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You’re NOT Marketing… How to STOP Advertising and Start Marketing? June 30, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions, Using This Technology.
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So, I’m driving down the road today and had to take a picture of this. Why? Because it reminded me of how so many companies (not just real estate companies) approach their marketing efforts… Even more so, it made me think about how many people, (and industries), don’t know the difference between ADVERTISING and MARKETING.

Are you investing in Real Estate MARKETING or Real Estate ADVERTISING?

Advertising: The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products.

Quick Test – Based on the definitions above, categorize the following real estate “marketing” efforts:

  • Just Listed Postcards – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Email Drip Campaigns – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Direct Mail Campaigns – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Online Banner Ads – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Farming a Neighborhood – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • FSBO’s and Expireds – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Informercials – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Grocery Carts ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Cold Calls – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Agent Websites – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Here’s a newsflash though… ALL OF THESE ARE FORMS OF ADVERTISING BUT DON’T HAVE TO BE!

So, how could we turn some of these “Advertising” efforts into “Marketing” campaign?

Just Listed Postcard to renters featuring a property suited for First Time Buyers – Marketing

Email Campaigns focusing on things to do in your town, or information specific to their buying needs

Direct Mail Campaigns focusing on the psychographics of your database (See Understanding Your Clients Post Here)

Farming a Neighborhood and sending them to a website like the one of my past agents developed www.510werie.com

FSBO’s and Expireds can benefit from the information and help you can provide to them (80% of them will sign with a Realtor, 70% will sign with the first Realtor they talk to, and they’ll probably use you on the buy side if they like you and feel you helped them)

And the list goes on…

It’s time to innovate, and bring yourself and emotion into the equation. By reading, living, and incorporating the true definition of MARKETING listed above, you will be taking the first steps forward into a new level of business.

Matt Dollinger


Google Alerts – Managing your Identity, Favorites, and Your Competition June 23, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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Ok… Maybe I’m a Junkie, but I can’t write enough great things about Google.

So let’s say… hypothetically of course… that you like reading about all of the following things:

  • Real Estate Market Statistics
  • The latest technology for your Blackberry
  • Social Networking Media Developments
  • Indie Rock Bands playing in Chicago
  • Great Grilling Recipes
  • Barack Obama
  • Matt Dollinger I mean whatever your social identity is.

Wanna know when there’s a GREAT article written, blog post, update or anything else on these topics? Try Google Reader and it’s delivered comprehensively to your email account daily, weekly or monthly FOR FREE. Easier than using Google Reader (and for different purposes), Google Alerts give you a simple way to monitor sports scores, the political campaign, your Social Identity, and research the competition.

Below are two videos that will show you EVERYTHING you need to know about setting up Google Alerts, Keywords, and delivery methods. Enjoy!

Matt Dollinger

Basic Using of Google Alerts

Using Google Alerts as Your Virtual Research Assistant

Become the James Bond of Real Estate – 20 Ways to Boost your Confidence June 13, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions, Using This Technology.
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“He who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others.” – Leib Lazarow

So what do James Bond and the most successful Real Estate agents that I know have in common that so many others lack?  It’s simple really… they all have an unbelievable amount of confidence.

Seriously though.  Would James ever face a time sensitive situation with SPECTRE, the end of the world at hand, and face whatever beautiful damsel was with him, (personal favorite was Honey Ryder ‘aka Ursula Andress’ from Dr. No), only to say, “Ummm… yeah… I don’t really know how to handle this.  Let me call Q and figure this out.”

HELL NO!  James would have done his research, know EVERYTHING about whatever Hans Blofeld was threatening with, disarm-blow-up-stop it, order a martini, and end up sailing into the sunset with gorgeous woman in tow.

My point is that James, like many other admirable people in business, film, etc. has confidence, true confidence.  Confidence isn’t bought, or scripted, or sold to clients… confidence is learned, earned and projected through knowledge.  In real estate, it is one of those almost emotional intangibles that allows one agent to differentiate themselves from others in their field… and to go against common belief from some, it does not come from an expensive suit and a foreign car.

