Poor John, he’s an older guy who got bit by technology.
Nothing on the web is anonymous. You’re required to have a corporate email address so they can keep tabs on you. Your surfing at work is logged in the office routers. When you delete a file it still exists – all you did was delete the reference to that file in the table of contents. Cheap forensics software can recover almost anything. Some students did a study on used hard drives a while back and what they found was astounding.
The last thing you want is to be on a roll and some ugly stuff pop up from a previous relationship years ago.
When Safeway recently renovated their store they did several things to improve the experience. New hardwood floors in the produce section, better lighting throughout, and the addition of a Starbucks are just some of the more obvious aspects of the renovation. But what Safeway truly accomplished was a better shopping experience. What Safeway understands is that when you walk into their store you have a shopping problem. A food problem, a drug problem, a party problem, a diaper problem. Whatever the problem is, they want to to be the best at solving it.
When I go to Safeway, I have a number of problems I’m trying to solve and real estate isn’t one of them. I have a time problem (I’m late) not a real estate problem. I have a “What’s for dinner?” problem not a real estate problem. I have an “I’m on a mission for the wife” problem not a real estate problem. So the shopping cart ads are invisible to me.
“Personal, relevant & anticipated” is Altera’s mantra and if you can accomplish that with a shopping cart ad, you can do it with just about anything. Understanding my problem the way Safeway does is key here. Use the ad space to help me. Think of things like “Dads’ Guide” for clueless dads sent on a mission. Or “20 Minute Dinner Your Family Will Love!” with easy to read ingredients along with their location in the store. Scale your current picture way down – it’s not about you.
Top it off with a funny, easy-to-remember-cause-I’m-not-gonna-write-it-down website address: www.safewaykartking.com
Until you’re helping me you’re just another invisible ad in the 800 – 1200 ads I’ve been exposed to today. So next time your working on your advertising, think about the Safeway principle – what problem does your audience have and how can you help solve it?
Personal Relevant & Anticipated.
Back when I was running my investment management company, we often met with potential clients who asked us to do a portfolio analysis. More often than not, they were surprised to see their portfolio wasn’t doing as well as they thought. This was mainly due to the fact that they didn’t understand ROI or Return On Investment. Once we calculated every little expense & fee they were paying, the return on their investments was a good deal less that what they thought. They were focused on the stock charts. We were focused on their actual worth. For the same amount of risk, they could have been doing a lot better.
As a broker and business person, ROI is one of your most important metrics – don’t leave home without it.
Measuring ROI allows you to compare apples to apples; to see how different search or newspaper campaigns are performing against each other. It helps you make decisions like where to spend your marketing dollars and where to spend your time. And it’s even effective in evaluating your current split. Most brokers are paying an enormous amount of their income to a managing broker – but what’s the return?
To answer that measure your ROI. To do that just divide your net income (before taxes) by ALL your costs (split, marketing, franchise fees, advertising, tech expenses, etc.). You’ll end up with a percentage. The larger the percentage, the better off you are.
Here’s a spreadsheet to get you started: ROI Calculator.
Next time you’re about to do a direct mailing, get this spreadsheet out and run the numbers. Keep a running history of your various marketing campaigns and in keeping track of ROI, some interesting patterns will emerge.
In 1980, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Superbowl with offensive linemen whose average weight was 252lbs.
The 2007 Superbowl winners, the Indianapolis Colts, had offensive linemen weighing in at 306lbs on average.
In the 1968 Presidential Election the average sound bite was 43 seconds.
In 2000 it was 9 seconds.
20 years ago you could run a 30-second television commercial on any of the 3 major networks and be guaranteed to reach a huge portion of the American Population.
Today you need to advertise on 92 channels to reach that same audience.
As a market gets more competitive, winning by the traditional rules gets more and more difficult. Some choose to try harder, some invent new markets and some leave. But it’s the freedom of our markets that decides what works and what doesn’t. Walling off a portion of Steamboat or creating an artificial funnel only certain businesses can pass through (i.e. the formula store) is not the answer to dealing with new retail opportunities as they come online in Steamboat. Competition makes for a better market place, a better consumer experience and a better economy. Could you imagine how ASC would have run Steamboat Mountain if there were no Vail, Aspen, Copper, Whistler etc.? The proposal of a “formula store ordinance” is a step in the wrong direction in that it seeks to regulate business and competition in a very subjective manner.
The organizations who created the additional 90,000 square feet of retail space should be applauded for taking the risk to add such opportunities to the Steamboat marketplace. The market should be an open playing field so those who take the risks to improve Steamboat have an economic incentive to do so.
Development risks such as these are what will keep Steamboat growing in the right direction. Let the free markets decide who stays and who goes, what the leases should be and what gets built. I believe this can be done within the context of preserving the Steamboat experience.
Personally, I would welcome additional opportunities to spend my money in Steamboat. I’ll probably spend less when beautiful retail space remains empty simply because businesses who fit the formula are not allowed.
If you’re about to be in the market for a new computer you should consider a Mac (I promise to post more on this later) . Here’s a video from Walt Mossberg about his frustrating experience with a new PC:
And yes, you can run Windows to use Paragon.
Everyone knows the oldest trick in the book to help sell a home is aromatizing – filling a home with the aroma of fresh baked bread for example to help create an inviting atmosphere. It works. My wife & I recently toured some homes and the ones with a great aroma had a greater impact. How about taking this concept (“make the home inviting”) outside to the curb?
