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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.

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

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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

A more environmentally sensitive Pantone color of the year

(MARKETING) Why is Pantone’s coral color causing a ruckus? Marketing is just marketing, right? Maybe not…

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pantone unofficial color of 2020

Every year Pantone declares the Color of the Year and for 2019, the institute declared Living Coral to be the “it” shade calling it “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” And it totally is. Imagine bright red orange swimming in a sea of crystal blue water.

Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman even goes so far as saying it that Living Coral was what “consumers craved” and that it incites “human interaction and social connection” which might be a stretch. It is just a color after all.

However, some found this messaging to be anything but convivial and well, off-color.

Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, partners at Jack and Huei, a Melbourne-based design agency, took umbrage with this decision and for good reason.

Their native Australia has front-row seats to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef and for them, coral is anything but lively. If anything, it’s on life support.

To call attention to the tone-deaf decision, the duo preemptively christened Bleached Coral as the Color of the Year 2020.

Touche.

The duo furthered their burn, saying, “It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change.”

Oof, way to pull back the curtain, guys.

As much of a buzzkill as this pair might be, they’re not wrong, and they bring up the larger question of social responsibility in marketing.

But it’s just marketing, right?

Wrong. The very root of marketing is aspirational. We see ads for luxury cars, we imagine ourselves behind the wheel and believe that maybe we can get there. We see beauty products that promise flawless ageless skin and maybe we decide to take better care of our skin. We see Living Coral and we’re blinded to the reality that the coral just might be a thing of the past.

Yes, Pantone’s Color of the Year is one of those fun end-of-year things we in marketing get excited about, but when you’re living in a world where climate change is our reality and we see it in unnatural weather patterns and the dying off of one of our greatest natural treasures, it’s time to take pause. We can do better.

These days it’s hard to please everybody. Try as we might to make everything for everyone, if we’re going to attempt to talk about a unifying the human race through color, we sure as hell shouldn’t choose a color that reminds us all that our environment is in rough shape and it’s largely humanity’s fault. Bleached Coral isn’t the color we need, but right now, it’s the color we deserve.

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Business Marketing

Genius: How a Yoga studio is using AI to help the masses

(MARKETING) Here’s an interesting case study in how yoga, a 5,000+ year industry is using modern technology.

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yoga

Yoga is everywhere. From small town strip mall studios and big city meccas with guidance from YouTube gurus to Instagram-able practice with goats. If monitoring your breaths and balancing your body is your thing, it’s not out of reach.

However, despite its ubiquity, getting into yoga can be intimidating.

Sure, you’ve picked up a mat at Target, you’ve purchased all the Lululemon pants and Outdoor Voices bras, but actually getting on the mat and moving your body can be overwhelming if you’ve never practiced before.

Well, Would-Be-Yogis, push those fears and worries out of your mind, take three deep breaths and get on the mat, because you’re about to start posing at your pace.

Introducing the YogaBot from Austin’s own Yoga Yoga. It’s a fascinating case study in how a 5,000+ year old industry is using modern technology.

Over the past 20 years, Yoga Yoga has guided thousands of yoga students from their first class all the way through advanced teacher training and now, to help improve students choose the right path for themselves, they’ve created Design Your Yoga.

With the intention of helping new and advanced students achieve their yoga goals, Design Your Yoga is an automated experience that begins on their landing page.

Once you arrive, the bot asks you if you’d like to “Design Your Yoga.” After an initial greeting, the bot begins by getting to know your skill level.

Asking a very straightforward, “Have you done yoga before?” you are then offered nine responses ranging from “Never” to “I am a yoga therapist.”

Once you answer, you are asked further questions regarding what you’d like to achieve from your practice, what styles you’re familiar with, and when and where you’d like to practice among a few others. At the end, the bot will ask for your email address to send you a customized yoga plan. Easy peasy.

Their algorithm has thousands of possible combinations promising to make each yogi’s practice results unique to them.

“For years we’ve been working on ways to better personalize our services to the needs of each individual student. Design Your Yoga is our solution to delivering an exceptional user experience with a plan a student can follow and stick with,” said Yoga Yoga CEO Rich Goldstein.

Landing page bots are nothing new, and more often than not, they’re annoying as hell. However, this one actually seems helpful, which is refreshing.

From a marketing standpoint, Yoga Yoga CMO Marc Lefton said, “As marketers in a city as creative and entrepreneurial as Austin, we wanted to make sure we use every tool we can to bring yoga students the information they need as fast as possible.”

He’s not wrong. It worked. After trying it out for ourselves, we can’t help but be a little more ready to get on the mat. First, we’re going to need to put down the tacos.

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