A Must See For The New Year

Help-U-Sell Brokers, you know we talk about list to sale price ratio and days on market all the time.  We use those metrics to show that our production is far superior to that of the average broker/agent in the MLS.  And, honestly:  I have never seen a Help-U-Sell office that did not beat the MLS on those two metrics!

Well . . . you need to see this 10 minute video.  It documents how a Coldwell Banker mega-team in Miami manipulated that important data to skew the ‘truth’ in their own favor.  What they did is truly devious and has big implications for decision makers in lots of industries.

So, grab a cup of coffee and settle back, maybe toggle to full-screen view, and close out the year learning how NOT to do it.

Special! YouTube Channel SetUp and Training

Next Tuesday, June 2, at 9am Pacific Time (Noon Eastern), Alejandro Naranjo and I will be conducting a one hour session on how to setup and effectively use a YouTube Channel to boost website traffic and increase leads.

This is so important today. It is clear that video is search engine preferred content, and that YouTube – owned by Google – is the best place to house it.  More important than the SEO implications, though, consumers – when given a choice – will usually watch a short video before reading print content on a webpage;  so having a place to store and stage video is essential.  Even if you never post anything to your YouTube Channel but your own virtual tours and an occasional video from Help-U-Sell Corporate, you will be improving your visibility on the Internet and increasing the likelihood that potential buyers and sellers will find their way into your pipeline.

In the session we’ll discuss:

  • How to setup a YouTube Channel
  • How to Upload, Download, Share and Embed Video
  • How to maximize the search engine benefit of your virtual tours by hosting them on your Channel (rather than an outside vendor)
  • How to connect your YouTube Channel to social media, your website, even your drip email marketing
  • How to use the simple video editing tools available at YouTube.com
  • And, of course, MORE!

I’m sure it will be a worthwhile hour!  Please use the following link to register for the session:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7255064070987626498

Surviving Armageddon: The End of Real Estate As We Know It

So, you think the real estate ‘downturn’ (ok:  ‘collapse‘ would be a better word) after the bursting of the bubble was bad?  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Trulia and Zillow – two companies who brilliantly found a way to suck the wind out of the real estate industry’s sails by putting the consumer first (something the industry quit doing the moment recruiting was invented) – are joining forces.  While the goal, as always, is to maximize revenue, the marriage is one giant leap in the direction of eliminating Realtors as we know them, altogether.

I say it’s about time.  Let’s celebrate.

Advances in technology and the success of (non-real estate) companies that put tech in the hands of consumers are rapidly making real estate agents and brokers irrelevant.  Back when I was training agents, the factoid supplied by the industry was that 80% of the business would be done by 20% of the agents.  The National Association of Realtors is now telling us that 90% of the business is being done by 10% of the agents. So 9 out of 10 people ‘selling’ real estate ought to be asking if you’d prefer paper or plastic instead.  If that’s not a definition of irrelevance, I don’t know what is.

If you’ve paid any attention to this blog over the past 5 years (our anniversary is next month), you know I believe real estate brokers got off track way back in the early 70s.  That’s when the accent in their business shifted from selling real estate to recruiting.  It quit being about the consumer and started being about the agent.  Innovation focused on how to enable agents to make more money (Re/Max et.al.) rather than how to better serve the customer.  Per person productivity started to slide and has never stopped.  That’s what’s brought us to this 90/10 place.

The ultimate insanity happened over the past decade as Multi-Level Marketing invaded real estate.  Several companies incorporated the concept into their recruiting platforms and a number of new companies were built entirely around it.  Having done some contract work for a couple of these organizations, here is my somewhat jaded description of the real estate MLM operating system:

Since most real estate agents are worth just 4 or 5 deals a year . . . and since nobody can live on that . . . if we can get every agent we have to recruit every other agent they know to be on their ‘Team’ (so whenever anyone lucks up and sells anything everyone gets paid) . . . even bad real estate agents can make enough on the production of others to keep going . . . and so on.

