Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven

Hometown Haven

“Communities work better (students perform better, crime rates are lower, kids are safer, people live longer) when neighbors know one another better. Knowing your neighbor on a first-name basis…is a surprisingly effective first step.”
Robert Putnam, Harvard Public Policy Professor and author of Bowling Alone

While advancements in technology have made it possible for us to connect with people from around the world, numerous studies show that it has led to a decline in face-to-face interactions.1

Places where we used to strike up casual conversations—such as a doctor’s office waiting room, bus stop or grocery line—are now filled with people looking at their smart phones, barely acknowledging those around them.

Even many families dining together or relaxing in the evenings can be caught spending more time focused on screens than each other. Is it any surprise that we’ve experienced a steady decline in community involvement?

In his book Bowling Alone, Harvard Public Policy Professor Robert Putnam “draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often.”2

How is this shift impacting our overall well being? A study by Oregon Health & Science University researchers found that having limited face-to-face social contact nearly doubles an individual’s risk of depression.3

CONNECTING WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

If you’re considering a move to a new city or neighborhood, you may be worried about replacing the comfort and support of family and friends you’ll leave behind. Or perhaps you have completed a move but would like to meet more people, build friendships and strengthen your support system.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 ways you can utilize technology to foster in-person connections with your neighbors, make friends and get engaged in your local community.

  1. JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S SOCIAL NETWORK

A growing number of neighborhoods are utilizing private social networks like U.S.-based Nextdoor and Canadian-based GoNeighbour. These platforms are designed specifically to connect neighbors and include an address verification process.

Residents post about a variety of topics, including neighborhood news, recommendations for local businesses, lost pets, etc. These platforms are a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood, but don’t just use them to connect virtually. Extend an invitation to your neighbors to attend an in-person event, such as a park playdate for families, an informal soccer game or a potluck block party.

  1. ATTEND A PLACE OF WORSHIP

If you have a religious affiliation, joining a local place of worship is great way to meet people and get involved in your community. Aside from attending services, most religious institutions also host extracurricular activities to foster fellowship amongst the congregation.

Whether you are looking to join a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, there are a variety of online resources available to help you find a match in your area, including:

To make the most of your affiliation, look for opportunities to meet in smaller group settings. It’s a great way to form interpersonal relationships with people who share your beliefs and values.

  1. FIND AN INTEREST GROUP

Whatever your favorite hobby or pastime, you’re guaranteed to meet people who share your interests when you join an interest group!

The website Meetup.com has over 32 million members in 288,000 groups in 182 countries. You can search for a group in your area that appeals to you … from book clubs to running groups to professional networking, they have it all.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can start your own group for a monthly fee. The site makes it easy to ask (or require) members to pitch in to cover the cost. It also enables you to promote a corporate sponsor on your page, so you may be able to find a local business to cover the cost.

Most people who join Meetup are there for the same reason you are … to meet people who share their interests. So it’s a great place to make like-minded friends in your community.

  1. LEND A HAND

Volunteering your time and talents is another good way to get engaged in your community and meet those who share a similar mission.

Most nonprofit organizations rely heavily on volunteers. Find one with a cause you’re passionate about by visiting VolunteerMatch.

You can search by cause, location and keywords, and filter your results to include opportunities that are suitable for kids, seniors or groups. Another option is to search for volunteer positions that require specialized skills. Perhaps you’re musical or maybe you’re good with computers. There could be an organization in your area that needs your talents or skills.

Lotsa Helping Hands is another site focused on connecting volunteers with those in need. Members can request help or search for opportunities to assist others in their area. Most of the volunteer opportunities involve aiding neighbors who are ill or elderly by delivering meals, offering rides to appointments or just stopping by for a visit. This can be a great way to make a direct impact on your neighbors who need a helping hand!

  1. TAKE A CLASS

Taking a class is a wonderful way to develop a skill while meeting people who share your interests and passion for learning.

Whether you want to brush up on your Spanish, finish your novel, or learn how to tango, most community colleges offer inexpensive, non-credit classes on a variety of topics.

And if you are pursuing a degree, forego taking your courses online. Opt for the traditional route instead. There’s no substitute for being part of a live community of your peers.

To search for a community college in your area, visit the American Association of Community Colleges or SchoolsInCanada.com.

