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You Can’t Handle the Truth….From a Certain Point of View




Knowledge is Power

Swanepoel’s Treands Reports and NAR’s (yes NAR’s) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is just full of useful information for practitioners. Both reports should be required reading for all agents. Recently Jonathan Dalton wrote a post called Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics. In the post he discusses how individuals have perhaps, slanted statistics to serve their own perception. The fact that the information is being used to fit an individuals theory is not nefarious in and of itself. Information is critically important. Here’s my theory of some numbers. The NAR Profile says that at the end of the transaction, those consumers who were interviewed; stated that in the process of buying a home they found the real estate agent useful 70% of the time and the internet 78% of the time. Most people would summarize that this means the Realtor is becoming antiquated. It tells me that Agent’s need to be aggregating more information, that would otherwise on the internet. Agents should be the source of the source and spend a bit more time finding out what consumers were looking for and providing it.

Perception is Reality – Or Is It?

What makes my interpretations of the above statistic more relevant than someone else’s? I would say that it’s my personal perception. I will break down the information to make it usable and typically will integrate it where it is most resonates with me. Information is ubiquitous and easy to find. It’s our previous experiences and influences that makes this information reality. Therefore, since none of us have the same experiences or influences we create these bits of knowledge into a thought stream that is unique for us.

What’s Truth?

Ok, pulling from my inner-geek; do you remember that scene with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan when they are discussing Luke’s heritage? Obi-Wan told him:

“Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

This is very true in real estate. Recently on Twitter I was making fun of an agent for her support of Open Houses. I never had much luck with them and they didn’t, at all, fit into my marketing plan. However, NAR’s study showed that 48% of buyers visited Open Houses before buying. Wow, that means that almost half of all buyers encountered an agent in an Open House. That’s a fantastic opportunity and good tid-bit to know. So, let’s combine my on-line marketing ideas, with Heather Elias’ Open House support and think of the number of consumer contacts; with valid interests in being served, we could find!

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Ok, another movie reference… One of my favorite movie is “A Few Good Men”, wherein battle worn Jack Nicholas, is worked up into a uncontrollable “spontaneous utterance” of guilt. The most memorable line of the fantastic repartee is “You can’t handle the truth!” Well, most of us can’t handle truth that is said at us, but most of us can handle it, if it’s delivered to us in a modality, by which we can understand that you have a valid level of concern for the recipients understanding and success. So, if you are delivering your perception, as truth, in vernacular that seems condescending and degrading you’ll most likely hit resistance. Many practitioners tend to try and coach their Seller’s through the selling process by hammering them with statistics and updated CMA’s. However, if you haven’t gained the trust of the consumer and if they feel belittled, than your job has gotten twice as difficult. Now, you have to not only convince them that the information you are trying to deliver is relevant, you need to overcome the barriers and gain trust. Those issues will cause the perfect storm for the loss of a consumer that you’ve already put time and effort into.

Break it Down

The next time that you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and want it to make sense; remember that communication requires at least two people, the information needs to be relevant and it must be delivered in a way that the recipient can know it’s intent is to help them. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and damaging your business.

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is

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  1. Barry Cunningham

    May 1, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I watched an interview with Supreme Court Justice Scalia on 60 minutes this past weekend.

    I loved a statement that he made in reference to his good friend and liberal Justice Ginsburg.

    He said, he “never attacks people, he attacks their viewpoints”. He also said that “sometimes good people have bad opinions.”

    In this regard I applaud you for reading the information I wrote about and come to a conclusion that all agents should most assuredly read both.

    It seems we respectfully disagree as to the future of the real estate business model..and that’s fine. It’s not a zero sum game and what works for you…well works for you.

    If only more agents would follow your lead. Salute!

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    May 1, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I think one the big issues is that the future isn’t written. Of course the industry will change, but I think agents will adapt out of necessity. Sometimes we predict so much, that it become self fulfilling prophecy. This post was really more about generally using information in one’s business and not just about projections of the future.

    I am not, by nature an open-minded person. But, I am learning!

  3. Athol Kay

    May 2, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Dude… Obi-Wan was just trying to tap dance out of a lie. He plainly told Luke in SW:ANH that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker, and completely omitted that he himself had maimed Lukes Father and left him to die on the banks of a river of molten lava, and by stowing away on Padme’s spaceship played a part in the situation where Luke’s mother is killed. Really Obi-Wan should have finished Vader off and leaving him alive was a colossal failure of duty. No motive to hide anything I guess.

    When Luke calls Obi-Wan on the lie, Obi-Wan basically says “oh well, that was just kind of a metaphor”.

    “True from a certain point of view” comes shockingly close to “embrace a wider view of the Force” as Palpatine suggested.

    But I digress… things that are perceived to be real, are real in their consequences is the phrase I remember from Sociology of the somethingerother I did way back when. So yes basically agree.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.



Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.



Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.



Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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