Posts Tagged ‘Advertising & Marketing’

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Last week we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio about Facebook… some Simple Do’s and Don’ts for real estate agents who want to take advantage of the Power of Facebook to build their businesses.

As I often do at the end of the show, I asked the audience to share their favorite tip or tips from the program and here is what they told me!

Favorit-est Tip #1: Share other agents’ awesome listings! Not only will this be good content, imagine the warm fuzzies and reciprocal good karma you might enjoy.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Casually mention a great referral you received and/or thank a friend for referring you… withOUT, of course, any mention of how much you LUUUUUUUV referrals (no referral-begging allowed!).

Favorit-est Tip #3: Use Facebook to connect, reconnect and stay connected with people you know and meet. Period. Do not use it to market yourself to strangers (or to your friends for that matter).

Favorit-est Tip #4: Be passionate about a hobby and find a local Facebook group to join and participate in,

Favorit-est Tip #5: Turn OFF your business page if you aren’t using it or seeing any benefit from it.

Other tips… NO whining! Be sure your status as a real estate agent is visible somewhere on your profile. Don’t use four-letter words or share posts that use them.

Want to hear the whole show? Join Club SWS and have access to nearly SIX YEARS of teleseminar recordings!


posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Earlier this week I posted a blog asking the question “if YOU were a potential seller, would you beimpressed that an agent took the … ahem… ‘time’ to put you on an automated email campaign?” with the promise to return and elaborate on my statement that “Professionals Don’t Need Drips.”

Let me share a personal story with you.

Earlier this year I approached a real estate agent about listing a property of mine. The property was tenant-occupied and would be for another month or so, so it was not readily accessible for viewing and obviously not ready to be marketed.

But this agent and I (I will call her Mary Beth Bonacci* since that’s her name) chatted a bit about the property and she promised to drive by it soon, do a little research and get back to me with her preliminary thoughts.

Later that week I heard from her with some comments on the location (“wow, very close to the highway but how awesome that it’s within walking distance to the pedestrian bridge,”); her thoughts on who the ideal buyer might be and an assurance that she’d preview the competition over the weekend.

“Cool,” sez  I. “Looking forward to your feedback.”

As promised, Mary Beth emailed me on Monday with the details of her previewing expedition and gave me a ball park range of where my property might fall.

The following week, she contacted me to ask if I knew when the tenant would be moving out.

A few days later she told me about a new listing that had come on the market in the same complex as my unit and promised to preview it right away.

The next day she emailed me to let me know she had previewed the property and that it showed very well. And that there were already multiple offers on it.

Fast forward a month or so. After my renter moved out, Mary Beth took a look at my property, and afterwards emailed me with her suggestions on what needed to be done to it before marketing, and offered up a few service providers.

A week later she contacted me to…

Get the picture?

At no time did she send me an email espousing the importance of hiring the “right Realtor,” warning me about the Dangers of Overpricing or even gently reminding me how much she LUVS referrals. No, she communicated with me as the real estate professional she is… and as a real live human being who actually cared about my upcoming home sale.

“But Jennifer, all that personal communication takes time! Imagine if I took that much interest in all my clients?! I’d never have time to prospect!”

Well, um…


ore thoughts here:

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

A few years ago I wrote a blog called “Professionals Don’t Need Scripts” where I pontificated on my strongly held opinion that someone who is an expert in their field (or even reasonably competent) should not have to (or want to) rely on scripts when interacting with clients or potential clients.

So today, a mere 2.25 years later, I’d like to expand upon that notion with a discussion of the emailed script, aka “drip emails.” Let’s start with a definition of “drip emails.” A Drip Email Campaign (for the purposes of this blog anyway) is a pre-written series of emails that you send to someone you have met or had a conversation with about real estate. In all likelihood, you can “personalize” the emails with the person’s name (“Dear Matilda,”), but otherwise, the emails go out automatically with the exact same message to each recipient.

So, let’s say, you visit with a homeowner about selling their home. The conversation goes well, but the homeowner isn’t quite ready to make a decision. You head back to the office, knowing you will need to stay in touch with the homeowner so they don’t forget you when they are ready to sell. You add them to your “Seller Nurture Campaign” drip mail which will send them two emails per week until they list with you, list with someone else or die. And you promptly forget about them and move onto other prospects.

