Carl Quested and Peter Brewer Chat Real Estate Marketing

Loved catching up with Carl Quested from Agent Mail to chat about the real estate industry and the need for Agents to embrace the online world or face becoming redundant…

Let me know if you agree or disagree!

 

A Message From Heaven. Please Delete My Google Search History

I’ve often joked with close friends….

“If by some horrible chance I pass away in my sleep tonight, can one of you please delete my Google search history?”..

Now, without passing any judgement I think we’re all potentially guilty at some stage of innocently entering a Google search, that, if discovered, without the benefit of context, could see some of us very embarrassed, or even in some cases, on the FBI or ASIO Watch-List.

I for one don’t think I could never really plausibly explain to a Judge why my search history contained dubious results from entering the search terms: ‘Cheap Old Boxes’, ‘Spicy Spit Roasts Images’ or ‘Saddle Chaffing Relief’…

But I digress...

The common practice of using various privacy settings, filters and Incognito browsers to keep our Search or online browsing habits private is something that many rely on for professional, and sometimes personal reasons, that frankly are none of my business…

But in the modern day dictionary that now includes meta, beta, cache, pixels, physing attacks, cyber criminals and data-doctors, many people are incorrectly relying on an assumption that our online habits are safely hidden from all eyes, other than our own.

Couple that misconception with the myriad of devices that we use in our professional day and then privately at home after hours, along with most browsers now ‘handing off’ from Mobile to Desktop and vice-versa, our online world is much more complex, far less private, and with some lines that to many, are much more blurred than ever before. And its those changes in technology that are biting many people on the buttocks much harder than you might ever have expected several years ago..

Let me explain..

I’ve been following a recent court case from the USA with great interest.  I won’t go into deep detail on the case other than sharing some of the events which sees one Senior Business Exec who has moved from his former employer to join the employment of a fiercely rival company.

With the authority of the Courts the former Employer is now deeply, almost forensically, exploring their former Employees online behaviour, using his company provided devices, including sites visited through to exact dates and times that USB devices have been accessed, files deleted, copied and moved, even through to details of deleted text messages.

The depth of technical knowledge available to the now apparently aggrieved Employer through these forensic examinations now sees that Exec in what would be for many of us, a position where embarrassing and compromising facts are being unveiled in the witness box for the world to see, salivate on, and to share. I’m not even going to contemplate the online reputation damage that’s being done to the Execs name in SEO terms for his future reputation..

Here’s some Court reporting of the trial from the Inman Select website by Inman Reporter Andrea Brabila.

  On pornography 

Savitt: Before running the Cipher and cleanup.bat programs did you think you should talk to your attorneys?

Beardsley: Yes.

Savitt: Did you?

Beardsley: No.

Savitt: Why not?

Beardlsey: “Because i did not want to discuss the pornography issues with anybody, including my attorneys.”

Savitt: When you ran the programs did you believe you were tampering with evidence? 

Beardsley: “No, I did not believe there was anything in those computers at all related to the case.”

Beardlsey: “I had accessed via browser pornographic websites and viewed pornographic material and wanted to not have that come out. I wanted to hide that.”

Savitt: Why were you concerned? 

Beardsley: “I am ashamed of it and did not want anybody to see it.” 

Savitt: “Were you ashamed that you had used it on your Move computer?” Beardsley: “Yes.”

Savitt: What did you think people would look at you and see if they found out? 

Beardsley: [starts tearing up] “Someone who was not the person I wanted to be.” 

Savitt: Was it a lot of pornography or a little? 

Beardsley: “Probably a lot.” 

Beardsley: “Over time, it’s generally when I’m under stress, so it ebbs and flows.” 

Savitt: “Did you visit sites like playboy.com or sites with graphic sex?”

Beardsley: “Sites with graphic sex.”

Savitt: “How are you feeling right now, Mr. Beardsley?”

Singer: “Objection: relevance.”

Judge O’Donnell: “Over-ruled.”

Beardlsey: “Ashamed.”

Savitt: “Is this precisely what you were trying to avoid?”

