Well, let’s face it: You think of yourself as a real estate professional, but if you measure your time by the activities you perform, interacting with customers and clients might only be second on your list. The cold, hard truth of the matter is that secretly, you’re a professional driver. And finally there’s a book for you.
Slate transportation columnist Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) (Vintage Books, 2009) may have a pedestrian title, but when you start reading, the rubber quickly hits the road. We take our time behind the wheel for granted, and Vanderbilt opens up our blind spots to full view. What does it take to communicate while we’re driving? Why does the other lane always move faster? How do traffic engineers (yes, there is such a thing) manipulate us while we drive? What do those endless ribbons of steel on our streets and highways have in common with ants … or grains of rice?
Vanderbilt eases us into his lane by suggesting that traffic is the original social networking. It may not have Like buttons and retweets, but it has a vocabulary all its own nonetheless, never quite as obvious as we think it is. We have a few lights and a horn designed to be startling at best and obnoxious at worst. After that, whether we’re zooming along or crawling into merged lanes, all we can do is gesture with these mobile machines, hoping the drivers around us guess our needs—a lane change, more space around our vehicles. Continue reading »
There’s a lot of information packed into the REALTORS® Conference & Expo preview in the September/October issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The whole issue is organized around education, and while most real estate professionals can’t help but learn something new every day, that daily learning experience pushes into high gear at NAR’s annual conference.
But, since the latest issue isn’t in your hands yet, I thought I might share a special sneak preview from one of the featured conference presenters. Mark Leader is a contributing author for the new book Concrete Jungle: Survival Secrets for the Real World, and will be explaining the creation and maintenance of social capital in Orlando this November. The entirety of chapter four of the book is an interview with Leader titled, “Social Capital: How to Build and Maintain Professional Relationships.”
Of course, there are a lot of people talking about relationship building in one’s neighborhood, both on the block and online. What Leader adds to the conversation is explaining how it works and why:
It’s as if you walked into a room where everyone was shallow and self-serving, rather than trying to fit in, you could be the one person everyone remembers as genuine and comfortable to be around.
The best thing about the interview setting of this chapter is that it gives an idea of how Leader embodies the advice he’s giving. Sure, it’s easy to say that the hard sell doesn’t work in social media, but what are the concrete steps a salesperson can follow to truly build social capital? Leader offers these ten principles:
- Put relationships ahead of financial gain
- Have a burning desire to be of service
- Accept no favors from anyone without providing favors in return
- Pick your battles: Never enter into disagreements with clients about trivial matters
- Never flatter a customer for the purpose of gaining something
- Never compliment friends and associates unless it’s genuine
- Never give it away for free
- Live out your social ideals every day
- Constantly focus on speaking optimism and joy…
- …and your enthusiasm will become contagious.
Why should you consider checking him out at the conference? Well, in this chapter, Leader offers this pretty compelling “guarantee” to readers:
You can send me into any marketplace in California, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, or you could send me into Southfield, Michigan, and I guarantee you I will have the salespeople do more business than the average REALTOR® would do during the best of times.
But for myself, and perhaps my fellow book scanners, Leader’s concentration on lifelong learning might be the best indication of what may just end up being an unmissable conference moment:
I try to read a new book on a regular basis and I pay attention to what others who have been down this road before me have to say.
This confirms my long-held suspicion that leaders read. So, follow Mark Leader’s lead and start loading your Kindle and picking up good reads for the road. The REALTORS® Conference & Expo will be here before you know it.
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust” (Wiley, 2009) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Looking for insight on how to build a good online reputation through social networks that helps boost your brand? This book offers answers on how a business can gain positive influence (and profit) online.
How Humans Shape the Web
Although the general public’s level of mistrust is at an all-time high, there are individuals and companies who do successfully use the Internet to establish levels of trust in the communities where they operate. In the technology sector, a person such as Robert Scoble (circa Microsoft days) stands out as someone who, by the nature of how he communicated about his formerly faceless company, developed a strong level of trust among his online community. In the United Kingdom, JP Rangaswami is managing director of BT Design for BT Group. His blog, Confused of Calcutta, is often about cricket, music, food, and many things not related to a major telecommunications company; yet, because of his stories and conversational writing tone, we trust Rangaswami and have a positive opinion about BT.
Those who are most familiar with the digital space—we refer to them as ‘‘digital natives’’—have become accustomed to a new level of transparency. They operate under the assumption that everything they do will eventually be known online. Realizing they are unable to hide anything, they choose not to try. Instead, they leverage the way the Web connects us and ties our information together to help turn transparency into an asset for doing business. Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
- By next year, Generation Y will outnumber Baby Bombers. And 96 percent of Gen Y has joined a social network.