  1. ATTEND AN EVENT

Attending a live event is another way to engage with members of your community. From festivals to fundraisers to retreats, Eventbrite is a great place to search for events in your area. You can filter your search by category, event type, date and price to find something that fits your interests, schedule and budget.

Be strategic about the type of event you choose. For example, while attending a large festival might be a fun way to feel engaged with your community, it might also be harder to meet people. A retreat or a networking event may offer more opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

  1. SHARE YOUR STUFF

Everyone’s talking about the rise of the “sharing economy” with the popularity of Uber and Airbnb. But there’s also been a rise in “sharing communities,” which facilitate the free exchange of goods among neighbors to reduce consumption and keep usable items out of landfills.

Nonprofit groups like The Freecycle Network are made up of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. Members can post “offers” of free items or “wanted” items they need.

The company Peerby has a similar goal of reducing consumption by encouraging neighbors to lend and borrow items they don’t often use. For example, you can offer to share your blender, rake or ladder. Maybe you need to borrow a drill, cake pan or moving trolley. Peerby enables you to request items to borrow from your neighbors and encourages you to register items you are willing to lend.

The Little Free Library is another innovative way neighbors are participating in a sharing community. Stewards build or purchase a box to house the library and fill it with books they are willing to give away. The library is usually placed in their front yard or in a public outdoor space. Visitors are encouraged to take a book they’d like to read, and in exchange leave a book for someone else to enjoy. With over 60,000 libraries in 80 countries, the organization estimates millions of books are exchanged annually among neighbors.

  1. SUPPORT A COMMUNITY GARDEN

 Community gardens have become increasingly popular in both urban and rural areas across North America. Not only do they beautify a neighborhood, they also foster community, encourage self-reliance, reduce family food budgets, conserve resources, and provide opportunities for recreation and exercise.

The mission of the American Community Gardening Association is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada. The organization’s website enables you to search for existing community gardens in your area. If there isn’t one nearby, you might considering starting one. The site provides helpful tips and resources for organizing a garden in your neighborhood.

  1. CARPOOL WITH A COWORKER

In the spirit of joining a “sharing community,” carpooling offers many similar benefits. It presents an opportunity to form a bond with coworkers and/or neighbors during your daily commute. Additionally, you can save money on gas, reduce wear-and-tear on your vehicle, lower carbon emissions, and in many cities reduce your commute time by taking advantage of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) travel lanes.

The success of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft has spurred a new wave of carpooling websites and apps that aim to revolutionize the way we commute by making it easier and more convenient to carpool. While many of these are still in their infancy stages, they are expanding into new markets and improving functionality at a rapid pace.

Kangaride Local, Scoop and Waze Carpool are just a few examples, and more are popping up every day. They are currently available in limited markets throughout the United States and Canada, but are becoming prevalent in more cities as residents opt-in. Check to see if any of these are available in your local area.

Alternatively, you can try posting on your neighborhood’s social network to see if one or more of your neighbors are commuting to a nearby location. Take turns driving and start benefiting from all that carpooling has to offer!

  1. PARTICIPATE IN WORLD NEIGHBORS DAY

The organizers behind World Neighbors Day promote it as “an invitation to share a moment with your neighbors, to get to know each other better and develop a real sense of community.”

In Canada it’s held on the second Saturday in June, and in the United States it’s held on the third Sunday in September. Participants are encouraged to organize gatherings with their neighbors to build relationships that “form the fabric of our communities.”

You can participate by attending or organizing a gathering in your neighborhood. Examples include: a block party, outdoor movie screening, book exchange, charity bake sale, volleyball game, etc. Anything that brings neighbors together in a fun and relaxed setting is a good choice!

Gatherings can be promoted through your neighborhood’s social media network, blog or listserv, or you can go the old-fashioned route and hand out flyers door-to-door. Whatever you do, be sure to make your gathering inclusive and welcoming to all.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

 As with anything in life, you will get out what you put in. It can take time to build lasting and meaningful friendships with your neighbors, but the effort you make is likely to pay off tenfold.

The tried-and-true way to make friends, expand your circle, grow your support system and get engaged in your community? Be a good neighbor yourself.

What are the best ways you’ve found to meet and engage with your neighbors? Share your success stories or challenges in the comments below!