To Me, ( and this is only my opinion) confidence in real estate comes from the following:

*Market Knowledge

  1. What does the currently inventory look like, new developments, projected developments, etc.
  2. What is the average market time in the area for SOLD properties and what is the average market time for UNSOLD properties.
  3. Asking price, selling price, # of price reductions, etc.
  4. Appreciation rates year over year and trends

*Neighborhood Information

  1. What school districts are in a particular neighborhood, what are their scores/rankings, who would your client contact to enroll their children.
  2. Parks, restaurants, nightlife, etc.
  3. Shopping, grocery, fire department, police, post office, crime rate, projected commercial development
  4. Public transportation, commute time, etc.

*Current Financing Opportunities

  1. Current traditional loan rates and requirements
  2. FHA possibilities, knowledge of process, requirements
  3. New/Changing State Legislation
  4. Declining Market requirements
  5. City Tax Smart Programs and Other Bond Programs  

Short Sale, Foreclosure, and Pre-Foreclosure Homes

  1. Benefits/Cautions of purchasing one of these homes
  2. Understanding of the short sale and foreclosure process including paperwork
  3. Why these homes might not be a bargain

(Good, Honest, Researched) Answers to some of the most common questions

  1. Why should I buy a home right now and not in 1 year when home prices have declined?
  2. What is FHA financing and why should I consider this?  Isn’t this only for low income?
  3. Am I going to make money on this home when I go to sell?
  4. Can’t we go in 100K under asking price and see what we can get?
  5. What’s your role as a Realtor/Why should I work with you?

If an agent can answer even 60% of these questions I think that they should have a pretty hefty amount of confidence in the Marketplace.  Maybe not to the level of Mr. Bond himself, but allot better than a majority of their competition.  Where would someone go to find this information? 

  • Pricing –
  • My all time favorite program available to most Realtors is Agent Metrics.  www.terradatum.com  Check to see if they have an agreement with your association or if you have to pay for the program.  Either way, it’s worth your time to gather a good understanding of this program and blow the competition away.  Ave. Sales Price, DOM, Inventory, and Absorption rates in both chart and graphical format.  Enough to make a numbers nerd like me salivate.  (CAUTION)  STAY AWAY FROM NATIONAL REPORTS LIKE THE S&P CASE SCHILLER REPORT.  READ MY POST HERE TO READ MY THOUGHTS ON NATIONAL REPORTS.



  • Current Financing Opportunities –
  • My feelings are that if your current mortgage broker isn’t taking it upon themself to help educate you on the different options, programs and rates out there, you need to work with another broker.  It’s not enough to say, “I have a mortgage broker for that.”  YOU need to know what the programs are, how they work, and what you could recommend to your clients. 
  • Fannie Mae has an unbelievable amount of information on their website regarding programs and insight into the industry 
  • Freddie Mac also has much of the same information.  Stay with the big boys as far as information unless you have a trusted local lender.


  • Short Sales/Foreclosures/Pre-foreclosures
  • Check with your local association.  Many are offering GREAT training programs to their membership
  • Sean O’Toole over at Foreclosure Truth has a GREAT forum for answering and asking questions
  • The Inman Blog – search short sales, foreclosures, etc. for leading industry insight
  • The NAR Website has a great section on short sales, how to manage them, etc.

Confidence effects people in many different ways.  Lack of it can paralyze you from doing anything at all including the simplest of prospecting activities, phone calls to your closest of clients, negotiating the proper price of a home, or even talking to clients at an open house.  Knowledge is power, and by becoming empowered, you will always come out on top, and ready to take on the world.  “Shaken not stirred”

Matt Dollinger


“The You Factor”



Google Reader Part 2: Recommended Industry and Technology Blogs May 30, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Great other Sites and Blogs, Uncategorized, Using This Technology.
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Since the Google Reader post got such good reviews, I thought that I would make it easy for you to get “plugged in” (or Turned On for you 1000Watt Readers) to some of what I feel to be the best blogs out there.

