Freedom of Speech can Co$t You

It’s nice that we enjoy “Freedom of Speech”, but we are still responsible for our speech, and lawsuits are a reality when an individual must protect him/herself from abusive or inflammatory allegations. 

Read a definition of Defamation:

  • Defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm.
  • Slander involves the making of defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral (spoken) representation.
  • Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a fixed or medium, such as a newspaper or blog post.

So, if you make derogatory statements that result in damage to someone’s reputation or subject them to contempt or ridicule, you could be exposed.

But, what about transparency?

That’s a big buzz word.  That and authenticity.  Yes, we have a right to our opinions and we now can express them to zillions with a couple key strokes.  But, is writing or commenting around one’s character and professional capabilities being transparent & authentic, or is its intent to derail?  

Social media doesn’t eliminate the responsibility we have to mind our words.


The Impact of the Highly Improbable

It seems it’s in our nature to explain things, even though they are many times unexplainable.  It’s almost as though our minds our minds are machines that must create explanations to make sense of everything.

Blind to the random?

If we see or experience something every day, we believe it to be “the truth” or “the way”.   Take for example the years of a run up on real estate.  It was thought “that’s the way it “is”.  The dangerous thing of being blind to the impact of the random or unexpected is they typically result in debilitating shock.

Other examples include the attacks on the WTC or the farm animal that is nurtured and fed its entire life only to learn one (final) day it’s being raised as food.

All you need is one

Since the random event often yields a devastating aftermath, it becomes clear that the things we don’t know are more important than what we do know.  So, we look to authority figures to provide explanations so we can begin to “solve” and therefore potentially prevent such random occurrences for occurring again.


Nurturing Creativity – Elizabeth Gilbert at TED – AWESOME

Another Niche To Consider Marketing To – Mothers

Last year I wrote a post on marketing to women as a niche buyer.  To further target this buyer, try appealing to mothers.

Compelling stats

There are 75 million mothers in the U.S.  According to the Marketing to Moms Coalition this group is responsible for $2.1 Trillion in spending. 

  • 5 million moms own their own businesses
  • 88% of mothers refer to themselves as household CFO
  • 40% of boomer moms are involved in purchases for their aging parents

We know some things about this group.  According to Neilsen’s Moms Annual Media Survey these busy ladies’ most common online activity is paying bills, reading the news, researching products and shopping.   Check out this November 2009 survey for more details.

Also compelling is the marketing upside.  58% of moms surveyed believe ads that target moms are effective, particularly when they are relatable depicting daily life scenarios such as having fun with the kids, or multitasking.   


If You Are So Great, Why Hasn’t Anyone Heard of You?

Are you sacrificing trust for a following?

I’ve noticed a shift in my perception of folks on Twitter, FaceBook and other SM sites.  I no longer consider follower count as a measure of credibility.   A couple years ago I did. 

It’s just too easy now to trick systems, especially on Twitter where several services exist simply to boost followers. 

I can’t really go by blogs, either.  Comments can be crafted and are filtered – much like LinkedIn recommendations, about which I wrote last week.  Therefore, I don’t put too much merit on blog comments, particularly if they are too flowery. 

Lately I’m left wondering if my new follower is simply “collecting” me to boost his/her numbers to build some sort of façade that will help him/her with the bottom line.  

Trust isn’t automatic

Let’s face it, we’re all cynics.  We don’t just automatically trust everything we see/read, even on a SM site.  In that case, why try to trick people by collecting huge followings as opposed to a smaller following  with which you have more credibility and an earned reputation?

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When You Recommend on Linked-In, is it Worthwhile?

I noticed something when I logged onto Linkedin … a recommendation for a former exec from a peer that didn’t think much of that person. This intrigued me. Why, I thought, would he write a recommendation for her? So, I asked him.

His response: “You never know when she might recommend me and I get a job out of it.” (Note to self, his recommendations are likely without value)

Are Your Recommendations Valuable?

It depends on a few things: Who’s recommending, who’s reading them and the recommendation itself. So, to be appropriate in context of this site, let’s call it client recommendations your potential clients might read, and how they could interpret them.

All puff & love

Let’s face it … we just don’t believe these. Call us jaded or callous, but a big love fest just doesn’t ring true. It’s assumed we only surface positive, glowing recommendations. But, if you have too many of these, can they be real? (Unless, of course, you are an agent in Stepford)

The bad makes the good believable

Let’s look at how we weigh the experiences of others in our decision making. For example, when I look to Yelp for a restaurant review, I sort by negative/low star feedback to make my decision. I’m looking for a deal-breaking scenario. So, if a reviewer felt their food server was snitty, that’s subjective so it doesn’t hold too much weight – unless it’s a common theme. On the other hand, finding a roach in the soup is a deal-breaker.

Not relatable

If your testimonial was for a luxury high-rise condo buyer, and I’m a family sort hunting in the burbs, I may not relate. Likewise, if I’m reading the experience of a Trump-esque buyer of their 3rd mansion, I surely can’t relate! Make sure you have a representative sampling of the types of clients you want to attract, by lifestyle and demographic.

The conundrum

How can you get a variety of relatable, realistic, believable testimonials/recommendations? It’s not ethical or authentic to write them yourself. Plus, who has the time. But, for most of us sitting in front of a blank screen is daunting, so how can we ask clients to endure such a painful process?

Mad Libs, anyone?

I’m outing myself on age here, but when I was young and went to summer or sports camp, we entertained ourselves with Mad Libs. Mad Libs were pre-written paragraphs with _______ areas to fill in a verb, noun, adjective, etc. Of course you wouldn’t be that literal with your clients, but you could offer a few Mad Lib type templates to help make it easier for them to pen a quick recommendation that is more meaningful.

In fact, it could make for a fun page on your web site or blog – a fill in the blanks page.


Samurai Negotiating: 3 Strategies, 4 Tips, No Sword

Need sharper negotiating skills?

Thinking about a real estate transaction, you negotiate with every party involved, right?  Whether it’s for a cut in your fees (no!), time to close, a reduction in sales price or agreement on communication terms, it’s all a negotiation.

Why the discomfort?

It’s a mindset.  And, it’s also cultural.  To some, negotiating may seem rude.  To others, when faced in a negotiation, it feels like one party wins, while the other looses.

Here are three strategies and four tips that will help you improve your negotiation skills and drive more bottom line revenue.

The Cringe
An effective tactic, the cringe is used to make the other party uncomfortable.  The less experienced negotiator will either offer a big concession or will attempt to rationalize what’s been offered/requested.

The Stance
As a rule, people often ask for more than they expect to get.  Be steadfast.  Don’t back down what you offer/counter offer. 

The Inquisitor
While you don’t want to present yourself as harsh, severe or hostile, the more information you have on the other person’s situation, the better.  Ask questions to discover what’s really important to them.

For example, if you’re in a listing presentation, you may ask:

  • “Why are you considering selling?”
  • “Which other agents will you be speaking to/have you spoken with?”
  • “Is there a deadline or timeline driving this?”

It is also important to know as much about the agents with whom you compete.  It could help you overcome using that agent as leverage.

Tip #1: Recognize Style

We each have our own communication style.  The same holds true in negotiating.  To be effective, you need to understand the negotiation style to that of the person on the other side of the table.

Who are you?  Dominant decision maker?  Influencer?  Both are extroverted.  While task oriented and those adverse to change adverse are more introverted.

Why is this important? 

  • A dominant negotiator must practice patience with the less extroverted. 
  • An influencer is not terribly detail oriented.
  • Task oriented types need facts in negotiations.
  • Change adverse folks need to understand why.

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