Archives for May 2012

Name Recognition is Important to Attracting and Keeping Clients

Before the Internet took over our lives and marketing, Realtors actually had to get out in the world, interact and see what the other guys were doing to drum up business.  Those who did so discovered that the most successful agents were the ones with whom clients and prospects were most familiar.  Business just seemed to flow to the agents who stood above the crowd.  They weren’t known because they were successful; they were successful because they were known.

It’s a philosophy that still works today, but we now have even more tools and gadgets to get our personalities and messages across.  Building a recognition base is mainly sticking to a program of constructive and repetitive exposure.  The goal is to become so well known that, when a consumer hears the words “real estate” or is finally ready to buy a house, your name or image immediately pops to mind.

Once you set a marketing and promotional budget, establish a priority list for related expenditures that might include customer service, client retention, electronic marketing, current condition releases, testimonials, signage, target marketing, direct marketing, mass media marketing, publication advertising and miscellaneous recognition tools.

But the most important aspect of any recognition-building program is consistency, so set aside at least a few minutes each day to monitor, update or tweak your activities.

Even after you build name recognition and a pipeline, don’t stop your branding efforts.  Clients still need to feel wanted and prospects still need to be nurtured, so continue to make calls, send e-mails and distribute materials as much as possible.  Not doing so is simply inviting the competition to swoop in and take over.

Some of the tools and ways you can keep your message active include:

Videos: As long as your face or company’s name and logo are in the corner of the frame your video can be as creative or straightforward as you like.  Just be sure that you’re comfortable and personable, because your message will be better received.

Branded e-mails and documents: Include the company motto or logo on all correspondence to ingrain your message in the mind of a client or prospect.

Business cards: OK, these relics are falling by the wayside as electronic communication takes over, but handing one out does add a professional touch and can be an ice-breaker when meeting a potential client for the first time.  It also adds a personal touch that’s often lacking these days, such as a handwritten note or letter.  Speaking of which ¦ hunting down a pen and some paper probably wouldn’t hurt either, eh?

Rise above the Competition by Standing out from the Crowd

Expecting buyers or sellers to use your services simply because you’re available won’t cut it these days.  Real estate agents need to cultivate leads and be creative to attract new business.  A little ray of hope and a slight nudge are incredibly powerful tools.

Say you have a buyer and have narrowed his or her neighborhood choices to a manageable size.  As a way to drum up transactions, send postcards into the targeted area saying that you have a buyer who wants to purchase in the neighborhood.  This could flesh out people with a desire to sell their home but who haven’t tried because of the recent negative news.  By approaching these homeowners with a ray of hope — a potential buyer — you can generate listing opportunities with a nudge that builds seller interest.

You can also manufacture new business every time you take a new listing.  Once you have the listing, determine the neighborhoods where homeowners might view the listing as a good move-up property.  Usually this is in neighborhoods priced a level below the value of your new listing.  Target these potential buyers with a letter stating that you have an opportunity for the recipient to move up to a more prestigious neighborhood or one that would be a better fit for their lifestyle.  The power of suggestion is a great tool and often encourages people to act on an unfulfilled wish.

Other ways to actively get the word out about you and your business is to be involved in community organizations, activities and select interest groups.  If any of the groups hold seminars, offer to do one on home-buying and selling strategies.  Promote yourself on your website as the community expert, and if you’re capable of producing videos, create ones that highlight happenings around town or focus on your favorite spots, such as farmers’ markets and parks.  You can also give virtual tours of some home listings.

Most of all, never forget the personal touch by showing clients that you really appreciate their business.  Karen Taussig, an agent in the Southern California communities of Camarillo and Oxnard, says her favorite part of the job is her interaction with prospects.

“I look at them as pen pals more than as potential clients.  I enjoy talking to the people and meeting them.  I enjoy working the database from HouseHunt and the MLS to find properties that they might really like, and the minute I do they’re hooked.”

