A few weeks ago, I watched a reality show featuring a woman looking for love. Before you move on though, humor me for just a minute and keep reading. I promise you this post will give you some serious food for thought on the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, evaluating your activities and changing your mindset to grow your real estate business with some real face-to-face marketing.
Embracing a difficult task
This woman was looking for love, but she had built up all these walls around her heart that she couldn’t let down if her life depended on it. The psychologist on the show gave her a seemingly difficult task of asking 12 strangers for a hug. She was beside herself.
She said over and over again that she couldn’t do it; it was completely beyond any reasonable comfort zone, and there was no way she would be able to talk to 12 strangers, let alone hug 12 strangers — in New York City. But after much debate she begrudgingly agreed to complete the task.
I want more hugs
She enlisted the help of a friend, crafted a sign and headed out to Central Park. You could feel her anxiety through the TV screen. Her friend held the sign while she tried to engage the strangers.
The first few hugs were a bit awkward, but after a while, there was a clear and definite shift in her body language, and you could tell that she was enjoying the experience. When she reached the magic number of 12, she wasn’t satisfied and said, “I want more hugs!”
Time to change your mindset
Thanks for sticking with me through that (painful I know, but here comes the good stuff). I use this as an example because real estate agents all too often build up barriers when it comes to what they will and won’t do to generate new business.
The path of least resistance is to continue to do what we’ve always done. It doesn’t matter that the times have changed or certain marketing activities haven’t been successful because they are easy, familiar and comfortable.
To do anything new is uncharted territory, and it’s utterly terrifying. It’s about time (it’s been about time for a while) to change that mindset.
A new attitude
With the new year should come a new attitude — a breath of fresh air. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. If you don’t start changing your marketing practices now, you will not have a thriving real estate business later.
Remember the Oldsmobile? My point exactly.
Even if the majority of your business is by referral, you always need to be adding new people to your database, and there are several ways to go about this. Not to worry, though, no real estate agent has died trying these new activities.
1. Do you know three people?
Years ago when I was a new agent, I attended one of those free seminars (before they hit you with the $1,000 program) and the presenter made a statement that resonates with me to this day.
He said, “Everyone you know knows at least three people who will buy or sell real estate in any given year.” You don’t have to do much math to see that becomes a huge number quickly.
If you only know 10 people, then that’s potentially 30 transactions a year. That was the moment I decided to focus on my sphere of influence (SOI).
2. Rise above the noise
One of the major keys to becoming a successful real estate agent is to remind people that you are a real estate agent. Seems silly right? It doesn’t seem like you would have to remind the people you know — and know well — that you are an agent, but you do.
Research has shown that the average person needs seven touches before they take note of who you are and what you do. Remember, we live in an age of noise. Your marketing efforts are to help you rise above the noise. So give those friends of yours a little tap tap on the shoulder every now and then to remind them what you do for a living.
3. Be strategic
As a new agent I didn’t have a lot of marketing dollars so, I had to be strategic. I started by marketing to the people I already knew and then got to know more people.
Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in terms of marketing, I was clear on what I didn’t want to be doing. I didn’t want to send those hard-to-read little magnetic calendars or recipes to my SOI.
I wanted to give them items that had value and let them know that I was thinking of them. By providing items of value and becoming an information resource I would feel good about helping out my friends. Some examples include:
- Monthly updates on recent sales in their neighborhood
- A monthly newsletter
- Tax tips
- Articles that you believe they would enjoy
- Hand-written personal note
- Text messages
4. Organize your contacts
The first step was to organize my contacts. I found that I didn’t have complete information on all of my people. This was great because it gave me an excuse to call people.
The new year is a great time to give people on your list a call to see if any of their information has changed and to see how they have been doing. At some point they will ask about you, and you can remind them to send you referrals. You want to ask for a referral whenever possible.
5. Mix things up
Once your list is organized, decide what items of value from your content marketing you will send your list every month. Don’t feel as though you have to send the same item every time.
For instance: in January, you might send all of your homeowners a comparative market analysis, and in May, you could send all of the mothers on your list a Mother’s Day card. It’s OK to mix things up a bit.
The next challenge becomes, how can you add new people to your list? There are various ways to do this:
- Become more active in your community
- Join your alumni association
- Attend more networking events
- Have a housewarming party for your client
- Have a client party and invite each client bring a friend
6. Why farm?
Once these new people are in your database, you can market to them just as you would everyone else on your list. But here’s the best part. It costs you less money to market to your SOI than it does to market to strangers.
I know real estate agents love to farm, but building a profitable farm takes a lot of time, money and energy. Marketing to people you know provides a higher return on your investment. Plus, there’s nothing better than making money and spending less.
7. Market to your SOI
You will find that the more you are in touch with your SOI, the more you want to be in touch with your SOI. On some level, it stops becoming a marketing activity and becomes checking in.
Here’s an example: Last week, I knew a friend of a friend had a big presentation coming up at work. Although she wasn’t a close friend of mine, I knew that this presentation was important for her career.
As a result, she was on my mind for the entire week. When the big day came, I sent her a quick text letting her know that I was thinking about her and that I knew she would deliver an amazing presentation.
8. Be authentic
She responded quickly to my text and was very appreciative that I took the time to send her a text. Was my text marketing? No.
Did my text become marketing? Maybe.
I know I made a lasting impression because of my thoughtfulness. Only time will tell if she will become a referral source, but for me it doesn’t matter because it felt good simply sending the text.
9. Do what comes naturally
My point in telling you this story is to show that you don’t have to overthink your marketing activities. Do what comes naturally. You can make a huge impression by following through on your thoughts.
How many times have you thought you should call someone, but you never get around to it? Or “Diane’s birthday is coming up, I should send her a card,” but never get around to it.
Just do it
Let this be the year of “getting around to it.” You will make others feel good, and at the same time, it will make you feel good. And just like the woman giving hugs, once you start, you’ll want to do it more.
Candy Miles Crocker is the founder of Real Life Real Estate Training.