The Pond Report -- July 2013

Dear Valued Subscriber,

Careful what you wish for ... many markets are RED HOT right now and you're probably running just to keep up! Our special feature this month is a series of articles from our friend Bernice Ross about marketing to luxury buyers.

Whether you're planning a family vacay or a business trip, we include some good news about Wi-Fi on planes and fast airports. We also look at two significant demographics -- Baby Boomers/Seniors and Millennials -- and how targeting them can supercharge your real estate career.

Of course, we include our usual social media success tips, leadership lessons for brokers and managers, as well as apps (and some gadgets) you can't live without. Take a deep breath, you're gonna make it!

Susie Hale and Housing Trends eNewsletter

 10 Must-Learn Lessons on Marketing from Steve Jobs Print

HubSpot’s Dan Lyons cites Steve Jobs’ turnaround of Apple into one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world but says he didn’t even have a college degree. So what was his secret of success?

Former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki said of Jobs, “Steve was the greatest marketer ever.”

Click to learn 10 marketing lessons you can learn from Steve Jobs. P.S. As a bonus, click in the online article on the Jobs graphic and you’ll go to an article about 7 lessons from the world’s most captivating presenters (including Jobs).

 Make Social Media Work for You Print

      5 Tips to liven up your social profiles
From LinkedIn to Pinterest to Google+, you gotta keep up with the latest updates and keep your social media profiles current. Here are 5 tips from the SocialMedia Examiner.

      Pinning to Pinterest: 6 Essential rules
Real estate professionals are learning the benefits of using Pinterest for their business. However, pinning the wrong image or video is a waste of time. Learn the
6 characteristics of a persuasive pin.

      5 Facebook tips + 51 posts for agents
Can’t believe I missed this article from Breakthrough Broker! Here are amazingly effective ways to plan your Facebook success as well as
51 concrete suggestions for engaging Facebook posts.

      3 Course corrections for social media programs
Content-strategy expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson shares
how she turns around companies whose social media or content programs are on the wrong track.

      Best social-media management tools
It can be a hassle to coordinate your various social media accounts. Here’s a list of the
best tools to manage & schedule your online content.

      4 Steps to implementing a Facebook strategy
A Facebook strategy should be an integral part of your overall marketing plan. Here’s what you need to get started, as well as your
four steps to put that Facebook strategy in place.

      10 Essentials of social media etiquette
PR Daily is running a series of articles on etiquette for various social media platforms. Learn 10 how-to essentials for:

In addition, click for 17 e-mail tips to help you be more productive.

(Flickr photo by Webtreats)

 Marketing to the Luxury Buyer Print

In Houston, it’s the higher-end buyers driving the white-hot housing market. Wherever you sell, are you getting your share of that market segment?

Working with the luxury buyer – even more, the ultra-rich – requires a specialized skillset. Our friend Bernice Ross has written a series of articles for Inman News highlighting specific techniques for working with the luxury buyer.

In case you haven’t seen Ross’ articles, here they are:

New opportunities to specialize in luxury real estate, June 10

‘Millionaire next door’ a different breed of buyer, June 13

Be the go-to luxury pecialist in your market, June 17

Quality print marketing can be invaluable listing tool, June 20

‘Storytelling’ helps luxury buyers picture themselves in a home, June 24

Sell ‘em with Las Vegas-style marketing, June 27

5 ways to exceed your ultrawealthy sellers’ expectations, July 1

How to roll out the red carpet for high-end clients, July 3

 4 Things Every Team Needs Print

No matter how big or small your team or what its goal is, there are four things it needs to succeed. As a leader, it’s your job to help your group create and adhere to each of these:

  • A meaningful common purpose. Most teams are responding to a mandate. But to be successful, your team must “own” this purpose by developing its own spin on it.
  • Specific performance goals. Develop measurable goals to inspire your team and inject a sense of urgency. Shared goals require everyone to focus on their collective effort, rather than on differences in titles or status.
  • Commitment to how the work gets done. At the onset, agree on who will do what jobs, how you will establish and honor schedules, and how you will make and modify decisions.
  • Mutual accountability. You can’t force trust and commitment. By agreeing upon purpose and goals, your team members forge their accountability to one another — not just to the leader.

Source: adapted from the HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across

 The #1 Secret to Successful Selling Print

by Matt Drought, Sales Trainer

I’m on a major fitness kick at the moment, fueled by turning 40 next year. And what fitness kick is complete without going to buy an excessive amount of clothes and equipment?