Another way Taussig stands out is to host parties for clients and, as a show of appreciation, to introduce them to each other and cultivate new leads.

“It’s a little thing, but people appreciate the gesture,” she said.  “It’s an enjoyable thing for me to do, and it also makes good business sense.”

Make things happen by doing things other agents might not be willing to do.  Be creative, unique and aggressive when it comes to finding new business opportunities.  If your career isn’t generating the income you desire, spend some time on developing ways to change that scenario.  It will likely pay off down the road.

 

By: www.househuntnetwork.com

Anatomy of a Web Address

You’ve seen them everywhere, even on some state license plates.

But what does all those http’s and .com’s mean.

Here’s the website that I referenced for the following information:

Below is a simplified explanation of what makes up a web address:

First of all, the official computer name for a web address is URL
which stands for: Universal Resource Locator.

Here’s a sample URL:
http;//www.pepnet.net

http:// stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and that basically tells the computer that we are looking to
“Transfer” “Hyper Text” (a webpage) from the internet to your computer.
When typing a web address into Internet Explorer you usually don’t even have to type the “http://”
because the computer assumes it.

www stands for World Wide Web which is the body of software rules and protocols that make up what we know of as the internet. Just about every webpage you’ll ever view is a part of the world wide web.

.net is a an example of a “top level domain name

 Other extensions:

.edu

educational site (usually a university or college)

.com

commercial business site

.gov

U.S. government/non-military site

.mil

U.S. military sites or agencies

.net

networks, Internet service providers, organizations

.org

non-profit organizations and others

Because the Internet was created in the United States, “US” was not originally assigned to U.S. domain names; however,
it’s used to designate American state and local government hosts, including many public schools, and commercial entities,
e.g., well.sf.ca.us. The domain .ca represents Canada, unless it’s followed by .us, in which case it represents California.

Domain Codes

State

.ca.us

California

.nv.us

Nevada

.tx.us

Texas

Other countries have their own two letter codes as the top level of their domain names —

although many non-US sites use other top-level domains (such as.com):

Domain Codes

Country

.ca

Canada

.de

Germany

.dk

Denmark

.jp

Japan

.il

Israel

.uk

United Kingdom

.za

South Africa

 

.html
hypertext markup language
.html is an extension you will commonly see on websites as you are surfing around.

.php  Hypertext Preprocessor
Php is a widely used scripting language that is used to create interactive document, often on the Internet.

.bmp bitmap
Bitmap images are uncompressed images.

.jpg or .jpeg     joint photographs expert group
Jpegs are standard compressed format images used on the internet.

.gif graphics interchange format

Ftp – File Transfer Protocol
Ftp is a common way of transferring files across the internet. To the normal user using a direct Ftp, one cannot distinguish between a http download and a ftp download. Ftp servers use a way of arranging the files in folders, just like your hard drive is organized.

Https hyper text transfer protocol (secure?)

https is basically an encrypted version of http. It is used by servers to secure things such as credit card orders so they cannot be intercepted and stolen.

 

