Real Estate Broker’s Survival Kit Tool #2: Google’s Philosophy–10 Things Google Has Found To Be True

 FoxBusiness.com published this article Jan 10, 2008

The standard operating procedure for most businesses is to push forward their mission statement as the end all be all road map to success. The most successful and influential company in America right now is Google and Google has a corporate philosophy worth examining. The following is Part 1 the first 5 of the list of “10 Things Google has found to be true.If you are a Broker what are the truths about your company, philosophy, and industry? Take a look at this list and identify how you measure up to Google’s standards:

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow: “Google has steadfastly refused to make any change that does not offer a benefit to the users who come to the site. By placing the customer first Google has built “the most loyal audience on the web. . . that growth has come through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another. Viral marketing power without the expense of mass media advertising.

Q: Can you say the same about your broker site?

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well: Google does search. They hire the absolute best talent available to perform research. Their findings often evolve into new profitable and beneficial products but they never change their focus.

Q: Can you say that you hire the best talent for one focused service niche in your industry?

3. Fast is better than slow: “You want answers and you want them right now.” Google did not follow their industry’s long held assumption that “large servers were others assumed large servers were the fastest way to handle massive amounts of data. Google found networked PCs to be faster.

Q: Can you say that you are eliminating outdated industry philosophies (like IDX Web 1.0 sites rather than blogging) and searching for better processes to make your brokerage more efficient and fast?

4. Democracy on the web works: In the search business Google’s success goes hand in hand with other websites, content providers, and the public that utilizes them all.

Q: Can you say that you have partners in business whose business gets better because of your brokerage? Does the result of this partnership benefit the client?

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer: The world is increasingly mobile and unwilling to be constrained to a fixed location. Wherever search is likely to help users obtain the information they seek, Google is pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions.

Q: Can you say that your brokerage and agents utilize the most up to date wireless technologies (PDA’s,Cell phones, virtual signatures, etc) producing a faster, easier, more seamless transaction and experience for your customers?

Part 2 of Survival Kit Tool #2 will focus on the second 5 truths that Google has discovered.

Hillary Clinton’s “Unintentional” Lesson For Realtors: Work-Life Balance, 3 Steps To “Stabilize” Your Life

The balance between work and life remains one of the biggest challenges facing Realtors, corporate America, and individuals today. Never was it more prevalent in a more public forum than in the case of Hillary Clinton’s emotional response to a campaign question in New Hampshire:

“How do you do it. . . how do you keep so upbeat and wonderful?”

Therein lies the question that we all struggle to answer on a daily basis and one that Human Resources Directors and other top people capital managers struggle with in their organizations:

How do we keep our human capital from feeling overwhelmed with work, guilty about neglecting life-family issues, and freshly optimistic?

Here are 3 steps in alleviating the challenges of a demanding career and life-family balance:

1. Awareness: Recognize your challenges in managing the time between a demanding career and life-family time, admit that the challenges actually exist and are causing discomfort in your life, and plan to take action toward a solution

2. Ability to Create: Recognize that you have the power to create your reality by utilizing your thoughts as the building blocks that create the reality that you wish. Outside influences of work or family are nothing more than excuses we use to delay our taking control of the situation at hand

3. Intention: Often confused with desire (desire is the wanting or wishing of something with no action plan in place), intention is a powerful method of concentrated focus combined with a action plan. Your intentions provide the basis for your desired results in every aspect of your life.

Conclusion: The majority of people are willing to allow outside circumstances, undue influences, and burdensome “addictions” dictate the events in their daily lives. Yet there is a better more spectacular alternative to giving up control of your life. The alternative is to understand that your thoughts create the building blocks for your reality ie quality of life. Each thought, with the guidance of a clear and focussed intention, brings you one step closer to realizing what it is you wish to accomplish, experience, create, or enjoy. The outside world has always been looked upon as the controlling factor in our lives when in realty it is our thoughts within us that hold the key to our best realized life.

Top 20 deansguides articles in 2007: Part 2 Real Estate Resource Guide

The follow list is what I consider the Top 10 articles bringing information and value to Realtors and the real estate industry. The list of tips, warnings, and posits should be considered a helpful guide and push for Realtors to adopt blogging, understand Web 2.0, and step into the next generation of marketing. I hope this helps industry professionals survive and thrive the coming 2008 Housing market:

1. Realtor Survival Tool #2 Wake Up and Pay Attention: Networking Is Like Location. . . Network, Network, Network: This article provides an interview with one of the country’s best mortgage professionals Brian Brady, 6 Tips on How to network online and in the real world, a secret (the power of women’s organizations), and a reference guide by author Jeffrey Gitomer “Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets To Networking Your Way To Rich Relationships.”

