Walking, Talking and Emailing Around

We have all heard of “Management by Walking Around”. And we know that we think with a clear head while walking, exercising etc and we know most of us spend too much time sitting and/or inactive.

And of course technology means we now spend more time connected and working all hours. But now we can utilise mobile technology to get some exercise during the day while working and become more productive management by walking around has a whole new meaning.

Continue reading Walking, Talking and Emailing Around

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Stop Learning to Fish…Go Fishing now!!

gone fishingI believe in the fast moving Information and Technological Age in which we live the old adage :  Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to Fish and you feed him for Life has changed to –

Feed a man a Fish and you feed him for a day,

Teach a man to Fish and you feed him for Life.

But if he never goes Fishing he will starve eventually

When we wrote the Grumpy Old Managers’ Guide (note the positioning of the apostrophe) several years ago, we said the best way to adjust and adapt to technology (Social Media in particular) and discover its potential in business was to use it for something you enjoy.

Rather than treat the Computer as something you have to use at work to do Spreadsheets and answer email start to explore what it can do to improve your knowledge of things you enjoy – Wine, Gardening, Music etc etc.  We suggested that kind of exploring will open you up to Blogging, Twitter, Facebook etc and give you some appreciation of their use in your business. Continue reading Stop Learning to Fish…Go Fishing now!!

Don’t just shrink your website to go Mobile…

mobile-imageIt is amazing how often I look up a website on my iPhone and get a full site compressed onto the screen making it damn near impossible to read.

Or a site that has a least been set up to fit each device but with too much information to be readable on the iPhone.

It is now almost 3 years since we found 30% of people going to a clients site after seeing a TV commercial were doing so on a mobile device whilst watching TV.

Now it is just about the norm to be using another device smartphone or tablet to access the net while watching TV.

So if you don’t have a site that works well on a mobile device ….then its beyond time to do something about it… So do something now…. please!! Continue reading Don’t just shrink your website to go Mobile…

Unreal Estate Agents

socialcouponsIt was a breath of fresh air to read the latest blog post by one of Australia’s leading and definately most innovative Real Estate Agents – Anthony Toop. In the post, also published in his newspaper print ad, he warns his industry colleagues “an entirely new real estate landscape will wipe out traditional operators who refuse to evolve, adapt and embrace these amazing new capabilities.”

The capabilities he refers to and has himself been embracing for years include all the latest tools and technologies available to improve and streamline communications with prospects and clients. These include iPads, Smartphones, SmartTVs and information literally everywhere…and of course the impact of the National Broadband Network which will see Video Communication happening in real time all the time.

Real Estate is the classic Buyer Beware industry about to face the Seller Beware world. Failure to self regulate has seen Government intervention to continually protect buyers from dodgy Buyer Beware practices…but now with access to all the information needed Buyers now have more control and in many cases more access to information than the average agent…so it’s time for Seller Beware.

Several years ago I was advising a classic old style Real Estate business in Adelaide (that’s 99% of them still today) on rebranding and on the overall business in terms of sales and marketing. Sadly they refused to accept that most of the things Anthony Toop talks about were worth considering.

They refused to accept that wearing shiny suits on Sunday, driving shiny and very expensive cars, newspaper ads and signs at the front of the property etc were not going to be what buyers would want in the future. I warned that organisations like RealEstate.com.au, majority owned by News Limited, were not really their friend and in future would become their enemy. Now Anthony Toop warns

Organisations like RP Data, REA (realestate.com.au), Google, Facebook, Domain, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank to name just a few, are changing real estate agents’ lives right now in 2013, whether we like it or not. If we don’t adapt, they will simply run straight over the top of us like Coles, Woolies and service stations have done to the corner store.

It has always intrigued me that the Real Estate industry has managed to have their clients pay for their brand marketing in big newspaper ads that are more about the seller than the product or the sign at the front of the property…and as their client why should I pay for a sign in my front yard for agents to promote themselves and hope they find a buyer walking down the street. Surely these days I could do that myself…in fact why can’t I handle the whole sales process…especially open inspections. Surely I know my property better than any Real Estate agent in a shiny suit with a shiny flash car parked in the driveway…but I can’t advertise on realestate.com.au…Yet.

It was this refusal to accept the need for radical change by a variety of clients in 2009/10 that lead my daughter and business partner Nikki and I to publish the eBook “The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media Marketing +“. Sadly four years on it is still just as relevant to the people we wrote it for as it was then.

“Nothing has structurally changed in real estate for the 36 years I have been in it.

Why?  Some say “because it never will!” After all, houses ARE such a big ticket item…such rare transaction events involving so much money and emotion. Real estate is the ultimate “people business”. Real estate will forever continue to require skilled negotiators, marketers, and professional advisers; selling a property is such a big deal.

