Monday, April 13, 2009

Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks and Old Dogs New Tricks

By: Patrick Nutt

While it may not come as a surprise to everyone, the real estate market and broader economy is in a bit of a downturn. Many have focused their attention on the negative signs and headlines cast through every channel of media, but I’ve taken a much more micro-economic view; as in the economy located within the confines of my personal checking account. I quickly realized that there wouldn’t be any deposits into my “local economy” from TARP or the federal stimulus plan, so the best way out of this recession is to put my head down and work hard, with the belief that it will all pay off one day. A quick survey of my inbox indicates that many brokers have left the industry, whether by force or by choice, which instantly creates an opportunity to grab market-share and build a pipeline to benefit from the eventual recovery.

There are countless articles, webinars, seminars, teleconference marketing symposiums, and any other fancy titles for listening to people tell you how to do something better these days, most of which focus on tips of the industry pros for surviving the current down cycle through using technology, and being creative. I recently listened to a teleconference call discussing marketing and branding ideas for commercial brokers, and one example was discussed where a broker made bobble-head dolls of himself to pass out to his clients and prospects. This may be an extreme example, but it just goes to show you that necessity is the mother of innovation, and right now, generating business and maintaining relationships is a necessity.

Every possible form of electronic communication and networking seems to be on the forefront of discussion, covering everything from Myspace and Facebook to using Twitter and blogging. The popularity of these items and technological gap between industry veterans and the younger members in the brokerage community has caused many “old dogs” to try and learn a new trick or two. At the end of the day though, no “Tweet”, text, or email will be able to replace the old fashioned phone call, face-to-face meeting, or even a written letter. I have been fortunate enough as one of the younger members of this industry to learn from veterans that still preach the basics and have seen it pay off. Now’s not the time to skip the basics and forget the fundamentals, so when you’re trying to teach an old dog a new trick, don’t forget the learning can flow both ways, and it’s never too late for a “new dog” to learn some old tricks.

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