When We Gauge Value
Almost every day, a person or product lands in front of me and you and we’re left with a choice to look into, or look away. Almost instantly a first impression is made and you make a determination as to the value of the relationship potential.
As real estate professionals, more often than not, we’ll work with a client that we may not like personally- you know almost instantly this is not a person you’ll be golfing with, but you’ll work with the client anyway because it’s “just business.” However, the client may or may not feel the same way about you, much like how I feel when I’m approached with a new product to either look at or not look at. I make a determination as to whether I’d use the product at first glance, and more often than not what I’m really looking for is a reason to look more deeply– at heart, I’m a consumer just like anyone else.
There are many reasons I may find to like a product and sometimes it has more to do with the concept of the product and where it may go into the future which is why I have problems with more products released to the real estate industry prior to a year ago than I have a problem with products coming out today. It seems to me that older products have had the pulse and ignored it for the most part, otherwise, a new release in the past year would demonstrate some desire to grow and adapt to the changing landscape that is the practice of real estate.
Agents Are Hungry
Agents around the country are seeing more and more products released into the public and are wondering whether they should drop products and services they’ve used and trusted for years. Everyone knows that the agent would prefer not to change if they mustn’t, unless a product disintermediates another product or service that negatively impacts their bottom line. The problem is that there are just so many things touted as the latest and greatest (see mashable or techcrunch) that professionals not only have so many new things started, that their plates are full of things yet to even look at.
The truth is that even though the tremors of meaningful change have been happening for the better part of 3 years, the bulk of the profession is just now realizing that little things are different all around them. They’re subtle, but they’re there. The questions consumers ask, the attitudes of both buyers and sellers, hell, even the market values an agent has staked their living on have changed- it’s all overwhelming- we know where the consumer is supposed to go for answers, but where do agents go? The answer is easy, they’re coming to places like Agent Genius, Facebook, Activerain, BiggerPockets, and mixing with others that have their attention focused on that change, and they’re getting those answers through the power of social endorsements.
Influence Versus The Used Car Salesman
You see, social endorsements do not require a check to be written; the product or service simply has given someone a reason to have a second look (the viral nature of the concept, great copy, it spoke to one person’s needs exposing many other valuable uses). Many times, the second look gives you insight into the possibilities of the product and the people that are creating them, thus a relationship with the product and its creator is born.
In this space, to interact with those who actually do as opposed to armchair is collaborative and interactive– a powerful connection to its success is born and money isn’t and never was the point; social endorsements are a natural part of any relationship. What is being endorsed is more than a box on the shelf, it’s an invitation to influence success.
The decision is up to the adopter whether interaction is ultimately for them. Their adoption isn’t up to the influencer, the influencer merely shared a perspective and made previously unseen connections.
Learn Before You Preach
A lot is being made right now about what motivates relationships, and it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the ideals behind what makes up the social endorsement- it is the relationship that encourages the recommendation to a friend, and it always has been.
So many tout the notion that social media has been around for years and true enough, the online applications have been around, however, the fundamental difference is that in most cases, I know your name, and maybe even what football team your son plays for because I’ve read your blogs or your timeline, or you’ve shared with me- you’re no longer hiding behind the veil of anonymity online, thus making the power of the relationship possible, and real life connections to be made much the way they are in offline professional networking. Personal and professional, online and offline have now merged- the concept, now reality is huge and the ramifications are endless.
Because the person making a recommendation is known (liked or unliked) they’ve developed some social capital to spend. Suggesting great reading, informational videos, or even a product or service they found interesting can obviously carry some muster with those that know and respect you. The problem many have is that they misunderstand the phenomenon and quantify it as popularity- it simply isn’t that, but you can have both. This is ultimately why an endorsement from an entertainer will only have an impact on a few versus everyone, even though the entertainer is popular.
Popularity gives you a voice, but social capital makes your message matter– social capital is granted, not purchased, nor demanded. Often times, it is because you have bridged a relationship on less important matters whether it be over a funny video, or ridiculous pictures, and enjoyed conversations that led to larger commonalities leads to a relationship built on trust. Much the same thing is happening between agents and consumers every day- when seen participating in social spaces with little motive to make a sale, consumers can lower walls to also find those commonalities with an agent that lead to transactions built on the trust often forged in long-term relationships.
Profiles, Math & Social Media
This is why friend collecting and wasting valuable time looking at social media through a sales person’s marketing eyes can be equated to attempting to learn calculus without ever bothering to learn the fundamentals of basic addition and multiplication for the n00b. Setting up a profile simply isn’t enough to be in social media- social media is a
lifestyle culture, a society with rules and infrastructure but self-policing and many simply do not understand this society as much as they desperately want to sell, exploit or make money from it. Whether it be because at heart they are without the ability to grasp the concept of the relationship, or are simply antisocial personalities that do not trust enough to even try in fear or utter rejection- the angry (emotionally insecure) kid on the playground. Simply put, there are several reasons many fail and begin to scoff at the idea of social media, and simply hate because they’re simply incapable of participating.
Antisocial + Wind = A Lot of Hot Air
Social capital cannot be quantified, in fact, it’s viral both positively and negatively in nature, and when people invest long periods of time pontificating in the red (meaning they’ve surpassed a negative balance in the figurative bank that holds their social capital), completely oblivious to this reality, chances are they’ve only managed to galvanize a sustained distrust of their motives and because they’ve done it for so long, they are unable to pinpoint what went wrong and when, leaving them alienated and grasping at straws. We often make light of the saying that we all attract like minds, and on the surface, this may seem simple. However, it becomes complexed when like minds are simultaneously spending pontificators’ capital by spreading and exponentially magnifying the pontificators’ message, often inflicting collateral damage to those around the antisocial.
Self-policing media universes have collided and now include all venues of personal ideals, concepts, principles and platforms that include blogging (both macro and micro) and communities. This phenomenon repels those that are untrusted automatically, leaving the antisocial screaming at the doors much to the antisocial’s dismay that their reputation now precedes them into both the offline and online realities- the fact is that no one asks the antisocial’s opinion, or ever will. Fear of retribution and or retaliation by polarized consensus is not something the crowd will want to be a part of or embrace, and in fact, the antisocial will have exactly the opposite outcome than was intended by all that they do.
The action of endorsement can be as simple as recommending a book, recommending another agent on a transaction, product or service, presenting an unknown writer to your blog, or introducing a friend to a friend. It makes absolute sense to understand that social capital matters and how you came to be an influencer. Influencers are people who are out front of the pulse in this new era and they want not only better products and services, but also better relationships. Influencers look to shape the road ahead with what’s being learned on the ground in real time, by understanding and using the value of their social capital carefully on products, ideals, practices, and principles that they’ve been drawn to look more deeply into, now share with those seeking the same ideals, practices, and principles, and build upon them.