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Realtor Marketing Skills Are Overrated

Stop Marketing and Start Selling

stop-marketing-start-selling-real-estate-tampa-bay-st-petersburgI know, Atlanta Realtor, I may get some critique from you about this post. I recently read an article outlining important skills a Realtor must have in order to be a “good” agent.  They were all good skills but 7 out of 9 were types of marketing know-hows that would somehow prove that the real estate professional has deep knowledge, experience and works very hard for the seller.  Things like taking good pictures, creating high-quality brochures, writing a property description, help you prepare your house for a showing, etc.

I LOVE all these things, and that’s precisely why I don’t sell real estate any more.  I like being a marketer more than a sales person.  A Realtor is a sales person?  Of course!  Last time I checked it’s commission kind of work.  So, if I wanted to list my home for sale, what qualities would I seek in my listing agent?

Ok, here’s a short list:

1) A good listing agent is a great negotiator, a sales person of great skill
2) Knows transaction flow in and out
3) Knows contract, addenda and any deal related paperwork very well
4) Knows real estate news in his community
5) Knows inventory and pricing well
6) Well-connected with vendors and other agents
7) Great closer and problem-solver
8) Great communicator who keeps things under control
9) Delegates tasks

Marketing skills?  I’d put those at the end of the list.  Why?  Because marketing can and, in my opinion, should be outsourced or delegated.  You can control your marketing, you can be the face and voice of your marketing, you can be involved in it somewhat on your personal time (like blogging), but putting together brochures, editing videos, taking pictures, fixing websites – is time that should’ve been spent building relationships, finding business, working with your sphere of influence and with your leads.

Some may say: I can’t afford to pay someone else to do my marketing.  What you can’t afford is spending your time on it instead of focusing on generating business.  Trust me, I’ve made that mistake.  Even your most creative marketing efforts that will generate you leads are worthless if you are not working those leads.

Do you eat your lunch alone?  What are you doing with your 500+ friend list of Facebook?  Your 10 closest friends – do you know what’s going on in their family life?  Do you know 5 most successful people in your town and do you know if they have a Twitter account?  Do you follow?  Answer these questions before you spend two hours making a brochure or thinking about your marketing plan.

I hope you know WHY you got into real estate.  I hope you are taking your “why” seriously and your vocation as a full-time job.  There isn’t much room for you in real estate business these days if you are not.  In the last 10 years the way we do real estate evolved rapidly.  However, if you are new to this business or struggling to build it to a level of success – I have some thoughts to share with you. But that’s in my next post…

Tell Your Story – Reach Your Audience With Quality Media. Domain Homes

livingroom149I have worked with Domain Homes for a couple years now.  I could see passion in what they do and their enthusiasm for creating a brand name that is recognizable and carries a great reputation. My passion was to work with such passionate people. I wanted to come along and help them in this pursuit. Idea after idea, project after project, Domain Homes has grown into a reputable company in Tampa Bay whose brand is well recognised.

Quality Photography

design-center188For Domain Homes it was not a question wether they needed to present their homes with great photography. They wanted quality and consistency. Every model home was photographed and featured with a video tour.

Video

They wanted more. They honored owners of the lots they bought from, threw parties for them and presented gifts. When a kids baseball league found some of their equipment stolen Domain Homes stepped in and purchased new item for them. They also kept the story-line going with photos and video.

When I suggested we create a video presentation of their Enclave Model in the style of House Hunters – they jumped on it without hesitation. The video is now on their YouTube channel and uploaded directly to their Facebook Page.

Results

back240For a small Tampa home builder they created a strong following on Facebook and you will find their daily posts on Twitter and regular videos on YouTube. The awareness of their brand is huge in Tampa Bay. People in St Pete know of them, Tampa Heights, Seminole and Safety Harbor – all heard about Domain Homes. Not an easy task when you are competing with national new home builder giants. Same goes for builders in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and other Metro Area towns.

