A preview presentation for the Houston Association of REALTORS BigE Event in October 2011 / How the social savvy become omnipresent, trusted and chosen.

Thought I’d share a preview of my presentation for the Houston Association of Realtors BigE Event on October 13th.  I’ll be sharing this thing twice, each session is twenty minutes short.  I’m gonna have to talk fast like the wind.  Hopefully not like a big giant bag of hot wind.  The material is a small sample of examples I included in the book I wrote, Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha – How social savvy real estate agents become trusted, preferred, referred and rewarded.  It’s on Amazon in both printed book and Kindle/eBook format.  You can check it out HERE if you’re up for it.  Cheers.

Is the Real Estate Business about “Robotics or Relationships”?

Fire-In-The-Hole?

It started with Chris Smith’s incendiary controversial exciting blog post titled “It Is No Longer A Relationship Business – Here’s Why”.  Basically he shares that citizens in general, don’t really want a relationship with their real estate agent.  What they want, is their real estate transaction handled masterfully, and that’s it.  Fair enough.

Of course this notion goes against every stone tablet ever chiseled and every character ever written on How To Succeed In Real Estate.  Hell, I’ve even written a book on trust and social savvy relationships myself.

Unless you’re hopelessly apathetic (which of course you’re not, because you’re reading this), Chris’s story will get your attention.  (There’s almost 150 comments.

In this blog post (keep reading) I share two other important voices in the conversation, Rob Hahn’s and Bill Lublin’s.  You can click here to read Chris’s story now, or scan the rest of this post and click-through for the juicy stuff from all three at the end. It’s up to you.

For the record, if I was in a foxhole and Chris was in with me, I’d feel sorry for the other guys.  If you told me you respected Chris more than I do, I’d chuckle. Chris is a supreme giver.  That’s how I feel about Chris.

What could be more important?

The “Relationships or Robotics” topic and conversation is awesome!  The reason I think it’s awesome is because we don’t often take the time to sit and think-real-hard.

Thinking-real-hard about what’s important to you, your value to others and the roll you will play in the real estate business of the future is something that could have a profound impact on you.  Do you agree?

And then . . .

Shortly after reading Chris’s post, one of the branniest in the RE Biz added to the conversation with a blog post titled, “If Real Estate Is Not In The Relationship Business, What Business Is It In?”.  In it he lays out some thoughts and then among several questions, he asks this, “If “real estate used to be about relationships” because it was, at its heart, a service-business rather than a skill-business… what is it today?”.  

That’s a question we should all ask ourselves.  Rob asks some others worth answering as well.  You can click here to read Rob’s post, or skim forward, then read all of them at the end where I’ve numbered them 1, 2, 3.

For the record, If I was on the Who Wants To Be Millionaire TV show, and if I made it to the final question (I know, BIG IF, but play along), and they blew me away with a final twist, something like, to win the $1,000,000 instead of answering a question I had to solve a complicated, multidimensional problem, and I could call only one friend to help me, and the that one guy had to be a cool guy in the bargain, inside I’d be boiling with excitement, outside I’d be as cool as Steve McQueen. Wanna know why? Because if I had a quicksand problem to solve, I’d call Rob Hahn.  He’d figure it out, we’d be $1,000,000 richer, and it’d be party time.  You don’t ever want to miss one of Rob’s parties.  That’s how I feel about Rob.

But wait, there’s more. . .

The Commissioner of Real Estate (That’s how I see Bill Lublin.  In my eyes he’s the unofficial Commissioner of Real Estate, like Roger Goodel is the Commissioner of the NFL.) pours his feeling, beliefs, truths and realities all across the inter-webs in his post titled “Being Without Relationships is Being Without Business.”

Bill articulates the counter point in this Ménage à trois of blog posts on “Relationships or Robotics”.

You can click here to read Bill’s truths, or read the short rest of this blog post, and end where I share links to all three posts in order.

For the record, you already know how I feel about Bill.  He’s the Commish, man.

Now what…

At this point, if you haven’t already, I’d read everything in 1, 2, 3 order.  I’ve included the links below.  The comments are equally thought-provoking. But before you run off clicking and reading, read down to the 1, 2, 3.

