Do you really think of every other agent in your area as a competitor? Overcoming a scarcity mentality
I read a comment responding to one of Jeremy Blanton's posts, and it struck me as old-fashioned in the era of social media. In a nutshell, this member stated that they didn't have any interest in sharing ActiveRain with others in their office, since it was too valuable a tool, and they wanted to keep it to themselves. I had to re-read the comment several times to make sure it wasn't tongue-in-cheek.
Quick question: Do you really think you will be able to keep any effective marketing tool a secret forever?
I remember back when I started my website in 1997. Very few agents had sites that were worth looking at back then. It's funny to think of keeping the internet a secret, and now it seems odd to keep AR or blogging to yourself now. The lid is off the box - blogging is ubiquitous.
Think for a moment about how blogging really works as a business tool. It's such an individualized thing that no blog truly competes with another, especially in the age of longtail keywords. Someone may respond favorably to a post I wrote about my family, or a restaurant I visited, or a post about my specific neighborhood. NO ONE else could have written the first two posts on this list but me - it's my own experience. What will strike a chord with one client may repulse another. I'm okay with that.
As of this writing, AR has over 166,000 members. When I first joined, there were about 20,000, if memory serves. This network has grown by leaps and bounds, and I get more frequent questions about blogging each month, it seems. As I see it, any agent who is interested in online marketing will probably find or hear about AR at some point. Obviously, they can choose not to pursue it, or they can dive in and make an attempt.
Earlier in my career, I viewed other Austin agents as competition. These days, I think of them as a giant support group. Maybe that's a little hyperbole, but the fact of the matter is, I am my own best competition. I realize that this may sound a little hackneyed, but you can't win a race when you are constantly looking over your shoulder to see how close the other guy is. Run your own race!
As a result of my AR blog, I have had referrals from local agents who know which areas I typically service. Recently, I even listed a home for a local Realtor who sells downtown condos primarily, and she had more confidence in my abilities to sell her home than her own. Yes, really.
It's easy to slip into a scarcity mentality with real estate (or any other business), especially when times are tough. While it's true that there are a finite number of deals to go around, if you handle your business properly, you will always have plenty of sales opportunities, economic factors notwithstanding.
I can only speak for myself, but things just seem to work out better when I am open with my knowledge, even with "competitors". Frankly, I have made a lot of solid new friends from this technique, and it's led to increased production as well.
If you have expectations of succeeding in your social media efforts, reciprocity is the name of the game, along with collaboration. Give some thought to who you are really competing with. Back when I used to view the top agents as competitors, I probably wasn't even on their radar. Looking back, I was like a high school quarterback who viewed Michael Jordan as being my direct competitor. We weren't even playing the same sport!
Sometimes, competition is a one-way street.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/averylongwalk/3657112158/