  • BYTE: A byte is a storage unit for data. “K” stands for Kilobyte which is 1024 bytes. “MB” is Megabyte which is a million bytes, and “GB” is a Gigabyte, which equals 1000 Megabytes.
  • CPU: This stands for the Central Processing Unit of the computer. This is like the computer’s brain.
  • MAC: This is an abbreviation for Macintosh, which is a type of personal computer made by the Apple Computer company.
  • OS: This is the Operating System of the computer. It is the main program that runs on a computer and begins automatically when the computer is turned on.
  • PC: This is the abbreviation for personal computer. It refers to computers that are IBM compatible.
  • PDF: This represents the Portable Document Format which displays files in a format that is ready for the web.
  • RAM: This stands for Random Access Memory which is the space inside the computer that can be accessed at one time.  If you increase the amount of RAM, then you will increase the computer’s speed. This is because more of a particular program is able to be loaded at one time.
  • ROM: This is Read Only Memory which is the instruction for the computer and can not be altered.
  • VGA: The Video Graphics Array is a system for displaying graphics. It was developed by IBM.
  • WYSIWYG: This initialism stands for What You See Is What You Get.  It is pronounced “wizziwig” and basically means that the printer will print what you see on your monitor.
  • USB: The Universal Serial Bus is used for communications between certain devices.  It can connect keyboards, cameras, printers, mice, flash drives, and other devices.  Its use has expanded from personal computers to PDAs, smartphones, and video games, and is used as a power cord to connect devices to a wall outlet to charge them.
    VR: Virtual Reality simulates a three-dimensional scene on the computer and has the capability of interaction.O:-)  angelic smile
  • 😎     big-eyed smile
  • :-X     big kiss
  • :-{}    blowing a kiss
  • :.(      crying face
  • :->    grinning
  • 😐     indifferent, bored
  • :-))    laughing
  • =:-)  punk
  • 🙁     sad face
  • 😀     shock or surprise
  • :-r  sticking tongue out
  • B:-)  sunglasses on head
  • :-||   very angry
  • :-><  puckered up to kiss
  • 8-|   wide-eyed surprise
  • 😉     winking
  • :-O     yelling

Personal Values as the Keys to Contentment

Though he’d been a bankrupt cotton farmer before WWII, by 1975 many people considered H. L. Hunt to be the world’s wealthiest man.  When someone asked him the key to his success, he said, “Son, only two things ya gotta decide in life — whatcha want, and watcha willing to pay to git it.  An’ the most important one is the first one.”

Indeed.  What we’re “willing to pay” means the work required (or its equivalent) to achieve what we want.  But what we want — truly want — is the most important thing, and that is a reflection of our values, who and what we are inside, at the core of our being.  Satisfying those values is the key to happiness and security.  Synchronizing your goals to your values brings great personal power to the decisions you make in life.  Chasing other goals can eat up huge amounts of effort, time, emotion, and money for things that will never bring lasting gratification.

What and where are your values?  They lie in what you know to be true about yourself and in how you use — or ignore — that knowledge in your decisions.  Your values are defined by who you are, by your evaluations of yourself, and by how you judge the material and moral worth of life’s options.  How faithfully you act on those judgments shows your values’ depth and stability.  Simply stated, our actions reflect our values, giving rise to the old aphorism, “Actions speak louder than words” when judging a person’s true self.

Contentment and Values

Values, goals, and security are major motivators in our lives.  Our values shape our expectations of ourselves.  Fulfillment of those expectations brings us deep psychological and emotional rewards (and failing in them brings injury).  These outcomes cause us to repeat (or shun) that behavior.  In pursuing self-expectations and the values that underpin them, we’re after goals that bring us pleasure, promise, and a sense of belonging.  As we develop, we also generate images of who we are, a sense of self.  We then try to fulfill those images, or visions, that are in our best interests.  These “best interests” reflect back on our values and reinforce our goals.  Values provide critical directions on the road to happiness and contentment, so they need to be a big part of how we choose and act.

Achieving goals will not by itself bring you happiness.  Gordon Livingston, in Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, tells us that happiness comes from good work to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.  Those things revolve around a person’s values, so it’s essential that your goals be bound to what has real meaning and worth for you.  If not, if you build your goals around artificial views of what’s desirable and rewarding, you will spend your blood, sweat, toil, and tears accomplishing things that won’t bring you contentment, things that can, in fact, bring you poverty.

Power

Our ambitions reflect our values and our usefulness to other deserving people and to life in general.  Fulfillment of values and achievement of ambitions rely primarily on our ability to maintain and exercise personal power, especially over ourselves and the natural inclinations we all have to take our gratifications today, to take the easy road.  Learning about yourself, day by day and year by year, gathering information on who you are and how you live your life — these are the keys to controlling your power, to keeping your goals in focus and your life on track.  Using your power well is how you will reach the goals that match your values and find the most meaning in life.