2. Realtor’s Down Market Survival Kit Tool #3 “Blogging”: Your Online Marketing Presence, Moving Resume, Referral Machine: This is a beginner’s warning and wake up call, description of blogging, and what makes blogging the most powerful marketing tool in the real estate industry only a tiny percentage of Realtors utilize—RIGHT NOW.

3. Realtor’s Down Market Tip #8: If You Refuse To Blog Here Are 15 Reasons To Convince Your Broker To Blog: This is a warning and wake up call to Realtors and their brokers. The 15 reasons are statistics compiled by Blog World and New Media Expo. These statistics have been supported and backed up by NAR, Realtor.com, and other leading sources of online information about the explosion of Web 2.0.

This is a ready to go case argument for a Realtor, who for an unknown reason refuses to blog, who wants their Broker to pay for and provide a blogging platform.

The best network multi user blogging platform consultants in the world reside here in the San Francisco Bay Area: Pat Kitano and Kevin Boer of Domus Consulting Group. Consequently I am providing the argument and the providers of the solution.

4. Step #1 For Realtors To Understand Real Estates Paradigm Shift: Your World Is Changing Do Not Get Left In The Dust: This article was inspired by Tommy at therealestatebloggers article “Newspaper Advertising Down, Online Advertising Growing, You Make The Call.”

Therefore Step #1 for a Realtor to understand this paradigm shift is to cease being a salesperson. The point? The blogosphere tone is give without asking, provide without selling, create without strings attached. Become a trusted provider of valuable information rather than a pushy self serving sales person.

5. 5 Tips To Generate Realtor Site Content: A Beginner’s Guide To Creating Your “Content” Library: The biggest perceived challenge by Realtors to blogging is coming up with content for articles. The reality that is one the easiest challenges to eliminate. This article is a step by step guide to creating content for your blog.

In addition I have sited popurls.com and Guy Kawasaki as major rich sources of ideas for articles as well as people to watch.

6. How To Start Your Own Business–Tool #2: What Differentiates Your Business?: In today’s real estate market or in any business environment this simple truth remains: what makes you different and better than the rest of the competition? This article outlines my start up innerarchitect.com and the differentiating factor. The article’s benefit is to raise awareness of the need for a differentiating factor, identify the challenges your target market must solve, and then apply your differentiating factor as the solution to these challenges.

7. One Of The Best Internet Guides For Realtors: “Rule The Web–How To Do Anything And Everything On The Internet-Better, Faster, Easier. Powerful site BoingBoing’s creator Mark Fruenfelder’s awesome guide on how to do virtually anything on the internet is such a powerful resource.

If I were a real estate broker I would buy this book for my entire team!

8. “Joe Realtor” Beware: Online Reputation Management And Blogging’s Critical Roll In Keeping Your Good Name: This is a warning that every Realtor should heed. It lists the review sites where consumers can and do write their feelings about their experiences with real estate professionals. Pay attention as this is a very important aspect of the new Web 2.0 world that is going to gain momentum.

9. Realtors, Brokers, and Mortgage Professionals Watch Out: Department of Justice Antitrust Divsion Launches Site On Competition In Your Industry: This is a warning to any professional tempted to fudge numbers on an appraisal, ignore guidelines, overlook an inappropriate gift, or consider blatantly ripping off the public. Although the internet is a very very big place to hide, the DOJ is beginning to look for you.

10. Realtor’s Down Market Survival Kit Tool #5 “Global Markets”: Get Off Your Local Porch And Think Globally”: This article raises awareness of foreign investor money coming into the American market, sites that provide a glimpse of the European real estate market, and it is meant to force Realtors to consider expanding their “reach” for new business outside their comfort zones.