This time around, it’s cycling. And it was Kathy, the salesperson from the bike shop, who inspired this week’s newsletter.

That’s because she understands the number one secret to successful selling – that if you pick up on the signs, customers will TELL you how to sell to them. This is a handy skill indeed in selling – a skill more natural for some, but absolutely trainable for everyone.

Without boring/revolting you with too many Lycra details, the shorts that cyclists wear have a padded bit (a chamois) that protects you from what is rather painfully known as “biker’s bottom.” Personally I’m very big on this chamois – it’s my “go to” feature ahead of everything else. I find that it’s more important than the quality of Lycra, length, even fit.

So Kathy noticed me, from afar, touching the chamois of several pairs of shorts. Which gave her all the information she needed. Within a few minutes, I was following her around the store, being introduced to the world of the bike-short chamois.

You might be thinking that there is nothing terribly clever about this – all Kathy did was pick up on something. But here’s the real genius: once Kathy uncovered my buying criterion, she didn’t deviate from it. She didn’t confuse the sale by talking about material quality, or brand, or country of origin, or even price. This is where so many sales people go wrong.

Here’s the thing: customers don’t buy for all the reasons you want them to (if only they behaved like that!). They buy for their own selfish, weird, egotistical or niche reason.

Notice that it’s “reason”, not “reasons”. Sometimes there seems to be more than one reason, and sometimes there seems to be no reason at all, but 95 percent of the time there is one big, bold and clear reason they are buying.

Selling is about finding out that one reason, and sticking with it – even if you find you are repeating yourself, or being over simplistic, or not given a chance to “strut your stuff” and prove how much you know.

The point is, the biggest secret to selling is actually in two parts: pick up on the signs and customers will TELL you how to sell to them, and when you find out, stay with that one reason with focus and determination. Try that one simple tip in the next few weeks and see how your sales change.

©2013 by Matt Drought via John Forde. Drought is the founder and director of Natural Training, which has trained more than 50,000 people in 18 different countries how to be better sales people. Drought’s first book is entitled "The Natural Sales Evolution." Click here for a few free chapters of the book.

 Ideas for Smart & Easy Travel Print

      America’s 10 fastest airports
If you’ve got a tight connecting time between flights, you better hope you’re going through one of these
fast, major airports. One of these is the #1 airport in the United States (pictured) – all have easy-navigating terminals, punctual flights, fast security checks and efficient transportation between terminals.

      In-flight gadget rules to be relaxed
Want to leave your Kindle or iPad on while the plane is taking off or landing? That reality is a lot closer,
according to the FAA.

      10 Ideas for packable travel décor
My husband and I recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel and Jordan, and we certainly looked for items to decorate our home. These
10 excellent tips for travel décor would have helped our selection!

      Which flights give most Wi-Fi value?
Routehappy, the fare-search Website, shows which flights and airlines are most likely to have Wi-Fi as well as in-seat power connections. The airlines with the most Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft are Delta, Southwest and US Airways – AirTran Airways and Virgin America have 100 percent of their flights Wi-Fi enabled.

      Younger travelers getting hotels’ attention
“Smart Thinking” and “Travel Brilliantly”
ad campaigns by Holiday Inn Express and Marriott Hotels & Resorts are rolling out via YouTube, Mashable, Buzzfeed and Jimmy Kimmel Live to target the Generation Y traveler.

      Buy these 10 healthy airport snacks
Burgers, fries and sodas are not the only ways to feed your hunger before or between flights at today’s airports. There are actually
10 healthy airport snacks to seek out and buy.

 Use Your Online Network to Test Ideas Print

Most managers today understand the importance of reaching out to colleagues through LinkedIn, following and being followed on Twitter, and actively participating in corporate social media initiatives – but fewer know how to effectively use these networks.

One way is to gather information by testing proposals and strategies, inside and outside your organization. Float an idea and see how many “likes” or retweets it gets. Or direct certain groups of people to an online survey. The feedback might help you persuade a reluctant boss or client to come around to your point of view.

Source: adapted from the HBR Guide to Networking

 Leadership Inspiration for Brokers & Managers Print

      Essential traits of a good leader
JPMorgan Chase Chairman/CEO Jamie Dimon has raised eyebrows with his candid responses to some of his company’s missteps. He’s forthright in this thoughtful and constructive
article about how to be an excellent leader.

      Move past your place of comfort
I see it again and again – leaders who continue to use methods that have served them in the past but now need to be retired. Are you still managing day-to-day? Controlling others with fear? Not speaking up?
Learn how to intentionally take your leadership to a new level.