Sources:

  1. Lengacher, L. (2015) Mobile Technology: Its Effect on Face-to-Face Communication and Interpersonal Interaction. Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences –  
    http://www.kon.org/urc/v14/lengacher.html
  2. Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster –
    http://bowlingalone.com/
  3. Bergland, C. (2015 October 5) Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression. Psychology Today
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201510/face-face-social-contact-reduces-risk-depression

Meet Joe Girard–World’s #1 Retail Salesperson

I published this blog 8 years ago on my personal site, and and have never forgotten the incredible success Joe Girard had in retail sales.  How many different ways you can apply these lessons to real estate sales?

Joe GirardJoe Girard figured out—quickly I might add—that personal branding is what sets the champions apart.  If you’re like me, you take pleasure in learning about and applying people’s personal success stories.  Please enjoy this shortened (you can thank me later) edit of an April, 2008 blog by Mike Reining about this amazing sales professional.

For over 12 years in a row, Joe Girard was the #1 retail salesperson in the world and he still holds the world record today.

On average, he used to sell 6 cars per day!

I like you.

Those three words are at the core of what made Joe Girard successful.

Joe Girard did not get into selling right away.  Whenever someone came into Joe’s office he would hand people an “I like you pin.”  “Even if you don’t buy, I like you… but I know you will buy.”

How did you become the world’s $1 salesperson in the toughest business in the world?

Life is a game and you gotta know what you are playing.  Whatever you do and whatever you are selling you are not selling.  You must never stop learning more about this game… what makes people tick, what makes people buy, what makes people do what they do.

Constantly strive to improve yourself. “I am never satisfied.”  If you are satisfied… then you are dead.

I watch both the smart people and the dumb people so that I can see what makes good people good, and what makes bad people bad.

“Every morning that I get up, I say that somebody is going to pay for getting me out of bed.  I love to sleep.”

“The night before tomorrow I plan my day.  You must have a plan to make sure they pay.”

“Whatever it is that you are selling… I will prove to you that you are not really selling those things.”

“What’s your secret?”

“If there is one word I detest is the word secret.  There is no secret.  If there was a secret nobody would be sharing it with you.  There are no secrets.”

“I have tried all the shortcuts to make the fast dollar but I could never do it.”

He was 1 of 42 salesmen on the showroom floor.  Everyone sold on average 5 cars a month, while Joe was selling 6 or more per day!

First you must find the job you love.  Joe says “I never worked a day in my life, I played!”

Never leave because the grass is greener on the other side.  You stay and grow like a tree and the bigger the tree gets, the more money you are going to make.  A lot of times I wanted to quit because of a problem.

But you want to know something? A problem is like a gift from God. It is your opportunity to grow stronger.

Always hang around people that can help you, successful people, people that know about the power of positive thinking.  I never want to talk to somebody unless they have something good to say.

You gotta be like a race horse.  Put on you blinders r before leaving the house so that you don’t have any distractions.  Every move you make needs to be positive.  Stay focused on your life.

A few things that will kill you:

  • Selling a few things on the side
  • Put all your focus and energy on ONE thing and you will rise and soar to the very top
  • Sneaking out to play golf. Be committed –when you eat you eat, when you work you work… do not mingle and mix them up.  Sneaking out of work means you are a loser.

Joe went through the extremes… he used to have a brown bag lunch everyday.  He never had lunch with his employees because he could not sell them anything.  He also would NEVER ever take a 2 1/2 hour lunch.  When you cheat on lunch, you cheat yourself out of success..

Joe says he once failed in business and it was because he did not focus.

How did Joe end up selling cars?

He got on the bus and did not know where to go!  He got off the bus and in front of him was a car dealership.  He walked in, and asked for a job.  The manager said he could not hire him because he had never sold a car before.  Joe said… “just give me a desk and a phone and within 2 months I will beat everyone you have on board.”

What happened then? Joe just started handling the phone but when he walked downstairs at the end of the day… he walked downstairs and there was nobody there.  All the losers had left and now he was alone with the customers.

He sold the first customer that day and the customer said “you know what Joe, I have never seen anyone beg like you.”  Joe was not afraid to get on his hands and knees and beg.

After this Joe said “I am going to climb this mountain with imaginary blinders on to always stay focused.  I don’t care if anyone laughs at me… I will always keep climbing to the top.”