Hear this:  if there is enough commission in the deal so that Suzie and her broker get paid when her cousin’s house sells, so that an outside selling broker and agent get paid, so that the six people in Suzie’s upline (some of whom don’t even know Suzie and most of whom had no idea a transaction was working) get paid . . . well, there’s way too much commission in the deal.  This is how the industry self-destructs in its final moments.

Also hear this:  if you think consumers don’t know or don’t care about this, you are not paying attention.  They are painfully aware.  No matter how much they love you, even if they think you did a good job, part of them Zillow-Trulia Merger:  Godzillowlocks down in quiet rage when they see the commission line on the Closing Statement.  GodZillow and others are increasingly giving consumers a way to accomplish the task of buying and selling real estate without you.  (By the way, that is not a reference to the Lord, but rather to the Japanese monster who wrecked Tokyo in the 60s and San Francisco last year).

So Help-U-Sell:  what does this mean for you?

You’re different, remember?  Or did you forget?  Did the realization during the last downturn that buyers are very important cause you to emulate the antics of your competitors?  Did you put the accent (and the dollar) on generating buyer leads?  Are you spending more time showing property than listing it?  If so, you’re off track too – and headed for the junk heap.

Ours is a gorgeous operating system custom designed for the reality of irrelevant agents.  If implemented properly, it positions you to be the beloved alternative to the rabid dinosaur that is the dying industry.  It is real estate that makes sense, without the smoke, without the mirrors, without the crap.  But you have to do it right.  That means:

  • Focus on dominating listings in a specific target market.  (By the way:  I think it’s time we quit measuring market share by closed sides.  Count listings.  That’s all that matters for us.  Let everyone else do it the other way).
  • Market your services in a tangible, geographically targeted manner, emphasizing VISIBILITY.  Get your logo out everywhere in your target market.  Signs of all kinds, billboards, bus benches, car wraps, directionals, postcards, door hangers and so on.
  • Market to Sellers only. That’s where your superior consumer offer is aimed.  Save sellers tons of money and let them spread the word about you . . . and the buyers will line up to do business with you.
  • Stop recruiting!  What were you thinking anyway?  Build a team of support staff that helps you take care of the business you have created.  Sure, have buyers agents – you’re going to need them – but don’t ever forget that every person in the company is supporting your effort.  It’s your business.
  • Remember that not every listing needs the involvement of outside brokers to sell.  The best will sell without the MLS and those sellers will save huge amounts of money, which doesn’t affect your bottom line and makes you a hero.  Go for it.
  • Remind yourself that sometimes, with minimal effort, sellers can find their own buyers and thereby can achieve maximum savings.  Stop convincing yourself that nobody wants that.  Open your mind up to possibility.
  • Implement the 180° Theory of Help-U-Sell Success:  learn as much as you can about what your competitors are doing and then do the exact opposite!

We got here by being different.  We got here by putting consumers first, by focusing on doing great work for them and charging them less.  Quit chasing buyers, get back to basics, become the Anti-Realtor and you’ll do fine as the industry implodes.  I’ve never been surer of anything in my life.

(Thanks, Robbie)

 

Microsoft Opens Up

Remember the early days of Microsoft?  at war with Apple in the marketplace and in the courts – each one racing to dominate the personal computer universe – allegations that this one stole that but from the other one and so on.  Seems Microsoft won that early round by focusing on its Operating System and making it available to PC manufacturers all over the world.  Apple kept its OS proprietary and bundled it with its own hardware, relegating itself to boutique status.

But that’s 30 year old news.  When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he took the company in a dozen new directions, and changed everything. Not just Apple, not just business in general:  he changed the world.  We consume music today completely differently than we did at the end of the last century thanks to his Ipod and ITunes store.  The IPhone has replaced the camera as the most widely used image capture device.  The success of the IPad at least contributed to Microsoft’s decision to make its current operating system – which, by the way, is a bit of a disaster – touch capable.

After years at the bottom of the barrel, Apple is more profitable than Microsoft.  The two companies were in a dead heat in 2010.  But look at what’s happened since:

ms

(The steadily rising red bar is Google.  The lion’s share of its revenue comes from its websites, largely via advertising.)