      5 Tips for successful sales leadership
It takes great managers to lead high-performing salespersons to do their best. Here are
5 crucial attributes for sales managers who want to improve their leadership skills.

      Baby Boomers + Millennials = great teams
“Encore” careers for Boomers plus the huge Millennial demographic means
these two dissimilar groups may be working side-by-side in your office. That team might actually be a “match made in heaven”!

      10 Ways social media teaches how to lead
Take lessons from what bloggers say and
apply them to how you can lead.

      5 Secrets to attracting excellent sales reps
While this article talks about “employees,” these
5 secrets will also work to attract top real estate agents. For instance, are you using LinkedIn to its best advantage to attract new agents?

 Demonstrate Competence Print

by Dianna Booher

When gamblers go to the racetrack, they consider the horses’ prior performance when placing their bets. When investors buy stocks, they look at the past performance of the mutual fund or the corporation. When voters go to the polls, they consider the voting record of the candidate before casting their ballot for or against. Yes, hunches and name recognition play a part in all these situations.

But over the long haul, performance profoundly affects our decisions about whom we believe. The same is true in leading, learning, or loving: credibility counts.

So, yes, demonstrate competence. People flock to experts, star performers, wise decision makers, and winners. People don’t intentionally invest their money in poorly performing stocks; neither do they want to invest their trust in people they doubt can achieve what they claim.

To be led, either by words or actions, followers need to have faith in your competence to perform. They want to know you can win the game. They want to know you can finish the project successfully. They want to know you can turn the company around.

So how do leaders inspire confidence in their abilities while seeming modest and likable as people?

They acknowledge their accomplishments as leaders, but avoid arrogance. Difficult, but not impossible. How? The attitude behind the talk turns the tables. Attitude marks the sweet spot between a competent rogue and a credible leader.

You have permission to reprint this marketing tip in your publications. Please include the following Resource Box:
©2012, Dianna Booher. All rights reserved.

 Congrats to REAL Trends/WSJ Top Thousand! Print

REAL Trends and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) have teamed up to publish the “Top Thousand,” a national ranking featured in the June 28 WSJ special advertising section. The “Top Thousand” honors the top 1,000 residential agents and agent teams in four categories:

  • Individual agent – sales volume
  • Individual agent – transaction sides
  • Agent team – sales volume
  • Agent team – transaction sides

“These leading real estate sales professionals averaged over 140 closed transactions and over $50 million in closed sales volume,” said Steve Murray, publisher of REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal Top Thousand. “Given the national averages are less than 10 closed transactions and less than $1.2 million in closed volume, these results speak to the extraordinary success of The Thousand.”

Congratulations to those hardworking agents and brokers on the list!

 Essential E-News Print

      Photograph home interiors like a pro
With nearly all homebuyers shopping listings online, having great MLS and other Website photos is now essential. Yet we still see the dark photos & raised toilet seats (a pet peeve)! Your listings may not be as gorgeous as these, but you can still
learn from the pros how to take attractive interior photos.

      3 Stealth ways to network at conferences
Hate attending conferences? Keep something beyond the long-winded keynote address: the relationships you can make. Here, author Chester Elton tells
3 ways to network and succeed at conferences.

      Majority of Americans own a smartphone
The Pew Research Center reports that 55 percent –
a majority of Americans – now own a smartphone of some kind. And why is that important? Well, e-mail volume is up 11 percent but most e-mail opens are now via a mobile device. Are your e-mails mobile-friendly?

      4 Tips to improve your video content
More than 85 percent of Internet users watch online videos and are more likely to click for more information on a product after watching a video. Real estate is an ideal product for video and here are
4 ways you can improve how you use this marketing tool.

      New sales opportunity in same-sex marriage states
Tax expert and attorney Stephen Fishman explains the post-DOMA world of tax breaks for same-sex spouses in states recognizing same-sex marriage. Real estate pros have a new market for home sales as the mortgage interest deduction – the largest benefit of homeownership –
will now not have to be split for those couples. The home-sale exclusion and estate taxes are also affected for same-sex couples.

      7-Point game plan for brand reputation management
Once called “PR” or “word-of-mouth marketing,” brand reputation management (BRM) is about actively managing the references, conversations and feedback about your business – online and off. Click for the
7 items key to addressing BRM.

      20 Clever home-office organizing tips
These tips will work wonders in a home office as well as an office located within a brokerage. Learn Real Simple’s
20 products and strategies for decluttering and organizing your space.

