Realtors: How many sales is your website costing you?

If you’ve had the opportunity to work with Millennials  – those born from the early 1980s to 2000 – you know they expect all things technical to work all the time. They came of age in the digital world. They’re a  social generation with Face Book, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ wired into their brains.

Millennials are now 80 million strong; they’re excited about the future and they study the world at large through their smart phones.

Not only that, Millennials are teaching their parents how to thrive in the digital age. If your website isn’t up to snuff, you will most likely be ignored in favor of someone who has a fast loading, mobile friendly, informative site.

As house hunters, Millennials will have at least three apps downloaded on their smart phone that help them locate houses they might want to buy. If their parents are the buyers, the Millennial will no doubt be in the car with Mom and Dad, giving directions from a Google map showing all the available listings in the area. Mom and Dad love it! At any given time, you can have two generations hooked into your MLS via a smart phone.

So, what happens when they get to your listing? They take a picture of the house and one of your sign with their phone, then move on to the next listing.

Is your sign visible? Does it have  your website address? If not, you may as well have a kindergarten student make up a sign for you; Millennials probably won’t call you. They don’t want to waste time tracking you down instead of doing other things like complaining about not being able to find you online to their Face Book friends.

By lunch time, they might be down the street from your office eating burgers and fries while checking out the Realtor websites for each listing they’re interested in. What are they going to see?

Millennials social orientation makes it important to them that they know as much as possible about you.

Everybody in their world has more than one public profile, has selfies  posted online and is constantly updating their activities.

For example, does your website have a page titled something like, *FREE BUYER REPRESENTATION* that explains how you, as their exclusive agent, can show them any listing in the MLS free of charge? There are still house hunters from all generations who don’t know that buyers agents get paid by the sellers.

Millennials like to multi-task. They can have the mortgage payment computed for several properties and have analyzed the MLS listings long before reaching out to you.

While a smart phone carrying buyer doesn’t need a Realtor to find properties on the market, they do need one to get inside the homes they locate. Most important, buyers need Realtors to help them through all the details of contracts, negotiation, escrow and inspections.

The question is: what makes them decide to trust you with their investment?

I recently reviewed two dozen Realtor websites. I could not find one single About page that gave me an in-depth, personalized profile of the Realtor. In fact most were simply generic.

In writing about people the past few years, the one thing that struck me most in all my interviews is that people don’t sell themselves very well. Most folks are a shy about their accomplishments.

There’s magic in every one of us.

A skilled writer can highlight that personal brand of magic, set you apart from the competition and convince people to contact you.

For more on Millennials as a market group, please read the PEW Research paper here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/

Please contact me If I can help with your website content: writersusannah@gmail.com

(photo compliments of BankRate.com)

A Dear John Letter to HR

 Dear HR,

I’m truly sorry to be writing this to you; really I am, but you’ve left me no choice.

As you are so fond of saying, *You’re just not a good fit.*

Here’s my story:

After I’d finished typing up applications for the content writing jobs you sent me, I saw that my resume was so chewed up it was unrecognizable. I was told by your proof reader that I needed to change mine a bit to get it past ATS. He wanted $50 to improve my resume. So, I paid him.

I thought ATS was one of the bosses. The night I found out that ATS stands for a computer program called, the Applicant Tracking System, and that you don’t even read resumes before stuffing them into that system, I drank half a bottle of wine and then cried myself to sleep.Dear John image

Why did you keep pitching me writing jobs where there was no salary stated? You knew that the pay rate would turn out to be less than 5c a word. It took an hour of my time to formulate a cover letter specific to each job and then sort through and attach appropriate links to my work. You’re the big shot in hiring. Why don’t you tell people they must post salaries? I’d rather clean houses than accept those stupidly insulting rates. (I have cleaned houses to keep myself in wine and chocolate while writing a novel.)

In retrospect, I think you were using me to meet your target number of applications for the week.

How could you be so dishonest, HR?

More to the point, did your ATS chew up my cover letters like it did my resume. What the heck did those employers get? There could be a dozen marketing directors out there who think I’m an illiterate nutjob.

Why do you and your friends insist on qualifications like a BA, and in some cases an MA, in journalism or literature for a content writer? You would probably throw out an application from Steinbeck or Hemingway because they didn’t finish their degrees. Have you even bothered to read the work of any writers who applied to you?

Using a computer to do 90% of your job is just plain lazy HR.

Has it occurred to you that I’m not the only writer who’s fed up? In the process of shredding the hopes and dreams of creative people, you’ve done a terrible disservice to your employers. Your job is to help a company get people who can write good content for their website, blog, emails, brochures and advertising.

We writers are not people you can plug into a computer system. Writers are round pegs and you only have square holes. We are individuals who have the exceptional ability to speak through our writing to a client’s customers. We care. When you’re able to differentiate between good writing and bad writing, you’ll know who we are.

You don’t write much, do you HR?

But then, you don’t really have to care about the company customer. You find out that your hire didn’t work out after a year or so when sales statistics show that the writing done by your guy/gal is crap. (See Doug Kessler on Crap Content.) That’s when you add another idiotic qualification to your job posting instead of understanding what good content writing really is.

*The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug,* Mark Twain.

I am going to keep writing my blog and in the future, I plan to ignore you completely. I’ll do what some of my writer friends have done – go directly to the bosses. It’s the business owners and the corporate CEOs who value their customers enough to know what it costs to lose them through bad content.