But your emails go out so that the potential seller doesn’t forget about you! Twice a week, they hear from “you” with reminders about how important it is to hire a Realtor (the RIGHT one of course!), helpful tips about preparing their home for market and the like.

“So what’s wrong with that, Jennifer? Aren’t we s’posed to follow-up?” Absolutely! At least, if you want a chance at inspiring that seller to want to be YOUR seller once they’re ready.

BUT… Remember the definition of “drip” – a pre-written message or series of messages (crafted by you or purchased from a marketing company) that go out automatically without any personalization other than the salutation.


Let’s say I’m considering selling my home sometime in the next six months, and therefore in the market to find a real estate agent to represent me. I meet with an agent and we have a productive meeting. I like her, but I haven’t committed to her yet. It’s still early in the process, but I’m looking forward to hearing from her with her thoughts on our home and updates on the State of the Market.

Do I hear from her? You bet! Every three days I get a “Dear Jennifer and Bruce” email with a fancy banner and signature block… and a canned message that has nothing at all to do with our home or situation.

Let me pause for a moment (as I see I’m coming up on 500 words already), and ask YOU… if YOU were the potential seller, would you be impressed that this agent took the … ahem… “time” to put you on an automated email campaign?

Click here to read some further thoughts on the matter…

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Romancing the ‘Hood? What on earth does that mean?

You’ve heard of geographic farming, right? Where you blanket an area with your marketing in hopes of becoming the go-to agent in the neighborhood because the homeowners there recognize your name and know how to reach you when they have a need for real estate services? Well, Romancing the ‘Hood takes that a step further so that all those homeowners not only know your name, but they also LIKE you, or at least, they like what they know about you and therefore are even more likely to hire or refer you.

That was the topic of the most recent teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio. At the end of the show, we polled the audience for their favorite ideas, strategies or tips… and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1
Order ‘hood-specific “Top Ten” Magnets to mail out and make available at open houses. This not only guarantees your magnet will be of value, but may also endear you to the local shop-owners featured. Read more here.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Be authentically YOU in your ‘hood marketing – don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your mailings, advertising or self-promotional material. Use common sense (e.g. you probably don’t need to share your opinion on the pro-life/pro-choice debate), but neither should you try so hard to be liked by everyone that you’re just boring!

Favorit-est Tip #3
Do open houses in the ‘hood and pre-market the heck out of them. Don’t use your open house to “pick up buyers” (that attitude scares visitors away); just promote the house itself and be non-predatorily pleasant to everyone who comes in the door.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Choose the ‘hood to romance based on your comfort level relating to the people who live there, or want to live there, not just based on the price range.

Favorit-est Tip #5
Become a “regular” in the ‘hood’s restaurants and shops. Find non-cheesy ways to let the business owners and staff know you’re in real estate (e.g. “I need to find a closing gift for a client who just moved to town – do you have any suggestions?”)

– See more at:

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Last Thursday, we did a show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “It Really IS That Simple – Low-Tech Ways To Build Your Business with SOUL.” The gist of the show was that while gizmos and gadgets and programs and systems are fine and dandy and fun and interesting, success in a real estate business is much less complicated… and less expensive… than the companies who are marketing these gizmos, gadgets, programs and systems would like us to believe.

Basically… the more people who KNOW you… and LIKE you… and TRUST you… the more successful you’ll be. Simple as that. So, how do you get yourself more of these people who know you, like you and trust you?

That’s what the show was about… six simple strategies to increase the number of individual human beings in the world who KLT (know/like/trust) you. At the end of the show, we asked the audience to vote on which strategy was most meaningful to them and here are the results:

Favorit-est Tip #1
“Impress One Person a Day” – if you make a positive impression on just one person every single day, that’s 365 people in a year who think a lot of you as opposed to just a whole bunch of people in the world who sorta recognize your name.

Favorit-est Tip #2
“Forget about Branding, Focus on Bonding” – instead of trying to brand yourself as the ________ Realtor (Hiking, Biking, Golfing, Dog-Rescuing, etc.), get out on the world and hang out with people with similar interests. Once these people get to know you as a person, they’re far more likely to want to support your business than if you’d simply targeted them to market to.

Favorit-est Tip #3
“Be Pleasant to 10 People a Day” – In order to increase the number of people in the world who know you, just get out there in the world (where these people are!) being a bright little ray of sunshine in the lives of everyone whose paths you cross.

