Monday, February 21, 2011

#UsGuys - How to build Off-line Klout: A Real Estate Broker's Perspective

The #UsBlogs Week 3 theme "How Do You build Klout Off-line?" has me smiling. I have to avoid the temptation to say simply "the same way you build Klout on-line." Because what fun is that? I love the theme of SM/IRL correlation

I suppose some philosophy and examples are in order.  I tied real estate experience in to my article for the #UsBlogs Week 2 Theme: Leadership in the 21st Century. Figure I might stick with that trend for this article.
  1. Introduction - A Real Estate Broker's Take on How to Build Off-line Klout
  2. Passion - Believe in What You Do
  3. Method - Do What You Do Well
  4. Method Part 1- Accomplish Multi-Marketing Goals in Every Task
  5. Method Part 2- Participate in Local Business Initiatives
  6. Method Part 3 - Keep Team Building
  7. Method Part 4- Encourage and Nurture Referral Network
  8. KloutInspire Others to Believe in You and What You Do
  9. Conclusion - Bringing Off-line and On-line Klout in Harmony
  10. Recipe for the Never-Ending Feast
  11. #UsBlogs Week 3 Round-up - More Articles from #UsGuys

A Real Estate Broker's Take on How to Build Off-line Klout

Don't be a Chump--Smile!
Klout/clout simply put is influence and force. To be forceful and influential off-line you need to espouse a certain attitude (Passion) and perform tasks a certain way (Method) The work you do then is both with yourself and with others. The result can be highly virtuous.

Real estate agency is an entrepreneurial enterprise. Though a good company pays for branding and lead generation, an individual agent is still responsible for his own product knowledge, branding, lead generation, account management, and network building. There is so much work that could be done on any given day, an agent could easily log 80-100 hours a week without noticing the passage of time. If the agent works virtuously, is passion-driven and has a practice in place that leads to organic business growth, then Klout necessarily follows his actions.

However, the governance of the agent's mind/mentality must always be considered before the agent launches out into the market. For from the first moment of launch, the agent is perceived in the minds' of his prospects and colleagues. How he is perceived determines whether or not he is an influencer of their mentality and their actions.

The philosophy breaks down to 3 simple key elements that compromise any day in the life of a Real Estate broker:
  1. Passion
  2. Method
  3. Klout
Passion fuels Method and Method fuels Klout. What comes out of Klout feeds back to the Passion.


Believe in What You Do

The Mind can subordinate anything - Bruce Lee
80-100 hours a week. Am I kidding? No, not all agents pound it like that. But there are many who do and its hard not to be part of this many--all you have to do is want it. You start the day as early as possible. Never like punching a clock, always trying to be the first to the market. Driving from your house to your office, everything you see from Point A to Point B is your office. You are working even during the morning commute. Nights and Weekends also have many work hours  whether you conduct a late showing or listing appointment, or simply network a social event--you are still working.

With all these hours before you each week, it is important to believe in what it is you do. So your mentality must be governed. You must convince yourself of your value and purpose and believe in it:
  1. This belief is your shield that protects you from being jaded.
  2. If you do not believe in what you do, your words come out flat, you are unconvincing and for the lack of awe in your display you will be marginalized and second-cast to any agent who has passion.
  3. Passion keeps you reaching for the Extra:  willing to take the extra phone call and not let it go to voice mail, to preview that extra property so you know just a little more than the next guy, to get that extra appointment in your schedule for the business and access to all the opportunities that lead from each point of contact.
Bring It!
Passion is a magic maker in any position in any industry. Passion  gives one the ability  to transform ordinary daily tasks into magnificent balls of lightning. But whereas Real Estate is entrepreneurial, and commission-based, Passion also is the life blood of the enterprise. Without Passion, your enterprise runs dry.