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and has 100 million videos.
- Approximately 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.
Erik Qualman uncovered these startling statistics and more, which he lays out in his new book Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business (Wiley, 2009). Social media has created a fundamental shift in how people communicate, Qualman says. One only needs to look as far as Qualman’s Socialnomics YouTube video that went viral just weeks after its release, topping out at nearly 1 million views. He believes that soon people will not have to search for news, products, and services — but rather news, products, and services will find them via social media. Thus, in order to be successful in business today and in the future, the social interaction with potential clients must be embraced.
What was your first social media experience and what were your thoughts at that time?
QUALMAN: I joined MySpace, like a lot of people, in 2005. An 18-year-old introduced it to me and it was like she was addicted to crack. She’d always have to check her MySpace to see if she had more friends or to see in anyone commented. It was obvious to me that it was something big, especially for someone to be so ingratiated with it. I hopped on and it made sense to me right away. It wasn’t a surprise once Facebook opened up their platform to go beyond just college students that Facebook became so popular. Then the world was turned on its head when they opened up their application program interface to allow anybody to write applications for Facebook. That decision was so far reaching that it actually caused Apple, which has typically been a very closed environment, to open up and allow others the ability to code applications for the iPhone. That was really the game changer. Continue reading »
By Shane Singh, Editorial Intern, REALTOR® Magazine
Let’s face it: Between using Twitter to advertise properties and Facebook as a way to get more exposure, the real estate industry–and the globe, for that matter–has gone social networking crazy. In The Connectors (Wiley, 2009), however, author Maribeth Kuzmeski argues the importance of connecting, rather than just networking. “We have a tendency to brush off the importance our ability to connect and create relationships as a key contributor and explanation for business success,” Kuzmeski writes. “True connections need to be made with feeling and purpose and honesty.” The Connectors is both instructional and psychological, breaking down the art of connecting via a series of short chapters, step-by-step guides, and personal assessment questionnaires. Using Kuzmeski’s own research, the book dissects all aspects of the business-client relationship, from understanding customers’ motives better to managing your time with them.
FROM THE BOOK: 5 WAYS TO BE A BETTER CONNECTOR
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a “people person,” you can still be a connector. When you connect, you’re not connecting with everyone, but focusing on your relationship with a few select clients. Here are five of Kuzmeski’s tips on how to be a great connector: Continue reading »
By Shane Singh, Editorial Intern, REALTOR® Magazine
In The Whuffie Factor (Crown Business, 2009), author Tara Hunt explains how businesses can harness the power of social capital to their benefit, whether it is in the form of Facebook profiles, wikis, or tweets.
Hunt says businesses should use the Web to connect with their customers and create consumer loyalty. That’s just a preview of the advice she’ll dispense during her presentation, “Whuffie for Real Estate Professionals: How Social Capital Sells,” at the 2009 REALTORS Conference & Expo in November. Until then, here are some of her tips on how to capitalize on Twitter’s growing popularity by turning 140-characters into a business tool: Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
The micro blogging site Twitter has generated plenty of buzz lately and all from the simple question: “What are you doing now?” Those who use the site have 140 characters or less to respond to the question. Members “follow” other members, and vice-versa, to stay up-to-date on what everyone is doing. Many real estate pros have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, using it as a way to connect with clients. In the book Twitter Power (Wiley, 2009), authors Joel Comm and Ken Burge show how individuals and organizations can use it as a marketing tool and how such short “tweets” can even land new business. BUY THE BOOK
FROM THE BOOK: 5 WAYS TO USE TWITTER FOR BUSINESS
When you use Twitter for business reasons, you want to “blend in” and make sure your messages don’t come across as blatant sales pitches, or you could face a backlash from followers, the authors write. Your goal for using Twitter should be to make your business stand out and turn your customers into a community.
“Your Twitter timeline is not a sales page,” Comm and Burge write. “Gripping headlines and hard call-to-actions on Twitter are more likely to drive people away than drive them to buy. Your Tweets need to be subtle. They have to build interest and trust. Only then will your followers feel that doing what you want them to do will be worth their while. ”
Here are five tips from the book on using Twitter for business.
1. Make yourself personable. You want your messages, or “tweets,” to be written in a laid-back tone that creates the impression that you’re chatting with others. “Businesses that tweet like a corporate executive addressing a board meeting will … scream that they have no idea what they’re doing—or who they’re talking to,” the authors write. Continue reading »