By Dave Robison
Marilyn Wilson with the WAV Group has been visiting brokerages and state associations with data that her company compiled about our industry. While attending one of her recent presentations, I snapped a quick photo with my phone of one of her graphs.
She said there are two different types of companies listed on the graph. The companies with the massive revenues are companies that the public loves. The companies with the lower revenues on the graph are companies that could be viewed as a commodity. One broker yelled out during Wilson’s presentation, “That’s why we are all not profitable! No wonder why we are having a hard time, we are all the bottom companies.”
Wilson explained that the brands people love have the most revenue, and as a result, the most room for profit, while other companies will fight to be profitable. The room was filled with “a-ha moments.” She then stated that the WAV Group conducted a survey in the Houston area where they asked members of the public to “name the first company you think of when you hear ‘real estate.’” Can you guess what company ranked No. 1? Wilson claims the same company was named more than 90 percent of the time when the question was asked. The public said, “Zillow.” Wow! When people hear real estate, that is the first thing that comes to their mind? She proved her point that our industry doesn’t have a brand that people love.
Here’s an example: What comes to your mind when I say, “Nordstrom?” Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
How many times have you heard it? You are your very own business owner in real estate. You are an independent contractor, you incur and write off expenses, you spend your own marketing dollars and you work your own hours. You own a business.
It definitely sounds like a business.
Years ago, I was convinced I had a business, but what I realized was my business was really a job — it was unprofitable and I couldn’t sell it. It was unprofitable because I was paying myself all the money it made. I couldn’t sell it because if someone bought it they would have to hope my friends and family would use them as a REALTOR®. Also, who was going to buy my business when what they’d really be buying is a job. Who wants to buy a job?
Why is it not a business? Because it was missing 3 things.
Here’s the difference between a job and a business: A job is when you have to do the work yourself to get paid. A business pays the employees market wages while giving owners a 10-15 percent profit off of gross revenues. A business allows the business owners to be able to go on vacation and not have to answer sales calls. A business should be able to be bought or sold. It would be nice to sell your company and retire, right? Or maybe you want to stay involved after retirement but pay someone else to run your business operations. How many agents do you know who truly have a business or can sell their business? I would say it is extremely rare in our market.
So, you want to own a business? Here are the three things that will transform your career/job into a saleable business.
1. In order to sell a business you have to pay yourself a market wage and make a profit. Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
We can’t help it.
As real estate professionals we sometimes are trapped within an industry bubble. We attend conferences, meetings, seminars, mastermind groups all related to the real estate industry. We spend most of our time with fellow real estate professionals (our whole business is based on cooperating with our competition). The topic of many of our conversations inevitably revolves around buying and selling real property. It’s easy to get stuck doing and thinking the same…day in and day out.
Because of this, it’s no surprise that a majority of the disruption and innovation happening in the real estate industry today is coming from individuals and companies outside the field. Why? They provide a fresh perspective as an “outsider” peering into a profession that, in their eyes, appears broken. Many of those taking on the challenge personally went through a real estate transaction and realized a need that wasn’t being met.
There is no reason why more solutions can’t come from within the real estate industry.
Imagine the innovation that can take place if more professionals within the industry adapted a broad-minded perspective to challenge our everyday thinking. It doesn’t have to be a major disruption to change the whole industry – it can be something as small as going paperless in our offices, changing how we communicate MLS listings with our buyers, or perhaps considering unconventional marketing techniques.
Here are some ways to help start thinking “outside the house”: Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
The Average Marketing Scenario
A couple years ago a loan officer asked me a brilliant question that they should have asked themselves before they spent $30,000 on a failed marketing campaign. “Dave, I have had a billboard for the past year on I-15 and I don’t get any calls off of it. What is going on?” I sat there for awhile trying to think of his billboard and I couldn’t remember it. Later that day it hit me. It took me all day to remember it. The loan officer had a prime location with his name and phone number and his company name on it. It said something like “your loan officer” or “call me for a mortgage.”
His marketing wasn’t working. He wasn’t getting any calls. I had that same marketing plan before. I had that same marketing on a moving van for three years. It was typical agent marketing that consists of: name, phone number, and how cool you are — it doesn’t work. I rarely got any calls, and nobody knew who I was. Then, I changed it and my business started to change.