After reading all three posts and their equally interesting comments, I sat quietly and thought-real-hard about what I believed and how I felt about it all. I invite you to join me, Chris, Rob, Bill and all the people who shared their comments on the subject.

Whether you believe in Robotics or Relationships isn’t the point.  To clearly understand what you believe in and why you believe it, that’s what’s most important and invaluable.

What do I think, “Relationships or Robotics?”

If you know me at all, you know what I think and how I feel.  I’m hands down a Relationship guy.  I’ve got no problem with the Robotics tribe borg, contrast is a good thing.  Especially if you’re on the right side of reality.

The 1, 2, 3 List

 1.  It Is No Longer A Relationship Business – Here’s Why

2.  If Real Estate Is Not In The Relationship Business, What Business Is It In?

3.  Being Without Relationships is Being Without Business

Cheers and thanks for reading.

 

Chapter 10: Are You Prepared to Reap While Sluggards Sleep? / From the book Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha – by Ken Brand

Chapter Ten from the book Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha – How social savvy real estate agents become trusted, preferred, referred — and rewarded.

Are You Prepared to Reap While Sluggards Sleep?

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”  ~ Robert Schuller

 Every day, no matter the location and market conditions, people choose a real estate agent and properties are listed and sold.  When the market is lush with green grass and low-hanging fruit, even the lazy and unprepared reap oodles of opportunities.   When the market is drought-dry, opportunities are scarce, and civilian expectations are lofty, only the poised and prepared plow deep and succeed.

In any real estate market, especially a challenging market, when an opportunity presents itself, victory favors the prepared.

Questions Are Opportunities.

Because you’re cool, attractive, hard-working and perceived as trustworthy, people are going to ask you real estate questions.

Some of the questions will be asked in a casual setting and spur of the moment; others will be deliberate and direct, like questions asked on a listing appointment.  Whether casual or deliberate, for the prepared, these questions provide conversational opportunities to outshine the average and unprepared and demonstrate your value.

The key to turning conversational opportunities into business opportunities and commission checks is knowing how to confidently, accurately, and attractively answer questions.

Simply stated, preparation is the difference between an unpaid amateur and a paid professional.  If you’d like to become a well-paid professional ask yourself this question.

Am I PREPARED to Answer Their Questions in a Relaxed, Confident, Persuasive, and Attractive Way?

Your future in this business is sealed by your Yes or No answer.  Specifically, the more prepared and perfect your conversations, the greater your success, even in tough times.  Bottom line: to fly high, you must know what you’re going to say BEFORE you say it.  You must be prepared.

About now, you may be thinking that being prepared and knowing what you’re going to say BEFORE you say it sounds like I’m promoting scripts — and you detest scripts.  Let me assure you, I understand “script-aversion,” and I know that nobody, including you and me, will sit still if we feel our ears are being stuffed with canned-cornpone.  I get it.

B.U.T

Behold the Underlying Truth: we both know that the highest paid speakers, communicators, connectors, entertainers, and presenters all have one thing in common. Even geniuses prepare, perfect-practice, drill, and rehearse.  That’s why what they do looks impressively effortless. They know exactly what they’re going to say and do, before they say and do it.  Do we?

Let’s face it, everyone knows the difference between professionally polished and awkwardly amateurish, when they see it.  We don’t hire or recommend the awkwardly amateurish, and neither will they.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this. . .

Are We Perfectly Prepared to Answer Commonly Asked Questions?

There’s a laundry list of questions commonly asked by homebuyers and sellers, before and during the transaction.  These questions are asked with different words, but the concerns that spark them are similar.

The average and ordinary agent will answer commonly asked questions lazily.  Their answers are routine, impatient, uncertain, nervous, and stuttered in an uninspiring fashion.

The high-paid professionals answer commonly asked questions as if it’s the first time they’ve heard them, and they are the most important questions of the century.  Because they practiced delivering their answers before they’re asked, their delivery is received as confident, persuasive, informed, and professional.  When people feel their important questions are being answered effectively, they relax and move forward.

