Sales trainer Glenn Twiddle recently assembled a band of agents doing the opposite of what their competitors are doing, and leading the way.
EARL NIGHTINGALE once said something like “In the absence of a valid model for success, do the opposite of what everyone else does, and you’ll probably do OK.”
Now many agents are thinking the solution to getting more listings, getting them well priced, marketed and sold, is making more calls and knocking on more doors. While this strategy will work, it can be a whole lot of hard work and can be difficult to sustain long term. So if you’re not a prospecting machine like some others in this issue, reading this article might be the most important marketing decision you’ll make this year! The event primarily focused on turning agents into the rock stars of their area, using tools and strategies designed to transform them from real estate agents into community celebrities.
In the Readers’ Digest ‘Most Trusted Professions’ list, real estate agents are not rated terribly high. (In fact, in 2011 sex workers were more trusted than we were.) For this reason, it is more important than ever for these strategies to be seen as something different in your area.
Here are some of the takeaways ‘Rebel Agents’ are implementing across the country.
PRE AND POST LISTING SYSTEMS
Chris Gilmour goes through his surgically precise pre and post listing kits and systems step by step. He gets a call from a potential client. During the phone call, as he knows his entire area, he can identify and talk about the house from memory, building rapport in the process. He then delivers an information pack in his pre-listing black box within 30 minutes of the phone call. As an extra tweak, during the call Chris ascertains whether the people have pets or kids, and puts some goodies in the box for the kids, even a Smacko’s for the dog. Nice ‘Rebellious’ thinking.
Then after the appraisal a similarly impressive basket gets delivered 30 minutes after the appointment, with some goodies and a thank you card, and it’s all wrapped up with a ‘Sold’ sticker.
Another unique thing Chris puts in his pre listing kit is a listing agreement, already filled out, including ‘sign here’ tabs. On more than one occasion he has been handed the signed paperwork on the way in to the appointment. So an impressive system that is currently working well.
You could go around local businesses and offer to promote their business to your database. And instead of them paying for the advertising, you can simply ask that they give some freebies, or extras, when they identify themselves as a client of your agency. A book of vouchers, or individual coupons, certainly make for better ‘advertising bait’ to be included on your Facebook page, on flyers and giveaways for guests at open homes wherever possible. A massive win/win for you and the local businesses and the best news is, you get the credit from your clients for all these freebies and deals for your marketplace.
ADD A ‘WOW’ FACTOR
Companies like Apple, Disney, and others get this. When you are a new client of Apple, when you leave the store, all the staff stop whatever they are doing and give you a standing ovation as you leave. You may think this is embarrassing, but they certainly make an impact with this sort of system.
So when someone comes to pick up their keys for a rental or a sale, why not have a big gift basket ready? When you hand over the keys and the basket, all the staff members could come out and give a standing ovation as a ‘WOW’ factor. The sky’s the limit with the ways you can WOW your marketplace, so have a brainstorming session with your team as to the ways you can ‘deliver the unexpected’ to your potential buyers and sellers.
CREATE POSITIONING TOOLS
Think about the things that identify a celebrity specialist in other marketplaces. They have a book, so step one, write a book. More than half of the non-fiction books in bookstores were written by someone other than the author (that is, a ghost writer) so Glenn had one ghost written for this purpose. (Contact Glenn for more information on this strategy.)
Other factors that identify you as a celebrity are interviews with you as the guest, articles written about you, blog posts on real estate matters, and more. You should assemble a suite of these marketing and positioning tools and use them wherever you can in your promotional and sales efforts.
Another great tool Glenn has innovated is what he calls, ‘The Ultimate Business Card.’ You put a video or audio interview on a disc, and instead of handing out business cards to everyone you hand them a DVD case containing video testimonials and other case studies, tips and ideas, to entertain and pre-sell you before you even meet the clients.
VIDEO MARKETING YOUR PROPERTIES
Don’t be boring. You can do an entertaining fun one, an emotional one interviewing the sellers about what they’ll miss most about the property, or a professional one. Big tip here is not to be dull. If the buyers, and your future sellers, are yawning as they watch your marketing material, that’s not a good sign.
DON’T SELL ‘GHOST HOUSES’
Every other industry has examples of their target market in their photos, flyers and brochures. Why do we get our houses professionally staged and photographed; yet we are selling homes that look like no one lives in them? Find some people who look like the type of buyer who will best suit the property, and photograph them ‘living’ in the house.
Present the home in its best possible light. Remove the creepy crawlies from the pool and replace them with a few kids jumping in. Clean up the back pergola, then show it during a party with people enjoying themselves. Stop selling ‘ghost houses’!
So the time has come to bring real estate marketing out of the Dark Age and make sure we stand out amongst a ‘sea of sameness.’ Rebelling against industry norms, like these rebellious agents, might be a critical salvo in this war against the slower market we have experienced over the past few years.