Joe sold cars for 15 years.  In the first 3 years he developed a system that was driving people to his door in droves.  People outside his office were screaming to in into his door and he used to say, “the longer you have to wait… the cheaper it will get for you.

In his last 12 years… if you did not have an appointment you could not get into Joe’s office.  You could not even buy a car from Joe without an appointment!

What is the world’s greatest advertisement in the world?  It is word-of-mouth.  Why did people go to him… because Joe likes you.

“I like to look at people’s lips.  I learn more from people’s lips than from any other part of their body.”

“I am going to show you how to sell something to someone so that they will never forget your name until you are dead.”

How did he become so successful?  He had a burning desire and he always remembered where he had come from and then he just focused.  Take it slow… go easy… plan your work and work the plan.

“I am so organized it is sickening.” 

Joe Girard never had the chance to graduate from high school.  Instead, I graduated from the world’s best university called “Street University.”

When it comes to mailing people… don’t add your company name to the envelope.  What did Joe do?  He just added “I Like You” to the card.  He used to send out 16,000 envelopes a month, each containing two business cards.  Anyone that did or did not buy from him got into his mailing system.

Joe’s first card just said:

  • I like you (on outside)
  • and I wish you a happy new year.
  • Joe Girard

That’s it!  He did not do anything else!

In February

  • I like you
  • and I want to wish you a happy valentines day

Every month he is coming into your house in the mailbox.

  • In March – Happy Saint Patty’s day
  • In April – Happy Easter
  • In May – Happy Mothers Day
  • In June – Happy Fathers Day
  • In July – Happy 4th of July
  • In August – Send me a customer and I give you $50
    etc… etc…

NOTE: The beauty of his mailing system is that it is so simple!  Every year he had an artist draw up 12 cards and then send them out.  That’s all he did.  Why has no one ever created an auto-responder with simple greeting cards?  Could this be worth testing?  I sure think so!

Customers would move and he’d to get up to 50 envelopes back.  Instead of ignoring these, he would update his records… nobody could escape him.

Joe Girard: “I will burn my name in your brain.”

Joe’s secret was to get customers to come in the door.  He did not sell customers from the floor.

In his second month, Joe was the #1 sales person in the company.  You know what happened?  His manager called him into his office and said that the other salespeople were complaining that he was stealing customers.  He said that he had to let Joe go.  So, Joe got fired!

Can you believe that?  He got fired because the losers, people that could not perform were complaining.  That’s just crazy!

People ask Joe, how can you keep up and sell so many cars per month?

He started hiring people to assist him.  He ran his office like a doctors office.  He created a well tuned system that would keep him free so that he could do what he could do best.

How did you service so many?

He made a deal with a nice Italian restaurant and treated all of the people in the service department.  The mechanics loved him and took good care of Joe’s customers.  He told his customers that if they every had any problem with their car that he would take care of them right away!  Within 15-20 minutes they could walk into Joe’s office and have 3 mechanics look at their car.

What do you think they would do after this treatment?  They would tell everyone at church, at school, at home that there was nobody else like Joe Girard.

Who can you wine and dine to get to the top?  The name of the game is service, service, service!  Don’t have lunch by yourself or with your co-workers. Who can you have lunch with that can help you get to the top?  Take care of your customers, and they will take care of you.

People are sick and tired of being treated bad.

What is the most important thing a business person should do?  Market yourself!

Give everyone who comes in your card.  You gotta be like a farmer –they throw seeds all over the field.  Even when he paid his bills, he always put two cards inside.

“They call me crazy… sure I am crazy… at least people talk about me.  You gotta be crazy so that people know who you are!”

Everyone started writing about Joe Girard because of his crazy sales strategy.  This stuff works.  Put your card everywhere.

“People buy people.  That’s what people buy.”

Sell yourself and sell yourself the right way.  That’s the game we play.  I want you to be #1.

“I have never sold a car in my life.  I sold Joe Girard.”

The moment we get out of bed we are all salespeople.  We sell people to love us, to trust us, and to buy from us.  And once you have sold someone you have to service your customer.  You know what happens when you sell yourself to your husband and wife and stop selling and servicing?  You end up in divorce.

“People quit selling after they get what they want. So what I am trying to tell you is that the sale begins after the sale.  Anyone can sell something to someone one time.  The key is to get people to come back to you.”