Beardsley: “Yes.”

Now. In anyone’s terms I reckon the above Courtroom exchange would rate fairly low on the things you’d like your Partner, Kids and future employers to be reading. No matter how innocent the searches and browsing may have been.

My point?..  Its simply this. Every keystroke that you make is potentially being recorded by someone somewhere these days.  With social networks and mobile search and browsing dominating most days, the clarity around the lines of what is business, and what is private have become very blurred for many.

Our friends at Google recently shared at the Inman conference in NYC that a majority of us are now checking our Mobile devices up to a whopping 160 times per day. In fact they shared that up to 90% of life decisions are now being made via our Mobile devices.

In light of these stats and this rapidly moving world, here’s a few thoughts to ponder while you’re sitting under your desk rocking back and forth today.

  • Which of your search or browsing behaviours could come back to bite you in the future?
  • Who actually owns the devices you use each day? Computers? Smartphone? USB’s? DropBox? Email accounts, Mobile Phone?
  • Are they the property of your employer, or you?
  • Could it be subpoenaed or taken from you at any stage without notice?

If you’re an employer.

-Does your written signed company policy clearly define your expectations and have absolute clarity around ownership and acceptable use of devices?

-Do you have a written signed policy to deal with such things?

If you’re an employee.

-Do you know exactly what you can and can’t do with company owned devices and on company time?

Give it some thought.

If you think you might need some help to get some clarity you might want to seek some professional help.

I’m here to help you navigate the maze. Give me a call on +61417630962 or drop me a line to peter@thatpeterbrewer.com

 

President Peter Brewer has a nice ring to it.

I’m part-way through the long and arduous, but totally worthwhile, process of updating my Client contact records. It’s an  important thing for every business to do regularly. But, after reviewing about 20-30 Real Estate Agent business cards today, I’ve had to pause the process for a good chuckle and a sanity check.

Now I accept that most of us need to have a ‘Title’ accurately describing the role we play in our own business or in that of our employers.  For our Clients, a good Title usually makes it easy for them to understand who we are, what we actually do, and lets them know they’re communicating with the right person. Title

But it seems to me we sometimes seriously lose the plot these days with some of our self-adorned Titles.

Now, from the outset, I’ll confess that from time to time, I’ve strayed down the path of boasting a mildly exaggerated business Title myself.  In fact, as a young child, I was in awe of Thurston Howell, III.  (Though some people say it’s scary to imagine ONE Peter Brewer, let alone 3 generations of them!)

In fact, my awe of those magical Roman numerals in Thurston Howell III’s moniker, and the potential power associated with that illuminatingly impressive Title, recently seduced me to chance my luck when booking a room at the New York City Marriott.  With mild trepidation and a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek mirth, I took the opportunity to glamorise my Marriott online registration to read…wait for it… Dr. Peter Brewer, III. (It seemed a fitting title, given that I’d recently successfully diagnosed my own in-grown toenail with the help of WebMD.com.)

Sadly, the New York Marriott were less-than-impressed with my diagnostic skills and my self-appointed Title, and apparently even less so with my third-generation heritage.

So much for that futile exercise.

The end result of my mildly-exaggerated Title saw me bunkered in a standard room with no minibar, overlooking the carpark.  But damn, the feeling of self-importance as I completed the rego form and breasted the Hotel Checkin counter was off the Richter.  (Fortunately, at no stage during my stay at the Marriott, was there a call of, ‘Is there a Doctor in the house?’!)

But I digress…

What is it about Titles that seduces so many?

Is it the desire for power that comes from being a Colonel, a Major or a General?

Is it the lust for recognition that some crave by adding credentials of Prime Minister, Councillor or Lord Mayor to their lot in life?

Could it be failed academia that drives so many to want to add  ‘Professor’ or a ‘MBA’ to their birth names?

And why is this epidemic so prevalent in Real Estate? Sometimes we let our crazy egos or industry jargon consume what was originally a way to help people understand what we actually do and how we can help them.

