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Creating business connections is one of the best ways to build your business. For years business owners and sales people have looked for ways to make business connections that turn into lead generators. The Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce came into existence as a way to create business connection. Even fraternal groups offer a means for business to connect with one another to generate sales. More recently, lead generation groups have become popular. Meeting once a month or once a week, these groups are interested in sharing leads with each other to stimulate commerce.

Times are changing and the pace of business is faster than ever. People hardly have time to get to client meetings, much less Rotary Club or Chamber meetings. We are attached by cellphones and are using Social Media in ways that are changing the way business is done and introduces a new way for creating business connections. Ellen Stebbins and Glenn Sojourner are re-imagining how to use Social Media in creating business connections with The Lowcountry Business Network (LBN). LBN is an adaptation of the old business connections model using the meeting places of today, those Social Media sites on the internet, in place of the conference rooms and diners of the past.

Ellen and Glenn started LBN in September, 2010. The network is growing and developing new strategies for the benefit of its members. Once monthly gatherings serve in place of weekly meetings. These gatherings include training and social networking, so they offer a bridge between the old model and what is evolving as the new model. Rather than focus on lead generation, members are encouraged to promote their fellow member’s businesses to their own social network. A tweet, a few well placed words on Facebook, or a connection in LinkedIn can go a long way to generate interest that turns into sales.

My business is being helped through affiliation with LBN. Exposing Dunes Properties Vacation Rental on IOP and Folly Beach to a wider audience will increase the number of vacation rentals at a very small cost to Dunes Properties. It can do the same for your business. Check out their new website http://www.thelowcountrybusinessnetwork.com/idevaffiliate/index.php to get more information about memberships an getting started with LBN. You might create the business connection that will move you to a new plateau!

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If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts, you know that I committed to something called 30 Days of Biking for the month of September, 2010. My friend Kristen Badger Walker had encouraged members of our company, Dunes Properties of Charleston,  to sign-up. The rules allowed you to count a ride even if it was just around the block. So I did, but I had equipment problems. My LandRider hadn’t been ridden much so Kristen recommended I visit Dan at TREX Bicycles in Oakland Plantation. I did and Dan got the LandRider in suitable condition to take on the challenge.  

September in the Lowcountry of Charleston can be a bit hot and this year September started out that way. I signed up on Thursday, 9/2 and my first ride was Friday, 9/3. It was hot and my ride was short. Not because of the heat, but because I started having second thoughts (my body did for sure). Saturday was already booked with commitments and that made it easy to skip my ride. My wife, Patricia, encouraged me on Sunday and that was the reason I got back on the bike. All of this is to explain how the count of Days and Rides seemed to be out of sync.  

I’ve been asked what I learned during my 30 Day commitment. That is a hard thing to quantify.  A lot of things were re-learning things I knew…bike riding is fun, commitments  are good to make but can be hard to keep, moderate exercise won’t kill you and may be fun, and riding alone in the morning can bring clarity to your thoughts! I learned that I can do what I set my mind to do, but that is often hard to remember in the middle of a commitment. I learned that my body wasn’t as committed to this as my mind was. I learned that even with the encouragement of my wife and other good friends, it was up to me to carry out the commitment. And I learned that Lance Armstrong doesn’t have to worry about me as a competitor!  

My first ride was about 20 minutes long. My average ride was 30 minutes. Yesterday I rode 10 miles in one hour. Today I closed the commitment with a 35 minute ride. None of my rides were less than 20 minutes. I just didn’t think riding around the block was in the spirit of the commitment…unless it was a really long block! I owe thanks to my support group Patricia and Kristen. I also want to thank my accountability partners on The Lowcountry Business Network, Twitter, and Facebook. They were dragged into the job, but many of them were very supportive by their comments.  

My plan is to keep on riding, but without the daily posting. There was something else I learned. At 6’3″ and 255lbs, I’m not the typical bike rider. I might need to reshape my image and that leads me to my next commitment. Age will reshape the height which means that I need to take on reshaping the weight! I am committed to losing at least 40lbs in 90 days. The clock started on Saturday.  

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The scene of the world is changing! How we engage people in conversations has seen tremendous change within my generation. When I started with the telephone company, switching technology was moving from Step-by-Step to Panel to Crossbar to #1 ESS, and I am sure that most reading this have no idea about what that meant in the world of telecommunications.

