I wrote a blog post in October 2009 called, Are Real Estate Agents Obsolete? I ruffled feathers, I’m probably going to do the same in this post : ) My point at the time was, times are changing and they (in general) are not! I consult many agents on the topic of how their business is perfect for Social Media Networks, they are a service oriented business, a relationship business, perfect! So what’s the problem?

The tools aren’t the problem, the Internet isn’t the problem, people are not the problem, so what is it? It’s the way Real Estate Agents think. I’m generalizing so don’t get your listings in a knot.

I’m not trying to embarrass any one individual here, I’m speaking in general terms, don’t you realize what you have on your hands? The Internet is only 15 or 16 years old, what you did before the Internet came along worked great, offline, but those tactics don’t translate to digital very well do they?

Today, you can do open houses LIVE with a digital camera connected to the Internet, what a great way to find out if a home shows well. There are very few people willing to buy a home without actually going on site, so what are you worried about? The Internet has one real strong purpose for Real Estate Agents, and for the most part, they don’t know what that is.

Look, much of what Real Estate Agents do is now hyper-sensitive here online, why? People don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches, and they don’t have to either. The “service” agents provide is just that, a service, you are not a classified ad. So why do you act like one?

Think about that for a moment, Social Media Networks are not more places to do outbound marketing or yelling. Well, you could use them that way, but you’ll fail miserably. There I said it. Social Networks are opposite to Radio, TV, and Newspapers (outbound), they are inbound. You need to be drawing attention through building relationships, being helpful, not constantly selling your stuff.

Imagine having a Rolodex the size of the Internet, you do! Who would need one that big right? Well, everybody knows someone, and that someone might be moving to your area, but you would never know if you don’t build relationships first. Go figure, Twitter as a Rolodex. This is the new CRM (Customer Relations Management), build relationships, build a huge network online, just like you would offline except you’re not selling. You are, building friendships first, then data mining, and through these relationships you will find business otherwise not found. Notice the order of things.

Be social, be mobile, and be the kind of person I and all of us would want to do business with, we want to know you, we want to know if you can help us when the time comes, but we will never know if you only cram your listings down our throats. This constant yelling and broadcasting is the disconnect with those you would consider clients in social networks, that way of thinking shows me that you only care about sales. I bet that statement makes you mad if you an agent, if so, then do something about it. Perception is everything, and once it starts, BAM! you are now stereo-typed.

A good friend Ron Karr wrote an interesting book on sales, I recommend it, it’s called, “Lead, Sell, or get out of the way” By Ron Karr, he can teach you a few traditional things, but most of all, he talks about how you think. Here’s my review. And that’s what I’m talking about here, the old methods got you to where you are today, and some of those methods may still work for now, but most likely won’t on Social Networks.

Scott Stratten coined the phrase in his book UN-Marketing, ” Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.”, these words should be your new mantra, they speak to the heart of every selling profession. My review of his book.

So build your Rolodex here online through building relationships first, where else can you save so much time & money, and reach so many in so little amount of time. Amazing isn’t it, most people don’t care what you know until they know you care. Gary Vaynerchuk is about to release a new book called, “ The Thank You Economy“, people want to know you care, and saying thank you goes along way to fulfilling that need.

The Future of Business in terms of Real Estate Agents, it will be entirely up to them. The business as a whole needs to pay attention, learn how to be social and mobile, both are critical to they’re success. More importantly, they need to unlearn a great deal of what they think they know about sales, specifically online.

I think in the next 5 – 10 years, Real Estate Agents will become fewer, because the current red tape and gate keepers will eventually be removed. It could happen sooner, you can by-pass agents already, but thats not the real issue. The mechanism of control is, and it will be harder to control the consumers of the future, so something has to give. For many agents, they don’t have the luxury of time, they must make sales to put food on the table. It’s that kind of pressure that makes you make mistakes, in social networks, the tolerance level for selling all the time, posting your listings, is much lower.

So, relationship first, don’t sell, provide information of value, teach me something, and tell me what you can do for me when I need someone just like you. Be an educator, be someone who cares about people, all people, because they are potential clients. Get to know me before you ever try to sell me something, that’s the mode of operation in social networks. And that takes time, but imagine the huge Rolodex you will have because you cared.

Forgive me if you are one of the very few actually paying attention to what’s going on, I am however talking to those who are not. I know brokers and real estate systems try teach you, but they too are stuck in old methods, it’s time to look around, the world is changing and it’s going to whether you do or not.

There is so much more that can be said, I am scratching the surface on this topic, I would love to here your thoughts.

