Courtesy of Professor ÁLVARO MONTEIRO, PhD; ND Rua Cravinas, 4 - Petrogal Bobadela, Lisboa - PORTUGAL, 2695-124 Phone: (+351) 91 4917806 Email: [email protected]
Marketing 101 .................................................................................................2 101 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents and Brokers..................................................... 3 25 Steps to Kick Start your Real Estate Business ................................................................... 7 Real Estate Advertising 101 - Choosing The Right Medium ............................................... 13 13 Real Estate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid !...................................................................... 22 10 Powerful Networking Tips Using Business Cards ........................................................... 28
Network marketing .......................................................................................31 Networking for Real Estate Professionals – It's Important!............................................... 32 The Top Ten Rules of Effective Networking for Real Estate Professionals ...................... 34 12 Tips to Network Your Way to Success.............................................................................. 36
Personal Marketing ......................................................................................38 Be a Real Estate Agent with Curb Appeal............................................................................. 39 Top 10 Time Management Rules of Successful Real Estate Salespeople ........................... 42
Customer acquisition and retention.............................................................45 Real Estate Agents / Brokers - Seven strategies to exceed and please today's demanding consumer................................................................................................................................... 46 Ten Tips To Becoming A Confident Presenter ..................................................................... 49 5 Things More Important to Real Estate Internet Buyers than What You’re Selling ...... 51 Attracting New Business on a Shoestring Budget ................................................................. 53 As a Real Estate agent, How Do I Attract Listings? ............................................................. 55 Six easy Questions to Ask an Expired Listing to make it yours........................................... 57
Telemarketing & Direct Mailing..................................................................60 Marketing Yourself: Telephone Skills for the Real Estate Professional............................ 61 Telemarketing for Real Estate Professionals......................................................................... 63 Real Estate Marketing, Do You Use Direct Mail? ................................................................ 65
E-marketing ..................................................................................................67 Keys To Real Estate Sites - 10 Must Haves Of Real Estate Sites........................................ 68 Ten Unobvious Ideas To Pull Visitors to Your Real Estate Agent Web Site..................... 71 Top Ten Web Marketing & Advertising Ideas for your Real Estate Website ................... 74 Real Estate Agents, Sign Your E-mails Effectively! ............................................................. 77 Real Estate Agents, Make Your E-Mails Read! .................................................................... 79
101 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents and Brokers Any real estate professional, either rookie or veteran, has to have a marketing plan. This is as essential as having an office phone. If people do not know about you how can they possibly utilize your services? A focus on what the customer wants is essential to successful marketing efforts. This customer-orientation must also be balanced with your objective of maintaining a profitable volume of sales in order to continue to do business. Marketing is a creative, ever-changing orchestration of all the activities needed to accomplish both of these objectives. Below are a 101 tips on cost effective ways to get your business noticed and establishing a name for yourself.
GENERAL IDEAS Never let a day pass without engaging in at least one real estate marketing activity. Determine a percentage of gross income to spend annually on real estate marketing. Set specific marketing goals every year; review and adjust quarterly. Maintain a tickler file of ideas for later use. Carry business cards with you (all day, every day). Create a personal nametag or pin with your company name and logo on it and wear it at high visibility meetings.
MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Publish a real estate newsletter for customers and prospects. (It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.) Develop a brochure of services. Include a postage-paid survey card with your brochures and other company literature. Include checkoff boxes or other items that will involve the reader and provide valuable feedback to you. Remember, business cards aren’t working for you if they’re in the box. Pass them out! Give prospects two business cards and brochures -- one to keep and one to pass along. Produce separate business cards/sales literature for each of your target market segments (e.g. business and consumer). Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects. Print a slogan and/or one-sentence description of your business on letterhead, fax cover sheets and invoices. Develop a site on the World Wide Web. Create a "signature file" to be used for all your e-mail messages. It should contain contact details including your Web site address and key information about your company that will make the reader want to contact you. Include "testimonials" from customers in your literature. Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail lists or consider replacing a list that's not performing up to expectations. Use colored or oversized envelopes for your direct mailings. Or send direct mail in plain white envelopes to pique recipients' curiosity.
Announce free or special offers in your direct response pieces. (Direct responses may be direct mail, broadcast fax, or e-mail messages.) Include the offer in the beginning of the message and also on the outside of the envelope for direct mail.
TARGET MARKET Stay alert to trends that might impact your target market or promotion strategy. Read market research studies about your profession, real estate industry, target market groups, etc. Collect competitors’ ads and literature; study them for information about strategy, features and benefits, etc. Ask clients why they hired you and solicit suggestions for improvement. Ask former clients why they left you. Identify a new market. Join a list-serve (email list) related to your profession. Subscribe to an Internet newsgroup or a message board that serves your target market.
EDUCATION, RESOURCES AND INFORMATION Establish a marketing and public relations advisory and referral team composed of your colleagues and/or neighboring business owners to share ideas and referrals and to discuss community issues. Meet quarterly for breakfast. Attend a real estate marketing seminar. Read a real estate marketing book. Subscribe to a marketing newsletter or other publication. Subscribe to a marketing newsgroup on the Internet. Train your clients to promote referrals. Hold a monthly marketing meeting with your associates to discuss strategy, status and to solicit marketing ideas. Join an association or organization related to your profession. Maintain a consultant card file for finding designers, writers and other marketing professionals.
MEDIA RELATIONS Update your media list often so that press releases are sent to the right media outlet and person. Write a real estate column for the local newspaper, local business journal or trade publication. Send timely and newsworthy press releases as often as needed. Publicize your 25th client of the year (or other notable milestone). Create an annual award and publicize it– as an outstanding employee of the year. Get public relations and media training or read up on it. Appear on a radio or TV real estate talk show. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to a real estate magazine editor. Get a publicity photo taken and enclose with press releases. Consistently review newspapers and magazines for possible PR opportunities. Submit " real estate tips" articles to newsletters and newspapers. Conduct industry research and develop a press release or article to announce an important discovery in your field. Create a press kit and keep its contents current.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER RELATIONS Ask your clients to come back again. Return phone calls promptly. Set up a fax-on-demand or email system to easily respond to customer inquiries. Use an answering machine or voice mail system to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing message such a business hours, location, etc. Take clients out to a ball game, a show or another special event– just send them two tickets with a note. Hold a real estate seminar at your office for clients and prospects. Send hand-written thank-you notes. Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings. Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written "FYI" note and your business card. Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note.
NETWORKING AND WORD OF MOUTH Join a Chamber of Commerce or other organization. Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals. Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong. Serve on a city board or commission. Host a holiday party. Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference. Join a community email list on the Internet.
ADVERTISING Advertise during peak seasons for your business. Get a memorable phone number, such as "1-800-WIDGETS." Obtain a memorable URL and email address and include them on all marketing materials. Provide Rolodex® cards or phone stickers pre-printed with your business contact information. Promote your business jointly with other professionals via cooperative direct mail. Advertise in a real estate directory or in the Yellow Pages. Write an ad in another language to reach a non-English-speaking market. Place the ad in a publication that market reads, such as a Hispanic newspaper. Distribute advertising specialty products such as pens, mouse pads or mugs. Mail "bumps," photos, samples and other innovative items to your prospect list. (A bump is simply anything that makes the mailing envelope bulge and makes the recipient curious about what’s in the envelope!) Create a direct mail list of "hot prospects." Consider non-traditional tactics such as bus backs, billboards and popular Web sites. Project a message on the sidewalk in front of your place of business using a light directed through words etched in a glass window. Consider placing ads in your newspaper’s classified section. Consider a vanity automobile tag with your company name. Create a friendly bumper sticker for your car. Code your ads and keep records of results. Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out.
Sponsor and promote a contest or sweepstakes.
SPECIAL EVENTS AND OUTREACH Sponsor or host a special event or open house at your business location in cooperation with a local non-profit organization, such as a women's business center. Describe how the organization helped you. Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school. Teach a class or seminar at a local college or adult education center. Sponsor an "Adopt-a-Road" area in your community to keep roads litter-free. People that pass by the area will see your name on the sign announcing your sponsorship. Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization. Donate your services to a charity auction. Appear on a panel at a professional seminar. Write a "How To" pamphlet or article for publishing. Produce and distribute an educational CD-ROM, audio or video tape.
SALES IDEAS Start every day with two cold calls. Read newspapers, business journals and real estate publications for new business openings and for personnel appointment and promotion announcements made by companies. Send your business literature to appropriate individuals and firms. Give your sales literature to your lawyer, accountant, printer, banker, temp agency, office supply salesperson, advertising agency, etc. (Expand your sales force for free!) Put your fax number on order forms for easy submission. Follow up on your direct mailings, email messages and broadcast faxes with a friendly telephone call. Try using the broadcast fax or email delivery methods instead of direct mail. (Broadcast fax and email allows you to send the same message to many locations at once.) Reduce response/turnaround time. Call and/or send mail to former clients to try to reactivate them.
25 Steps to Kick Start your Real Estate Business by Terri Murphy
New agent or real estate veteran ? You've got a TON to learn, two TONS of information at your disposal, and you are feeling a little confused about which steps will bring you PROFIT and productivity. In a slump ? It's time to embrace the new way to produce money. The old paradigm is to increase productivity to drive profit. Today's model is just the opposite. It's time to learn how to run your business like a business, and show a real profit for the investment of your time and earnings. Here is a blueprint to kick start your career in real estate, or infuse a few new ideas if you are experiencing a slump or would just like to have more money left at the end of each transaction. A good place to begin: Begin by laying out your week spreadsheet to plug in the activities that are necessary to produce moneymaking activities that are viable in the next 21 days. The only way you will insure doing the activity is if it is actually SCHEDULED. Remember to schedule prospecting time, calling, private time, and time off. The power is in executing your plan and staying on target. Real estate offers many opportunities to be busy and work.and not necessarily in the profit zone… So here we go:
STEP #1 - Identify an area you would like to specialize in and brand yourself to. It can be a geographical area of homes where you live, or a group of people (new buyers, seniors, VA/FHA-Government waterfront properties, commercial, etc.) Choose a group with a minimum of 250 people so you can bulk mail and will have enough of a group to expect turnover or activity.
STEP #2 - Do your homework and KNOW your farm area(s) COLD. Study what properties have sold, for how much and their respective locations. Check out by driving through the area to see if there are any homes for sale by owners. Check the tax records for recent private sales that went through without the MLS. Take a few photos of the neighborhood entrance to include in your buyer book prepared for prospective buyers coming in to the area. Include photos of the park, nearby schools, shopping, churches, etc. Put together the floor plans of the homes in your area when possible. Check out all properties listed in your farm and adjacent areas to become familiar with the pricing, condition, market time, etc. Make a few preview appointments for properties listed with other real estate companies or by owners in the area. Don't miss recent expired properties either. Call and see if the homeowner is still interested in selling and ask permission to preview in the event that you have an interested party.
STEP #3 - Produce a 1-page newsletter branding your own name with your company to begin branding you. If you don't have your own stationery use your company letterhead with a unique selling proposition like your own logo, slogan and your photo. Show all the active, pending and recently sold properties in the area. Incorporate the SAME STYLE/COLORS etc. every time you mail, and mail regularly to immediately build branding and identification Incorporate a short note that is friendly and to the point. State that you specialize in the area and listed are the latest updates for information. Let the prospect know the particular models if available. Don't put the sold price down until the property has actually sold. BE SURE TO PLUG IN AN URGENCY note like: "We'll sell your property FAST and for MORE MONEY" And "GET MORE INFO…No Hassles…No Obligation!
STEP # 4 - Use Technology Tools for 24-hour service and information. Get software like SOAR eMLS, or an MLS automatic search and match system to update the "not quite ready to buy or sell prospect. Incorporate the services of an interactive voice response system like Proquest to maximize your prospecting. Include the IVR phone numbers on all brochures, ads and direct mail. It will take an automated system to deliver information on demand with the newly empowered Internet consumer.
STEP #5 - Invite traffic to your website. Incorporate your website address with email on all marketing materials to drive traffic to your site. Be sure there is something for the prospect when they get there. Offer, community information, school reports, etc. Be sure the information is refreshed and updated. Be consistent and deliver or send mail, etc. every 10-15 days depending on the speed of your market. Everyone is always interested in property values…but generally in their area or neighborhood Stop offering a "FREE Market Analysis" and begin giving value to your services by offering private property consultations with no obligations. If your business is real estate, the name of the game is listings, yours and others. Be smart about framing in sites that offer a full spectrum of web portals featuring homes for sale.
STEP #6 - Get a website that has a back end work station to help you prospect electronically.
STEP #7 - Set up an open house in the area. If you don't have your own listing, offer to sit property for an agent in your office or a by owner in the area. Pass out invitations to each home within the prospective home. Introduce yourself to the neighborhood, and create a distinction in who you are and your services by developing a "USA*". It is not necessary to run a 3 or 4 hour open. Think about
running several open houses for an hour or less to maximize exposure on a given day. Use plenty of signing, and be sure the open house is advertised prior to the event.
STEP #8 - Develop a *"Unique Selling Advantage"(USA) to identify you and not just someone else in your company. Identify yourself with your own specialized flags, open house signs with your photo or a team logo. Follow up with thank you notes with the same branding identification and with a report on the great comments visitors gave to the neighborhood. Advertise the open house and include the small ad in the invitations to neighbors. This lets the neighbors know you have invested money in advertising the open house. Run the opens on a regular basis until you BRAND yourself as the area specialist. Make sure your photo or logo (USA) is EVERYWHERE when possible, open house signs, flyers, brochures, for sale signs, balloons, etc.
STEP #9 - Call that neighborhood and ask if they know of anyone that wants to be their neighbor. If they don't, ask if they are planning to move in the near future. Then offer the services of your MLS system to update them on their own neighborhood activity. Another script is to ask them what they like about their neighborhood specifically, as you will be including this information in a new neighborhood report you will have available on your website and in the buyer package you prepare for each new buyer coming into the area. Ask their permission to use their positive comments on your website. Ask if they are interested in a photo of the family with that testimonial for upcoming ads or flyers for the area to be used in your next newsletter or buyer book.
STEP #10 - Ask during your calls if there is a need or a want for a neighborhood directory. This can be done in hard copy or put on the web for access, although a hard copy is a great tool to have. Check out samples of other directories that may have been produced in your area. Find sponsors to defray the costs of printing, like landscapers, painters, contractors, handyman, etc
STEP #11 - See if the homeowners association is interested in a Neighborhood Newsletter - Use the same template every mailing. Offer to make it accessible on your website for downloading or offer to print it for the neighborhood. Get the cooperation of a local lender to help defray costs. Include local information, neighborhood activities, etc. special events, etc. and keep it current.
STEP #12 - Develop a pre-listing packet of information that is geared towards your area. Include lots of photos or 1-pagers on recent homes with details. Take extra photos of area properties when touring other companies listings so you can be real accurate at a listing presentation when you present comparable information in your chosen area. Include information on the homeowners association, park schedules, and special seasonal events.
STEP #13 - When listing a home in your targeted area, include a premium or gift when delivering the pre-listing package. See if you can use something that brands you or your area, like apples in Washington state, TastyKakes in Philly, cookies, jellybeans, etc. BRAND the gift with your personal logo, colors, etc. so the customer KNOWS it is from you and not your company.
STEP#14 - Develop a quarterly or semi-annual benefit for the area. Establish a "Coats for the Cold", "Toys for Tots" - Food Pantry Drive. Use your newsletter and calling campaign to make the neighborhood aware of the charity program you are spearheading.
STEP #15 - Do a 5-a-day plan. Call 5 contacts daily 5 days a week. Use your own database first, and then shift to a top producer's past client list (get permission, of course). Make the script short and to the point. Introduce yourself, the team, update their personal information, and tell them about a particular drive/charity/event. Ask, ask, ask. Are they moving, do they know of a family that might want to be in the neighborhood, is there a problem in the neighborhood they might like to get help with (stop lights, park lighting, etc.) Collect personal information like birthdays, interests, and pet info for future data mining resources. At the end of the year, depending on the size of your database, you will have contacted every person at least twice.
STEP #16 - Don't miss weekly TOUR or CARAVAN of homes in your AREA. In order to build your knowledge base, you want to become familiar with each property in the area, so you can truly be the Neighborhood Specialist. As you build listings and sales in the area, you can honestly CLAIM the specialization. Knowledge is power.