As significant as those changes seemed, it can’t compare with what has happened in the last 20 years. The cell phone has almost replace landlines. The internet has changed personal communications and is doing the same with marketing, advertising, sales and public relations. In real estate, almost 90% of buyers start their search online before they begin working with a real estate professional. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are providing access to audiences that were difficult to reach 20 years ago. And if you could reach that audience, it was expensive and took a long time to produce results as we look at things today. While these changes have been profound and have opened new ways of PR and marketing, there is something fleeting about this digital age. Nothing tangible, just fleeting. When companies engaged in professional direct mail campaigns, they could create some degree of intimacy with their target group. I don’t think that happens online.

Patricia and I have a joint approach to marketing in which we blend high quality brochures, business cards and letters, with our online presence at www.MarkandPatriciaFuchs.com, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You never know how a relationship will come about, or from where a client will develop. We use a direct mail campaign in a number of targeted areas as a compliment to our online marketing. Last night we were surprised at the reach of our direct mail campaign.

I joined Patricia and our daughter, Heather, at Neil Jordan’s Steakhouse after I attended a meeting. Neil Jordan’s was celebrating its second anniversary and the place was crowded. We were seated in the bar area at a long table with several other patrons. Somehow a conversation started with the two women on the other side of the table. Turns out, they live in one of our target markets and receive our direct mail. So Tracey DeLong, VP at Resource Financial Services, had recognized us from our mail campaign. We had never met before, but Tracey and her friend Dawn Smith felt that they knew us from our brochure and mailings. Tracey said that she kept our material because it was so well done. I suppose that could have happened on our website, or through Facebook. But our direct mail made a difference to them.

Recently, we also obtained a client as a result of our targeted direct mail. They told us that when they found themselves ready to sell their home, they thought of us right away. What sealed their decision were recommendations they received from their neighbors. The neighbors knew us from our high quality direct mail. We had top of mind recognition from our direct mail campaign.

The scene of the world is changing, but some old things still work. Patricia and I work closely with our clients to team up for success. You don’t have to wait until you are ready to buy or sell to team up with us though. We want to help you find answers to your real estate questions. No obligation. To prove it to yourself, try our FREE Market Snapshot and find out what is happening in your real estate market.

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I’ve been slow posting this week, but I have good reason! We spent the week on Isle of Palms in our fractional share of Palm Seasons. I’ve posted about our time there before. I’ve also been keeping up with my 30 Days of Biking and posting progress on Twitter and Facebook. Then there was that sunset cruise on the Palmetto Breeze out of Morgan’s Creek Tuesday evening.

Love the color!

Those are my reasons, besides working some opportunities within The Lowcountry Business Network with Ellen Stebbins. And providing support to my wife Patricia as she works through a couple of real estate transactions. I did go to training at Charleston Trident Association of Realtors to hear Doug Devitre on Social Media. There were a couple of trips to the airport that took a little time. A gathering of about 20 of Patricia’s Gang of Girl Friends (along with Steve), and another with just a few friends.

 
I just took the week off to relax with the family! Thanks for your understanding.

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When Kristin B. suggested on Twitter and Facebook that her friends should register for 30 Days of Biking, I laughed and thought I would have a little fun with it. Kristin is an avid biker and shares her experiences in her blog http://charlestoninsideout.net/. She and I are both with Dunes Properties, so you will get information on her site about downtown Charleston. Patricia and I cover Mt. Pleasant, Isle of Palms and Wild Dunes, so you will read some real estate information on my blog…good stuff that will help you answer real estate questions. But, this post is about biking and my commitment to ride for 30 days.

I completed my 13th ride today, the 14th day since I started. Sine my last blog post, I have reported on FB and Twitter incorrect information by counting one day and one ride less. After today’s Tweet and FB Post, I remembered when I started and I am correcting the count accordingly. The amusing thing is that I posted and Tweeted that my memory was improving. Now we have evidence that it is!

I remember me then!

I am actually feeling better after the rides and it is carrying over throughout the day. Someone told me I looked like I had lost weight. I can’t say because I did not weight myself at the start. What was the point? I knew I was overweight. I will say that my pants fit better.

It would be fun to hear from you. Are you biking at all? Did you commit to 30 Days of Biking? Are you following the progress on Twitter and Facebook? Will you?