Where I believe that these represent many different types of elements that could be applied to the real estate industry and business 2.0 and as a whole, this is just a sampling of what’s truly out there.

Below is a list of blogs that I highly recommend. I have used some from the Inman Blog Network, some that I simply enjoy reading for ideas and insight, and have tried to categorize them for you. Also, I have included a short 30 second video at the end of this post on how to simply copy these URLs below and paste them into your Google Reader.

Technology – Blogs that focus on integrating the latest and greatest technology into the real estate business world.

Industry – The movers and the shakers of the real estate world are reported here, as well as a heft dose of opinion and heart.

Business 2.0 – These are the voices of the new business world. Who I look to for inspiration and insight.


Future of Real Estate Marketing


Geek Estate


Transparent Real Estate


My Tech Opinion


Tech Crunch





Agent Genius


1000Watt Blog




The Real Estate Tomato


Luxury Insights (The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing)


The Future of Real Estate Technology


*Business 2.0 Blogs*

1000Watt Blog


Seth Godin’s Blog


Tim Sander’s Blog


Malcolm Gladwell’s Blog


Fast Company’s Expert Blog


Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Matt Dollinger

Ode to Sprint PCS: Healing your public image with the “Human” Element May 16, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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I love this video and what it is trying to convey to the general public. 

Will it work?  — That remains to be seen.

In an attempt to become more “human”, “likeable”, and “Just Like Us” Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint/Nextel has issued this advertising campaign in an attempt to “stem the bleeding that is their customer base“.   Moving away from their whole “Life at Sprint Speed” outlook on bigger, better, faster, Dan has moved to the emotional side of the force…  and I think it just might work. 

As Joel Burslem from www.futureofrealestatemarketing (FOREM) asks in his post “The Human CEO“, I too would like to know “Where is Real Estate’s Dan Hesse?”  Personally, I think it’s reading this post right now… and wondering, “Why couldn’t that be me?”  With all the social media opportunities on blogs like Inman, Active Rain, and Trulia Voices, the stage is set… now bring on the actors.

P.S.  I emailed Dan and am still waiting on him to confirm if he’s available for dinner on Friday night.

Matt Dollinger


Begin Your Blog Reading Behavior with Google Reader May 14, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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Read any real estate magazine, talk to any coach, or read any literature, and they will most surely say the same thing… “GET BLOGGING!” 

Where I have recommended this to a number of the agents that I work with, my first recommendation is to take your time, find your voice, and read some to find out what differentiates a blog from a good blog.  But with all of the blogs out there, how do you find time to read and manage them?

Once again… Google to the rescue!  Google has released another fantastic (and FREE) gadget to help you simplify your life and introduce you to the wonderful world of blog reading. 

Google Reader allows you to stay up to date and organize your favorite blogs, as well as access your updates on line anywhere.  Best of all, it simplifies your reading experience by giving you updated headlines so you can click through instead of logging on to multiple sites.  Here’s how it works..


 An easy way to add blogs to your Reader Subscriptions it to visit a particular blog and to click on their SUBSCRIBE Button which is usually indicated by a variation of the RSS icon.  This icon is the standard for RSS Feeds (Really Simple Syndication)  When you click on this icon you will probably see a button like this     .  If you do, simply click this button and it will automatically be added to your Google Reader.

If this button is not available, the site should offer an option that reads VIEW FEED XML.  Click this button, and a new page will populate.  Copy the web address from the top of the new page

(SAMPLE:  http://feeds.feedburner.com/TechnologyForRealEstate?format=xml – THE FEED ADDRESS IS DENOTED BY THE END LETTERS XML),

Go to your Google Reader Page, Click on the icon in the middle of the left hand column that reads ADD SUBSCRIPTION, and PASTE the the XML address into the space.  That’s it!  You’ve now manually subscribed to a blog’s feed.