STEP #17 - Be proactive - Any opportunity to promote yourself in an area with BRANDING to you and not the company is advantageous - Sponsor the whole Little League or Soccer Team and have T-Shirts with your logo/brand and the Company name. Run the concession stand - Sponsor a victory party/picnic event. Print the local team schedule with your photo/logo and pass it out at the games, and make it available at the concession stand. BE SURE YOUR EMAIL AND WEB ADDRESS IS ON EVERYTHING. Have a link to the league information on your website. Be seen, get known.
STEP #18 - Set up an annual calendar of events for your farm. Spring cleanup competition, summer block party, Fall Tea, Holiday Cookie Exchange, Charity Drive, Garage Sale Extravaganza. Offer to include the info in your ads, newsletters. Supply the signs for the Garage Sales, etc. Other successful events by top producers include renting an ice-cream truck in the summer and giving away free ice cream.
STEP #19 - Be smart about using Agent Productivity Software to keep track of your database. Take advantage of the system's letter writing information and implement the different letters. Use Agent Productivity Software like TopProducer® or Online Agent ® which includes full for sale by owner letters, expired programs, etc.
STEP #20 - Work Expired listings with a new twist. Go back 2-3 years in your MLS and pull expired listings. Cross check that they are not currently listed or just recently sold. Call and ask if the owner is considering listing again or if it has been sold. Get info…get leads.
STEP #21 - Implement the 7-day follow up after a closing. Even if the buyer or seller was the other agent's in your transaction, follow up with a call and ask how everything is in the property. This is the opportunity for the new homeowner to tell you if there are any problems, and your opportunity to help by sending over a handyman for 2 free hours, etc. The new owner will be impressed that you did follow up, and you get another chance to service the client or customer, even if they are not directly yours. As the new neighbors introduce themselves tell them you are always looking to service the real estate needs of the neighborhood and to contact you if someone is interested in moving.
STEP #22 - Consider doing direct mail when other agencies are not. Avoid the rush at traditional holidays. Stand out and do Christmas in July, Ground Hog Day. Mail 10 months out of the year skipping the heavy year-end holiday time, and the low activity during the vacation time in the summer. Only use annual calendars if they brand or your specific group, as many businesses besides real estate send out calendars, an expensive item to buy, personalize and mail.
STEP #23 - Hire an Assistant. By this time, you will have spent quality time listing, selling negotiating and prospecting. Consider hiring a part time person to handle those activities that are important, but not direct moneymaking, business activities. Even 10 hours a week to follow up on feedback, print or deliver letters, etc. can help free you up for personal time for yourself or with family. Be sure to schedule your time off to recharge your batteries and re-focus your attention on your real goals...to live a great life and maximize your time and efforts.
STEP #24 - Get a personal coach - Jump start the process by finding a personal coach that fits your budget, needs and goals. Some coaches offer full implementation systems with regular accountability. Others offer motivation and accountability.
STEP #25 - Develop a wealth building plan: Invest every year or 2 years in real estate investment - take 35% off the top of each check and put it away for taxes and savings Develop a budget you can live on and start building a wealth plan to create true financial independence. ----------------------Terri Murphy is a nationally known speaker, author and practicing real estate broker. During her 21 years as a real estate professional she has consistently listed and sold over 100 homes per year while working with education partners such as ISucceed a subsidiary of University.com, and the Coaching Institute. Her two books Listing and Selling Secrets: How to Become A Million $ Producer, and Terri Murphy's E-Listing And E-Selling Secrets For The Technology Clueless, Dearborn, are both real estate best-sellers. You may email Terri at [email protected]
Real Estate Advertising 101 - Choosing The Right Medium Your choice of media depends on why you are advertising. Simple logic will guide you in many cases, but read through the following information to expand your knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of the various media. Media selection and placement is the full-time occupation of many people in large companies and advertising agencies. If you're embarking on an extensive advertising campaign, you might consider consulting a media placement expert.
BASIC STRATEGY COMES FIRST Choosing the best media for your advertising depends on four factors:
YOUR OBJECTIVE What you want the advertising to accomplish and by when? Knowing what you want to accomplish is critical. It's not information to "just sorta have in your head." Your advertising objectives should be clear and written. Writing them down forces you to be specific! These objectives should be part of your promotion plan. Most importantly, your advertising objectives should be something that advertising can accomplish. That may sound strange, but advertising can accomplish some things better than others. Advertising can accomplish a shift in perception or create awareness, but–aside from specific adaptations of advertising–advertising alone can't create a sale! Many inexperienced advertisers think that Advertising = Sales, but that's an advertising myth.
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE - Who and where are the people you want your message to reach? Take time to carefully define your audience. Certain media will have stronger appeal to some groups than others. Narrowing down your audience will help you make wise and cost-efficient media choices. For example, a real estate agent focused on golf properties might advertise in golf magazines or newsletters. Additionally, this business owner may look for special ad placements, such as placing an ad in a special, one-time feature section on golf communities published by the local newspaper. Some real estate professionals think it's a shrewd move to keep the audience definition broad. They laugh and say, "Well, I'll sell to anyone who has the money; that's who my audience is!" To reach all people, an advertiser would have to buy virtually all media–who can afford that? Even advertising giants like Coca-Cola and McDonald's target their advertising so they don't waste money.
YOUR MESSAGE AND FREQUENCY - What do you want to say and how often do you need to say it? The media you choose should carry your message effectively. Again, some simple logic will apply. If you have lots of information, don't choose a 30-second radio spot. If you need to show your product in action, don't choose any print medium. If you need a message repeated with high frequency, for example "Sale ends in two days," you would not choose a weekly magazine where you would get one exposure, but you might choose radio where your ad could run periodically day and night.
YOUR BUDGET - It almost goes without saying, but your budget is probably the single most influential factor in your advertising plan. It might make all the sense in the world to place a TV ad or a full-color advertisement in a prominent magazine–but you must be able to afford it! Your budget should be established and written out, too! The advertising budget is part of your marketing plan budget. Buying just one TV spot is not an effective purchase since research shows that buyers need to be exposed to an ad several times before they take action on a message. But dollars alone should not be the deciding factor! If you could afford 16 spots on one radio station, 10 on another or one half-page newspaper ad, you would not automatically opt for the 16 impressions. It's not that simple! You would also want to consider who listens or reads each medium, the timing of each medium, and the suitability of each choice for the message you want delivered, too. Now You're Strategizing! If you've read all the above, you've just had a mini-course in a part of marketing that the "Big Guys" call creative strategy. Congratulations! Now you know the basics and some of the terminology as well. Let's move on to information about specific media.
MEDIA ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES Definition: Advertising is paid, non-personal communication delivered through mass media. Media is part of the very definition of advertising. Advertising is a method of communication that is "paid" for and "non-personal." The message is delivered through mass media–as opposed to face-toface, or voice-to-voice. So, the medium you choose for carrying your message is critical to the success of your advertising! The following information will help you make good choices. But, always remember: You should consider each ad message or ad campaign separately. Just because a medium makes sense for one message does not mean it is the best medium for you all the time. What you'll see is a list of things to consider when choosing your advertising medium. Remember, there is really no right or wrong medium. It depends on your message, your target audience, your objectives and your budget.
Newspapers are still the number one media for local advertisers in terms of where advertising dollars are spent. Daily newspapers reach a diverse (or broad) audience. The audience is locally or regionally concentrated. Consumers often look for ads in newspapers, so their mood may already be more receptive to your message. Newspapers deliver timely messages because they have an established, regular publishing schedule such as daily, weekly or monthly. This allows you to tailor your message to current events, such as weekend entertainment or April tax time. The immediacy of a daily newspaper's news will cause readers to pick it up within a predictable time frame (i.e. Tuesday's paper is usually read on Tuesday) so advertisers know when readers receive their messages. Copy space is unlimited in newspapers. You can write long explanatory copy or a few bulleted lines. Of course, longer, bigger ads cost more. Technology is improving newspapers' capabilities to create clear photos, better colors and to use new techniques such as scented inks. (See "Reproduction of Photos" below, though.) Readers are actively involved in reading the paper. The fact that they must hold it and turn the pages produces a higher level of attention.
NEWSPAPER DISADVANTAGES Limits specific audience targeting. You may only want to reach bike owners, but you'll pay to reach the newspaper's entire audience. However, some papers offer "zone advertising" which allows you to run an ad that is seen only in part of the coverage area. For example, you could place an ad for your pizza delivery service in the "Northwest News" insert section delivered only with the newspapers in the northwest part of the city or newspaper coverage region. Reproduction of photos has long been considered a disadvantage to using newspaper as an advertising medium, although technology has allowed great improvements. The problem is created because newspapers must use inexpensive paper to keep their costs down. After all, no one wants to pay $2.95 for a daily newspaper! However, inexpensive paper does not hold ink as well as higher grades of paper and that affects the clarity of pictures. Many advertisers consider newspapers the best medium for local reach. This can create heavy competition inside the paper for local businesses. You may hear this referred to as "clutter." Newspapers are not popular with all age groups. Their strength seems to lie with the aging Baby Boomers. Many newspapers are starting pages and sections designed for young adults, teens and kids, but the effectiveness of these efforts in terms of advertising draw is still not proven. Newspapers are static and two-dimensional. Electronic newspapers may change this–in the future.
MAGAZINE ADVANTAGES Great color and photo reproduction are possible in magazines that are printed on slick or high-grade paper. Selecting a targeted audience can be easy. Guess who reads Golf Pro, Old House Restoration, Teen Romance, US News and World Report and Bikers' World? Furthermore, some magazines have images of their own. They might be considered an authority in their subject area or prestigious, hip, reliable, etc. and this image can "rub off" on advertisers' messages. Magazines have quite a range of layout flexibility. Ads can contain color or fragrance samples. They can have moving pieces, pop-ups, or carry microchips for sound. Photos can bleed off the page or
fold out to larger sizes. This provides advertisers with many options for creating attention-grabbing ads. Magazines have a long life span. People often save magazines to read at a more leisurely time. When a magazine is read over the weekend or on vacation, the ad is still there and the reader may be in a receptive, rather than rushed, mood.
MAGAZINE DISADVANTAGES Because most magazines are printed on slick paper that makes for excellent reproduction, the costs are higher–to the consumer and to the advertiser. The timing of reader exposure to your ad is less predictable. Most magazines carry more features than hard or breaking news, so reading can be delayed, and some ads could go out of date before they are seen. Deadlines for placing advertising art are one month or more before publication. This means an advertiser must begin work on an ad long before it will be seen by the target audience. This often precludes small advertisers who leave advertising planning to the last minute from using this medium.
INTERNET ADVERTISING There are two primary ways to advertise on the Internet: Register your Web site with major search engines so Internet visitors can find you. Place an "ad banner" or textual link to your site on another Web site that has a lot of traffic (viewers). Ad/text banners allow viewers to link to your site when they click on the banner.
INTERNET ADVERTISING ADVANTAGES Relatively cost-effective. The costs can also be independent of the size of the audience. For example, a Web presence will cost the same regardless of how many viewers your site has. (You will, however, need to make sure your Internet Service Provider can handle the volume of viewers you anticipate having.) Advertisers can target specific types of viewers by positioning an ad banner on related Web sites. For example, if you're targeting people seeking information on a specific topic, you can purchase ad space on Web pages that are related to this category in the major search engines (Yahoo, AOL.com, Google.com, etc.). So, an real estate agent selling through vacation properties in Rocky Mountains might advertise through the " vacation properties " or " Rocky Mountains real estate" category. The indexing structure of these sites allows you to target your audience by geographic location and related interest area. Messages can be timely because editing the content is often easy and instantaneous. Ads on the Internet can be interactive. You can request viewer feedback, take orders or answer questions instantly. Ad banners can run with as much frequency as you choose. The Internet is constantly available! Internet advertisers can potentially reach a global audience. Aside from language barriers, anyone at any location in the world can access information about your products or services.
INTERNET ADVERTISING DISADVANTAGES
Internet advertising should not be approached in a vacuum. Instead, it should be one component of a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy. Although the popularity of the Internet is rising remarkably, it is difficult to gage the impact of advertising on the Internet. The range of costs to advertise on the Internet can vary greatly. It is best to compare a number of highly-frequented local websites to determine the best way to spend your advertising dollars.
DIRECT MAIL ADVANTAGES Allows you to target your message to a very specific audience. Pick one street of houses or all residents of a city. Target college freshmen or just college freshmen at one college who own a car. Mail to all of your customers or just to those who spend an average of $25 per visit to your store. The possibilities are as endless as your mailing lists accuracy allows. This is a relatively expensive medium. However, if you are able to focus on only high-probability purchasers, cost effectiveness can be good. Direct mail messages can be personalized to add reader appeal. You can evaluate its effectiveness. If you compare the number of responses to the number of pieces mailed, you can calculate the response rate. If you include coded coupons or response cards you can keep track of exactly who responded and from where. Mail readers are actively involved. People read their mail when they choose. So, for at least second or two, your message will have their undivided attention while they open and scan it.
DIRECT MAIL DISADVANTAGES Many people don't like unsolicited offers and many are skeptical of their validity. Increasingly, busy people don't even open what they view as "junk mail." Using this method of advertising requires thorough maintenance of mail lists. Many advertisers do not like to bother with updating mail lists. With outdated lists, however, mail goes to undeliverable addresses and wastes your money. Another possible glitch: Mail may contain out of date messages, spell names wrong, or address a person who has died and these kinds of errors annoy, or worse yet offend, the recipient. Some groups are concerned about the environmental impact of resources used for advertising mailings. This is a relatively expensive medium.
RADIO ADVANTAGES Radio messages are mobile. They can be heard at work, on the beach, in the shower, in the dentist's chair or even while shopping in your store. Radio is an intrusive medium. A listener does not have to be actively involved in getting your message to hear it. Radio allows for target selection based on: Geography - listeners will be in a concentrated area defined by the station's signal, Time of day - the audience will change between morning drive, midday and overnight programming. Format - different audiences can be reached by choosing different formats such as talk radio, alternative rock, blues rock, classical, easy listening, etc.
Depending on availability, it's often possible to get an ad on a station on short notice. This allows advertisers to react to sudden developments, such as a retailer selling fans reacting to a heat wave or a competitor's special offer. Your message can run with as much frequency as you choose (or the station's format allows). For example, you could run an ad once a day for a year or twice an hour for a day. Radio is mostly local in its appeal. You can tie your message into local events, weather, or locations to heighten the relevance of your message to the listener. Your radio ad has a voice. It can be friendly, serious, sad, childish, macho, humorous–whatever suits your message. Above all, the voice can be conversational, a quality that makes it very easy to listen to and understand. Radio time is relatively cost-efficient to purchase. Radio ad production is fairly simple. Send a finished spot, a script or a fact sheet to the station and they will take it from there. Many will create the spot you want to run on their station for free.
RADIO DISADVANTAGES Radio has no visuals. Don't use it to talk about a product that a listener may not already understand. Some ads use "the theater of the mind" very effectively to create pictures in a listener's head (like when you hear a pop can open and someone drink). Be careful, though. This type of ad should be done well and may call for a professional writer–an extra expense that is well worth it in the long run. Some radio audiences may be "fragmented." For example, if there are four stations in the market that appeal to women 25-49 years old, then an advertiser may have to buy all four to effectively reach that group. This can be cost prohibitive. Air "clutter" is a problem. Your ad may be first, second, sixth or tenth in a commercial break. This can detract from the attention level. There is no hard copy. Your ad airs and then it's gone. If a listener missed an important piece of information, like a phone number, there is no way to know when it will be on again. (There are writing tips and placement plans you can use to minimize this problem.) Station-produced ads use station talent. It's free and that's good, but you run the risk of the ad sounding very similar to other ads produced by the station and also to the DJ's regular on-air conversation. This sameness can detract from the listener's attention level.
