Real Estate Marketing 101: What (Not) To Do
In 2013, Jägermeister, the company responsible for the intestinal rot alcohol of the same name, decided to host the sexy pool party in Leon, Mexico. But despite the bikini-clad models and alcohol containers, the party organizers thought that the event was still missing something special.
The X-factor would be – wait for it – that there is plenty of “sexy mist” coming out of the water! So they poured liquid nitrogen into the pool and the thick fog they wanted was created. Everyone cheered.
Minutes later, however, they soon found that there was nothing sultry about the situation; The nitrogen displaced all the oxygen near the pool, and all participants passed out from suffocation.
A total of eight young adults were hospitalized and one fell into a coma for almost three weeks. True story.
Needless to say, this publicity stunt wasn’t good for business.
This can be an extreme example of a marketing mistake. But real estate agents do things every day that, while not being physically toxic, ruin the ability to attract potential customers. Here are five surefire ways to make sure leads don’t want to do business with you.
1. Be notorious – people remember the bad and the ugly long after the good
A bad customer service story will reach over twice as many ears as a good one, according to the White House Consumers’ Office.
A 2014 American Express survey found that 60 percent of respondents said they always share their negative customer service stories and that they tell almost three times as many people (an average of 21 people versus eight people).
So if you want to spend all of your free time on the golf course, get those lips moving. Word of mouth marketing is a very useful and powerful free tool, but only when it’s beneficial.
Don’t be shy about your A-plus work for clients. Ask for a written recommendation for your marketing and whether you (please!) Tell all friends and family how great you are.
2. Make sure you are gone in 60 seconds
To make sure your phone never rings again, you need to go away after closing it. Nothing screams louder than the agent who is conveniently absent when a customer has a problem for the next week.
After gaining your client’s trust, keep in touch.
A seasonal note or a quick check-up call goes a long way in solidifying your name and business in their minds.
According to Marketing Metrics, the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent, but the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. In other words, it is much cheaper and easier to retain a customer than it is to look for a new one.
It’s shocking how many customers I’ve gained over the years – just because I’ve called someone back.
3. Become ‘the Illusionist’
Buyers notice names that appear frequently in online listings in more ways than you might think. Browsers take note of the “big players” in an area, yes – but they also rate the display quality of the listing.
A couple of weekends ago, I showed buyers who were disappointed again homes over a home that looked amazing on the internet and was quite noisy in person.
“This room looked so much bigger online,” they said, and more frankly, “This kitchen didn’t look like they cooked meth in it in the pictures.”
Sure, we all want our listings to look amazing to get potential buyers through the door, but editing photos beyond recognition will only fail.
Customers see cleverly angled images as a form of deception and rightly feel lied to.
For this they accuse the listing agent and take names.
I actually had a customer say, “I don’t know why I was expecting anything else – these were the last two properties we visited [this agent’s] Listings were disappointing as well. “
At the same time, customers also see the photos online that look like they were taken with a Polaroid from the 1970s that has been underwater for the past 10 years.
Make sure your photos are clear, coherent, and a good representation of the property.
Arrange them in a specific order so customers can get a sense of the flow of the house. If this is an unusually shaped room and only a wide angle is required, add the room dimensions to the list for clarity.
If you don’t have the equipment or the ability to take great photos yourself, rent them to someone who can. Customers notice the names in the listings that look like they were created by the cameramen for the Blair Witch Project, and they won’t call you to list their homes shortly.
4. Visit the ‘Mad Max’ driving school for brokers
Believe it or not, when you market yourself and get your name and brand out, you are making yourself a low-level local celebrity.
There is responsibility with every celebrity, especially if you have your name on the side of your car.
We all have bad days behind the wheel; Some of us just have a lot more of it than others. If you fall into the latter category, you may want to reconsider the way you advertise your vehicle.
Few things turn people around than getting cut off in traffic, and as I said, negative experiences travel fast.
So, if you regularly drive like a stunt man during the chase at The Blues Brothers, it is best to remain anonymous at the wheel.
5. Eat, pray, love, and then talk about real estate
Public opinion is not kind to real estate agents, to say the least. Many people perceive us as wealthy, arrogant, rude, selfish – and these are the nicer adjectives with which we describe our career choice.
It’s a catch 22 – we have to be professional and drive a decent car to attract our customers, but we are condemned by others as “showing off” when we do and as “unsuccessful” when we don’t.
We have to use our social media platforms to promote ourselves and stay in front of our customers, but we are being punished for having real estate on everyone’s lips.
What should we do?
If you walk a fine line, you can have your cake and eat it too, employing empathy, reality and a large dose of humble cake.
Facebook is full of everyone showing everyone else how great their life is and very few people show their actual reality.
Facebook Land is like living in the Matrix; If we all led the life we portray online, you would think we all live fabulously with polite, adorable kids and dogs who don’t get projectile diarrhea at 3am
One of the most viewed posts I’ve ever had on Facebook was a little over two years ago when my horse scared and dropped me while riding. I had to go home.
At some point halfway home at 90 degrees with high boots, riding breeches and a helmet, I stopped grumbling and found that I wasn’t injured and my horse was unharmed and already home.
Even though I hadn’t planned my day this way, I told myself to stop complaining. it could have been a lot worse. Then I started to see the humor in my situation.
I got out my cell phone and took a selfie that made a moody face and captioned the photo, “I’m bringing a new meaning to the path of shame.”
By posting pictures that prove you are human and not a perfect real estate machine, people you don’t know well or don’t know at all can feel comfortable on social media.
Just make sure you keep it professional. Post about other things that are important to you, like animal rescue, or something fun or challenging like bungee jumping. Just be yourself, be personable and be real.
I’ve listed my five most common agent marketing mistakes, and while one of them could be the trigger for career suicide, none should come anywhere near the potential aftermath of the ill-fated Jägermeister pool party.
If your marketing style is currently Animal House rather than Enchanted, now is the time to look into your personal branding. If Cinderella can go from being a kitchen lady to a princess, just imagine what the future holds for you.
Maria Dampman is the owner and manager of Smiling Cat Farm and a Virginia Licensed Real Estate Agent and ABR with Century 21 Redwood in Leesburg, Virginia. Visit her on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Email Maria Dampman