So you ask yourself first this question: What Do I Believe I Do as a Real Estate Broker? And you answer:
  1. I believe I am a problem solver. A solutions expert--every problem has a solution.
  2. I believe I am a doctor. Tell me where it hurts, I fix it.
  3. I believe I am Jiminy Cricket. A voice inside your head.
  4. I believe I am Samurai. Defend your property value at all costs.
  5. I believe I am the Best. I repeat to myself in the mirror before I leave my house, "I am the best. No one can do what I do. No one is more constant. This market needs me." 
  6. And then off I go
Do What You Do Well

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie
destroyed his competition because his methods were better than theirs. He paid no attention to profit. He focused all his energy on reducing the cost of delivering steel to the market. He evolved significantly superior methods for manufacture. And while his competitors offered steel at rates exceeding $100/ton, Carnegie's methods afforded him the luxury to offer $14/ton--and it was superior steel. No one could compete. If Carnegie Steel had been used on the Titanic, it would still be afloat today because a virtuous result of one of Carnegie's methods was the elimination of slag from his steel.

Choosing the right method then and continuously improving it increases the ROI of your Passion Energy because the results are so compelling you are inspired by your own work to pour more energy into it. You are soon positioned as a force within your market. A force no competitor can reckon with. There are proven/improving sales methods and marketing methods for real estate brokers. These methods organize the daily objectives associated with an agent's sales and marketing strategy.

I can't pour too much Fizzy Lifting Drink into this writing because that would be dangerous. But I can offer you an example of a Sales and Marketing Method. This Method has Four Parts.

Method Part 1 - Accomplish Multi-Marketing Goals in Every Task
Product Knowledge, Branding, Lead Generation

Make Your Deals by Design, Not Accident
Here's one example taken from very a simple task an agent must perform every day, Property Previewing.

When the agent drives from Point A to Point B, he faces thousands of opportunities along the way. Agent drives to the Point B to acquire Product Knowledge, his car displays signage with company logo and agent phone number, Branding and Lead Generation.

Along the way, his eyes are wide for Property Signs of any kind, Product Knowledge, when he sees a "For Rent" or "For Sale Sign" he calls that number, Product Knowledge, Branding and Lead Generation.

If he gets an inbound phone call--it doesn't matter who is calling or what they want. He answers and gives a high charged and excited tone announcing, "Busy, busy, busy---looking at properties right now in Washington Square. Where are you living?" And whoever it was that called this agent, for whatever their  original reason, they have just been turned into a prospect, Branding and Lead Generation.

The agent gets to the property looking like he knows exactly what he's doing, Branding. He previews and photos property, Product Knowledge, and if anyone happens across his way, inside or out of the property, and asks what he's doing or even looks interested or even just looks at him or even is not looking at him but immersed in listening to music while smoking a J singing along and laughing and looking awfully interested in something else--whoever anyone is becomes a prospect, Branding and Lead Generation.

Seize the Day Like a Renaissance Man
Before the agent leaves the property, he leaves behind, in both the entry and within the unit, a list of properties, Product Knowledge, and his business card, Branding and Lead Generation.

He repeats this process at least 100 times a week because if he doesn't, he's a useless chump and should just get a job somewhere that will pay hourly.

He applies this property previewing method not just to his own listings, but to all other agents  as well when he goes to Open House or Broker Tour showings. Because at these venues there is more Product Knowledge, Branding and Lead Generation opportunity. Bonus: At Broker Tours he has an additional opportunity to recruit that listing agent.

Method Part 2
- Participate in Local Business Initiatives

You, Me, Us

Get Involved
Local business operatives, for the most part, know they have to share. Clan mentality asserts itself. A pipeline built out of only advertising dollars is a weak pipeline. A pipeline that includes referrals from within a business-friend network is virtuous because it is a "lighter pipeline." That is, it yields the same revenue, but costs less to produce.

To create such a pipeline, a real estate broker must launch out into local business and participate in its initiatives. Community service is an important act. Charity events as well. But pre-arranged trade network meet-ups are the king's gold. Folks representing everything from acupuncture therapy to tax return specialties go to these events. They are prospects in and of themselves, but its their market exposure that interests you most: to get a piece of their network.

