I was at the Bon Jovi concert on Saturday night (with what felt like a ‘bazillion’ other people!). At one point just before singing one of their signature power ballads JBJ asked the crowd “anyone who has one of those camera phones can you please help us light up the stadium”.

What happened after that was amazing. One bazillion (Ok maybe a few less than that) camera phones lit up ANZ stadium.

These are all your customers.

They are on social every day (even while at rock concerts, the row in front of me did more facebooking than watching the stage!) and they are MOBILE. And there are lots of them and the number is only going to grow. I think from a marketers point of view, this picture definitely tells a thousand words……if your website and other bits and pieces aren’t built for mobile you definitely need to look at this as a goal next year…..!

Productivity Tips from history’s greatest thinkers

I came across this great article yesterday in “The week” with 25 productivity tips from history’s greatest thinkers. I’m not sure about “thinkers”, the article is mostly about writers and creative types, so naturally I was intrigued.

As some people may know, I’ve just finished delivering 12 online CPD modules for the Online Effective Time Management Course. Productivity is one of my ‘pet’ subjects, along with all the cliche’s that go with it, (including the ones about amphibians!)

Anyway here are a few of my favourites:

Agatha Christie never owned a desk. She wrote her 80 novels, 19 plays, and numerous other works wherever she could sit down. (They say to make sure a meeting is over and done with in as short a time as possible to keep everyone standing too!)

When composer Igor Stravinsky felt blocked, he’d stand on his head to clear his mind. (Well known yoga position)

Sometimes focusing is the issue. While writing The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen worked at his computer wearing earplugs, earmuffs and a blindfold. (Exactly why Microsoft et al created “distraction free writing” views on word processing software)

To read the full article click here.

‘twerk’ and ‘selfie’ added to Oxford Online Dictionary

Hands up anyone who had to look up the word ‘twerk’ the other day after the Miley performance on the VMA’s ? C’mon, admit it, if you’re my vintage, you probably did.

Acknowledging to myself that this would be ‘at my own peril’ I opened up Google and gingerly typed in the phrase ‘what is twerking?’ Not that I would probably need these terms in my line of work, but you never know.

A couple of days ago, the search result was a matter-of-fact video demo, which I must admit cleared things up significantly for me.

Thankfully now, I see now that the Oxford Online has added ‘twerking’ and ‘selfie’ and a heap of other new terms to help us oldies out. And really great is that they have also helped us out with definitions for some other non-obvious expressions like:

  • derp (happens all the time)
  • me time (Kath Day-Knight reference?)
  • BYOD (Bring your own device)
  • FOMO (see if you can guess that one)
  • omnishambles (my personal favourite!)

Anyway, if you’re still in any doubt about what ‘twerking’ is then click here for a bit of a giggle. It’s Morgan Freeman on the news yesterday, he was kind of ‘punked’ into reading the definition for viewers. And then there is’s definition:

twerking: v. you’ll know it when you see it.

Now, what did Michael McLure say? “Back t’werk.”

Should you lose the logo?

Are you guilty of just handing over the bottle of ‘corporate branded plonk’ when it’s time to say thank you to your owner or vendor? Last month I took a look at the alternatives for the August issue of Sold Magazine.

Let me start by saying I am all for sending a thank you gift to a customer once you have completed a transaction, along with a nice little handwritten thank you note, of course, that is both personal and heartfelt. It lets the client know you care, sets you apart from a crowd, and if you get it right creates a memorable moment for the recipient.

It’s hard to imagine any thank you gift going down like the proverbial lead balloon. But in my initial research for this article I came across a piece on from December 2012, which revealed most agents still get it wrong.

“Dodgy presents have included toilet paper, tool boxes, Christmas decorations, expired biscuits, kitsch salt grinders and other kitchenware – complete with corporate logos – and agency-labelled wine,” says the author. “In one instance, a buyer received a ‘one-year home warranty’ from their agent.”

What the… ? Let me see the fine print on that one!

The survey mentioned in the article also found that 32 per cent of those surveyed received wine, 17 per cent a food hamper, and 12 per cent were given merchandise from their agent’s firm. Some of the less well-received thank you gifts included a picture of the house, framed and dated with the buyer’s name inscribed on a plaque, a chocolate house with hand-made chocolates, a stainless steel kitchen pasta drainer filled with food and a bottle of wine, tea towel and wooden spoon.”

Whatever happened to ‘It’s the thought that counts’? The trouble with the items that have been mentioned above is possibly that there is no real thought involved. The stuff with your logo on it is not about them; it’s about you.

So what makes a good gift? It’s more complicated than it looks. We live in a multicultural society where not everyone drinks a nice champers, not to mention diets and food allergies that make sweets a big no-no. I guess what I’m saying is that its horses for courses and the purpose of this column (both now and in the future) will be to bring you some new and fresh ideas on some of the more tired traditions.

So what makes a good gift? I asked our Facebook fans the question and the first response I received was – wait for it – ‘a machete’ (this from one of our good friends and past contributors, Tiron Manning).

That was unexpected. ‘A what?!’

“Actually,” he said, “The client said it was the most thoughtful and practical present he had ever received. They had just bought acreage with thickets of bamboo everywhere. A machete was the only tool that could do the job of clearing it. Therefore it’s not about the bubbles or chocolates, it really is the thought that counts.”

Here are the top five most ‘liked’ responses from our Facebook page.