If you can see yourself, really see yourself — your strengths, your flaws, your values — you have a power in life that few people do.  It’s a power that can understand and control all the other powers inside you.

Money

We know money is not life’s most important element.  So why do we blog and sweat and worry about it?  Because, good, bad, or ugly, we live in a world in which money plays a critical role in nearly everyone’s life and future.  As such, it requires a certain amount of attention and planning.  Many of the same principles that apply to solving the problems of life also apply to solving the problems of your finances and your monetary future.  Goals, values, power, security, planning, selfishness, overindulgence, being thoughtful, being thoughtless, exercise of insight, flexibility, stubbornness, self-deceit, self-esteem, the power of the subconscious — all these factors bear heavily on the ebb and flow of money as well as the management of life.

The Monster that is Marketing

The marketing industry and the merchandising world have no interest whatever in your values or your future.  Only you and those close to you do.  Stunning hairdos, great suits, new skis, jewelry, teeth bleaching — all these things are fine in the right context, but don’t become obsessed with images or choices that chase unreality, empty values, and false security.  This is simply surrendering your power.

Community

Do community attitudes and personal ethics play a role in our financial future?  Yes.  Part of building a healthy bank balance is making dozens, even hundreds, of decisions that must mesh not only with one’s personal values, but also with one’s social values as we interact with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people.  Four hundred years ago, John Donne wrote “No man is an island, entire of itself.”  Much of what we do financially involves interaction with others.  Losing sight of the value of others boxes you into a life based solely on your ability to fend for yourself.

Do we get what we deserve?  What we deserve as individuals in a society should be based on what value society places on us.  To decide for myself what I “deserve,” on the basis of my singular view of myself, is to divorce myself from the values of society, from my community.  Then, separated from that community, I am alone, with a long, often unpleasant road ahead.

This is not to say we must let society dictate who and what we are.  We must maintain individuality for our own well-being and unique rewards, but as integrated parts of our communities.

Rigidity

Your core values are extremely important in setting goals for your life, but rigidly worshiping all those values all the time can be suffocating, and can strangle your ability to survive and prosper.  So be flexible in how you apply those values at least some of the time; even test the validity of those values if they seem to be too great an obstacle to your goals.

So, if you’re sometimes disappointed in yourself for not achieving the high standards you always try to live by, take comfort in one of my favorite sayings: “Only people who are mediocre can be at their best all the time.”

 

By: Dr. Lance Mason, www.moneyning.com

16 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation

Some things should never be said — like these phrases.  Here, what to say instead.

What Not to Say about Someone’s Appearance

Don’t say: “You look tired.”

Why: It implies, of course, that person doesn’t look good.

Instead say: “Is everything OK?”  We often blurt the “tired” comment when we get the sense that the other person feels out of sorts.  So just ask.

Don’t say: “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!”

Why: To a newly trim person, it might give the impression that he or she used to look unattractive.

Instead say: “You look fantastic.”  And leave it at that.  If you’re curious about how the person got so svelte, add, “What’s your secret?”

Don’t say: “You look good for your age.”

Why: Anything with a caveat like this is rude.  It’s saying, “You look great — compared with other old people.  It’s amazing you have all your own teeth!”

Instead say: “You look great.”

Don’t say: “I could never wear that.”

Why: It can be misunderstood as a criticism.  (“I could never wear that because it’s so ugly.”)

Instead say: “You look so good in skinny jeans.”  If you slip, say something like “I could never wear that ¦ because I wasn’t blessed with your long legs.”

Expert: Clinton Kelly, cohost of the TLC show, What Not to Wear.

What Not to Say in the Workplace

Don’t say: “That’s not my job.”

Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.

Instead say: “I’m not sure that should be my priority right now.”  Then have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities.

Don’t say: “This might sound stupid, but ¦”

Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy or negative language.

