Archive for September, 2008

FREE Teleseminars by Doug Devitre

September 29, 2008


Every Monday morning at 8 a.m.
unless otherwise noted in schedule

FREE advice from real estate technology guru Doug Devitre

Conference Dial-in Number: (218) 339-4600
Participant Access Code: 205756#

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111 Ways to Save Time and Money Using Google Docs

September 27, 2008

At the Missouri Association of REALTORS Business conference this month I had the priviledge to share all of the new ways you can use Google Docs for agents, brokers, REALTOR Associations, and instructors in 50 minutes.  How do you think I shared 111 in 50 minutes?  I explain the benefits, how to create the documents and then opened up the floor to see what documents they could create, edit, and share online.  I knew we couldn’t get all of them covered so I came up with my own 111 ways to share with the group when they were stuck.  Would you know that they had some similar ideas but had some gems that I want to share with you on the PowerPoint presentation listed below.

If you have some more ways please share them with everyone by making comments

The Changing Real Estate Market Trends and Forecasts:Missouri Association of REALTORS®

September 27, 2008

Take a quick peek at the presentation to the Legislative and Regulatory Policy Committee of the Missouri Association of REALTORS®, September 25, 2008 at the Lodge of Four Seasons by Jed Smith, Economist of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Please take a look at this PowerPoint presentation and share with others who may benefit.

Approved for Continuing Education in Texas: Blogging Effectively

September 27, 2008

Blogging has become increasingly important in the real estate industry as more consumers are demanding more information through online communication. Generation Y represents the second largest demographic behind the Baby Boomers. Gen Y are also internet savvy and represent tomorrow’s future first time home buyers. Effective communication using blogging will build consumer loyalty by meeting the needs of the online consumer and differentiate those brokers and REALTORS® who are marketing themselves online.

Here what others are saying:

PowerPoint Preview

The course is broken into nine sections:

1. Learn what a blog is and why it is important to communicate to consumers using this online social media. This will include demographics, statistics and trends in real estate home buying and selling.

2. Position yourself as the expert by posting useful information that will help build customer relationships, structure knowledge base in organized format, and receive useful feedback from customers to provide higher quality service.

3. How blogs differentiates between other communication mediums and examples show other real estate professionals around the country that are using blogs to help consumers retrieve information. There will be a 5 minute exercise to help students create posts for quality content. Learn how to handle comments by consumers responsibly.

4. Learn the intangible characteristics of a blog that include voice, personality, links, conversations, frequency and how to use RSS feeds to personalize the blog and deliver communication on a consistent and personal level.

5. How to categorize blog entries so that consumers can find relevant information to meet their specific needs. Also, learn other ways to send out information that will direct consumers to their specific entry. Small groups will write down their categories that are specific to their business. Discuss which favorite links to include so consumers have additional resources to the blog.

6. Insert tags in blog entries so consumers searching for relevant information to the specific journal entries will be able to find them. Small groups of 5 will discuss which ones they will use specific to their business.

7. Become aware of certain risks that result from blogging. Awareness of these risks will help them connect with consumers in a positive way. Discuss how blogging can affect their business and how to avoid common risks.

8. Learn ethical issues that arise from blogging and how to embrace diversity, fair housing, avoid stereotypes, and follow the code of ethics. Small groups will discuss some ethical challenges they may face when blogging.

9. Students will learn how to embed pictures and video into their blogs so that the consumer has a better experience viewing the blog. The process will involve inserting pictures, filming videos, uploading to YouTube, and posting to the blog.

22 Qualities of a Good Leader

September 24, 2008

Here are the 22 qualities of a good leader based on the discussion today from our Missouri Association of REALTORS 2008 graduating class of the State Leadership Academy.

  1. Pull the best out of people
  2. Put other people above yourself
  3. Challenge ideas from another viewpoint
  4. Passionate about people
  5. Dedication to serving others
  6. Pushing people past their limits
  7. Never give up
  8. Generous of sharing
  9. Make other people feel important
  10. Thinking outside the box
  11. Alternative thinking
  12. Complete honesty
  13. Wealth of information
  14. Easily accessible
  15. Work long hours
  16. Finding the right answers
  17. Working with all ages
  18. Dealing with tough situations
  19. Making the rounds with other people
  20. Compassionate for what people need
  21. Diverse in decision
  22. Step outside self

Reasons Why LinkedIn Groups Don’t Work

September 23, 2008

Anyone can create a group on LinkedIn or another online social network and attach a logo, description but that is the easy part.  Adding members, encouraging discussions, and monitoring messages can be more work than originally perceived.

Why don't they work?

Why don't LinkedIn Groups work?

