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The Electronic Yenta

Eric Weinstein
Nov 16, 2016

People seem to think that a “social media” presence is the end all, be all to business success in the current electronic age. Maybe it can be, but I have not found the winning formula yet.

Did you ever see that commercial where a new business puts up a Web site and then gets 10 hits, then 1,000 hits, then 500,000 hits, then 30 million hits?

Oh, only if life was that easy!

Just for fun, I Googled “Mortgages Centreville Virginia” to find myself.

I got 890,000 results in 0.52 seconds.

Good luck putting up a Web site and getting business from that. Same thing for Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat.

Putting up a Web site and waiting for business is like erecting a six-foot neon, billboard in your basement and expecting business from it. It is not advertising if the word doesn’t get around.

It’s funny, I buy a Facebook Business Page and you can hear the crickets. Maybe four “Likes” and only my closest friends Then, I break up with my girlfriend, tell no one and I am getting calls from friends in Florida asking me what happened. People get immune to advertisement, but good gossip gets around fast.

It seems to me that social media is pretty much an extension of what we used to call, before the Internet, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” This is a parlor game based on the "Six Degrees of Separation" concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart (

That is the current basis of my advertising model. Most of my business is by referral. Word of mouth advertising. I figure, “social media” advertising is about the same, except much, much faster. Yet, I have never been able to make the transition.

You can advertise on a Web site and no one will ever know your name. Then, you slip on a banana peel, your dress rides up over your head, and suddenly, the YouTube video gets 700 million hits!

There are nomads in the Sinai dessert laughing at you, but your neighbor refinances with someone else because he didn’t know you were a mortgage broker.

There is an old Jewish proverb (I just made up) there are three major means of communication in the United States: Telephone, Telegraph and Tell a Yenta. In case you are ethnically challenged, a Yenta or Yente is a Yiddish designation for a woman who is a gossip or busybody.

Like any word of mouth campaign, you have to find a Yenta. Except, in a social media campaign, you have to find an “Electronic Yenta.” That is someone with a huge following. It also helps if the gossip is juicy.

Imagine you Tweet that there is a new FNMA three percent down program. Now visualize Kim Kardashian tweeting that you just refinanced O.J. Simpson’s house while he was in jail. Which do you think will get you more calls?

Now finding an “Electronic Yenta” is not so easy, much less convincing them to reference your business. I have two 20-something daughters and they both refuse to even mention what I do for a living in their hourly social media postings. Seems like daddy is just not cool enough.

I am going to try telling them I just did a purchase transaction for Justin Bieber. I will let you know how it turns out.

Eric Weinstein worked in banking, on the commercial real estate side until 1991, when he fell in love with residential lending. In 1995, he started a small mortgage company in his basement called Carteret Mortgage Corporation, which in 2003, grew to one of the largest mortgage broker companies in the United States. Eric is semi-retired, doing mortgages by referral only. He may be reached by phone at (703) 505-8692 or e-mail [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 

Nov 16, 2016
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