Favorit-est Tip #4
“Be an RCHB (Reasonably Competent Human Being)” – Anyone who is self-employed and hoping for the support of his or her friends and acquaintances needs to realize that they are always on display. While our friends may love the heck out of us as a friend, if our behavior when socializing gives them reason to doubt our professionalism, it WILL affect their willingness to support our business.

Favorit-est Tip #5
“Prioritize Properly” – Always put your current clients at the top of your priority to-do list. Yes, even ahead of prospecting.

Favorit-est Tip #6
“Go to lunch with friends” – note, I didn’t say TAKE your friends to lunch, I said GO TO LUNCH with your friends. As a FRIEND, not as a “hungry” (pun intended) real estate agent on the prowl for business. When you GO TO lunch as opposed to TAKING someone to lunch, there’s no obligation for you to pitch your business, nor for your friend to listen to your pitch.

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Anyway, since I released the two mini-clinics, I’ve been contacted by several aspiring agents asking for my advice on the whole pre-rookie experience. Guess what the number one question is?

Should I start putting together a website?”

My answer is always the same (I tend to be predictable that way). I say NO (although I do advise them to get a domain name for email purposes).

Here’s why.

Brand new real estate agents have a lot to do. A LOT. They need to be learning about their real estate market. They need to be mastering their contracts and disclosures. They need to become intimately familiar with their MLS and their contract software. They need to understand how the buyer process works from showing to offer to contract to closing. They need to put together a plan to market their listings and decide how to structure their fees. They should be shadowing other agents on showings, inspections, appraisals and closings. They should be creating their team of great lenders, inspectors and handymen. They need to be reconnecting with their spheres of influence and creating transaction checklists. They need to learn about short sales and foreclosures. They need to learn how to properly price homes and create coherent, compelling, persuasive CMAs. They need to choose a contact management system and learn how to use it.

PLENTY to do.

Now, if there were unlimited hours in the day, unlimited dollars in the bank and unlimited energy in the proverbial gas tank, then sure, let’s add “creating a website” to that list. But the reality for most new agents is that there is not unlimited time, an unlimited budget or an unlimited supply of energy, so a little triage is necessary.

(By the way, if a new agent is finding that they DO have plenty of time on their hands, something is WRONG! Take a look at that list above and determine what it is you aren’t doing… and do THAT).

Your website can wait. For now, just sign up for your broker-provided site, do the minimum required to not look like a slacker, and focus on creating a great product (that would be YOU) so that when the time comes to Create Your Website, you actually have something compelling to say about that great product!

The moral of the story – rookie agents – mark “Create My Website” off your list of Things to Do Today. Whew – one less thing!


posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question yesterday “Do You Market Your Listings to Your SOI?”

I used to. As Susan H. said, I wanted my SOI to know that I was active and successful, and heck, who knows? Maybe one of them would want to buy the house or know someone who does. Couldn’t hurt, right? Besides, I was one of the first agents in Denver to do my own virtual tours (as opposed to hiring out IPIX – yech), so I was able to really WOW my SOI with such advanced marketing techniques!

But today… eh…. I dunno. The last thing I want to do is train my SOI to ignore my emails because they’ve learned there’s nothing “of value” there. There’s a fine line between staying in touch and being a nuisance. Once you hit the “nuisance” list, there’s not much you can do to earn back your credibility. I think people today are much less receptive to receiving unsolicited marketing emails than they were ten years ago when email was still a novelty to many.  And besides, do you REALLY think your social network cares that much about your listings?

I think Ruthmarie nailed it when she said “I would not want overwhelm their email or snail mail with an unending stream of listings. I think its common sense. Not only is it annoying – it would lose its effect in short order.  It’s like any other form of advertising.  The more the public is bombarded, the more they tune out. They HAVE to – its survival for God’s sake.” 

I like to approach my SOI as an interesting, reliable, intelligent, caring PERSON first, and a real estate agent second or third or fourth. If I use my listings as my main excuse to communicate, that’s sending the wrong message (to my way of thinking). I want people to know that I’m a real estate agent, of course, but I think it’s more important that they think I’m a generally cool person, as well.

On the other hand, my seller client didn’t hire me to worry about my SOI; he hired me to sell his house. So, is it my DUTY to expose his home to my SOI, at the risk of turning them off?

I don’t think so. The chances that my SOI will bring the buyer to the home are slim. Do you think anyone is sitting at their computer, reading your mass-email and suddenly exclaiming “Eureka! I want to move and this house is PERFECT for me!” Probably not.