 The 2-Headed Housing Market: Seniors & Millennials Print

by CJ Yeoman, writer/editor

A microcosm of today’s housing market is alive on my street. On the corner is the empty house where a 90-year-old widower once lived. Ironically, he fell and broke his leg while making repairs on one of his rent homes – ironic because his now-empty home has been neglected on the outside and is sadly out of date on the inside. He is now in assisted living and his son will be renovating and selling the home.

Next door, the former owner – a real estate agent – updated and staged his house to the max before selling it at a premium. It is now home to a professional couple in their late 20s and their two dogs.

Which demographic do you have a passion to serve?

Providing information about real estate issues, The KCM Blog has posted recent articles about both niche specialties.

      Targeting the senior population

As REALTORS® are averaging 57 years of age, they are already in the position of assisting their own aging parents, says guest blogger John Downey in the post, Senior Housing: A Call to Action! This allows them “instant insight and credibility,” says Downey, who also mentions the characteristics of honesty and patience that must be part of the skillset to serve this niche market.

We interviewed Cerretha Rose and Heather Kight awhile back about their Austin 55 Realty Team, where they help Baby Boomers and their aging parents with housing, downsizing and other issues. They are an excellent example of the real estate professionals needed to provide an “expert network of services” – which according to blogger Downey is necessary to deal with the senior demographic.

      Millennials are a new generation – a new market too

While my adorable next-door neighbors have bought a home for their future family, my 20-something daughter is in an apartment, paying back student loans and working hard at her first really good job (at a title company).

Like many Millennials, she too would like to buy a home someday. KCM guest blogger Justin Decesare – a Millennial real estate broker in La Jolla, Calif. – tells agents that young buyers will turn into families, investors and heads of corporations.

“The market is back and with it a new wave of purchasers”; don’t pass over young homebuyers, he says.

Decesare says that with Millennials, the ability to communicate is crucial. But there are three details to keep in mind when working with them: speed, information and the medium you use (as in texting and e-mail versus meetings and phone calls).

      How will you structure your real estate practice?

The linked articles include statistics on the size and significance of the Baby Boomer/senior and the Millennial generations. In addition, the National Association of REALTORS® just published its 2013 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends.

Check out the highlights below the graphic and then take time to read and digest the report. One highlight from the study: Millennials are more confident than any other age group that their recent home purchase was a good financial investment.

As you plan for your real estate practice to thrive into the future, making changes to serve one of those niche markets may be key to your success.

 Awesome Tools, Apps & Websites to Share Print

Bring home maintenance online: Brightnest

Homeownership just went online with Brightnest, a digital dashboard that helps you keep up with your home. Click to learn about this fabulous tool and then SHARE it with your sellers and buyers!

10 Apps you need for your work day

Mashable shares 10 essential apps to boost your workday productivity.

Open Home Pro for iPad:

Linda at The Tech Byte says the iPad app, Open Home Pro, was originally a very simple app for open house visitors to sign in via your iPad. Now, she says, it has a “ton more bells and whistles,” including the ability to add new listings online quickly.

10 Alternatives to PowerPoint + more

Has PowerPoint® lost its appeal for you? Here are 10 presentation tools to make online conversion easy and add other features you may not have thought of. Be sure to read comments for additional tools to consider.

Keep your Android up-to-date:

Two versions of Drippler can keep your Android device humming: the main app has operating system updates and releases. You can also get the one aimed to your specific device, such as the Drippler Samsung Galaxy S III app.

iPad User Guide to download

If you have a new iPad Mini or iPad, you’ll find this complete owner’s manual a priceless addition to your e-resources.

 Tech Tips, Apps & More from Kim Komando Print

I love Kim Komando – her technology tips and device, app and Website recommendations are always spot-on. Here are several recent updates to benefit your productivity:

7 ways to ditch old tech gadgets – upcycle, freecycle and recycle your unwanted smartphones, tablets and computers

10 surprising uses for a tablet – Komando will help you pick a new tablet and also has special ideas to take advantage of an old one

A money-saving new auction siteGoodwill has made your treasure hunting easier with an auction site where you can bid on its donated items from around the country

10 ways to cut bills & save big bucks – all of Kim’s advice on saving money in one easy-to-read location

11 things you need in case of a disaster (click to get links for infographic below) – 6 items and 5 apps to be prepared for an emergency


Hugs, The Frog

Susie Hale, President
Frog Pond
FrogPond Publisher
800.704.FROG (3764)

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