Do you need to kick up your marketing efforts in 2012? If so, the 40 marketing tips that Peter Knight delivered at this year’s annual National Association of Realtors conference may be exactly what you need to kick off a stellar year in 2012.

What does it take to create an outstanding marketing program for your business? Peter Knight of the Property Academy answered that question with 40 different suggestions drawn from some of the world’s most successful marketers.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series.

Do you need to kick up your marketing efforts in 2012? If so, the 40 marketing tips that Peter Knight delivered at this year’s annual National Association of Realtors conference may be exactly what you need to kick off a stellar year in 2012.

What does it take to create an outstanding marketing program for your business? Peter Knight of the Property Academy answered that question with 40 different suggestions drawn from some of the world’s most successful marketers.

1. Go for the "Gosh, that’s amazing!" reaction
How often have you heard the claim, "You should hire me because I’m No. 1"? Have you ever made the claim that "I’m the top agent in this area," or "I’m an expert in real estate"? When Realtors constantly make the same claims and offer essentially the same services, there’s no market differentiation.

Knight argues that expertise, professionalism and excellent customer service should be givens. In order to differentiate your services, you must identify your personal "separators of value." In fact, Knight argues that if you really want your marketing to succeed, it must be so different and unique that people say, "Gosh, that’s amazing!"

2. Getting to "Gosh!"
To arrive at "Gosh, that’s amazing!" Knight suggests that you start with the fundamentals. Agents often become caught up in the technology connected to selling the home. For example, we’re focused on the photos, the brochures, how the property appears online, where to advertise the home, the type of postcards to use, etc.

Agents get off track when they lose sight of the fact that a home is really about the memories you create. For example, your child’s first steps, the garden you built over the years, or holidays spent with family. Your home is the frame in which you weave the events of your life.

3. People move for life-stage reasons
Knight cited a survey that showed that 61 percent of the moves in 2011 were for life-stage reasons. To capitalize on this trend, target market people who are experiencing a life-stage change.

This can include getting married, having children, relocating, retiring, or a host of other issues. These are times when people need the services of a Realtor. As Knight put it, "We are people serving people."

4. Overcome the objection, "We’re waiting for the market to improve."
When you focus on the home as the frame in which people create their lives, the way you overcome buyer or seller reluctance shifts dramatically. Many agents attempt to close buyers by describing the logical opportunity — i.e., that prices are low and interest rates are the best in our lifetimes.

In contrast, Knight suggests that you ask a simple question that touches the heart of the family: "Are you going to deprive your kids of living in a better home for an extra three years?"

5. Show off the property’s potential
While the staging of homes — or virtual staging online — can make properties more appealing, Knight suggested a completely different approach: going to a warehouse department store and getting bids to update a kitchen or add on an extra bedroom and bath. When you advertise the property, point out the price differential.

For example: "Equity builder! This three-bedroom, one-bath home is priced at $400,000. A four-bedroom, two-bath home in the same area on the same size lot recently sold for $520,000. Two bids to build a bedroom and bathroom addition place the estimated remodeling cost at $58,000-$60,000. Build the addition and create instant equity."

6. Extol the virtues, describe the blemishes
Realtors normally do a great job in extolling the virtues of a property. Almost no one, however, describes the blemishes. If your sellers are realistic about their pricing, they can actually use a defect to make their property more attractive.

For example: "This property is located on a busy street but is priced $35,000 less than the same floor plan a block away."

An even better approach is to have some fun. Here’s what Knight suggested: "This property is priced $40,000 less. The reason? The small second bedroom is the perfect size for an office. Besides, how often do you have someone stay the night, anyway?"

7. Competition, not comparables
Many agents fail to draw a distinction between comparable sales and competing properties. A comparable sale has closed. A competing property is still on the market. Knight suggests that agents include the competing properties in the agent’s ads.

Let buyers and sellers see the differences by comparing the major rooms in each of the houses, especially if the home is competitively priced. This is an excellent way to help both buyers and sellers be more realistic about prices.

Need more marketing tips? Don’t miss Part 2.

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