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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…

Why Saying You Are Better And Different Is Not a Wise Choice In Real Estate Marketing

Why Saying You Are Better Than Others Is Stupid. Especially If You Aren’t

better-than-you-realtor“Soaring above the rest”, “Why we are different from the rest”, “We answer our phones” – and so many other ways some of us advertise come across as passive aggressive, heck, sometimes plain aggressive.

A friend told me: I don’t want to be known for what I am against, but what I am for. Negative notes often speak to our ego. They reflect our immaturity. It’s one thing to address something wrong done by others, another to use a blanket statement to the rest of your competition. What will push you above the crowd is the respect of others, never just your own promotional efforts. The bullshit radar is so very sensitive right now among all generations. We spot arrogance, we see when someone lies and we don’t want to deal with them. Rolling that way online only magnifies things.

It will take someone 5 minutes to check on your real presence online, your work and your reviews. If there isn’t much to show then your statements of being “different” are foolish.

So how do you promote yourself correctly?

The simple answer is that you don’t just promote yourself. Today’s marketing is offering help and telling a story, providing service and education about product. It is not blasting mass emails to 1000 addresses you just bought and then try to immediately close, churn and burn style. Today it’s give, give, give, politely ask. Love them to sale. And I see more and more professionals in Altanta and Metro area doing just that.

Practically speaking

1) Like Gary Vaynerchuk says: become self-aware . What are your strengths? How can you use them in your business?
2) Decide how much of personal life you want to share with your audience. But share some.
3) Don’t just push your listings on your wall. Start thinking like your clients, what do they really want from you?
That’s right, they’ve already seen all new listings, maybe even those you yourself haven’t seen yet. What is your value to your client? Define it, package it, offer it.
4) Thank before you bank. Your past clientele is your best advertising tool. Take a selfie with your happy buyers or sellers. Help them move in. Ask for a positive review.
5) If you do something much better than others, don’t say so. Simply show it and offer it. “I love making property videos for all my new listings! Love to show to my community what’s new for sale in the neighborhood! Follow me on YouTube, new listings coming this week!” – Something like this is positive and offers value.

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

Every property deserves a video tour

Every property deserves a video tour

bedroom2bSome less expensive or distressed homes may not require a professionally done video.  When selling these you can simply shoot a video tour on your phone or small camera and narrate as you film.  As long as you keep your hands steady, keep it short and give some valuable information to your potential buyers – you will be just fine.  You can use  your iPad or iPhone to quickly shoot, edit and upload your video to YouTube – it will take just under 15 minutes.

Some homes are worthy of a professionally done video.  There’s a misconception that such tours are only done for expensive high-end homes.  Not necessarily.  I have a Realtor friend and he decided to produce professional videos for every listing he gets over $100k.  The potential commission on a $150k sale is around $4,500 (or $9,000 if you work directly with both the seller and the buyer).  Many good agents will spend up to 20% of their income on marketing and advertising.  So, is it worth spending a few hundred dollars on professional photos and video tour? Here’s an example of a simple video tour I just finished. Trust me, it won’t break your marketing bank.

What is your vision and what is your plan?

Is-your-vision-planned-outDeciding how much money to set aside for marketing and advertising and what portion of it will be used for video and photography – is not always easy.  Realtors have to spend a lot of money every year: Realtors fees, MLS dues, Supra lockbox, desk fees, splits with a broker, office supplies, technology fees, franchise fees – these are often a must.  Video and photo often fall in the voluntary expense fund (if there’s any left) out of which you pay for enhanced listings on home search sites,  mail-outs, postcards, brochures, magazine ads, food for open houses and broker’s opens, personal website, IDX search plug in, membership in local networking clubs, and many more.

My advice would be to start with your vision and skill assessment.  Decide where you want to be in 5, 10 years, what you need to learn and then focus on getting there.  Some aspire to always work on their own, others want to build a team, some dream of becoming a broker, others desire to run a commercial real estate division.  Your plan and your vision will affect how you apply your marketing money.  How much of your budget should go to marketing will depend on what stage you are in.  Don’t spend your dollars on any marketing without having a vision and a plan to accomplish it.

You will have to adapt to the ever-changing world and learn new technology on the way to your dream.  Decide early on to only use technology that can substantially boost your business and give you advantages over competition without changing your vision and core values, and without putting a strain on your budget.