Here’s an important question every Realtor should be able to answer:
What is your marketing approach?
Do you approach your prospects mostly online, through “snail mail,” or in person? Have you taken the time to think about your approach and whether it’s bringing you success?
In today’s impersonal world of social media and web searches, nothing stands out more than a good, old-fashioned face-to-face approach when it comes to marketing. If you haven’t tackled marketing this way because you feel awkward around people, you aren’t alone.
Many agents tell me they shy away from face-to-face marketing because they fear being perceived as a dreaded “car salesman” type. But listen up! There is a way to market in person that will help you grow your business, foster relationships with clients and solidify your reputation in the right way.
I recently spoke with Abbe, a MyBooks member who has had her real estate license for only two years, about her tactics regarding a personable marketing approach. Here are the things she shared with me. I think her tips can help you, too.
1. Focus on your sphere.
You hear me talk a good bit about your “sphere of influence” — folks in your community circles who know you, recognize your name and know other people you know. This is a great place to start when it comes to personable marketing. You’ll feel more comfortable reaching out to those who attend the same PTA meetings and neighborhood fundraisers as you. Ask who they know, and get your name “out there.”
For example, Abbe decided to use her own local network to her advantage. She even talked real estate with people she knew from the gym!
“I've been living in the same area for 23 years,” she says. “My husband said to me, ‘Abbe, just focus on your sphere. You know so many people.’ Also, I've been a fitness professional for 23 years. Here's the deal — I get up at the crack of dawn, and I go and train clients, and then I switch gears and put on my real estate clothes, and then do real estate.”
2. Keep your marketing materials with you.
Think about the marketing materials you have on hand, whether they are business cards, brochures, postcards or even handwritten yellow letters. Are you primed to use them any moment the opportunity strikes, or are they sitting in a closet inside your home or office? It’s important to have your printed marketing materials with you at all times. That way, you can offer something tangible to prospects you unexpectedly meet.
For Abbe, her MyBooks go with her everywhere, so she can hand one out to a prospect — no matter the location — and make a great impression.
“Basically, whenever I go, I keep a whole bunch [of books] in my car,” she says.
3. Add a personal touch to anything you mail or drop off.
Let’s say you put effort (and money) into printing postcards or brochures with your business name and professional photo, then mailed them out to prospects or dropped them off. Did you include a handwritten note to introduce yourself? It’s more important than you’d think — most people will just throw your materials away if there isn’t a more personal “nudge” involved.
Also, what will you do after mailing or dropping off those materials? If your answer is, “wait for people to call me,” you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. They likely won’t. A successful real estate agent understands the importance of following up in solidifying reputation. If you don’t follow up, you risk being forgotten.
Abbe, too, learned the importance of following up with her MyBooks. She says that without following up, the books were often not even read.
“At first, I was just mailing books out, and people didn't really know me. They get this book in the mail, and it's like, ‘What's this all about?’” she says. “It’s all in the follow-ups. The book is not to take the place of following up — it's a conversation piece that says, ‘Hey, you gave me value, and that's what we're talking about.’”
4. Try putting your message into human hands.
You know that old saying that people may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel?
It’s true — human interaction is the most powerful marketing tool we have. Take advantage of that tool by maintaining eye contact and a friendly smile anytime you’re offering your prospects something to remember you by. You don’t have to knock on doors without announcing yourself first. Call, introduce yourself, and make an appointment. (You could also send materials in the mail first, then call.)
For Abbe, this personal approach led to some of her best leads. She was hesitant at first, like many of you probably are, but she quickly learned that people are receptive if you’re friendly and knowledgeable.
“Sometimes, I like to call first and say, ‘I'm working with buyers — can I show your home?’” Abbe says. “Or, ‘May I preview your home to see if it's a good fit for my buyer?’ Then, I would bring the book with me, so this way they know I'm coming, no surprise visits. I never just knocked on somebody's door.”
Keep in mind, however, that an in-person “cold call” isn’t out of the question. Look at why Abbe is willing to consider it:
“You know what? I might, just for the heck of it, get uncomfortable and knock because there's somebody up the street next door and I know their house is FSBO, and I might just say, ‘Hey, I live [in this] house, I pass your block all the time, I just wanted to see what your house is about, I wanted to bring you a book and share this with you. I'm very confident that the information in this book will help you sell your home, and, as a matter of fact, if you don't mind, I'd like to see your home because I am working with buyers in the neighborhood.”
5. Create value by offering a gift or prize.
How does something become valuable? Here’s a hint — it’s not necessarily based on cost. Value is created out of perception. What does that mean for you? It means you can get prospects to perceive your marketing materials as valuable if you treat them that way.
Let’s say you have custom ink pens or stress balls printed with your information to give away. Why not enhance their value by packaging them as gifts or prizes? Prospects will be more excited to receive them.
Take it from Abbe, who treats her MyBooks as a precious commodity at listing presentations. She says that having a gift for prospects not only boosts the books’ value but also boosts her confidence.
“I put it in a little gift bag, you know, made it look really cute and pretty and whatever. Then, when we did the listing presentation, I felt so confident because I felt like, OK, it doesn't all depend on us,” she says. “I just put the book on the table so it's there, and then after the presentation, I actually say, ‘Hey, by the way...’ and then also, we use the books at open houses. I take the picture holders, and I put the two books there, and then I put a book actually underneath it, and I say, ‘For a raffle.’ When you fill out the little open house information, I give away a book, as long as they're not working with another real estate agent. If they're working with an agent, they don't get anything.”
BONUS: Let MyBooks Give You a Marketing Edge
If you haven’t tried our MyBooks membership as part of your marketing plan, and you’ve been striking out lately, you might consider taking Abbe’s advice.
Check out the highlights of her interview with me below to hear more.