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Resistance is Futile!

Last week I was a speaker at the Minnesota Residential Real Estate conference.  I talked about the Internet and communicating across generations.  It was a kind of high level over view of web 2.0 and how to leverage it to win business. When I was finished I went out into the lobby, where I was introduced to people and people were waiting with questions.

The questions were the same ones people always ask.  How long does it take to do all of this? (two hours a day)  Do you use pay per click? (never but maybe I should) Where can I learn more about this?  (I teach a class or can point you to some resources on the Internet, email me for links) How did you learn all of this? (I am about 300 years old in Internet time and kind of evolved with it, or some times I say “magic”)

Then there are the people that kind of linger.  They often don’t look happy.  They ask a different type of question, or maybe it is just that they ask with a different tone. . . like, “I suppose you spend all day in your office writing blog posts” or “Do you really believe that a web presence is better than door knocking?”  They are some what aggressive and even hostile.  I don’t take it personally, being a Realtor has taught me not to take anything personally.

When I answer their questions, they argue with me.  It is like they are trying to talk me out of it. If I am not careful I could get sucked into a heated debate about the value of the Internet for Realtors.  To me there is no question and nothing to debate.  To get business we all need to be on the Internet because that is where the buyers and seller are in droves.

Where am I going with this?  Follow me for a second into the twilight zone.  A couple of days ago a realtor that I have a lot of respect for was preaching the value of open houses.  I started arguing with her.  My tone was almost identical to those who get me in a corner or surround me in a crowded lobby.  I wanted to argue with her.

I wanted to argue because I hate doing open houses and so I stopped doing them about a year ago.  I don’t see the value in them for me or for my clients.  I believe that for some agents they do have value and would not discourage them if it is working.  If I thought that to be successful in this business I would have to do open houses I am thinking I would consider quitting.

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Back to the Internet.  The way I feel about open houses is how some agents feel about technology.  They are afraid of the Internet because they don’t understand it and don’t feel that they have the skills needed to exploit it.  They get angry because the idea of having to use the internet and computer technology in general is threatening to them.  They are afraid they will not be able to do it, just like I would be very afraid if my lively hood depended upon my ability to hold successful open houses.

In the long run no agent can afford to ignore what is happening and what has happened in our industry.  We all need to grow, learn, and adapt if we want to be successful. An angry rebellion against the machine isn’t going to work.  Some agents are also rebelling against the idea of listing foreclosures or working with short sales, or writing offers on foreclosures.  It isn’t the kind of business that I gravitate toward either but if I want to serve my clients sometimes I need to work with bank owned property and I do.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Lani Anglin

    January 23, 2008 at 5:09 pm


  2. Mariana

    January 23, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Resistance IS futile … Muah Ha Ha!

    Yet ANOTHER Teresa quote that I love: “I don’t take it personally, being a Realtor has taught me not to take anything personally.”

    (FYI … One of my MOST favorite Teresa quotes was on Twitter: “TBoard writing, writing, reading, babble, spew, blather, I read, I write, noise, and more noise . . la la la la 08:26 PM November 23, 2007 “)

  3. Ricardo Bueno

    January 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    If you have a referral based business, more power to you!

    But the fact is, to get business NOW and to continue to get business “now,” we need to be able to generate new leads. The Internet helps us (all of us) accomplish just that.

    If it isn’t working, you’re doing something wrong! Unfortunately, for some, the more time they spend, the less it works & the less it works the more they spend.

    My recommendation:
    Assess what it is you might be doing wrong, and start over. Find a balance and never forget to diversify your marketing. The Internet isn’t everything but it sure as heck works!!!

  4. Brad Coy

    January 24, 2008 at 3:34 am

    Thank you, I needed that.

  5. Mack in Atlanta

    January 24, 2008 at 8:35 am

    What works for me may not work for you. What most REALTORS need to realize is that they need to find what works for them and use it. I agree with you, I hate open houses. I feel they are a waste of my time. If someone else is successful with them more power to them. Find what works for you and stick with it. Venture into what works for others and see if you can incorporate it into your business. Who knows, you may even grow your business by adapting.

  6. Darren Kittleson

    January 24, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Point VERY WELL made. It’s amazing to me how resistant to change many in our industry are. If they spent as much time learning to adapt as they do trying to figure out what’s wrong with change, we’d all be in a better place.

    Love the posts!

  7. Todd Carpenter

    January 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I think I’m going to disagree with you T. Some people are not suited to gathering leads over the Internet. Mainly because they don’t enjoy technology. For them, more traditional business practices might be the best way to go. If someone can prosper doing Open Houses, maybe they should stick with it.

    I think the potential consumers who look for homes over the net are undeserved, and that’s why it may feel like they are overly abundant. But I still don’t think the majority of home buyers are as embedded in the Internet as would like us to believe.

  8. Michelle DeRepentigny

    January 24, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Good grief, I guess I am going to have to suck it up and be nice to my unmotivated, non 2.0 agents again because Ms. T has made her point.

    They can just go do their touchy, feely open houses and neighbor canvassing and I’ll try to sneak a technology cookie in every now and then.

    It just annoys me because I feel like I have found the holy grail and I want to share it with them. It’s time for me to start recruiting from Twitter and Facebook, so I have someone to share the joy with!

  9. Missy Caulk

    January 25, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Agree with everything you have said.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    January 26, 2008 at 5:29 am


    Very well said, and whereas I completely agree – I still don’t like it. I’ve been doing teachnology lectures for a few years now and there are ALWAYS those people who come just to throw rotten veggies at you. It’s hard not to begin rollling my eyes when I see folks from the generation before me enter the lecture hall.

    HOwever, I’ve come to understand that there are elements of their wisdom that I need for other purposes. They found open houses and floor duty to work for them, because those were the tools of the time. I get frustrated that they haven’t realized that that time is over or soon will be.

    I am left wondering if I’ll know that social media and internet marketing have left the building….

    Regardless, I spend a lot of time with the nay sayers trying to encourage them that they do not have to do what I do, they just need to understand that it’s out there. Just as I have to know that there are agents who actually do make money from open houses and floor duty (yuck).

    My bigger rant is with those who took the lecture, did two half-butted blog posts and call complaining that they haven’t yet gotten a client from it!

    That’s for a different time 🙂

    Great post!

  11. Danilo Bogdanovic

    January 27, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Very well said! Glad to see I’m not the only one being bombarded by those same types of questions and attitudes.

    Thanks for the post!

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