Some Samples of what I feel are GREAT Blog formats:







If you’re considering writing a blog… take some time.  Find your voice.  Consider what your clients would actually like to read and then give it to them.  Don’t think that this is simply a way to prospect or “capture” leads (ughh)… If you want to capture anything, capture their attention, capture their readership, and become their true provider of knowledge and insight. 

A post by an individual named Marc Davison (who encouraged me to find MY voice and speak with it) is noted here http://www.1000wattblog.com/2008/05/the-masked-ball.html  While you’re at it, subscribe to their blog, comment on a couple of their insightful posts, and tell them you’re searching for the “You Factor” of your voice.

Matt Dollinger


Performance Coach


More Great Press for the 2007 Chicago Neighborhood @Report May 9, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Hometown Chicago, Using This Technology.
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In the latest issue of Chicago Magazine (www.chicagomag.com), Dennis Rodkin has written an article about our recent release of The @Report – A Local Look at the Performance of 21 Chicago Neighborhoods. This report, in comparison to others in our area, was born with the idea in mind that real estate is local… very local.

“It’s like talking to an agent who works the neighborhood: You will find specifics on how prices have changed in the neighborhood at various price tiers, and what are the hottest-selling sections or developments within the neighborhood.” – says Rodkin

Our plan was to integrate neighborhood data compiled over the last few years and present it with a consumer focus, and consumer understanding. Where the report is still in its first release stage, and our hope is to integrate advanced charting and even geo-coding of neighborhoods down the road, it seems that we have hit our mark of appealing to the consumer and delivering it in a format that they want. How’s that for listening to the masses?

Matt Dollinger
Performance Coach

When does the map of Web 2.0 become “Clouded”? (Part 1) April 29, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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I shiver almost every time someone mentions the phrase Web 2.0.  The catch phrase of the millenia, 2.0 refers to “the next step”, NEW, better than the original.  The “official” Wikipedia definition refers to Web 2.0 as, “a term describing a trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users”.  (see article here)  So, what happens when our intricately laid plans of information sharing, creativity, and collaboration actually DISTANCE ourselves from our consumers instead of pulling us together for the sharing we so seek?

This is an issue that I often find myself smack dab in the middle of when talking with friends and others in the real estate community.  In an industry of “me too” and “ours is better” the question becomes; “In our quest to increase exposure to listings and target a finite consumer pool, are we appealing to our audience or distancing ourselves from them?”

My thoughts have always been focused (with real estate at least) around the following:

  1. Enhance the overall customer experience
  2. Provide more “usable” information than other sites/companies
  3. Visual appeal and usability
  4. Functionality

I was amazed when I witnessed the release of Chase Nation , a social networking site devoted to the Lake Tahoe/Reno, NV area.  It scores an 11 on the “Coolness” scale and set the tech community buzzing with its forward thinking and ingenuity.  Two months (roughly) after its release date, the network has a total of 350 members, (130 of them being Chase international Realtors, and I would guess another half being interested parties like myself).  I am assuming that the site, (unconfirmed), was assembled to provide area information, thoughts, opinions, etc. from the neighboring public – ultimately increasing the company’s exposure and increased potential buyer/seller traffic.  It remains to be seen if this idea catches on, but I am speculative. 

Even in Chicago, a city I know like the back of my hand and love, I could see this type of neighborhood network REALLY taking hold in maybe 4-5 areas with the right roll-out, marketing, and advertising.  (I have no idea about the roll out or advertising Chase International did for this project.)  But now, rather than wait for the general public to “catch up” to this technology, all the real estate tech blogs are exploring; What’s next?  What’s better than Chase Nation?  How can we surpass their tech-genius?  (One of our local real estate companies even tried their hand at creating a Second LIfe office and failed miserably.)