After selling a customer Joe used to say “I am not excited about selling you.  You know what will excite me is if you come back from me a second time.”

Always compliment people on buying from you and compliment them for making a really good choice.

He also always said that you bought two things.  You bought a car and you bough Joe Girard.  Some say you cannot make money in service and I tell them that is crap.  Joe always showed them that he cared and that he loved them.

As soon as he got the sale Joe continued selling.  He would instantly put together another piece of mail that said:

  • I like you
  • Thank you
  • and two business cards

Dear Mr. Customer,
My family and I thank you for buying a car from me.  Remember what I said, if you get a lemon I will turn it into a Peach.

Second strategy.  After I sold you I hired you!  He would send customers a coupon and say, I will pay you $50 if you refer me.  You MUST give them something and show them appreciation.

You know what he used to say? “Where ever you go… I go.”  Joe used to put his business cards into the glove box so that customers could always hand out his cards when they asked where and who they bought the car from.

Three days after a sale, Joe would always get on the phone and talk to customers and ask them how the car was working out for them.  He always reminded them that if they bought a lemon, that he would turn it into a peach. He would also ask for referrals and remind them that he would pay people $50.

He would get 3 leads from making this call!  Every customer that comes in the door with the customer’s name on his card, Joe would pay $50.

NOTE: What if we started calling and thanking every single customer after they bought and asked them how it is working out for them?

“If you don’t promote yourself, nobody else is going to promote you.”

It was his customers that made Joe the #1 sales person.

Whatever happens in your life, you can beat it, you can get back up and climb to the mountain top!  Nobody is going to do nothing for you.  I can guarantee you that.  We are all alone in this world.  And I will prove to you that no one is better than you.

Before I did a sale, I would always disarm people’s fears.  Because everyone is afraid that people want to take money away from them.  Talk to your prospects how you would talk to your mother.  Be sincere… and start a conversation and LISTEN to your customer.  Keep your big mouth shut!

“We have one mouth and two ears… God is trying to tell us something.”

“It is tough to walk away from a good listener.”

And my second power… my face is your mirror and I smile and that gets the prospect smiling.  That’s my second power.

It takes 9 muscles to frown and none to smile.

Everybody has feelings.  You treat people good and they will buy from you and they will love you.  Show them that you cared!  People want to be loved.

The name of the game is treating people good.

Everyday I leave the house I start by looking into the mirror and start off by saying:

  • “I feel good”
  • “I feel great”
  • “I am Number 1”

 

8 Holiday Scams to Watch Out For

Holiday Scams

The holidays are a happy time for celebrating with family, friends, and co-workers. Unfortunately, this time of year can also be turned sour by a wide variety of clever frauds, unauthorized debit and credit card transactions, and bogus person-to-person scams. By the end of 2015, individuals, retailers, charitable donors, and companies were victimized to the tune of $1.5 billion… and that number is expected to have gone up in 2016.

Just as you protect your home with an alarm system, you should set up defenses for your credit and identity. During the holiday season, fraudulent activity spikes, but here’s how to protect yourself from the eight most common scams.

Big Data Breeds Data Breaches

Big data during the holidays is great for marketers; it’s a bonanza of consumer information to use to lure shoppers to Black Friday deals and the like. However, while companies wrangle in the chaos of holiday orders, scammers search for weaknesses in a company’s cyber-security. According to a top executive at one of the leading credit bureaus, “Data breaches are inevitable and most consumers are vulnerable to identity theft… especially during the holidays.” In fact, 25% more consumers were affected by identity theft during the holidays in 2015 than in 2014!

The best way to reduce your risk of data breaches is use cash for all your purchases. According to a survey by TransUnion, however, only 20 percent of shoppers plan to pay with cash. If you’re part of the 80 percent using plastic, use a credit card instead of a debit card. You have more purchase protection using a credit card than a debit card if a data breach occurs or fraud happens.

Other protections from data breaches include:

  • Using a low-limit credit card for online purchases so you can detect fraudulent activity.
  • Utilizing services like PayPal to lower the risk of your card information being lost at the retailer.

Package Theft

E-commerce is great for holiday shoppers… but it’s also great for thieves. Last year, Insurancequotes reported that 23 million people had packages stolen at their front door!

