Buyer's Market Misconception

Here is the gist of a current phone conversation I had with a potential buyer exhibiting a total lack of understanding as to what the term buyer's market really means.

The phone rings on an evening after 9:00 pm.

Me: "Thank you for calling our builder today, my name is Leah, how may I help you?"

Caller: "I'm looking at your community online and I want a 1 story house."

Me: "Great, we do have homes with a downstairs master, however there are no ranch style homes being built in that community. And who am I speaking with?"

Caller: Already has annoyance in his voice, "We don't want an upstairs, we live in that right now and we don't use the upstairs in our home." (Purposely still leaving out his name since it's okay to be anonymous on the phone at 9pm especially if you are about to pick a fight with someone who is just trying to help you with the call you have made.)

Me: "Oh, okay tell me what area you live in right now."

Caller: "We live in Suffolk."

Me: "I see, well, are you strictly looking in Virginia Beach or would you be interested in something out in Suffolk. Since we do have some homes in Suffolk that may fit your needs better."

Caller: "Just Virginia Beach." Terse response.

Me: "Great what price range would you like to be in?"

Caller: "We don't want to go higher than the mid $300's."

Me: "Well I wish we could help you, we do have a ranch style home in a custom community in the $500's but that won't fit your price range."

Caller: With indignant sound in his voice, "If I wanted to pay that much for a home I wouldn't pay it for a vinyl home, it would have to be brick."

Me: Well you can find brick ranch style homes in the resale market in Virginia Beach in your price point. But you aren't going to find new. With the cost of land it's more expensive now to build ranch style homes as they need larger lots, than it is to build a 2-story. The older homes you see were built at a time when land was not at a premium and builders could afford to build 1 story homes."

Caller: "Well I don't want any of the resale homes that are in that area, in that price point they all need a lot of work and updating." Now this line was spoken to me as if *Duh* I'm an idiot. We don't want what we can afford, we want what we want and we want you to give it to us.

Me: "We'll that's the trade off in trying to find something in that price point, in that area, and in that home style...I'm not sure that I know any new home builders in the area that can meet your requirements unless you are in the 55 and up age range."

Caller: (Now very annoyed with me because we don't build what he wants.) "I'm not that old, and I know what I want and why should I buy something I don't want..."

Me: At this point I'm thinking, really what can I do for you...I've politely told him we don't have what he's looking for..."I really do wish I could help you but we just don't build what you are looking for. I wish you luck on your home search and if your parameters should change please feel free to contact me."

Caller: "Nothing is going to change about what I'm looking for." (Unreasonable annoyance in his voice.)

Me: "If you'd like me to put you in touch with a resale agent to help you find the ranch you are looking for in Virginia Beach, I'd be glad to refer you to someone."

Caller: *Click*

Me: To empty phone line. "Thank you very much for rudely hanging up on me when all I'm doing is trying to help you out with the call you made to me....." (Sometimes you need that last satisfying line to end a rude conversation...even if you are talking to the air.)

It's conversations like these that make me realize buyers don't understand what a buyer's market means.
  • It's doesn't mean that it's open season on sales agents.
  • It doesn't mean you can throw all common courtesy out the window just because you want what you want when you want it.
  • It doesn't mean that you can pout and cry and get your way.
  • They don't understand that in order to stay in business there is a fair price for everything.
  • They don't understand that no amount of bullying will eventually get them their way when what they are looking for doesn't exist.
  • Just because you think something should be available and cost a certain price doesn't mean that's so.
Anyway, just an example of buyers market misconceptions and how not to treat someone trying to help you over the phone at any hour of the day or night.

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Conquering FBML for the Novice: Like Hiking in the Himalayas

I've checked off one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2010!

Yes I put together a short list of things I wanted to get more involved in in 2010 both for myself and for my business. I have started playing around with two of the three. First off I've been playing around a little bit, but not enough, with video email and not enough with video blogs....I don't feel as comfortable on camera as I do typing and I know I need to get over it.

But I've made amazing headway with FBML! I wanted to learn how to create those cool landing pages on facebook fan pages, so of course I used Blue Gypsy Inc as a guinea pig!

I created this snazzy new landing page! (Click the image and it will take you to the fan page layout so you can see the whole thing)


Now I'm not a code writer, I'm like HTML what?!?! And so FBML is even more WHAT!?! I'm really not a technically inclined person when it comes to computers, but I play one on TV.

Yet I managed to create this landing page with many moving parts. There's a YouTube video in there, there's a link back to my email database program and I've embedded it all over top of my signature photograph along with text and hot links back to my website.

There were many hours of frustration while working on this project. It often reminded me of hiking in the high mountains of Nepal. There were times when I was putting one foot in front of the other and asking myself why I was doing this. (In the case of the landing page I could have paid a lot of people to do it, and not have bothered myself)

But as with the hike in Nepal, when I'd take a moment to sit down on the rock, take a look at the views, and reflect upon where I was and what I was accomplishing, I was pretty proud to be me.

It's easy to pay people to do things for you, and there are times when it's warranted. But I was not just on a quest to have a facebook landing page, but also to have the experience of creating one myself.

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Insomnia Plus Creativity Lights a Viral Spark

Sometimes insomnia can be a good thing.