You Already Took The Red Pill – Now What? Content, Context and Story Writing

Is Your Story Heard By Your Market?

red-pill-content-developmentHey, Atlanta Realtor. The red pill took you into the world of digital, the world of Internet. Are you surviving? Are you thriving?
Good news is before digital world and in it people always wanted to work with exceptional companies. But In 2017 exceptional companies usually will have exceptional presence online. Maybe you’ve heard that a good product sells itself. Sorry, it’s not true. The reality is even addictive products like tobacco require some creative marketing to have successful sales. Your amazing product, service or charity will thrive if you tell your story. But how?
Marketing methods constantly evolve. In the last 50 years we went from black and white paper ads, to QR-codes, social media and mobile-only tools. What haven’t changed is that people still desire to work with people they like and trust.

If Your Goal Is Success – Stop Hiding

I want you to think of marketing as a 2-step venture: 1. – helping people find you and 2. – giving them what they want once they find you. What is your story? 20 years ago it was strange when you shared too much about yourself online, but now it is considered strange if there’s no public info about your business or yourself. Think about Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Internet is no longer some mysterious outlet; it is now an extension of your life, your communication with the world, friends, parents and co-workers; Internet is your dictionary, encyclopedia, cook book, shopping cart, research tool, it’s your bookshelf and your stereo-center. We ALL took the red pill, we are ALL in the world of digital. But not all adapt easily.

Tell Your Story

How can you showcase your red pin and make it stand out on the vibrant map of the Internet? Building a company website is intimidating. From design and layout development to menu and plug-ins set up, it can be overwhelming. If you’ve hired a web-developer, you’ve solved a half of your problems. The other half is – content. Are you a creative copy-writer or blogger? If you don’t provide quality content like write-ups, bios, pictures, videos, service info, history, continuously updated storyline – your developers will have their hands tied. Your content must also be relevant to the context and platform where you choose to share it besides your site. Think about getting help from content and media professional.

Learn how to bring your site to life. It can happen naturally when you accept that the Internet is an extension of you, both personally and professionally, and that every day the world is more likely to see that extension of you first. Your content may involve regular copy-writing, personalized photography, video, creative customer loyalty ideas, engaging and offering help – it’s all part of building relationships with your clients. If you are in the beginning stage of your site development and integration with social media, and want to have a strong presence online, let’s talk, I’d be glad to offer a review and ideas.

Are You Packaging Your Services Right? Simple Tips For Real Estate Marketing and Branding In Atlanta

Cupcake Theory

cupcake-branding-marketing-real-estateA cupcake wrapper without a cupcake is of not much value. Yet, a cupcake without a cupcake wrapper is a nuisance. You can’t bake it without a wrapper and you’ll get messy when you eat it. You need a wrapper. A wrapper is a a type of packaging and packaging is a multibillion dollar industry. It is for a reason. And it’s not just for a practical reason. The looks, the appeal, the attraction are also invoked by smart packaging.

In a way, a realtor is a master of packaging, you, my great Atlanta Realtor keep things from burning, YOU help avoid sticky circumstances and deliver a pleasant experience.

If someone threw a cupcake in your lap, you wouldn’t enjoy it, you probably wouldn’t eat it either. Imagine buttercream icing soaking deeper into the fabric of your favorite suit! A wrapper is both convenience and quality presentation. Apple products come to mind. Ever unboxed one? Then you know what I mean.

Is Your Branding Consumable, Pleasant and Helpful?

Too often we forget about the wrapper, we focus so much on the cake. It’s understandable, it is what we want and it is what we want to share with others. But nobody wants messy business. The desired end result is a practically and esthetically pleasant experience.

Are you throwing all effort into the cake forgetting the wrapper? Are you keeping the desired end result in mind? Is your product or service presented in a consumable, easy and pleasant way? If not, it’s time to pause and reflect.

The meat (or in this analogy – the cake) of your work is the sales process. You love the real estate business and you love to help people buy or sell properties. What you need to see is that branding and personalized marketing is your packaging. But a great sales person is not always a great marketer. It’s normal when an agent struggles to independently create a nice branding portfolio. All those cheesy slogans on bus benches? Umm, yup! Creating a “You” brand takes time and creativity, demands searching deep within yourself, becoming self aware and going all in on your strengths. Many real estate companies offer help with marketing and branding, take advantage of it. Yet you will still need to implement a lot individually, and if that’s not your strong suit – hire a professional.