The exception is if you have an unusually interesting listing, such as a historic property, a cash-flowing investment or even your own home. I always send out the virtual tour of my own properties when I sell them. Does that sound contradictory? It’s not. I believe mass-emails should still be interesting and personal, and I believe most people ARE interested in seeing the price, photos and description of the home of someone they know. (Which is why I always encourage my sellers to send out my virtual tour to THEIR friends!)

Heather Oberhau commented that she uses direct mail to market listings to her SOI and I think that’s just fine, as long as you can afford it. I just don’t think we should risk losing our email rapport with the people we know… since that’s FREE!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Let’s say you just got a shiny new listing on this second day of 2008. You take your photos, create a virtual tour, write up a snappy description and….

…send it out to everyone you know (that is, your SOI) — just in case someone might want to buy it or know someone who does?

How do you feel about this marketing technique?

I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow, but I’d love to hear yours today…


posted by on Prospecting & SOI

cat in the hat

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~  Dr. Seuss

In April, I did a teleseminar called “Don’t Be Dorky, Be YOU!” which was about how to write interesting, relevant and non-cheesy content for your self-promotional material. During that seminar, I talked about the wisdom of being “transparent” to your audience; specifically, whether or not you should you share your personal beliefs and interests with your audience if those beliefs are at all controversial or subject to debate.

I used the rather obvious examples of religion and politics. If you are a person of faith, should you make that clear in your personal marketing (whether that’s your blog, your Facebook page, your website, your personal brochure and/or your SOI communications)? If you have strong political leanings, is it appropriate to publicly share those from time to time when current events seem to call for it?  

During the seminar, I said yes – it is appropriate, within reason. I explained that even though you take the risk of alienating some of your audience, you also maximize the chances that your candor will attract like-minded people with whom you will probably enjoy working. And even if someone doesn’t agree wholeheartedly with your opinion, you’ll still stand out among the crowd as simply being more interesting than most of your competition who is determined to play it safe and hang out in the middle of the aisle.  

Brilliant stuff, Jennifer, if she does say so herself.  

Well, last week, I had the opportunity to put my money where my mouth was. I sent out an email to my entire mailing list, and, without giving it much thought, referenced a recent controversial blog I’d written.


Well, sorta oops. The responses poured in, literally hundreds of them within a few hours. The majority of responses were supportive, even effusive. Neato.

But some were… shall we say… less so.

A handful of my (now former) readers blasted me for my opinion, and a percentage promptly unsubscribed from my mailing list and my Active Rain blog.

At first, I was shaken. I was hurt. I was mad at myself for carelessly risking the support of my readership. I berated myself for hours for being so stupid as to be that transparent with my precious mailing list. I didn’t sleep much that night.

But somewhere in the middle of that sleepless night, I had an epiphany. While my transparency did indeed alienate a portion of my audience, it also solidified the support of a much larger portion of that audience, and also attracted dozens of new readers into my world.

I must confess that in my initial moments of panic, I considered apologizing, backing off my stance and returning to the middle of the aisle where it’s much safer. But I didn’t and I’m at peace with that decision.

Are you considering being more transparent in your self-promotion? If so, good for you! But be warned that it may take the wind out of your sails the first few times (actually, every time) someone nastily asks to be removed from your mailing list, and you may very well lose audience members. But be assured that there IS a loyal and supportive audience for your viewpoint (unless it’s really wacky or creepy, LOL); one that will love you even more once they’ve discovered your common ground!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Have you ever noticed (or is it just me) that the people you actually “market” to aren’t the ones who actually respond? In my worlds (‘ritin’ and real estate), I find that the bulk of my business comes from those who have not received any direct sales pitch from me. Either I’m a lousy sales-pitcher (very possible) or maybe (just maybe), people don’t want to be sales pitched.mega phone

Here’s an example. A few weeks ago I got a call from a lender with whom I’ve done a little business the past. Just your basic catching-up call, prospecting, I’m sure. Well, I happen to know that this lender does a lot of seminars for local Realtors and since I’m also in the seminars-for-Realtors business, I asked him if he’d be interested in bringing me along on one and letting me say a few words. He hemmed and hawed and changed the subject (I’ll take that as a NO). Now, I get asked to speak all the time (particularly by lenders), so I don’t think what I offered was too far out of line; in fact, I thought my offer might be greeted with enthusiasm. Uh, no.