For example here are eight questions we must be prepared to answer in a relaxed, confident, persuasive, and attractive way:

  • How’s the real estate market? (More on this in Chapter Twelve)
  • Is now a good time to buy?
  • Have home prices bottomed?
  • Will mortgage rates rise?
  • What are mortgage interest rates these days?
  • What commission do you charge?
  •  Should I sell now? Is it a good time?
  • How hard is it to qualify for a loan?

Here’s A Simple Nine-Point Preparation Plan:

1.  Sit quietly and think about these questions.

2.  Think hard.  Harder than that.

3.  Craft an answer, or two, or three, that you can be proud of.

 4.  Write your answers out. Stephen King said this in his book On Writing, published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2000.

5.  Record (use your smart phone to audio or video record) your response.  Review, re-craft, record, review, rinse, lather, and repeat, until you feel conversational, relaxed, and confident.

6.  Go meet people (In Real Life), connect, and engage.

7.  Wait for it.  Here it comes.  The question you’ve prepared for.

8.  Smile, relax, shine, impress.

9.  Rinse, lather, and repeat, for all common moments-of-truth-type questions.

 Are You Thinking This Is Too Much Trouble?

Well, you’re half right.  It’s definitely extra effort to do this, and because one of the secrets of success is “Doing what other’s won’t,” this extra effort will set your new standard for excellence higher than the average and ordinary are willing to climb.

Like I said, the level of our preparation seals our futures.  It’s a natural law: if you want to reap deep while sluggards sleep, be perfectly prepared to answer questions.

Now that we understand the importance of preparation, in the next chapter I’ll go into detail about how to take your question-answering skills to even higher levels.  The more effective you are at answering big and small questions, the better you’ll perform, which leads to more success.

__________________________________________________________________

Cheers and thanks for reading.  If I can be helpful, let me know: Ken Brand 832-797-1779.

PS.  The book is available on Amazon.com, click HERE and order your copy now.

Technology Won’t Change The World

Sunday Afternoon In The Woodlands, TX

So, I’m dinking around on Twitter and I scroll up on this:

Technology Won’t Change The World, We Will

And I thought it should I should repeat this every morning before I go to work.  A daily mantra.  “Technology won’t change your world Ken, you will.” (Some of my mantras are in the 3rd person.)

It seems to me, because Technology is sexy and shiny these days, it’s easy to think that Technology does magical things.  Like ignite a revolution or connect over half-a-billion humans, make you successful and so much more.

Sure, today’s technology is often indistinguishable from a magic trick.   But technology is only a tool.  A tool for us humans to do magical things with.  Like unite people, solve problems, share cool stuff, empower, educate, entertain and basically influence change in our worlds.   And whole wide world too.  Mostly for the better.  Of course you have your black magic, but let’s not focus on those ehole-trolls.

The moral of the story for me is, “Always remember, Technology is the tool, what we do with our sexy tech tools is the real magic.And my mantra is, “Technology won’t change your world Ken, you will.”

Do you have a mantra?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS.  Thanks for sharing this Stephanie. Cheers
PS.PS. It’s ran across this too:

Why Blogging Is Like Owning A SUN For Some And A Time-Suck-Vortex For Others

These are notes from the 10 minute presentation I will share at Xplode Austin.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’m all ears.  Thanks.

Blogging Might Be A Time-Sucking-Vortex When You Have A Smart And Modern Business Plan.  You’re Working And It’s Working. Yea!

Congratulations if this is you.  If you’re connecting and conversing, sharing, solving, serving and successful; rock on with what you’re doing.  Don’t distract yourself with the additional commitment a profitable blogging business strategy requires.  Do keep blogging on your personal radar for the reasons I’ll share in a minute. Again, if this is you, well done, keep going.

Blogging Might Be A Time-Sucking-Vortex When You’re Retiring Soon.

If you’ve enjoyed a fruitful career and you plan to retire in the next couple of years, blogging might be a waste of your time.  Smart, disciplined and interesting online sharing, aka blogging, can attract serendipitous opportunity right from the get-go, but the benefits of smartly blogging accrue and accelerate overtime and with every blog post. Blogging successfully is kinda like growing a lush garden, you can’t pluck-up a salad on day one .

