February 20 2009

Seeing what others don't see

Mike Sipes, NHD's dark lord of technology sent out an email to the entire company today and I was struck so by his sincerity I am compelled to post it here.  I hope Jim doesn't freak. 

Ed Doss, Internet Marketing Specialist

Here's the unaltered email. 

Hi guys,
As with most of Jim’s ideas, I don’t really see the genius of them until later on down the road.  It happened with the Buzz site, the new homes pro site, and it happened with the blog where I did them, but I didn’t really see where the payoff was until something came along later to convince me that Jim really does know what he’s talking about.  I have learned over time to just trust him, and that he DOES know what he’s doing, but it takes me a little longer to really understand what it’s all about.
With the buzz site, this moment was seeing our stats and Jim showing me himself our positioning on a lot of these stories.  I have just been really impressed how quickly we got great positioning for some of the search terms we are in.
With the new homes pro site, just seeing how many people we have hooked up on the network and the great content that Ed and Jim have come up with has convinced me this was a great idea.  A lot of this success has come from the incredible work Ed has been doing with this, and I commend him for it.
On the company blog, as well as Ed’s blogs, I didn’t see the incredible genius of this until I started doing my OWN personal blog just to play around with the concept, to keep me up even LATER at night then I already was staying up, and to see what kind of response that I got to really realize that Jim is getting MUCH more exposure and with BIG names BECAUSE of this whole social networking concept.  It got me to work even harder on my personal blog, and I’ve turned other people into bloggers to tell their own stories.  I’ve met some really great people through my blogging and it’s a lot of fun.
Well, I had another shocker moment yesterday morning watching Good Morning America with this story:
Now tell me, doesn’t this just SCREAM NewHomesDirectory.TV at you?  I screamed at the TV yesterday morning telling it that WE do that and my kids looked at me funny, but it sure did make me feel better.  This just proves to me, once again, that Jim is just a Great Idea Rain Man.
It hit me in the face again, that I really shouldn’t laugh at Jim’s ideas.  Somehow this dude just knows what to do and when to do it!  I bow down to his utter genius and look forward to working on the next “crazy idea”.
Jim Adams, I present you with today’s Bud Light “Real Men of Genius” award.  I’ll let Ed sing you a little song for it, because my singing voice really sucks.
"Get on and get found!"
Mike Sipes
msipes at newhomesdirectory.com
39977 Savanna Way
Murrieta, CA 92563
tel: 951-894-6621
fax: 951-894-6622

February 12 2009

Redefine in 2009

New Homes Directory.com is redefining itself in 2009.  Playing in the shadows of the new home online media space for its first eight years, it's now time to let the world of home building know that we can help them make money through the online consumer experience.  Over the last year, we've completed our enterprise level back end of New Homes Directory.com, we developed the building industry's press release website, we're just coming out of beta for New Homes Directory.TV, and we started the New Homes Professional Network, the second largest LinkedIn network of new home professionals. The NAHB's LinkedIn network is the largest.

New Homes Directory.com is the only new home listing service of its kind - take a look at the design.

NHDBuzz.com, after been breathing for 240 days now, is displaying 769 new home press and news releases.  Those stories have been viewed over 3 million times and have been found for tens of thousands of search terms.

New Homes Directory.TV is the first new home video site delivered in high definition.  We have completely redefined model home videos for music lovers by licensing hundreds of popular artists and songs.  Not everyone likes the popular music but the popularity of the iPod, iTunes, Amazon Music, Yahoo! Music, etc., tells us that music is important to a large segment of consumers.  Those are the consumers we are trying to reach.

Like everyone else, I have my strengths and weaknesses.  Consequently, New Homes Directory.com has the same strengths, and it has the same weaknesses.  My personal greatest weakness through 2008 has been growth through sales - the sales process and the sales system (there was none).  As a result growth for our company has been sporadic and inconsistent, with little to no attention given to it from NHD from an executive level.  I have determined in 2009 that I will no longer let my weakness remain and I will certainly not let growth be a weakness of this company.

Personally, I have decided that I will sharpen my sales skill set and no longer let that be a weakness.  As a sponge, I will absorb the skills of some of the best in our industry - people like Jeff Shore and Mike Lyon.  I hope to meet Myers Barnes later this year also.  These guys know how it's done.

What does this mean for me personally?  What does this mean for the professionals of New Homes Directory.com?  It means change.

We will be implementing a much more growth centric system and process for our sales professionals.  Both Jeff Shore and Mike Lyon will be coming to train our sales professionals.  2009 is our year to redefine.  Redefine our company, redefine our practices, redefine our skill sets, redefine our standards, and redefine our expectations.

Today, Seth Godin posted a blog about algorithms, which he defines as a set of instructions that allows you to solve a problem. 

Here's part of his post. "Ideas that spread, win. Sometimes ideas get changed in transmission, and sometimes those changed ideas spread even farther and with more impact than the ideas that came before them.

In business, if you lock down ideas, make them difficult to change and spread and have impact, you fail. If you accept the fact that change is real, that there is competition for your ideas and that amplifying the good stuff works, you can grow and thrive.

Your organization (and your career) either embraces change and turmoil and sudden shifts in the rules or you fear it. In times of rapid change (that would be now), embracing the algorithm of the evolution of ideas and systems is a significant competitive advantage."  Read the power of an algorithm.

Here's a small tribute to Redefine in 2009.

