Personal Branding For Real Estate Agents – Stretching Your Marketing Dollar With Buzz

The aim of personal branding for luxury real estate agents is to communicate, in a instant, the essence of your personality, your personal values ​​and why someone should do business with you instead of your competition. Successful communication occurs not only when your ideal clients recognize that you are someone they can trust, but also when they can easily convey to others why they chose you for the job in a few words. If you get the message right you can spark word-of-mouth advertising or viral marketing.

The right message triggers an emotional response by quickly establishing your professionalism and your likability. It also compels people to do business with you because it transmits your unique selling proposition, your promise of value to them, in a nutshell. The ultimate message, conveyed by a symbol, a slogan or an image creates buzz. It gets people talking about you.

Buzz marketing is the best way to stretch your marketing dollar. Did you ever see the commercials for Charmin toilet paper with the fictional grocer, Mr. Whipple? George Whipple told customers, "Please do not squeeze the Charmin!" in more than 500 commercials between 1964 and 1985. The promise of value of this product, softness , was conveyed in just five words, in seconds. But, it compelled customers to do just the opposite: to squeeze the product and buy it. Was this product actually softer than the competitor's product? Most likely it was not. But, it got people talking about Charmin not the competition.

Probably the most famous and most imitated product slogan is "Got Milk?" which positioned milk as the drink of choice with cookies, cakes, peanut butter, etc. This campaign was credited for reversing a 20 year slip in milk sales. It has been running since 1993 with no signs of tiring. With this slogan, they summarily dismissed all other potables and captured an indelible place in consumers' minds. According to the Got Milk? website, the campaign has over 90% awareness in the US In 2002, the ad was named one of the ten best commercials of all time by a USA Today poll.

The power of buzz in personal branding for real estate agents can save you a bundle in marketing costs. How can you create buzz and stretch your marketing dollars with a great slogan?

Some Things Your Car Insurance Company Won’t Tell You

1. How to determine the value of “total loss.”

Most companies will tell you that they use at least three methods or schemes to determine the actual a totaled vehicle’s value including value books, computer-generated quotes from dealers, and local market research. In this case, you will probably think that local area is your current neighborhood, but it is not specifically defined by the insurer. If, in any case, the company cannot find an auto replacement in your neighborhood, so they have to find it not from your “local area,” your totaled car’s value is certainly affected. For example, if you currently live in New York, replacing your totaled vehicle in suburbs will be cheaper than in the city. Insurance company will, of course, use quotes from suburbs area as the most-reasonably-priced estimates. The main purpose in totaling a vehicle is to allow the consumer (the insured person) to purchase the same car that is totaled in an accident within the local market. Since they use three different schemes to figure out real value of a totaled car, a consumer may end up with a cheaper car than the totaled one. It is impossible to be sure what value you will get when your company does not tell you how they determine it.

Fortunately, you can do some smart methods to help yourself and your company to do the value determination. First, you have to produce valid proof that your car was in good conditions when the accident occurred; car in good condition has better value than a wreck. Bring a copy of maintenance records including oil changes and inspection by an authorized mechanic. The records will tell your company that your auto was regularly maintained, meaning it was actually in great shape (in terms of appearance and performance) when the accident occurred. Moreover, you probably had special features installed such as multimedia system, anti-theft system, anti-lock brakes, rear view camera, or 5-harness seat belt. The car insurance company may charge you more because of some special upgrades, so make sure that your insurer includes that in the evaluation.

Another good thing is to find at least three dealers and get quotes on replacement from them; make sure all dealers in your local area or at least within short driving distance from your home. Present the quotes to your insurer and ask your insurer to provide a list of some car dealers who probably can provide a car for the price listed in the quotes. If you are not satisfied with the company’s value determination or you get less than you expect, you can choose to do mediation. So, meaning you present the case to third party (neutral) to get help to settle the dispute, or arbitration, or you can even request a formal inquiry to the court.

2. If you want to cancel your policy, do it officially

Most companies say that consumers can cancel their policies at any date, but you need to notify the insurer concerning the exact date you want to end the coverage. The statement is clear enough; in other words, it says consumers have to notify their companies when they want to cancel their policies. However, consumers often think that when they ignore the last bill before renewal, the company will automatically end the policy. Too bad, this is not how it is done. People can forget and deliberately miss a bill, and the company totally understands that. After this first missed bill, your insurer is going to send you one more bill for premium payment; if you don’t pay the bill, you will be cancelled for non-payment, and the record will hurt your credit score.