To prevent this from happening to you, have your packages delivered to your office or delivered to a pick-up area such as a UPS store or Amazon Locker. You can also set up tracking notifications so that you know when to expect delivery.

And while you’re waiting for your packages, be on the lookout for this scam: a note on the front door saying you have a package waiting for pickup. The note asks for a call, often to a pricey number that leaves you on hold for a long period while they collect premium phone rates, or it leads to a person asking for details on your personal information to “verify your identity.” If the note isn’t from a shipper you recognize, or if the Googled number isn’t found, don’t get involved.

Online Shopping Scams

The big brother of package thievery is the online shopping scam. Phony online stores lure shoppers in through searches and online ads, enticing you with low-priced, high-quality items. These “bargains” cost you not only money, but also hours of time trying to fight the fraudulent transaction. To put salt in the wound, once these websites nab your personal information, they often also infect your computer with malware that compromises your login to your online bank.

To avoid the pitfalls of the fake online merchant, only purchase from retail names you know and trust. You could also Google the site and look for reviews. Yelp is a legitimate site for reviews as is the Better Business Bureau. Before you make a purchase online, double-check that “https” appears in the URL, which signifies that the site has passed stringent security compliance standards.

Poisonous Holiday E-Cards

E-cards are popular during the holidays because they’re a free, fun, and easy way to catch up with friends and family members. But beware because it’s just as easy for scammers to use fake e-cards to steal your personal information. A lot of fake e-cards you may get are from your hacked address book or the hacked address book of someone you know. At first glance, the card may look legitimate, but once you open it, you’ve been phished.

The only way to avoid this from happening is paying attention to detail. The number one tell of a fake E-card is any kind of misspelling. The URL will have a subtle misspelled word or your friend’s name is misspelled. Usually the misspelled word will contain a number: T1msmith@comcast.net for instance.

Fake Apps

ConsumerAffairs is reporting a huge spike in fake apps. Scammers are using fake retail and product apps found in Apple’s App Store to steal unsuspecting consumers’ financial information. Many of these thieves rip off company or brand logos to make the fake app look real. So before you get that convenient retail or product app, make sure it’s legit.

Just as with fake e-cards, fake apps will seem normal until you start looking at the details. Before you download that convenient retail or product app, make sure you check for the following:

  • A nonsensical description
  • No reviews
  • No history of previous versions

 

Gift Card Scammers

Scam artists skim or copy the codes on the back of gift cards before they’re bought. After the card has been activated, the scammers drain the card’s funds.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of compromised gift cards, buy gift cards displayed behind store counters, make sure preloaded cards are still loaded, and make sure the protective scratch-off strip is flawless.

Malicious Charities

During the holiday season we all feel an extra sense of giving. Grifters and thieves play on this sensibility by creating false charities and hitting you up on Twitter, Instagram, and in your e-mail inbox.

There are online resources to help you verify the legitimacy of charities. The website Charity Navigator is a non-profit organization that rates over 8,000 U.S-based charities operating throughout the world. Another way to get free reviews and evaluations on national charities is through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Corrupted Wi-Fi

You’ll probably hit the mall this holiday for some in-person price checking, and you’ll probably have your smartphone, laptop, and/or your iPad with you. Please be careful because skimmers and scammers love to manipulate Wi-Fi signals in places like malls and coffee shops to gather your financial information. These people create Wi-Fi signals that mimic the signal you use, then hack your info when you connect to it.

To protect yourself from Wi-Fi manipulators, just don’t make online purchases with your credit or debit card when you’re in a public space.

Who Should You Turn To?

If you catch the trouble soon enough, credit or identity fraud can be an inconvenience. If you don’t, however, one instance can have long-term impacts. If, for example, someone bought an appliance using your name while you were trying to refinance your mortgage, then you might not get approved for the loan!

If you’re curious to know if you’ve been affected, or if you know your credit is in disrepair and need help fixing it, please let us know so we can refer you to our recommended professionals.

5 Reasons Gen X Moms Are the Best Real Estate Agents

Gen X Moms

Gen X moms are experienced, tech savvy and fun.

via Mary McIntosh for Inman News

The Broke Agent is all over real estate social media. The Broke Agent is run by Eric Simon who has a slew of writers that write comedic real estate content. Lots of The Broke Agent’s stuff is hilarious to me, as a real estate agent agent. Simon and crew recently posted this blog: “Five Reasons to Work with Millennial Agents.”