BROADCAST TV ADVANTAGES Broadcast TV is "free TV" transmitted over the air and is most commonly associated with large TV networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. TV offers your message sight, sound, motion, color and all the special effects you can afford. It is a powerful medium with sensual impact. TV ads are intrusive in nature. The viewer does not have to be actively involved to receive your message. TV allows for target selection based on: Geography - Where the signal reaches. (Don't forget to check if the station is carried elsewhere on cable TV.) Time of day - Different target audiences watch TV at different times. Program - Certain programs or kinds of programming will appeal to certain groups. Observe the ads carried by a particular show. You can make some assumptions about who is watching, but for certainty about where and when to place your ad, seek the help of a media buyer or a TV rep. Network - Some networks, like Nickelodeon or ESPN, have identifiable audiences that may match your target audience.
TV still has a certain prestige or glamour that can enhance your message. Some consider it "the big league" of advertising. You know, think of someone who saw her neighborhood grocer in a TV spot– they'll often tell others (and the grocer) "I saw Jackie on TV!" TV is costly, but because it may be targeted, it may be quite cost-effective. TV ads can engage the viewer's emotions and empathy. You can see joy or hurt in someone's eyes, your can hear a voice tinged with the pain of a headache or the pride of a new parent, you can watch in amazement–or in disbelief–as a product is demonstrated. Most TV is viewed at home. People feel safe at home and they aren't exposed to what others think. If they've been worried about aches and you have a message about how to cure them, you've got a listener and, hopefully, a customer. Because of all the above, TV advertising is especially effective in helping to create an image for a product or company.
BROADCAST TV DISADVANTAGES To advertise on TV, you must produce a spot or pay to use one produced by someone else. Production fees on top of the cost of air time makes TV spots cost prohibitive to many advertisers. TV seems complicated to small advertisers. If you think it is the right medium for your message, don't be put off by what you don't know–call a station or an ad or production agency for help. Messages get "zipped" as viewers click to other channels and "zapped" as viewers mute them or turn them off. Viewers that have grown up with TV and big-screen special effects are somewhat skeptical, if not downright cynical, about what they see. And they don't appreciate gimmicks. Although TV can be targeted by geography, time of day, programs and networks, it is still a broadcast medium with a broad, non-targeted reach. Cable is considered "narrowcast" and is a good, viable medium for reaching specific groups. Audiences are more fragmented than ever as the number of channels increases, not to mention alternative uses for TV sets like video games, computer hook-ups and movie rentals. The days of any message reaching 40 percent or even 30 percent of the viewing audience on one network at one time are past. ("Fragmented" is explained above in "Radio Disadvantages.") Commercial breaks in programming are becoming more "cluttered." Your spot may be first, third or seventh in the lineup. The viewer's attention level can be affected. Because TV is still considered by many to be "big league" advertising, small advertisers run the risk of looking amateurish next to a national advertiser with a slickly produced spot. There is some merit to looking like a friendly, small or local advertiser, but don't accept sloppy production in order to cut costs. No amount of savings is worth the damage you can do to the customer's perception of your business or product. Buying TV time is fairly complicated. The help of an expert adds to your costs, but may cut your losses, too.
CABLE TV ADVANTAGES You can buy time on programs that have very specific audiences. For example, you might buy onto a show that is about caring for infants to reach young mothers, or you might buy onto a show about sewing, wallpapering, landscaping, auto repair, local musicians, book reviews, etc. and reach a more clearly defined audience than if you bought time on a network show with bigger ratings and a higher price tag. The cost is lower than broadcast TV because you are reaching a smaller audience. Production costs may be more affordable.
You may find more innovative production people here. Often cable production teams hire young writers, producers and technicians who want experience and are eager to work with you. They are often right out of school and right on top of new trends and techniques. Because cable only reaches into linked homes, you know who your message is reaching. These homes may be concentrated locally. Superstations are different: They reach huge cable audiences and charge accordingly.
CABLE TV DISADVANTAGES Almost all the advantages of advertising on cable TV have a flip side disadvantage. Small reach. May have less experienced production crews. Reaching specific customers, but not reaching potential customers. Cable TV as a whole is drawing huge numbers of viewers, but because of the increasing numbers of viewing choices, audiences can be very fragmented and viewers may stay with a program for a shorter period of time. ("Fragmented" is explained above in "Radio Disadvantages.")
TRANSIT ADVERTISING ADVANTAGES Transit advertising includes ads seen on buses, subway cars and entries, trains and taxis. Exposure to one ad can be long if ad is inside a transit vehicle. Frequency, the number of times a viewer is exposed to an ad, may be high if the viewer uses the same method of transportation repeatedly. For example, a person may ride the same subway to and from work 10 times a week. Ads on the exterior of buses and cabs are seen by large and diverse audiences. You can also say that some of the audience is captive, too, if you consider the number of drivers stuck behind a bus or the number of walkers waiting for a stopped bus to move past. The ad message can be timely because often the person riding mass transit is on the way to shop, eat or visit an entertainment outlet. Ads can be geographically targeted because you know the people are all in a certain area at a certain time. Ads can be somewhat lifestyle targeted, too. Some transportation travels through very distinctive neighborhoods. This method of advertising tends to be quite inexpensive in both absolute and relative terms.
TRANSIT ADVERTISING DISADVANTAGES Your ad design is usually limited to the size of frames or holders you ad will be placed in. People on mass transit are often not in a receptive mood or they may be so used to ads appearing in certain spaces that they don't even see them. Transit ads are hard to target. Your ad reaches a lot of people, but many are not even potential customers. You may not have mass transit in your advertising area. For example, many cities and towns don't have subways or bus service. Subways, buses or other mass transit environments may not suit the product image. The surroundings may detract from your message. A mud-splashed bus, a graffiti-sprayed subway car or a crumbling subway entrance wall may not be the showcase you had in mind!
OUTDOOR/BILLBOARD ADVERTISING ADVANTAGES Big, splashy messages attract attention. Using this medium you must be short and to the point! Your ad has impact. Technology is allowing for more and more innovations like talking, moving, smoking, changing and twinkling billboards. Hot air balloons, blow-ups, flags, banners and other eyecatching devices are an option, too. You can even hire "rolling billboards" on the back of a truck that drives a route you choose to make sure your billboard is seen by the right audience numerous times. Your ad reaches lots of people, many of whom see it repeatedly as they travel regular routes.
13 Real Estate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid ! -by Joe Gracia
To be successful and profitable, you must START using the most effective real estate marketing strategies possible. Less obvious, is the fact that you must also STOP using the most ineffective, money-wasting marketing strategies. I call them The 13 Fatal Marketing Mistakes. While this list doesn’t cover all of the possible real estate marketing mistakes, it does describe some of the most expensive, destructive and most common made by many real estate agents. It’s relatively easy to produce profitable results with a well-planned, tested and proven marketing strategy. However, it’s even easier to lose thousands of dollars by making any of the following 13 Real Estate Marketing Mistakes.
1. TRYING TO GENERATE SALES WITH THE ONE-STEP MARKETING STRATEGY This is the most basic marketing strategy used by most real estate agents today. It’s everywhere. It consists of an ad, flyer or other marketing device that simply announces the real estate agent name and agency, possibly lists a few basic features of services and ends with an address and phone number. The prospect is now expected to respond to this type of marketing piece by immediately purchasing. Unless you are offering an extremely high-demand, hard-to-get product/service (an original Van Gogh painting, Super bowl tickets, etc.) this marketing strategy almost always results in little or no response. This strategy totally disregards the psychological buying sequence of consumers. It's very much like walking up to a stranger at a party and asking Would you marry me? What do you think the response would be?
2. NOT KNOWING FOR SURE WHICH OF YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS ARE PRODUCING RESULTS AND WHICH ARE BIG MONEY-WASTERS. Even new real estate agents are investing in up to a dozen marketing devices at any given time. Not only are we talking about traditional media, like newspaper or Yellow Page ads but many others that may not be as obvious. These marketing devices are either contributing to your business profit or destroying it. Most real estate agents don’t have a clue as to which is which. If they did, they could easily guarantee increasing their profitable results by investing more in the winning devices and eliminating the money-wasting losing devices.
3. EXPECTING YOUR PROSPECTS TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO.
Never, never, never assume. Take a look at most real estate ads and you’ll see that the agents/brokers are almost always assuming that the reader/prospect will know exactly what they want them to do… without telling them. At the bottom of the ad there will be a phone number and an address. Usually nothing more. Ask one of these persons what they wanted the prospect to do after reading their ad and they will most likely reply, Buy my product! Isn’t it obvious?? The answer is a resounding No! For one, there is rarely enough information in the typical marketing piece for a consumer to make an immediate buying decision. Therefore, that can’t be the action expected from the consumer. Second, the marketing competition for the prospect’s consumer dollars is fierce. The prospect is usually exposed to dozens of ads for basically the same services. Obviously, he or she is not going to take action on every single ad. How do you insure that they will respond to your marketing piece and take the specific action you intended? Certainly, not by assuming that they will know or figure out what you want them to do. In order for a real estate agent to tell prospects exactly what action to take next, the real estate agent must know what that action should be. Once you know the psychological buying sequence the next expected action becomes obvious.
4. EXPECTING YOUR PROSPECTS TO CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION. Closely related to fatal mistake number 3, is the marketing piece that again simply announces the business name, lists a few basic features of the product or service, ends with an address and phone number… and then asks the prospect to Call for More Information. One of the last things a prospect wants, is to feel dumb. What information should they ask for? Does this mean that the real estate agent doesn’t have a brochure or any other literature? Are they going to have to take notes?? Will there be a test? The other thing no prospect wants is to feel pressured. Whether it’s true or not, the average prospect assumes that they’ll get a high-pressured sales pitch if they call. Most do not want to risk this pain. Therefore, the Call for More Information tag is almost always ignored. While some prospects may not have a problem responding to this vague directive, the majority do. If you doubt this… try putting it at the bottom of your marketing pieces. You’ll soon be convinced that few prospects, if any, respond to the Call for More Information fatal marketing mistake.
5. FOCUSING YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS ON YOU OR YOUR COMPANY. It seems natural to tell your prospects about you and your company. We’re proud of what we do and how we do it and we assume that our prospects will be impressed and motivated to take action. We’ve been in business for 16 years… We are an award winning, cutting-edge agency… We are equipped with the latest micro-techno, laser-guided, nuclear-activated widget-gizmos… Too often these phrases evoke the following responses from prospects: So what? Big deal. Who cares? Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that your marketing materials shouldn’t include background information about you and your company and/or specifications about your product/service. I’m saying that this should be supportive information, not your primary marketing message.
It’s a fatal marketing mistake to think that prospects care about the same things you care about. They rarely do. However, they do care deeply about something entirely different. Once you know what that is, and you address it powerfully and clearly in your marketing, you will begin to draw prospects to you like a magnet.
6. NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE MANY FREE OR LOW-COST BUT PROFITABLE, MARKETING METHODS. Ask the typical real estate professional what marketing is, and he/she will probably reply, Advertising. What kinds of advertising? Yellow Page ads, newspaper ads, magazine ads, radio ads, television ads, billboards, bus cards, Val-Pak mailings, etc. While all of these advertising devices can certainly be apart of a successful marketing strategy, there are also dozens of low-cost and no-cost marketing methods a vailable to the small business marketer. By simply discovering and applying these simple low-cost, no-cost methods, you will be able to significantly stretch the effectiveness and profitability of your marketing efforts.
7. COPYING THE MISTAKES OF YOUR COMPETITORS. If everyone else is doing it, then it must be the right thing to do. Remember mom’s admonition, If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you want to jump too? Look at the local, small business ads in any newspaper and you will find the same basic format, same basic message, same basic strategy (see Fatal Marketing Mistake No. 1)… ;and the same basic results; little or no response. We feel safe in the crowd. Safe doing what everyone else is doing. We also assume that if it works for them, it can work equally well for us. Unfortunately, a real estate agent’s success is rarely from one element in their marketing strategy. Their success is the result of many diverse marketing elements; from their location, to their possible lack of competition, to their personality and abundance or lack of marketing aggressiveness. But we rarely take all of these strategic elements into consideration when copying our competitors. Copying a single marketing element from a competitor is like reaching into their pile of puzzle pieces, pulling out one piece and then trying to make it fit into your puzzle. It rarely works because your marketing puzzle is unique and each piece must fit perfectly with all of your other pieces. In addition, whatever success a competitor may be experiencing can often be from a few of their less obvious or visible marketing methods. Often the highly visible element (ad, flyer, brochure, etc.) is one of the least effective. You end up copying the profit losers, rather than developing your own profit winners.
8. DIRECTING YOUR MARKETING TO EVERYONE BUT TO NO ONE IN PARTICULAR Many real estate proffesionals have failed to determine who their best prospects are, where those prospects live or how to reach them effectively and efficiently. This is a critical first step in any successful marketing strategy. By skipping this step, they resort to running vague and generic one-step ads in mass media, such as local newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cable, Val-pak mailings, Internet web sites, etc. Their hope is that by presenting their generic message about their business to the greatest number of people, the result will be the highest number of sales. Wrong. Unfortunately for them, effective marketing doesn’t work that way.
The fact is, in most cases only a small percentage of the readers/listeners/viewers of mass media will have a need for services at any given time. Some real estate agents may have a hard time believing this, but nevertheless, it’s true. Everyone does not need or want your services. By not targeting your marketing to your very best and logical prospects, you are wasting most of your marketing dollars on people who have little or no interest in your product or service. If there are only 50 true prospects for your services out of 5,000 possible readers of a publication, why would you want to spend thousands of dollars presenting your message over and over to the 9,900 non-prospects? Yet, this is the method most real estate sellers choose because they don’t know that there is a much more cost-effective and profitable strategy.
9. WASTING YOUR MONEY ON IMAGE MARKETING A major marketing mistake made by real estate agents is that they pour their marketing dollars into image marketing. Some of their marketing pieces may be clever, even humorous. That kind of marketing rarely asks prospects to take action. The result? Wasted marketing dollars… vague ideas of who saw the marketing pieces… and frustration. Giant corporations like Pepsi or Nike are interested in name recognition and a specific image for their brands. Therefore, they spend millions of dollars on creative, often fun marketing pieces designed to impress their target market with their image rather than to generate a direct or immediate sale. Obviously your image and name recognition are important to the success of your small business. But even more important are immediate and steadily growing sales. How can you determine if your marketing is primarily focused on image marketing? Your marketing pieces don't ask for immediate and specific action from your prospects. This money-wasting and sales destroying marketing mistake is much more common than you may think.
10. GIVING UP ON YOUR PROSPECTS AFTER JUST ONE OR TWO FOLLOW-UPS Effective marketers know that persistence and repetition are vital for success. The sale begins when the customer says “no.” But too many real estate agents spend a great deal of time and money attracting prospects to their businesses and then either follow-up with them just once, or, as incredible as it may sound, never follow-up with them at all. Successful people in sales know that most of the sales are made after the seventh or eighth call. Few are made after just one follow-up call. Your prospects have many reasons for not buying from you immediately. They may not be ready to make a decision. They may have more pressing things on their minds. They may not feel comfortable enough with you, or trust you enough to buy right now. They may have more questions about your services, that haven’t been answered. They may have information from you and 2-3 of your competitors and are trying to determine which company would be their best choice. By following up repeatedly, you will have a dramatic advantage over your competitors, since few of them will follow up more than once. When your prospects are ready to buy, which could be one week from now, or six months from now, you will have a better chance of getting the sale if you are uppermost in their minds. You can only do that by consistently following up.
11. CHANGING YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY FREQUENTLY
Henry Ford once told an ad executive from his advertising agency, “It’s time for you to come up with a new ad campaign. We've been using this one for too long and I’m sure the public has to be bored to death with it.” Ford was reportedly miffed to hear, “But sir, we haven’t even started running this campaign yet. The public has never seen it.” Having seen the campaign presentations dozens of times, he was bored with it. He wanted to see something new and different. You should never, never stop using something that is still working, because you, your employees or your friends are bored with it. In successful and profitable marketing you should only be listening to your customers since they vote with dollars rather than opinions.
12.EXPECTING WORD-OF-MOUTH REFERRALS TO COME YOUR WAY… JUST BY CHANCE Word-of-mouth referrals are an extremely important element of any business’s marketing success. But most real estate agents are making a big marketing mistake by believing that those referrals will come automatically. It’s true that if you provide good service, you will probably get some word-of-mouth referrals. But to generate an abundance and highly profitable level of referrals takes more initiative and effort. Unless someone comes to us and specifically asks for our recommendation of a good dentist, doctor, veterinarian, insurance agent or auto alarm specialist we are probably not going to actively promote these businesses to our friends and neighbors. How often in any given year are you asked to recommend a good dentist or auto alarm specialist? The chances are… not very often, if at all. That’s why expecting referrals to come to you… just by chance, is a fatal marketing mistake.
