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

 

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

The most dangerous words you’ll hear in any business

In my business, I get the honour of being invited into businesses of many sizes right across Australia, New Zealand and the Unites States, and there’s one common series of words I hear that I consider are the most dangerous you’ll ever hear in any business.

In the video snippet below, I share my thoughts, including problems I see with the typical real estate transaction today. And I share the words I guarantee will cripple any business that constantly utters them.

Video courtesy of Professionals Real Estate Group

This video snippet is from a 3 hour workshop conducted by Peter where he challenges the real estate salespeople and business owners to change many of its lazy behaviours before its too late.

If you’d like Peter to speak at your office meeting, training workshop, or company conference you’ll find his range of fees, services, and booking information here. 

Virgin Real Estate in Australia and New Zealand?

Virgin Real Estate Page 1 Virgin Real Estate Page 2 PVirgin Real Estate Page 3

(This is a parody Media Release issued without the consent or Knowledge of Virgin Media)

If the above media release was found to be true (which it’s not) what would your reaction be if you were a real estate agent in Australia or New Zealand?…

Is it time for Australian and Kiwi Real Estate Agents to lift their standards?

Is that industry ripe for disintermediation similar to Uber and Taxis and Airbnb and the Hotels and accommodation industries?

Leave your comments below.

Alpha Mail Book Launch Carl Quested

 

I was delighted to assist Guy Leech and Tom Panos at the launch of Carl Quested’s latest book, Alpha Mail. Here are my slides from the event.  I hope they make sense.  Please contact me if you’d like clarity on the slides or if you’d like to discuss my March/April special ‘In Office sales meeting/workshop rate’ to speak to your team, business owner or franchise group.

Which real estate brand really brings in the most business?..

I’ve previously written about the purported value and drawing power of various franchise and independent brands. I’ve also refereed my fair share of arguments about which brand gives ‘the right advice’, ‘who does it better’, which brand is ‘bigger, bolder faster’,and who the ‘real people in real estate’ really are.  I’ve heard grown men seriously squabble in marketing meetings about whether the colour in a particular logo is really ‘Baby Poo Yellow or Vomit Green’.  I’ve even called ‘time out’ in one meeting over a very heated argument between 2 ‘mature’ CEO’s on whether the font size on the back of a brochure should be 12 0r 14 point.  Heck, I even devoted 2 years of my life in the early 2000’s to the total re-branding of one of Australia and NZ’s largest real estate brands of the time.

I reckon I’ve earned my stripes to talk on this subject.

And I’ll kick it off controversially by saying a majority of the brand enthusiasts I meet and hear from are talking crap.  Unadulterated crap.

Now.. before you run off to the keyboard to type abuse at me or to your phone to yell at me about how your companies logo is the absolute best in the world just let me say this..

All of your logos are really pretty..(‘ish).. and just like your National flag some of you have assembled army’s who would fight to protect it to the bitter end.

(By the way. if you’ve got people like that in your brand, bottle whatever it is that they’re drinking and lace your offices water bubbler with it so the rest of your team get a taste of it too. They have passion. I love passion) Kool Aid

Hang on..  I haven’t finished yet..

I believe many of you are asking your customers to buy into a brand that not even your staff haven’t bought into..

OK. Where is this rant going?..

My Mate and social media Mentor Jeff Turner is famous for his words and belief that your values are your true brand.  He’s written about it and spoken about it across the world in brilliant posts that I can only dream at having the skill to author.

Let me share my perspective in ‘Pete Speak’..

You see, I reckon I can put the best logo from the most successful and attractive company from any business field in the world above my door and I’ll guarantee I’ll have people talk about their dealings with that brand as being absolute crap. Be honest, It happens in almost every brand, every day.

The inconsistency of brand experience across the country, and even across the same office seems rampant..  Why is that so?.. ..

Maybe my own ‘re-brand’ experiences can shed some light ?..

Back in the early 2000’s along with an impressive design and marketing team I worked tirelessly to create, road test and launch a new logo, a new style guide, a new website, an exciting new colour scheme and a fancy pants new bi-line and a brand direction to revolutionise a major real estate marketing brand.  Over that 2 years I worked with focus groups, stylists, designers on two continents, marketing experts, print media specialists, online media specialists, every conceivable stakeholder you can think had some input as well as the Boards of Directors of the subject company, from 2 different countries.