Jim Adams - April Adams
Barbara Rossoll - Mike Sipes
Ruth Kincaid - Ed Doss
Gina Scott




February 10 2009

NHD Buzz stories top 3 million views

The month of January 2008 recorded well over 700 new home community press and news releases.  NHD Buzz stories have now been viewed over 3 million times since its inception only 238 days ago.

Buzz stats for January 2008 include 6,089 visits with stories being found for 3,708 different search terms.  Notable search terms include:

tustin cottages
penthouse model
windsor landing orlando
luxury penthouses
mccaffrey homes
rowhomes in charlotte nc
nyc rent to own
mattamy homes winter park
new buyers housing seminars columbus oh
open living space townhome

An interesting note on the 'penthouse model' search result. There is no more competitive space on the Internet than the space of the adult industry.  When a Google search is done for 'penthouse model', the results are all adult websites.  Yet a Buzz story referring to a penthouse model is on the first page of some of the most competitive space on the Internet.  How powerful is NHD Buzz for driving traffic to new home communities?  Powerful enough to be in the most competitive space in the world. Check this out. I captured the Google result here.

Happy Buzzing! 

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


February 7 2009

Shortsighted Responses to a Tough Market by Jeff Shore

Do you receive Jeff Shore's newsletter?  Did you read today's?  Check this>>

Warning: I’m about to offend people (especially managers) by challenging some of the decisions that are being made in response to market conditions. I’m prepared to deal with that wrath. But please, consider the message before shooting the messenger!

The challenging market means we need to re-think everything we do and every dollar we spend. That makes total sense to me; it’s just smart business to be as effective as you can, especially when it comes to cost cutting.

Unfortunately, far too many decisions are made in the fashion of the proverbial knee-jerk method. Critical programs are cut in the name of saving money, even though the programs are commonly revenue generating.

Time to re-consider some things. As an industry observer, here are four market response strategies that, I believe, are shortsighted.

Closing Offices

Ask any retailer on the planet about closing the doors to save on labor costs and they’ll look at you like you have a hole in your head. Retailers exist on one thing: traffic through the doors. Close the store and shut off your supply of traffic – it’s that simple.

A good temporary representative is an inexpensive alternative that can capture a prospect’s information and get that customer in touch with someone who can take them to the next level. At the very least, a prospect who takes the time and makes the effort to find a sales office will not be punished by finding the place unattended. Believe me, they’re not coming back to give you another shot at your convenience.

Good temporary representation will cost you a few bucks an hour, so you have to ask yourself whether it was worth the savings if someone pulled up, looked around and drove off. So try this little experiment: take some work or a good book and park in front of the models on a day the office is closed. Watch the look of your prospects as they pull up, get frustrated, and drive off. That might be all you need.

One last thing: some say that temporary representation is so poor that it’s not worth staying open. I disagree. I’ve met many of JoAnne William’s temps in new home sales offices who were every bit as effective (in many cases more so) than full-time agents I often run across.

Cutting Training

Okay – I know this sounds self-serving, but think of the reasoning behind this statement: “We aren’t getting the sales performance we need, so let’s cut the training budget.” Huh? Does that confuse anyone besides me?

It’s one thing if you are finding sales training to be ineffective. But good training should pay for itself with an immediate increase in sales. Training returns many times over in a direct increase in revenue, and a savings in incentives when salespeople are well-prepared to perform at the highest levels.

Piling More on the Sales Manager

Somehow the position of General Sales Manager has become the catch-all for the industry. I see sales managers who are totally consumed with meetings, paperwork, contracts, crisis management, customer complaints, and a thousand other details. And here is my question: Who is out there helping salespeople write more deals? Who is coaching? Who is challenging the salespeople to perform at the highest level? Who is making sure that incentives are used wisely, and that new prospects are given the opportunity to purchase?

We need to seriously re-think what our sales managers do. Their job should be focused on one overriding objective: Lead Conversion – making sure that every possible lead is converted into a sale. That job cannot be done from behind a desk.

Cutting Back on the Web Presence

If you see web advertising as a cost, you'll do what typical managers do - minimize the cost. If you see it as a money-making asset, you'll support it. When it comes to web presence, there is almost no justification for cutting costs in this highly efficient medium. The only question is whether the money spent is going in the right places.

For example, many search engine web sites charge you a monthly fee for placement regardless of performance (which is often difficult to measure). But using a search engine that operates on a pay-per-click model (newhomesdirectory.com, for example), you pay only if the prospect clicks through to your website – that is, you can track your costs in relationship to your activity.

In any event, cutting back on your web presence might be the most confusing of all the cost-cutting initiatives in place today.

But Jeff, our finance guy…

If you’re in sales and you’re reading this, and if you’re agreeing with some or all of these points, it’s time to put your sales skills to work in convincing the powers that be that saving money at the cost of making money is no savings at all. The business world is littered with the remains of companies that have attempted save pennies at the risk of losing future dollars. Sales and marketing is not an expense – it is an investment!


Jeff Shore provides new home sales training and is regarded as a top trainer of new home sales agents and new home sales managers.  Thank you for allowing me to re-post your newsletter on this blog.  This is great stuff. Jeff Shore has had a tremendous impact on my life as well as the lives of many others.  If you can catch one of his seminars, do it. The cost is little and the improvement of your skill set is great.  Check Jeff's schedule here.  Thanks again Jeff, Jim Adams.




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