In my real estate business, I know for sure that when (in the past), I’ve outright asked for business – either in a self-promotional mailing or local advertising, I can count on zero hands how many positive responses I got. But I do GET business – it just comes in organically – that is – people hear about me or meet me or stumble onto my blog and THEN pursue me. And, often hire me or buy my stuff.

This is somewhat comforting, yet irritating to me at the same time. Hey, I spend perfectly good money getting my name out there, so when my marketing efforts crash and burn, I’m pretty darn annoyed. Believe me; I had plenty of other uses for that money!

But, of course, I find myself doing the same thing. I delete inbox SPAM with a vengeance and often ignore (or politely decline) invitations to cross-link my site with others. I certainly use TV commercial time to check my email or refill my wine glass. I never look at the promotional material that clutters up my mailbox or Oprah Magazine and I toss out all the inspection and carpet-cleaning brochures that fill up my inbox at RE/MAX. I can’t say that I give a second glance to the gawd-awfully expensive advertising that covers the pages of my Realtor Magazine. I hang up on cold-callers.

So, what’s the alternative to aggressive self-promotion? Stay tuned for MY thoughts on the matter… but please share yours!


posted by on Prospecting & SOI

I’ve never had much (any?) luck with mass-advertising (newspapers, bus benches, SEO), at least, not that I could tell. One year I took out over $20,000 worth of newspaper ads which resulted in, get this, ZERO phone calls. Enough of that nonsense.

However, I’m starting to think about the effectiveness of “advertising” to your SOI. Here’s where my brain is going.

I live in a trendy, hip neighborhood that has barely noticed the recent doom & gloom of the real estate market. People still want to live here and decent homes sell quickly. (Although there’s plenty of overpriced crap on the market that isn’t moving, for good reason.) I also happen to know a lot of people who live here in the ‘hood with me – probably 20-30 members of my core SOI are neighbors. We’re such a hip, trendy crowd…

So I’m thinking… would it be effective to advertise in the local (neighborhood) newspapers – not necessarily to attract the business of total strangers, but rather to reinforce my name recognition among the people who DO know me, or have at least heard of me?

I remember many years ago, there was an agent in town who advertised heavily on bus benches. I thought she must be a Top Dog because it seemed her name was all over the place. When we finally met (and became friends), I was shocked to discover that she was newer than I was and did significantly less business. But the perception I had of her was that she was very successful.

Here’s my point… If I were a consumer, would all those bus benches have inspired me to call her up and hire her on the spot? Not a chance. BUT, if I’d met her, at an open house, at a party, wherever, would she have already had some credibility with me, due to her advertising efforts? Probably so, especially if she were professional and credible in person (which she was).

So… I’m wondering if the point of local advertising might be to put you in a position of credibility should you ever have the opportunity to meet those who have seen your advertising. Or, of course, to remind those who already know you of your existence, if they’ve forgotten…?

Is this a big DUH question?

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

marketing“What’s the best way to get my name out there?”

I hear this question a lot. Agents, particularly newer ones, ask it wanting to know how they can best spread the word that they’re open for business.

Usually, they’re looking for advice on the best places to advertise – should they take out an ad in the newspaper? Issue a press release? Buy a promotional panel on the side of a bus or a magnet for their car? Or maybe they’ve been offered a great “opportunity” to include their personal brochure in a neighborhood mailer or door-hanging promotion. One guy wanted to know if he should pony up $1000 to advertise on a banner at his health club.

I always ask the same question of these hopeful agents. “What do you expect to accomplish with your investment?”

They always answer: “I want to get my name out there.”

Um… Out WHERE? Out there in the universe of people who don’t know you, don’t care about you and wouldn’t dream of remembering your name, much less calling you for real estate service? Seriously?

Would YOU call a total stranger whose face you saw plastered on the side of a bus or smiling out at you from your shopping cart? Would you run screaming for the phone to hire someone who hung a HIRE ME brochure on your door? Do you really care that so-and-so just joined such-and-such firm and is now happily accepting referrals?

Of course not. And even on the off-chance that someone might respond to this sort of thing, the chances are far too slim for someone on a limited budget to risk the expense.

My point is that “getting your name out there” is a concept promoted primarily by the industries who have something to gain by helping you “get your name out there.” And they prey on the “young” (i.e. the rookies) and the desperate.

