How to Find a Great Realtor to Run Your Property “Comparables” (Comps)

Establishing value on your property is critical. Skill number one above all other skills to master.

The most important aspects of being a real estate investor is the ability to establish value on houses or properties you are considering buying, wholesaling, or flipping. Irregardless of location, be it California, New York, Houston, or Dallas its a must know skill to learn in time.

But how do you master comping property if you do not have Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access? How can you practice and practice running comps (like I have until you breeze through it), looking at land, comparing variables like year built, location, lot square feet, bed and baths, subdivision and lastly what is the property next too? Is it next to a commercial center, stinky ranch or pig farm or a nice area with a creek or lake? These factors are important to know in learning to master running comps on property.

Before you can become proficient with running comps you need MLS access from a realtor if you are not one already. And this is how you do it. You want to find a realtor you know on a personal level, maybe a friend, friend of the family, or relative. If you don’t have a realtor on hand you need to make friends with one.

This is how you go about making friends and getting MLS access. Drive for dollars and find a vacant, boarded up house ones you want to consider buying or wholesaling. Find two or three, then call a few Realtors up tell them you are real estate buyer or investor and need a good realtor to buy through and run comps.

Start off only giving them a few addresses to comp then a week later give them a few more, meanwhile take them out to coffee get to know them, their likes dislikes, hobbies, etc. Form a relationship with them. A week later give them a few more comps to run, be sure the houses are in your actual buying areas of interest. In other words make sure its real comps of real houses. Its one way to get to know your platinum areas.

Phone your realtor talk to him or her about the houses he or she comped. Make the chat a casual conversation. Ask them if they would like you to refer them (realtor) to the sellers who want to list. Of course the realtor will say yes! Let them know not all sellers you meet are desperate or motivated sellers and some simply need a good realtor to list with.

Then when a seller does not want to sell ask them if they would like to talk to your realtor to see if listing is right for them. Call the Realtor and give them the seller’s name, phone, address, and the condition of the house. This will show the realtor you are serious. No one works for free. Keep track of those referrals maybe the realtor will give you a small finders fee once listed and sold, just don’t ask for one at this point. Your sole goal is MLS access! The gold standard of running comps.

Somewhere in the discussions you are giving them the comps to run, they start to get a bit overwhelmed at the extra work load of running the comps for you. This is what you want. They need to realize in the back of their minds without you mentioning it, they should just give you MLS access.

However, when you feel its a good time tell them you can “save them time buy getting MLS access as an “real estate assistant” or such, just whatever is easier for them” which they can ethically do. This is why, they have real estate assistants who run comps for them, look up properties on the MLS and help out in the office for them.

If you are giving them leads they are going to be more than happy to give you the access you need once you establish trust with them. It is wise to be working about 2-3 Realtors at once to see who is actually a big picture or forward thinker. Do this until they get you the MLS access. Do this until you can speak their language. Do this until you get your MLS access. But stay in touch with the other Realtors, because you never know when you will need them too.

Let this soak in a bit and see if it helps you to get the MLS access you need. Zillow or no other comp service is worth a darn, hey its hard enough to establish value with the MLS as it is. Some Realtors will say they can run the comps but a realtor see’s comps through a different light than the investor. Here is one major difference, WE write the $200,000 check to BUY the house, Realtors only list the house. We better be right-on with our comps! Get it!?! So they see running comps through a different pair of glasses, and this is one of many reasons why you need the actual MLS access yourself.

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Hockey Fitness Training For Goalies – Three Key Fitness Tips For Dominating the Crease

Hockey fitness training for goalies is extremely important, yet far too often goalies ignore the gym and take the fitness side of the game far less seriously than they should. Goaltending can be one of the single most demanding positions in any given game. The demands on the body of a goaltender absolutely require training if any goalie wants to truly reach their full potential. Here are three general rules goalies should follow when training.

Lower body and core should get priority:

Sure everyone wants to work on their beach muscles, but for goalies, it should be obvious that have an incredibly strong lower body, and a strong core are the most important factors when it comes to fitness. A strong lower body and core will allow a goalie to move explosively from point to point faster and with more control and will also help minimize the chance of injury. Remember though, when you work your legs, your whole body gets a boost, so you’ll still see gains in your upper body.

Always maintain flexibility:

If you train to the point of becoming bulky, you’ll risk losing some of your flexibility, which is something goalies can’t afford to do. The key to avoiding this is to train for strength and power, not necessarily just for size (there is a difference). Also, the more you train, the more you should be focusing on your stretching and maintaining and improving your flexibility. Strength and power are exceptionally important for goalies, but never at the cost of flexibility.

Follow a good program:

Rather than just hit the gym and workout without any real plan, you should consider following a workout plan designed specifically to meet your goals as a hockey player. Consider investing in a good program that is designed with hockey in mind rather than just going with a generic program. You can either have a trainer design your program, or go with an existing training manual.