Top 10 Bloggers of 2007: deansguide’s Resource Guide

As a newly minted blogger, March 2007, I have met and read many bloggers in the blogosphere who have had a profound impact on real estate, business, and health. The following is a list of deansguide’s choice as the Top 10 Bloggers for 2007:

1. Pat Kitano www.transparentre.com and domusconsultinggroup.com: A former top Wall St. investment banker, Pat’s blog transparentre.com was voted one of 25 most innovative blogs for 2007 by Inman News organization. Pat’s continual stream of hard boiled analysis, Wall St. experience, and visionary instinct makes him a must read for real professionals, start up entrepreneurs, and Web 2.0 technology followers. pat-domus-pic.jpg

2. Susan Hanshaw www.sanctuaryforchange.com; susanhanshaw.wordpress.com; innerarchitect.com: Susan left a successful 20 yr corporate career in direct marketing which culminated in a position as VP. Her departure into spiritual and inspirational endeavors produced a book “Unleashing Your Soul: Finding the Courage To Follow Your Heart”, a successful appearance on Martha Stewart XM Radio channel, and a number of speaking engagements throughout California.

susans-picture.jpg

Her tips on positive energy, raising your vibration, and studies into the new frontier of spirituality meets science (quantum physics) make her blogs and website vast libraries of valuable information. Susan provides tools and thought provoking strategies for personal development for individuals, organizations, and corporate entities looking to strengthen their “Human Capital” through educational enrichment.

3. John Harper theharperteam: John Harper, Danville, CA Keller Williams agent, writes a template and guide map for Realtors searching for answers on “How to” write a hyper local blog. Recognized as a leader in the real estate blogosphere, John Harper incorporates local news, trends, and insider information that creates a window into the areas that he represents geographically as well as his niche business strengths. If I were a Realtor who was about to launch a blog I would study theharperteam.com extensively for direction and ideas. john-harper.jpg

4. Kevin Boer 3oceansrealestate.com: Kevin is a Yale MBA and former McKinsey consultant with vast business consulting experience beyond the norm found in real estate. Kevin’s blog is the ultimate template for strategy in google search placement, hyper local content, contributor panels, and how to capture your local market while locking out your competition. A co-founder of Domus Consulting Group along with Pat Kitano, Boer represents the new breed of Realtor: niche driven, Wall St. smart, technology savvy with global reach.

kev-domus-pic.jpg

5. Tommy’s therealestatebloggers: this blog is a professional journalistic quality example of how to write a hard hitting fast acting real estate news blog without being an agent. He writes and reports with a national and international scope that attracts huge traffic. Tommy’s blog is a fantastic example of the power social networking, keen ad placement, and thought provoking-reader commenting content. This blog IS A MUST READ for anyone watching the real estate market and industry from novice to cutting edge professionals.

tommy.jpg

6. Brad Andersohn activerain.com/blogs/bandersohn : Brad is a title rep with fantastic advice, free information, as well as market analysis. This is a very valuable site for both homeowners as well as Realtors looking for answers. Brad writes about a broad scope of industry news as well as his specialty title insurance. Comprehensive and instructive in nature, Brad’s blog on Active Rain provides answers from a trusted industry professional at no cost. Thetone is everything the blogosphere is about: share information, be honest, provide value. brad-andersohn.jpg

7. Brasschecktv.com: For the conspiracy theorist in us all, this site provides a mountain of video on every type of conspiracy under the sun. From 9/11 to JFK, brasscheck has historical and vital documents which provide a living breathing record source that is easy to navigate, access, and utilize. If you really want to know the truth check out Jordan Maxwell. (No Pictures Available)

8. Joe Firmage www.firmage.org : Joe Firmage is a Silicon Valley legend who believes in the unbelievable, accomplishes the unthinkable, and stands by his principles like no other before him. A boy-wonder, Joe built US Web and then left the Valley after proclaiming his belief in UFOs and many other concepts scoffed at by his peers.

Firmage’s current project is to build the world’s largest network of free information portals that are manned by the most brilliant minds in each field:

joe-firmage.jpg

“. . . an Internet-based visual navigation system for scientific knowledge, experience, and exploration, built upon a rich-media collaborative publishing system.”

The portals will not be used to generate advertising revenue thus they will remain objective and open to analysis without the dirty hands of self loathing, self importance, and self indulgent American media tainting the information.

9. Tom Voight zodiackiller.com: Although this is not a traditional blog, my friend Tom Voight (son to the writer) site added over 1,200 pages in 2007. Tom writes his own copy and currently runs what is considered the highest authority on the Zodiac Killer in the world. His site garners upwards of 2 MILLION visits per month. Recently a English tabloid claimed that idiotic Brittany Spears is a regular reader of the site. tom-voight.jpg

This site is super rich with content, forums, and social networking having to do with the long time hunt for the Zodiac. If you were a Bay Area native and lived through this terrible and frightening time ( I am and remember the Zodiac) then this site clarifies and focuses on what is known to this point today.