Are you kidding me? With the advent of iPads, Smart Phones, Smart TVs and information literally on tap, PLUS…add in the roll out of broadband across the nation, making all communication including video equivalent to real time…if this doesn’t change the rules, I will eat my hat.”

Anthony Toop

Over the years we  have seen hundreds of operators in Financial Planning, Travel, Stock Broking, lately Finance Broking and right now Retail fail to restructure to meet new consumer demands and utilise technology effectively and as a result die…and die very quickly.

Right now it’s time for Real Estate to face the future as it’s now here and take on what Seth Godin calls the hardwork.  While most businesses think that working longer is working harder and setting up a website is working smarter it’s the hardwork of doing what others won’t that will lead to success in the Seller Beware world.

In his blog Anthony Toop, whose business has won numerous national awards for Innovation, Communication and Marketing, believes radical operational change will face the industry this year and within 5 years the changes will be wholesale and widespread.

It’s good to see that whilst most agents are still relying on brochure style websites and traditional media advertising their Industry Groups are providing the tools to embrace the future in terms of contracts that can be signed on an iPad.

The good news for small business that does the hard work and learns to  think like big business – leveraging the tools they use like Customer relationship systems and communications and technology in general – will always compete well with big business because they are more flexible and nimble in their ability to adapt and adjust.

In the Buyer/Customer Centric world rigid systems, training programs, manuals etc are no longer of any value…as every person has different needs, expectations and knowledge. As such it is vital to have the tools and the information that is specificly relavant and timely to facilitate engagement and ongoing nurturing.

“Client management is becoming incredibly easy with communication being a tap of the finger and fully automated. But these industry innovations are nothing compared to what the big guys are up to.”

Anthony Toop

And you can do the hardwork now to make the big changes and embrace technology etc but in the end it is now up to the Seller to know their stuff like never before.  Something like 60% of the buying process has been undertaken by the Buyer  before they contact the Seller.  They have read websites, brochures, Googled you and checked what people say about you on LinkedIn etc.

Seller Beware means knowing more about you and your products than the Buyer does so make sure you know what your website says, what your various online profiles say, what your advertising offers etc.

We are in a Buyer Centric world today and as Anthony Toop is telling his colleagues and competition it’s time to embrace the hard work or face the inevitable as have other industries.

Forget the PC … Everything I need is on my SmartPhone

iPhone
iPhone

Just when you accept its time to explore the Net etc on your PC, now you don’t need to because everything you need and more is on your SmartPhone/iPhone.

While there are some incredible applications for all manner of purposes – business, leisure etc – available for your iPhone many are also available for other new phones that are capable of accessing the Net.

There have been 1 billion applications downloaded for the iPhone! So when Apple says there is an app for everything they mean it.

So now from my phone I can manage my Facebook accounts and do everything I can on my desktop with ease on the fly.

With Tweetdeck I can keep track of Twitter and monitor the brands I work with instantly wherever I am.

I can use Google Maps to not only find an address and get detailed instructions on how to get there, as you do with the GPS in your car, … but I can also look at the image of the street and the building I am looking for using Street View. Not sure why anyone buys a handheld GPS anymore when your phone can do better!!

Also having Google at my fingertips means I can find almost anything I need to know at anytime … Great for Quiz Nights …. I guess. If thats not enough I can get more details using Wikipedia on my phone.

There is another application called Evernote that allows you to collect thoughts and ideas on the run and sync them to your Mac when you return to the office. This can include voice, image and video notes all in one easy to access place.

With WordPress on my phone I can write my blog anywhere anytime … as i have done sitting in bed, on a plane or train or relaxing in a coffee shop.

Stitcher allows me to collect a personalised stream of information in audio from talk radio, news and information sources such as CNN, AAP, ESPN and TechCrunch. This can be personalised for me and/or for my clients and I can listen to it anywhere anytime.

And finally the must have a killer app for the iPhone which is, believe it or not, called Bump. It allows you to exchange contact info with other iPhone users by simply touching phones. For sometime I have been predicting the death of the business card … well this could be it!!

Of course there are many more, but these are the ones that are very useful to me in my business … of course sending and receiving email on the run and accessing the Net have been available for ages but now phones are going to the next level and making access to this sort of thing much more usable.

Although you don’t need an iPhone for much of this I do think that maybe it finally is time for this PC biggot to accept that I would be better of with an iPhone and a Mac … or maybe just an iPhone. There is even a small projector that clips on and would allow me to run PowerPoint presentations straight from the Phone!!!

And even with all this potential at their fingertips there are still the Grumpy Old Managers who yearn for a simple phone with big buttons to press … because all they think a mobile phone is for is to make and receive calls!!!