VO Marketing Tips – Part 1, The Basics

For the past few years, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of taking part in an exciting and wonderful career as a Voice Talent. Because I have such a passion for voice acting, it naturally drives me to want to succeed and see my business flourish. Most people, when I tell them what I do for a living, simply shake their heads in amazement and exclaim how cool it must be to get paid “just for using my voice”. I smile, shake my head vehemently, and agree. But, as all of us in the industry know, the fun part of using your voice is probably only 20% of the job! The rest is comprised of everything else that is required to operate and maintain a successful business. A large part of that is knowing how to market yourself to generate new business, as well as having an effective plan to nurture and sustain existing business relationships.

Along my journey, I have experienced many trials and tribulations, and have been truly blessed to have learned a few lessons along the way. I certainly do not claim to be a marketing expert to any degree, but I’d love to share some marketing tips that were effective for my business. I hope that they can, in some way, help you too, and allow you to truly flourish in this great industry!

Some basic tips that I have found to be really helpful in expanding my business include:

Get Your Demo Professionally Produced and Keep it Fresh!

This is your most important marketing tool and vital to your success as a voice over artist. If you are serious at all about your VO business, this should be your number one goal. As you grow as an artist and as a business, it will be necessary to keep your demos current and even add more to your current portfolio. Go to a professional studio and make it a priority to invest in your demo – it is your calling card!

Write a Great Bio

A foundation to marketing yourself – Even if you are just starting out in the business, you will need to provide people with information about who you are and your relevant experience. For many of us, this can be an immensely difficult task! Once your bio is developed, however, it can be used many times over – as part of your business introduction for new clients, a cover letter for auditions, Bid Response letters, as well as a section on your website.

Talk about what you do

All the time – to everyone! You never know who may be in need of your services. Even if they may not be in need of your services right now, they just might be later on down the road, or they may know someone who is. Don’t be shy! People always seem to be fascinated with the concept of voice overs as a business – and it’s a great ice breaker and conversation piece at parties!

Figure out your “Brand” and Develop a Strategy

This is a vital step in creating and establishing your identity as a voice over artist. Exactly “who” are you and what is your specialty? Your brand identity will be repeatedly communicated, in multiple ways with frequency and consistency throughout the life span of your business. Famous for his innovative branding,Doug Turkell, the “Unnoucer” has flourished by creating and marketing his unique brand of voice overs. Just do it already! Butdothink carefully about this one – changing your brand once established can be a bit difficult, though not impossible!

Take classes and workshops in your profession

It will allow you to network with your peers and even better, establish a relationship with an industry “expert”, who can provide you with even more valuable business leads. Taking classes will not only add educational/ training credits to your resume, but will also allow you to establish and assess your “competition”, and strengthen your vision for possible “niche” markets which may not be covered by your peer group.

Make yourself Accountable

Write down your business goals and establish a system of accountability for your business. This will help you develop a clear picture of how you can better market yourself. Spend an allotted time each day working on new contacts – this includes cold calling! Make it a goal to meet someone new in the business everyday!

It’s all about Customer Service!

Go above and beyond for your clients. Give more than they expect – and you will find that they will come back again and again. When I book a job, I usually give at least two finished takes for the client to choose from, even if they are not requested. Since I usually record more than two takes for each spot anyway, it doesn’t add a lot of time to the job on my end, and my clients really appreciate it!

Take care of your existing customers!

The word “Marketing” is often thought to describe advertising activities specific to gaining new business, but keep in mind that enriching and nurturing the relationship of your existing customers can be critical to your business survival. Contact them periodically and let them know you are available for them and keep them abreast of any new projects. Many times during a new business “low”, my repeat clients have come through with flying colors and kept my business booming!

Get Testimonials and Publish them!

When you complete a job, especially when you know the client loved your work, always ask for a testimonial, as well as a copy of the finished product for your demo reel. You can simplify this process by creating a generic “Thank You” template or form email that includes your request so you don’t forget. You’d surprised at how many clients are more than willing to do this for you if you just ask! Let your clients do the marketing for you!

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful and I welcome all comments! Upcoming articles in this series will discuss marketing options for building and marketing your VO business online.

Reasons Video Marketing Is Important

There are many ways for a company to market themselves. They can use traditional paper marketing, social media marketing, or search engine rankings with a great website design. Corporate video production is one of the most effective video marketing techniques.

The total number of online consumers doubles every few years. This means that online video views will quadruple in this time frame. Video usage is growing because people love it, and video is becoming a viable marketing channel.

Videos allow businesses to create and share quality content with their audiences in a way that text cannot. It also makes people feel connected to company by allowing them to see a face behind the name. People enjoy videos because they may not have the time or patience to read through lengthy product or service descriptions.

Making and publishing videos does not always directly bring in money. However, video marketing is a tactic businesses use to improve customer engagement, click-throughs, and traffic. For example, including videos in emails can increase open rates by five percent and click-through rates nearly 100 percent of the time.

Videos help search traffic increase. Major search engines have begun ranking videos in their results page. Videos have a 50 times better chance of ranking within the first page of major search engines with their respective keywords. Videos also increase traffic for businesses when they are shared. With video marketing, there is a higher chance of a video going viral.

