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The Jessie James Solution = Resuscitate Your Sales In 30 Days. Boom Goes The Dynamite, If You Light The Fuse.




You’re sipping tall, Iced Cinnamon Dolce Lattes.  Chit-chatting.  Your girlfriend shares,  I need to make a sale in the next 37 days or I have to quit the business.”

She confesses.  I don’t have  a single active listing or any qualified buyers.  She’s dead in the water.  She’s broke in bank and spirit.  She’s drowning and frowning.

She pleads for your advice, “What should I do to make a sale?  Now!

What advice would you share?  What do you believe is the most productive thing she can do to position herself to make the required sale?

Here’s What I’d Do…

First, I give her a big hug, tell her she can make it happen if she wants too, but it won’t be easy.

Here’s what I’d advise…

The Jessie James Solution.

There’s not enough time to focus on taking a listing.  Odds are, it will take too long to sell.  Laser focus on attracting a qualified buyer is required. Don’t worry about listings, you’ll attract them naturally as well.

It’s time to Get Your Jessie James ON!

Whoa! Not that Jessie James, this one:

Judge Roy Bean, “Why do you rob banks?”

Jessie James, “Because that’s where the money is.”

I’d implore my friend to hold public Open Houses. 10 Open Houses in 30 days.  Here’s why?

  • This is the buying season and buyers browse Open Houses like banks hoard house money.
  • The looming expiration of the Homebuyer Tax Credits (FREE Money) will create qualified buyer urgency this month.  Not next month.  This month.
  • It’s an activity that allows you to take action, make contact and attract serendipity.  I’ll explain what, why, when and how in Open House Tips below.

Open House is not, showing up late, planting a couple of directionals, flipping the lights on and hoping something lucky happens.  It rarely does.  Lady Luck mostly ignores the lazy.

I’m going to suggest that if the end is near, or you want to create sexy success now, you need to take Dramatic Kick-Ass Action and amp everything.  As if your career depended on it.  Because it does.  If it was me, instead of she, I’d hold 10 Open Houses in 30 days.  Strategically selected, well planned, powerfully promoted and passionately executed.  Here’s the tips I’d share.

Open House Event Tips

When:  Now! The sooner the better. Hold Open House during weekday early evenings.  It stays lighter later.  Open House signs spied on the way home from work is unusual and attracts attention.  Hold Open House Events weekdays from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday and Sunday afternoon (2pm to 5pm) in April. 10 Open House events in 30 days.

Where: Pick a property that is supremely attractive, easy to find with directional arrows and is priced in the sweet spot (what’s selling) for your market area (you can research the average sold price in your market).  If you don’t have a listing like that, no worries, don’t let that sink you, ask your team mates if you can hold their listing open.

What To Do:

  • Promote your Open House Online –,  your blog, Facebook Business Page, Twitter, association and brokerage websites.
  • Make 87 Color Open House Flyers.
  • Mail 21 OH flyers (invitations) to your current buyers prospects/suspects and 17 of your most enthusiastic cheer leader friends.  Follow up with phone calls.  Follow phone calls with a written short/ sweet note, mail with 2 business cards.  Hand deliver the OH Flyer/Invitation to 26 neighbors.  Personally invite them, end your conversations with a question.  “When we sell this home, would you like to know how much it SOLD for?”  If they say yes, get their contact information, add to your data base, enroll in your personal anti-Chaos, Perpetual Payoff marketing campaign, keep them informed of new activity, write a short/sweet note, mail it with 2 business cards.
  • If you are placing an OH sign on the edge of anyone’s property, knock on the door, ask for permission and invite them to your OH.
  • Do your homework about the neighborhood:  Current listings, recent sales, schools, parks, grocery stores, etc.
  • Set the stage – lights, blinds, aroma, music – No TV
  • Prepare “Flyer Packets – Your business card or personal brochure goes on top.  Include property fliers of your other listings or listings in varying price ranges.  The last page of the packet should be your personal profile sheet.  You should have 23 left over, use the Open House flyers for the first page of your information packet.
  • During  slow traffic periods, use your cell phone to make the touching-base phone calls you know you should be making, but haven’t.  Contacts leads to contracts.  Call.  Call.  Call.
  • At the conclusion of the open house, send Thank You Cards to attendees.
  • If you held someone else’s house open, report your results to the listing agent so they can report to their seller. This is professional and polite behavior.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up with all prospects.

On Your Mark.  Get Set.  G_.

Don’t over complicate it.  Every day is precious.  Now is the time.

Do this with passion and instead of mourning the END of your real estate career, celebrate the END of Un-Success and the beginning of renewal, reward and redemption.

Thanks for reading and cheers to your success.

PS. If you have something to add or an entirely different approach, share it in a comment below. There are good people who’s end is near and they need our help.  Thanks.

PSS. Where and when is your next Open House?

