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What you can do right now to compete in the real estate game

competeHydrated yet? Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel like you’re being stampeded on in order to keep up with the ever changing online landscape? I can certainly understand.  It is as if someone turned on a fire hydrant and aimed it full stream at your head- I know because I’ve seen it in the eyes of those I meet and speak with on a daily basis who still focus hard core on their paper newsletters and email drip campaigns, while I’m talking about bundled online micro-letters, and consumer-focused use of Google power.

This article was first published here on November 09, 2009.

You can’t be all things to all people

When you hear the words Twitter, Facebook and Google, do your eyes roll back in your head?  Are you feeling the pinch of the economy in lower referrals, difficult closings, and nightmare appraisals? Are you busy for a few hours daily retweeting Mashable, TechCrunch and Guy Kawasaki in an effort to look cool and in the know, all while wondering how in the world you can keep up with the stuff or implement any of what you’re retweeting in an effort to be a so-called influencer, while building a giant follower pool?

Social Media is a component of your business plan, not a silver bullet.

My advice?  Stop.

What you can do right now to compete in this real estate game is stop all of that and focus.  This isn’t what the cool kids are doing, and those that are are most likely not in charge of putting food on your table, so just stop.  Stop spending hours a day focused on being an influencer to other professionals, and actually compete.

Getting Micro?

Are you swinging a hammer at a screw?

Competing is seeing what others are doing and coming in under the radar and doing business.  Micro-focus on who is local to you and say hello, share a link to them that might matter to their putting food on their table- you know, like how they might go about fighting property taxes on their home in a declined neighborhood?  OR maybe discussing with them the new commercial development going into the neighborhood that is zoned for alcohol and what that may mean to local property values? This is hypothetical, but you get my point that you should influence locally, not internationally and you will make real fans.

These tools are proven grassroots tools, yet I see very few agents actually building anything grassroots around anything other than everything that doesn’t focus on putting food on their table.

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Finding the mute button

Focus on you, focus on your consumer, turn off the fire hydrant, and kill the noise.  There are sites related to you and your industry- mingle there, get what you need at a pace that is manageable, and focus on the goals you’ve set.  If your goal was to raise X number of followers and to follow X number of influencers this year and you’ve exceeded them, ask yourself, is it making you money?  Is your net ridiculously broad? OR are you a well oiled micro machine focused on the folks you could potentially get belly to belly with!  Should you travel to get drunk with the conference junkies, or should you attend the local Rotary club meeting this week and make a one-to-one connection?

The choice is yours.  You can turn down the hydrant both inbound and outbound, or you can continue to drown in the sea of endless voices- it’s up to you.

Summary Please

What you can do right now to compete in the real estate game is to actually compete in the real estate game, not the social game.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Rob McCance

    November 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    A’men brother Benn.

    As you well know, I’m supposed to be writing for AG on a regular basis. But recently, I just had to temporarily shut that, and all other ancillary hobbies down and knock out a long hit list of items on my site which will result in LEAD GENERATION – NOW!

    The RE scene is what it is today, and will be what it will be years from now. If you can’t make money in it today, you won’t make money in it years from now either!

    No matter what kind of MLS we eventually have (national, local, google, NAR+Cyberhomes+xyz), what consumer access develops, what commission structures evolve to, none of it matters if you can’t turn a dime in it NOW.

    In my estimation, now is the easy time. In the future, the playing field will probably be leveled, and commissions my be “adjusted,” making it tougher to excel.

    Likely, if you are a top performer now, you have a much better chance of being a top performer in the future as well.

    If you are using all your present time trying to set yourself up for the unknown future, then good luck with all that. The richest practicing RE Agents won’t have the most Twitter followers. In fact, said Agents don’t have any time for that.

    If you don’t believe me, try actually juggling three active buy-side clients at once for a few weeks. Good luck even getting to your email inbox at the end of the day! (or saying hello to your kids)

  2. Jay Thompson

    November 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Very well stated.