THE MOST FATAL MISTAKE OF ALL…
13. BASING YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY ON GUESSES, ASSUMPTIONS OR ADVICE FROM FRIENDS, RELATIVES OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATES Guessing at the elements of your marketing strategy is probably the worst way to invest your marketing budget. You are practically guaranteeing the same results you would achieve by guessing at the specific sequence of numbers needed to open a combination lock. Since each consecutive step is linked to the success of the previous step, one wrong guess destroys your chances for success. Most people, including many real estate agents, mistakenly believe that marketing is more of an art than a science. Those of the marketing is art point of view believe that anyone’s opinion concerning marketing is just as valid as anyone else’s. In reality, marketing is very much a science with specific principles, rules and quantifiable results. Because of this marketing is art philosophy, most of what people believe about marketing is based on myths, not facts. Show ten people two ads and ask them to select the one they think is the better ad. Nine out of ten will select the profit loser rather than the profit winner. Why? Because they are unaware of and don’t recognize the marketing principles and strategies that make a powerful marketing piece a profit winner. So they base their opinion instead on such vague, subjective criteria as cleverness, cuteness, different and artistic look, and the ads fun/pun appeal. These criteria rarely have anything to do with generating maximum response but they have everything to do with wasting your marketing investment and destroying your potential sales. The best way to develop a successful and profitable marketing strategy is to use the knowledge, experience and skills of someone who has already discovered the marketing approaches that do work
as well as the approaches that don’t work. These discoveries should always be based on measurable results from objective tests… never subjective opinions or assumptions. Joe Gracia Visit Joe and Maria Gracia’s Web site, http://www.givetogetmarketing.com to receive a free Marketing IdeaKit, plus hundreds of marketing tips and real-world marketing examples.
10 Powerful Networking Tips Using Business Cards -by C. E. Reid
Whether you are looking for a job or running a business, giving out business cards is crucial to marketing your skills or services. Even as a job seeker, develop the mindset of running the business of YOU, Inc. Business cards speak volumes about who you are, what you offer and how serious you are marketing YOU, Inc. as a business. Oh! So, you have a presentation and don’t need business cards. Can you carry 10 presentations in your wallet? Do you or can you carry your presentation everywhere you go? A church bell ringing lets people know they are open for business. Your business card is your bell. Here are some proven tips using business cards to increase your chances to get some business leads.
1. NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM. Before leaving home, your checklist should be expanded to include business cards, as part of "do I have my wallet/money, house keys, driver’s license?" Any “per chance” meeting is an opportunity to give out a business card. A morning run or a quick trip to the local store could be an opportunity to network. My wife and I always ask each other “do you have business cards”, before leaving the house. Make it a habit to carry business cards.
2. INSERT A BUSINESS CARD WHEN MAILING BILL PAYMENTS. Bills contain advertisements. Why can’t you advertise your skills or services the same way? Insert a business card with your payment. You may not think a person in South Dakota who opens your credit card bill payment can help you. Never underestimate the power of networking. A movie, entitled “6 Degrees of Separation” points out we are 6 people away from knowing someone of influence. You could be 6 people away from knowing the President of the United Sates, your favorite movie star or someone who is in a position to hire your skills or services. Each of us knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone etc. Developing this powerful networking attitude will be a fundamental source of continued success.
3. USE PROPER BUSINESS CARD ETIQUETTE. Whenever you give a business card, ask for a business card. When given a business card, don’t just take it and place it in your pocket. Make the person feel important by looking at their card for a few seconds. You might see something that could be a topic of discussion. Write comments on the card such as date, location and common points of interest. These comments will prove valuable when following up with that person. This also demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. Then
place it in your wallet. This lets them know they reside in a special place with you. "Skill with People" by Les Giblin is a book that expands on this approach. Make people feel important, in order to make yourself important to them.
4. BE GENEROUS. Give business cards out to everyone, including family and friends. Don’t let vanity stop you from giving out your last business card or giving 2 at a time to each person. I have met many people who have totally missed the purpose of a business card. I once asked a person for a second business card, so I could refer his services. His response was "I only have a few cards left and I need them", as he looked again at his name on the card. Hoarding your business cards only makes your wallet feel full, not your bank account.
5. ASK FOR REFERRALS. When giving a business card, people feel more comfortable when you ask; “I would appreciate a referral, if you know anyone that could use my services”. Don’t make people feel like they are on the spot. This approach disarms people much better than asking them, “is your company hiring?” People naturally like to do favors for people. Saying “could you do me a favor by referring my services to someone”. This always places you in a better position with them. They will feel better about helping you. Give them 2 cards.
6. MAXIMIZE EVERY "PER CHANCE" MEETING. You never know when you might meet someone who can help you. Family or friends social events could produce unexpected encounters with people. Don’t discount those events. So you’re going to a birthday party for your friend’s kid. You never know who you might meet. At a family holiday gathering last year, I met someone that has been instrumental in developing our business this year. Who would have thought this could happen by giving him a simple business card.
7. PLACE YOURSELF AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. Have you been to a job fair or business conference and been disappointed with the networking results? Turn the tables around. Consider volunteering to help out at the job fair or other types of events. This puts you in a better strategic position for presenting your resume or business card. Company representatives might view you differently, if they know you are willing to go the extra mile in helping them make their presence easier to manage. Get involved by visiting Eventme.com, TheLunchClub.net, Craigslist.com or view the calendar of events for JacobJavitsCenter.com to place yourself in opportunities for giving out your business card. Volunteering for events has been a very successful resource for my business partner and I to expanding our business. Zig Ziglar, one of the most successful sales trainers in the world says "if you help enough people get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life".
8. USE "IN YOUR FACE" FOLLOW UP.
Did you ever have a job interview or meeting with a recruiter, potential client or employer and wonder why they never called you back? “Out of sight, out of mind” is the operative phrase to remember. Today’s economic climate dictates you might be competing with 20, 50, 100 or more other people for the same position or contract. It’s quite a task for people to keep track of each individual meeting. So it’s up to you to give a person a reason to call you back. Immediately after a meeting snail mail a hand written note thanking the person for their time. Insert your business card. Now you’re in the driver’s seat in standing out from other people. If you get no response, do it again. Patience and persistence pays off.
9. USE PROMOTIONS TO PROMOTE YOU, INC. Newspapers often have stories of people being promoted to high levels in different organizations? This is an opportunity for you. Consider getting some invitation size blank greeting cards. Use the Internet’s search capabilities to find out the address of the company’s executive offices. Send the blank invitation type card with a hand written note sincerely congratulating a person on their promotion. Insert your business card. For the cost of a 37-cent stamp, you have just made someone’s day and may create an impression that makes a person feel compelled to respond back to you. Make it a habit to do this once a week. Remember “6 Degrees of Separation”. You just never know . . . People open invitation type envelops faster than any others.
10. BRAND YOURSELF WITH A SLOGAN. Print a slogan on your business card that answers the question “Why should I hire you? Or "What makes you different from everyone else?" A catchy phrase or slogan insures people ALWAYS associate a company name with their product or services. People remember even after the commercial is over. That’s called branding. Companies pay big bucks to advertising agencies to come up with these lasting slogans. Consider doing the exact same thing on your business card. This is your insurance people remember you, after you meet. Don’t just put Hortence Smiley, Accountant on your business card. Add something like "Financial Services With Integrity". A slogan makes all the difference between getting hired or not, because people will remember you long after a meeting. Happy trails networking . . . -------------In addition to hosting WIIFM Success Radio, C.E. Reid advises small businesses on Internet Business-2-Business opportunities. He has also helped many people successfully advance their careers and start businesses with 15 years as a part time Business & Career Coach. His consulting clients have included IBM/Lotus, JPMChase and Citicorp, to name a few Email: [email protected]
Networking for Real Estate Professionals – It's Important! -by Sue and Chuck DeFiore
Networking opportunities are everywhere. Don't let them pass you by.
1. RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS MORE TO NETWORKING THAN GREETING PEOPLE. Develop a step-by-step plan for how you'll build relationships and how you can effectively tell your story. Don't forget your 30 second commercial to tell your story. Networking opportunities are everywhere. Don't let them pass you by. 1. Recognize that there is more to networking than greeting people. Develop a step-by-step plan for how you'll build relationships and how you can effectively tell your story. Don't forget your 30 second commercial to tell your story.
2. ZERO IN ON SPECIFIC GROUPS OF PEOPLE. Who are the ideal prospects for your business? Do they live nearby? What activities do they participate in? Try networking groups meetings.
3. DETERMINE WHERE YOU'LL BE MOST LIKELY TO FIND YOUR IDEAL PROSPECTS. Do they belong to specific organizations or associations? Do they frequent particular events, performances or recreational facilities? Again, for those of us in real estate industry, investors, buyers and sellers are just the beginning.
4. IDENTIFY ORGANIZATIONS, EVENTS, PROFESSIONAL GROUPS AND SOCIAL CLUBS whose members meet your profile characteristics, and get involved. Get to know people, and let them know what you do. Volunteer for committees, attend conferences, and maximize opportunities that might spin off from the formal sessions. Give seminars, speeches, write articles. Become involved and get your name out there.
5. WORK ON YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE SMALL TALK. Have some prepared topics in mind—current events, sports, vacation plans. And be sure to ask openended questions of the other person like "What is it you enjoy most about your work, or where you live or your free time?" Remember, too, that having a good conversation depends greatly on being an active, courteous listener. Again, your thirty second commercial is a must. And let's emphasize again being a good and courteous listener.
6. EXPLORE ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO BUSINESS NETWORKING. Chambers of commerce, tenant associations and networking clubs offer opportunities for you to meet and greet. Look for the groups in your area. Many times your local paper has a certain day of the week that lists all of these types of meetings. If you don't see it, call your paper and ask about it.
7. LOOK FOR PARTNERS. Specifically, look for other businesses that complement what you do and might be a good source of referrals.
8. DON'T LOOK AT NETWORKING AS A REAL ESTATE SALES OPPORTUNITY. Instead, look at it as a reconnaissance mission—a chance for you to learn something and enjoy the scenery. There is a proper time and place for sales calls. This is a very important point. Read it over and over again. Networking is not sales.
9. MAKE A HABIT OF BEING PATIENT, POLITE AND FRIENDLY TO PEOPLE, whether or not you're in an "orchestrated" setting. This is just good business behavior. If you are going to run a business, at least a successful one, these are just some of the characteristics and behavior you will need to employ.
10. FINALLY, DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE WITH THE NAMES AND INFORMATION YOU'VE GATHERED. Stay in touch with the most meaningful contacts. Develop a few types of follow-up methods; such as phone, fax, newsletter, brochure, card and letter. Referrals, introductions and contacts that simply come by chance are like gifts. Be sure to thank anyone who helps you network, and when appropriate pay a nice referral fee. Your ability to be seen as a giver rather than a taker will spread the word that you are someone with whom people want to do business. ---------
Chuck and Sue have been helping folks start successful home based businesses for over 19 years, and we can help you too! To see how, visit http://www.homebusinesssolutions.com for the latest FREE tips and tricks, educational products and coaching in creative real estate investing and home based businesses.
The Top Ten Rules of Effective Networking for Real Estate Professionals -by M.E. Callan
Many of us are discouraged by the networking events that we go to. We feel swamped by people just looking to get money from us, and we rarely feel as though the event was worth our time. Yet networking should be one of the best ways to bring in new business. The key is learning to network correctly. Even those of us who enjoy networking should remember the following tried and true rules of effective networking.
1. GIVE, THEN GET. If you approach a networking meeting with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude, you will be just like all those sharks that have kept you away from networking to begin with. Go to a networking event looking for opportunities to help others. When you give this way, your “get” is always bigger.
2. PLEASE, NO FISHING. Don’t be that person who offers a cold, limp fish as a handshake instead of a firm grip. Loosen it up just a little for shaking a woman’s hand, but never go soft. Otherwise, the people you meet will remember you not for all the great things you had to offer, but for your weak handshake.
3. DIRECT EYE CONTACT. Don’t ever stare at someone, but always make sure to meet his or her gaze. A person who continuously averts his will be seen as someone with something to hide.
4. DRESS PROFESSIONALLY. The old adage about making a first impression is still true. As a rule of thumb, dress one step above what you think everyone else will be wearing. It can never hurt you to look as good as the next best dressed person in the room.
5. HAVE A 30 SECOND COMMERCIAL.
Have you ever met someone at a networking event, talked to them about their business the whole night, and left without knowing what in the world they do? It happens all the time. Remember to state clearly what it is that you do and who are looking to work with.
6. WRITE ON BUSINESS CARDS. As you meet people, write information about them down on their business cards. It’s virtually impossible to remember all those little details about the people you meet, and no one will mind if you are so interested in what they have to say that you are taking the time to write it down.
7. CREATE A CATALOGUING SYSTEM. As soon as you get back to your office, file your new business cards in an accessible way. I recommend that clients staple business cards to 3x5 cards and then write down all of the pertinent information you can. Include on the 3x5 the name of the person, where and when you met her, what she looks like, and what you talked about. Next time you see her, she will be very impressed that you remembered so many details.
8. NICE MEETING YOU CARDS. It is never a bad idea to send a new contact a quick card that says “nice meeting you.” Include your business card as well in case they have misplaced the one you gave them at the networking event.
9. FOLLOW UP! This step is crucial. If you have told a contact that you would help them in any way, be sure to follow up immediately. Do this consistently, and you will be seen as a man of his word. Don’t follow up on your promises, and you will be seen as unreliable and untruthful.
10. LISTEN The number one rule of networking is to listen. In fact, you should only be speaking about 30% of the time. We all love to talk about ourselves, and if you give your contacts the chance to do that they will think quite highly of you without even realizing why. Following these rules of effective networking should not only make your experiences more enjoyable, but will help you bring in new Real Estate leads time and time again. ---------------------------------------------------------About The Author M.E. Callan is principal of Commonwealth Marketing, a firm that specializes in marketing for professional services. Recognized as an expert in the industry, Callan has been published nationwide and has been the featured speaker at national seminars. Find out more at Commonwealth Marketing.
12 Tips to Network Your Way to Success -by Beth Tabak
Lots of people network but few reap the rewards of zeroing in on their potential when it comes to networking. Here are some tips to help fill the gap between where you are now and where you can be.
1- BE GENEROUS - Give without expectations and you will be surprised at how it returns to you. It may not come from the same source but a new client, referral, or opportunity will show up because of your efforts.
2- BE CONSISTENT - As in marketing, the more consistent your networking efforts the more productive they become. Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerilla Marketing stated, “I hate to admit this, but mediocre marketing with commitment works better than brilliant marketing without commitment.”
3- KNOW & CLARIFY WIIFT (WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?) - When creating your introduction clarify who your target market is and “what’s in it for them”. Sell
benefits. Verizon sells wireless phone service but sells it when you believe they never stop working to fill your phone service needs. "Can you hear me now?"
4- GET INVOLVED - Getting involved puts you in a consistent position of visibility.
5- BE A POWERFUL RESOURCE & ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS - Expand your network and be an advocate for others. Use your networking resources to hook up people you know with others. What goes around comes around.
6- LEARN THE NEEDS OF OTHERS THEN HELP FILL THOSE NEEDS - Can your business fill their needs? Who do you know who can? Either way you have a win/win situation.
7- BUILD THE KNOW- LIKE- TRUST FACTOR - Building relationships is more important than collecting lots of leads. Think quality vs. quantity. Connect deeper vs. on the surface.
8- IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO RECEIVE BUSINESS CARDS THAN HAND THEM OUT - This puts you in a position to be able to follow up.
9- CONSISTENTLY FOLLOW-UP - It's not enough to have a network. Follow up and continue developing your relationships and network. Have a good reason to follow up or ask "how can I help you?"
10- DEVELOP ADVOCATES - Build relationships with Centers of Influence who connect with your ideal client or customer. Offer
incentives for referrals or provide great benefits.