Finally after 2 incredibly stressful years we had the project nailed… Except for one ‘small’ final task…

We had to align the culture and values of the people currently representing that massively overhauled brand in over 400 stores across two countries, as well as those who were soon to join the company based on its optimistic future recruitment plan. We needed a strategy, communication and training plan to help our people in the trenches to clearly understand what we were about, what our values and vision were, what we envisaged the end consumer experience to be, beyond the logo, when face to face with our soldiers in the field.

Were we successful?..  Absolutely Yes and Absolutely No.

What were the Yes’s.?..

Across the brand in Australia and NZ we had some stores who absolutely embraced the new and restated values of the brand. We had training and development launches. We had internal training and marketing videos created. TV and radio ads commenced running Nationally. We rolled out hundreds of shop front changes across OZ and NZ over 2 massive weekends. We left no stone unturned and an air of optimism flowed through the veins of the brand.  Life was good.

A majority of those 400 businesses and teams grew stronger market share and presence on launch. They grew stronger internal cultures. Many took the opportunity totally refresh the brand experience and the way they ran their businesses.  It was a rebirth for those businesses.

What were the No’s ?…

We saw some disengaged business owners who simply treated the hundreds of thousands of dollars, thousands of man hours, and new colour scheme as just putting lipstick on a their existing pigs. They opted to not ‘sign up’ for the new vision and values. They sheltered their teams from the journey, they made no effort to adjust their old broken business model and they gained nothing from the revitalised branding experience other than a pretty new colour scheme on their shopfront.

Jeff Turner was right in his observations..  ‘Your Values are your true brand’..

So, for some in that brand it was all sorts of awesome and for others they’d have had more fun and value if they’d stapled their neck ties to a fast moving train.  Their values were their true brand.

And so it begs the questions of every business owner today.. brand values

  • Are you engaged and aligned with the values of your brand?
  • Are your people engaged and aligned with the values of your brand?

As my colleague John Knight says, ‘Is everyone on the bus facing the front in your business?’

Are they part of your TEAM or are they just putting lipstick on their own pig?

Jeff Turner and his Mentor Bill Leider share this definition of brand in their book Brand Delusions. “Your brand is a commonly held set of beliefs about who you are and what you deliver.”

is there a commonly held set of beliefs in your business about who you are and what you deliver?..  

I was invited to do some training for a big name real estate brand last year.  The Principal told me that he’d made it compulsory for everyone to attend my session which he described as critical to the values and direction of his business into and beyond 2015.

Exciting stuff I thought..  I prepared notes and handouts for his 165 staff.  Imagine my fascination when 30 people turned up..

30. Thirty. THREE ZERO.    Of 165, Only 30 turned up…

Now I’m an old fashioned kinda guy..    So I quizzed the Principal a bit further..

‘Wasn’t this a compulsory session for everyone to attend?…    I mean I’d accept that maybe 5% of them might have been stricken last minute with the flu, or by a dodgy vindaloo, or even Capital city traffic..  but 135 absentees!

I was fascinated in the Principals response..  ‘Well Peter, they’re mostly Contractors here.  They really do what they want.  They’re just hanging their licences on my wall’….. I don’t really have any control over what they do’…   ‘I can’t make them come..’

WOW.. What message is that business owner sending to the 30 who did turn up ?..

I was gobsmacked..  It made me think a little more..

  • How many of us believe we have no control (or responsibility) over what our ‘teams’ do?.. Oranges
  • What are your true values?.. Your own personal values?..
  • What is acceptable behaviour from the people representing your brand? ..
  • How much of a doormat are you prepared to be as the business owner?..
  • Are you in control of the marketing message and quality of content that comes from your business?..
  • Do you have total control over the communication and relationship building messages to consumers from everyone in your business?..

You see, I see salespeople come and go from businesses like its a revolving door..  But the single constant I see in most businesses is You..

Your business. Your values. Your brand..  Your balls on the line… But who’s really in charge?..

Without a team that eats sleeps and breaths your businesses core values I reckon you’re not running a values based and driven real estate business brand, you’re just running a serviced office suite…  And that’s perfectly ok!..   But I don’t believe you can successfully run both together..

So, who gives The Right Advice?  Is anyone really doing it better? Is there really a Faster, Bolder Smarter Agent?, Which brand is Above the Crowd?  and who really are the Real People in Real Estate?