This age of internet and computers allows people the ability to shop from home. However, shoppers have lost the ability to feel and try out the products in person. Businesses who create detailed demo videos explaining their products and services give their customers the opportunity to feel that in-store experience shopping online.

With thorough videos, customer service will not have to deal with common and obvious questions. This can be how does the product work and how big is the product in real life. The video tells customers everything they need to know in order to make a smart buying decision.

Creating corporate videos is a creative and exciting experience for those in charge of it. This is more fun than typing out a blog post or choosing product descriptions that accurately cover any questions a customer may have before buying. The video will bring all company offerings to live.

The more creative and unique a video is, the more customers will appreciate it and remember it in the future. Creative videos will also be shared more among customers to friends, family, and coworkers. This will increase exposure and bring in new customers.

Social media defines marketing today. Therefore, videos are an integral part of most online marketing campaigns. Videos should be cross-promoted with all other online media content a business has. This ensures a powerful way to strengthen the different signals being sent to customers.

Successful video marketing campaigns require support from all other marketing channels. Videos need to be shared on the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Get employees to share the videos on their personal social media accounts.

Incorporate videos into blog posts. In fact, make a theme of it. One day a week, such as Friday or Monday, make a blog post that is centered on a video. This theme idea can translate into the video channel that a business should make on popular video upload sites. Make a schedule for uploading videos on a channel. For example, businesses can have How-To Tuesdays.

Playlists can be created to group similar videos that customers may want on a particular topic. Customers will be influenced to watch more videos in a playlist, increasing view counts and the likelihood they will be liked and shared on social media avenues.

Online Shop – Future of Shopping

Online shopping  witnessed spending of £178 million per week during January 2009. This means 3.7 percent of overall retail sales were through internet shopping. During 2008, online retail sales experienced steady and steep growth rate. It accounted for 3.1 percent in January 2008 and went up to 3.5 percent in December 2008. The trend is expected to continue as more and more people are showing interest in this arena of shopping.

Online shopping is extremely convenient and attract shoppers with lucrative offers. Almost every thing that is purchasable appears on the various online stores. It is impossible to summarize the entire list but few examples are books, gadgets, accessories, clothes, groceries, movies, music, shoes, heath and fitness products, cosmetics, eatables and travel tickets etc. Great variety of the products adds on to the excitement of buying online. Best holiday packages to the world’s greatest destinations are planned online within a short span of time. Even food joints accept delivery orders over the internet. Online shopping avoids the unnecessary wastage of time and money.

Initial cost to start a shop includes land prices, cost of the stock, construction rates and many more hidden costs. Additional to these costs are the running expenses of the store. On the other hand, selling products online requires no such setup and initial cost is very low. This allows attractive discounts on the deals and makes internet shopping economical for the buyers and profitable for the sellers. It is a win-win situation at both ends. The reduced cost is forwarded to the shoppers as discounts. This encourages the clientele to depend upon e-shopping for everything. The web stores offer discounts throughout the year and deals become very lucrative during peak seasons. The discounts vary from one shopping portal to another for the same product. Everyone tries to provide their products at cheapest possible rates to attract customers. Therefore shopping sites reduce their profits by offering heavy discounts to increase the volume. This calls for the concept of comparison shopping. There are many sites which offer comparison between the prices of same product on different sites. This allows user to view all deals at one location and make the best purchases. Companies and shopping portals distribute discount codes to attract internet shoppers toward their sites. The code number can be entered before leaving the shopping portal to avail discounts. Online shopping is becoming interactive and consumers share their views on various social shopping communities and blogging sites. They provide their personal experience with the products to help others make the right choice. The social shopping brings fun and excitement to the shopping experience.

Few other aspects about internet shopping requires careful attention. First is the Free Delivery advertised by sellers. It is not truly free as the delivery expenses are included in the product’s cost. Dealers accept shipment charges depending upon the distance. Therefore products delivered from close locations attract low shipment charges and other additional costs. Online dealers provide warranty for their products but the returns are difficult due to long distances. It requires the user to ship back the product and pay some additional charges in many cases. Maintaining privacy of the information supplied by buyers is another crucial issue. There are no law preventing this and sellers are free to get your information. This leak of information results in more direct-mail marketing, spam e-mails and telemarketer calls.

The online shopping is gaining continuous popularity and is becoming a growing trend among shoppers. The advantages of internet shopping are too attractive for people to resist. It is time to accept the new ways of shopping and enjoy its benefits.