I’ll be up front, I am not a fan of sales people and or books on sales, I’m not comfortable there and I’m sure many others feel the same way. Keep in mind, I am a former Sales Manager from my Radio Broadcast days and I have held what feels like hundreds of sales jobs, so I know what I’m talking about, and I can spot a fraud most of the time. That’s my disclaimer. Before I ask you to read on, I want you to know I endorse this book, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of reading it, and there are some incredible nuggets buried in this gem for you to use. One more thing, I personally think the book is more about Leadership than Sales, that’s the head fake to watch for, but you won’t know it till after you have read it. One other disclaimer to you & Ron, I don’t write reviews in a fashion you expect, but I’ll let you decide whether this type of review helped you or not. Let’s get on with it.

I was recently asked by a friend on Twitter if I would be interested in reviewing a book, I didn’t know what kind of book or the topic, but I said yes anyway because Leaders are readers, and I trusted her. Now you know what I am. Some time passed by and I never heard anything back on the topic, so I hailed my friend and she said hold your horses. Shortly thereafter, a courier showed up with a package containing the book, I opened it and shrugged my shoulders in disgust. A sales book! I don’t want to review a sales book or anything close to the topic of sales, I want to learn something new, something I haven’t done before. As you can see, I have a bad taste and attitude on the topic. But I said I would, and I am a man of my word, so I dived in and started reading my new sales book. But first, let me share the full title of this book, Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way: The 7 Traits of Great Sellers

Here is the BIO as taken from Ron’s book, Ron Karr is a popular public speaker and in demand business consultant known internationally as a business development expert. As President of Karr Associates, Inc., he specializes in helping organizations and professionals generate remarkable sales and operational results. His client list includes such companies as Agfa, Morgan Stanley, MetLife, Wright Medical, and UPS.

Now I’m not going to go on and on because frankly I can’t do the book justice, I highly recommend you get the book and pass your own judgment, rather than take my word for it. There are 10 chapters so it’s not a long endeavor, checkout the table of contents:

1.) The Case For Leadership

2.) The Five Beliefs of Effective Leaders

3.) The 7 Traits of Great Leaders

4.) Visualizing

5.) Positioning

6.) Building Alliances

7.) Asking Good Questions

8.) Creating Powerful Value Propositions

9.) Communication Persuasively

10.) Holding Yourself Accountable

You can tell by the Table of Contents it’s not your typical book on Sales, some of it’s standard but there is much that is different. Why? Because I think Ron makes it real, he makes it so that your sales success is you the person. At the out set of this book Ron makes what I consider three profound statements, You Can Lead, You Can Sell, You Can Get Out of The Way! In his words, this book is designed to help you make the first two a reality and avoid the third altogether.

My favorite chapters are 4 & 5, Visualizing and Positioning, I think most of us are really bad at understanding these two critical areas. We tend to visualize the wrong things and that leads down the wrong road, we then find ourselves in the wrong position. I’m not here to tell you all that is in the book, otherwise I would just cut & paste and let you read it, I can’t for many reasons.

In visualizing you have to see things most others in your line of work don’t and frankly can’t. Ron lays out 7 Elements of a Clear Vision which reduces the vision to 7 steps, when it’s all said and done, you’ll have a better understanding of you why, and where you’re going. After all, it’s a journey right?

Ron helps you understand the difference between Personal Vision Versus Customer Vision. The bottom line though, it’s not about you, it’s about where your customer wants to go. Be prepared to walk through the process with Ron, it’s not as simple as I make it sound : )

In Chapter 5, Positioning, Ron really starts to make you think like a leader, most business owners have buying habits they don’t even know they have, that’s an opportunity most sales people miss altogether. You’ve probably heard much of this before, I can tell you this, there are many ways of positioning yourself with a prospect or client, but none can tell you as clearly as Ron does in this book.

Those two chapters caught my attention as being different than most other books written on sales, not to say the other chapters aren’t as solid, they are, they’re top draw so don’t skip any of them. That’s an order! The book is only 250 pages! Well, it’s 230 if you don’t count the Epilogue and Index pages, so no excuses. 🙂

I have to say, after reading his book I felt I was getting a good read on the type of person Ron is, and then after talking with him, Ron is just a down to earth, awesome man. Do your self a good service and get to know him on the many social media networks he is on, I triple dog dare ya.

Now that you’ve read this Blog Post, and I hope it makes you want to buy his book, oh, and you must visit Ron’s site, in fact, tell him Owen sent you: http://www.ronkarr.com/