What you should do when you want to cancel auto insurance policy is to let the company know that you are canceling. Please make sure that you provide a specific date; it helps you avoid being totally uninsured for a certain period, time, term. The cancellation request will be sent to you, and all you have to do is to put your signature. It is recommended that you carefully check the document before signing it. Some companies may require you to provide valid proof that you indeed have another coverage before they can approve the cancellation. If you’ve financed your car, the dealer needs the updated policy information because valid proof of insurance is required in the purchase contracts.

Credit history still matters

The use of credit information to determine approval and premium rate is still common, despite the fact that some states already started to ban such practice. Some (if not most) companies use the credit history to generate risk score. They believe that it strongly linked or correlated to the likelihood of the consumer reporting a claim. More likelihood of filing a claim is exactly the same with high-risk driver that usually also pays more expensive premium fee compared to “safe-driver” or “the preferred class.” The preferred consumers are those with stable credit card history as it suggests financial stability, meaning they are not likely to miss a payment. People of this category are safer consumers to insure compared to people with shaky credit history. Auto insurance companies do not like consumer who pays sporadically or changes accounts quite frequently.

There are some credit card issuers who offer free credit score checking, but in most cases, you need to pay for the service. Unlike credit score, risk score for insurance-related matters will not be available for you, but both probably indicate the same thing which is financial stability. If you are currently in the market to purchase auto insurance, and it turns out that you have quite unusual activity on your credit history within only certain time frame, you can wait until one month to allow the credit activity to go back to its usual condition. If you cannot keep the credit score stable, prepare yourself to pay more expensive premium fee.

3. Budgeting by installments is not always efficient.

Installments can pay almost all items, and consumers think that it is indeed the best way to budget the expense. When it comes to auto insurance, you can ask the company to divide the annual premium into a monthly basis, quarterly, or on six month. Please put in mind that dividing the annual premium will cost you “fractional premium.” You can consider this additional service fee to arrange the installment. It can be as cheap as $10 per payment; the more you break it down, the most fractional premium to pay.

Most companies will probably offer you to pay in installments since it makes more money for them. When you apply for insurance, it is wise to ask whether there is any additional charge for installments option, and then you can compare the difference. If the fractional premium is not very expensive, then perhaps it is worth it. Another big difference between upfront payment and installments is that certain companies will immediately cancel your coverage if you miss one payment; even worse, they can do it without notification. It is best to pay up front if you can; the entire process will be easier, and you can indeed save few dollars.

Every vehicle model and type has certain premium rate

Of course, you all know that sport cars need more expensive insurance policies than a van, but insurance companies will not tell you the exact numbers. In general, it is true that attractive, sporty, luxurious car with turbocharged engine will go very quickly on the road, and it increases the risk of accidents, but this is not always true considering the discounts for safety features, security features, mileage (especially when you drive it less), etc. Auto insurance companies have a specific system to know the premium for all car models you can buy, based on the system rating by ISO (Insurance Service Office). Every type of car is rated from 3 to 27; higher number means a higher premium. Insurance Service Office says that it will not release the rating system for publication because its clients are insurance companies.

You will not get the rating system from your insurer; you may not even find it anywhere at all. The best thing you can do when you want to purchase a new auto is to ask the insurance how much insurance premium you need to pay for a new car that you want to purchase. If you keep a good relationship with an independent agent, he/she should be able at least to predict the price based on raw calculation.

4. Filing claim increases your premium.

People are always interested to see insurance companies reduce premium fee to attract potential customers. It is indeed one of the best things customers get from the competition in the market, but your insurer can increase the price right away after you file your first claim. The industry standard is to increase premium fee up to 40% of the base rate after first-at-fault accident. With the help of an online car insurance calculator you get a base rate of $500, your premium increases by $200. Some companies have different rules, but there is always a big chance your premium will go up after the first-at-fault claim. Some insurers offer “first-accident forgiveness,” meaning your first actual claim will not affect the premium at all, but the variable and requirement for eligibility can be different from company to company. You should ask your insurer if such discount is available and how to qualify for it.

Warping Automobile Disk Brake Rotors Are Preventable

In the aircraft and aerospace industry, the standards required for various components, parts, and specifications are considerably higher. Everything built for the aircraft and aerospace industry is light and strong. It is the “AND” part of that sentence that makes the parts expensive, not the “light” part. Automobile manufacturers today who build high-performance and sophisticated vehicles understand the “light” part, but not necessarily the “strong” part. But what they do understand is how much force can be applied to these parts before they succumb to failure.

