The Peak Email Device: Slow, Expensive, Limited Functionality

Disclaimer: KXLY’s Johnny the Tech Guy in the above video claims that the Peak email device requires 5 minutes to send and roughly 5 minutes to receive email. We have not tested this device but rather are accepting the testing of the device by KXLY’s reviewer.

Sometimes simplicity has it’s place as our tech world spins at warp speeds with iPhones, blackberry’s, mobile computing, Wifi, and other gadgets that keep us connected. Many people do not like contracts, do not want to learn yet another operating system, and become Web 2.0 “fatigued” with all of the choices.

If you are not tech savvy, if you do not like technology curves that seem to always place you at the bottom looking up, maybe the following product is something to consider for your mobile email purposes: the peak

The Peak

Peak bills itself as “a super thin and stylish device that lets you take your email with you and stay connected.”

Analysis: This little pitch seems to be more concerned with the device’s compatibility with your wardrobe rather than the use it was designed to fulfill. But that’s the fun, or sometimes what’s wrong, with our sound bite Hollywood world of today.

Peak’s Benefits

1. No contracts-ever

2. Inexpensive costs at $99.95 per Peak

3. Nationwide coverage take it anywhere

4. Easy set up enter your email, register and go!

5. Available everywhere at Target stores

Peak’s Big Two

Peak’s big two benefits may just be enough

1. Stay in touch

2. Simplify your life

Hidden Benefit

1. Peak will save your cellphone battery

The Ugly?

1. Peak charges a $19.95 monthly service fee

2. Very limited functions, no bold, no underlines, no linking. Very dead if you want to write a blog post while on the road

3. Limited keyboard options

The Really Ugly: Why I Can Not Recommend Peak

According to the review video, the lag time for emails can be 5+ minutes to send and then another 5+ minutes to receive. This fact alone should motivate you to become just tech savvy enough to learn how to utilize a pda or cellphone with email capabilities!

Realtor’s Floor Duty Tip #1: Stop Hard Selling-Start Engaging

This morning I called an agent to find out the listing price of a condo in my condo complex. The longtime resident is a good guy and I wanted to compare prices with some of the other properties as a measure for our market. When I called the agent I asked the question: “Hi, Tom can you tell me the list price on 123 Main St?”

The answer I received made me think of a few things I want to share with you since I am a consumer and NOT an agent.

Questions Are Not Buying Signals

1. Asking a question about a property is NOT a buying signal. Check out Mark Dembo’s article on buying signals for practical advice. When I asked for the price, I followed up that question with “What is the square footage of this condo?”  Tom the agent answered the square footage is “1,408” but then.  .  .

Hard Sell Launch

1. Agent Tom, thinking he had permission to slam me with a sales pitch launched into the following ramble:

Tom: “This is one of the biggest units in the complex (that’s not true-I know for a fact it is avg); this unit has one of the biggest garages in the complex (that is also false); you have private use of your own boat dock (that’s true); you have plenty of parking; two bedrooms 2 1/2 baths; community pool” and the list of features continued.

Note: During this Features “Puke” Tom was on a roll, never stopped to measure my interest, and continued at a speed where I could not ask another question. His attitude was just sit back and listen to how great this property is and how great it would be for you.

My Reaction

1. Run, run fast, run away immediately. So that is what I did to Tom. I told him: “Thank you I appreciate the information have a good day.” I hung up before Tom could react with ANOTHER DOZEN FEATURES I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT.

2. My perception of Tom:

a.) Tom knows the Hard Sell

b.) Tom does not know how to engage on a personal level and create a connection

c.) Tom is desperate, he is selfish

d.) Tom is unprofessional

e.) Tom did not attempt to brand himself

f.) Tom did not give me a feel for the buyer’s situation

g.) Tom did not ask one probing question

h.) Tom did not care for anything but puking his information all over me.

i.) Tom does not know how to give value in order to connect

If I Were a Betting Man: Tom’s Reaction To My Call

1. I was just another tire kicking clown

2. I was not serious

3. That call was a waste of time

4. That guy was rude as he did not let me continue my mindless info puke

5. Floor duty sucks!

Opportunities Tom Missed and Things He will Never Understand

1. I could be somebody who could help his career- I would write about him and help him with Web 2.0 transition or sales transition if he had just engaged with me

2. He doesn’t know who I know- I know lots of friendly people here on Active Rain. He needs to be here and I will bet (sorry I would make this bet) my house he is not aware of Active Rain or the power here

3. He did not try to befriend, engage, or create a personal relationship-again I do know the county as I grew up in Marin County when the market for starter homes was $19,500-I know lots of people even today

4. He did not ask permission to provide more information- this would have shown respect and I would have gladly accepted his info puke

5. He did not brand himself and offer a glimpse of his differentiating factor

6. He did not offer any value give, any value information, any value advice

The Secret That Is NO Secret

Every call is an opportunity to show why a person should be interested in you. The method to gaining access to people, their confidence, and their group of friends is to provide free information that people value.