  1. Voucher for Hire a Hubby was my trade mark move in thank you. Two hours to hang the paintings, change washers, general handyman stuff. For vendors we paid for a cleaner to come, or weekly flower during campaign. Both worked well – James Dawkins.
  2. Gift voucher from JB Hifi – Sue Walker.
  3. Scented candles and a gift voucher from a furniture shop – Lorna Angell.
  4. Dinner for two at my vendors favourite restaurant – Julie Rayner.
  5. A nice clock – what better way to be remembered, and a talking point for their friends! – Tania Ruki

While I think these are all great responses (and I have to say I particularly like the Hire a Hubby and the cleaner idea from James), here’s one I’d like to throw into the mix.

Get online to Kikki K or somewhere like that and order a bunch of ‘takeaway’ organisers (approx. $29.95). Next time you are letterbox dropping, duck into the local takeaways and restaurants and introduce yourself. Ask for a bunch of menus from each of them and make sure you tell them what you’re up to. Maybe go one step further and see if they will give you some discount vouchers. Then go back to the office and make up packs using the brochures, vouchers, and the nice folders. You can bet that people who are moving are always going to need a takeaway menu or two. It’s a gift that’s practical and useful and allows you to build some great relationships with local businesses along the way. If you want to get really keen leave a couple of personal reviews as well, for example, “The salt and pepper squid at this place is amazing,” or “this one is great for the kids.”

Then leave your business card – that’s enough logo for any thank you gift!

a bit more listing ‘bling’

Pittsburgh Homes at a Glance - Infographic Example

Pittsburgh Homes at a Glance – Infographic Example

Just a little Monday morning tip that I learned last week from the guys at I watch their Wednesday night ‘Water Cooler’ show (which is Thursday morning usually for me) when I can, because its usually full of great marketing ideas for agents. But what else would you expect from Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin?

Anyhow, the topic for discussion last week was some new apps, and admittedly there were a bunch that were only relevant to the US market. But my ears pricked up a bit when they started talking about creating infographics.

Who doesn’t love a good infographic these days – they get important messages across in a clear, uncluttered way, they are fun to read, and they are visually appealing if well illustrated.

However, a few times when I’ve thought about creating one, I’ve felt a bit intimidated as I thought they were generally the domain of really talented designers and marketers, plus I’ve always thought they would cost a fortune.

Not true anymore.

The service is called “Piktochart”, and it’s FREE for the standard templates. And it’s a drag and drop editor.

So all you really need to do is go grab those RP Data or Price finder reports, note down the latest stats in your area, grab some of your own listing stats and get cracking. You could even create yourself a personal profile with the number of homes that you’ve listed or sold, auction clearance rates, awards, etc as a little something to leave behind which would be a real differentiator from the competition.

And don’t forget to give the Water Cooler show a go either. You never know when you are going to pick up one of these gems!

Haiku ‘Hi-Five’

Everyone knows I love a good ‘purple cow’ in Real Estate Marketing and here is an app that I have completely fallen in love with. Haiku Deck.

I’ve never been a fan of Powerpoint. Nor have I ever been a fan of bullet points. I’ve fallen asleep to so many of them it’s not funny. I’ve snorted (albeit quietly!) at the really bad clip art. In fact in my last few years of proposal and presentation coaching for PwC, there was never a powerpoint deck in sight. Why? Because unless it’s done really well, it can actually detract from the message itself.

But what if it looked beautiful, enhanced the message, was easy to use and could help Agents win listings? And the best part is it’s a free app for iPad.

There are so many things that you can do with this app, including listing presentations, presenting your core values, market updates, sharing other information and more. You’ll find more inspiration and real estate case studies here on Haiku Deck’s blog and more case studies on Pinterest.

You might also like this article on how a colorado realtor used Haiku deck to land a 1.4m listing – just by presenting the information really clearly.

And of course, if that’s not enough, here are some ideas on spicing up your blog, with a deck or two.

I know what I’m going to be playing with over the weekend!

Media Connections Interview

I was recently interviewed by Media Connections for their directory. I agreed to it, in a way, to see what it felt like to be the interviewee, rather than the interviewer.

It was a great experience and taught me that sometimes being on the other side of the fence is not as easy as it looks!

The full interview is here:

PS. It’s never been a secret who my hero is!

Shoe Money

I did study Economics and Business Management at University, but a after a clean out of the book shelf looking for some of my old Sales Management books and this little gem fell out. “Shoe Money”.

This one was recommended to me by my Aunt (and fellow shoe lover), whilst I was in Malaysia one trip. I bought the book, and I think read it cover to cover on my flight out to Europe. This book spoke to me in a way that no economics textbook ever could. It explained, in very clear plain terms, that I understood perfectly, the justification of the purchase of any pair of shoes, at whatever price they happened to be.

“Isn’t it funny how some dollars are worth more than others? It works like dog years. Dollars spent on shoes are worth about twenty cents, whereas in household-appliance money, $1 is equal to $50. We’ll call it Shoe Money.

This is why I think nothing of spitting out $150 for a pair of sandals, but resent every cent of the $40 a new toaster is going to cost me. I’ll shop around for weeks, consulting consumer guides and making toast over a candle, before I shell out for a toaster, but I’ll buy those sandals entirely by accident when I really went out for some asparagus.

This is because, when you do your conversions , the sandals cost only $30 in Shoe Money, whereas that silly old toaster – which I can’t even wear – is going to cost $2,000 in real terms.

No matter that I will use the toaster every day of my life for the next twenty years and will wear the sandals twice, getting hideous blisters and shin splints on both occasions. Toasters are boring. They should be free.”

Maggie Alderson – Shoe Money, 1998

Although 1998 seems like it was quite a while ago, and inflation has changed the numbers somewhat, the concept (and sometimes a look in the shoe section of my wardrobe) still makes me smile.