There are two keys to smart marketing:
1. Can people remember you or your marketing?
Have you ever heard that famous statistic that the average home buyer/seller forgets their agent’s name within six months? I tested it out once. I met someone who said they just bought their home four months ago with the president of the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®. I said, “Ohhh, awesome! What is their name?” Of course I knew their name, but I was wondering if the statistic really worked. They couldn’t remember. They said she is the president and surely I must know who they were talking about. Of course I knew, but how was this person going to recommend her to any of their friends and family?
Now lets talk about the loan officer’s billboard. After I drove by the sign, I couldn’t remember his phone number, name, or website. What a waste of money. His only chance of being remembered would have been if I wrote down his phone number the next time I saw the billboard, and kept it for when I had a need. Fat chance at that.
So what did I do to change my marketing after unsuccessfully advertising on a moving van for three years? it came down to branding. First, I created a scene of a desert in the background with my picture on it, and a Web address: UtahDave.com. Why in the world is there a desert when I’m trying to sell a home? Because every agent has a home on their marketing materials. I wanted it to be different, and the desert scene goes with Utah.
I don’t think the desert is key to your success, it just happened to work for mine. Maybe if I was “AlaskaDave” I might have an igloo instead of a desert. Geico has a Gecko, and the last time I checked they don’t sell geckos. The main thing is finding a special branding or memorable image…just don’t be like everyone else and have a home be your background.
The proof is in the pudding. I just got a listing appointment…and where did the listing come from? Continue reading »
By Dolores Esanu
It’s 2013 and we’re revamping our lives and even our closets. Some things fit, some things don’t, and some we hope will fit again. In business, the thinly veiled line of what’s acceptable is becoming even more transparent. One hundred years ago, for a businessman, nothing less was expected than a tailored three-piece suit. Post-war American, working women wore sweater sets and full skirts, always past the knee. The 1980s brought the “linebacker suits,” fully accompanied with the ever so flattering shoulder pads.
So what about today? In real estate, we can receive a call to show property only find ourselves trekking through 40 acres of muddy land. Business functions can even be challenging. A recent banquet invitation specifically stated “Business Formal,” and I went on to witness long formal gowns, pant suits, and even blue jeans!
Wondering If I’ve been guilty of these business fashion crimes, I begun to research. What is the definition of the main types of business attire? The list below confirmed my curiosity:
Business Casual – Men you can disregard the suit with this one, but you can’t put on jeans either. Polo, collared shirt, tucked in with khakis fit under this category. Ladies, you can sport anything from skirts, to dresses to dress pants with a button down or countless blouses.
Business Professional – Consider it one step above Business Casual. Real estate may not see this as a norm very often. But careers involving finance or law may have this stricter dress code. Blazer and skirt or suit pants for women and suit with any color/print tie for the guys.
Business Formal – Guys, you can bring out the cuff links with this one, but a tux is not necessary. A dark colored suit and tie would be more than acceptable. Ladies can adorn a suit and skirt with heels, preferably closed or a conservative dress.
Smart Casual – Ah, the one us REALTORS® can relate to. Men can wear crewneck tees, sweaters, dark colored jeans and loafers. Ladies have an advantage as the options are greater. Tailored jeans, fun colored blouses; anything that is harmonious and pulled together would suffice.
Each office is different, each agent is different, and each day is different. Our attire can change drastically in a day due to the unpredictability. But isn’t this what makes our industry so exciting?
By Jason O’Neil
I believe that we as a country, a world, and a species are suffering a crisis of confidence. I know, that’s a bold statement. But the magnitude in which our world has changed over the past 25 years is nothing short of overwhelming.
Confidence used to be something that was a part of our fiber, woven into everything we did. People not only had confidence, but they instilled confidence in others. Confidence was derived from neighborhoods, communities, religions, political parties, long standing jobs, and pensions. But many of these have been derailed and forced, even the most ardent of supporters, to question some very core tenets. Rightfully so, skepticism tends to be the norm.