Here are the reasons why LinkedIn Groups Don’t Work:

Self promotion. Group administrators must supervise discussions so that members do not monopolize discussions by offering their services as the main message unless that is the goal of the group.  This is no different that people going to a live networking event and the first thing they say is BUY from me now.  Discussion messages should mainly focus on analyzing hot topics, concerns or industry trends.

No promotion. Creating a group is not enough.  Consistent marketing and communication to existing organizations is mandatory for members to join the online group and participate.  Group administrators should encourage their members orally, link in email signature, advertise on website, blog, and other online social networking profiles.

No discussion. If nobody posts discussion questions or messages then the group just becomes a database.  People that share similar interests and expertise can fine tune their knowledgebase by asking questions and receiving answers.  Most discussions involve opinions which is great to see another viewpoint.

No members. There is such thing as a one person group but it is hard to communicate with just yourself.

Pacific Rim Convention 2008 – Hawaii Association of REALTORS

September 22, 2008

This has been one of the best experiences of my life. Many mahalos to the Hawaii Association of REALTORS members, sponsors and staff for an exciting event.

What did other say about the 2008 Pacific Rim Event?

Download the handout at

Here are the slides as promised.

Please give us feedback on what you learned from this presentation.

Transparency of Association Leadership

September 21, 2008

People will do business with you if they know you, like you, and TRUST you.

People will join, participate, and share their hearts, ideas and minds if they know you, like you, and TRUST you.

People will give all that they can if they…..

Where are the new leaders?

Where are the new leaders?

What is stopping new members from actively participating in the bureaucracy of leadership, in my opinion, is the lack of transparency of how the association makes decisions and communicates those decisions with their members.  Generation Y is a very giving, sharing, and community based demographic but are they not giving more??  I think it is because they are not involved in the process or cannot see what is happening behind the scenes.

Here are some ways to improve the transparency:

RSS.  Associations make decisions often and members need should be informed IMMEDIATELY.  This does not mean send out an email blast.  It means adding RSS feeds for status updates, calendar appointments, and changes in practice.  This can be done using a blogging or online social networking platform.

Google Docs.  Decisions, minutes, bylaws, and committees communicate regularly by email are working harder than they have to.  Committee members can be allowed to share and edit documents in real time and make decisions how they can be posted to the web for FREE.  In addition the revision history and RSS feed for documents can

Podcasting.  Set up a free teleconferencing service with and interview a person of influence.  Take the MP3 recording and edit using and upload the file to  Total cost $10/month for unlimited plus $10/year for the domain name.

Social media.  I see more associations using this as a way of positioning themselves online.  How do you make it better?  Discuss hot topics that answer frequently asked questions.  Include RSS feeds from your blogs, podcasts, and status updates.  Set this up once and like Ron Popeil would say, “Set it and forget it”.

New and existing members will appreciate innovative ways of communicating with them.  The only cost is time and time is money.

Time saved:

Once a blog entry has been posted it releases to all of the online social media.  Total time 20 minutes.  No extra steps.

Once a Google document has been edited it releases to all those who have access to the feed.  Total time 0 minutes.  No extra steps.

Once the podcast date has been determined you have to record, edit, and release to the feed.  Total time 30 minutes.  No extra steps.

Once the social networking account has been set up and RSS feeds in place there is not much else to do.  Total time to set up RSS feed 5 minutes.  No extra steps.

Has your association staff been retrained to accommodate this new form of social media?

How to Create Groups on LinkedIn

September 18, 2008

Okay so you are on LinkedIn. Now what?  One feature using LinkedIn as a online social networking tool is Groups.  Groups on social networks are a great way to:

  • Separate communication from the masses
  • Address hot topics
  • Keep information secure only to group members

Associations, organizations, or niche markets can create a group on LinkedIn and share their information to those who are members exclusively.  Online social networks are as only as good as the people who participate, share, and contribute on a consistent basis.

Promote your group on LinkedIn

  • Large logo. Use an image or logo that represents your group. Image must be 100 x 50 pixels and be a .png, .jpeg. or .gif file format. This image will identify the group on the main group page.
  • Small logo. This image must be 60 x 30 pixels and also be in similar file format state above. This logo will appear at the bottom of every member’s personal profile.
  • Group name. Select a group name that clearly demonstrates the brand or mission statement. Use the current name of your organization or specify a name within the current organization for further classification.
  • Group type. Choosing a group type is important because of how it will appear in the search.
  • Summary. Type the mission statement, vision statement or what the group is trying to accomplish. Motivate others to join, participate, and share in regular discussions.
  • Full description. Engage members by inserting rules for participation, how discussions will be handled, and why makes the group unique from all the rest.
  • Website. The website should include the full URL. For example:
  • Group admin email. The person who creates the group is in charge of administering all of the groups activities.
  • Group visibility. Allow the public to find your group in the search or let each individual post the small logo onto their personal profile. Both are good ideas for those groups who are trying to advertise membership. Private groups will want to disable this feature.
  • Location. Groups can be organized into international, national, state, and by zip code if within the United States.

