Most of my readers know I am a huge fan of Southwest Airlines and their No-Fee-Zone campaign is just one in a long list of reasons why. I ran across this video from ABC News that does a good job at explaining how much airline tickets really cost these days on the traditional airlines, and for my readers who don't travel as much as I do, I thought it might be a good piece for you to watch as you make your holiday travel plans.
So it turns out that most airlines were smart enough not to piss off their best customers - if you are considered an "elite" frequent flyer you are insulated from some of the fees. On Southwest, as an "A-Lister" not only are there no fees but you get even better treatment. If I had my way I'd convince all of you to dump the others and just fly Southwest with me but as I watched the video I had another thought: Look at how these add on fees make the consumer feel!
When the real estate markets were very good around the country, there was a lot of talk about a-la-carte real estate service pricing but have you noticed that it hasn't really caught on? Maybe we can learn a lesson from Southwest who instead of adding fees, will slowly raise the price of their fares when they have to. I think initially, the idea of paying for only the real estate services you use is attractive to the consumer, but ultimately, the industry will have to survive and just like the airlines, a-la-carte pricing could run the risk of being viewed as nickle-and-diming.
What's your take?
Or at least you need to know what you are doing. Several times last week I had conversations with Realtors about short sales. Most understood their value in certain situations and market conditions but almost everyone expressed a certain level of disdain for the whole process. Thinking back on the few that I worked on when I was selling homes, I can understand why an agent would shy away.
Yet, I do know of Realtors who are thriving working the short-sale market. It's a niche that comes and goes with market cycles and whether you'd like to learn how to work the niche or would just like a trusted source to refer that business to and collect your referral fee, you should check out my friend/Floyd graduate Brandi Mahon's blog. She is successfully completing short-sales every month and is teaching other Realtors how to do the same.
She works the Austin central Texas area. Who do you know in your market that is a short-sale expert? Leave a comment with a link to their site or blog and city so we can get everyone connected.
*Brandi is pictured in the middle with her team. Charlies' Angels or Short Sale Angels? You decide...if they help the seller in distress I'm sure they're thought of as simply "angels".
UPDATE: After Brandi saw this post, she sent me some more details that should prove useful to lots of readers here. "Just FYI, our team does the back end short sale transactions if you know of any agents in other parts of the country that wants to keep their short sale listings but doesn't want to deal with the bank. They keep the listing and we negioate with the bank on their behalf. We work off a referral
fee so we don't get paid unless the deal closes."
Yesterday I wrote about using news stories as ideas for blog posts and today, I ran into another. Whatever is going on in your market, reading about the sort-of rich and the super-rich is irresistible to many (guess that's why Britney sells so many magazines for People). So here is a great article from Vanity Fair that I thought just might spark an idea or a thought for your own blog. What parallels can you draw between your own market and the Hamptons?
As I type this, I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport and specifically I'm thinking of my students here - hello Prudential AZ! Sometimes there's comfort in knowing you're not alone.
As I traveled last week a second story in USA Today got my attention. I don't read a lot of news but basically the headline was "Online real estate company Redfin wants to do to real estate what Amazon did to books."
So I read the story but came away thinking, really? What's new here? The trigger for the article was the NAR settlement which we all knew was coming so it was low hanging fruit for the news editors. But at it's core, it is just a company that is rebating commissions to it's customers, a practice that's been done for decades by somebody in every market.
Most of my readers call themselves traditional Realtors so here's my message to you: This is no different than any other commission objection you've heard so treat it the same way. And realize that whoever the Realtor is and whatever their fee, nothing will replace the need to build strong, basic salesmanship skills. It's your craft so you should always work on it. In the end, consumers will use who they've built a trust relationship with and in the absence of that will shop on price alone.
All the more reason to pay attention to my more recent and upcoming posts. (God what a shameless plug that was!)
Holy Cow! How long have I been in the real estate industry and I've never heard of this? Well, in case you haven't, check out the video. For fellow bloggers out there and folks who do email marketing to their Books of Business, spreading this kind of information to your past clients is a great way to stay in touch. Just like a postcard, if you send this to them in email form, don't forget to follow up with a call and ask for referrals. ;) Thanks to my friend and graduate Jan Houck in Orlando.
At least once per program I teach, I'll hear a testimonial that goes something like: "I recommend this program to everyone...except my competition". And I really can't think of a better complement. It means that the student and company has been touched by Floyd's material. Two years ago, one of my clients from Coldwell Banker Pacesetter Steel in Corpus Christi gave me a paragraph to read and a couple of conversations today have lead me to finally publish it. Why should you recommend us to your competition? Click on continue reading...
When I was a Realtor, I was an entrepreneur. As a speaker and trainer for Floyd, I'm an entrepreneur. And all of my broker/owner clients and students are entrepreneurs. That usually means we are constantly thinking about our own brand in the marketplace, yet strikingly few clearly communicate it to the world.
I tripped upon Real You Incorporated, 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and if I'm being completely honest, bought it because I thought: "One day I would like to work with Kaira and some of her franchises. I should probably read her book!" I don't think I would have read a "women's book" if there wasn't some bit of self interest there (sorry Kaira!).
But between the book and it's website, I feel like I learned even more about how to communicate my own brand and amazingly feel like I've already met the author though I haven't yet. The book takes you on a journey that helps you identify and connect with your personal and company brands by guiding you to fill out your Real You Incorporated Chart. It's a fun, informative read...and it's for guys too! Here's my chart and a link to the book.
When I was a new real estate agent, the market was pretty good in Austin, TX. In fact it was well on it's way out of a big slump and I would hear veteran agents say that you can make more money in a down market than a good one. I really thought they were crazy but much later on, I learned that lesson first hand. You see, when times are good in real estate the ranks swell and everyone wants to be a Realtor. According to Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty, agent population is driven by the amount of commission dollars available in a given market. He based this initially on a study he did of the Austin, TX market years ago.
But interestingly, when the market turns south, agents hang on longer than most expect them too. Who know why this happens. Maybe it's a financially supportive spouse, false hope, a second job, a savings account, or just that they've learned to live on much less. But eventually, they will leave and get the "real job". You can see this happening now - NAR lost a lot of members last year. The good news is that when the markets recover and the total commission pie begins to grow again, it takes people a while to catch on and those that stayed in the business all along can really clean up before agents start to flood back in. Ah, so that's what they meant when they said you could make more in a down market. What they really meant is you can make a ton IF you make it through the down market. I came into the industry after those veteran agents had a few years of big big earnings and was in fact sucking off some of the available commission dollars (although, not until someone exposed me to Floyd Wickman's training!). It's because I had the skills to carry me through the next down market that I got the opportunity to experience for myself what those agents told me in the beginning.
Right now there is a huge opportunity for Realtors to reinvent themselves so that when the market recovers, they are well positioned. I though Seth Godin's recent post was a great place to start your wheels turning. So are you going to quit so others can take all the commissions? Or will you commit to become the expert in your town? Will you continue to master your craft, the art of salesmanship?
When I travel, the fact that I'm from Texas always seems to stick first, which is fine with me. I'm not sure I've met any group of citizens so proud of their
country state as Texans are. Then, an interesting thing happens: that I live in Austin inspires comments like "Oh wow, I love Austin" or "Lucky you, I've heard so many great things about Austin".
Yep, I'm a proud Austinite that's for sure. And many of you who haven't been here in a while might be a little surprised by our growth. Click to see our coming SKYLINE.
Want to visit? Click here first.