Why does vacation have to be over? That doesn’t make any sense.

Trying to get myself in the swing for a big fall marketing blitz. I bought my first mailing list — 200 names in the micro-neighborhoods where I like to work.

Why does vacation have to be over? That doesn’t make any sense.

Trying to get myself in the swing for a big fall marketing blitz. I bought my first mailing list — 200 names in the micro-neighborhoods where I like to work. I have been operating my business by contacting friends and getting referrals from friends, but I think it is time to expand my brand a little, and a targeted mailing seems simpler than spending big money on a big print ad.

The last time I did a direct mailing, I got a 1 percent response rate, which the advertising pros I consulted with told me was quite good. So I am trying to think: What letter or postcard is going to grab those two people in that 200-person haystack?

And when, exactly, am I going to find time to compose it and send it out?

I know that there are services that do this for you but I like to play with my own materials: my own "creative," as they say in the ad business. That’s a lot of fun until you start to begrudge every hour as taking you away from existing clients. Do you want to work on a marketing campaign, or do you want to work on somebody who you think is seven days away from closing? OK, what happens the next week, when that close hasn’t happened, but you think it still might, if you just give it seven more days … well, that’s been my problem. It’s kind of like the "I’ll go to the gym when I get home from work early" — which in my case, leads to rarely going to the gym.

No, the only thing that works for me is to swim in the morning, so then I’ve got it out of the way, plus I can reward myself immediately by letting myself eat whatever I want to for lunch.

So, OK, I will block out time for the new marketing piece. I decide that I will get a draft of it ready by the 15th.

Wait, I think, even though I am 20 years out of college, if I write "marketing piece due" on the calendar for the 15th, I will just stay up writing it the night of the 14th.

So I look at my calendar and go one better — I will spend three hours in the office next week playing with it — with the phone off!

Now, I know at this point some of you are sniggering into your hands, that the rookie is still such an idiot at this business that she has to block out time to prospect.

Because of course you all already have that time marked on your calendars when you know you’re going to shut off your phones, avoid your e-mails, and work on prospecting and only prospecting.

Right? Right?

Gee, it’s awfully quiet in here.

As a side note, I did something else today that I was really proud of. I have new clients, and today we did three things.

  • We looked at properties and I said smart things. In addition, I said at one point, "This is such a great job for me, I love looking at real estate."
  • I asked about them and how they’d gotten into their jobs. I was genuinely curious, and I wanted to take some time away from the "me, me"-focused world of telling them what I could do for them. I was also trying to follow my friend Matthew’s rule: "To become a successful salesperson, find rich people and make friends with them."
  • I asked them for a referral before I had finished the current transaction. When I first started in real estate, and people told me to do this, I thought it was, for lack of a better word, ballsy. As a result, I was really inhibited about doing it, and whenever I managed, I asked in the most self-defeating way. But today I just asked. I said, "I expect that we’ll find you something that you’re really, really happy with — and then I hope that sometime in the next five years, when one of your friends mentions that you’re buying or selling Downtown, you’ll think of me and refer me."

Maybe I am getting back in the swing after all.

Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."

***

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