    From a business perspective, the 150 or so LOCAL people I’ve met IN REAL LIFE via Twitter far, and I mean far, outweighs the hard dollar value of the other 3,200ish I follow on Twitter. Same for Facebook (though for me personally, the numbers are smaller for Facebook than Twitter).

    That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the time I spend online with my fellow practitioners. I enjoy it immensely and have made some great, real life, friends. And great “online only for now” friends too.. And I’ll continue to attend some conferences to re-connect with them because 1) I enjoy it; and 2) I learn from them.

    But for real dollars that pay the mortgage and put shoes on the children, “micro-focused” networking does the trick. It can start on-line but to truly get the most out of it (personally and professionally) you’ve got to take it IRL. For In Real Life always has been, and always will be, the best social network.

    • Benn Rosales

      November 9, 2009 at 1:32 pm

      Spoken like someone who is tuned local! I applaud you because you recognize why you’re doing what you’re doing, versus doing what everyone else is doing because you think that must be the answer… Great stuff.

  3. Benn Rosales

    November 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    There is a huge difference Rob in being a value in article writing that further an industry, and help others to compete versus sitting on twitter attempting to entice clients with things that do not matter to them.

    Setting yourself above the fray as a leader is something a potential client can grab ahold of, because you took the time to lead, and lead well, versus a fleeting 140 character message that few heard because of the noise.

    That’s what this article is about, being the result. I also think there is something to understanding that the audience that lands here is here to learn, they’re receptive to debate, learning, and sharing- it’s a huge audience that’s tuned in providing huge opportunities for even the writer. Keeping up with such opportunities shows a real focus to consumers that wittiness the action of leadership through on record opinions and demonstration of an expertise versus a retweet of a conference ticket discount.

  4. Matthew Hardy

    November 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Music to my ears. It’s so good to hear the value of competition touted. Go capitalism!

  5. Doug Francis

    November 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I’m going to take your advice then…
    and really enjoy jury-duty at the Fairfax County Courthouse tomorrow. No mobile phones, no tweets… it will be a good opportunity to connect with some of my neighbors so I’m bringing the business cards!

    • Benn Rosales

      November 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

      oh Doug, good luck with all of that!

  6. MIssy Caulk

    November 9, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Well a load of guilt just washed away.

    I have felt so guilty because I don’t play as much online as I should or thought I should lately….like the last 6 months. Sure I got caught up in all the hoopla but it wasn’t making me money (except for my blog) so I had to just really cut back.

    Having the lists on FB and starting to add them on twitter lets me check in, find out how all my friends are doing and get out of there. Having a group for Ann Arbor people (those I know and casually know) affords me the opportunity to stay in touch with local people, and past clients.

    • Benn Rosales

      November 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      Missy, I’ve always admired your focus and approach to business, guilt should slide right off of you.

  7. Duke Long

    November 10, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Ben. I have consciously taken the time in the last year to get more involved in my local Tweetups and LEED groups ( the 70 Purdue students are Amazing).The face to face learning and networking is pure and real GOLD.

    • Benn Rosales

      November 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm

      I love that you use the word pure, that’s exactly what a real relationship should be. We’re trained in sales to connect, but often we mistake the connecting part with closing.

  8. Amanda Cornelius

    January 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Best post I have read all year. Thanks Benn. I think you really hit the screw on the head.

  9. Agent for Movoto

    January 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    So many people have hailed social media as the panacea for businesses hit hard by the recession, and it’s created an attitude that basically puts faith in the virtual when the actual is too grim to face. In the end, i think we all know that isn’t healthy, and that this backlash against facebook and twitter was inevitable. But in the end, there’s just no way that social media won’t help those companies who are able to “get micro” AND keep up a strong profile in the virtual world.

  10. LesleyLambert

    January 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I agree completely. Like many, I initially made the mistake of thinking that I needed to follow all kids of people and interact with them all the time so I could be a social media rock star.

    It didn’t take me long to realize that the probability of another RE agent in CA buying a house from me is pretty darn slim. I instantly turned my focus to finding people in my geographical area to engage with. This is my focus online, although I can always use a reminder because attentions do tend to wander at times.

    Great points, Benn!

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