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 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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  1. Phil

    April 5, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for sharing…I will be passing this on to several agents I know that could use this.

    • Ken Brand

      April 5, 2010 at 9:49 am

      If ever there was time to rise-up and light-up, this is it. Thanks for sharing with your friend. Cheers Phil and thanks.

  2. Sasha Farmer

    April 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

    This is awesome- not to mention that April 10/11 is National Open House weekend! What better time to hold a ton of them? I typically hold 2 each Sunday 12-2 and 3-5 but haven’t done them during the week (although have often wondered why!) Maybe I’ll give this a shot.

  3. Ken Brand

    April 5, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Amen Sasha, now’s the time. Thanks and all the best.

  4. Jay Papasan

    April 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Nice post, Ken. I love the emphasis on preparation and marketing. Gary Keller interviewed Philly real estate uber-agent, Allan Domb, at an event last year and I had a similar aha.

    Allan was relating how agents complain about the ineffectiveness of open houses when very little is done to market the event other than yard signs and balloons. To paraphrase: They spend spend 30 minutes marketing an open house that lasts 4 hours and then wonder why no one shows up. It should be the other way around. They should spend 4 hours marketing a 30 minute event…Allan shared how he does this and people line up waiting to see the inside of a property. That’s an extreme example but it underscores an important point. Be proactive in generating foot traffic, the ultimate measure of a successful open house.


    • Ken Brand

      April 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      I hear the same thing Jay. I always roll my eyes and say “WTH”. What I hear is, I tried it once or twice. Then, like you’re sharing, I ask, “what’d you do to prepare, talk to any neighbors, do any broadcasting, preview the neighborhood listings, notify your friends, etc.” The key is in selection and preparation, just as you’ve shared.

      Cheers and thanks

  5. Benn Rosales

    April 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Tactical and practical.

    • Ken Brand

      April 5, 2010 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks Benn. What ever it is, I’m smiling for you guys. Cheers.

  6. Constantine Isslamow

    April 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Wishing you continued success

    • Ken Brand

      April 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Constantine. You too.

  7. nanette labastida

    April 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    this post is going in my RE tips to live by folder – thanks Ken. of course it also gives me performance anxiety.

    • Andrew McKay

      April 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      I thought “performance anxiety” was something only us men suffered.
      More seriously Open Houses now planned this week in the evenings.

      • Ken Brand

        April 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm

        I wish you BIG success Andrew. Make it so my-man. Cheers.

    • Ken Brand

      April 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Well, there’s only way to get over high-anxiety. No, not drugs, alcohol or that other thing, you just gotta lean into it and be yourself. Next thing you know, you’re cruz’n and have’n fun. Cheers.

      • Andrew Mckay

        April 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Been having this conversation in the office. I strongly believe you have to develop your own sales technique so you are happy to get out of bed every day and perform that way. Our broker has bought a training program based around give out 10 business cards every day, phone everyone, constantly be a realtor in all situations et cetera, what I see as hard sell. If you’re not built that way you can’t keep it up. Obviously there are prospecting aspects of the work I think we all dislike and are an effort but to work everyday you have to be yourself.

  8. Jonathan Benya

    April 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    This is excellent, I’m totally passing this around the office, thanks!

    • Ken Brand

      April 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Hope it helps you buds meet some new buyers. Cheers.

  9. Jordan

    April 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I read this post because I recently relocated &, after 3 mos, am “broke in bank & spirit”. I’m doing it. 10 open houses in 24 days.

    The key is in the [gorilla] marketing.

    The green is in the follow up.

    Ken, I’ll keep you posted on the progress & process. THANK YOU!!

    • Ken Brand

      April 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      I’d love to hear how it goes. You’re right on track. One banana in the Go-Gorilla approach is simply personal contact. Get out and invite those neighbors. In-Person and On-Purpose conversation sparks a fire, all the other stuff we do to avoid contact is a big NO-GO.

      All the best to you my friend. Cheers.

    • Nicole

      April 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      I am going to be in your shoes very soon… relocating and wondering how long it will be before I’m able to get up and running where I don’t know AnYONE. Would love to hear how this worked for you!
      Please post updates. 🙂

  10. Greg Afarian

    April 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Nice post Ken! Love the Jesse James quote! Do open houses during the week work for you? That’s a sort of a non-traditional time to do it, I like the idea. What sort of response have you gotten from it?

    • Ken Brand

      April 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      Icons I work with report success with their Open Houses in the late afternoon. Time after time I’ve witnessed civilians wandering into a morning Broker’s Open House Tour. They saw the pied-piper signs and thought is was a public Open House. They can work.

      And in this particular story, what does she have to lose. She needs to engage, if nothing happens, she has what she started with.

      Give it whirl. Try it a few times, see what happens.

      Thanks for sharing Greg. Rock On.

