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The Secret to Real Estate Success: Wear a Red Shirt

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By Dan Stuenzi

RISMEDIA, September 7, 2010—There’s a story told about Andrew Carnegie, the steel industry magnate of the late 1800s and early 1900s. According to the story, Carnegie was in the process of inspecting one of his steel mills from a catwalk high above the work floor. As he moved around the factory with his entourage of company executives, one of the steelworkers followed down the catwalk, shouting “Mr. Carnegie! Mr. Carnegie!”

The other executives tried to keep the young man from passing, but Carnegie told them to allow the man through. The steelworker said, “I promised myself that if I ever got the chance to meet you in person, I would ask you this question: Mr. Carnegie, what is the secret of success?”

Carnegie, one of the richest men in the world at the time, drew the worker to his side at the railing of the catwalk. Looking down on the work floor, he asked, “Young man, what do you see down there?” The man looked down from his perch and noted the endless sea of blue shirts worn by the steelworkers, and the hustle and bustle of everyone on the floor. He responded to Carnegie, “I see a lot of hard work going on!”

Carnegie smiled and said, “That’s part of the answer to your question. The real secret to success,” he said, “is to work hard…and wear a red shirt!”

The obvious point being made by Carnegie is that hard work is not enough. Real estate requires hard work, but to truly succeed, you must also stand out from the crowd. How are you standing out from the crowd? How are you setting yourself and your practice apart from all your competitors? What is your “red shirt?”

It’s been proven time and again that professionals who write a book increase their credibility by leaps and bounds. If you want to attract new clients and referral sources, and positively impact your bottom line, being an author is a great way to do it.

Many professionals have thought about writing a book at one time or another. “Someday,” we say. But the same things seem to stop most of us:
- Not enough time
- Don’t particularly like to write
- Too much work
- Don’t know where to start

But what if you could have a book of your own—the highest quality cloth-bound hardcover—without all the work and time commitment of writing the whole thing from scratch?

You can. The contributory book is the solution. A contributory book, as the name implies, is assembled from the contributions of many authors. By writing just part of a book (usually 10-15 pages) you can be part of an important work that will impact American consumers for years to come.

Participation in a contributory book project means more clients, more referral sources, more revenue and more satisfaction with your practice. Participation means:
- Instant credibility with prospective clients, referral sources and ancillary service providers, when they see your name and picture on the cover
- A significant “business card” that will never be thrown away
- A resource for your own education on topics that may be outside your special niche
- Open doors to speaking engagements, media interviews and other public relations channels
- A thank-you gift for donations to your favorite cause
- The pride of sharing your expertise in a format that will last forever

Depending on the size of your community, you may face competition for clients from dozens or even hundreds of other real estate practitioners. That’s why strategies that help you educate consumers, that set you apart from your competition, and that demonstrate your professionalism and knowledge can go a long way toward ensuring your success.

As with any marketing opportunity, you’ll achieve the best results with a full spectrum approach that includes:
- Media relations
- Utilizing your centers of influence
- Community relations
- Seminars and speaking engagements
- Direct mail
- Plus, proper follow-up to all of the above to ensure success

Collaborative Press, an Omaha-based publishing company, specializes in contributory books for a wide range of professions: attorneys, financial advisors, CPAs, insurance professionals, business advisors, chiropractors, and yes—professionals from all aspects of the real estate industry.

They are currently seeking real estate brokers and agents, mortgage professionals, home inspectors, title company owners, appraisers, 1031 exchange fiduciaries and other real estate experts for two new titles:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Buying a Home (But Were Afraid to Ask) and The Complete Guide to Real Estate Investing in Turbulent Times.

The finished hardbound editions will number 350-450 pages. The books’ question and answer format allows consumers to review the home buying or real estate investing topics in which they are most interested—or read the book cover to cover with clear, understandable content.

Each contributing author can order their own special edition of the book featuring a full color dust jacket that includes the title of the book, with a byline naming that person as a contributing author, along with a photo and short bio on the back, and a complete business description and contact information on the inside dust jacket flaps.

Collaborative Press believes that these contributory books represent an unprecedented marketing opportunity for promoting your business in your community. Like any marketing tool, there is a cost involved, but it’s designed to be recouped with one commission.

There’s nothing like having your picture on the cover of a book that boosts your credibility and solidifies your brand in the marketplace.

Dan Stuenzi is a licensed real estate broker, and the owner/publisher of Collaborative Press in Omaha, Nebraska (www.collpress.com). He can be reached at dan@collpress.com.

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