11- BE CURIOUS - The 6 Degrees of Separation Theory states that we are only 6 people away from finding out anything we need to know. Be curious and you will be surprised at what people, resources, and information are at your finger tips.
12- DEVELOP YOU - You can grow your business as big as you can grow yourself. Start there! To shift into action choose one tip to focus on for a week and see what new results come your way. Then try on another and so on. Before you know it your networking efforts will be paving your way to success. Starting Now! ------------Beth Tabak is a Business & Life Coach, columnist, speaker, and owner of Starting Now. For free resources, assessments, articles, classes, and ezines to help you solve your problems while upgrading your life and business visit www.startingnowcoaching.com
Be a Real Estate Agent with Curb Appeal - by Angela Butera Dickson
Are you a Real Estate Agent with curb appeal or are you more of a fixer-upper needful of updating? How you present yourself to colleagues, buyers and sellers, from the very first moment, will influence your sales records as well as the confidence and satisfaction your new clients feel. Even if you’re a Real estate agent in demand, with more listings than hours in a week, you may well find areas that you can polish. Read on to make doubly sure you are a real estate agent with curb appeal and then watch your business grow!
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING Like it or not your competence on the job will be judged by the first impression you give your new or prospective customers. Make sure they leave every meeting with you feeling confident, informed and satisfied with your ability to give them the service they want. In order to leave a polished, professional impression you must excel in several key areas. Let’s take a closer look at these.
COURTESY LIVES Ask anyone what trait they most appreciate in a sales person and they will tell you it’s courtesy. Winning sales people understand that impeccable manners and unfaltering courtesy will lead to loyal clients who will not only speak well of their experiences but will recommend you to all their friends, relatives, acquaintances and even the check out clerk at the supermarket. The positive publicity that comes from word of mouth is priceless, long lasting and your best sales tool. It can’t be purchased but once earned, it will repay you in promotional dividends for years.
HUMOR IS EVERYTHING Have you ever met a person with no sense of humor? Did you find their company enjoyable or did you spend your time looking for the exit sign? Life is difficult on its best days and we all get tired, frustrated and angry but your clients should never sense these things in you. Never – ever – offer complaints to your clients. If a difficult situation arises, solve it as quickly as possible. If you keep your patience and sense of humor you will keep your clients too.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS Successful people dress for success. It is easy to have confidence in a salesperson who looks confident and professional. Each property showing is a new job interview so dress for it, right down to your shoes. If you’re inclined to wear a personal scent, be it perfume or men’s cologne, remember the three-foot rule. No one outside of three feet from your person should be able to tell you’re wearing fragrance.
I’m sure you want to be remembered for your client-centered professionalism and not your unbridled use of the cologne bottle.
PERFECTLY POLISHED SPACE From your office space to your car’s floor mats you want to project yourself as a sales person with an eye for detail and quality. Scent is one of those things that people hold in memory the longest. Your car shouldn’t reek of cigarette smoke and your office trash shouldn’t hold the remnants of the raw onion sandwich you had for lunch. Don’t rely on an air freshener. Empty your trash can and ashtray. Make sure everything has a sparkling clean look, smell and feel. By offering your clients a clean, relaxing atmosphere, they will feel encouraged to stay longer, look harder and ask the questions they need answered to feel most comfortable with buying or listing their property with you.
WINNING COPY – WINS! Do you make up your business cards, sales flyers, brochures and announcements on your office computer? You shouldn’t – unless they are professional grade. Unless you are a superb desk top publisher, have a great eye for design and are an excellent writer, you should never attempt to produce your professional copy yourself. Handmade and homemade have no place in the advertisement arsenal of a real estate agent with curb appeal. Hiring a professional copy writer is one of the smartest investments you can make. Perfectly polished ads with crisp informative copy, well done business cards and sizzling brochures make for inexpensive advertising. Poorly done items give the impression of a low budget business and the feel of a business that’s here today but may not be tomorrow.
ORGANIZATIONAL STYLE “We love it –we’ll take it,” the client says. “I’ll write that up for you now,” the real estate agent responds and a few minutes later emerges from the back seat of his car with a crumpled offer form stained with ketchup and a dirty shoe print. Lack of organizational skills shows the unpolished view of a real estate agent more than any other issue. Do what ever it takes to get organized and constantly be on the prowl for additional tricks to improve your “system.”
LAST, NEVER LEAST The last tip here is an important one. Remember the client after the sale – and they will remember you to their friends, relatives and neighbors for years to come. Prepare informational postcards, thank-you cards and 1st cards. Small, after the sale, house-warming baskets with fruit or condiments is a memorable gift as are coupons to local restaurants and family attractions. Few businesses have the keen competition that is ever present in the real estate market. It really doesn’t matter if sales are booming or depressed, a real estate agent must be on top of his or her game at all times. The first, and last, impression you leave will be lasting -make sure you are spit shined, polished and ready to sell. If growing your business is important to you - make sure you are a real estate agent with curb appeal. About The Author
Angela Butera Dickson is a full service, freelance copywriter offering some of the best prices on the web. From articles to brochure copy, ghostwriting to marketing letters, she can help you cultivate a polished, professional business image. www.angeladickson.com
Top 10 Time Management Rules of Successful Real Estate Salespeople - by Nigel Williams
Throughout the world, real estate salespeople who continually achieve high levels of performance are also expert in time management skills. The ability of a real estate agent to manage his or her time, more than any other single factor, will determine the measure of success or failure in their chosen career of selling. Here are ten key time management attributes of successful real estate salespeople that can help you improve performance levels in prospecting, presentation and follow up.
1. THE 80/20 RULE ALWAYS APPLIES. It is estimated that 80% of a professional salesperson's selling success is a result of selling skills obtained from willing participation in training programs. 20% of a professional salesperson's success is a result of complete product knowledge. 80% of a professional salesperson's time should be spent prospecting and 20% spent in presenting products and services and following up.
2. DETERMINE YOUR HOURLY VALUE. Each hour that you work, what are you worth - $20/hr or $50/hr or $100/hr? This is a valuable exercise towards determining where you are now and where you want to go. Professional salespeople know exactly where they are going. They have calculated what hourly rate is required in order for them to achieve their annual income goals. They understand that each day has an identical amount of time available, therefore in order to achieve higher income goals, more productive activities need to be engaged in.
3. KNOW WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE YOUR ANNUAL, MONTHLY, WEEKLY, DAILY, HOURLY INCOME GOALS. These include: a) number of prospecting calls per day b) number of presentations per day c) number of sales per day, per week d) number of proposals, follow up calls
4. PLAN EVERY DAY IN ADVANCE.
Advance written planning of daily activities provides professional real estate salespeople with a "jump start" each day, over competition that fails to plan. The best time to plan is either at the close of day before leaving the office or at home in some quiet time.
5. THINK GEOGRAPHICALLY. Avoid lengthy journeys between clients located miles apart, instead, start to group sales calls in the same geographic area. If long journeys are unavoidable, make use of this time by listening to sales programs on tapes and CDs.
6. THINK STRATEGICALLY. The word "procrastination" is not in a professional salesperson's dictionary when asking for a meeting.. Although they work with a sense of urgency, top salespeople also work to a strategic selling plan to maximise use of their valuable time. They understand the importance of always being in charge of the selling process and that there are few shortcuts to this process, which includes: a) establishing trust and rapport b) thorough needs analysis c) presentation d) close Furthermore when with customers, these real estate salespeople know at any time where they are within that process.
7. CONFIRM ALL APPOINTMENTS. Nothing is more annoying than to turn up at an appointment to discover that the other party cannot make it. Avoid this potential time-waster by confirming appointments before you leave the office.
8. THOROUGHLY PREPARE YOUR WORK AND PRESENTATIONS IN ADVANCE. Not having answers readily available can waste a lot of precious time in the selling process. When either telephoning or meeting with potential customers, professional salespeople are prepared for just about all eventualities. They have complete property knowledge, are aware of competitor's offers, possess excellent presentation skills complete with testimonials from previous satisfied clients, etc.
9. PEOPLE DON'T BUY LISTINGS THEY BUY SALESPEOPLE! It's a competitive world out there. Customer allegiance to products and services is fast becoming a thing of the past. Real Estate sales success today largely depends upon a customer's perception of a salesperson's personality and attitude. Professional productive salespeople are in sales because they WANT to be in sales. They are more optimistic with high levels of self-esteem via self-knowledge. These are people who have taken time to plan their lives and who see their current situation as a planned stepping stone towards achieving their life goals.
10. LEARN ADDITIONAL SKILLS. Real Estate salespeople who continually perform to the highest levels, recognise the importance of ongoing skill development. The learning and application of new skills provides the ability to sell more effectively, via higher quality prospects achieved from greater understanding of their needs and the world which surrounds them.
Customer acquisition and retention
Real Estate Agents / Brokers - Seven strategies to exceed and please today's demanding consumer -by Terri Murphy
Today's marketplace is breeding quite a different consumer than the industry has experienced in the past. This informed consumer knows more, expanding the demands of our job, and requiring accountability for our services. In order to continue to supply value to the transaction, personalized consumer care is required.
STEP #1 - GET WITH THE NEW TIME DEMANDS There is a new timeline today's consumer expects…it is whenever and wherever they want information or services. In order to meet the immediate expectation of these random demands, automation is your answer. The World Wide Web has afforded us global impact and communication, which expands normal business hours to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no restrictions for holidays or time off. Design your business response systems to offer 24x7 communication and services through the use of AutoResponders on your website, or links for information in your email signature. This communication tool can automatically fulfill requests about particular pieces of property, local reports, and school information or community guide schedules. The idea is to serve and add value to that service with real time response and real life information.
STEP #2- WEB MARKETING AND SERVICES HELP YOU MEET THE NEW DEMANDS: The web also affords us the opportunity to market our services and ourselves in a new and most affordable way. For a reasonable investment get a website that features both a front end and a working back end or work station that can help handle some of the recurring services necessary to keep communication and status at a real time level. Find a good web template that integrates with agent productivity software and email to extend services and information to clients and customers anytime they want or need your services or information. The latest technology offers software to interface with multiple listing information that can automatically update a client on properties as they enter the marketplace that match their needs. Programs like SOAR eMLS and MLS Booster supply this information, continuously updating the agent and the customer as properties become available that meet their criteria.
STEP #3 - BE SMART ABOUT YOUR TIME INVESTMENT With information about property more readily available across many channels, be certain your customer understands the investment of your time, energy and resources. Have your buyers sign a buyer agency agreement with you to insure your work can and will pay off when the right property comes along for your customer. The number one complaint in many association and board offices is that buyers are working with more than one agent, but saying they are not. Be savvy with your time, energy and expertise, and get your buyer to commit in writing.
STEP #4 - USE A BUYER & SELLER BOOK Build a unique selling advantage right from the beginning of your relationships with a buyer or a seller. Develop an informational booklet to help your buyer understand the process. This booklet can outline questions, and offer checklists at the onset of your buyer-agent relationship. This is especially helpful for first time buyers and those that haven't been in the buying market during the past several years. Include in this booklet copies of your buyer agreement, lists of recommended services that would be helpful to a new buyer, like inspectors, appraisers, title companies, attorneys, etc as well as information about how the transaction works. Create the same type of book for your prospective Sellers. Deliver the book ahead of your initial meeting to familiarize the property owner about you before your meeting. This pre-marketing or prelisting package sets the up the guidelines for working together to market their property. A cohesive package will include a Seller equity sheet, information about yourself, your marketing, your marketing strategies, copies of your direct mail, testimonials, success stories, and personal mission statements. Demonstrate your ability to commit to a full marketing program with a distinctive marketing system of communication, media, direct mail, open houses, brochures, interactive voice-response system integration, etc. You can be that 95% of your competition will not deliver the same type of preappointment package that you do and it's the first impression that makes a winning impression.
STEP #5 - BUILD A TEAM AND SUPPORT NETWORK The old days of a single agent doing it all are long gone. There are too many new demands for one person to handle well, and the emergence of too many systems keep up with, let alone integrate. This is the time to look around at the services that can be combined or coordinated to make a buyer or a selling transaction run smoothly and efficiently. Develop a relationship with a lender, title company, attorney, inspection service, clean up and landscaping service to expand your business and theirs. By maximizing the database of names, addresses, and email addresses, you and your team can market to a larger sphere of influence while providing value added information and services. Have your lender develop a letter to send to all of your prospective listings offering pre-qualification services to a new buyer. Have your property inspector offer a pre-marketing inspection for a special fee to head off any possible complications when an offer to purchase appears. By offering this extended type of service, your client/customer will know you are committed to helping them achieve an easy and seamless real estate experience.
STEP #6 HAVE THE DATA SYSTEMS IN PLACE FOR FUTURE DATA MINING AND CUSTOMER CARE. The name of the game is prospecting, and leads are more valuable today than ever before. The care and management of today's lead has far greater dollar implications than it did even a few years ago. It is of top critical importance that you design a system that fully manages the prospective lead. This means having a fully integrated website that notifies you of a lead request in real time. Designing your website with an automatic response system for immediate answers to inquiries is another way to service the ever important lead. Using a web template that offers a "drip" system of communication that is fully integrated with information is another facet in data mining the prospective leads, and a onramp for additional services and business opportunities. A comprehensive contact database system is the foundation of doing business in this new information era. Incorporate some type of contact system like ACT!, Microsoft Outlook, etc to quantify your database and to set yourself up for future data mining of this valuable part of your business.
STEP #7 - ASK FOR REFERRALS In today's highly competitive world, a solid referral is one of the best ways to get business. When a client or customer is happy and satisfied with your services, ask if they would like that same level of service for their friends, family or neighbors that are seeking professional real estate services. It's the easiest and best way to expand your business, and easier with the endorsement of a satisfied client. ----------------------Terri Murphy is a nationally known speaker, author and practicing real estate broker. During her 21 years as a real estate professional she has consistently listed and sold over 100 homes per year while working with education partners such as ISucceed a subsidiary of University.com, and the Coaching Institute. Her two books Listing and Selling Secrets: How to Become A Million $ Producer, and Terri Murphy's E-Listing And E-Selling Secrets For The Technology Clueless, Dearborn, are both real estate best-sellers. You may email Terri at [email protected]
Ten Tips To Becoming A Confident Presenter - by Terry Peacock
Real estate agents and brokers have many opportunities to do "presentations" to others about their business. This can be in the form of a sales presentation, a class or workshop on your field of expertise or perhaps as a speaker at a real estate conference. Some of the tips are basic, but I'm always amazed at the number of presenters who have not yet mastered the basics.
TIP #1: Do not begin speaking until you appear confident. Plant your feet, stand or sit up straight, if speaking in front of an audience adjust the microphone, and scan the entire audience before you begin.
TIP #2: Speak to be heard, but not too loudly: If you are addressing an audience and have not had the opportunity to check the acoustics of the room before hand, just ask the back row of the audience if they can hear you. This simple statement alone immediately establishes you as a confident speaker, and connects you with your audience. It shows you care about the audience and believe what you have to say is important. On the other hand, if you speak too loudly it's overbearing, grating and irritating to listeners.
TIP #3: Speak at an appropriate pace. Many presenters speak too fast when they are nervous. Words run together so that they're difficult to understand. Or, they speak too slowly and put their audience to sleep. Remember, we can listen much faster than we can talk, so you audience is usually ahead of you.
TIP #3: Use a tone that exudes authority. Women often have higher or softer voices, so if you fall into one of these categories, practice lowering your pitch, and raising your volume. And, be careful not to raise the pitch at the end of sentences. It makes you sound unsure of yourself.
TIP #4: Use excellent posture. Excellent posture suggests power. Stooped or bowed shoulders usually translate something negative to your audience.
TIP #5: Don't babble. Arrive at your key points quicker, and put extraneous verbiage aside. Your audience will appreciate your straightforwardness. Speaking more directly gives the perception of authority. As professional speaker, Peter Lowe says, "Chop out deadwood. Preparing a speech should be like cooking a good stew-boil it down and serve only the meat."
TIP #6: Make meaningful eye contact. Most speakers do not hold eye contact with their audience long enough. For eye contact to be effective, you should meet eyes with individual members of your audience for 5 to 7 seconds -as if you are talking to this person, and no one else in the room. You are not just scanning the audience. Eye contact personalizes your presentation and keeps you and your audience connected to each other.
