Every year at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, I find new authors and books to explore. But what if you want to get a jump start on the meetings coming up this November?
Well, I don’t know about you, but the flight from Chicago to San Francisco is not a short one. And I never travel without a book. Maybe like me, you need to pick up some reading for the trip. Why not bring something directly related to a conference experience? If you grab something from one of these six authors who will be presenting at the conference, you might also try and get it signed at their session.
- I saw Darryl Davis speak during Midyear this year and really enjoyed it. You can find his book, How To Become a Power Agent in Real Estate (McGraw-Hill, 2002), at the REALTOR® Store.
- If you’re looking for something outside of the sales arena, pick up Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House, 2007). This inspiring true story of how the author hid with seven other women in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days to survive the Rwandan genocide in 1994 will undoubtedly leave you with a fresh perspective on life. Continue reading »
There are two kinds of people in this world: cooks and bakers.
I’m a cook. I like to have the ability to toss in a little extra garlic, or cook the bacon extra crispy. If I have kale in my fridge, I like a recipe that will allow me to toss some in before it goes bad. Bakers, on the other hand, have to be precise. If they add too much baking powder, the cupcakes might rise well over the pan, not to mention the bitter taste. If a baker beats the butter just moments too long, their cookies may just collapse into pancakes. Neither of these is perfectionism, mind you. I get just as frustrated when my stirfry is a tad over-salted because I dashed in too much fish sauce as a baker might when their flour scale fails them. Instead, it’s a different conception of how distinct a mix is.
I started thinking about this difference reading Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information, by Ithamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen. The book revolves around the theory that each customer is influenced by three factors: their own feelings, the advice of others, and marketing. The key is finding out what mix of these three factors your industry or product is beholden to.
So let’s concentrate on that middle factor: the advice of others. Simonson and Rosen’s instructions for how to determine your industry’s mix really explains why referrals are so important in real estate in particular, without even mentioning the industry by name. Here are some of the factors they say make consumers more likely to consult others when shopping for a particular product or service:
- The more important the decision, the more likely customers are to consult others. I think it’s fair to say buying a home is pretty darn high on the importance scale.
- How big is the difference between good and bad? If there are really bad real estate agents and really good real estate professionals, consumers are more likely to research so they don’t end up with a really bad one.
- Risk, uncertainty, and complexity: These items are all pretty high for property purchases, which means people are more likely to depend upon advice from others.
- How fast are things changing? Customers want the best product today, not last year’s best. This item may not correlate with real estate as strongly as say, smartphones, but with the ever-changing economy you can bet that they’re going to want someone who has bought a home relatively recently to hand them referrals. So check out your testimonials: Do you have any from your most recent transactions?
Of course, the authors caution that many of these items depend on the type of consumer we’re looking at, and also note that these factors shift over time. But it’s a nice reminder of what we all know to be true: Referrals are particularly important in real estate.
The short vocabulary quiz I created after paging through Barron’s Real Estate Handbook back in September was so popular that I’d been meaning to create another. And in a serendipitous moment, A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture, by Virginia Savage McAlester (Random House, 2013), landed on my desk.
And what a thump it made! This hefty tome holds almost 900 pages of reference material, including more than 2,000 maps and illustrations. More than just a home style guide, this is also a history text, covering domiciles from ancient Native American tribes to the present day. It also gets into the minutia by looking closely at building materials of all sorts, while also examining the 30,000-foot view of neighborhood and community structure. As a reference material, one would expect occasional wonkiness. But the text is also eminently readable, with clear narratives making connections between the march of time and the uniquely American ways of life. Continue reading »