What Real Estate Marketing Can Teach Us All
Have you ever received direct mail postcards from a real estate agent?
If you are anything like me, you have – many times.
And have you noticed that they all look practically identical?
On the front – an image or logo, with the picture of the agent and some contact details – usually some sort of slogan is included.
On the rear – pictures of the homes they’ve sold.
I suppose the hope is prospects will see how many homes the agent has sold and think, ‘They can sell mine too!’
But when everything is identical, how does one agent stand apart from the rest?
The answer? They don’t.
If these agents are going to convince anyone to even consider them – they have to hit the prospect at the precise moment the idea of selling comes up. I can’t imagine anyone would hold on to these promotional mailers ‘Just in case’ because they don’t really offer anything valuable in terms of information.
So right off the bat, there are two problems:
All the marketing is the same so there is no reason to choose one agent over another and…
These agents have to rely on their marketing material arriving at the absolute perfect time if they have any shot of getting a new client.
How To Search For An Agent
When I decided to sell my house a few years ago, I began searching for an agent to represent us.
First – I began by looking for agents with a regular presence in our neighbourhood. I simply noted the names of brokers who had many ‘For Sale’ or even better, ‘Sold’ signs in the area. This indicated to me that these folks were experts in selling property in our particular neighbourhood.
Then I called and invited these agents to visit and let them pitch me.
I listened to their presentations and then made a decision.
It was based upon past performance – experience in the neighbourhood – ability to sell for top dollar – how they intended to gain exposure for the property – how they negotiated – even their fee structure (and willingness to negotiate it). Of course, personality was a significant factor as well.
It had nothing to do with marketing whatsoever.
However, what if I received marketing that answered these questions in advance?
The chance of that agent getting a call would have increased dramatically.
That’s really what good marketing is all about – in any field – answering prospect questions proactively and persuasively so they feel comfortable choosing you instead of the competition. Or at the very least, listening to what you have to say.
But even if these agents did have a great marketing piece that set them apart – it would still rely on chance in terms of timing. If the piece didn’t hit me at precisely the right moment, I would have probably tossed their material into the recycle bin.
There are two ways you can solve the timing problem that come to mind immediately:
Send multiple mailing pieces over time. You obviously spend more money with this approach but will also get more clients because repetition is the mother of response. In the real estate field, especially in Toronto’s hot market, a couple of new clients will pay for these mailings many, many times over.
Offer something to keep prospects on the hook. A free report would be ideal in this market, and in many others where you’re dealing with significant dollar amounts. When someone is going to sell their property or make any significant purchase or sale, they are interested in reading about the best way to do it, they are desperate for information that will ensure they make maximum money and avoid costly mistakes.
How about a free report titled something like:
‘7 Dynamite Insider Secrets To Boost Your Home’s Value And Sell For Top Dollar… In Any Market’
With the Subheadline:
‘West Toronto’s Top Real Estate Agent Reveals Easy, Inexpensive (Even Free) Techniques So You Make The Most Money From Your House Sale and Avoid Costly Mistakes’
Now, if you received an offer for this free report (or something similar) and you owned a home, I think you might request it – even if you weren’t planning on selling right away. Most people plan on selling their home at some point so this information would come in handy when the time comes.
Then if you are the agent, you offer this report in exchange for contact information.
Once you’ve got contact details – you can begin a nurture campaign over time.
The problem of isolated mailings disappears and all of a sudden you are in front of the prospect when they are ready to move on a house sale.
If your nurture campaign included valuable and interesting information relevant to your prospects you’ll also position yourself as a trusted authority – significantly increasing your chance of being hired.
Now this approach works in any business field.
The keys to success are:
Offer relevant, prospect-focused marketing material that answers the ‘hot-button’ questions your potential customers have. If you do this you’ll put your competition to shame.
Create a ‘bait-piece’ and capture prospect information for follow-up.
Create a regular nurture campaign allowing you to stay in front of the market – so when the time comes, you’ll be the person (or company) prospects think of immediately.
Hope this information is helpful and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’m always happy to chat.