Realtor’s Hyperlocal Sales Tool #1: Unigo.com Highlights Universities In Your Area

Location, location, location is the old adage. In today’s Web 2.0 world a Realtor’s marketing campaign should be hyperlocal, hyperlocal, hyperlocal content. One of the hot buttons for parents when purchasing a home is the educational opportunities in the city, county, and region you represent.

Long Ignored

Most Realtors cover all of the bases when understanding an elementary school district, middle schools, and high schools in their area. The next step is to cover and highlight the junior colleges, colleges, and universities in your region. Unigo.com is a great tool that you can suggest to potential buyers as a form of research. It is also a great source for the Realtor to stay current on the schools in their area.

Unigo.com is a brilliant yet simple concept: poll thousands of college students on their universities. Have these students provide reviews and reports about everything the University has to offer. Describe academic and living conditions. Create audio and video resources; and package it all together so parents, students, and entrepreneurs can learn more about the institutions

Realtor’s Tool

If you have a great University or a concentration of great Universities within the region you sell, San Francisco Bay Area is a prime example with Stanford, Cal, Santa Clara, and the California State University system as well as a huge Junior College system,  you must consider this a strong selling point in real estate.

Unigo.com: Find, Review, Explore

Find: this is a rich search system that can pinpoint nearly every major university in the land

Review: this allows you to rate your university adding information for others to consider

Explore: this section aggregates all the information for your investigation. Sections include College Reviews; Video; Photos; Documents; and student Profiles

Unconvinced? About Us Document:

“Unigo is the world’s largest platform for college students to share reviews, photos, videos, documents, and more with students on their campus and across the country.

It’s also the best place for high school students to find out what life is really like at America’s colleges, and to make friends to help them find the school that’s right for them.

Unigo is the result of a nationwide grassroots movement to get the truth out about college life, and it’s growing bigger every day. Want to join?”

The New Sales “Paradigm” In Real Estate: “The Hard Sell Is Dead”

The era of real estate hard sell tactics, cold calls, badgering email spam campaigns, and endless (Non-targeted) advertising is coming to a painfully slow end as many Realtors are beginning to painfully understand. The new paradigm shift and strategies, not tactics, are best described in Pat Kitano’s “The Hard Sell is Dead-Slideshow.”

The “Old Way”

1. Call to Action- Realtor attempts to force prospect to make decisions that require a definite action

2. Endless Ads- Always having an advertisement, usually the exact same ad, in as many places as possible

3. Spam- Everyone is a potential client actions of email spam, twitter spam, any unwanted unqualified sales pitch

4. Lead Generation- agents purchase unqualified leads then spam or cold call in attempts to “convert”

5. Unsubstantiated Claims- agents cold call and claim expertise without substantiating, proving, or providing evidence of such stature

The “New Way”

1. Blog- share your knowledge continuously for free proving your knowledge and analysis of your market

2. Social Media- leverage your knowledge by providing “real time” commentary and analysis via social media networks

3. Clients- unknowingly clients follow your blog writing and social media commentary eventually RSS subscribing to your blog

4. Let Them Come to You- clients will contact you without you attempting to reach out to them first

5. Law of Attraction- prospects are attracted to your writing, honesty, personality, and analysis. They will seek you out

Misguided Referral Strategies

1. Brokers- teach the “sphere of influence” friends and family plan of networking but that has limited scaleability

2. Spamming and Hunting- once you have gone through your friends, family, and sphere of influence where do you go for your next lead?