In my mind it all comes back to figuring out WHAT the consumer wants and WHAT the consumer is willing to use.  For the millions and millions of dollars that are annually spent in advertising budgets, statistics, and analyzing the behviors of consumers, my question always becomes; “Why not simply ask them?”  I encourage EVERYONE… whether in Real Estate or whatever business, to target your top 10 clients and ask them about their Psychographics.  Ask them why they worked with you, what they liked, what they didn’t, what websites they visit, what they think of yours, how you could improve it, etc…  Go to the source and listen… The #1 desire of all human beings is to be heard and understood.

Then, when you find what they want, desire, like, etc… then put 110% of your efforts into providing that to the nth degree and making their experience better.

(Part 2 to come – stats and figures)

Matt Dollinger

Simplify your Schedule with Google Calendar Mobile! April 22, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Using This Technology.
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Google Calendar Pic
So, the problem that we often encounter with using an online calendar or Outlook (sans-exchange) is that slow bluetooth sync or awkaward cables to be able to view your calendar on your mobile phone or PDA. That’s until now when life-simpling giant Google released their latest version of Google Calendar for Mobile.

Great Things Come from Google:
Here are the benefits of using the Google Calendar for you, your team, or your assistant

  1. It’s easy to use.  Simply create a google account by going to the Google Calendar Page here.
  2. Easy Quick Adding of events and synchronization with Outlook Calendar
  3. View by week, month, or day in the customized viewing section
  4. Invite others to view your calendar, set privacy settings, and set event reminders
  5. Create different calendars for things in your life.  (i.e. prospecting, showings, personal)
  6. Share your calendar with your team and allow them different levels of editing


Another great feature of Google Calendar is that it is not mobile supported for a variety of PDA’s and phones (including Blackberry) that are internet enabled.  This allows you to:

  1. Activate reminders on your phone via a wireless sync (no cables, no nothing)
  2. Update event information from your phone while you’re on-the-go
  3. Allow your administrator to change your calendar while you’re out
  4. Sync your Google Calendar with your Microsoft Outlook Calendar
  5. Have full access to your schedule without paying the money to upgrade to exchange

Use this for showings, personal life, kids’ soccer games, etc…  you can share the calendar with anyone that has a Gmail Account.  After setting up your account and calendar online (by visiting the Google Calendar Site) there are even ways to have it sync to your PDA’s default calendaring program! 

  • Blackberry Users — Go HERE — It’s FREE!
  • PALM Users — There’s a third Party Software you have to buy if you don’t want to login via the Internet  Go HERE
  • iPhone Users — There’s a third Party Software you have to buy if you don’t want to login via the internet Go HERE  (works with your Apple iCal as well)

Stop having to open your computer to find out what’s in your schedule.  Get connected today and (almost) never be late for another appointment.

– Matt



“The You Factor” – Differentiation in the age of Choice, Experience and Authenticity April 18, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Great other Sites and Blogs, Hometown Chicago, Using This Technology.
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So I have been approached often with the question, “Why The You Factor?  What is it?  What does it mean?”  I’ve been working on a mission statement, (Thanks Jerry McGuire), to address this question, and where it’s not done yet, I’m always excited, “when a plan comes together – Hannibal Smith”. 

Below is an email that I received from one of the agents I coach last night after working with him last week.  He has been a Realtor for a while but feeling rather burned out with the whole industry lately.  We talked at length about his passions, what he liked to do in life, and how we could use this to incorporate a “You Factor” into his business.  The results were outstanding…


I just wanted to thank you for your time last week, I’m very glad <our owner> encouraged me to meet with you. Some of the ideas we came up with to build my business have me real excited! I went out that Friday and took a bunch of neighborhood shots for my listing in <a neighborhood of Chicago> where I have been getting a somewhat negative response on the location, and had them out on the table at a showing on Saturday. The first person to come to the listing and see the pics wrote a contract, that day. Maybe luck, maybe effort, but either way I had a lot of fun getting these pics, and it’s got me real excited about combining my passion of photography with my career as a REALTOR. I can’t wait to implement more ideas.

Thanks so much for you time, I’m looking forward to continuing working with you.

See the pics here

Now I’m excited… and when I’m excited… Katy, bar the door.