Marketing and Branding Must Be Useful

If there was one thing I’d want you to take away from this message, it wouldn’t be just a fact of you needing a presentation and looking good. I’d say it’s this: don’t just look pretty, be useful too.

Marketing and branding is not just story telling. It’s also doing something useful. Your stories shouldn’t just tell a good story about you and showcase your product or service – your stories must draw tears because of the positive action your marketing brings to the lives of others. Need help marketing your services/products in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell and other Metro Area? Give me a call (727) 418-9016

Advice To New Realtors – Where To Begin?

Practical advice to new real estate agents

living-room-snell-isle-tampabayHello, wonderful Atlanta Realtor! You passed your real estate exam. Congrats! So, did thousands of others this year, eager to join an army of a couple million Realtors in USA.

You already have a plan… or not. Or you just asked the person sitting next to you in class about reputable brokerages in town and now you put together a list of brokers you want to interview. Chances are you are in one of the following scenarios:

  1. Your job sucks and your friends say you are great with people and should sell real estate. You already quit your job, and after your 63-hour course and exam, which I’m sure you passed on your first (or second) try, you are ready to rake in those thousands of commissions dollars, like next week!
  2. Your kids left home for college and you’d like to take on a new adventure in life. Yes, the spouse works, but you just want to make a few extra bucks you can spend anyway you want.
  3. You worked at a real estate office as an assistant and now ready to venture out on your own.
  4. You have a friend already making tons of cash and he/she invited you to join forces and start a team. (no! run! I’ll explain later)
  5. Or a dozen other scenarios, but it doesn’t matter…

…What matters is your very next step. Your first activity as a licensee will be forever etched in your memory and I really hope one day you can look back and smile because you made a good decision.

Being your own boss is not easy but doable

You will have to join a broker and once you hang your license there, it’s up to you to make sales happen. There may be training and some help at a cost of your commission. Your broker may provide paperwork assistance and floor time. But training and floor time will not get you far. If you are in it to win it, get ready to hustle, cold call, solicit every relative and friend you have, reach folks on social media and knock on your farm’s doors. I did and disliked all of these, but if your skin is thick enough, there will eventually be result, it may take a few month and over a year before you get on your feet financially. It may be easier if you were in real estate related business like lending or insurance where you can prospect to your client database. Still, it will take time for them to trust you in your new field.

Buy leads

To make money as an independent agent you will need to have cash to invest before seeing any of it come back. In addition to “old school” prospecting, buying leads, zip codes on Zillow and Trulia and hosting other agents open houses will be your good options.

Are you a team player?

If you are not too keen on cold prospecting and spending thousands of dollars to generate quick business is not an option, you will have to consider other scenarios.

Joining a team is different than becoming a partner. Unless it’s with your spouse, business partnership should only be considered if you know the person well, duties and responsibilities are written in stone and possible exit scenario is well discussed and documented. Additionally it’s desirable if both partners are bringing a book of business to the table. As a new agent you simply will not have one. A new agent becoming a partner will often see failure within months.

Joining a successful team, on the other hand, is a great scenario. Find a few successful agents with a team in your market and pursue them. You may start as a buyer’s agent, team assistant or office manager. If the team rocks, so will you. Hustle hard, don’t mind low commission splits (you are learning after all) and build relationships with vendors and clients.

If you decide to go solo, be willing to pick up other agents “unwanted” business. Take tough clients, lower end buyers and offer to host open houses. Remember, your local community will bring you business, so volunteer for events and take part in non-profit activities.

Lunch Value

After five years in real estate I was surprised how few of the vendors wanted to build a relationship with me. We like to gage success with dollars. Ok, so what if I told you the highest ROI I’ve ever had was from a cup of coffee? Simply building a relationship with a prospective client on social media and then asking if I could buy her a coffee? Simple as that. Those clients are now most loyal. Many of them have become friends too. Stop thinking money and ROI, start thinking about building genuine relationships with people you want to do business with. My suggestion – in your first year never eat lunch alone. Who’s the most successful agent in your brokerage? Offer to buy him/her a burger and pick their brain! And if it’s coffee with a potential client – they already know why you are inviting them, so don’t say a word about business! They will ask you.