  11. Doug Francis

    April 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    What I love about this business is how you can change your whole circumstances in 30 days or in 1 day. Real estate is hard work but with the attitude of “I can do this” then amazing things can happen.

    I hope you lit a fire under a few people to get out there and sell!

    • Ken Brand

      April 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      I’m with you Doug. The idea that when we wake, something big and unexpected can happen…hopefully on the Silky UP side. Of course it helps if you get out and actually do stuff. Cheers Doug

  12. Phil

    April 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    One way of looking at it is…if one of your kids were to be abducted and the ransom was, you have to sell 6 properties this month and you get your kid back. How quickly will you sell 6 properties? Trust me…you WILL make the sales. Today, most agents just sit on their butts and wait and wait and wait for business to come to them (it’s not going to happen). I remember a Top Producing agent (100+ transactions) telling me once when I was a rookie (13 years ago), Phil, if you want to be a successful Real Estate agent, you have to be the first one in the office and the last one out and talk to people. That is exactly what I did and I became a Top Producer my first year in the business and still am. Thanks to that advise, I did exactly what I was told. Amen!

    • Ken Brand

      April 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

      I don’t know. Way back when my daughter was 16, if she had been abducted and held for ransom, I would have paid them extra to keep her. Then again, I guess I would have been motivated to sell houses to pay them to keep her. So, your right, it would work.

      Equally important, maybe most important, like Benn and @Mizzle say, If you do something, something will happen. Congrats on your success!

      Cheers friends.

  13. Benn Rosales

    April 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    The so smart @mizzle once said ‘if you do real estate things, real estate things happen’ – it’s pretty much true of anything in life and so simple to remember.

  14. tomferry

    April 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Ken- great reading and advice I would give myself. Jessie James … I like that!


    • Ken Brand

      April 12, 2010 at 11:52 am

      Thanks Tom. Cheers to sharing.

  15. Jordan

    July 21, 2010 at 11:40 am

    So I did this back in April. I got quite a few good leads: 1 buyer, 1 seller, 1 buyer/seller combo. The seller is now listed and under contract, the buyer will be ready to buy in August, and the combo family is unmotivated/undecided (i.e. on my mailing list with a few check-in emails/calls along the way).

    I’m doing it again now! It’s addicting and a quick way to learn the area plus pick up some clients. It’s good stuff. But hear this: PREP IS THE KEY to a successful O.H. and THE GREEN IS IN THE FOLLOW UP. Without preparation and follow up, all you have is a two hour shot in the dark.

    Thanks Ken!

    • Ken Brand

      July 22, 2010 at 10:38 am

      You’re welcome Jordan. Thanks so much for sharing. I imagine it has more to do with who you are and how YOU do it, than anything else. Congrats on the succes, and go, go, go.


  16. Ready to getback in the game!

    October 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I’ve been in referral for two years, and ended up letting my license expire. I just found this website/post, and I’m fired up again! Taking my CE courses, and I’ll be on the move! Real Estate Sales here I come…again! Thanks!

  17. Erin Golding

    January 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Just stumbled on this on Ken. I love it! Just the kick in the pants I needed for the new year. Might be a little tough to do opens in January in a New England winter but what have I got to lose? nothing! I have new clients to gain.

    • Ken Brand

      January 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      Happy New Year Erin, Good luck with your efforts. Yeah, kick things in the pants and bundle up, we don’t want you to get frost bitten, just a purse full of qualified buyers and sellers. Thanks for the comment. kb

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Business Marketing

What you can learn from Ulta Beauty’s marketing mix up with Kate Spade

(MARKETING) Ulta Beauty’s insensitive marketing email surrounding the Kate Spade brand can be a lesson: Be cautious and respond to crisis appropriately.



Woman typing on computer representing the Ulta Beauty and Kate Spade email scandal

Last week in an email sent to subscribers, Ulta Beauty made light of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. Ulta said the lighthearted connection to Spade’s death was unintentional. The email sparked anger across social media and some national news outlets picked up the story. In an emailed response to the New York Post, Ulta apologized to their customers, their Kate Spade corporate partners, and Kate Spade’s family. They ended by saying they will strive to do better.

Words matter. Messaging matters. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this painful mistake.

Check your tone. It’s one of the early things we teach writing students. The tone should match the content. If the icon you’re using to sell a product ended their own life, perhaps light and fun isn’t the tone you should embrace. Ever. But most businesses won’t be dealing with well-known people whose stories have been shared with millions. It’s up to business owners and those who write their copy to ensure the tone matches the message.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over words going out to the public. Or even a third and fourth. Often those in the creative room are brainstorming messages, reworking copy, and looking for the perfect pitch. And they get it. It sounds good, looks good, is easy to say and share, and, best of all, it will lead to sales. Having a multi-person system in place to check the copy and someone separate to give final approval can help catch the oh-my-God-no great words, but absolutely not pieces of sales copy.