When All Is Not Well With Work

When all is not well with work, what do you do? Do you quickly get frustrated and feel discontent? Do you look at each situation as a tiresome challenge or as an opportunity to learn something new? Have you ever considered looking at work problems from a spiritual point of view?When you look at work from a spiritual perspective, you will see that there are lessons for you to learn. Let’s look at a couple of situations that you or someone you know may have encountered. We will look at each scenario from a typical perspective and from a spiritual perspective.Difficulty with Boss or Co-WorkerNormally, we think that a difficult boss is just that, difficult. By all means, you are probably not the first person who didn’t get along with them. Therefore, it can’t be you who needs to change and instead the boss needs to change.From a spiritual way of thinking, you should ask yourself, “What is this person trying to teach me?” (And we’re not talking about job tasks.) Think for a moment, what is it about this person that really aggravates you? Make a list of all of their annoying attributes. How does this person make you feel? What bothers you the most? Compare the boss’s or co-worker’s list of attributes to your own behaviors. What characteristics do you have in common?Looking at the situation from this perspective, you suddenly realize that the characteristics that annoy you are the same characteristics that you embody. Recognize and appreciate your boss or co-worker for they are showing you what you need to change. If your characteristics are not similar, look for the lesson that they are teaching you.Not Getting a Well-deserved Pay Raise or PromotionFirst of all, let’s assume that your employer is not having any financial difficulties and is giving raises to other employees. Normally, we would think that our boss or employer is a louse and a cheapskate. We would wonder why we are the only person that did not get a raise.Looking at this situation from a spiritual perspective, we need to reflect upon why this is happening to you and not to anyone else. Reflect upon how you value yourself and your work. Do you sub-consciously think that you are not worthy of a pay raise? You will discover that the perception of not being worthy begins with yourself and your mindset. It is your self image that gets projected outwards. Others “see” the image that you have for yourself and act accordingly.Instead of being angry with your employer, work towards increasing your self-worth. Once, you raise your self worth then the rest of the world will recognize your shift and act accordingly by paying you what you are worth.You Hate Your Job and You Just Can’t Take It Another DayWhen you hate your job, it is easy to blame your employer for the many reasons why you despise your job. Perhaps, you are upset because your boss denied your vacation request or maybe you are bothered by the fact that you are far more qualified and talented than the person who is your supervisor.From a spiritual perspective, have you looked at why you are staying at a job that you hate so much? You might say something like, “I have excellent health benefits and can’t risk changing companies.” or “I have already spent fifteen years with this company and I would lose my retirement if I left.” Keep in mind that all of these “reasons” are just excuses. That’s right just excuses.Instead of getting upset with your employer, you need to look at why you are feeling so challenged about leaving. What is really keeping you there? Most of the time, we stay in a job that we hate because of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that I can’t get the same or better health insurance. Fear that I would fail in a new job. Fear of being too old. Fear of anything and everything. It is the fear that truly keeps you stuck in a place that you really don’t want to be.If you take the time to explore your fears, you will realize that you are being called to take a new direction in your career. Once you let go of the fear and accept change, you will see that you should have left your job a long time ago.Whatever challenge you are given at work, look beyond the situation at the surface level. What is really happening? What is the situation trying to teach you? When you incorporate this new way of thinking into your life, you will find that your difficulties are in reality blessings in disguise.

Career Information about Photography

Career information about photography is important to access and focus on initially because it is a competitive market where the work is often attractive to many people. The photographer must have “a good eye”, imagination, and some creativity to do well in this field. That’s not all. Photographers love going into their own business. Accordingly, they must be able to maintain a business and to take advantage of opportunities provided by rapidly changing technologies. While seeking career information about photography you should first speak to one of your local photographers for information. You can ask questions about the job market in your area and how much training was involved before he/she considered themselves ready. You’ll find your local photographer will offer you insight that will be helpful in most cases.What as a photographer do you plan on achieving? Most would agree, the photographer is an artist, historian, and news event person. Perhaps you had already planned on your career and how you wish to achieve it. Career information about photography will prepare you for specific jobs but you should be aware of other elements related to the work. A photographer produces and preserves images that paint a picture, tell a story, or record an event. The successful photographer is required to have the ability to present a subject to achieve a particular effect while also selecting the appropriate equipment. A good photographer may enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light, shoot the subject from an interesting angle, draw attention to a particular aspect of the subject by blurring the background, or perhaps using different lenses to produce desired levels of detail at various distances.This is just an example of some of the requirements that a good photographer should possess. Career information about photography will vary according to what type of photography interests you. Underwater photography is becoming an exciting field of unexplored areas. Other photographers specialize in areas such as portrait, commercial and industrial, scientific, news, or fine arts photography.Portrait Photographers: The one’s we see most often who usually come with those special family events. They normally take individual pictures, group pictures and often work in their own studios. A lot of photographers specialize in taking wedding pictures, religious ceremonies, or school pictures.Commercial and Industrial: Career information about photography includes professionals who specialize in commercial and industrial photography. These photographers take pictures of various subjects, such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. Why would a photographer go around taking these pictures? This is a specialized field wherein a lot of money can be made. The pictures are used in a variety of media, including books, reports, advertisements, and catalogs. The industrial photographer is usually hired in advance and knows what his assignment will be. He does not take pictures and try to find a buyer. The industrial photographer takes pictures of machinery, products, workers, and company officials. The pictures taken are usually for a specific purpose. In the future these pictures help engineer’s analysis projects, publicity, or records of equipment development or deployment, such as placement of an offshore oil rig.Field of Science: Career information about photography is common in the field of science. The recording of scientific data and procedures is often done by a photographer. The field of unusual phenomena or sometimes called ghost hunting uses special type of equipment and is necessary to help prove the existence of perhaps a haunting. Many things evolve when you work in the scientific field that is why a photographer must have knowledge in one or more areas of engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry.Photojournalism: Photojournalists are people who take pictures of newsworthy people, places, and sporting events. They are news photographers who often cover political and community events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television.Career information about photography would not be complete unless I reminded you of working conditions. The working conditions vary considerably from one type of a job to another. For instance, photographers who work for the government and advertising studios usually work a 5-day, 40 hour week. News photographers often work long, irregular hours and must be available on short notice. Some photographers work part time or on variable schedules.One last thing – Career information about photography should include the fact that a lot of photographers spend a small amount of time actually taking pictures because they spend a lot of time editing photographs on a computer and trying to find new business especially when they are self-employed.