3. Bufini, By Referral Only, and Mike Ferry- they work in the old world but all three of these expensive coaching systems lack “one key component”: They have NO social networking strategy

Buffini Lead Gen Kit: 100 items of value; 50 custom personal notes; 100 Ch By The Way foil stickers; Dry erase board; tracking website setup assistance; Daily activity tracker; Laminated dialog poster

Keys To Understand

1. Online vs Offline Referrals- It’s easier to make an online referral if you write articles and commentary explaining your analysis and take on the market than it is to attempt to cold call an unqualified “prospect” who is not expecting your contact via email or phone

2. Social Media Key to Referral Strategy- Physical networks, like Rotaries or Chamber of Commerce, are moving onto social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo

3. Information Free Era- transparency in business and free information blogs and site are changing our business environment. What has not changed is the fact that a real estate transaction is often complicated and Realtors are necessary within this transaction

4. Expert Interpretation- leverage your writing platform (blog-freelance articles-newsletter-social commentary) and public speaking platform as methods to “make money selling your expertise”

5. Establish Your Online Expertise- your “network” of people considering hiring you and past clients follow your blog writing, your social commentary, and your bookmarks (digg etc.) which establishes your credentials as an expert in the online world

SEO “Keywords 2″ Module #3: Go After Competitive Keywords Set Your Benchmark High

SEO Design Solution’s Jeffrey Smith has written a clear concise uber-valuable article: “For Competitive Keywords Think Like a Big Fish.” This is simply one of the best articles on how to target your keywords and why. As Jefferey states in his intro:

“. . . thinking like a big fish is vital for breaking free of the constrictions of the traditional marketing (food chain) and skipping to the front of the line.”

Realtors if you want traffic, if you want to understand the best keywords for your target audience, and if you want to know how to go about testing your keywords for their effectiveness then this is the article for you.

Jeffrey’s Method To Identifying Powerful Keywords

1. Search: perform a search query with your keywords of choice in quotations. Example- “Realtor”, “San Francisco Realtor”

This is a quick way to assess the benchmark of exact match (how many sites are competing for the term)

2. Allinanchor Check: perform an allinanchor check at allinanchor:domainname.com. This allows you to check to see if your keyword matches up–if there is an exact match then you know that this exact match is accurate in determining the barrier to entry aka the difficulty of ranking highly for that keyword.

3. Top 3 Sites: Look for the top 3 sites and cross reference their age, back links, and number of respective pages on the topic.

Killer Traffic Analysis Tool: SEO Quake

SeoQuake provides the Alexa ranking (traffic), age of the domain, as well as links from major search engines. It is a free download to your toolbar and it gives you a beginners analysis tool for traffic. This is a must have for any aspiring blogger.

“SEO Basics” Module #1: Realtor’s “How To” Library For Search Engine Optimization

One of the best blogs for SEO is written by a Canadian company called Search Engine People. Consequently when I opened my subscription feed to searchenginepeople.com/blog today, I was surprised and very please with their gigantic SEO article “One Week of Sphinn SEO Lessons” by writer Ruud Hein.

This article is so vast and expansive I am going to break it down into smaller modules so that you can consider the importance of the library of content Ruud has provided. The first module is SEO Basics for the anyone looking to understand the definition, strategies, and tools that search engine optimization brings to your marketing promotional efforts. This first module contains 17 links to information critical to your Web 2.0 efforts:

The SEO Basics

Newsflash: California Supreme Court Grants Rights To Gay Marriage

In a controversial and long standing fight, gay rights activists are rejoicing as the California Supreme court today overturned the gay marriage ban. In what could be a historic ruling, the California Supreme Court ruled:

“. . . that a ban on gay marriage was unlawful Thursday, effectively leaving same-sex couples in America’s most populous state free to tie the knot in a landmark ruling” according to Yahoo.com news reports.

The Corporate View: It doesn’t get much stuffier than this

The Gay View: It doesn’t get much funnier than this

Realtor’s #1 Tool To Expertise: Economic Research Institute

salary surveys

The best source for Realtors to find free “calculator” tools and research, to help people decide the best cities in the US to live, are provided by the Economic Research Institute. The best page to find these valuable tools is the ERI “Career and Cost of Living Comparison” page. In addition a number of valuable reports are available for purchase.

Understanding Your Niche and Choices

As a Realtor or broker, you can elevate your perception with consumers as well as become more knowledgeable, if you are willing to research. Some of the best research available on cost of living, relocation, and economic conditions can be found at the Economic Research Institute. The information is global in scale and very detailed nature.

2 Career Cost of Living Comparison Tools

1. Salary Potential 2023: This tool “reports the estimated annual mean salary potential for 5,634 positions in the Year 2023.”

2. Cost of Living: This tool is a fantastic point of reference. It calculates cost of living for cities around the world and in some cases neighborhoods within the cities.