From first-hand experience, I absolutely know how deeply some people’s primal needs are to boast superiority over their colleagues by being anointed as the ‘Senior’ Salesperson, or ‘Senior’ Property Manager, simply adding the word ‘Senior’ to their business cards. It’s an amazing ‘status’ to many.

It’s time to put yourself in the shoes of your clients.

Is a ‘Senior’ Property Manager a person of respected authority, or a really old Property Manager who hasn’t yet crumbled under the intense pressure of a really tough job?

Does your Mum or Dad client really know what a ‘Lead Agent’ is or does?  Do they trade in Lead?  Do they appreciate being called Lead?

Would your Dad or Daughter know what duties a ‘Co-Agent’ carries out?  Does the ‘Co-Agent’ own the company, or just help out on really busy weekends?

And what is it with the designations that are so big in the USA?  Do any normal people honestly know what it means when a Realtor has a string of ‘GRI, ABR, CRS, MRP, ALC, CIPS, SRS, SERS, AHWD, C-RETS, PSA’ and even ‘RSPS’ letters after their name on a business card? Do they know what they mean or even care? I wonder if, in fact, some clients want to treat those things we claim to have with an ointment!

What’s my point?

It’s pretty simple.

Does your business Title really serve to impress you and your Mates, or does it actually honestly serve to assist your Clients by explaining your role and ability to help them?

In 1990, I heard someone referred to as the “Director of First Impressions’ for the first time.  And, 26 years later, I’m still OK with that as an inward-facing title. It provides a laser focus for that employee about the core function of their role. But I reckon what’s happened across the rest of our industry in that time probably needs to be put under the spotlight for a relevance and reality check.

Now, I realise that there’s a marketing component to our titles.

I get it.

Some feel a need to impress, and I know it can be super-competitive in some markets. I understand that. But maybe we need to take a deep breath and ask our Clients what they really think, and, in fact, if they really actually care about our fancy titles.

What would happen if Real Estate Agents worked in different professions? Could you imagine their cards then?

  • Transparency Enhancement Coordinator (Window washer)
  • Sanitation Engineer  (Garbage man/woman)
  • Talent Delivery Specialist  (Recruiter…or Pimp)
  • Colour Distribution Technician (House painter)

So, lets get back to some reality with our titles so they actually say what we do and help our Clients out. 

My recipe? 99% that’s a description of what we do, and 1% dedicated to strokes for our often-brittle egos. 

Gman

Gahlord President Janitor

For example, I’m a massive fan of Gahlord Dewald’s.  I first met the ‘G-Man’ in 2009, and for as long as I can recall, he’s held the apt descriptor of President/Janitor. I can’t think of a better way to keep yourself grounded and to let your Clients know who you are.

 

Self-confession Time 

These Peter Brewer - Cool Stuff Doerdays I often use a title of  ‘Cool Stuff Doer’ as my stage intro.

Is it self adulating? I don’t think so. (OK, yeah it is!)

Does it start conversations? Yes, often.

Does it describe what I do? Kinda.

But I’d argue it’s a damn sight better than the ‘Social Media Guru’ mantle claimed by many of my contemporaries.

(Hey, I should use President Peter Brewer instead! I hear there’s a looming vacancy that almost any dummy can try out for at the moment…)

What is your title?  Does it tell your story? Does it communicate a real value to your Clients or does it just give you a ‘warm feeling when you’re sitting in a cold pool’?

What about other titles in business?  What other titles have you seen that hit the spot well?

Let me know in the comments below…

Filed Under: Brilliant things I Learned at the Car Wash

This morning, I was fascinated watching the depth of part of an induction program for new workers at Hoppy’s Car Wash Cafe in Brisbane.

Now you’d think the process of washing a car would be pretty simple, wouldn’t you?   It shouldn’t need too much training, should it?

You’d think it’d certainly be a bucket-load simpler to wash a car than something more complex like, building a car, or maybe even something like, I dunno…selling a house…?  Hoppys One Best Way

While I was at Hoppy’s sipping my cappuccino, I noticed three young girls were being taught the process of cleaning the interior of a car’s windscreen. I was kinda confused at the highly granular detail that went into something you’d think is as simple as wiping a clean cloth across some glass.

