It has occurred me many times recently, that one reason MANY, MANY people in the world are currently suffering during this current recession/crisis/whatever, is simply because they didn't follow the advice in Purple Cow.
That's a bit simplistic, I know, but it still has a ring of truth too it.
ALL your books are great, but Jeeze, Purple Cow is the one that really got under my skin, which is really what inspired the big drawing I did. To me the book, as a totem, as an icon, represents a huge shift in thinking that came along, almost uninvited, back in the early 2000's. The drawing represents [to me] my own ability to internalize it.
You and I both somehow managed to find a way to currently live in this Purple Cow/Hughtrain world now, that we wrote about 5+ years ago. But now I see that same world suddenly arriving for millions of people... and it's cold & scary for a great many of them.
Which is why I now think people now need to read Purple Cow more than ever...
I've been looking for a totem to place on the wall of my office for some time, and I've looked at both Seth and Hugh for something. Interestingly, they've now teamed up for the low-low price of $495 to create this:
I want to remain as financially well-off as a I can for my clients because I am a better person and agent when my financial conflicts of interest are few. Therefore, I will not be plunking down $495 for my own personal edgy business art original (that link BTW is @GapingVoid sharing my Twitter thoughts on his print series). I am making a tactical decision to instead claim marketshare in the only way I know how: personal relationships. I am giving first-hand witness to quality agents falling left and right due to the financial corners they have backed themselves into. The number of perilously financed personal residences of real estate professionals is the last foreclosure wave. I mourn for those that lived in unsustainable luxury. That's an easy thing to comment about, and maybe that's generically "remarkable", but I can't endorse it. Correspondingly, I'm buying more skill and more negotiating power. But it doesn't prevent me from riffing about the power of HughTrain and Purple Cow.
Businesses that fail to be remarkable are dying. Today, taps are droning for Pontiac and Saturn. The egalitarian aspect of "remarkable" says that something work talking about should readily spring to mind if that something is truly remarkable; neither of these brands generate in me anything particularly note-worthy. I guess Pontiac gave some cars away on Oprah a year or two ago. In my adult life I've never wanted to drive a Pontiac.
Is your business filled with participants that are plunging down similar black holes? Mine is. I have friends that work almost exclusively in the high-end of my business. One of the things that they unfortunately miss out on is this tsunami of traffic entering the marketplace for the first-time: The Famous First-Time Buyer. Many agents pull their hair out working with individuals that "don't know what they're doing." Baloney. Give me an opportunity to educate, and I have been just cloned that buyer three times over. First-Time Buyers are the salvation of the real estate market for three reasons: 1.) They are sustainable. 2.) They are abundant. Gen Y is the biggest Generation in US history. 3.) They are tangibly oriented. They may invest in the future, but they like to touch and hold that which they own.
- I love the new marketplace that is fueled by pragmatism and self-examination.
- I love the new marketplace that has "disloyal" buyers that use five to eight websites interchangeably.
- I love the new marketplace that has buyers looking at 15 to 30 homes and scrutinizing values based on how quickly homes are being absorbed, asking questions about appraisals, and in short, taking nothing for granted and defying conventional wisdom.
- I love a marketplace where my client and now friend, a Jamaican immigrant who received his citizenship due to valor in the field of combat service in the US Army, can be choked up at the news that his offer was accepted by a seller, and in 5 weeks he will be a homeowner.
I didn't invent this new marketplace. The marketplace has taken over. Real Estate now plays by the rules of The Marketplace, not the Rules of the Profession. Real Estate Professionals that are hording control of the data, that are trusting that their logo will compensate for their own shortcomings, that are focusing on working with anyone that wants to buy a house rather than being transparent and investing in a real relationship with someone... these individuals are going to waste away and wither. It is startling that the National Association of REALTORS has already seen 20% of it's membership leave since the peak of membership in August, 2007. The Colorado consumer might want to ask why only 10% have left the profession in this state, a state that was "in the vanguard" of the bursting bubble and is now entering year four of market correction.
In the insistence of transparency, I had the worst quarter of my career in the first quarter of 2009. My previous worst was 4th quarter 2007. Two of the last 6 were disasters. I didn't take on any additional debt in this last 90 day slog. I continued to stay in touch with those who knew me, liked me, and trusted me. I probably looked at more property than any agent in El Paso County (at least 30 a week every week for 12 weeks straight. That's 9% of the total inventory). I now have six scheduled closings in May and likely four to six more coming up in June, and can forecast at least four per month from July through September. That's a brag, and I can label it remarkable, but the reason business has flipped around so drastically has to do with persistent trust. I trust in relationships. I trust that clients that have been looking for almost two years now will find "it", and probably soon. I have never preached it's a good time to buy. Interestingly, my substantial pipeline of buyers have all come to that conclusion themselves (this is why I think we're starting a recovery: the consumer believes it. Who cares what sales people say? They are not the market. The consumer is the market). I have refused to sell, and instead, have chosen a longer path that makes it easy for the consumer to buy.... on their terms... when they're ready.
It is easy to want to buy what Seth and Hugh are selling. EASY. Because it's True. Their Totem to Truth is the most refreshing piece of art I've seen in a long, long time.