So it follows you need a method for operating these rooms. Its a very social interaction, the fella with the best social skills gets remembered and referred to later on. I think effective conversational dogma follow as: You. Me. Us.

You started off enticing the prospect to talk about themselves, their business, their customer base. They get to speak first, which they like. You get to learn first, which you should like. If you're paying attention, you will hear exactly how to present yourself  when its your turn to speak about your business. Then you make sure to liken your business to theirs, if you can,. Tell a story that involves their industry or is similar to a story they told. All this while you are making sure they know what it is you do.

Then you tie yourselves together (Us) your business and theirs, your past, present and future with theirs. You ask for their card, you give them yours, and you say: Let's keep each other in mind when we are talking to our clients.

There is Passion in you at these events. There is Method. Neither go un-noticed.

Method Part 3 - Keep Team Building
If you have all the answers, everyone comes to you

Who said its ALL about the Facilitator?
Out of driving around all day and networking at events all night and doing deals in between, comes a very strong sense of Who's Who around here. Real Estate Brokers are intelligence operatives as much as they are anything else. In addition to knowing the market value of a 3-family home in a certain part of town, it also helps to know who are good accountants, appraisers, attorneys, cleaners, contractors, financial planners, locksmiths, mortgage specialists, property managers, window repair, and oooh....zoning board members! Helps to know everyone. And among everyone who the most reliable are.

If you keep a team, which is just a list of names and numbers associated with each trade and some notes on each operative, you can be the guru everyone comes to for  real estate-related information. Being a trusted source of information, in the flesh, will make you more valuable and important than even Google or Yelp. Because while these sites feature information with reviews and such, there is truly no beating the In the Flesh factor. Plus, you are cooler than Google and Yelp--you can tell jokes! Plus, a person can detect in your voice the legitimacy of your information better than they can read it off a website. So take advantage of this. You will get asked. Have the answers ready.

Method Part 4
- Encourage and Nurture Referral Network

To Enjoy the wealth, Keep it in Circulation

Smile On Together
So your marketing method is genius. Every local operative knows it. Your team is magnificent. What has this all be leading to? The Network! But a pipeline needs maintenance. Maintenance for a human pipeline requires only contact. Regular email correspondence is important, you should have a preexisting email schedule to facilitate your message timing. But grabbing coffee is ultimate goal of your email or phone contacts with the members of your network. And beyond coffee are invites to group meet-ups or office parties or community service events.

Get your folks out of their offices and in your good company. Have the one-on-one with them. And bring back the You-Me-Us dialogue. Do this for all the folks in your network. The ones you sent business to. The ones who sent business to you. And the ones who haven't reciprocated yet.

With positive passionate energy in your display, you will exemplify your statement that business is good, a statement you should be making all day all night.  Including your business network in your social network sustains trust and makes your contacts feel like partners. Which they are. Anyone who works the market beside you is your partner.

By keeping you and your brand fresh in their mind, in one-on-one fashion, you leverage personality to increase business. You won't ever have to ask for the referral, because your business practice is now virtuous enough to guarantee it. And the upshot is you keep local wealth in circulation so that you and your network can enjoy being the conduits through which the circulation flows.

So that's Passion and Method. What do you get when you combine them? That's right, you get Klout.

Klout: Inspire Others to Believe in You and What You Do
Be the Force and the Influence Follows

Inspiration is Influence: They Will Come to You
Its an every second of every day affair. What you tell yourself is what you tell the world around you. You need the passion to create the drive. You need the method to harness and magnify its energies. And you need the partners around you to be doing the same. Focus on yourself first. Exemplify right and virtuous action. Get your example out into the local market.

Your atoms exhibit the same amount of energy whether you are at rest or in motion. Atomically speaking, it doesn't matter what you do. Klout-wise defies the atom. No one is influenced by inaction. Neither matter nor energy change direction without sufficient force. What is it that you want to do? Know that and do it. Every second of every day. You will be noticed. Especially in Real Estate.