I watched inquisitively as the one of Hoppy’s Team Members instructed and then supervised and critiqued each of the three young ladies as they took turns on their ‘training car,’ paying attention to details such as: the type of cloth, the direction of the cloth (top to bottom, middle to outside) and triple-checking for cleanliness or streaks before handing the car over to the next team members in Hoppy’s production line-like process of washing a car.

Many in business would scratch their head at this level of detail.

Now I guess there are dozens of different ways to clean the inside of a car’s windscreen. But at Hoppy’s, they want things done their way.  Clearly, for Hoppy’s, there is only ‘One Best Way’ of doing things – the Hoppy’s Way.

That simple little process of watching Hoppy’s induction process today got me pondering just how many in the real estate industry induct new people into their individual business’ processes.

Does your business have a ‘One Best Way’?

Historically, many in our industry have enrolled their new staff members into what I call ‘The Magic 3′ induction program.

The Magic 3’s key components are:

1. A desk,

2. A phone, and 

3. A month.

Simplified, new staff members are given a desk to sit at, a phone and a copy of the White Pages, and a month to make a sale, get a listing, or potentially face the lonely one-way walk to the car park, never to return (like the dozens who preceded them). And then, after that being the extent of the induction provided to new people, those same business owners complain and wonder why people often fail in real estate.

Many in our industry need to do better. A whole lot better! 

A better way

A much better way

Merely adopting ‘The Magic 3 induction program’ as the induction program to any business is simply a recipe for disaster.

I reckon the Hoppy’s induction program should be an inspiration to many in our industry…

How well does your business induct your new people into your ‘One Best Way’?  Does your business even have a ‘One Best Way’?  

I’d love to read your thoughts below in the comments.

Peter Brewer is a veteran of the real estate industry and helps real estate businesses across Australia, New Zealand and the USA to maximise their people and technology.  If you’d like to explore how Peter can assist your business you’ll find him here and you’ll find what other clients have said about Peter here. 

‘Peter Brewer is one of the few specialists that can think outside of  his generation’. – Andrew Knight

Bundaberg and Hervey Bay Training November 2015

Brisbane, Australia

I’m delighted to announce that I’m co presenting in Bundy and Hervey Bay in November with the wonderfully talented Author and Entrepreneur, Carl Quested.

Will Carl, the Direct Mail and Print Guy, have an on stage punch up with me, the Social Media and Online Guy with our opposing views?  Is print media dead?..   Is social media a fad?  Find out what we really think!

It’s going to be a fun trip to Hervey Bay and Bundy.  The Fliers and rego deets for Bundy and Hervey Bay Real Estate Agents are below.

I hope we see you at one of these sessions!

Newsmail Real Estate Seminar Nov 19

Fraser Coast Chronicle Real Estate Seminar Invite Nov 20

 

The importance of an effective database webinar C21 USA

It was a great honour to be invited by Eddie Berenbaum to beam a webinar into the Century21 Washington DC Teams this week.

Host Tara Christianson and I chatted why every real estate agent needs a great database is and what it takes to make one rock!

I hope you enjoy our chat.

90% of home owners won’t use you again

I’ve just come back from hosting an Industry study tour to the Inman Connect Real Estate Conference in NYC where amongst many things I heard a fascinating statistic that:

“90% of home owners on settlement say they’d use the same Real Estate Agent again. But ultimately 90% of Home owners don’t” Problem

Do you think our industry has a problem? It sure seems so based on that statistic!

A few quick questions for you..

  • Are you or your business entering 2015 with a crystal clear focus on exactly where your digital marketing efforts needs to be?
  • Have you developed your content strategy and married it to your content calendar for your social media channels?
  • Is your CRM finely tuned to ensure you have an effective communications program in place to have your previously delighted customers singing your praises to friends and family and to have them knocking back on your door when they’re ready to transact real estate again?
  • Do you have a range of highly cost effective online lead generation activities in place to maintain a constant flow of appraisal and listing opportunities for you and your team?
  • Is your office and or team totally supporting your efforts to develop a truly effective digital strategy?