10. Blogosphere: The collection of blog authors around the globe who diligently and willingly produce content day in and day out. People who share their expertise, share tips, provide How to guides, and inform readers. Authors who express themselves by giving first and asking second.

To my fellow bloggers-we are the new generation of media. The old guard media is finally under attack and losing the war for readership. “Citizen journalism” is winning the war with our weapon of choice “radical transparency.” We are beholden to no corporations, no conglomerates, no undue influences. We ARE the PEOPLE, writing for THE PEOPLE, standing TOGETHER to DELIVER OUR MESSAGE.

Honorable Mention: Walt Goshert’s Marketing blog has fantastic tips and inspirational messages and Gorilla Sushi a entertaining blog written by committee that has unique content from scientific experiments to comedy.

Peace in the New Year and Best Wishes to all!

Realtors’ Down Market Tip #8: If You Refuse To Blog Here Are 15 Reasons To Convince Your Broker To Blog

NOTE: If you are a Realtor who reads this blog this may be the most important article I have ever written about your industry. If you wish continued success, survival in a very down market environment, or if you wish to flourish while your competition flounders then please read this article and consider the suggestions and data presented.

In “Realtor’s Down Market Tip#7: If You Refuse To Blog Make Your Website A Problem Solver!” I outlined marketing strategies for Realtors, thanks to Walt Goshert, who would not adopt blogging. For those Realtors who will never create their own blog, I strongly urge them to ask their brokers to create a company branded blog.

Broker’s next generation online marketing presence will be accomplished through what Pat Kitano and Kevin Boer of Domus Consulting Group call Local Blog Networks. The power of this blogging platform and strategy will change the face of the real estate industry as you know it now. The era of your local newspaper and magazine listings, photos, and ads is quickly being overtaken by the explosion of online blogs with rich consumer-user experiences.

In what I like to call the 3-D communication system, I consider email 1-D or one dimensional. The tone and message delivered is easily misunderstood and has little value aka newsletters. A 2-D communication would be “brochure-ware” Web 1.0 websites that do little but push info out with no direct contact and collaboration between the intended target of your message. If newspaper advertising is somewhere between a 1 and 2 dimensional experience then a Local Blog Network should be considered a 3-D delivery system.

In the 3-D system the message intended for a target audience is both rich with content and collaboration. The blog or blog network drives information to consumers, consumers can directly communicate and collaborate with the author(s) of the blog or blog network, and the blogger(s) are able to instantly measure their target’s feedback and reading habits.

If this is not enough evidence of the paradigm shift in real estate marketing provided by Domus Consulting Group and other independent Realtor blogs, then consider a report by Daysha at Blogbust about the 15 facts about blogging as presented at the Blog World and New Media Expo:

1. Over 12 million adults maintain a blog

2. More than 147 million Americans use the internet

3. Over 57 million Americans read blogs

4. 1.7 million adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog

5. 89% of companies surveyed say they believe that blogs will be more important in the next 5 years

6. 9% of internet users say they have created blogs

7. 6% of the entire U.S. adult population has created a blog

8. Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs

9. Over 120,000 blogs are created every day

10. There are over 1.4 million new blog “posts” every day

11. 22 of the most popular 100 websites are blogs

12. 120,000 new blogs are created every day

13. 37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 or 2006

14. 51% of blog readers shop online

15. Blog readers average 23 hours online each week

If I were a broker owner I would concentrate on a number of these facts that suggest that people’s media habits are rapidly changing in favor of internet sources rather than traditional channels. If your broker is unaware of this quickly evolving trend, ignoring the mounting evidence, or reluctant to adopt blogging then consider showing him/her examples of this industry change. You may just be saving your job.

Realtor’s Down Market Tip #7: If You Refuse To Blog Make Your Website A Problem Solver!

old-computer.jpg

Courtesy wiki-collossus

Many Realtors remain on the blogishpere sidelines by refusing to acknowledge the incredible value that creating a blog would represent to their business marketing, lead generation, and overall industry knowledge. Instead these Realtors stick with the tried and formerly true method of a staid “non moving” web site. These web sites utilize a “electronic brochure” Web 1.0 presentation of services and products with a heavy dose of salesmanship sure to turn off any consumer-or put them to sleep. For an example of why to blog see Pat Kitano’s “Blogging Primers.”