TIP #7: Shake hands with your audience. Make your first impression count. Involve the audience in the first 30 seconds - and also in the last 30 seconds. Use a short, simple anecdote that humanizes and dramatizes your main point.
TIP#8: Keep it simple and brief. Make your meaning clear and your message simple. Concentrate your presentation on one central idea. If you try to say everything, your audience will remember nothing. Franklin Roosevelt gave this advice about public speaking, "Be brief, be sincere, be seated." Your audience want more!
TIP #9: Be enthusiastic and speak with conviction. If you get excited about your subject your audience will too. If you show a sense of conviction about your subject, you will be more persuasive.
TIP #10: End with a clear message. Step back from the details and give the big picture. Connect your conclusion to your introduction to give a feeling of closure. If you are giving a persuasive presentation, request action. If you need to answer questions, keep your answers brief and give a brief second close after all the questions are answered. You should always have the last word! The above tips are by no means complete, but are basic essentials to becoming an effective presenter. Start incorporating some of these tips into your everyday real estate presentations today. The old saying "practice makes perfect" is the most important tip of all in public speaking!
5 Things More Important to Real Estate Internet Buyers than What You’re Selling -by Dr. Lynella Grant
A Real Estate Website is all about courtship, not salesmanship. In life, a suitor can’t go from first date to the engagement ring in one afternoon. Courtship is an intricate dance, where each party contributes to the relationship at a measured tempo. Trust grows through gradual exchanges and reassurances Yet, the typical sales-oriented Real Estate Web site urges the visitor to jump to commitment right away. Pushing for them to “CALL NOW!” is not only premature, but a misapplication of the fact that visitors are in a hurry. Developing a relationship can’t be rushed or skipped—not if you intend to lead them to the altar (sale). Buyers want and need to proceed at their own pace. Each request you make of a visitor—call, read, subscribe or buy—requires a higher level of commitment. So back off the hard sell, and instead weave the steps into a sensuous dance that respects them and invites a lasting relationship. It’s possible, if you follow these five points that buyers care about.
1. HOW WELL THEY’RE TREATED The mood of a real estate agent web site should be welcoming, geared to assist the customer finding what they’re looking for. Trust grows as you minimize their sense of risk. And make no mistake, the buyer’s risks are greater online. Recognize them a nd reduce them as much as possible. They’ve been conned, burned, or faced non-delivery of purchases—not to mention abuse of their credit cards or privacy information. The Internet works because people feel anonymous. People are understandably leery about revealing personal information. So every aspect of the site needs to say, “you’re safe here”—along with, “look at all the interesting things we have to show you.” One fast move and that skittish deer will bolt.
2. HOW EFFICIENTLY THE INFORMATIVE PROCESS WENT Assuming your site sells a tangible product, the buyer has to be able to assess its looks, materials, uses, and value without being able to touch it. This can be accomplished much better with some products than others by use of photographs and descriptive copy. Real estate web sites need to know their customers’ concerns so well that they anticipate what they need to know. Design the site for ease of scanning and logical organization that presents information so it will guide and inform.
3. HOW MUCH AGGRAVATION THEY HAD TO ENDURE
Here’s where poor navigation or slow download times cost you qualified prospects. (Navigation problems are a main reason why site visitors leave.) They won’t stay at a site where they can’t easily find the answers they want. And if they have to wait too long for pages to load, forget it. Internet users are extremely time sensitive.
4. HOW MANY MIND GAMES WERE PLAYED ON THEM The primary products sold on most web sites are hype and high pressure. Unfortunately, that’s not what buyers are looking to buy, and why visitor-prospect conversion rates online are so abysmally low. The quality of typical real estate sales copy is aggressive, designed more to trick than inform. It seems like the sales letters were drafted from the same manual. Aggressive tactics are so widespread that effective, customer-friendly copy can actually stand out. So get rid of the “gotchas.” Customers dread them, and then relax once they don’t find them.
5. HOW WELL THE BUSINESS HAS ITS ACT TOGETHER OVERALL Behind the computer screen are untold elements—efficient links, quick loading, the respect for the visitor’s time, etc., that reveal the real estate agent’s priorities. Unless all the parts work with a consistent goal and degree of care the buyer experiences whiplash. Sour notes (small potatoes signals) are trivial in themselves, but break the momentum toward the contact. They’re easily eliminated once you know to look for them. Give yourself extra points for post-sale follow up. Here’s where Internet real estate agents can shine because of autoresponders and customer-oriented e-mail. Don’t just use such tools for making the sale. Use them to build relationships and added value after you get their money. Dance Your Way to Profits Courtship is necessary to develop a lasting relationship. The pace of the dance should reflect the giveand-take necessary to build trust. Don’t sell the buyer, court him with a well-paced dance. ---------------------Dr. Lynella Grant is an expert in visual communication, how printed materials send signals that reinforce or negate the verbal message. Decode and repair your unintended impressions. Author, “The Business Card Book” and “Yellow Page Smarts.” http://www.yellowpagesage.com (719) 395-9450 Off the Page Press P.O. Box 4880 Buena Vista, CO 81211 USA
Attracting New Business on a Shoestring Budget -by Kelley Robertson
In a recent marketing workshop I attended, I discovered that most real estate agents rely on just two or three strategies to attract new business. Even wellestablished agents tend to rely on one or two strategies. However, there is a multitude of ways to drive new business to your door. Here are a few:
NETWORKING. Perhaps the most commonly used approach by small business owners. However, it is often poorly executed. Many people attend a networking function and take the wrong approach by trying to meet as many people as they can. They bounce from person to person, handing out business cards like it is an Olympic event and they are vying for the gold medal. They fail to realize that the most effective way to network is to cultivate relationships and give referrals to other members first.
REFERRALS. This marketing strategy places a close second in preferred methods of generating new business leads. The key here is to develop a systematic approach to ensure that you take proactive approach instead than a passive one. Rather than assuming that satisfied client will refer someone to you, ask for that referral. Tell people who your ideal client is and ask for their help in finding these types of clients. The real estate agent who represented the seller when we bought our house, sends us a card every year and reminds us that she loves referrals. It is not pushy, does not sound like she’s begging, and I’m confident it helps generate new leads.
WRITING. This often under-utilized strategy is an excellent way to become recognized as an industry expert. Every industry has trade magazines and most are hungry for good content. The Internet is also filled with websites and e-zines looking for material to send to their subscribers and customers. I now write at least one article every month and send it to more than two hundred publications. This strategy alone has helped drive more traffic to my website more than anything else. It is sometimes challenging to come up with ideas and to write an 800 word article but the investment of time and effort is definitely worth it.
This is another powerful technique to keep your name in front of your customers and prospects. Provide key insight into business challenges and offer solutions to them. In other words, help your prospects and customers solve problems. Some newsletters are nothing more than advertising so be sure to provide valuable information to your customer. Although it is less expensive to send a newsletter electronically you can issue it in paper format. A local real estate agent regularly sends out a one-page update of the housing market in our neighborhood.
COLD CALLING. Without a doubt, this is usually the most challenging way to market a business - I know very few people who actually enjoy cold calling. However, it can be a good way to uncover qualified prospects in a relatively short period of time. Be sure to start your conversation with a good opening to capture the other person’s attention.
GIVE FREE INFORMATION. At the marketing workshop I attended, the facilitator suggested to give information to interested prospects. I have used this approach on my website and have quadrupled the number of subscribers to my newsletter in the last year. You do not need to give away ALL the information relevant to your product or service. Instead, offer information that will help your target market with their problems. For example, when people sign up to my e-zine, they receive a report that outlines 100 tips they can use to increase their sales.
OFFER A GUARANTEE. A concern many people have when changing suppliers is the risk associated with the change. They may not be completely satisfied with their existing supplier but the risk of choosing a supplier who may be worse can prevent them from changing. Eliminate this concern and offer a guarantee.
ADVERTISING. This can be a great strategy if you know how to create a good ad. The best marketers know that great sales copy is what makes the difference; I have experienced this first-hand. When I began selling my book on my website, I generated mediocre results for the first two years. I eventually changed the copy on my site and sales have soared every since. Glance through the ads in your trade magazine and you will quickly notice that most ads focus on the company’s product features instead of on the customer’s problem. Create a great ad by concentrating on the problem you can solve. There are many other ways to market your business and generate new business leads. However, the ideas I mentioned in this article are effective low- or no-cost options. Use them consistently and watch your sales grow. ------------------------------Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. He is also the author of “Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven sales techniques to turn browsers into buyers.” For information on his programs, visit his website at www.RobertsonTrainingGroup.com. Receive a FREE copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” by subscribing to his 59-Second Tip, a free weekly e-zine.
As a Real Estate agent, How Do I Attract Listings? -by Barrett Niehus
Have you ever noticed that despite the massive number of Real Estate agents in your area, only a hand full are making a fortune selling real estate? Regardless of who these Real Estate agents work for, they are extremely successful where others in their office are barely scraping by. What is the secret to their success? First and foremost, it is their approach to marketing themselves and their customers. So what techniques do they use to attract listings? Well, while the rest of us are placing door hangers and mailing out notepads, these super sales people have perfected marketing techniques that attract motivated buyers and sellers, and motivate them to take action. An example of one of the strategies that the best seller in my city uses is as follows:
1) SPECIALIZE: Despite the policy of never turning down a listing or qualified candidate, focus on specializing on the type of property that will best suit your performance goals. For the person in my area, single family attached homes provide the greatest return on investment and are turning over the fastest. This is where she is really making her money.
2) GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALIZATION: When a person decides to sell his/her house, they will find a Real Estate agent either through referral, recognition of a local representative, or through the yellow/white pages and internet. By focusing your promotional efforts on a specific geography, you can increase your market presence so that you are the first phone call if a target client decides to sell their property, as well as first on the list if they ask a neighbor for referral. In addition, if you specialize in a specific area, people will recognize your name and be more inclined to trust you with their listing and to negotiate their deal.
3) GROW AND HARVEST YOUR AREA OF GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALIZATION: Focus your marketing message on the area of geographic specialization that you have chosen. If your area has a high rate of property turnover, then you will do very well. The most successful Real Estate agent in my area papers my door with her picture every Monday afternoon. In addition, she includes a list of properties in my neighborhood that are listed or for sale. Looking at the sales price of other properties is a good motivator for me to list my own home and take advantage of the capital gains.
4) CREATE A CONTINUAL PRESENCE:
Once you have chosen the type of property to specialize in, and the neighborhoods to cultivate listings, begin promoting. As a marketing manager, I am a big fan of postcards that are sent to target clients on a weekly basis. Generally, it will take about fifteen pieces of promotion before a client will remember your name, but when they decide to list, you will be the first phone call. The overall goal is to attract as many viable listings as possible. Regardless of who eventually buys the property, as the listing agent, you get to take advantage of the commission. By focusing your time on marketing yourself to your most promising targets, you will save time and increase your listings substantially. --------------About The Author Barrett Niehus is
http://www.realtysoftware.org for Real Estate agents and real estate investors.
Six easy Questions to Ask an Expired Listing to make it yours -by Terri Murphy
The expired listing is one of the EASIEST sources of inventory for a savvy agent. Most homeowners who have experienced the marketing process without a sale are disillusioned by the lack of satisfaction from the initial listing agent, making it an easy addition to your inventory when you just ask the right questions to make it yours. The questions you ask will offer you the blueprint for meeting the expectations of the property owner, while offering you an insight as to what other challenges may have prevented the property from selling in the first place.
QUESTION #1: WHAT, MR. SELLER, IN YOUR OPINION WAS THE REASON YOUR HOME DID NOT SELL? If you let the homeowner describe the challenges, you will literally have the blueprint on marketing systems and strategies that will please and delight this seller. It is at this point they reveal their frustrations, concerns, and gripes from their initial experiences. It will also let you evaluate whether or not this qualifies as a cooperative and motivated property owner, and if you want to include this property and the owner in your current inventory. When you know every listing costs you money until its sold, be selective in your choices. Choose those properties that are presentable, easy to show, have a motivated and realistic seller and are offered at a fair market value.
QUESTION #2: DID YOU HAVE ANY OFFERS DURING YOUR LISTING PERIOD? If the property owner tells you they turned down several, you will get the concept that they are inflexible on their idea of value, or are not truly motivated to sell. Find out what the offers were, and how they were structured. With new information, you will be better equipped to design a marketing plan that positions this property to sell quickly.
QUESTION #3: HOW MANY BUYER SHOWINGS DID YOU HAVE DURING THE LISTING PERIOD AND WHAT WAS THE FEEDBACK FROM YOUR AGENT? This is an important aspect of the surveying process. If the property endured over 15 showings with no offer, there are indications that there might be a problem that can be easily reversed. In many cases, the property might be overpriced, and agents may show this particular property to help sell a more reasonably priced property down the block Feedback from other agents and their customers can help redefine the objections and address them better. If the feedback was consistently the same, for example, that the home is too dated, then pricing the property in a lower price pocket will help the property sell more quickly. Clean windows and
opening window treatments can improve properties that show dark and uninviting. Stale odors can be alleviated with a fresh cleaning. Most of the obvious improvements can be done for little money and in a short period of time.
QUESTION #4 - ARE YOU AS THE PROPERTY OWNER, OPEN TO HELPING TO MARKET AND SHOW THE PROPERTY THROUGH A BETTER PRESENTATION OF THE PREMISES? Perhaps the property does not show well, due to poor staging of the home or disrepair issues that are easily rectified. Something as simple as a can of fresh paint, or the removal of old tattered carpeting that reveals a hardwood floor underneath can do wonders for initial impressions by prospective buyers.
QUESTION #5- WHAT KIND OF MARKETING STRATEGIES WERE INITIATED WITH YOUR PREVIOUS LISTING COMPANY, AND WHAT WERE THE RESULTS? This is where you get to learn what the other agent did or did not do to proactively market the property. Your questions can cover these areas: a) What type of direct mail was used and how often? b) How many public open house events were advertised and held? c) What type of Web marketing was used besides the Company listing on the website? d) Was a virtual tour done that included an e-Gallery? e) What type of electronic mailings were completed to promote the property, and what was the response? f) Was a voice-interactive response system employed to provide 24x7 information on the property? g)What was the schedule for classified ads and what was the response? h) Was a brochure box used (if possible) on the exterior of the property and how often were the brochures refreshed? If the homeowner has had this spectrum of exposure and the property did not sell, something could be very wrong with the pricing, the ability to access the property or its condition. Most likely the other agent did the minimum by just listing the property and submitting the listing to the Company to be included in their standard advertising schedule.
QUESTION #6- ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE THE CHANGES TO HAVE THE HOME SELL, IF YOU WERE HAPPY WITH THE SERVICE, COMMUNICATION AND WORK INVESTMENT? This is where you determine that the homeowner is committed to selling. Are they willing to clean up the place, paint, re-stage, landscape and most likely change the price to effect a sale? In many cases they are at the stage where if they do want to sell they are more willing to "listen" to guidance of a real estate professional. You as the agent must be clear, firm and honestly objective with the property owner about why the property has not sold, and to give deadlines for when the work must be completed. There are definitely more questions that can be asked at your listing appointment, but these are sure to have the homeowner wondering why they didn't call you first! Show up with a plan, execute the plan,
work the feedback and have your SOLD sign ready. The results include a sale, a great working relationship and then for the last, and most important question to ask the homeowner: 'Thank you for being pleased with my services. Do you know of any friends, neighbors or relatives that you feel would enjoy this service as well?…J" ----------------------Terri Murphy is a nationally known speaker, author and practicing real estate broker. During her 21 years as a real estate professional she has consistently listed and sold over 100 homes per year while working with education partners such as ISucceed a subsidiary of University.com, and the Coaching Institute. Her two books Listing and Selling Secrets: How to Become A Million $ Producer, and Terri Murphy's E-Listing And E-Selling Secrets For The Technology Clueless, Dearborn, are both real estate best-sellers. You may email Terri at [email protected]
Telemarketing & Direct Mailing
Marketing Yourself: Telephone Skills for the Real Estate Professional The telephone may be one of the most powerful, efficient and cost-effective business tools you have at your disposal. If things start out badly on the phone, they may never progress beyond the first call. Whether you use the phone for customer service or for sales calls as part of a telemarketing strategy, telephone manners and etiquette are critical components of a professional image. Through experience, you'll develop your own telephone style. You'll also find customers and prospects responding positively when you and your employees smile, listen and show personal interest!
THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL HELP YOU USE YOUR "TELEPHONE TOOL" TO ITS FULLEST: Smile when you're on the phone; your customers will hear it! Answer the phone pleasantly and maintain a pleasant demeanor while on the phone. Never answer the phone with food in your mouth or try to eat quietly while talking. Drinking, chewing gum or sucking on a mint are amplified over telephone lines. Return all phone calls within 48 hours. When you place a call that you know might be lengthy, ask if it's a good time to talk before you dive into your spiel. Know what you want to say before making an important call. Practice the words out loud until they feel comfortable. Don't read from a script during a call. Instead either memorize your script as an actor would or use "thought starters" such as a word or two on index cards to guide you from one idea to another. Make a telephone appointment when you want to have a focused, longer (15 or more minutes) conversation with someone who is normally busy. Don't do things such as open mail, flip through the newspaper or do paperwork while on the phone. The person you're talking with will know you're distracted. Listen and respond to the person on the other end of the line. When you focus on them rather than on what you're going to say next, the phone call becomes much more conversational. When you're doing a lot of telephone work, energize yourself after every hour.
EVALUATE YOUR TELEPHONE VOICE Your voice is your personality over the telephone. It makes an immediate impression that can portray you as friendly or distant, confident or timid, spontaneous or mechanical, relaxed or nervous. So, how do you come across over the phone? Make a tape recording of yourself while on the telephone and evaluate the following attributes:
- Is your voice too shrill or strained? Do you speak in a monotone? In normal speech, pitch varies. These variations are known as inflection. The more inflection you use, the more interesting your tone of voice is. Keep in mind that when you are under emotional stress, the pitch of your voice will tend to rise and become shrill or strained. Watch it! The pitch of your voice is an index of confidence and poise.
VOLUME - Check the volume or loudness of your voice. (You might want to get a friend to help you with this.) Is it too soft or too loud? Often when people are tired or upset their voices tend to fade, and they will be asked to "speak up." Be sure to speak loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that you sound forced.
RATE - If you speak too slowly you'll likely lose the attention of the listener. Conversely, your listener won't be able to follow you if you speak too rapidly. In either case, your message won't get through.
QUALITY - The quality of your voice is its most distinctive and individual characteristic. This is where the essence of warmth, understanding and "likability" come into play. Smiling as you speak enhances your vocal quality. Being angry, upset or in a hurry negatively affects your vocal quality.
ARTICULATION - The price of poor articulation is high, particularly in business. You must enunciate or pronounce your words very clearly or your listeners will misunderstand you. Faulty articulation and incorrect word pronunciation give your listener the impression that you are sloppy, careless and lack knowledge.
Telemarketing for Real Estate Professionals Telephone sales, or telemarketing, is a widespread, efficient and effective method for making contact with prospects and closing sales. Telemarketing is also an effective method for selling new or additional and services to existing customers. Today's telemarketer, however, has to break through more "communication clutter" than ever before. You're not only competing with messages from other telemarketers for prospects' attention, but also with advertising, news broadcasts and a myriad of other marketing communications tactics.
By its very nature, telemarketing creates a unique selling environment. You're solely dependent on the words you say and the tone in your voice. Check out telephone skills for some helpful hints on using your voice to show your personality over the phone.
BENEFITS OF TELEMARKETING Increases your sales territory while reducing the cost of "sales visits." Increases your efficiency because you can reach more prospects per hour, day and week by phone than you can with in-person sales calls. Provides an effective way to perform relationship marketing. You can use the phone to stay in touch with existing customers, introduce new products to them and make additional sales. Allows for interaction and personal selling. You can immediately respond to feedback from prospects while you're engaged in the sales process. This differs from less interactive sales methods, such as direct mail. There are also a few drawbacks to telemarketing: High "acquisition cost" per sale for purchased prospect lists that typically contain many unqualified prospects. For example, if you purchase a list of home owners in a particular zip code, you'll most likely have a low number of interested and qualified prospects. This is not to say, however, that it's not a worthwhile way to gain customers! Once a novel way of selling, telemarketing has unfortunately moved into the category of a nuisance to many consumers.
TIPS FROM SUCCESSFUL TELEMARKETERS You have just a few seconds to make a good initial impression on the phone. Your careful preparation for the call can increase your chances of having a conversation with a prospect rather than hearing that familiar dial tone. Always be courteous and professional. Remember, you're a sales professional who just happens to use the phone to sell.
Be sincere at all times. People will sense insincerity on the phone even though they can't see your facial expressions or other non-verbal communication clues such as hand gestures, head nods and body posture. Keep your work area neat–it'll keep you focused and organized. Dress like a sales professional even if your prospects will never see you. Keep a mirror handy so you can check to see if you're smiling during calls. Don't practice on prospects with a few warm-up calls at the beginning of the day or week. Role play with someone if you need to, or just talk out loud in an imaginary conversation to warm up. Meeting annual goals requires setting and meeting daily goals. Record you progress on a daily basis. Keep records of the contacts you make for future reference. Note dates for follow-up. Keep track of your success rate in getting through to the decision maker or closing a sale. This will help you identify and correct any weaknesses in your strategy or approach. Use your prime selling time–the hours your prospects are most easily reached by phone and are the most receptive–for selling activities only. (Experience will quickly let you know when your prospects are most receptive!) Conduct homework, research, planning or other administrative activities at other times. Use past experiences to help you prepare for and react to current situations. For example, if you continually meet the same objection to what you're offering, brainstorm all the different ways you might meet this objection so you'll be prepared the next time it pops up. Develop a script for the call to keep you on track but never read directly from it. Write the script as you talk. That way, when you vary from the script, your words and phrases will be consistent. Consider using introductory or follow-up letters, product fliers or other marketing materials. Use other "communication" tools as necessary to support your telephone sales, including cellular phones, fax machines, hands-free headsets, email, etc. For example, part of your selling process may be to offer prospects a product information sheet by fax or email. End calls quickly, but politely, when it becomes evident that a prospect is either not qualified/is not going to buy. Your time on the phone is precious. Spend it selling!
LEAVING MESSAGES Some successful telemarketers never leave messages. They simply persist in placing calls. If you decide to leave a message, keep a few things in mind: Speak with confidence and authority. When you're able to talk with a secretary or with the assistant to the person with whom you'd like to talk, ask about a time that might be best to call back. Offer choices. Rather than, "When is a good time to call?", you might say, "Is morning or afternoon best?" or "Would 2:00 or 4:00 be a better time to call?" When asked if you'd like to leave a message, you might state, "I'll be in and out of meetings; it's probably best if I just call again." This lets the screener know that you're a busy professional, too. Try to call early in the morning or late in the evening when secretaries might not be in the office screening calls.
Real Estate Marketing, Do You Use Direct Mail? -by Barrett Niehus
Prospecting for leads is by far the most difficult part of being a Real Estate agent or small business professional. In fact, lead development is by far the most expensive and time consuming aspect of your job. However, you level of success in lead development will determine if you succeed or fail as a real estate agent or small business professional. So how do you develop leads?
Well top selling professionals realize that they need to touch as many people as possible without spending a fortune or taking up a lot of their time. They also realize that they must make some form of contact with a prospect as many as eight times before that contact will even consider doing business with the professional. Many of these professionals use direct mail to recruit prospects, and direct mail tools to close their deals.
The fundamentals of direct mail are very simple. At is most basic level you are sending out message with an invitation for a prospect to contact you. The key is targeting your specific audience, and making your message stand out against all of the other junk mail that you prospects receive. In addition, you must expose your prospects to the message enough times to make them consider taking action. The first step in creating a direct mail program is to determine where you are going to focus your message. What type of client are you specifically looking for? How old are they, what are their interests, fears, income levels, etc. With this type of very specific demographic information you can customize your message to invoke them to call you. Next, determine how many people you are going to send your message to and what geography you are going to focus on. Keep in mind that a direct mail piece with more than a 1% response rate is considered exceptional, and that statistically, post cards get more attention than envelopes in peoples mail boxes. Essentially this means that if you mail 500 pieces and you get five phone calls, you are doing exceptionably well. After you know what your customer looks like and the area in which they live, create your marketing message. It should invoke emotion and request a response. The most effective messages offer something for free such as a free home report, assessment, or giveaway such as a software program or product. Other useful messages show what has just been listed and invite prospects to "cash in" on their rising home values.
Now that you have your message designed contact a local or internet based direct mailing list seller and rent a list of prospects addresses. You will be mailing to this list more than once so make sure you get repeat mailing discounts. All of these list brokers have test addresses in the lists they sell to make sure you only mail the agreed number of times. Many of these list sellers will offer mailing
services as well, and some will even provide design and printing services. Companies such as PurePoscards.com and MailersClub.com are excellent resources to get both mailing lists and design services.
Use the design services as needed and remember that statistically, an enclosed letter with blue ink and a first class stamp will get the best response. Letters and postcards follow with lower responses. Regardless of the type of mail that you are sending, it is important to realize that you are hoping for at least a 1% response to your campaign. Mail your message to the list and see what happens. Plan on mailing at least two more times to get your desired response, but feel free to modify the message and the medium. It is just important to provide your target customer with repetition so that they become used to your message and will consider doing business with you. It is through repetition and a message that stands out that you will get your client’s attention and earn a response to your marketing.
Direct marketing is a very effective tool for Real Estate agents to grow their businesses. It can create a significant number of leads and a significant addition to your cash flow, However, direct mail must be done with proper planning and the right expectations for response. Never has a single one-time direct mailing been successful. Alternatively, real estate professionals who practice repetition in their direct mail and their marketing grow wealthy while they leave their competition behind. --------------------About The Author Barrett Niehus is a principal for IP Ware Real Estate Investment Software http://www.realtysoftware.org and a technical marketing specialist for Compound Solutions in Escondido, California
Keys To Real Estate Sites 10 Must Haves Of Real Estate Sites – by Ron Thibeault Web sites in real estate come in every shape and color. Some are very good at achieving the intended goals and some aren't. Some of the best designed sites are not the best sites either. Why? Because they don't result in the achievement of the intended goal and that is sales! If you have a web site and it's not generating the leads that you think it should it may be a simple function of some missing parts to your site. The result might be that the Users you are attracting (attracting users is another topic) might not be staying long enough to see just how good your services can be. Making your Users stay is difficult but, giving them reasons to stay is relatively easy. There are certain things that your real estate site must have to be successful in keeping Users. Not that this guarantees success. What it, in fact, does is help to eliminate one potential roadblock to goal success: Users leaving your site to satisfy their needs. These "guidelines" boil down to 10 main must haves in order to be successful:
1. LISTINGS Listings accomplish two purposes. The first is the one that we all know, it markets the properties that you represent. This is always important because it lets your sellers know that you are doing everything you can to represent them and it also can potential sell the home. The second reason is one that is often overlooked and it is the psychological impact of listings. Think from the Users perspective for a second and you will see why. How would you feel about two Realtors, one with many listings on their site and one with one or none? Exactly, you would expect that the one with all the listings was busy which then means that their service is good and their contacts wide. Now, who would you be more likely to use for your next house transaction?
2. TESTIMONIALS The Golden Rule "if you can't say anything good don't say anything at all" applies to your site. Think of a visitor to your site, she has seen 10, maybe 20 sites for Realtors so far. Now, how do you think she sorts through the masses? One of the easiest ways to ensure that you stay in the running to represent the client is to show that your previous clients "loved" your service. Remember what the impact will be if your visitor can't find anyone to say anything good about you.
3. NON-FORM CONTACT INFORMATION This may seem absolutely obvious and it is. So why do so many sites not have something as simple as an email address on them? A lot of sites revert to a contact form where users can fill in the information easily and then simply
zip it off so that the real estate professional can answer the question, get the work, close the deal and make money. It would be nice if it worked! Did you know that a majority of people refuse to fill in forms because they believe that their privacy may be compromised? Did you know that most forms ask for personal information that people aren't willing to divulge? If you are planning to use a form, give your User an out by also offering a clickable link to an email. If you have nothing at all for contact information then do something!
4. INFORMATION FORMS There is a difference between "contact forms" which I discussed above and "information forms". In the latter case you give the User a new option to seek information from you. Through a contact form you force the User to use a method to contact you that they might not appreciate. An information form gives your User the option to seek specific information that you want to give such as a relocation package or a list of homes available in the area.
5. MORTGAGE CALCULATORS The highest traffic generators of web sites are free services and tools that you offer to your clients. Because of the industry you are in, the simplest and most basic of these services is a mortgage calculator. Providing this service while also presenting listings allows your clients to determine whether your listing fits within their financial abilities. Every time a client leaves your site the possibility increases that they will not return. By ensuring that they don't have to leave your site you are negating this possibility.
6. ARTICLES AND INFORMATION Can you guess what search engines like the most when they index a site? It's relevant information relating to the topic you want to be found for. Nothing accomplishes this quite like articles on real estate topics. Needless to say, Users love it too.
7. COMMUNITY LINKS One of the most important aspects of the Internet is the ability for you to draw on potential clients from a world wide market. In fact, that is one of the absolute, key reasons for widespread search engine positioning. When you consider that a large number of your potential Users will be moving to your service area it becomes obvious that they will likely need information on the area itself. It is also likely that they will start researching the area well before they move. By providing this information, your site may become their source of information over this period.
8. MOVING INFORMATION
Again, when you understand that a large portion of your Internet clients will be moving to your area, it becomes vital that you help to provide this information. Whether it comes in the form of actual information or links to that information is up to you. But it is vital that you do this. Save your Users time and you will have a larger percentage of them become clients.
9. LINKS TO LOCAL REAL ESTATE SERVICES You are a real estate professional in an complex industry. When you provide links to complementary services you save your User time and effort. This saving will be rewarded in two ways. First, your User will likely return to your site to find more information or other services. The more times a User comes to your site the more likely they are to use your services. Second, by providing these links you leave the impression that you are professional and that you work tirelessly for your clients. The likelihood of you being selected for services is thereby increased.
10. GLOSSARY OF REAL ESTATE TERMS How long did it take you to understand the lingo of your industry? Do you know the educational level of all of your clients? When you deal with clients face to face it is easy to get a feel for what your clients do or don't know. The Internet changes this. The only face you get to see is in the form of an IP address which doesn't really tell you very much. The people visiting your site may know a lot about real estate or may know very little. By providing a simply glossary of real estate terms (and links to it throughout your site) you help to educate your User if needed. The result is that your User will understand your services better and, if they use your service, will be easier to service because of the knowledge you helped them obtain. These 10 items serve to create what would be a very complete web site for a real estate professional. There will always be additional, new, progressive tools that can be added. Adding new items and services will always be an important part of staying ahead of your competition. However, if you don't do the basics right then you probably should be correcting those before adding bells and whistles. -----------------Ron Thibeault is a retired real estate lawyer and contributing Editor to ThinkRelo.com. His extensive experience in real estate law gives him valuable insight into the needs of clients, realtors and all other players in real estate transactions.
Ten Unobvious Ideas To Pull Visitors to Your Real Estate Agent Web Site -by Catherine Franz The number one key to getting business in the real estate home sales market is to be people’s first contact. The National Association of Realtor’s last three surveys between 1999 to 2003 said 66% of buyers stayed with the first real estate agent they contacted yet only 6% of this number came from web sites. This number is rising as people become more comfortable finding their information on the Internet. There are three ways to show your uniqueness on the Internet: words, pictures, and interactive activities. What is pulling prospects to visit your web site? You have the obvious -- strategic alliances with lenders, title reps, home inspectors, appraisers and attorneys. Here are ten ideas that aren't obvious.
1. USE BALLOONS BESIDES AT THE OPEN HOUSE. Print an action slogan on the balloon along with your URL -- web site address. An action slogan is very important, otherwise people will not know what the URL is for. When attending an outdoor event, like a fair, carry them, place them on your children’s arm so you can find them, and hand them out. Take the balloons to the kids baseball games or other sports. If traveling with balloons is difficult, call the show’s event office and find out if there is going to be someone there with the equipment for balloon blowing. When you get there, give them a few dollars to blow a few up for you.
