Before I became a real estate agent, I'd never written a piece of direct mail. I started off by thinking about what pieces had worked on me, asking senior members of my firm for help, and trolling the Internet. When I discovered Mal Warwick (who is known primarily as a nonprofit fundraising guru) it was like a revelation. In addition to his tips at www.malwarwick.com, he's written 17 books on direct marketing, including "How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters" (Jossey-Bass). I dragged him away from polishing up his upcoming book, "Values-Driven Business," (which is being written with Ben & Jerry's Ben Cohen) to turn his mind to real estate. Q: The thing about real estate agents and direct marketing is that the field's very crowded; I bet I get a piece of mail a week asking me to sell my condo. Is there anything specific that agents can do to differentiate themselves? A: The place to start is by focusing on the customer. Most marketing copy is what I would call "manufacturer's cop...
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