Meanwhile this group of low tech Realtors are losing market share, Google Search placement aka The Google Land Grab, as well as the opportunity to create value for prospective clients and networking partners. Their competitors gleefully blog, socially network within the industry creating alliances, and generate an ongoing “moveable” resume that adds value to consumers.

If you are one of these low tech Realtors you do have an option, if you refuse to create a blog, that will help make your website more attractive to consumers and your business.

The following tips come from Marketing business owner Walt Goshert of “7 Habits of Peak Performance” blog. Walt wrote a great article “Habit #4 A Wide Awake Website” which outlines some fantastic methods of creating smart websites. How did I meet Walt? I met Walt at the web directory social networking site Mybloglog.com. Here are Walt’s tips:

1. The Internet allows a two way flow of information between your business and the consumer.

Walt suggests that website owners use Pictures, Audio, Video, Free download reports , email, and email courses in order to faciliate interest in creating some dialog and communication with consumers.

2. Free Information on your site is inexpensive in comparison to print-media advertising campaigns.

3. Consumer information can be captured by your site monitoring programs which allows the owner to understand what consumers want, like, and utilize. It also gives the website owner a faster return of information than with traditional offline marketing advertising.

The last tip is the biggie, the value add, and the most important (yet simple) concept to running a successful website:

4. “Stop Using the Internet to Market your products and services.” Simply put the key to using the internet is NOT tactics, tricks, and tweaks. Instead here is Walt’s advise:

“Use the Internet to market information about problems that your prospects and clients have that you are uniquely qualified to solve.” Walt Goshert

Here are my tips to get you started:

1. Google search your prospects or clients problems: For Realtors search with tags like “Top problems facing home buyers” or any type of search that describes the niche you service.

2. Research: Once you have identified the top problems facing your target market and current clients-ask for help! Pole your mentor(s), ask for feedback from clients, mine your email for examples of how you created solutions for problems, or socially network on Active Rain and ask for ideas. Do your homework.

3. Redesign your website: Acknowledge your prospects and client challenges via a page or bullet point landing page. Then on each point have that point link to your unique method of solving the problem. As Walt mentioned before, provide tools such as video, audio, free download documents, and newsletters to accomplish that connection you are looking to achieve.

Realtors’ Down Market Warning #1-Thomas Musil Posits: “Will Real Estate Agents Be Replaced With Virtual Deals?”

Foxbusiness.com placed this post 12/6/2007

Who is Thomas Musil? Thomas Musil is the director of the Shenehon Center for Real Estate in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He is a Phd, real estate broker, analyst, consultant, and expert witness in real estate litigation and arbitration disputes.

Dr. Musil has also served on the following boards and committees: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Building Owners and Managers Association; the Appraisal Institute; the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks; National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives; and the American Real Estate Society.

This man is worth considering, listening to, and pondering his warning as a call to take action.

Below are excerpts and points from Dr. Musil’s article “Will real estate agents be replaced with virtual deals?”

1. The next step for real estate “virtual transactions, could happen.”

2. Many real estate services are already online.”

3. Skepticism is alive and raging over amounts of commissions earned by agents and their “veracity.”

4.Could the consumer set the stage for a revolution in real estate transactions?”

Dr. Musil’s answers to his posits and points:

1. Technology is changing all business niches and real estate is not exempt from this change.

2. Technology provides more information to the consumer and “market activities are more transparent.” See Pat Kitano’s great article on radical transparency.

3. Although media has posited that the “Realtor is going the way of the dinosaur, travel agent, and stockbroker. . . Agents bring value to transactions.”

4. This Realtor Value is due to the increased “complexity, regulation, requirements, and procedures facing real estate buyers and sellers.”

Analysis: Many consumers will opt to perform as many functions of the process of buying or selling real estate in the virtual world as is possible. Online signatures, a specialty of super agent Kevin Boer of 3Oceansrealestate.com, is just one example of the virtual world’s new role in the transaction.

In the final analysis, a majority of consumers will rely upon an agent to help them complete their transactions. Although this will remain the status quo, Realtors must learn and adopt as many virtual “functions” as possible in order to remain credible and viable to all consumers.