Listen to your customer base and have a system in place to listen quickly. All businesses need systems for immediate customer response in play. Ulta caught their so-called oversight quickly.  But they’re a huge brand and Kate Spade was a beloved fashion icon. The negative response went viral and they had a giant mess to clean up. Companies make messes with their words often, messes that don’t immediately go viral but lead to real pain for consumers. When customers ask you to stop a message, listen to them and act.

Apologies don’t make excuses. If you’re caught in a messaging mess of your own making, I’m sorry goes a long way. If needed, follow that apology up with a plan to show you’re serious about “doing better” and making sure this never happens again.

If you find yourself in a place where a public apology is necessary, consider hiring a crisis manager to help with that plan as well.

Part of business today is constant communication with consumers. Try to have systems in place so you don’t find yourself in a “learning to do better” moment like Ulta. Words aren’t just about sales. They have power. Remember that.

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Business Marketing

Experience Design & Marketing: Where do they intersect, where do they diverge?

(MARKETING) The field of marketing has been around the sun and back, whereas experience design is a newer, but growing field. Where do they overlap?



marketing trends and experience design

Identify, understand, educate, promise, and fulfill. Is that marketing or experience design? Is it both? The closer we get to marketing in the digital spaces* being truly organic and less about carpeting mobile sites with pop-ups and interruptions, the more marketing and experience design (XD)** start to intersect.

Software experiences used to be only about getting jobs done and the learning curve it took to operate that software was accepted as unavoidable. There was no expectation for ease of use and the competitive landscape was far smaller. The same can be said of marketing; when the pool of offers and services were drastically smaller, you won with volume or referral. Now there are deep expectations for human-computer interactions, expectations of low friction when dealing with a system or entity, and more choices than there are biting Tweets. Volume rarely wins anymore unless the traffic spend is massive or the niche is narrow. Both of these are the result of crowded, loud marketplaces and way more noise than signal. So what did marketing do? What did XD do? They turn to delivering more curated, personal interactions and messages. Those are now driven not by gross demographics and forty pieces of car dealership push cards in my mailbox, but by extrapolated wants and needs taken from human voices and applied to custom outreach.

  1. XD uses ceremonies and activities to discover and define our version of market evaluation and segmentation.
  2. XD prototypes and iterates based on focus groups, unmoderated testing, business requirements validation, and the things they expose. That’s our audience testing.
  3. XD seeks to remove the uninteresting, unused, or unnecessary parts of a decision tree (journey if we must lingo) based on response and introduce a version sans those things to drive closer to the intent and outcome. This is our nurture.
  4. XD uses continuous feedback to improve, refine, and in some cases recommend next steps, products, adjustments, or augmentations. That is our remarketing/retargeting, it’s how we adjust the “campaign”.

And those are only the most obvious fibers of the common thread the disciplines share. Others with a deeper knowledge of both topics can surely add to this list tenfold. The essence of this examination is to ask the question, should marketing and experience design work in tandem? Under one shingle? Can they coexist as a federated faction under the larger umbrella of CX?

They are both a part of a unified journey and the natural progression from first exposure to adoption to “damn I love this thing, I think I’ll TikTok about it” for products and services. That kind of melding could serve a common goal; seamless brand engagement.

The people that consume whatever is being offered don’t see us, the company, the thing, as a cluster of siloed pods vaguely marching in the same direction. They see us as a whole and our disciplines should support that impression.

Marketers and Experience folk– integrate! Learn each other’s wares and purposes, share things that work and definitely those that don’t. XD gang, I mean really combining to achieve specific goals. Don’t just send them a Jake Knapp YouTube, find common goals. And marketing kin, this means more than citing some Sprinklr data and the latest NPS around trending SEO. Wonder Twin into a test and prove machine, use HCD tactics to undercover new copy strategies, and test it with a group in a Pepsi/Coke standoff. I know you are A/B-ing your work, but you can narrow that lane before you traffic it. We can learn from each other, we can benefit from one another, greatly.

I’m betting we can forge something slightly fresher than passing people through our business cotton gin and expecting them to feel like we are one. What are the afterimages that last from the time I see a LinkedIn post, follow to the affiliate, subscribe/buy and actually get something good out of the product? Don’t tell me there isn’t a marketing/design love story in there.

I look forward to following up on this with an actionable plan and (hopefully) killer outputs.

Be well, feel good, and know peace.

*Experience Design as a proper name encompasses exactly what is in the eponymous name; the experience is every interaction, passive or active, through the entire cycle. From the first shred of awareness of a product or service to the lasting relationship made– that is experience in this context.

**I’m not going to call it Digital Marketing anymore, pretty sure we aren’t doing direct mail along with our IG ads

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Business Marketing

7 actionable ways that you can boost customer loyalty online

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



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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