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  • Basics of Standard Renters Insurance

    Planning on getting renters insurance? If you are then there are certain details that you should take into consideration and understand before you actually opt for one. This is mainly because renters insurance does have certain terms and conditions that may not just suit anyone.Insurance is not about protecting the building that you’re staying in. The insurance that your landlord is holding on his building does not include your safety and also the possessions that you have in the property. Taking that into view, below are some of the basics of standard renters insurance.First of all most standard renters insurance is broken up into two types which is HO-4 which is for renters and also HO-6 which is for condo owners. The policies in these insurances do include natural disasters such as fires or lightning, snow and also volcanic eruption. But one thing you should take into account is that most of these renters insurances do not cover floods and earthquakes. Why you may ask? The reason being that if you’re located in a flood or earthquake prone area the insurance agency would have to fork out a high amount in damages to their customers. Being that, most insurance agencies do not have policies that cover those two natural disasters. If you’re living around these types of places try to find the most appropriate policy for yourself as being safe is better than being sorry later on.Besides that another aspect that you should take into account would be the type of payment your insurance policy is entitled to give you if there are any damages or theft. There are two types of payment schemes available which are actual cash value (ACV) and also replacement cost average. ACV refers to a coverage scheme that pays you only the current value of an item. For example, you had bought a speaker set for $200 2 years ago and it got damaged recently, your insurance will only pay you back the actual amount of the speaker set today and not the $200 you had spent 2 years ago. Replacement cost average will pay for the actual cost of the item that you have lost. This method works by claims that you’ll have to submit to your insurance agency.

    Reduced Sales in the Auto Industry Requires New Responsibilities For Automotive Advertising Agencies

