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Intro to Social Proof for Real Estate Agents

What is social proof? The essence of social proof is simple: “If a bunch of other people like it, maybe I will too.” It’s peer pressure in positive form. When McDonalds tells you that they’ve served over a billion hamburgers, or a YouTube video boasts thirty million views, they’re offering social proof. How social proof Continue Reading

The books I read last year

When I was younger, I remember being amazed at people who claimed they “didn’t have time to read”. Making time for reading was the easiest thing in the world! Pre-baby, I read an average of two and a half books a week. Post-baby — not so much.

Austin Kleon’s “How to read more” is a great reminder of how to make time for books again. My tips look a little different from his (visit the library often and keep a separate ebook going on the iPad so I can read at the gym feature prominently), but I’ve kept a reading log for years and I think his idea of sharing your favorite books with others is a great one. So, without further ado, the books I read in 2014:

Marketing Lessons from the Shark Tank: Get your story straight

Thanks to my new Hulu subscription, I’ve got thousands of hours of TV shows at my disposal whenever I want them. With all those options, I’ve found myself hooked on one show: Shark Tank. The premise is probably familiar to you: entrepreneurs go before a panel of “Sharks” (read: venture capitalists) to try to convince them to fund the entrepreneurs’ fledgling businesses.

I’m hardly the first to pull marketing lessons from the show, but it truly is a fascinating look at how businesses start and grow. Aside from the fact that every entrepreneur needs to read Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start before going on the show, I’ve noticed a common thread among people that don’t do well with the Sharks: they don’t seem to have gotten any outside perspective on their business idea.

So many fledgling business owners are savaged by the sharks when they go on the show because it’s the first time they’re telling their story, and they are under the mistaken impression that they’re in control of the message.

They almost certainly think they’ve told their story before. Indeed, most of the show’s entrepreneurs have the patter down, have little quips and anecdotes they’ve woven into the theme of How Their Business Came to Be. But to truly tell your business’s story, you have to have a conversation – not perform a monologue. You need to understand what your audience cares about, why they came to you, what they want to get out of the interaction.

Most people quite naturally start out with a new business by discussing the concept with family and friends. But telling your story to family and friends gives you the illusion that you’re in control of your message. They won’t ask you the hard questions, and they’ll always take whatever you say in the best possible way. After all, they already know that everything you do is just great. They love you and want you to be happy and to succeed.

Too many companies approach their marketing materials as though they were still speaking to an audience composed of their friends and family. They recite their polished story, complete with smiles and self-deprecating jokes for a softer touch. What they don’t do is think about the questions a skeptical audience might bring to the table.

In the real world, when prospective customers encounter your story for the first time, they’ll be skeptical. They’ll have questions. They’ll have baggage from businesses like yours that they have encountered before, from the bad apples in your industry, from all their experiences, good and bad. If you don’t begin to counter those objections even before they raise them, your prospects will simply walk away.

You see it all the time in the Shark Tank. The entrepreneur contestants have never even considered that someone might not love their breakthrough product. When the sharks start asking the hard questions, they sputter and cough and try to evade the issue. And what happens, every time? The sharks walk away from the deal. Even a good business can be capsized by a bad story, when the business owner forgets that the story is not the thing.

A dime a dozen: Why implementation matters more than a great idea

Is there a million-dollar idea rattling around in your head? Most people have one – or at least think they do. But for some reason, most people aren’t actually millionaires.

I keep a file on my computer of blog post ideas. Whenever I run across something inspirational, or a post idea pops into my head out of the blue, I add it to the file. There are 20 ideas on there right now, enough for 10 months of blog posts. That’s a really valuable resource – but only if I actually write the posts.

Ideas are great. They invigorate you, give you something to think about, keep you excited about your life and work. Unfortunately, they can also be a way to prevent you from accomplishing real tasks. For some people, the thrill of coming up with an idea is so much more fun than the tedium of carrying it out that they spend all their time thinking and never get around to producing. For others, it’s the overabundance of great ideas that stops them. How do they pick the best one to start working on?

A focus on ideas at the expense of action is crippling for businesses. Your marketing department probably has a to-do list of projects as long as your arm. If you’re a small business owner, that goes double. But the sure-fire marketing plan that never sees the light of day because it’s not quite perfect yet – or you just don’t have the time to implement it – will never bring you a new customer.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. If you want to see your business grow, it’s time to put down the thinking cap and start taking action. Make a commitment to yourself to get one marketing task done this week. Whether you do it yourself, assign it to an employee, or hire a professional writer to get the job done, getting the ball rolling is the key to getting more clients.

Welcome to the world!

In lieu of a real post today, I’d like to share the results of a project I’ve been working on for a while – his name is Ian James and I’ve got to say, he’s pretty amazing. I don’t want to brag too much, but it seems that in addition to creating great copy, I make pretty nifty human beings, too.