Let me start with my No. 1 pet peeve in real estate: a "for sale" sign in front of a house with no information other than the Realtor’s phone number.

Now, I have heard a LOT of reasons as to why this is a preferable practice. Mostly, I think, these justifications come from a very selfish place in the heart of the Realtor. Here are the two most oft-heard — and hideous — excuses:

  • If you don’t list a price, then people are forced to call you for more information. When they call you, voila! A lead! Not providing a price on a sign is a lead generation tool!
  • Fliers are a waste of money. People just take them and throw them in the trash, so it is better not to provide one at all.

A good salesperson knows that they must market their product in a way that benefits the consumer. That goes for not only HOW information is conveyed, but whether it answers the question, "What’s in it for me?"

Neither of the oft-heard excuses above helps the consumer. Forcing would-be buyers to dial a number on a sign inevitably leads to an answering service or a secretary who can’t quote prices over the phone. This is frustrating, at best. On the other end of the spectrum, you may raise prospective buyers’ blood pressure to boiling point, sending them into cardiac arrest, and landing them in the hospital. And all they wanted to know was if they could afford that house!

Your buyer is, at this very moment, in one of three places: a) surfing the Web, b) in your car, or c) driving through the neighborhood.

With that in mind, why would ANY savvy real estate agent make it HARDER than it has to be to sell a house or capture a potential buyer? I understand most Realtors hate spending money on fliers. Refilling the box is a drag. Color copies cost a boatload of money. And, you truly believe people just throw the fliers away. However, I still conclude that Realtors who put up signage without information are one of three things: lazy, cheap or arrogant.

If in the off chance you are a really "green" Realtor and don’t want to cut down trees to sell homes, OK. No fliers for you. But, I still expect information! You can still answer the drive-by’s burning questions without printing hundreds of fliers. Here are a few ideas:

1. QR codes. They are free! And they can direct your drive-by consumer immediately to your listing’s website page. Your local sign company can easily make you a sticker or self-standing sign.

2. Postcards. Yes, you’re still printing something, but I love the double duty of a postcard. They fit easily in a flier box and a purse, and you can MAIL them to your contact base instead of generic "how you doin’ " cards. They can be mailed as follow-ups to open house visitors, and you can give a stack to your sellers to mail off to their friends and family. Networking!

3. A permanent flier. Yes, just one! Again, you can use your local sign company to create one of your own design, or use a company like flyeronachain.com.

There really is no excuse for not providing immediate and valuable information to potential buyers in the one-of-three places they can be currently found: driving by your listing.

Now don’t let me see your sign and be disappointed … or I’ll start a blog.

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