    The role of the automotive advertising agency in today’s consolidating auto industry must change to accommodate the needs of the auto dealers that they serve. Reduced sales volume and profits have forced auto dealers to reduce their automotive advertising budgets and sales staff. As a direct result, automotive advertising agencies are being challenged to deliver more for less and reduced budgets and floor traffic suggest that they must increase their areas of responsibility to justify their agency fees or risk losing accounts. More importantly, they must learn the auto industry from the auto dealer’s perspective if they expect to be able to contribute in any meaningful manner.Assuming that we all work our pay plans to maximize our own ROI in our chosen careers in the automotive advertising industry, I thought I would share some best practices regarding an auto dealership’s Internet sales processes with my fellow automotive advertising professionals to help them better serve their auto dealer clients. Not all of the situations I discuss will apply to every auto dealership so take note of ones that do and save the others for future reference in case they surface in some other form. I will cover common issues that are part of human nature. After all, the key to success in the car business is in the people – not in the franchise or facility – so most problems start and finish with people.The Internet Department — From The Dealer’s PerspectiveAs a former new car dealer and current consultant on dealer operations and marketing I am constantly amazed by the disconnect between dealers and their key personnel. I liken the miscommunication of their common goals — to sell more cars/service and make more money — to that of a long marriage. Courting equates to the interview and the first few months are like an extended honeymoon. Once the excitement wears off it is a lot of work to remember why you got married in the first place; but worth the effort!Dealers are people too! They often indulge their emotions in the hiring process based on the fact that they need help more than the applicants need the job! Great interviews get an applicant the job with the dealer’s hope and desire to solve a problem – not make a friend. Their business needs eventually outweigh their emotions and words like bottom line profits, accountability and the latest buzz words — verifiable R.O.I. — take over. Dealers should always have job descriptions and areas of responsibility along with supported compensation plans based on individual and department guidelines and objectives. Unfortunately, not many auto dealers have those today and few automotive advertising agencies are prepared to provide them.Today’s market losses have forced dealers to make difficult decisions that should have been made before a position was even considered. The survival of the fittest must apply! It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it and the Dealer must base his decisions on performance and individually contributed profits or we will all suffer the consequences! That observed deficiency is a perfect opportunity for a forward thinking and prepared automotive advertising agency to earn their fees when direct sales won’t support them by passing on the observed need to their auto dealer clients while providing them proven processes to satisfy them.Re-defining the role of the Internet Sales Manager, (ISM), at the Dealership – Customer Communication Center, (C.C.C.) vs. Business Development Center, (B.D.C.)The A, B, C’s of the car business — Always Be Closing — go beyond the showroom floor and apply to the ISM as well as their staff. The key to the close, however, is to know the answer before you ask the question, or at least provide a limited response that you can control!Based on your new found knowledge and understanding of the dealer’s requirements of their ISM, I suggest that you ask the hard questions before your dealer client does! The more you and the ISM are involved in the selling process in both vehicle sales and fixed operations the more productive and profitable you will be. The more accountable and verifiable your R.O.I. to the dealer the more secure your income and the account. Sell yourself and the added value that you bring to his Internet department to your dealer with the leverage of verifiable performance in a clearly defined position on the team beyond what most dealers envisioned from their automotive advertising agency and be paid accordingly.I propose that you literally have the tail wag the dog, so to speak, by suggesting that the Internet Department become more than a lead generator with limited selling responsibilities. All communications, before, during and after the sale can, should and soon will be handled over the internet and/or on the dealership’s website which should now be part of your shared area of responsibility with the ISM.Currently, Business Development Centers, or B.D.C’s., coordinate selling opportunities developed on the telephone, showroom floor, service drive, data base marketing and in many cases the Internet. They rely on linked technology like telephony systems, vendors, such as Whos Calling, and onsite data base management systems, (DMS), such as ADP or Reynolds and Reynolds and customer retention management systems, (CRM), like Higher Gear or DealerUps, that are all now available on the internet.Who is better prepared to coordinate communications and even transactions on the Internet than the Internet Manager supported by an involved and educated advertising agency? Who has the best understanding of computers, software and integrated links to access and apply information directed to the contacts sourced from the auto dealer’s automotive advertising investments? It better be you!Customer Communication Centers, or C.C.C’s. provide a more integrated and accessible central point of contact at the dealership for their customers in both their brick and mortar dealership and their online virtual showroom. All customer contacts for sales, service/parts and office should be channeled to one location from all sources including telephone, email, mail, internal DMS and CRM, Internet — you name it! The cross-sell opportunities between sales and service/parts by having one contact person suggesting shared opportunities is obvious but unlikely if they are handled by two different people or departments! Less obvious opportunities like customer complaints and key vendor communications provide the ability to turn a problem into a solution but only if channeled properly.The