Thanks for reading this post. I’ll write more soon. Comeback or subscribe.

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Kristen B. had a look at my trusty LandRider yesterday. She had offered to make sure the seat and handle bars were set correctly for my great adventure. Remember, 6’3″ and 260 lbs, so I am all about comfort! As she evaluated things, something became obvious: the frame is shorter than it should be for someone of my size! Kristen B. was quick to point out that some adjustments could be made to better accommodate me, but she needed to refer me to her friend Dan at the TREX store in Oakland Plantation. I was totally bummed out!

If you are on FB or Twitter, you probably know that Day 6 had a rocky beginning. I do work and I needed to attend a sales meeting at The Real Estate Studio on Meeting St. in downtown Charleston. Oh, and we were also giving our assistant, Rebecca, a ride, so no bike ride in the morning. After the meeting ended “On Time”, we drove to the Isle of Palms office to drop off Rebecca, and Patricia and I went off to work with our clients. It was looking like I was going to get in a bike ride after all.

Patricia was off to show property and I was left to handle a few items online. I started to feel guilty about the bike ride and thought about Dan at the Trex store in Oakland Plantation. Patricia and my friend Keith, had suggested a couple of accessories I should have, but that is another post at a later time. I could ride to the Trex store! Dan could further evaluate things to do to fix the bike. Then I could ride back. Simple, so off I go. Kristin B. suggested I get more adventurous, so this was perfect! When I arrived at the Trex store I realize something I should have thought of before I left. I would need to ride back!!!

Dan was great. The first thing he noticed was that the frame was 19.5″ and I probably needed something in the 22.5″ range. I started looking at the prices and thinking to myself that suddenly these 30 Days of Biking were going to get more expensive that I bargained for. But all was not lost. Dan could make adjustments to the seat and another adjustment to the handle bars to make up some of the 3″ deficit. The adjustments did help and now I could ride home! Oh! Ride back! My longest ride to date was just at 3 miles and my ride here was close to 5 miles. I was faced with another 5 mile ride.

The adjustments did make the 5 miles back easier than I thought they would be. Dan also said that there were other options to look at before thinking about buying a bike with a 22.5″ frame. I am liking Dan more and more. I guess there are a number of positives about this 6th day and 5th ride. First, the LandRider will hold up for the next 25 days (I know that is 31 days, but it will be 30 rides.) Second, I rode a total of 10 miles today. Lance still does not have to worry, but it is a personal best for me. Third, I met Dan and would recommend Dan and the Trex store in Oakland Plantation to anyone needing help biking. And the fourth thing I learned is that I’m still having fun!

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Real estate agents love being recognized for their hard work. There are times when agents are given awards for their work and they receive certificates or plaques to hang on their office walls. Recently, two agents from the Isle of Palms office of Dunes properties were recognized by Realtor.com for their “Online Marketing Excellence.” Barbara Walker and my wife, Patricia Fuchs are well-respected agents in East Cooper and deserve this award for finding clients that want to list properties with them.

Barbara, Patricia and Rebecca. A great team!

The interesting thing is that both Barbara and Patricia have an assistant, Rebecca Narkiewicz, who handles much of their administrative tasks, including posting their listings on Realtor.com and making them standout from the crowd of listings on Realtor.com. I started thinking about this when the awards were being handed out at a recent Realtor.com event. There were Barbara and Patricia receiving the award certificates, and Rebecca was sitting next to me smiling with pride that two agents that she supports were being recognized for their online marketing excellence knowing that she was responsible for a good part of the work that resulted in the award. Rebecca does her work behind the scenes. She is quiet and efficient in what she does. 

Realtors ideally should be out in their community putting a face on their brand, making sense of the stats and numbers, and educating themselves every day about their product.  We would not be able to do this without the Rebeccas of the real estate world.  Someone who is in the office daily familiarizing her/himself with the latest, ever changing online marketing strategies, typing, stuffing envelopes, making sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed on our paperwork. Our Rebecca has been given the nickname “RADAR” by many due to her ability to have information on hand before we know it’s needed.  Such support can be integral to our success (and sometimes our sanity). 

Behind every great person is another great person. Here’s to all of those who are behind the scenes making us look as good as we can look!

Thank you, Rebecca for all of the excellent work you do.

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