Today’s brake rotors (or disk brake system) are built very light with advances in technology such as slotting, cross-drilling, cryo-treating and many other advances to allow the brakes to breathe better and last longer. However despite all this technology that goes into the rotors, they are still not strong enough to withstand a mechanic’s error. How often have you had a car pulsate when applying the brakes? The reason this happens is because the lug nuts on your wheels were not torqued down to specifications set out by the manufacturer. Every mechanic shop you walk into, you can always hear the distinctive sound of the air wrench being used to loosen and tighten parts and lug nuts. These air tools are capable of putting out an immense amount of torque, but that is where the problem starts. The torque setting on these air wrenches are preset to a single setting (usually the strongest), never changed, but used to tighten down everything on your car. BAD!

Today’s modern vehicles are built almost like airplanes and have very acute specifications that must be followed. The most commonly made mistake by mechanics and car owners are to over-tighten the lug nuts on the wheels of their cars. Some even go as far as jumping on the tire wrench to ensure that the lug nuts are “tight” and that the wheels will not “fall off” while driving. However, over tightening your lugs will lead to premature failure of your brake rotors as seen by warping or deformations in the rotor. It may also lead to wheel bolts “snapping” when over-tightening the wheels stretches and weakens the bolt.

It is therefore important to ensure that your lug nuts are tightened to the appropriate specifications and to do that, there are several things you can do. For most vehicles, the lug nuts need to be tightened down to 70-100 ft-lbs using a good quality torque wrench. However, you do not need a torque wrench to tighten your lug nuts correctly.

The approach I have always taken is to tighten the nuts as tightly as can be done with your fingers first. Then taking a tire wrench, tighten the nut without apply much effort until you feel some resistance. Then simply (without jumping on the tire wrench), put your body weight on the wrench until it stops turning. You do not need to jerk your body to ensure that there is more room to tighten. In general, if you follow this practice, you will put about 80-90 ft-lbs of torque onto the lug. Do this consistently for all your wheels to ensure that your brake rotors have maximum life. However, for best results, I still recommend acquiring a quality 1/2″ drive torque wrench, my favorite being the Neiko Pro line that I use religiously for every mechanical work conceivable.

It is a worthwhile investment and they typically range in price from $20-40, which is cheaper than a single brake rotor for your car. The brakes and wheels are the most important components of your car and therefore, requires the most care and attention. Go check your lug nuts today.

Learn to Speak Spanish Through Online Programs

The Spanish language is becoming increasingly more important to speak and understand. More than 420 million people speak Spanish, including those who speak it as a second or third language. Approximately 17 million of those are in the United States, making speaking Spanish more than just a passing fad. Fortunately, there are many online resources geared towards helping people learn how to speak Spanish.

Learn Conversational Spanish

The website, studyspanish.com, provides people with the opportunity to learn conversational Spanish. Although this program will not help you achieve fluency, by reading the lessons and repeating sounds and phrases with the audio attachments, you can be well on your way to carrying on a conversation. Sample beginning lessons are available online, and students can add to their knowledge with the purchase of CDs.

Courses, Tutors and Games in Spanish

Websites like 123teachme.com provide grammar, vocabulary, verb conjugations and sounds, like the other websites, but they also incorporated games and quizzes. These games and quizzes use vocabulary and phrases to test students knowledge and memory. People using this site can also work with Spanish tutors, people who know the language fluently, to get one-on-one help and accelerate the learning process.

Use Videos on Google and YouTube

Videos are available on YouTube and Google, and allow Spanish students to hear how the words are said, including accents and emphasis, but also see how they're said. Some of these videos use visual aids, displaying words and their pronunciation, like a book and audio tape would do, while others use people. The videos are for the beginning and advanced learners, depending upon the individuals needs and desires.

Learn Practical Spanish

Websites like e-spanol.hu/en outline the basics of Spanish, including grammar, vocabulary and expressions. This website provides games, quizzes, tests, word practices, audio videos and transcripts for students to test their knowledge and maximize they're Spanish skills.

Master Words and Phrases

For the beginning and advanced Spanish speakers, or students who simply want a larger vocabulary, websites like learn-spanish.co.il/ are ideal. This website lectures specific words and phrases that can make your Spanish more descriptive and detailed, including words relating to travel, color, shapes, sports, animals, food and clothing. However, this website does not include an audio, but only a simple visual of the words.