I have heard it said, and I believe, that confidence is the single greatest asset one can have. Do not confuse my use of confidence with overconfidence, arrogance, conceitedness, or big-headedness, because it is not. Confidence is what gives us the ability to do what it is we are good at. Without a bit of confidence the world would never have heard The Beatles., we would not know the name Bill Gates, and Phil Mickelson would be a really good country club player. It is scary to raise your hand, to stick your head out and make progress. It is confidence that moves us forward step by step.
But confidence, the type of confidence I am talking about, isn’t just results and dollar signs, or awards and progress. It is the way we make people feel. I’ll go further, it is what we bring — our passion. It is the value that we, as REALTORS®, add to a transaction, a deal, a negotiation. Jim Collins wrote, “Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.” We are, in fact, handling the transfer of a exceptionally large assets. While easy to forget, it’s important to remember that the average person will move every six to nine years. Extrapolated over a lifetime, the average person will sell maybe seven homes. Many of you reading this sell that many homes in a given month. The last time that the average seller in 2012 sold a home, nine years ago, the real estate market was drastically different than it is today. Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com and Red Fin did not exist, computer-based forms were in their infancy, and not everyone e-mailed. Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
Regardless of your preference in music it’s hard to turn on the radio today and not hear a song featuring the musician known as Pitbull. The Miami-born 31 year old artist is also a successful businessman who endorses (and in some cases holds equity ownership) Kodak, Bud Light, Voli Vodka, Sheets energy strips, Dr. Pepper and Zumba Fitness. It’s probably safe to assume today that Pitbull is on the top of his game. But how did he get there?
Listening to any of Pitbull’s songs, one underlying theme you will notice quickly are his many references to himself as “Mr. 305” and “Mr. Worldwide”. The interesting thing to note is that he has always referenced himself this way, even before becoming an international hit. Pitbull visualized himself becoming what he is today and now he is living it out. The lyrics of some of his early music spell out his intentions to “take it to the world.” Yes, it took a lot of hard work mixed with luck, but a key ingredient for his success, in my opinion, was knowing (and believing) early on what it is he was setting out to achieve. As one of the world’s foremost leadership authorities, Stephen Covey (who sadly just passed away the other day) stated in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin With the End in Mind.”
As half of 2012 is almost behind us, we all find ourselves reassessing our goals to date and formulating our plans for the next six months. But how do we see ourselves three, five and 10 years down the road? Sometimes we get caught up in our monthly goals that we forget the big picture—or we don’t have a big picture in mind at all. I’m personally in the midst of launching a new independent brokerage in Tampa, Fla., and am finding myself having to adapt this mindset to the plans for the new company as well:
What kind of market share am I looking to attain long term?
How many and what type of agents do I want to bring into the company?
Where do I see the company to be in five to ten years?
What are our long-term core values? Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
Now that I have your attention, let me explain!
Last month my wife and I took our three-year-old daughter to the Disney On-Ice show that came to our town (Tampa, Fla.). It wasn’t until the day of the event that my wife decided to tell me this show, which was called Disney on Ice: “Dare to Dream,” was going to feature various Disney princesses and their stories. I wasn’t too excited, but anything for your little pipsqueak, right?
As we were walking up to the arena entrance I saw a swarm of little girls seemingly attack a Disney vendor hawking all sorts of princess paraphernalia. I thought to myself – ok, this is strange. Once inside the arena as we were escorted to our seats, I again was confused and shocked as to why all these girls were dressed up from head to toe in princess clothing. Halloween wasn’t for another five months! Throughout the show, as the arena filled with screams of little kids cheering for their favorite princess, I sat there looking around in awe at the powerful business machine that is simply Disney. They had come up with a way to create a very profitable revenue stream from their old characters!
An Idea is Born
Being the business nerd that I am, when I got home I googled the Disney Princess franchise and discovered that the idea of the Disney Princess line came from a man named Andy Mooney. Disney hired Mooney in 1999 to help their consumer products division improve their dropping sales. At that time, while attending his first Disney on Ice show, he found himself surrounded by young girls dressed as princesses in generic, non-Disney costumes. That’s when the idea of capitalizing on Disney’s existing cast of princess characters hit him. The Disney Princess franchise was born. In my opinion, this was genius!
What’s the point?
What does any of this have to do with real estate? As I thought about it some more, I realized how many times I find myself (and many others fall into this trap as well) looking for an outside “shiny object” to help with our business. Continue reading »