$134 billion dollars was spent last year in advertising and marketing. The average number of advertising messages the average person sees in a day is an elusive figure but I’ve seen numbers ranging from 800 to 3000 messages per day! Suffice to say, we are bombarded with messages.
Your roadside “For Sale” sign is no different. It’s one of many and for the most part it’s invisible (and crooked and rusting and hard to read from a distance).
Stand out, provide value and get noticed by taking the “bread” concept to the corner. Get some gorgeous “For Sale” signs made up - something that’s contrasting, very simple & easy to read from a distance. Go see the Carving Cowboy when he comes around and get burnished wooden ones made. Then top it off by putting it in a gorgeous flower barrel and put that on the curb. Your clients will love you because their driveway entrance looks more inviting. The neighbors will love you because you’ve added to the appeal of the neighborhood. Potential buyers will notice it because its different (remember 800 to 3000 messages per day) and experience a more inviting, warm & down-to-earth feel.
This isn’t about you or your company – potential buyers driving by don’t care at this point. This is about providing a unique service to your clients. Yes, this is much harder than planting a metal, self-serving, sign in the front yard. But creating exceptional client experiences is what will grow your business in this ultra-competitive marketplace.
I was doing a bit of research the other day and came across an interesting article about Porsches and a little known measurement called “path accuracy.” According to Car & Driver it seems that if you compare a Porsche 911 to a Corvette, in just about every metric, the Corvette wins; faster 0-60, faster in the quarter mile, faster to stop, more horsepower as well as others. And the Corvette costs about 38% less than the Porsche. So why then did over 30,000 people buy Porsches last year instead of the Corvette? It’s unreasonable to assume that $1.8 billion were spent on Porsches solely because of the story of the brand.
It turns out the hard to measure metric “path accuracy” is really important here. A Porsche goes where you put it. The Porsche level of path accuracy gives the driver a superior feeling of control; almost magical. But just because it’s hard to measure doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s so real that car buyers spend more than $1 billion a year for it.
The point here is that in a metric minded organization, it’s easy to focus on the things that are easy to measure instead of the things that are important but hard to measure. What’s the thing in your company that make clients feel really good but is hard to measure? Are your clients willing to pay more for it?
At your next open house, consider using one of these LCD picture frames. It plays video. So shoot a video of yourself talking about some great features that someone touring the house might miss (“Be sure to look in the closet on the left. There you’ll find a secret compartment…”). Then put it upstairs or some strategic place where your guests are likely to be alone. It’s an intriguing approach and they’ll appreciate the added info and your client will appreciate your added value.
You can get one here:
And if you can’t shoot the video, give us a buzz, we can shoot it for you.
For the most part, a broker’s split is based on a combination of 2 things – time in grade and sales volume. Neither will help your business grow over the long term. I think there is a better and more client-focused approach. Base the splits on client satisfaction. Here’s one approach:
Get rid office politics by posting everyone’s split outside your door and track them on a monthly chart.
Everyone starts at a 50/50 split.
At each closing, the client is given a survey by the title company after the broker leaves. There are only 3 yes or no questions.
1. Were you happy with your broker?
2. Do you feel your broker deserves the $18,567.89 commission?
3. Would you use this broker again?
For every positive survey (2 out of 3 or more “yes’s”) the broker’s split goes up a point in their favor, for every negative survey (2 out of 3 or more “no’s”) the broker’s split goes down a point against them.
In a short period of time, the ones who aren’t providing an excellent client experience will leave because they can’t make it. Those who provide an excellent client experience will stay and grow because they are being rewarded to do so and have the capital to continue to enhance their experience.
Go one step further and let them keep 95% of repeat business commission.
“But what about the huge operating expense to keep the office running?” you ask.
Over time, if your client experience is so good your at a 5/95 split with your brokers, you’re clients won’t care if your operating out of a shack.
A great post recently popped up outlining how a hacker can get your password. You can read the interesting details here:
One Man’s Blog
After my Dad died, we found that he had password protected his Microsoft Money file. Fortunately for us he used a really bad password and after downloading a free cracker utility from the web, we cracked the password in 3 seconds (he used “bucks”). I tried this method below and gave up after 3 continuous days as the password still was not cracked.
As a real estate professional you’re responsible for a lot of sensitive client data as well as personal data. For those of you who’s passwords are based on your kid’s name, pet’s name, birthday etc. I’ve got an easy 3-step solution to have a different password for every site and NEVER forget it.
- Simply start with a base word – in this example I’ll use our dog’s name “Bashor.”
- Change one letter (at least) to a number like 0 (zero) for “o” or 3 for “E” or 5 for “s.” In this example I’ll change the “s” to a 5 – Ba5hor – Great now I have a base word that is extremely hard to crack since it contains upper & lowercase letters and numbers. Remember, the more characters the better. But we need a unique password for each site.
- Pick a consistent character or characters from the name of the website and append it to your base password. In this example I’m going to pick the first and last character of my banking site wellsfargo.com. I’ll take the “w” and the “o” and append it to the beginning of may base – woBa5hor. So my passwords begin to look like this:
This gives you a different password for each site that you’ll always remember and is really, really hard to crack (just remember to tell your loved ones about it).