Now, depending how you answered those questions will determine whether you need a hand putting an online plan in place for you or your business in 2015.

Its becoming very clear that the divide between those salespeople and businesses who are truly focussed on implementing a layered digital strategy in place in 2015 and beyond, and those who are content to just ‘wing it’ and ‘hope’ their phone continues to ring is getting increasingly wider.

” ‘Hope’, is not an effective strategy”

For many real estate businesses keeping pace with the rate of change in consumer behaviours and the constant shift in industry technologies has proven to be daunting.  Remaining relevant and investing marketing resources (time, people and money) in the right channels has never been tougher, but never more important.

What are you or your business doing to ensure that those 90% of people who said they’d do business with you again actually do so and become raving fans of you or your business along the way? Strategy

Working with real estate businesses to develop and implement simple digital strategies that work  is exactly what I do. If you’d like to have chat please drop me a line below, or give me a call on +61 417 630 962. I’d be delighted to help where i can!

Here’s what others said:

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your note today. We did enjoy having you in our office last week,your presentation style was great,relaxed and inclusive, the information easily understood and your help in putting together a plan for the way forward was clear and achievable.
I’m sure we will be keeping in contact. 
 Many thanks
Gibson Barron – LJH

Hi Peter,

A big thanks to you for an amazing session that you provided for the Austar team. There has been so much positive comment from the session and you have inspired several people to be so much more aware of the fantastic opportunity that lies within the social media world.

We definitely would be keen to have a follow session sometime in the future.

Warm Regards

Len Day – Austar Realty


 

Peter,  Once again thank you for being so generous with your time yesterday.

The information and insights you provided were/are invaluable and that combined with your training program on Social Media through REIQ have been invaluable in us gaining further insight into how to make our business more meaningful and relevant through the various social media networks and the internet in general.

We have no hesitation in recommending you and your services to anybody looking to find better ways to use such mediums to enhance their business profile and to take away the “jargon” and explain in easy to understand common language.

Phillip Neilson- Ray White


 

If I Were an Australian Real Estate Agent in 2014

In December 2009, Marketing genius Chris Brogan authored an excellent piece titled ‘If I were a Realtor’.

I wrote about it and shared it here. In his short piece, Brogan dot pointed things he’d do if he were a Realtor in 2009 with the then emergence of video, Twitter, and a new fad thing called Facebook.   He talked a bit about community and engagement.

In light of the current angst within much of the real estate community in Australia, I thought I’d use some licence and build a 2014 Australian version of Brogan’s wonderful words…

If I Were an Australian Real Estate Agent in 2014

  • I’d identify and develop a ‘magnificent modern point of difference’ in my marketing.  Change
  • I’d acknowledge that anyone can put a listing on realestate.com.au. Even a seller. On their own. I’d never forget that.
  • I’d use video. Lots of it. No more BS excuses on why you can’t.  The days for excuses on video being “too dear, too hard, too slow” are over.
  • If I were a Real Estate Agent in Australia in 2014,  I’d understand that many sellers still see us as necessary evils in the transaction. I’d work tirelessly to change that perception of me.  Immediately.

Regardless of whether I’m an Agent, Agency or a Salesperson, I’d have my own websites. Plural. Lots of them in fact. At least 5.  I wouldn’t just settle for the stock-in-trade website handed out to me by my franchise group or association. Sure, I’d pimp the franchise or association one out to the absolute max, but I’d also have my own strong, structured strategic plan for developing online lead and relationship generation.

  • I’d have information-rich and totally relevant websites for buyers, sellers, investors, and others.  They wouldn’t be talking about my company or fuelling my own ego with posed out of date photos of me in a flash suit, or standing in front of a leased racy BMW. The websites probably wouldn’t even have my logo on them. They’d be strategically designed to inform people and capture lots of enquiry. They’d position me as the indisputable trusted local authority.
  • I’d stop advertising to chase NEW business and I’d connect with the forgotten ones. The people who’ve already had a brand or personal experience with me.  It’s so much easier to deal with those who already know us.