Instead say: What’s on your mind.  It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.

Don’t say: “I don’t have time to talk to you.”

Why: It’s plain rude, in person or on the phone.

Instead say: “I’m just finishing something up right now.  Can I come by when I’m done?”  Graciously explain why you can’t talk now, and suggest catching up at an appointed time later.  Let phone calls go to voice mail until you can give callers your undivided attention.

Expert: Suzanne Bates, president and chief executive officer of Bates Communications, an executive-training firm in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of Speak Like a CEO.

What Not to Say during a Job Interview

Don’t say: “My current boss is horrendous.”

Why: It’s unprofessional.  Your interviewer might wonder when you’d start bad-mouthing him.  For all you know, he and your current boss are old pals.

Instead say: “I’m ready for a new challenge” or a similarly positive remark.

Don’t say: “Do you think I’d fit in here?”

Why: You’re the interviewee, not the interviewer.

Instead say: “What do you enjoy about working here?”  By all means ask questions, but prepare ones that demonstrate your genuine interest in the company.

Don’t say: “What are the hours like?” or “What’s the vacation policy?”

Why: You want to be seen as someone who focuses on getting the job done.

Instead say: “What’s the day-to-day like here?”  Then, if you’ve really jumped through every hoop and time off still hasn’t been mentioned, say, “Can you tell me about the compensation and benefits package?”

Expert: Mary Mitchell, president of the Mitchell Organization, a corporate-etiquette training firm in Seattle, and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette.

What Not to Say about Pregnancy and Babies

Don’t say: “Are you pregnant?”

Why: You ask, she’s not, and you feel totally embarrassed for essentially pointing out that she’s overweight.

Instead say: “Hello” or “Great to see you” or “You look great.”  Anything besides “Are you pregnant?” or “What’s the due date?” will do.  Save yourself the humiliation and never ask.

What Not to Say to a Single (or Newly Single) Person

Don’t say: “You were too good for him (or her).”

Why: You are basically saying he or she has bad taste.  And you’ll be embarrassed if they ever patch it up.

Instead say: “His loss!”  It gets the same point across without disparaging her judgment.

Don’t say: “I’m glad you got rid of him (her). I never liked him (her) anyway.”

Why: She’ll wonder about your fake adoration for him while they were together.

Instead say: “I’m confident you’ll find someone who will give you exactly what you want.”  It focuses on what’s to come, not on the dud you’re glad she’s done with.

Don’t say: “How could someone as perfect as you still be single?”

Why: A statement like this comes off as a backhanded compliment.  What the person hears is “What’s wrong with you?”

Instead say: “Seeing anyone?”  If they are tight-lipped about their love life, move on to other topics.

Expert: Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills and the author of Deal Breakers: When to Work on a Relationship and When to Walk Away (Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

What Not to Say during a Fight with Your Beloved

Don’t say: “You always” or “You never” or “You’re a [slob, jerk]” or “You’re wrong.”

Why: Speaking in absolutes like “you always” and “you’re wrong” is playing the blame game, and resorting to name calling makes your partner feel helpless, which puts them on the defensive and makes a bad fight worse.

Instead say: “I’m upset that you left the dishes in the sink again.  What can we do so that this stops happening?”  Starting with the pronoun “I” puts the focus on how you feel, not why your partner is in the doghouse, and it will make them more receptive to fixing the problem.

Don’t say: “If you really loved me, you would …”

Why: The more you treat your partner as if he or she will never satisfy you, the less satisfied you’ll be.  Controlling your partner by imploring him or her to do something isn’t a good way to build intimacy.

Instead say: “I feel taken for granted when you don’t help around the house.  I would feel better if we could ¦”  The best way to keep a productive fight from becoming a dirty one is to be clear about why you’re upset and then offer a solution.

Expert: Terrence Real, a family therapist in Newton, Massachusetts.

 

By: Kristyn Kusek Lewis, www.realsimple.com

 

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