If you’re wondering how to “get your name out there,” you probably don’t have the budget to do it effectively. And that’s okay! Getting Your Name Out There is overrated anyway. Focus your efforts (and marketing dollars) closer to home, literally and figuratively. Before you spend a dime on self-promotion-to-strangers, make darn sure everyone you know knows you sell real estate (without pestering them for referrals, of course). Every day, go forth and smile – that is – go out into your world with the sole intention of making others’ days brighter.

Don’t worry about competing with the heavier-hitters in your market; there’s no need. Real estate business comes in one client at a time. When you run into someone who has a real estate need, all you have to worry about is being the Best (Wo)Man for the Job, which has nothing to do with advertising or marketing or branding… it has everything to do with knowing your stuff – and knowing you know your stuff.

THAT’s the best way to get your name out there!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

It’s a common complaint among our ranks that we often work “for free,” especially these days when buyers are fussy, sellers are frustrated and closings are more tenuous than ever. We can work for months on one transaction only to watch it fall apart due to factors beyond our control, leaving us uncompensated for all that time, energy and gas money.Free

While I have some issues with the opinion that all that work was “for free,” that’s not my topic du jour.

Today I want to pontificate about our resistance to providing a “free” CMA (comparative market analysis). That it’s unprofessional to “give it away” so that the seller prospect can take our information and run with it, possibly even giving it to another agent who offers a lower fee and uses our hard work to procure a sellable listing.


If you go to my website (, you’ll see enough free stuff* there to keep you busy for hours, maybe days. Some of that free stuff (actually, most of it) took ME hours (even days) to put together, some of it at a not-insignificant cost.  I imagine there’s enough free stuff there to get you 75% of the way toward knowing everything I know about running a successful real estate business without selling your soul to do it.

Why do I give so much away?

Well, there are two ways to market yourself to your potential audience. You can TELL them how great you are… or you can SHOW them how great you are. Which approach do you think might be more convincing?

When you cheerfully provide a thorough, professional market analysis to a seller prospect, you’re demonstrating that you are a competent real estate professional who understands his or her market; as well as opening the door to further discussion, which builds rapport and further proves your competence and professionalism. Sure, you could TELL the seller that you’re professional and competent, but that CMA will say it far more convincingly.

Will the seller prospect “use” your CMA against you? Maybe, maybe not, but so what if they do? If they do, it has nothing to do with the fact you gave it to them and everything to with something ELSE. In other words, doing the free CMA only enhances the chances (hey, that rhymes!) that the seller will honor you with his or her business, but if they don’t, it’s not BECAUSE you did the CMA, but rather in spite of it.

Do some readers take my stuff and run with it, without ever spending a dime in my bookstore? Sure they do, and I’m fine with that. But if my website were just one big promo for Jennifer Allan Hagedorn and how fabulous she is, I’m pretty sure a whole lot fewer dimes would find their way to my bookstore and bank account!


*Here’s some of the free stuff you can find at a sample listing presentation, 2X/month teleseminar shows, listing and buyer checklists, three newsletter/mini-courses, an abridged version of Sell with Soul, a 7-day free trial of my Savvy Prospector program, sample client  and SOI communications, a forum… probably more but that’s what I can think of right now!



posted by on Prospecting & SOI


It’s a never-ending debate as to whether or not to include a photo on a real estate agent’s business card. Some say yes; some say no (duh, that’s the definition of a debate!).

Although it’s interesting, when you ask the question in a public forum, I’ve noticed that most answer in the negative, explaining that “no one cares about your face” or that “doctors and lawyers don’t have their pictures on their cards,” or simply that “it’s unprofessional.”

And I get that. I do. Somehow it seems like unnecessary vanity to have your smiling face on a business card as if “anyone really cares about your face anyway,” right?

Well… here’s the thing.

Most people are really “bad with names.” Just ask ‘em, they’ll tell you straight out. Whenever I speak publicly, I always collect business cards from my audience and put them in a fish bowl because I like to keep my audience awake during the show by randomly giving away books and CD’s. After the show, I’ll go through the business cards one by one and spend several hours sending personal notes to the audience members I remember interacting with. Let me say that again – that “I remember interacting with.

99.9% of the time I only write to agents with photos on their cards. Because they’re the only ones I liked? Of course not. They’re the only ones I remember.

From a fishbowl full of hundreds of business cards, I can almost always remember every conversation I had with the people whose cards have a photo. The conversations I had with people without photos are completely forgotten. Sorry.

