Gone are the days where advertising alone does the job. The secret to having a steady stream of clients today is to create a positive buzz about your business.

Word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new. We all want others to say positive things about our businesses. If you would like to get people buzzing about how great you and your services are, here are seven great ways to do it.

1. The best marketing buzz: a new listing sign with a "sold" rider in 72 hours
When a for-sale sign pops up in a neighborhood, the neighbors are always buzzing about the price, the reasons their neighbors are moving, and most important: whether the agent will get the job done.

If you have a reputation for selling homes quickly, you will likely have more sellers seeking out your services. You can also expect that your sellers will tell everyone they know about how their house sold quickly in this tough market.

2. Help someone avoid foreclosure
Many people have the impression that most real estate agents care only about themselves and their commissions. You can get people buzzing about how great you are by helping distressed property owners find a solution to their situation.

For example, if a past client is facing a foreclosure sale, you can tell them about the "ask for the note strategy" to delay or stop the foreclosure. You can also refer them to an organization such as the National Association of Consumer Advocates, which performs forensic loan audits to determine if the lender violated any RESPA or other requirements.

If the lender did so, the owner now has more leverage to work out a loan modification, a short sale, or some other solution.

3. Support your local team
To create a positive buzz about your business, host a special event for people in your referral database. Rent a bus and take your guests to the most important away game for your local high school or college. Provide plenty of food, ice cream, souvenirs and other goodies.

Arrange for a photographer and post the pictures to your website. Send out the link to everyone who attended as well as to any alumni you happen to know. Whether your team wins or loses, everyone will be "buzzing" about the great time they had.

4. Be "You-nique"
Butch Grimes of WeTalkRealEstate.com uses a variety of methods to get people buzzing about his real estate business. In addition to hosting a 24-7 radio show, Grimes emphasizes the importance of being "You-nique."

For example, Grimes has a 20-foot-tall, inflatable open house sign that he uses to attract visitors to his open houses. To help people find his open houses, he had directional signs made with a life-sized cutout of him attached to the sign. From a distance, it looks as if he is personally standing there directing you to his open house.

The one thing he does that gets the most buzz, however, is sending a chauffeur-driven limousine to pick his clients up at work and take them to the escrow to sign their final closing documents. You can imagine the buzz this creates among his clients, as well as their colleagues, who see them being ushered into a limousine.

5. Take advantage of social media and texting
Rather than being aggravated when you work with a client who is more involved in texting than interacting with you, take advantage of this activity. When you send your buyers information about the listings you will be showing them, include as many pictures of the listings as possible.

Next, ask your buyers to forward the information to their friends via e-mail or on Facebook. Make it a game. Ask their friends to predict which house your buyers will like best. Everyone has fun. You can also probably expect lots of texting going back and forth about which house will be the buyers’ favorite.

6. Help others build their businesses
Do you have a favorite dry cleaner or restaurant? Do any of your clients own their own businesses? If you are a customer, post a video testimonial for them on Yelp.com as well as on their LinkedIn profile if they have one. Normally, when someone posts a testimonial for another person’s business, they will reciprocate with a testimonial for you.

7. Give away a conversation starter
Many agents market their businesses by giving away magnets. In 2005, Inventables began distributing "squishy magnets." These magnets feel like a piece of foam rubber and can be used to close doors without the doors slamming. Distributing these to your geographical farm or on your open houses will make a great conversation starter and get people buzzing about the agent who gave them this nifty little gift item.

There are literally thousands of ways to get people buzzing about you and your business. All it takes is a little creativity. If you have a great suggestion, we invite you to share your suggestion in the comments.

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