My first broker had this funny statement he repeated maybe 20 times a day: "Nobody does anything." Unfortunately there was sufficient reason for his statement to exist. When co-broking with external agents or liaising across professional lines, your raft is roped to theirs. Quite often you may find the other party does not paddle as hard as you. Perhaps that is a default trait of people, maybe atomically speaking. Certainly it is a trait displayed by those who either lack passion or method or both.

That broker did not say "Nobody does anything" merely in with his hands in pockets. He said  it to acknowledge it, and by doing so, he pointed toward a glowing job opportunity. Want to be gold in real estate? Be able to say "I do something every second of every day." The sheer juxtaposition of your energy output beside your competitor's output gets noticed for the disparity, you get chosen.
The American People Love Pie
I like dealing in local markets. Its assuring to me to know that every year the market share is the same size. That its only a pie eating contest. How much pie will I eat this year? All I have to do is out eat my competitors. They give you prizes for that. Prizes mean business. Business means money. Money means an awfully convincing look in your eye and  an aura in your display when you speak to anyone, whether they do anything or not. And this aura means Klout.

Go and do likewise, Ladies and Gents.


Bringing Off-line and On-line Klout in Tune

Though it may be comprised by global membership, treat your on-line network as though it were all part of the same Local Business. In local business, the operatives who work together realize they probably won't become billionaires. Maybe not multi-millionaires. That maybe millionaire status is possible. But most important is loving each day and feeling primed and ready all the time---feeling like a billionaire.

This does not have to be an individual pursuit. What is most important to local operatives who work together is, like it was for the multi-billionaire Carnegie, to cut the cost of doing business. To reduce the cost of generating leads. To increase the value (size and activity a.k.a. performance) of one's network. To create a business of virtue. Then you are happy and in love with what you do, which in turns feeds your passion. Which keeps your energy drive alive like a fusion reactor. Like the sun.

We're not talking nuclear physics though. We're talking dinner table. We're talking about a group of people who like and respect each other enough to drop business on each other's plate. We're talking about a never-ending feast!

Recipe for the Never-Ending Feast
  • Passion + Method = Klout
  • Klout + Performance = Virtue
  • Virtue + Network = All The Love Any Day Can Hold
  • Love + Time/Space = Passion 
Welcome to the Feast! I'm you're host, Dionysus.


Kase Study on Klout – The Highest Lama
by Mark Robertson. @markosul
I Build For Life by Stephen Caggiano. @stephencaggiano
Offline Klout: I Know The Source by Libby Baker Sweiger. @libbytalks
Measuring Reality: 4 Game Changer Trends For 2011 by Nick Kellet. @nickkellet
You ‘Da Man! by Gaby O’Rourke. @gabyorourke
Klout Doesn’t Measure What Really Matters by Margie Clayman. @margieclayman
Offline Klout – Secret Algorithms Revealed by Jonathan Brewer. @houseofbrew
The One Thing Klout Is Not by Thomas Moradpour. @tommoradpour
Can Your Klout Score Get You a Job? by Mark. @youternmark
Building Offline Clout Not Klout by Todd Jordan. @tojosan
In The Klout World by Rabab Khan. @rababkhan
From The Mouth Of Babes by Josepf Haslam. @josepf
T-shaped On Twitter And In Life by Lex Bradshaw-Zanger. @lexbz
Sorry, I’m Not On Facebook by Allie Walker. @NYC_allie
Under The Influence by Karen Lund. @karen5lund
Making Connections: Real Life Edition by Patrick Prothe. @pprothe
Offline Influence Now Measured Online by Lewis Poretz. @lewisporetz
The Klout Myth And Living Above The Influence by Dan Perez. @danperezfilms
Klout In The Cracker Jack Box by Matthew Browne. @matthewliberty
What Is Your Influence Report Card by Heidi Cohen. @heidicohen


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