You almost cost me my self-respect, but after a few kudos from some real readers, I’m plunging forward again…without you.

Truly,

Eliza Lippschitts

(Images compliments of FreeDigitalPhoto.net)

Contact Susannah: writersusannah@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lust, Greed and Kindness

Las Vegas, the city where scams are born and matured into cash cows, is nonetheless a wonder-filled “Never Never Land” for adults the world over. World class entertainment and restaurants support an ever flourishing tourist industry. Didn’t see it on Broadway? Chances are, you can catch it in Vegas.

When the massive advertising campaign to turn Vegas into a family vacation spot fell short, hotel owners reverted to calling the city an adult playground. The catchy phrase, “What happens in Vegas; stays in Vegas,” became a new mantra. It’s the mecca of choice for dozens of major business conventions every year.

In spite of abundant security cameras on the streets and in the hotels, criminals try every which way to cheat the casinos, steal credit cards and disguise themselves from their photos on black lists. Identity theft was so successful a few years ago, that an hour’s drive from Vegas in the little town of Pahrump, located in Nye County, the Sheriff at the time had his identity stolen.

Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, but high rollers who gamble fortunes there on any given night can find a gorgeous woman to soothe away their losses or celebrate their winnings. In Pahrump and all of Nye County, brothels are legal. Shiny black limos transport pleasure seekers from Vegas over the mountains far into the desert to the famous Chicken Ranch or the elegant, Resort and Spa at Sheri’s Ranch where coyotes are their only neighbors.

Beautifully landscaped subdivisions are home to a growing number of families in both Pahrump and Las Vegas. When the Nevada building boom started decades ago, people came for the work and stayed to take advantage of inexpensive home prices and good schools along with the many parks, lakes, hiking trails, movie theaters and great restaurants.

Away from the hotels and casinos, everyday living in Southern Nevada is a surprising study in American normalcy. Families go to church every Sunday and enthusiastically support their kid’s activities.

In the midst of the stories of lust, greed and gluttony said to be inspired by gambling, 67 year old Realtor Vickey Decker lives her life through her heart, her God, and a quietly relentless pursuit of the good in people and situations. Although she’s no stranger to personal heartache and loss, her invincible joie de vivre can brighten any room. A majority of her real estate clients for the past 25 years have become her friends.

vickey decker

“I try and see the good in people. I normally trust them until they prove they can’t be trusted. Some people think that’s naïve and stupid; I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that I always made right choices.”

Vickey moved to Vegas for the work in 1987, got hired as a change girl at one of the casinos and was soon earning over $100 a day in tips. With family to help support, it took her two years to save enough money to pass the Nevada State licensing exams in 1989 and get her real estate salesperson license.

Working only on weekends at first as a real estate rental consultant, she soon graduated to helping people buy and sell homes. “It’s not about the money; it’s about the people, but I earned more money in real estate that year than I had in any of my full time jobs,” she smiles.

Born in San Bernardino, California, Vickey spent her formative years in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She says she found God at 15 and has lived her life by Christian principles ever since. You can hear the Oklahoma twang in her voice when she talks about her love of her job. As she recalls her rocky road to a successful real estate career, you get a hint of the cast-iron backbone behind that gentle gaze.

She quit school in grade 8 to help support her family by working as a Car-hop at the Sonic Burger in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Years later, she got her GED. By 17 she was married and pregnant. At 19 she discovered that her husband had been cheating on her.

“He spent three days with prostitutes and came home all drugged out. He raped me and that was that.”

With $200, one suitcase and a baby in her arms, Vickey left Stillwater and took a bus as far away as she could get, to Tacoma Washington, where she landed a job as a housekeeper.

One day, she came back from work to collect her daughter from the sitter to find that her husband had followed her from Oklahoma and kidnapped the baby. Vickey travelled back to Stillwater, moved in with her Mom and filed for divorce. She was awarded custody of her daughter by the Court.

Unyielding in the search for her daughter, she says, “I spent four and a half years tracking down my ex-husband. Our family attorney helped a lot using DMV records. I just missed him in St. Louis Missouri, then Arkansas, and finally found him in Fort Worth, Texas with his new wife. I went in and took my daughter back from the baby sitter while he was at work.”

Married again at 32, after 12 years living with her second husband, Vickey found him cheating on her with other women and left him. “It’s a matter of the covenant of marriage talked about in the Bible. Adultery is just not okay,” she states.

Vickey moved to Pahrump, Nevada with her third husband. After 21 years of marriage, her husband’s increased drinking and drug use led Vickey to AA meetings for the spouses of addicts to try and understand the disease.

She says, “I went to Alcoholics Anonymous to understand my husband and ended up understanding myself.”

Although that marriage ended in her third divorce, Vickey rose from the proverbial ashes and continued on. Her life hasn’t been easy, but personal tragedies have left her with an acute awareness of the need for kindness in this world.

“I believe in living a purpose-filled life. 30 years ago, I realized that my life’s purpose was to help others,” she says.

Whether it’s the 70 year old couple who needed help moving into their new home, the friend whose marriage collapsed and needed a bed for a while or the cat in need of a home Vickey Decker is the angel who rescued them. Nobody’s been able to clip her wings yet.

(Vickey works at All Star Real Estate in Pahrump, NV. Phone: 702-378-2575)

Las Vegas Photo Compliments of: http://www.pachd.com/

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