When it comes to marketing your business, are you still relying on the old tried-and-true strategies? Do these old-fashioned approaches still have relevance in today’s twittering Facebook world?

I recently spoke at three different seminars for a brokerage in New York on how to use social media. At each event, Henry Weber, the president of the franchise, opened the meeting. Weber told a powerful story that illustrates the tremendous need for agents to have social media expertise and some plain old-fashioned real estate basics as well.

Weber has an active Facebook presence, including a fan page for his company. An old friend who he hadn’t heard from in more than 20 years found him on Facebook and "friended" him. She then followed up with a question about selling her home, wanting to know how much her home was worth.

Weber responded, "I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t tell you." The woman’s response was, "We have quite a bit of work to do before we’re going to be ready to sell." Weber’s response was, "That’s alright." A little bit later, the woman responded back, "We really want to know what our house is worth."

Weber then explained, "I said, ‘I can see your house tomorrow at 2 p.m. or Friday at 6 p.m.’ " The woman set the appointment for Friday. A few minutes later she called back and changed the appointment to Saturday morning. Bottom line: A combination of solid traditional closing skills, coupled with social media, resulted in a great listing for Weber’s business.

A number of "old-school approaches" are just as effective today as they were 30 years ago. While it’s tempting to think that "new school" strategies are the be-all and end-all, the truth is that you need good solid traditional lead generation and conversion tools, just as much as you need the Web. Here are some of the key "old-school" strategies to keep in mind for your business.

1. People want to do business with those they trust
The notion of an agent being a "trusted adviser" has been popular for many years. Certainly, the woman who contacted Weber did so because she felt that she could trust him with the sale of her home.

While older clients still value expertise, many younger clients place little or no value on it. Consequently, expertise is no longer the foundation upon which to build trust. As Gen X and Gen Y have become more active in the real estate market, a more collaborative model has replaced the "expert" or "trusted advisor" models. The agent’s role is to be a trusted source for information, but not necessarily an advisor about the decision. Instead, many younger clients prefer to make their own decisions without advice from the agent. Gen X clients typically decide based upon their own independent research. Gen Y decides collaboratively with input from their trusted friends. …CONTINUED

2. You still need closing skills
You can generate thousands of online leads, but if you are unable to convert them into signed business, they are essentially worthless. For example, when a seller objects to the commission rate, the agent has generally failed to show the value that he or she brings to the transaction. The best way to circumvent this situation is to be prepared to state your value proposition right from the beginning. Include testimonials from past clients.

Prepare a 90-day marketing plan that outlines how you will provide the seller with the maximum exposure to the market and achieve the maximum price. Include your plan for syndicating the listing to multiple real estate portals as well as multiple video portals through such sites as TubeMogul.com.

If the seller is still being unrealistic about the commission, you need an arsenal of dialogues that will help you overcome that objection. For example, if the seller still asks you to reduce your commission after you have explained your premium marketing plan, then it may be smart to walk away. Here’s what to say:

"Mr. and Mrs. Seller, this is our premium marketing plan for which we charge a full commission. If you would like an agent who provides limited rather than premium service, I will be happy to give you a referral."

3. Humor is more important than ever
No matter whether your lead came from a sign call or from your Web site, most people want an agent who is fun and technically competent. Use your print advertising to drive people to your Web site and your blog. Make your print advertising fun. Don’t just settle for a "Just Listed" card. A better approach is to use a card with people partying that says, "Guess what your neighbors did last night?" Use your Web site to express you expertise, and use your blog to show your fun side as well.

The bottom line is that the people who are getting the best results in today’s highly competitive market are those who are combining the social media work with the basic tried-and-true strategies from the past.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.


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