The very first blog I ever wrote was about why agents get better with age, so I, of course, took issue with this blog from The Broke Agent. So I came up with my own twist: why millennials should work with Gen X moms.

Some of us are old enough to parent millennials, or we parent the Y Generation (depending on whose definition of millennial you use), which makes us brilliant when dealing with millennials.

5 reasons millennials should work with Generation X real estate agents

Here are five reasons millennials should choose Gen X moms as their agents:

1. Quick response time? Absolutely

We have adapted to technology, though it isn’t part of us like it is for millennials. But we have kids, and they text and message — so we do too.

They are on social media, and so are we. It might have started out that we joined up just to see what our kids were posting and what their friends were posting, but we have embraced it all.

And likely you will find us everywhere. Friend us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter; find us on Instagram — we are there, sometimes with several pages.

2. Tech savviness — check!

We might not be the very first to use something, but we certainly aren’t the last to adopt new technology. We listen openly to suggestions and ideas knowing that there is always a lot to learn.

We have had to keep up with our kids so they have everything they need, and we can help them (and we can spy on them). We are open to, and used to learning new things — nothing scares us.

3. Emotional involvement — we care

We often treat transactions like one of our children. We oversee all of the details. We make sure you are doing your part. We follow up with all of the players involved.

When things blow up, you know what we don’t do? We don’t give up. We work harder, we look for a different angle, a different way to make a negotiation work. We get creative.

We are used to solving problems so that our people come out on top where they belong. You don’t mess with mama bears.

4. Personal experience — we’ve got loads of it

You’re probably going to get that with us too. Remember, we are moms. We have had to juggle our careers with raising our children.

We knew we could dominate the real estate world, but we chose our family. We have chosen to live with less money and more time with our kids.

We wanted to have the time to work with each and every client because we have a passion for the job; and we don’t want to step away from the property showing and listings. We still love it.

5. We might party, but we aren’t so old that we forgot how to dance on the bar

But chances are, we will give you something awesome instead of picking up the bar tab. Something that you really need or want for your new house.

Because we listen, we pay attention, and we want to take care of you — because we are moms. We want you to remember us, so we want to give you something that makes you think of us all the time, and maybe feel guilty for not calling us lately.

Mom plus agent equals superhero

I think it’s clear that a Gen X mom is the bomb when it comes to real estate agents.

One thing we also most likely have is experience, so those issues that might derail a deal with a less seasoned agent, we handle with ease.

We are also able to advise millennials and use our own experiences and our previous clients’ experiences to make sure they don’t make the mistakes we did or have seen so many times.

We will also most likely make millennials feel like the rock stars they are for having a job and saving up enough to cover closing costs. We will understand the need for an Xbox room, even if you’re 30. And we can help you budget finances and keep things in perspective, just like we do for our kids.

We might even be familiar with your music, and no one can do a driving dance party like a Gen X mom because we don’t care what people think of us anymore.

We are basically at our prime. We know we are cool, we know what matters in life, and we know millennials need to buy a house.

Beat that Broke Agent; you just got served, son — boom!

Inman News 

 

Safety First

Take small safety steps and attackers will get this message: “Try something and you’ll be caught.” Also note: 1 in 3 attacks target men.

Terrific safety message from the Florida Association of Realtors.

Staying safe means being prepared before, during and after meeting with customers. Before a showing, get the customer’s driver ID and send that information, along with the property address, to your office or a buddy. During the showing, if something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and use any excuse to get away. Also, don’t give out personal information. Instead, use your cell phone and business address.

Watch the video for more tips from Andy Tolbert.

 

Sell Your Music

How many of you remember watching the movie Rocky? Weren’t you motivated? Didn’t it make you feel good? Would you have been as pumped if there was no music? 

Sell Your MusicMusic plays a big part in our lives. Relaxing, Soothing, Motivating, Energizing. It reminds you of the good times, good friends, and beautiful places.

It comes in all forms, from classical to hip-hop to electronic to country, and effects each of us in different ways. 

Any time a new community, building or neighborhood is announced there is a lot of new information to digest and share with your potential buyers. Let’s be reasonable. You can’t learn everything overnight and even if you did, you wouldn’t have the time to formulate the information in to a concise and meaningful presentation.

