30: The One Thing Your Real Estate Marketing Must Accomplish

Most advertising and marketing is horrible.

That’s because it doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t matter what industry that advertiser is in or how big of a company they are.  Usually, they miss the mark.

I don’t want you to miss the mark, too.

You are a real estate agent and I know that you do not have millions of dollars to sink into “brand awareness.”  You don’t have time to waste waiting for “image advertising” to take hold in consumers’ minds.  You don’t have teams of people doing your twitter and facebook and pinterest and instagram for you.

real estate marketing goal

You are a small business and every penny and every second must be used to their maximum potential.

I know that you need only one thing: buyer and seller leads.  Right?  So, remember this:

Advertising has only one goal:  TO SELL.

The one thing every one of your real estate marketing/advertising efforts should do is to get people into your sales funnel. 

Every ad you place MUST have a goal of making someone take a specific action.  Preferably, this action involves them giving you their contact information so you can follow up with them with valuable insight and help.

If your advertising is not asking your audience to take some type of action to get them into your sales loop, then stop the advertising in that medium.  For example:

  • If you are advertising in the local grocery store on the back of receipts or on the carts, STOP.
  • If you are in the local newspaper or magazine with your picture saying nothing more than “call me for all your real estate needs,” STOP.
  • If you are sending out farming postcards that say nothing but “I’m #1,” STOP.
  • If you are buying Trulia or Zillow leads without an automated follow-up sequence that goes on for more than a year, STOP.

I know agents who have had gotten leads with the things I just said not to do.  Maybe even a deal here or there.  But that “success” is sporadic at best.

However, with targeted ads that make a specific request, you’ll have a much better chance at getting a lead that is serious and has potential to turn into real cash in your pocket as a closed transaction.

I don’t mean to imply that your ad’s goal is to get a complete stranger to instantly trust you with the biggest financial asset of their life.  That’s just not going to happen.

But, you can get them to the point of using you as their agent in tiny baby steps over time.  Each ad you run should help guide them to taking an action towards the first – or next – baby step in the process.

Do that consistently and your advertising will actually start to work.

27: When Should You Ask For Time From A Real Estate Prospect?

I’m not sure what it was about these past 2 weeks, but I’ve received an abnormal number of calls and emails from complete stranger salespeople asking me for my time.

The last email was especially egregious and began like this…

“Hey John – I know you’re crazy busy, but I’m looking to grab 20-30 minutes of your time for a quick call/screen share sometime in the next few weeks to show you our software system…”

On a side note, this person also emailed me 3 more times to follow up.  Each email was sent at exactly the same time of day, which is clearly a sign that I was on an auto-emailing system and not even being contacted by a real person.

real estate prospect time
Anyway, back to his initial email.  The first note this guy sends me is nothing but a request for my time.  I’ve never heard from him before and there was zero attempt to understand what I might need (which, by the way, is definitely not related to what he’s selling).

He’s just asking for something from me and offering zero value in return.  And, by the way, he’s not asking for something tiny.  He wants up to 30 minutes of time (or more).  This got me thinking about when it’s reasonable to ask for my real estate prospects’ time.

I considered that it might be after “x” number of contacts or “y” number of days.  However, what I think it really comes down to is that:

It’s acceptable and reasonable to ask for a prospect’s time after you’ve already provided them with some type of value first.

I don’t think there’ necessarily a specific timeline attached to value.  If I conduct a webinar with a solid 45 minutes of solid educational material, I think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time after that even if it’s the first day of my relationship with this person.

I believe that the response you get to asking someone for their time is more related to the strength of the value you’ve provided to them rather than the length of time you may have been in contact with them.

There are a lot of people that are in my database that I’ve “checked in” with for over a year.  That’s a pretty long time.  But, if I haven’t really provided them with any type of value over that period, I shouldn’t expect them to want to suddenly do business with me just because they’ve been on my list for a while.

As a real estate agent, I’m going to think a lot more about the value I can provide to people over the course of the coming year.  If I provide something that’s tangible and educational to them that helps them achieve their goals, I think that is completely deserving of them giving me 15 or 30 or 60 minutes of time when it makes sense to meet up.

Thank you, Mr. Email Guy who rudely asked me for my most precious asset, my time, without offering something in return.  It was a great reminder as to how I should attempt to be in contact with my own prospects.

No matter how long or short of a time I’ve known someone who’s looking to buy or sell, it’s my goal to consistently provide amazing value along the way.  Do that and I think you can ask for as much time as you want of someone.

How about you?  When do you think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time?  I know some great sales people who are very direct and cut right to the chase and successfully contradict my entire article.  Are you more of a “value mindset” like me or do you charge right in?  Let me know in the comments.

 

23: Why You Shouldn’t Trick Your Real Estate Prospects

So I get a call the other day from one of the big internet portal sites.  And they tricked me.

Here’s how they did it and why it makes me think less of them now.  Here’s also why I think we as agents should avoid this same type of behavior.

I was in a zone where I was getting things done and generally avoiding all other interruptions for a while (no email, phone, texts, etc.).  But my phone rang with the caller ID showing my local area code.  So, figuring it had a greater opportunity to be a real connection of mine than one that came from 10 states away, I picked up the phone.

23 home portal trick
 

“Hey John – this is Sammy from homeportalsite.com” (obviously, fake name and domain used here).  With a super-energetic voice, she proclaimed “I finally have zip code areas available for you to advertise in.  They’re in really high demand and they just opened up, so I wanted to give you the first opportunity at them.”

I’m not sure why anything in high-demand needs sales people to cold call you about it, but that’s a story for a different time.

Anyway, it was a short conversation as I explained that I do my own marketing.  But before the call ended, I remembered that the caller ID was from my own town so I asked “when did you get an office in Naperville?”

Her response was the basis for this whole article.

She said “oh, we don’t have an office there.  It’s just that our phone system creates a calller-ID number from the location where we’re calling to.  It’s helps in getting our calls answered.”

First, bravo for using technology in a creative way.

Second, I view this particular creative implementation of technology to be a trick.  Had I known who it was – or who it might have been – I wouldn’t have picked up the phone.

This, of course, is why they use it.  Because they know that I wouldn’t have answered the phone if it was a sales pitch for something that few people want.

This feeling of being tricked got me a bit frustrated.  The call was a waste of my time and, further, it makes me think even less of this company now because I know that their product is of so little value to most people that they have to come up with inventive ways to connect with me just to beg for my attention.

This got me thinking about the value that I provide to people:  

Is what I do of so little value that I have to trick people into talking with me?

I’m working hard to make sure that it isn’t.

I understand that prospecting is essential to stay alive in real estate.  I know that not everyone is going to want to hear from me at all times.  And I know that some people will see or hear me and think “oh great, another cheesy real estate agent” and not give me the benefit of the doubt.

But I also know that I’m not going to trick people into talking with me.

I feel that what I do has strong enough value that, if you’re in the market to be buying or selling, then you won’t be offended if I contact you in a straight-forward and transparent manner.  And I think we’re in a day and age where consumers are absolutely repelled by anything that has the slightest hint of shady sales tactics.

People don’t want to be tricked.  They have very limited time and so it requires us to up our game to make sure that when we do connect with them, they feel good about us when the conversation ends.

What do you think?  Is this just an arrogant rant or do you think that it’s right and good to employ any and every way to connect with possible new prospects, even if the method is a little devious?

Let me know in the comments below.