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Fear and the Art of Real Estate Success June 20, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Uncategorized.
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The Only Thing We Have To Fear… Is Fear Itself

On March 4, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a country in fear, in depression and receited one of the most eloquent speeches in Presidential history. Entering the Presidency in the middle of the Great Depression, Roosevelt inherited 13,000,000 unemployed and almost every bank in our Nation closed. In his first “hundred days,” he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes… sound familiar?

Fear was not an option for FDR. Having battled to use his legs after being stricken with poliomyelitis, the challenge of facing a Nation at its knees was simply another battle.

Today we face issues ourselves. Homes, Jobs, and a fluctuating economy strike at the heart of each of us, and for those of us in the Real Estate profession it is our turn to overcome this fear. Fear is not simply an emotion, it is a debilitator, it is a paralyzation, it is a disease that can only be overcome by action.

And so I urge those of you with the strength to stand up against this fear to combat with the tools you have amongst you. Educate your clients. Arm youself with knowledge. Embrace new technology. You are the solution… not the disease, and rather than pointing fingers and throwing blame assist in rectifying the problem. Action will combat your fear. Knowledge will rise you above. Education will move you forward.

The Utterz below was recorded after talking with a friend, facing unemployment, and struggling to rise above the Fear.

Matt Dollinger
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Understanding Your Client and Creating a Long Term Experience June 16, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions.
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So, what do you actually KNOW about your clients and referral sources?  You probably know the following demographic information:

  1. 1.  Where they live.
  2. 2.  What they do for a living.
  3. 3.  What their general income looks like.
  4. 4.  Their race, sex, and family status.
  5. 5.  Possibly their educational level.

But the question becomes, “Does this truly make them people,  or are these just demographic factors that we often draw assumptions from?”  I think this is a huge difference between knowing your clients’ Demographics and their Psychographics… and I believe that the Psychographics are what we really need to know.

What’s the difference between the two?  According toWikipedia

Demographics – refer to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. Commonly-used demographics include race, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location.

* Psychographics– are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. They are also called IAO variables (for Interests, Attitudes, and Opinions).

I made my first post this morning on www.Utterz.com(this site is incredibly cool.  Audio-blogging) talking about how I am working with my agents to develop marketing campaigns geared around creating a Long Term Customer Experience throughout the course of the relationship… not just the transaction.  Where this is pretty Real Estate specific, I believe that it could easily be incorporated into any business that depends on the word or mouth advertising or referrals of clients. 

–> If you’re interested in putting together a long term email campaign for your clients like this, listen to my Utterz post here:  http://tinyurl.com/5hqztl

I think that the important thing to focus on when developing this type of email campaign to your clients is your target, or “Top Ten” list.  These are your “Top Ten” client and referral sources that you would like to  clone into ALL future business.  These might not be your most expensive clients, or most likely to buy tomorrow, but they are people you enjoy working with, respect you as a professional, and think highly of the service you provide.  Below are the steps I recommend you take to develop this campaign:

1.  Send the email below to your “Top Ten” list of clients and contacts

To get a copy of the Psychographic Variable Introduction Email click here http://tinyurl.com/5d2qmg

2.  Follow up with a phone call afterwards to go through the fact finding questions with them.

To get a copy of the Psychographic Variable Questions for clients click here http://tinyurl.com/6s3z2r

3.  Review the answers that you get from your “Top Ten” and find the 6 degrees of separation between them.  The typical shared interests will usually be food, drink, family, travel, fun, etc.  These will determine the “Personal” content of your campaign.

4.  Print out a 12 month calendar and determine what your campaign will look like over the next year.  (i.e. July might be an Al Fresco dining recommendation, August could be day/weekend trips before school starts).

5.  Determine what “Professional” elements you are going to include in the campaign. (i.e. market data, links to articles of interest, etc.)

6. Put these elements together into a short (2 – 3) paragraph email with a couple of hyperlinks together for your database to review.  (1 paragraph intro, 1 paragraph personal, 1 paragraph professional).  The idea is that even though the campaign’s content is based on what those MOST IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS would find valuable, it will probably appeal to a much broader database. 

Our goal is that our clients and contacts will:

*Find it VALUABLEenough to pass onto their personal sphere of influence

*Brand us as a local community EXPERT, and increase communication between us

*Open the lines for referrals, because referrals are a Two Sided Business

*Take the first steps in becoming a LOVEMARK to our clients, and not just a brand

Ask yourself this question.  “When you’re driving down the street and see a For Sale sign from your company that isn’t your listing, don’t you feel just a little proud of that?  Don’t you feel that because you have contributed to that company, that the agent’s success for that property is partially yours?”

Usually, the answer is YES.  And just like that situation, we want to make our clients and contacts feel part of our business, feel like contributors to YOUR success, and most importantly… special.

The thing to remember here is that this is target marketing.  We are not trying to be all things to all people… we are attempting to truly understand and deliever information to those that effect our business most positively.  On top of that, I believe you’ll probably feel much more confident (See Become the Jame Bond of Real Estate Post) in your communication with clients when you provide something of value to them. 