Like I said, if you’re retiring soon, good for you, I wouldn’t sweat starting a blog.  Focus on the good things you’ve been doing.

Blogging Might Be A Time-Sucking-Vortex When You’re Career Might Need Immediate Defibrillation.

I’ve been in the real estate business since December of 1979.  I’ve enjoyed three booms and survived three busts in the past 30 years.  These past two years have been the hardest, most painful and most sobering of them all.  Congratulations to all of us for surviving.  Having said that, most everyone believes that our economy is clawing it’s way out and up, 2011 is going to be better. Not a minute too soon IMO.

If you’re hanging tough by a few worn threads, investing your attention on starting a blog would not be a wise use of your resources.  Keep blogging on your radar, but don’t take your eyes and your attention off the smart things you can do today to create an immediate impact.

Now let’s talk about why blogging for some is like owning a SUN.

Authoring a blog is like owning a Sun.  Sharing and becoming “sharable” is sunlight for your online solar system.

Think of everything you do to attract, uncover and discover listing and selling opportunities as your personal real-estate-business-solar-system.  You and your blog are at the center of your solar system and the planets in your solar system would be the networks, tribes, niches and online communities that orbit around you.  I’m talking about your In-Real-Life (IRL) spheres, Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, Youtube.com, SlideShare.com, Twitter.com, Flickr.com, your neighborhood and all the places you prospect for business.

In todays modern and moving online real estate universe, authoring a blog is like owning the Sun for your real-estate-business-solar system.  Like our real Sun beams sunlight to all the planets, your blog beams sunlight to all your important prospecting communities, tribes and networks. The intensity, illumination and warmth of your sunlight is determined by the quality and frequency of the things you share on your blog.

Your blog is where you can show-instead-of-tell others who you really are. What you’re about .  What you stand for and against.  How knowledgeable and helpful you are and where you can showcase the emotional and logical reasons why someone should choose you to help them with their real estate needs.   You accomplish all these things (creating sunlight) by sharing stuff on your blog.  Specifically, stuff like neighborhood news, photos of the neighborhood park, Festivals and Art Shows, real estate market updates, local restaurant reviews, answers to commonly asked real estate questions and the like. Blogging is one of the best ways to share and beam your persona throughout your solar system.

In addition to beaming sunlight, once you hit the “Publish” button on a blog post your “Share” becomes part of the Online-Information-Ocean and becomes sharable via perma-web-link. Once you’ve shared (published) something on your blog, you and your friends and friends of friends, can now rebroadcast-share your stuff around the inter-webs and within your/their social circles using your perma-web-links.   For example you and others can share and cross-post your permalinks with your/their tribes on  Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, etc. This is what ReTweets, Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments is all about.

Also your blog provides you with a powerful opportunity to further enhance your online presence by including share-tools like Flickr.com for photos, SlideShare.com for presentations and Youtube.com for video – all for free.

Bottom line, blogging beams your personal shade of sunlight stuff to your IRL spheres, networks and tribes – as a bonus, it makes your stuff sharable by others.  Which is a beautiful thing.  But there’s more…

Blogging Pours Your Online Shares Into The Online-Information-Oceans.

Blogging pours your sharing into the Ocean Of Online Information

Your blog posts are catalogued, indexed and ranked by Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.   The more frequently you share and are shared by others, the greater your presence within the Online-Information-Ocean.  This is supremely important today, even more so tomorrow because. . .

Your Blogging “Shares” Make You More Findable and Discoverable

Your blogging shares add to the Ocean Of Information. The more you share the more findable and discoverable you become.

Let me ask you a question.  If you’re single and you meet an interesting someone new or a friend sets you up, what do you do?  Do you Google or Facebook them?   When a  foodie friend recommends a hot new restaurant, do you Yelp or Google it before you book it?  Of course we do.  Everyone uses their favorite search engine, like Google, to find answers to their questions, check things and people out, confirm character, eliminate pretenders and avoid time wasters.

If you’re not blogging what you’re adding to the Online-Information-Ocean maybe slight.  In contrast, if you are blogging, your presence grows mightier by the “Share”.