Internet is hosting telephone, DMS and communications through webinars and emails so take charge and credit with the dealer. Re-define your role at the dealership by increasing your areas of responsibility!Integrating the Internet into the selling process — Sales and Fixed OperationsMost dealers have been traumatized by software solutions they are still paying for and never used. Usually they require secondary input, are redundant with other more integrated systems to the selling process or just lack real world applications to their deal flow — which is driven by human nature on all levels. Inspect what you expect coupled with standards like you can’t manage what you can’t measure can be applied to support your close for enhanced opportunities for you, his staff and your dealer.Place the Internet C.C.C. squarely in the middle of all selling processes. Of course be careful what you ask for since an astute dealer will, and should, hold you accountable. No pain, no gain — so go for it!As admitted, the devil is in the details, and there is no standard application to apply to all situations. Deciding what to do and what to delegate, and how to best integrate with the auto dealer’s current systems to minimize disruption, is the key. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water but expecting different results from the same action is a good definition of insanity.The auto dealer’s sales staff and service writers hate you — join the team!The automotive advertising agency has always been perceived by the auto dealer’s staff as an outsider and the ISM has only recently earned the respect that he deserves by the old car guys who may still be fighting the shift to the World Wide Web. The Internet Geek of the old days has matured into a key manager in most dealerships and the trend is growing! You can’t possibly expect to cross train on all aspects of operations — but you should try! Evaluate the current communications, customer and deal flow and create a business pro forma in concert with the ISM and the other department managers to develop a profit and increased R.O.I. for all involved and you will earn your position on the team.Inter-department squabbles in the car business will always exist but your new position on the team — if introduced correctly — will transcend individual motives to resist your efforts to improve everyone’s bottom line. Taking on the burden of helping the ISM and his team to make appointments and providing centralized communications — both internally and externally to the dealership — will free everyone else up to sell more cars, service and parts!Real time paperless reports available online — or in the DMS/CRM — will provide the department managers with the information and tools they need to do their jobs. Your complimentary secretarial services, automated and managed follow up systems to recapture lost sales opportunities coupled with your shared goal to increase appointments, sales and customer satisfaction is not a threat but a blessing!Establishing goals, accountability — getting paid on the bottom lineMost automotive advertising agencies and ISMs are involved in search engine optimization plans, (S.E.O.), and search engine marketing plans, (SEM), with applications on their website that track leads, conversions and R.O.I. — or they should be! Your goal should start with continuing your efforts to increase traffic to your auto dealer’s website rather than the telephone. It represents the most sophisticated tracking software available; now and for the foreseeable future. Your ability to track results is where your accountability part gets covered!Sales goals theoretically start with the dealer’s market share responsibility for the manufacturer, (M.S.R.), but fixed and semi-variable expenses quickly establish more pressing goals. Covering the Nut is a street level goal which must be met or none of the others matter. Have the dealer provide you with what he expects — or needs — and that should become your common goal!An example of a realistic goal for an auto dealership should be 4-5 generated appointments per day per person; selling one. This represents 120 + appointments each month, 80 +/- that show up and an additional 20 units per person per month based on a 25% closing ratio.Include areas that you and the ISM can directly impact and monitor like new and used vehicle sales — units and gross profit, sales and service appointments, customer satisfaction scores and all monthly sales or performance goals. Define the areas of responsibility that you will handle and decide on which ones you will delegate. Compute the budget, staff and facility you will need, online and in concert with your conventional advertising and community networking proposals, to develop the traffic required to achieve the sales and performance goals the dealer has established.Use industry guidelines as far as closing ratios and conversion ratios specific to the auto dealer’s franchise, size of market, staff, inventory and facility to “back into” your sales vs. traffic needs. Resource local media statistics, like cost per point, C.P.P., to determine the most cost effective media to dominate within your budget focused on the Internet customer and then dominate it.On broadcast, for example, a 5 plus frequency and a 50% reach coupled with consistent and coordinated dealer specific brand-tail messages, (branding and retail), over a ninety day period with creative directed to your dealer’s web site as well as a monitored 800 number will absolutely drive traffic.Of course expenses must be considered based on line item percentage guidelines vs. other expenses to preserve profits. Another common budget tool is to establish a per unit cap based on experienced expenses per unit which range from $250-$500 per car but it can double in certain markets. Pick a basis for your budget, any basis, and stick with it!Monitor shifts within budget based on results and R.O.I. per investment but never increase the budget without a proper risk to reward consideration and an acceptable projected R.O.I. The days of guessing are over; so be right!Do all of the above, design an agency fee tied to specific performance under your control and you will have deserved a bonus tied to the total dealership bottom line because you have contributed to it. More importantly, as a valued member of the team your agency relationship with your auto dealer clients and their staff will survive today’s downturn in the economy and the auto industry with its reduced conventional advertising budgets.

