I’m sure all of you have had the experience of having a salesperson come into your office and tell you how bad your marketing or website is as they tell you about their cheaper, better service. This happened to a beloved client of ours recently and it reminded me a story I invite you to read called…

A Tale of Two Fisherman…

Once there were two hard working Fishermen named Ready Rego and Busy Bill. They both took their businesses, I mean fishing, seriously. Realizing that their rusty old fishing poles had seen better days and weren’t bringing them the amount of fish they wanted, the fishermen decided to get new poles. Both had heard about the success other fishermen had with the new gold plated Great Catch Fishing poles from a respected company called FishJumper, so they decided to take a look.

When they called the good people at FishJumper, they found that FishJumper indeed made an amazing new Fishing Pole called the “Troutinator” that had state-of-the-art features which would help them bring in record hauls of big delicious fish. A new super-alloy titanium pole that would not bend or break when the big one came, a new foundry-cast-graphite handle to prevent slipping out of your hands, a self-lubricating gyroscopic reel to prevent jamming when reeling in fish after fish, and the pole used a specially designed goretex fiber-optic fishing line that would transmit a signal to the fisherman holding the line to let him know when a he had a bite. It even came with a new space-aged sonar that sent out a signal that was irresistible to fish letting them know there was yummy bait for them, influencing the fish to come check it out themselves.

There was one important thing, though, that FishJumper wanted the fishermen to know before they bought the new pole. As good as the FishJumper fishing pole was, they would need to actually hold onto the pole and cast the line every day into the water with fresh bait. Once they cast the line in, they needed to then press the little sonar button on the handle regularly to send the “Here’s the bait” signal.

a-tale-of-2Fisherman One, Ready Rego, asked “If I follow these instructions, hold the pole, cast it every day with new bait, and press the sonar button regularly, I should reel in more fish, right?” He was assured that this was how other fisherman were having good results. Rego asked “What if I need to attend to other business? Can I have an assistant hold my fishing pole as long as she follows the same procedures?” Yes, he was told. That would work just as well, as long as the fishing pole was used every day in the recommended way. On the other other hand, the pole would not work if it was allowed to sit in a holster unattended for days, weeks, months or longer with no attention.

Rego said, “I can do that!” and he excitedly invested in the new FishJumper “Troutinator” Pole, secure that he he would be able to use the Pole as directed.

The next day, wanting to get the most out of his pole, Rego began his new regimen of showing up every morning, putting new bait on his hook, (or for a different kind of fish, attached the recommended reflective lure,) and casting his line out into the water as directed. Following the recommended practices, Rego pressed the sonar button on a regular basis because he understood that the sonar waves would only last a day and needed refreshing regularly. Even though results did not happen instantly, he believed that over time that the big schools of fish out there would begin to hear the signals and start coming his way.

Sometimes, Rego was not able to be there, so he trained an assistant how to do the simple procedures to ensure that his line was always freshly cast and the sonar was always operating. Before long, by being patient and following the understandable directions, swarms of fish started coming from miles (knots?) around to check out his quality bait, and many bit! Just a few at first, but over time the number grew bigger and bigger until he had more bites on his line than any other fisherman in his area. Rego now catches so many fish that he is now truly abundant and his family has more fish than it knows what to do with.

Ready Rego had followed directions and was so thrilled with his pole, he started telling other fishermen about the “Troutinator” pole and became a lifelong fan of FishJumper. And he and his family lived happily ever after.

Fisherman Two, Busy Bill, also liked what he heard from FishJumper, and told them he could also follow those directions, and invested in the FishJumper Pole himself.

Unfortunately, the very next day, Busy Bill fell right back into his same patterns and decided he was simply too busy with his regular busy work to try doing things a different way. Instead, looking for a “shortcut to success,” Bill took his new pole out of the box, put the included first piece of bait on the hook, and dropped the line into the water. Then, Bill placed his pole into a “holder” on the pier and wrapped some duct tape around the sonar button so it would be “locked” into position. Busy Bill was just “too busy” to properly operate his new FishJumper Troutinator pole. Before long, the first piece of bait he put on the pole had long deteriorated in the water, and the duct tape around the button lost its stickiness in the sea air and came off, leaving the pole “dead in the water.”

A few months later, a smooth talking fishing pole salesman from a discount bait and tackle manufacturer came around and found Busy Bill doing his busy stuff and asked him how his newfangled FishJumper pole was doing for him. Bill thought about how he had not caught any new fish and blurted out “My fishing pole doesn’t work!,” fully blaming the pole. The wily salesman, seeing an opportunity, told Bill how the inexpensive pole he was selling required no personal attention at all. You just needed to buy it, cast it once, put your feet up, and watch the fish just start leaping onto the dock like magic.

Frustrated, Busy Bill called FishJumper and complained about how he should not have to follow directions to use his pole when this other salesman offering the cheap pole said he could do nothing and have success. The people at FishJumper calmly explained that there was nothing wrong with his “Troutinator” pole, and reassured Bill that if he would just invest the needed time and care into the pole’s proper operation, that it could bring him lots of delicious plump, tender, yummy fish, too.

Even though deep down Busy Bill realized this was the truth, he didn’t want to invest his time trying something new, and promptly went out and bought the “easy” cheap pole from the wily salesman. Alas, the cheap pole looked just like all the other cheap poles in the water and the fish he hoped to attract instead yawned and went the opposite direction. Bill did not really notice this for a while because, after all, he was so… busy.

The End.

This story reminds me how some Real Estate Agents understand the importance of regular Blogging and posting to the Social Networks and Craigslist to direct people to their website.

They understand that this is not the 1990’s or the 2000’s anymore and that just putting a great website on the Internet does not negate their personal involvement to make their site successful. The agents who embrace this fact have almost all told me amazing stories of how their businesses have grown, and how they score the top numbers in their offices and winning awards for their productivity. Alas, the stories from the “busy” clients who do not have time to invest in their own success tell me a different story.

Having a great website that you do not promote via blogging and social networking will lead you to mediocre or no results, and no amount of outrage or blame directed at others will change anything.

a-tale-of-3Do you have a great website? If so, (paraphrasing Howard Beale from “Network”), I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I HAVE THE BEST REAL ESTATE WEBSITE IN ALL THE LAND!”

And when we say “yell,” we mean let everyone at every opportunity using every online and offline medium know that you are there and are a force to be reckoned with, and actually direct them to your new website. Your blogging and social networks are invaluable in this area and you simply can not ignore this vital piece of your marketing puzzle.

Either you can do the blogging and marketing, or your assistant can, or you can hire a 3rd party marketing team can do it for you, but realize that even the Taj Mahal needs to have marketing brochures showing people how awesome it is and telling them how to get there. Otherwise, it would go unvisited.

And remember this… Google can see if you are directing people to your website because they monitor all web traffic and follow all links being posted on line, and if nobody, including you, is directing people to your website, then it will appear it is not worth going to, even if it is the best website in your entire market. Simply put, if you do not care about promoting your own website, then Google won’t either.

With a change of your thinking and your priorities towards working smart, you can be like successful like Rego, too. It will take time to do it right, but it will be worth it… and what is the alternative? The short cuts to success of a few years ago now no longer work, and to thrive in this new era, responsibility for your success is facing you in the mirror.

Are you willing to step up and do what it takes? If not, your competitors are.