helping you prove your point, Ken….you’re RIGHT!

    Rob

  7. TomFerry

    September 17, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Ken-

    I challenge everyone who is reading your posting to honestly look at themselves and their business and answer the questions you’re asking. We have to get clear as to where we’re going and how we’re getting there in business.

    Thx for the posting Ken.

    TF

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Business Marketing

How ecommerce brands can increase sales, even on tiny purchases

(MARKETING) These tips and tricks are prime ways to boost the dollar amount spent at checkout and close more deals — even on the tiny purchases!

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online sales

There are many marketing techniques aimed at acquiring new customers. Makes sense, right? More customers, more money. But how do you increase sales with your existing customer base? The Average Order Value (AOV) = Total Revenue/# of Transactions. This number is important because it indicates how much each customer is buying. Here are some ways to increase your AOV:

First, it’s crucial to appeal to human nature. People like things for free. So, by setting a minimum to receive free delivery, buyers are more likely to continue browsing and eventually buying, in order to avoid the shipping fee. While we all know that spending $50 when I only meant to spend $37 isn’t ideal, but I’d rather pay $50 for two products, than $43 for one and shipping. It feels like a better value.

Over half of customers will discontinue their transaction when they found out there are additional costs. MORE THAN HALF. Don’t surprise people the wrong way — we don’t like it.

Second, have you ever been to Costco? Ever left Costco with exactly the amount of food you needed? No, of course, you haven’t. The concept of buying in bulk appeals to our sense of value. Oranges are $1.09 per pound but buy a 10 lb. bag and get it for $8.50. Next thing you know, you’re feeding your child’s soccer team as well as the opponents. Offering a discount on package deals and large quantities at least gets your customers thinking about purchasing more.

We all rationalize the need for a good deal. My roommate used to buy two 12-packs of the giant muffins because “They were on sale.” A discount on a package might entice someone who was looking for a little more variety but was hesitant at first.

Next, recommending products is a great way for customers to lay eyes on new things. Not everyone is a browser — some people go straight to a specific section. By using information from previous purchases and browsing history, showing related, best-selling, or recommended products is an awesome way to generate more clicks and potentially increase sales.

Finally, help us lazy people by including a gift-wrapping option at checkout so that people buying remotely for others out of town can send things directly. In order to wrap, they would have to send to themselves, wrap, then send again or deliver to the receiver. The former sounds like it’s worth $6.99 to me!

In conclusion, there are always ways to boost sales with your existing, loyal, customers. If buyers are only purchasing one thing at a time, reflect on why this is. Perhaps a few sweeteners or additional opportunities could lead to long-term growth. Remember human nature and happy selling!

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Business Marketing

Branded content coming to a theater near you?

(MARKETING) A solid attempt to find a new vein for branded content, this silver screen antic seems short lived.

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branded content movies

When firing up your laptop to watch branded content have you ever thought, “Man, I wish I could watch this short video on the big screen. I’d pay good money to see this in the theater!”?

Probably not, which is why Marriott’s narrowly distributed lifestyle series Storybooked should be a cautionary tale to other content creators. (It won’t be, but we tried.)

Marriott disrupted the branded content model by screening the entirety of Storybooked in theaters. Yep, you could’ve dropped around $20 to watch an extended branding experience in theaters and if you missed it, it airs on A&E. It also lives on their branded lifestyle blog Marriott Traveler and of course, YouTube.

Created by Marriott Content Studios, Storybooked is a series of short films aiming to “share with consumers around the world the benefits of loyalty to Marriott through the experiences and stories of real members.”

The members featured are international artists and musicians on personal journeys. Each episode is almost formulaic in nature – the artist offers a profound statement about their work or journey, then comes footage of a train, followed by footage of the artist touching buildings, sitting in doorways and enjoying local culture. Sometimes they return to the Marriott, sometimes they don’t.

I watched many of these (from the comfort of my couch) and I’m in no hurry to book Marriott any time soon. I get it, companies are trying to attract a younger and hipper demographic and they think branded content is the way to earn loyalty, but these are lukewarm advertorials at best. They lack the sincerity of originality and authenticity that appeals to a younger demographic. I didn’t even feel compelled to look up these artists’ work to explore more. I didn’t feel compelled to do anything.

If anyone, they might appeal to already loyal Marriott fans, but I’m having a hard time imagining even the most rabid fan forking over the price of theater admission to watch these.

There are brands have been able to successfully dip their toes into more narrative-based ads. Both Kate Spade and H&M have previously created episodic series and short films to promote their lines and they’ve worked largely because even though they’re ads, their creativity and whimsy prevail. I wouldn’t rush to see them in the theaters, but I’d happily surrender a few minutes of screen time to watch.

Will this trend continue? Will other brands seek the same kind of distribution model for branded content? Think of it this way, when’s the last time you found yourself in a crowded movie theater?

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Business Marketing

Ten podcasts that every business owner should hear

(MARKETING) If you’re a business and want to learn something, give one of (or all of) these ten podcasts a listen.

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headphones listen podcasts

So many choices, so little time

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

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From interviews with business leaders to industry specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

Business podcasts for your listening enojoyment

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly populat show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further thna Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real world applications and cover everything from marketing to techology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

#LearnSomething

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