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You Spend A Lot of Time on the Computer

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I’m fortunate that my manager doesn’t have many suspicions about what I write on my blog, especially in light of last month’s theme of what will happen to us when the corporate blogs begin.

(I still don’t fear the monolith but that’s just me.)

There are times, however, where the disconnect between how I choose to practice real estate and previous techniques seems to be too much to bridge.

  • “You spend a lot of time on the computer.” The unstated portion of this statement is “… instead of spending the time prospecting.” Except this is prospecting. It may look and feel a little bit different but it’s every bit as involved as nearly any other type of prospecting. And I’d argue it’s more effective because of the broader reach. How else would I continue to find Canadian clients but through the web?
  • “Real estate is a face-to-face business” But how do you attract the client so you have the opportunity to meet with them face to face? I’ve yet to have anyone purchase a home sight unseen, though I have had a couple of clients write an offer before we met up. Face to face is valuable but you need to get them in front of your grill.
  • “Have you considered door knocking?” Yes, I have. No, I won’t.

My manager isn’t alone in this. My wife often tells me I spend too much time on the computer, mostly because I’m in my home office at the expense of weeds to be pulled.

If anything, I’m the type who’s focused to a fault. Granted I’m only 15 minutes from trying out Madden 2007 for the first time, but for the most part when I step into my home office I’ve checked in and am working.  I’m not distracted by the television, the beagles or (most of the time) the siren call of the PS2 or the Wii that the kids don’t know they’re getting.

A full 46% of my commissions during my career have come from my various web sites with corporate relocations a somewhat distant second.

If I truly want to build my business, do I view that 46% as the cap as to what’s possible? Or should I believe additional work will result in additional return as I continue to refine my web strategy.

In other words, do I spend too much time on the computer or too little? I think I know the real answer.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Mariana

    December 20, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    When someone does not understand the “real” impact of the web, then, of course, they are going to think that too much time on the ‘puter … because they do not understand.
    IMHO, I wish I could spend MORE time online and get MORE clients.
    …Basically, I know the real answer too.
    (p.s. The wii is WAY COOL!!!)

  2. Jeff Brown

    December 20, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    My wife said the same thing until the mysterious and magical internet lines crossed. Once I was able to point to $EO she was good to go.

    Nowadays it’s, “You write you posts yet?” 🙂

  3. Erion Shehaj

    December 20, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Jeff

    I guess “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense” for our spouses. This blogging thing to my wife is the same as handbags to me: I just don’t get why they cost so much (time) but I just go with it.

    P.S I almost didn’t make it to put this comment in. Ease up of the math guys…

  4. Lani Anglin

    December 20, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    mo’ money, mo’ problems, jd

  5. Scoot

    December 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I’m very happy to say my broker is happy to have me in front of the box. I think for a long time he thought I was just playing games or something. But when I came in number uno as the top referring site to the company web site, he realized I was actually doing something.

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Business News

Wal-mart can’t keep up even with fresh online technology

(BUSINESS NEWS) Wal-mart had hoped to keep online retailers from encroaching on their turf with AI assisted shopping start up Jetblack, but unfortunately that didn’t work.

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Wal-Mart’s exclusive delivery service, JetBlack, is no more. What’s the deal?

Wal-Mart’s acquired start-up, JetBlack, had an interesting challenge: getting affluent New Yorkers to purchase goods from Wal-Mart, instead of other places. Now, about two years after its initial launch, JetBlack has been shut down. So, what’s the deal?

JetBlack was a delivery service with an interesting twist: it utilized AI to respond to text message requests. For instance, users could send a text like “I need more toilet paper” and drawing from initial information input into the system, past experiences, and the occasional “professional shopper,”, JetBlack would hook the user up with a delivery.

The AI could also give suggestions if users asked questions. Don’t want to shop for your niece’s birthday present? No problem, JetBlack would give you ideas of what to purchase and then deliver the gift to your door, gift-wrapped and everything.

By increasing the convenience of the shopping experience, Wal-Mart hoped to use JetBlack to lure wealthy households back to buying from Wal-Mart. Membership fees were $50 a month, which seems steep, but Wal-Mart asserts it was actually losing about $15,000 per member on a yearly basis. Awkward.

So, what went wrong?

Part of the problem might be just how much work went into a small percentage of customers. For instance, it took effort to get new users onboarded. Best case scenario, this was a phone call to tackle basic needs and interests, but users could also opt to have employees visit their home and assess their preferences in person. (It’s also incredibly creepy, but hey, at least there’s additional convenience?) Point is, these personal touches aren’t exactly sustainable for a growing market.

It also might just be that Wal-Mart wasn’t really skilled at putting this newly acquired start-up to work. An interview with Business Insider reveals that the ordeal, while expensive, also served as a massive learning process.

While JetBlack has ended its current run (and lost a number of employees in the process), the technology developed by the company will live on. In fact, Wal-Mart is going to try to strengthen their infrastructure and hopefully integrate JetBlack’s texting and AI capabilities in a wider release. Who knows, maybe in the future, more of us will be able to send off a text to have someone else take on the challenge of purchasing our niece’s birthday present.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs thrive because they are easily distracted?!

(ENTREPRENEUR) If monotony and boredom at work- well bores you, it’s possible you may fit with the other entrepreneurs with a quick and constantly changing career.

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When Bill Gates was a kid, he knew he liked messing around with code. He couldn’t have known how it might evolve, but he was willing to live in the distraction, focusing on details when needed, but always learning, moving on, taking risks and growing in the process.

Some of the most successful folks among us are not content to sit and make widgets every day. They cannot thrive in a detail and focused work environment. So, it may come as no surprise to know that people who are more easily distracted are also more likely to thrive as entrepreneurs.

According to this study, if you are intelligent and get distracted more easily, those two qualities combined will likely enhance your creativity. And, that creativity and ability to use distraction as an advantage can be channeled to create new things, jobs, companies, etc.

For those of us who are more easily distracted, who enjoy doing different things every day, and who like learning, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a good option is to find a career path that provides the right amount of distraction and which is a great fit for your personality. If you do that your talent is more likely to be apparent because you are playing to your strengths. Also, if you are working in your sweet spot you will be more productive and motivated.

Maybe not surprisingly, the top job for those who live in distraction is entrepreneur. The term “easily distracted” often comes with a negative connotation, but considering an entrepreneur is taking risks, making things happen and creating companies, ideas, products that may have never existed, this spins that idea on its head. Entrepreneurs are the chief cooks and bottle washers of the world. They ideate, create, hire and inspire. None of that is possible in a monotonous work environment.

“Unsurprisingly, meta-analyses indicate that entrepreneurs tend to have higher levels of ‘openness to experience,’ so they differ from managers and leaders in that they are more curious, interested in variety and novelty, and are more prone to boredom — as well as less likely to tolerate routine and predictability,” according to the HBR story.

Other careers that are great fits for those of us (me included) who enjoy distraction are PR/Media Production, Journalism and Consultant. What these fields all have in common is, there is never a dull moment, switching from task to task is pretty commonplace, and you will do well if you can be a generalist – synthesizing information and weeding out the unnecessary.

Not sure where your strengths lie? Here’s a quick quiz to give you some feedback on how curious you really are.

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