I’d love to hear from you…

(Peter Brewer is a real estate coach working with real estate agents in Australia, New Zealand and North America. He specialises in assisting real estate agents and agencies to combine the very best of old world real estate with the tools and consumer behaviours of the new world.  He loves working with companies who want to identify and create good values)  He can be contacted using the form below.

You Can’t Code a Customer..

The Inman Connect conferences I attend each 6 months in NYC in January and San Fran in July/August never disappoint.

Yet again, I’ve jetted back to Australia after the 2015 NYC event with some wonderful new ideas to share with my Aussie and Kiwi Clients, as well as compounding some long-held beliefs around there being a genuine need to re-balance some of our industry’s unhealthy addiction to all things tech.

Let me explain a little further. As well as getting to see some amazing speakers on stage, there were also some great opportunities to meet and converse with some awesome real estate and tech people from across the globe to discuss the next big thing or the challenges they’re facing in their businesses.

I love these conversations. But one conversation this year reinforced to me that sometimes reality gets lost when we get too techy in life and forget the really important stuff.

Let me explain:

I sat at dinner one evening with a pretty sharp real estate business leader. We enjoyed the usual social chit chat and I asked him what his Number 1 goal was from attending this year’s event. He shared with me that his Inman NYC goal was to find some software to help him measure what was happening with the 1000 – 2000 leads that come through his business via paid lead sources each month.

I had to check that I wasn’t hearing him wrong.

Again, he confirmed that his business was paying to receive 1000-2000 leads each month and these were equitably shared with his sales team to manage and hopefully convert into business for his company. In my world, that’s a LOT of leads! (and Yes, I hate that word too).

He affirmed that he was looking for software to measure what happened to the 90% of those leads that fell off the perch each month.

Yep, you read that right…

90% of the leads his business pays for fall off the perch and or don’t get communicated with beyond the first autoresponder.

Now, call me old-fashioned. But I reckon that some fancy software package isn’t what this business owner needs. I think he and his teams have lost their way to being ‘Hi-tech’ instead of ‘Hi-touch’.

In my world, I reckon this business needs to stop losing the massive amount of leads they already have, they need to stop paying to buy a further 1,000 – 2,000 new leads next month, they need to put some serious accountability on their teams and they need to actually have someone pick up the damn phone and talk with these ‘leads’.

You see, I think that too many people in our businesses only want the quick fix these days. Burn

We’ve entered an era of salespeople who in some cases are demanding that the business provide them a steady stream of cashed-up buyers ready to sign a contract today AND 60% of the commission.

Well it isn’t that easy, folks.

We need to nurture relationships, build trust, show that we care, and ultimately earn the business. The net result of actually doing those hard yards is, ultimately, a steady stream of raving fans that will make you their ‘Agent For Life.’

Let’s stop this craziness of buying more ‘leads’ to ultimately let them down with poor service and poor communication when we already have a plethora of business opportunities in front of us waiting to be loved.

There’s only so much automation and tech we can install in our businesses. Ultimately, someone actually has to pick up the phone and have a conversation.

Now, don’t get me started on the whole ‘I’m too busy’ and ‘They’re not really serious buyers’ responses. That’s crap.

If a little old travel agent in Brisbane, Australia can pick up the phone to ring a prospective client to try and sell them a bus or plane ticket that might generate them an average commission of $19.00, then I’m sure our industry can find a much better way to connect with our prospective clients when a potential commission of $10,000 or significantly more is on the table. We just need to think and act differently.

Is your team picking up the phone? Are they valuing your investments in driving business opportunities? Or do you have team members burning your business’ credibility with potential customers by not responding to every enquiry appropriately?

Are you ‘hi-tech’ or ‘hi-touch’ in your business? Is there room for both?.. Let me know your thoughts..

(Peter Brewer is a real estate coach working with real estate agents in Australia, New Zealand and North America. He specialises in assisting real estate agents and agencies to combine the very best of old world real estate with the tools and consumer behaviours of the new world.  He doesn’t like being called a lead)  But he can be contacted using the form below.

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


 

Real Estate Apps Presentation for REINSW

I enjoyed researching and demonstrating what i considered to be amongst the top 20 Apps for Real Estate Agents at the REINSW Conference in 2014. Here’s the sessions slides.  Send me a note if you need more clarity on any of these.


 

That Peter Brewer

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