    Two Tier Education System For Higher Technical Education in India

    IntroductionWith ever increasing use of technology and the internet in India and ever growing demand and need for expanding the coverage of Higher Technical Education there is a wide scope of introducing technology in the way the Higher Technical Education is imparted in India. In today’s environment mostly the methods employed are labor intensive, limited to class room interaction, access to which is not available to students in the event of they missing out the classes due to certain reasons. In addition there are difficulties in explaining and demonstrating the complex subjects involving three dimensional figures/models. More over it is an accepted fact that it is difficult for the students to concentrate on a subject in a typical classroom environment for more than about 20 minutes. The best of students have often been found to be losing concentration after about 20 minutes of classroom teaching which mostly becomes monotonous in traditional class where teacher mostly resorts to one way transmission without initiating interactive discussion. Though interactive sessions offer little improvement but it is not always possible to initiate the interaction till the time the students have developed certain level of understanding of basic concepts and fully understand the prerequisite required for a typical course.BackgroundIn order to improve teaching learning process it is important that we go beyond the boundaries of classroom and fixed timetable limits. The teaching material must be delivered to the student at a time, pace and place which provides best learning environment for him. This may have lot of variation depending on individual students needs. The EDUSAT program launched at the initiative of the government has also not achieved the desired success though large numbers of terminals have been established all over India and best of Professors are delivering lectures in real time environment. The root cause of failure can be attributed to the fact that it is still not getting out of a typical class room environment. Though virtual classrooms have been created but still it is limited to formalities of a classroom.Use of technology in improving the teaching learning process normally termed as Educational Technology – also known variously as e-learning, instructional technology and learning technology – is the use of technology to support the enhancement of learning process. It impacts upon the learning process, e.g. in delivering learning materials, facilitating communication and providing assessment and feedback. This technology can effectively be used to enhance and supplement the classroom teaching wherein the material is once again made available to the student at a time, pace and place that is best suitable for his needs. It will fill in the blanks which he must have drawn while he was in the classroom and could not clarify his concepts due to certain reasons. More ever certain other things like tutorials, tests, assignments etc can also handled effectively on line thereby saving the valuable time of the competent faculty members which can be used for other more useful activities.Course management systems (CMSs), which are online systems, were designed and developed to support classroom learning in academic settings, such as universities and other Educational Institutes. CMSs provide instructors with the ability to perform the following tasks:• Place course materials online. Most CMSs provide pre-programmed buttons for the course syllabus, course schedule, and course materials linked to specific lessons, such as copies of readings and PowerPoint slides from lectures.• Track student progress through assessment features, which enable instructors to give quizzes and tests online, and an online grade book, where instructors can post student grades.• Discussion board, where instructors and students can discuss readings and continue class discussions between formal class sessions.• Other communications tools, which let instructors send announcements to classes and communicate individually with students.• Lock box for students, where students can store class materials in a safe place-either a presentation to give later in class or backing up class assignments in a safe place.• Course statistics, which provide information on the use of the course site, including who used the course site and when.• Examples of CMSs include the commercial products Blackboard and WebCT, and the open source system like Moodle.MotivationWith ever increasing need for automation in the education system and the Government having decided to go for decentralization in Higher Technical Education in a big way there has been mushrooming growth of Engineering Institutions all over India. Good faculty members with thorough understanding of basic through advanced topics are difficult to find. With the current system of the faculty resources being utilized only for the benefit of the students enrolled with the Institute/University employing the concerned faculty, the scarce resources are not being utilized optimally. With the current developments and availability of Information Technology tools it may be possible to share the rich experiences of the distinguished faculty resources of certain key institutions in a typical University by other inexperienced faculty members of the same university engaged in teaching similar or same subjects.The basic idea will be to introduce two tier system in the higher technical education. The first tier will involve a continuous and consistent effort made to train and educate the fresh and inexperienced faculty members by using real time interaction with a group of experienced faculty members located at a center of excellence. This will involve creation of a “Nodal Center of Excellence” for each of the course being offered by the university. Such nodal center will design and develop a course by using the best suitable and simple to operate tools available in course management systems to perfection. This course will compulsorily be subscribed to by all faculty members engaged in teaching same course all throughout the University. They can share the expertise available at the nodal center and also clarify the intricacies of the subjects on a day to day basis as the course advances in the semester.The second tier of the system will involve Individual teachers who are already subscribed to the first tier discussed above. Such teachers will run their own course management systems for the benefit of the students attending their lectures.In this manner all the center of excellence established everywhere can be shared by all the institutes affiliated to the university and also the university campus colleges. This will result in:-• Uniformity in the coverage of the syllabus and its standardization.• Discovering the shortcoming of the syllabus and a common platform for discussing the same for future revision.• Clarification of the basic through advanced concepts through the chatting/tools offered by concerned selected service of the CMS.• Standardization and sharing of the grading and assessment of the students without significant variation form teacher to teacher.• Moderation of the grading centrally.• Readily available standardized course material which can be developed by networking of teachers sharing same subject in the university but at different institutions.• Standardization of reference books and the topics to be covered.• Standardization of the depth of individual topics to be covered for each subject.• Typical standardization of question bank.• Development of reference standard study material at the center of excellence which can be shared by all other institutions.• Automation of tutorial submission, FAQ answers, question paper generation, and response to earlier similar question asked.• Provision of authenticated links to related and useful material for further higher study for research.The System can be Implemented in these steps:Conceive, design and develop a two tier education system based on nodal concept of center of excellence in Engineering Education (Higher technical education) typical to Indian Universities by selecting the best suitable tools offered by Course Management Systems (CMS) available and demonstrate the viability of the concept.(1) Step one:(a) Identify the essential and desirable features which should be offered by the nodal center of excellence, in typical Indian University environment, to make it effective in sharing and updating its resources.(b) Carry out comparative study of the available course management systems world wide and selecting the best suitable system for this purpose.(2) Step Two: Developing a comprehensive module in selected course which should preferably support following features:-(a) Learning Tools• Book marking• Student Area• Library and Information Access• Annotation• Glossary• Course Index/Search Engine• Learning Exemplars/Guidance• Access to Grades• Student Guide• Self-Assessment Exercises• Study Skill Building• Student Web Pages(b) Collaboration Tools• Discussion Options• File Sharing• Work Group Areas(c)Faculty Tools• Course Planning, Design, Templates• Automated Glossary• Automated Course TOC/Index/Search Engine• File Management• Instructor Guide/Course Exemplars• Web Search Tools• Multimedia Capability(d)Course Management• Course Pages• Student Management• Automatic student assignment reminders (currently none of the CMS offer this currently)• Course Archive/Backup/Replication• Course Revision• Online Help/FAQs• Administration Tools• Automated Registration• Security• Student Transcript(3) Step Three: Implementing the nodal concept of center of excellence in real time and initiate the process for demonstration purposes.Milestones completedNodal concept has widely been applied in service, telecommunication and repair & maintenance industry wherein certain nodal centers are created with all the facilities and expertise available at easily accessible place which can be accessed by the prospective customers. In telecommunications wherein certain communication nodes are created and users can hook on to these nodes for getting the desired services. In education system the concept has widely been applied in various admission management systems and placement services.The concept of creating the Nodal center of excellence has been experimented in India by EDUSAT which is based on real time lectures in virtual classroom environment. However it has not invoked much enthusiasm. The root cause for this can be attributed to the fact that the lecture tends to be monologue and is not at a place, pace and time as may be required by the perspective learner. More over it lacks personal contact between the teacher and the students. The proposed two tier system of education involving nodal concept is intended to supplement the classroom teaching. It will be designed to optimize the contact time between the teacher and students in a way that the most important tings are attended to during the contact period and things of lesser importance can be attended to by the course management system like tutorials, class tests, assignments etc.This concept can be related to the service industry where in a nodal point, which can be termed as centre of excellence, is established which caters to the training needs of service engineers who are placed all over the operational areas. These service engineers in turn provide service to the customers. In case they find they are not able to address the problem they consult the nodal point for further advice. Almost same concept is applied in case of maintenance support provided by most of the companies for maintenance cover provided to their customers.The defense forces are known to have been using multi tier system for their training, maintenance and repair needs, though their system is not automated but the nodal concept is well established. In the proposed system we intend to use the two tier system with automation by using Course Management Systems.