That leaves us with our Music! People will buy your music before your words. What they are really listening to is your excitement, your belief, and your conviction level.

And this is true whether you are at the beginning or end of a project. Whether you are a hostess, sales professional, designer or manager. 

It’s your unique brand of enthusiasm. It’s a burning desire from within that people want to be a part of.

When you walk into a room you either brighten it or dim it. If you brighten the room, that’s part of this desire that is burning within you. People see it. They want to be a part of it. People are looking for someone to believe in… someone that believes in them. It comes down to just becoming aware. Keep your awareness level up and be aware of the energy you are portraying. I can’t emphasize this enough. Successful people are defined by their music, by their energy, and by the enthusiasm they show. I’m not saying to go overboard and become giddy. I’m talking about the ability to simply portray a relevant message.

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Successful people live out of their comfort zone. Successful people play where the opportunity is.

Some of the wealthiest people in our industry stay intelligently ignorant. What I mean by that is they don’t get caught up in all the latest sales technique fads and concepts that are constantly being lobbed at them. Focus on your music, the rest will come.

Time For Band Camp!

Real Estate Agent Safety… A Must!

A Smart Approach to Real Estate Agent Safety: 18 Tips for Agents

Realtor SafetyAs we were recently once again reminded, working in real estate can be dangerous.  It’s common for agents to meet strangers in isolated locations at odd hours, which can be the perfect setting for an attack.

The best way to protect yourself? Arm yourself with a healthy level of mistrust and a smart approach to safety.

 

Your profile

  1. Avoid using photos that display expensive jewelry.
  2. Don’t give out your home address.
  3. Don’t give out your home phone number.

Private showings/open houses

  1. Let at least one personal contact and your office know where you are at all times.
  2. Don’t agree to a private showing unless you’ve already met a client in your office.
  3. Have clients complete an information form (name, copy of driver’s license, vehicle information) during open houses and prior to scheduling private showings.
  4. Bring a co-worker along.
  5. Don’t leave a client in your blind spot. Let the client proceed in front of you during a private showing.
  6. Drive through the neighborhood prior to a private showing or open house. Be on the lookout for safety concerns.
  7. Identify each of a home’s exits prior to a showing or open house. Keep exit doors unlocked.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Don’t allow a client to ride in your car unless you know them well.
  10. Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
  11. Leave your purse in the trunk of your car.
  12. Dress professionally.
  13. Buy a personal security app for your cell phone, and always keep your cell phone in your hands.
  14. Be ready to defend yourself. Travel with pepper-spray.
  15. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, remove yourself from the situation. Don’t worry about offending a client. Your safety is paramount.

Thank you to Jessi Hall via Veterans United Real Estate

The National Association of Realtors also has a great list:  56 Safety Tips for REALTORS®

 

Think The Customer Ahead…

Think The Customer Ahead…

Why is so much attention given to the past… if we are focusing on our core values and ways to systematically improve the way we do business… staying current and envisioning the future, we will succeed. Sure, we can give a respectful nod to data and trends, but we can’t let them govern our decisions.Think The Customer Ahead

Great companies have Great people! These people are as good as they have ever been—even better. Trust, communicate and seek out their experience and expertise… they are a company’s greatest asset. This is an opportune time to Make a Difference.

To quickly summarize Mark Penn’s Microtrends We can’t understand our market any more in terms of “universal experiences.” In our current “splintered society”, to operate successfully, we need to understand the intense identity groups that are growing and moving, fast and furious in crisscrossing directions.

Are you roll-playing “what if” exercises? Are you helping your clients envision where they will be in a few years? Establish a portfolio of ideas and insights that will help them envision their lifestyle change.

Strong brands are resilient, are you?

 

Earl Nightingale’s “Strangest Secret”

Earl Nightingale is certainly one of the leaders of the “self-improvement” movement. 

Earl lays out the secret for achieving success in life. Speaking against conformity and aimlessness in one’s career, Nightingale encourages us to set goals and put all our thoughts and creativity upon these goals. He quotes from many of greatest thinkers of all time who have pointed to this formula for success. He closes with 5 steps for achieving success, along with ways to overcome doubt, negativity, and fear.

Sit back and absorb, you won’t be sorry you took the time to listen to this 3-part recording.

We become what we think about!