People remember faces. Ugly faces, pretty faces; doesn’t matter. They may not remember the name that belongs to the face, but they know if they’ve seen a face before.

And the fact is, real estate agents are a dime a dozen. You may be doing an awesome job handing out your business card, but rest assured that your competition is, too. And if the “other” card sitting on someone’s desk has a photo and yours doesn’t, which agent is more likely to be remembered by that person?

So, go get a kick-a$$ photo of yourself and don’t take the chance of being forgotten!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Jennifer in Nassau

I just got back from a cruise to the Bahamas. I’m very tan.

Even though I was sternly warned that I would not work on vacation, I couldn’t help but notice all sorts of analogies between my cruising experience and the wonderful world of real estate sales. Ahhh, the curse of the obsessive blogger. You know what I mean.

Anyway, now that I’m back, I’ll share some of ‘em with you.

A few weeks ago, I was following a conversation on another real estate forum about call-capture. Whether or not to do it. Whether or not it annoys people who get a call out of nowhere from a stranger. Whether or not it matters if you annoy people. As I recall, the consensus was that it does not matter if people are annoyed by an unsolicited phone call; if the strategy works every once in awhile, it’s worth the annoyance imposed.

Frankly, that seems to be the mantra of the Old School traditional real estate model.

Anyway, back to my vacation (yeah, it’s all about me).

As we got on the cruise ship after a 7-hour drive, we were bombarded with lights, music and activity. Selling activity. We were offered a Welcome Bahama Mama (for $8.95+tip). A few steps away was a booth selling soda packages ($29.00 for all the soda you can drink PLUS a free insulated cup!). To the side was a guy hawking on-shore excursions. To the other side was a cute little thing promoting an on-board detoxification experience in the spa.

Being the introvert that I am, I just wanted to escape to my room and have a moment of silence. The joy I felt at finally being On Vacation was a little dampened by all the attention focused on getting into my pocketbook.

But was the approach working? Oh, yeah, there were people lined up at every booth, brand-spanking new SeaPass card in hand, ready to start spending their dollars within minutes of boarding.

A few days later, I found myself disembarking into Nassau. If you’ve ever been to Nassau (or any island, probably), you know what happened next. We were accosted by local dudes offering buggy rides, scooters, taxis, hair-braiding (okay, those were women), snorkel trips… along with plenty of offers for less-legal products.

None of which we bought, by the way. But that didn’t stop them – we spent the day fending off sales pitches, requests for tips from people we’d never seen before and pushing away “free” bracelets and trinkets.

Now, do these people really think anyone appreciates their approach? That their visitors enjoy the experience of being incessantly accosted on their vacation? I can’t imagine they do, but, it’s worth it because it results in sales.

Does the end justify the means in marketing? If you believe it does, how do you rationalize that it’s okay to do unto others that would annoy the hell out of you if done unto you?

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

A few months ago I was approached by a state Realtor association – New York, maybe. Well, it wasn’t actually the association; it was the marketing firm for the association, trying to sell me ad space in their magazine.

The nice man with the heavy New Yawk accent threw out a bunch of numbers and statistics and options, trying to entice me to spend several thousand dollars advertising in the magazine. Readership, distribution and such. Oh, several thousand dollars is out of your budget? Okay, well, we also offer very effective classified ads for a fraction of the cost (but still several hundred for a 3-line ad or something like that).

Okay, well… I’ve spent a lot of money on advertising in my life and I can honestly say that NONE of it has worked for me. In fact, it’s rare that it even pays for itself, much less generates a profit. But, hey, I’m open to new venues for business, so I made this proposal to Mr. New Yawker:

“Sir (okay, I didn’t really call him sir), I’d be happy to give your magazine a try, but I don’t have that kind of budget to risk and in my experience, print advertising is a waste of money. But if you’re sure that an investment in your magazine will pay off for me, how about you run an ad for me for a few months and if it generates business for me, I’ll be delighted to pay for it. And, obviously, if it’s producing results, I’ll continue paying for it.”

Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t fly. Didn’t expect it to, but thought I’d give it a shot.

I guess when you work in an industry where you only get paid if you perform; you’re much less excited to pay upfront for something that might NOT perform. And, since so much advertising simply doesn’t work, I’d love to see the marketing/advertising industry adopt a policy of showing US the money before asking for ours…

Crazy? Maybe. But I’m from Missouri – the Show Me State!