Today, Apple’s core business is not the Mac.  That bit of bundled hardware/software is responsible for only 13% of its revenue.  The IPad is 18% and the IPhone is 55%.  Apple’s core business is now in your purse or pocket!

Now take a look at Microsoft and where its revenue comes from:

70% of what they bring in comes from licensing!  Licensing what?  Well, Windows of course, but there are other things as well, notably, Microsoft Office.   In fact, in the fiscal year ending June, 2013, $16 Billion of Microsoft’s nearly $27 Billion in Operating Profit were generated by the MS. Office dominated Business Division.

Microsoft has a new CEO.  Satya Nadella took over for Steve Ballmer a couple of months ago.  Ballmer was a wild man (the bald guy):

And, he was very protective of Office.  He led Microsoft through a time when it – like Apple – held tightly to its products and property.  It was this protectiveness that enabled Google to gain so much so quickly.  They popped on the scene making their products available for free and also available for anyone to use and develop!

All of which takes us to this week, when Satya Nadella holds his first press conference.  He is expected to announce that Office 365 will become available for use on the IPad.  According to Charles Cooper at CNet, “The decision to make Microsoft’s cash cow available on a product sold by one of its arch rivals not only breaks with a long Windows-centric history, it also sends a signal from the new boss that more big changes are in store.”

The lesson from these tech giants is that the game is always changing, the bullseye is always shifting, and the nature of the business evolves.  Extinction occurs when we stand still and cling to what once was.

Spring Cleaning for Your Electronic Life

Most of us are online a remarkable amount of time.  Thanks to SmartPhones, Smart TVs, always on PCs and so on, often we are online and don’t even know it!  In casual Internet browsing, it is so easy to grant permission to various services and entities to access to your online account information.  It goes like this;  you really want to:

  • Read this article
  • See this video
  • Enter this contest
  • Get this discount code
  • See what your friend posted
  • And so on

But in order to do it, you have to grant some entity ‘permission’ to access your Google/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn account.   When you grant that permission, it’s not a one time deal; you are granting permission forever.  That’s why it’s important to periodically review your various lists of permissions and clean them out; and what better time than now? Call it Spring Cleaning!  You can probably accomplish this clean-up in 15 minutes or less and as a result,  you will be just a little bit more in control of your online life.

Start with Facebook.  Log on and go to your NewsFeed (click the ‘Home’ button at the top-right of your screen).  Hover your mouse over ‘Apps’ in the left column and click ‘More’ when it appears to the right.  These are all the apps you have granted permission to access your personal account information and your friend list!  Click the pencil icon to the left of each app you don’t recognize and/or don’t use, and click ‘Edit Settings’  then ‘Remove App.’  If you are like me, it’s gonna take awhile because each app has to be handled individually and there are probably many you don’t recognize!

Next, deal with Google.  Go to google.com and look at the top-right of your screen.  If you see yourself, you’re logged in and ready to proceed.  If you see a Sign In button, do so using your Gmail address and password.  Click on your little picture (or avatar) and select ‘Account.’  Then choose ‘Security,’ and under ‘Account Permissions,’ click ‘View All.’  These are all of the online services to which you’ve granted access to your Google account information, which can be huge.  After all, your Google account includes Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google+, Calendar and on and on.  Select each service you want to eliminate and click ‘Revoke Access.’

On to Twitter.   Sign in and then click on the gear icon near the top-right of your screen.  Click ‘Settings’ and then select ‘Apps’ from the menu on the left.  See what’s there and ‘Revoke Access’ to any you don’t recognize or don’t use.

Finally, LinkedIn.  Log in to your account and hover over your picture at the top-right of the screen, come down to ‘Privacy and Settings’ and click ‘Review.’  On the left, click on ‘Groups, Companies & Applications’ and then on ‘View Your Applications.’  Select any you want to eliminate and click ‘Remove.’

These are the Big Four most of us use on a regular basis, but there may be other websites and social portals you want to take a look at.  Usually these kinds of permissions are located under the Privacy or Security settings in your account.  If you get excited by cleaning up your online act and want to do more, why not take charge of who sees what on Facebook?  Here’s a post about that.