Matt Dollinger


Starbucks, The 3rd Place, and Creating The Ultimate Customer Experience June 10, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Hometown Chicago, Industry Misconceptions.
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So I was sitting in Starbucks this morning across the street from one of our offices, meeting with a couple of agents.  In between meetings I approached the manager (Kelly) to see if she might have a couple of minutes to talk.  I told her that I was interested in finding out about the culture, mentality and training program that Starbucks implemented, and she was happy to talk about it.

The reason I chose Starbucks, was because it has always stood out in my mind as one of those “Experience Entrepreneurs”… highly talked about in Joseph Michelli’s book “The Starbucks Experience“.  It never really was about the coffee to me with Starbucks… When I think about Starbucks, I think about Comfy Chairs, Great Smells, Pretty People and WiFi.  To be honest, if the choice is between Starbucks and a local provider, I will always try to support the little guy.  But I digress… and millions of people across the world frequent this franchise on a daily basis.  Below is a detailed account of what I learned in 15 minutes from a Starbucks Manager named Kelly.

“Starbucks Coffee is the #1 purveyor of coffee in the world.  We are here to educate and enhance the best possible customer experience – Howard Schultz

  •  Starbucks goal is to become the Third Place in our daily lives.  (i.e. Home, Work and Starbucks)  “We want to provide all the comforts of your home and office.  You can sit in a nice chair, talk on your phone, look out the window, surf the web… oh, and drink coffee too,” said Kelly.  (Notice she put “drink coffee” last???)
  • “The idea behind customer service here is to make it one that isn’t just good, we want to make it Great.  If people have a BAD experience, they’ll tell 7 people.  If they have an average experience they’ll tell no one.  If they have a GREAT experience, they’ll tell 2-3.  Making it a great experience though, isn’t just about service.  If they have a problem (bad drink, cracked lid, etc.), we want to do everything to make it right, then and there.”
  • “Our entire training process is learning by example.  We have new employees shadow experienced people to learn how to make the drinks, how to talk with customers, how to interact.  You can’t learn that kind of thing from a book.”
  • “We approach everything in our store from a ‘What I would want’ mentality.  The music, the cleanliness, the service… everything has to be what we would want if we came in as a customer.”
  • “When we look at hiring someone we always ask the question, ‘What does coffee mean to you?’  For some people it’s simply a pick me up in the morning.  For me, who never drank coffee before, it was something that brought people together.  It’s a conversation piece, something that opens the doors between people or allows others to simply lose themselves and relax.”
  • “Good attitude, curious into what the customer needs/wants, outgoing, and conversational without overstepping any boundaries.  This type of person is not only an asset to the team, but the customer as well.”


“What’s another company that delivers service like Starbucks?  I ride motorcycles and I would have to say that Harley Davidson does a really good job.  If I’m looking for a part, I can talk with someone that day and know that they’re not only going to call me back, but they’re going to check in with me afterwards to make sure that I got everything I need.” – Kelly

Apple, Starbucks, Harley Davidson… all of these have done everything they can to understand the wants and needs of their customer, while delivering them at a human, interactive level.  Do I think that Kelly probably has an incredible knowledge of beans, roasting processes, and an intricate coffee palate?  Absolutely.  But, I assumed this walking in the door.  What keeps me coming back is the fact that they have inquired, done their homework, and delivered on their promise to become the 3rd place in my life. 

They understand the importance of The Customer Experience and have invested alot of time and money to deliver it.  Even though Dunkin Donuts has better coffee according to Consumer Reports, is about $1 cheaper, and is more convenient, I (along with millions of other consumers) will drive a little further, spend a little more time, and spend a little more money for what is promised by this company from Seattle. 

I’ll take a side of Customer Experience with my Americano please…

Thanks Kelly.  By sticking to the Starbucks “You Factor” you made my experience great… and I’m telling my 2-3 people.

Matt Dollinger


180 Things a Realtor Does During a Transaction… Earn your Commission June 6, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Industry Misconceptions.
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I think that one of the most common questions that a Real Estate agent gets from their client has to do with justifying your commission. As the video, “I am not a Lead” from 1000Watt Consulting states, “I’m happy to pay 6%. Just tell me what I get.”

Well, thanks to a friend I met on ActiveRain, now you have a (very) thorough list to justify your commission. Connie Olson, a Realtor with Realty World in Orange Park, Florida has put together this INCREDIBLE list entitled, “The REALTOR®’S Critical Role in the Real Estate Transaction”. These over 180 points outline everything from pre-listing activities to your part in the negotiation. Although, some of Connie’s points might not apply to us here in Illinois (as an attorney state), I promise you will still find nearly 100 points that should assist you in justifying that commission.

To access the article that Connie has been nice enough to share with all of us simply CLICK HERE Also, any referrals you might have in the Orange Park, Florida area (See the Map Below if you aren’t sure where this is), send them down to Connie.

Her website is located at www.flemingislandsrealestate.com

Matt Dollinger

1000Watt Blog: I am not a lead April 15, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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I swear I don’t work for Marc or for 1000 Watt consulting. This following is a video that they have put together entitled “I am not a lead”, and I think it hits the ongoing conversation of “What online buyers want” right on the head.

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Other than the comment, “What does your dog have to do with this” I agree with 100% of these comments. (The fact that people with shared interests actually have a pre-established level of trust is what I tell people to put small details like pets on their bio and/or brand). In the end though it truly is, all about them. Read the comments on this video HERE or on Marc’s blog at www.1000wattconsulting.com.