In my example I found the following information about San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood: “Student Cost of Living for Consumables as a percentage of the U.S. National Norm: 125%”

There are many more detailed reports comparing cities globally and nationally, cost of living conversion rates and economic condition calculators. Although these reports are not free, the descriptions of the reports can give you a starting point to becoming an expert.

Newsflash: San Francisco Missing 100,000 People–Mayor Newsom Ready To Sue

In one of the more bizarre miscounts in recent memory, beyond the Bush Conspiracy in Florida, the US Census Bureau and a yet unnamed nonprofit organization are fighting over their “perception” of San Francisco’s population.

The Census Bureaus’ population estimate stands at 764,000 while the nonprofit, using economic factors according to Yahoo News, contends San Francisco has 864,000 residents.

US Census Bureau Reasons For 100,000 Missing “San Franciscans” vs Unnamed Nonprofit Organization’s Reasons Why 100,000 New Residents

1. CB: 49er, Raider, Giants fans due to prolonged suffering and embarrassment left the city under cover of darkness
NP: The San Francisco LGBT love of J.T. Snow former Giant’s 1b is undying

2. CB: “San Franciscans” discovered Sacramento
NP: San Franciscans discovered Sacramento

3. CB: The dot.com bubble burst?
NP: Isn’t Daat Calm the dispatched buddhist monk living in Noe?

4. CB: Every college kid from Austin, Chicago, and Boston beat it home under the cover of darkness
NP: Every college kid from Portland, Minneapolis, and the Villiage beat it to SF under the cover of darkness

5. CB: Transplanted City of Angel-ites beat it back to LA after the first 50 degree day this winter
NP: Transplanted Orange County-ites beat it back to LA after their first trip to Baker beach

6. CB: Free WiFi Plan was struck down by the pseudo working class wanna be radical San Francisco Supervisors
NP: Free WiFi (whatever that is) was struck down by the pseudo working class wanna be radical San Francisco Supervisors

7. CB: Coit Tower is converted into an IRS recruitment office
NP: Coit Tower is converted into haute cuisine organic vegetarian neighborhood kitchen

8. CB: Patchouli Cologne is redefined under the controlled substance act and made a felony drug offense by the DEA
NP: Patchouli sit-ins are sponsored by sister city Berkeley, CA in an effort to free the smell

9. CB: Cable Car drive-by shootings have crippled the tourist to resident’s industry
NP: Cable Cars go Green with passengers required to pull their own weight

10. CB: Cesar Chavez Day pisses off conservatives
NP: The 1st Annual Cesar Romero Day celebration sends the Castro into a frenzy

Realtor Career Evaluation Tool #1: Understand Your Options, Chart Your Destiny

Susan Hanshaw of personal development firm inner architect is publishing a book “Inner Architect: How To Build The Life You Were Designed To Live” devoted to helping Realtors become aware of their challenges, find the courage to confront the idea of change, and take the final step by implementing an intentional plan of action.

“The Apprentice Contest” is a first step in giving Realtors and Brokers the opportunity to review Chapter 1 now and Chapter 2 of “Inner Architect: How To Build The Life You Were Designed To Live” in the near future.

The Benefits of Ordering Your Free Copy of Chapter 1

1. Chapter 1 “Cultivating Your Mind to Consider Change” helps readers learn:

a. Identify Clues that tell you if your job is no longer working for you
b. Get Clarity about how well your job is working for you
c. Understand what this means to you personally
d. Recognize what your choices are
e. Identify which choice you really want to make
f. How prepared you are to make a change
g. Your personal steps needed to prepare you to create your change

Susan provides guidance through steps, questions, and measuring tools (reader exercises) which provide the foundation for the reader to honestly self evaluate their situation.

More importantly to the reader is the fact that Susan has lived and walked the walk of change in her life. She abandoned a very successful 20 year direct marketing career as a Vice President to create a better life.

Woven throughout the book are her personal accounts, and struggles, of leaving a career that no longer fit her life. In addition to Susan’s story, she fortifies the book with stories from former coaching clients, students of her workshops, friends, and family. This collage paints a truth for many readers who can not help but identify with many of the scenarios in the book.

Final Analysis: Chapter 1 “Cultivating Your Mind to Consider Change” provides the building blocks and awareness to help you understand the value of an open mind (awareness) and believe in your right to live an “ideal” life in or beyond the real estate industry.