Many creative people are up in the wee hours of the morning working on projects and ideas. lately I've had so many ideas and projects floating around my head, I find it hard to sleep.

Recently one of my mentors sent me a twitter DM saying, "You do not sleep because you are full of ideas that have feet attached to them."

So it was no surprise that when my friend Sonya Schweitzer AKA SocialSonya, posted a free cool tool, Google Search Stories, all the night owls were off and running. Sonya's post took on a viral nature as people created stories about themselves, their businesses, and their interests all easily found on Google.

This is what Sonya posted which got us all off and running.

As soon as I saw the video my reaction was, "Wow that's COOL!" I want to make one! And of course I followed the information to the free program to make one, or two, okay maybe three of my own!

Here's my favorite!

But then my next question was...okay very cool, here's my 35 seconds of fame but how can I use it? Well here are just a few ideas I came up with:
  1. Intro to other YouTube videos for your company or brand
  2. Add it to an email you are sending to introduce yourself or your business
  3. Use it as part of an overall email marketing campaign
  4. Punch some life into a static website
  5. It's fun at parties "Hey look at me..."
Okay so these are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but how would you use it?

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My Twitter Stream: One Long Game Of Foursquare

My local twitter stream is turning into one big foursquare stream....

The other day a friend of mine said, now you have an iphone it's your obligation to use every form of social media out there. I know she was totally kidding, but I do think that this foursquare is a bit over kill.

I used to go to my twitter stream to look for great articles, news happening, and to have a few conversations. But now it seems like the majority of what I see is, "I'm here, I'm there...."

As of today I'm still a 4 square hold out. I don't get the thrill... if I want to let you know where I am I can without logging in on 4 square and I don't need to tell you where I am 6 times a day.

And if I did, I'd be mayor of my couch as I sit here working.

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The Three Rules of Bartending: Two Easily Apply To Social Networking

There are three rules to Bartending. Don't talk about politics, don't talk about sports, and don't talk about religion.

Back in my previous life as a bartender, before I traveled around the world and then landed in real estate, these three rules were golden. When your life depends on tips from customers the last thing you want to do is to alienate someone. Inevitably people at the bar were going to talk about these things. But any good bartender knows, these are three taboo topics you don't want to get involved in, especially if you are going to take the opposite viewpoint.

IF you are going to break this rule, sports is the safest rule to break as it has the least "values" rooted emotions attached to the subject out of the big three. (But don't get me wrong it is still a highly volatile topic for some)

Now of course there's always the option to pick whichever favored party, belief, or team the group is talking about but then you have two problems. One; usually there is always a debate going on so inevitably you will disgruntle someone. And two; if you have integrity you can't just step in on the other side of your own belief system just to make a little extra cash.

I think in social networking (now this is just my opinion and some may share it and some may chuck it) one should be very introspective when deciding to express political or religious views. If your purpose for social networking is to gain clients and build a community around your brand, product, services or goods then you may want to be aware that your publicly expressed views could cost you business.

If your brand is your politics or religion then that's a completely different story. You are trying to only find like minded people to share your views and opinions so then you are using social media absolutely correctly in that sense. But if it's not...then you may close off a whole segment of the population who otherwise may have been interested in what you are selling.

Unless your goal is to only sell and retain a clientele that conforms to your political and religious views, you may want to think twice about expressing them in public forums.

I reserve these types of discussions and debates for friends. Not colleagues and not potential clients. Though I've been known to get into these kinds of debates with total strangers in far flung countries, but I wasn't trying to sell anything. A friend usually will forgive you for not sharing their beliefs, the rest could cost you a sale.

You've already got a lot of things to juggle in order to be successful in the current economy, why add something else?

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Slow Economy Shouldn't Equal Slow Response Time

Just answer the phone. Just send an email!

Do you ever get frustrated when you aren't getting quick answers to your questions?

Well think of how your customers feel when the same thing happens to them.

Do you know why, as an online sales consultant, I have so many people thanking me for my quick response to their questions? It's because I do just that... I RESPOND! It's an interesting world we live in. Everything is break neck speed instant gratification. The internet and our mobile society have made it so easy to get quick answers.

But sometimes, just sometimes, you can't find what you are looking for and you need someone to tell you over the phone or in an email.

If you have to wait too long you lose interest and move on to the next person who might be able to answer your question. Does that sound familiar?

If you are like that what makes you think your customers aren't. Yet time and again, I am either shopping businesses, or just plain need information for what I'm working on, and a common theme runs through. Lack of customer service. Lack of attention to the client inquiry. If you don't hook 'em on the inquiry, why do you think they are going to want to do business with you?
And did I mention personal response?

An auto responder is only okay if you are using it to tell people you will be back with them shortly with a more detailed response to their question....and you really do get back to them with a more detailed response to their question! This folks is customer service. If your competition isn't paying attention you'll be able to one up them and win business.

The common mantra in business today seems to be slow economy. Slow economy shouldn't equal slow response.

You need to service the people who are still willing to play. That should mean that if you have fewer prospects, you are treating them all like gold as they walk through your virtual doors. Or pick up a phone to inquire about your goods and services.

If no one else is responding quickly all you have to do is respond and you'll have a much higher likelihood of gaining the business. Doesn't seem like a costly business plan now does it?

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