2. ON BROCHURES ADD AN ACTION REQUEST, SUCH AS "SEARCH ALL AREA HOMES FOR SALE ANYTIME." Or change "anytime" to "24/7". If you don't have this on your brochures, go to an office supply store and pick up some colorful Avery labels, or maybe you have some hanging around the office, and create them yourself. Also add your URL to that action request. Go ahead and use the stickers for a lock box action request, "If this house doesn't fit your needs, visit [URL] for a complete search of other homes in this area".
3. HOME-FOR-SALE SIGNAGE. Does your for sale front lawn or directional signs for the open house have your web site address on them? If not, add them with along with an action request for all those not quite ready that are driving by, or for those that don't have the time to stop at that particular time.
4. COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARDS. Grocery stores, libraries, community centers. Post your business cards at minimum. Create tear off tabs small flyers that fit within their requirements with an action request and your URL.
5. "HONK, IF YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR HOME" can be a bumper sticker or a clear sign for the side or rear top portion of the back window.
6. GLOW IN THE DARK BANNERS, STICKERS AND AUTO STICKERS. Home signage like: Visit [URL] for complete information on this property. Make it a glow in the dark for night time visual effectiveness.
7. WHAT ABOUT THE TIMES THAT YOU DON'T HAVE OFFICE DUTY? What about setting up a table for 3-4 hours outside the grocery stores. Add a nice table cloth, the balloons, and a large sign, "Ask me anything about buying a home." Or, "Ask us anything about selling a home." Switch approaches every few hours to see which one fits best. I don't suggest place both out there unless there are two of you. Create tee-shirts with the same action request along with the URL. Use a table covering that is the same color as the tee-shirt to help support your message and attractiveness.
8. TRANSIT ADS. What type of transportation is available in the areas you focus in? Is there massive transit like buses or metro? Don't forget taxi cabs, inside and out, as well as the taxi stands. Find out where their direct phone lines are. Sometimes, yet rare, you can place an Avery sticker next to. One sign works with well if you have this ability on your web site: "Take a virtual tour of our latest properties [URL]."
9. THIS ONE IS SOMETHING I DREAMED UP AND IT REALLY WORKS. Rig a button that people can press on the side of your car window that gives off a recording of the latest houses you available for sale. Then park in obvious places for people to see the button. Add a sign on the inside of the window giving them permission to press the button. Caution, this doesn't work with some car alarm systems.
10. MERCHANTS. Where do you get your dry cleaning done? Hair cuts, massages, or other frequented stores. Do you have some favorite restaurants? Can you stock a business card holder by the cash register? As a previous owner of restaurants, the one I like best is when the real estate agent paid for part of or the whole cost of the menus. In exchange we allowed them to create some marketing information on the menus. Testing is always important when trying new things. In selling real estate, uniqueness is the key. As said in the latest National Association of Realtors 2003 survey, most people perceive all real estate
agents as being the same. But you know you aren't. Yet, how are you showing it? Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Create play and fun and stretch with your marketing. Let it be as unique as you are and then smile all the way to the bank. ------------Catherine Franz, business coach. Previously a real estate agent and exec with National Association of Realtors. Additional articles and ideas about marketing to attract business: http://www.abundancecenter.com Blog: http://abundance.blogs.com
Top Ten Web Marketing & Advertising Ideas for your Real Estate Website - by Ellen Cagnassola
1. WRITING FREE ARTICLES Writing about your niche and business experience can bring traffic to your site, as well as credibility. Web site owners and marketers are clamoring for new and unique copy for their own web sites. The more successful web sites are ever changing and updating their content. Keeping a web site new and fresh can become a large task all by itself; this is why other site owners will gladly publish your article. Make sure that they give you credit and a link to your web site. This is a common practice on reputable sites. You can also do a search for web sites that collect and distribute articles through e-mail membership lists.
2. BANNER/ LINK EXCHANGING Just like in the regular business world, there are strategic alliances forming online. One method for online alliances is exchanging links. However, use caution always thoroughly; examine the content of the web sites you are linking. Make sure they are professional in design as well as content. Remember you are associating with these sites by linking up. There are many ways to link to another site. First, a banner, which is a wide ribbon like advertisement with your business name or logo. These banners can also be animated advertising. They give twice the information by flashing a dual message. Another way to link can be simple text that appears in a highlighted color bringing people to your site with a click of the mouse.
3. FREE OFFERS The word free is just as effective in advertising online as it is offline. By sponsoring a freebie, a simple name submission drawing can also get your name out there. What you want to do is attach a special meta tag to your freebie page. This will bring up your site in a search engine request for free things, depending on how aggressively you market your site. Be careful and realistic about offering a huge number of free things. A businessperson recently offered free votive candle samples. One of the huge free e zines listed this on their e zine and the requests will cost $4,000 in product, labor, and shipping. Offering free helpful information or free offers with purchase may be a more cost-effective viable option.
4. SPONSOR A CONTEST People love to win ANYTHING! Offer your product or service as a prize. You can entered contests on a business site and win all kinds of things. When a winner is selected,
their name web address and a link to the site can be published. Adding a reciprocal link is a professional way to say thank you and is of no cost to you. Once you establish your abilities through quality sites on the web, you may discover some of your own hidden talents!
5. ANSWER BULLETIN BOARD QUESTIONS Most bulletin boards are interactive and can contain valuable information on all topics. When you respond to a question from a bulletin board, you are demonstrating your abilities or knowledge on that topic. When you type your name at the bottom, you should also include your web site address or a direct link to your site. If your responses are perceptive and informative, you can peak a reader's interest, hopefully turning that free form of advertising into a sale or new client.
6. JOIN E-MAIL LISTS There are e-mail lists for everything under the sun. You can pick a subject and view a small blurb describing the topics of discussion. A list owner acts as the moderator for the e-mail discussions. There are strict policies prohibiting blatant advertising or selling of your own products or services. You can interactively answer other people's questions and provide your name, web site, and tag lines at the bottom of your reply. Keep your signature lines to six lines or less, it is professional and courteous. Another benefit to joining a list is that you will gain knowledge from other people. Strategic alliances can form through active e-mail list participants. Referrals can also evolve over time through exchanging professional e-mails. This is what I view as a silent business world. This can put a new twist on networking, if you do your research.
7. WEEKLY E-ZINE PUBLISHING E-zines are the online equivalent to a newsletter. If done correctly they bring you new and repeat business. To generate a subscription, you just need a visible spot on your site where people can type in their e-mail addresses. Once you have compiled a database of subscribers, you can begin marketing your e-zine.
8. PRESS RELEASES Newspapers, magazines, and niche market publications are always looking for interesting and wellwritten stories. Put a twist on your press release to draw attention to yourself. If you are announcing the opening of say an animal shelter; you can catch an editor's eye. Give it a title like, "Man takes the bite out of dog!" It sounds silly but it plays on the basics of good journalism on two levels. It let's the reader know that the story involves animals and it parallels the old "man bites dog" concept. Press releases should be written for several reasons. Announce your business opening, a new service, product, or a new client. The press release should contain all of the who, what, where, why, and how information about the news you want the public to know. Whether you are big or small business, press releases are a fantastic way to build media relationships, keep your name in the minds of the public, and keep your target market up to date on your activities. Getting the name of the correct contact person is key. You can imagine how easily one piece of paper can be buried on top of an editor's desk. Or piled with a heap of faxes on the floor. Send that release through the proper channels and ALWAYS follow up on its arrival. Checking in on the receipt of
your press release may just be the difference between being published and being buried. After your release has been published, send a handwritten thank you note to your contact. Faxing and US mail are the best ways to send your release. E-mailing press releases are not as effective. Although we are heading towards a paperless society, there seems to be more of a sense of urgency over a tangible press release. A publication may actually find e-mailed press releases rude or classify them as junk mail. Make sure you know the publications preferred method before sending your release.
9. HOST A CHAT A chat room is not necessarily a bad thing. A chat room is merely a screen that has a small box containing the names of the people in that room. Never give out your full name and address, or telephone number in a chat. This is common sense that you should be practicing in your daily life to protect your privacy. A business chat usually has a host that acts as the moderator welcoming you into their chat. Hosting a chat can demonstrate your talents while exposing you to people all over the world. People can come to a chat for a variety of reasons. You may be looking for help on a particular subject that can be resolved by asking a chat host for their advice. A chat can also open your mind to alternative solutions by a group of individuals offering personal opinions. Chats can also be a cost-effective form of communication for a business. You can attach a chat room to your web site as a meeting room for potential clients. A chat can be public for anyone to enter or you can require a password for entry.
10. WEB SITE TESTIMONIALS Build trust or confidence in your online business by using testimonials. A direct quote with the permission of the customer is a nice touch. Listing a name and e-mail address is, it acts as a reference that is easy and quick. Keep the testimonials to one or two sentences and keep it simple. If you are selling handmade sweaters, play on words like quality and low maintenance. If you are in the marketing business, mentioning words like increased sales and expressions of relief in a competitive field will shine favorably.
SUMMARY The basics to good advertising apply to all businesses, on and offline. The advantages to free online advertising and marketing are many. At this point and time as the word is discovering the web's potential, the word FREE is the best place to BE!
Real Estate Agents, Sign Your E-mails Effectively! I bet you already know what a signature file is. It is that short message people add at the end of their e-mail letters. Do you use it? And if you do, do you use it effectively? Judging from the pile of e-mails I receive every day, most people don't use it at all. Majority of others could improve the effectiveness of their signature significantly. When used right, a signature file is the single most effective Real Estate marketing tool you have at your disposal. Just think: if you send only 10 emails per day, it will add up to 3,650 e-mails per year. That means 3,650 impressions of your signature file! And if you send about 50 e-mails per day, it means over 18,000 opportunities to advertise your business. All free of cost, with no extra work, except the time spent to set it up. I have a feeling that now I have your attention! Here is how you can make your signature file effective:
1. IF YOU DIDN'T DO IT YET, MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO SET IT UP. Don't procrastinate or wait for setting up your web site. You can use a sig file way before registering a domain name.
2. DON'T AIM FOR PERFECTION. A BAD SIGNATURE IS BETTER THAN NONE. Visit http://visualtutorials.com/email.htm for a tutorial that will show you step-by step instruction. Once you set it up, use it all the time. So many people HAVE signature files set up on their systems, yet they STILL don't use them! Why, oh why? Using a signature file is safe for the environment and rain forest, it doesn't cause computer crashes or expose your hard drive to viruses! All it does is promotes networking and makes our lives easier.
3. MAKE IT SHORT! Sure, you CAN attach a whole essay at the end of your email message and no one will accuse you of anything. But the longer it is, the less likely people will read it. And you would like them not only *read* it but comprehend it as well, even *respond* to it, right? Use maximum 5-6 lines.
4. ALWAYS ADD HTTP:// AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR REAL ESTATE WEBSITE so that it becomes a hyperlink in most e-mail programs. If the recipient wants to visit your site, he (or she) can launch a browser's window with just one click.
5. IF YOU INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS, MAKE IT CLICKABLE TOO, by adding "mailto:" in front of the address -- a simple click will open automatically a preaddressed outgoing email message in most e-mail programs as well
6. MAKE IT EASY TO READ, uncluttered and no wider than 60-65 characters per line. Some email programs can't handle longer line width and might chop your sig in unexpected places. If you want to be contacted by phone, include your number in your signature too. But you might want to skip your mailing address -- better use that limited space for more significant announcement or special offer. You can use a signature file to tell people what is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or offer a free report from autoresponder -- but remember do not try to tell them the *entire* story or publish a list every service you offer. It's a *signature*, not a brochure!
7. IF YOU POST TO DISCUSSION LISTS, INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR SIGNATURE FILE AS WELL. Just *replying* to your post on the list will most likely send an e-mail to the entire list. You might also want to use different signatures when posting to different discussion lists. It makes sense to target your messages to specific audiences! Use various signatures for different purposes. For example, use a different sig responding to a specific type of business inquiries and another when corresponding with your clients who already know your offers.
8. USE A SIGNATURE FILE WHEN SENDING E-MAIL TO YOUR FRIENDS TOO. Just make it non-commercial, perhaps even fun, but DO include your hyperlinked URL so that if they want to visit your site, it is just as easy for them as for the others.
9. BE CAREFUL WITH TEXT ART. Not everyone has e-mail program set to ASCII text or courier font and what looks cute and smart on your own screen, might look like a holly mess in e-mail program set up to display messages in variable type of font.
10. A GOOD SIGNATURE FILE DOESN'T REQUIRE CONSCIOUS READING. You can take just one short glance and figure out whether or not there is something of interest to you. Like with so many things in life, with signature files LESS IS MORE!
Real Estate Agents, Make Your E-Mails Read! It is easy to assume that just because people agreed to be on your mailing list, they will read your messages. You are not sending spam and they requested your material, after all. Aaaah - if only this could be true... Not in your dreams! There are many factors determining when the message is read and when it is not. The content, of course, and the quality of your writing style has a *lot* to do with it. But no matter how good the quality of your message is, the look is equally important. Your message must be *easy* and *inviting* to read, otherwise you might lose the competition for the time and attention of your recipient. And judging from the masses of email that I receive in my daily correspondence, the look of the majority can be improved. Please keep in mind that it is difficult to read from the computer screen. Make sure that your message is as inviting as possible.
USE A LOT OF WHITE SPACE Write shorter paragraphs than you would in your offline messages - and *always* double space between paragraphs. A blank line between paragraphs is a must. Use two or three blank lines to separate between topics. Make some sentences very short and let them stand alone between blank lines. It helps to emphasize the point you are making and it allows the eye to rest a bit... Like this.
BE EXPRESSIVE There are many replacements for gestures and intonation. Use smileys :-) for a smile or more sophisticated [G} for a grin. And even ;-) for a playful wink. Use typed "vocalizations" - they are internet equivalent of facial expression and body language and they will add life to your email (as long as you do not overdo it). Here are some of my favorites: - ouch! - hmmm - wow! - huh? - aaaaah... - yeah!
STAY AWAY FROM CAPS (CAPITALIZED LETTERS) The human eye is trained to read by recognizing the shapes of the letters. Take for example the word: "day" -- you can just give it a glance to recognize three distinctive heights of the letters and read the word easily - and instantly. If you want to emphasize a word in email, use asterisks - like in *this* example. Remember that your email is the equivalent of your presence. It speaks volumes. It creates impressions about you just like your personal grooming does. Make sure your email is your ally!
INCLUDE A HYPERLINK TO YOUR WEBSITE. Make it convenient for the recipient to go to your site without having to do anything but “click” on the hotlink to get there. Include the http://www.YourURL.com so that if the recipient is on line, the link will automatically link to your website. With a simple click of the cursor, the reader is on their way to get more information about you and your services, if they choose to. When including this simple option, you are offering to the recipient a convenient on-ramp to learn more services and information.
DON'T FORWARD SEND LISTS. If you receive an e-mail that has been copied to a very long list of other people, don’t include that list when and if you forward this message. No one wants to sort through a pile of e-mail addresses online.
SEVEN RULES TO MAKE E-MAIL A KILLER APP 1. Make sure the recipient wants to hear from you. 2. Respond quickly. 3. Mix information and promotion in your messages. 4. Stick to the point. 5. Get a dialogue going. 6. Send plain e-mail. 7. Keep track of what you’re sending out and what type of response you receive.
About Netreal.net (http://www.netreal.net) Focus We provide web-based and offline software solutions for real estate industry, focusing especially on the low-cost end, and empowering the real-estate agents through the use to Internet technologies with the most affordable costs.
Mission Our mission is to create a vast range of software aplication for Real Estate Industry, both in the traditional and ASP (Aplication Service Provider) paradigms and to provide our customers with a 24/7 technical support solution at very affordable prices. For this we propose to rapidly establish a premier Center of Competence in Real Estate Software Solutions in Eastern Europe by empowering outstanding local technical and business resources through US style management, marketing and organization.
Success We have a solid track record of quality services for developments, enhancements, maintenance, testing, quality assurance, reporting, interfaces, reconciliations and many more, due to our in-depth knowledge of industry-speciffic and software technologies and systems.