If I wanted to excel as an Agent in Australia in 2014, and beyond, I’d ask someone trustworthy which database they think is the best database. And when they answered, ‘the best database ever invented is… ‘the one you actually use’, I’d believe them, I’d stop searching,  I’d  do what Nike say (#jfdi), and I’d move to the next point  Swiftly.   

  • I’d use my database product and, because I’m better using my brain, ears, and mouth than I am with typing words and numbers into a database, I’d appoint an offshore database manager for $2.00 an hour to input and manage strategic forms and frequency of communication with my clients to ensure an ongoing drip feed of repeat sellers and buyers.
  • If I were a professional real estate agent in Australia in 2014 I’d be showing my sellers the deep connections I have with ready made buyers in my database and I’d use that as a key point in my listing presentation. That’d be one of the key differentials I’d win every listing from you on.
  • I’d letter box drop 10,000 glossy print, dl sized banana and almond cake recipe cards to my farming area every month without fail. BUT ONLY IF they actually were a proven source of seller enquiry.  And once I finally came to my senses and realised they’re a waste of money, I’d change that expenditure into creating an awesome digital footprint that gets me found where the genuine sellers and buyers are researching.  And that’s not in their letterbox.
  • I’d post all my listings to my local institute site. As a member, I get to vote on the make-up of that board with my colleagues. We are those site’s stakeholders and shareholders.   I’d remember Don Chipp, founder of the Australian Democrats Party’s goal ‘to keep the bastards honest’.  Support your Institute. They’re not the bastards. Help them help you.
  • I’d still post my listings on realestate.com.au. and Domain and some other portals. But I wouldn’t do it until I had absolutely  exhausted every other source of enquiry, and never ever before 30 days had passed. I’d never break ranks from this and I’d only work with a business that sees the bigger, long-term picture and supported my colleagues and I to do this.

I wouldn’t ever remotely consider buying a feature, premium, or fancy pants advertisement at up to a seemingly ridiculous $3,665.00 on a portal to get a listing found a bit higher up for a week or so. Trust me. The buyers will still find your property. Just like the major portals, I have conducted my own deep dive private research using my Mum, Brother, and my long lost Aunty Joan on this. They still found their neighbours’ homes for sale hidden on page 4 of realestate.com.au. and Domain amidst a sea of crammed, glittery, irrelevant, distracting, flashing advertising mayhem. First Prostate Exam

  • If I were a real estate agent in Australia in 2014 I wouldn’t stick my head in the sand and smugly say ‘it doesn’t matter what price the portals charge, I don’t pay for ads, My sellers pay for all their advertising’ ..  My friends, the day will soon come when even your sellers will too be tired of being anally probed and say ‘enough is enough ‘. Do your job and represent their interests in all parts of the transaction. That includes cost-effective marketing.
  • I’d very quickly get to understand how Facebook, Google and retargeted online advertising works and I’d adopt it into my my business’ and my clients’ products as part of my magnificent point of difference I referred to in Point 1.
  • If I was personally challenged and didn’t know how to effectively use the online world to professionally market property and myself then, just like a budding auctioneer gets an auction coach and just like a first grade football or cricket player gets a kicking, tackling or bowling coach, I’d get an online marketing coach, or I’d take me up on my free offer to Pick Peter’s Brain.

If I were a real estate agent in Australia in 2014, I’d certainly support a move for change, and I’d do it now…otherwise the industry you have today might not be yours in 2016.

But that’s just what I’d do.  You?  peter

You’d probably also enjoy this really short post on the importance of having a great digital twin. 

National Speakers Association

It was an honour to speak for the National Speakers Association this week.  Following are the slides from the event.  If you’d like more information please reach out to me at +61417630962 or here via my Contact Page.

Click here to view or download. National Speakers Association

Happy Interwebing to You!

That Peter Brewer

Peter is one of the few specialists who can think outside his generation