How to participate in LinkedIn groups

  • Discussions. Choose hot topics and ask for feedback within the group. If the discussion is in the form of a question, is authentic, and not a form of self promotion, then more will be willing to comment based on their own experiences.
  • Updates. Updates include discussions and comments for the group. It is a quick way to see what people are talking about.
  • Members. Search the entire group roster to see who you know and ask to join their network. Also, you can access their profile and send them a message directly.
  • Settings. Choose whether you want the logo to appear on the profile, receive a daily email on group updates, or allow members to send you messages.

Stay tuned for more posts on LinkedIn groups.

Avoiding the Herd Mentality – Be Proactive

September 15, 2008

I heard Saul Klein, one of my favorite technology speakers say, “real estate is a ME TOO business”.  He meant if one agent see someone doing something that looks good others will do the same thing no matter if directly produced a result.  When I heard that I thought of lemmings.  Will we go so far to follow people to our death because everyone else did the same exact thing?

Are you in the herd?

Are you in the herd?

Here are some things I thought about:

Why does every agent have their picture on their business card?

Why does every agent have yard signs that look exactly alike?

Why does every agent go on broker tour?

Why does every agent mail out postcards?

Why does every agent send out baseball calendar schedules?

I am not saying any one of these things are right or wrong.  How does a seller select a listing agent?  I would assume they would look at all of the things that the agent will do and make their decision on quality or price.  Quality meaning the services offered that make people say WOW!  Doing the same thing as the pack will make people say next.

Here are some things that will make us unique from the rest and avoid the herd mentality.

  1. Stop doing phone duty. I have done phone duty and their is nothing more de-activating than sitting waiting for a phone call for someone that may or may not want to work with me in the first place.  Instead use that time calling past clients, sphere of influence (SOI) and enhancing the relationships we already have.  People will work with those they know like and trust.  Phone duty can be a desperate gamble of time when our SOI is a sure thing.
  2. Stop holding open houses. Ever spent time, money, and energy to hold an open house and no one showed up?  I have and it is a sickening feeling to leave and then call the owner to give our best reasoning why no one showed up that day.  Maybe the weather?  Maybe the holiday?  Maybe is graduation weekend?  Since most houses are sold by other agents or showings away from the open house why are we misleading the sellers that this option will work.  Instead spend time calling our SOI if  we want to work with buyers.
  3. Stop advertising in the newspaper. Shelf life of newspapers are faster than a 2 hour movie.  Instead of taking the time to create the ad spend $10 to go see the latest action movie and save $200.  At least we were entertained by seeing the movie.
  4. Stop saying yes to every client. Some clients will make us work harder than warranted.  The 24/7 agent mentality will damage our relationships with our friends, family and anyone outside the business.  Unless we are getting paid like a brain surgeon, set rules for our clients to follow.  If they won’t follow our rules then find clients that will.  80% of the problems come from 20% of the clients.
  5. Stop spending money. Just because the money is in our budget or we see the next greatest toy or service put a hold on our purchases.  Most advertising is a waste anyways.  If we have done a good job with our clients then the word of mouth will spread faster than the flyer we sent out in the mail.
  6. Stop pretending you know everything. I know what I don’t know and that is fine with me.  There are plenty of other people to refer to when we do not have the answer.  There is nothing worse than giving an answer that maybe false.
  7. Stop showing every house. If a client asks us to see 40 houses on a weekend do we get started setting the appointments or do we dig deep to see why they have selected the ones they liked.  Ask qualifying questions like, “How does this house make you feel? or What make this house stand out amongh the rest?”  The more questions we ask in the beginning the more time we can save our clients and ourselves.
  8. Stop praying. Responsible people do pray but take responsiblity when the situation did not work out.  If a negotiation turned sour do we assume responsibility or blame the other agent?  If an inspection has huge problems could we have have known about some of these problems ahead of time.  Praying may help mentaly but things happen for a reason.  Take responsiblity and move on.

The best way to avoid the herd mentality is to take education classes outside  your local area.  Attend conferences, conventions, and seminars from successful agents who know what they are talking about.  Take designation classes such as GRI, ABR, CRS, PMN, CCIM, and CRB to learn from accredited schools and instructors.  Visit to see the available courses you can take which will take you to the top in your market.