Adding information water (your “Shares”) to the Online-Information-Ocean makes you . . .

Discoverable

Because your blogging “Shares” across the inter-webs are catalogued and indexed according the subject matter of your blog post (think key words and SEO), the things you “Share” are discoverable by complete strangers across planet earth.  For example, If you lived in The Woodlands TX and you shared information (text, pictures, video) about the Clover Park neighborhood, when someone types a question about the Clover Park neighborhood in their Google Search Bar, there’s a possibility your “Share” may be served up.  When this happens, you’ve created a virtual-introduction and quasi connection.  Who knows what can happen next.  Being discoverable is a blessing.  Being invisible is a curse.

Findable

The easier it is to find what we’re looking for online, especially when we like what we find, the easier, faster and more likely we are to make contact or choice.  When civilians consider who to hire as a real estate agent, do you think they go online for a little research and character confirmation?  I do and if you do to, you’re right.

In addition to becoming Discoverable and Findable, equally important, a well-tended blog will make you Visible and Choosable.

Blogging Is An Anti-Secret-Agent Strategy.  “Shares” Make You Known, Liked and Trusted

Personal experience and observation, plus survey results published in the NAR 2009 Homebuyer and Seller Survey reveals that 70+% of the sellers and buyers only contact one or two agents when they are ready to act.  That’s an eye-opening reality.  If someone wants to make contact with you or compare you to a competitor, and they do this online by typing your name into the Google Search Box – are you happy with what they find?

If you’re absent online, the harsh reality is you’re a Secret-Agent.  When given a choice, would a seller or a buyer choose an agent who appears interesting and online-omni-present or invisible?  If there are hundreds of agents to choose from and they don’t think of you first or second, or #Fail can’t find you, you’re sunk.  Right?

Blogging is an Anti-Secret-Agent Strategy and most important of all, when done smartly, blogging creates Top-Of-Mind-Awareness and makes you Choosable and Referable.

Blogging Creates Top-Of-Mind-Awareness, Making You Attractive, Choosable and Referable

Top-Of-Mind-Awareness is the one of the most valuable possessions and aspirations for a real estate agent.   Top-Of-Mind-Awareness works the same way with all products and services, Top-Of-Mind-Awareness is the object/person/brand that has first mental recall in a particular category. With all the real estate agent competition in your market place, creating indelible Top-Of-Mind-Awareness is supremely important.

Top-Of-Mind-Awareness is created by making Relevant, Remarkable and Repetitious contact, interaction and impression. Consistent sharing on your blog accomplishes this important task.

Another important factor included in the NAR Homebuyer and Seller Survey is the answer to why homebuyers and sellers choose to contact the agent they did.  The reasons make total sense, they chose agents they believed to be trustworthy, reputable and knowledgeable.  This begs the question, how do you currently make Relevant, Remarkable and Repetitious contact, impressions and interaction that demonstrates that you are supremely trustworthy, reputable and knowledgable?  A blog is the perfect tool to showcase yourself, your talents, your winning personality, your trustworthy character and your keen knowledge – this makes you attractive, choosable and referable.

In conclusion. . .

If you’re working a smart modern plan, getting ready to retire or if I-Need-A-Deal-Right-Now is a priority, don’t sweat blogging today.

Everyone else, if you’re In-It-To-Win-It long-term, then Blogging Is Brilliant – it makes your stuff sharable and you findable, discoverable, attractive, choosable and referable.

If you’ve started blogging, but you’ve been slacking, consider a rededication.

If you’re not blogging, consider it.  To get started, I’d recommend that you observe what others are doing.  A convenient way to do this is visit the AgentGenius.com blog.  The AgentGenius.com blog is powered by the collective contributions or real estate agent guest writers. You’ll find the articles interesting and informative, but what I want you to do is visit the individual blog sites of the authors.  At the top of each article you’ll find a By Line and the author’s name hyper-link.  Click on the author’s name and you’ll be whisked to their profile page.  There you will find links to their individual blogs.  Visit those and observe what they share, how they share and everything else you can learn.

Then pull the trigger and Be Brilliant.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if I can be helpful – Ken Brand 832-898-1779.