To build your business, you must apply an effective marketing strategy. To sum it up quickly, there’s physical marketing (flyers, bus benches), online marketing (Facebook ads, lead generators) and social marketing (social media, email, events and door knocking).
Now, how do you know what to do?
The reason one marketing idea rises above another is because of its ability to generate an emotional response — the kind that transforms a prospect into a client or a past client into a referral or repeat business.
This sounds simple, I know. However, I find most agents don’t consider this simple concept before choosing how to market and advertise their brand and service.
Now, before discussing the foundation of every effective marketing strategy that increases sales, let’s go over the basics of consumer psychology.
In the broadest sense, the reason prospects will decide to become your client is because they feel good about using you and your service. Again, I know this sounds overly simple; however, there’s an ocean of insight that can be taken from this general answer.
Here’s a question to ask yourself right now that will help you think of some incredible marketing ideas: “If people will become my clients because they feel good about me and my service, then how can I make more people feel good about choosing me and using my services?”
Can an online ad, lead generator or flyer make someone feel good about you and your services? Maybe, but not likely.
If you post on social media and talk to people online, will that make a prospective buyer or seller feel good about you and your services? It’s more likely but still quite hard.
Finally, there’s face-to-face marketing. Can you make prospective clients feel good about you and your service when you get to know them at their house, a coffee shop or an event? It’s a whole lot easier and faster in person, isn’t it?
I know this is not some big aha, lightbulb moment yet, but it’s coming.
What’s the best way to market your services?
To go one level deeper from “feeling good,” clients need to feel they can trust you. They also need to feel comfortable with you; after all, they’ll be talking with you throughout the buying or selling process. Finally, clients need to feel confident in your abilities to solve their problem — finding or selling a property.
And again, meeting people face-to-face is going to be the quickest and easiest way to generate these feelings so that you can increase your business.
That’s why there is this famous real estate quote: “I’m a successful agent because I put my face on things, I sift through lots of online leads, and I have lots of friends and followers on social media” — said no agent ever.
Take a step back for a second. Have you ever thought why serving clients well and staying in touch with them is the best way to get repeat and referral business?
It’s because they have experienced your service. Now they trust you, they feel comfortable with you, and they are confident in your abilities. All the feelings necessary for them to use you again or refer you to their friends are in place.
In other words, your past clients have sampled your service more than anyone absorbing your marketing efforts.
And when it comes to marketing a product or a service, sampling sells.
Consumer brands have known this for decades. When you sample your product, sales increase. Period. Just think about trying food in Costco or wine at the liquor store.
The best marketing companies in the world know that once people have experienced a product with some or all of their senses, the chances of them buying go through the roof. When I worked in brand marketing, it increased our sales by 45 percent. For some brands, sampling increases sales by as much as 2,000 percent.
Now, I bet you’re thinking, real estate is not a food or drink. It’s not a product; it’s a service. How can I sample a service?
Well, a good practice in business is to look at other industries to see what they do to be successful.
Examples of service sampling
The fitness industry gives out free personal training and bootcamp sessions. Because if people enjoy the experience and believe they can lose weight or gain muscle, the chance that they will spend thousands of dollars for the full experience goes up dramatically.
When a software company gives you a free trial, it is sampling its service. Because if you like it, you’ll commit to buying the subscription.
For agents, the service is you. Homeowners talk to their agent, get information from their agent, get connected to other people by their agent and achieve goals with their agent.
Therefore, anytime you do any of the things mentioned above, you are sampling your service. And when it comes to increasing sales and market share over your competition, whoever does this the most — and the best — wins.
How do you move forward and sample your service?
Check out the follow-up to this article tomorrow. It will give you nine ways to sample your service and increase your sales. However, in the spirit of giving, here are three pointers.
3 tips on sampling your service
First, be wary of online leads. Online leads account for 5 percent or less of most agents’ deals, and repeat and referrals make up over 50 percent. This is because online leads don’t sample your service like past clients have already done.
Second, sample your service to influencers in your community. Why? Half of first-time buyers rely on word-of-mouth referrals — otherwise known as people who have sampled your service.
Third, continue to sample your service with your past clients or else you will lose them. Right now, only 14 percent of repeat buyers use the agent they used on the last transaction. This is because agents get lazy and stop sampling their knowledge and personality to their past clients.
What is the game-changing marketing strategy that will blow up your business?
Do it as much as humanly possible. It will work. I promise you.
Sampling is the foundation for the most effective marketing strategies that increase sales.
Ask yourself: Who should I sample my service to today?
Grant Findlay-Shirras is the CEO of Parkbench.com and the Local Leader Real Estate Marketing System. Follow Grant on Instagram and Twitter @MrParkbench.