Greg reveals the secret to building both your visibility and your credibility.
July 2005, By Greg Herder
What's the secret to building both your visibility and credibility?
The answer is consistency - consistency in your message, your delivery, and finally in your follow through. It's so simple, so obviously true, and yet lack of consistency is the one thing that kills more agents' sales and marketing efforts than anything else.
The problem is that most agents are looking for some magical sexy marketing gimmick that will make them successful overnight. What they should be thinking about is how to develop a long-term marketing message and a plan that consistently delivers that message to a targeted set of clients over and over again, until it starts to resonate in the clients' minds. The catch is that this requires making some tough decisions, spending money before you make it, and stopping efforts to build your real estate career with a lottery mentality that hopes this year will be the year that you will really cash in with glow in the dark pumpkins this Halloween. What a scary thought.
Know Where You're Going So, if consistency is the key, why do so many agents struggle with it? The big problem most agents have is that in order to be consistent you have to think things through from beginning to end. Let's say an agent says, “OK, I want to build a marketing campaign around the great service I provide.” In their minds they think, “If people just know how great my service is, I know they would want to do business with me.” They put together a flyer and an ad that markets their world-class service.
The problem is they didn't really think through what world-class service means in their client's mind. So even if a prospect responds to the marketing and calls, they get a voice mail recording that instantly is working against the marketing promise of world-class service. Then they don't get a return phone call until the next day and instead of having a detailed answer to the question the client left on the message, the agent asks how they can help. Suddenly the client is thinking, “This is what this agents thinks is world class service? They must be joking!”
Even if the agent gets the listing, unless they have a detailed written service plan that is designed to create an outstanding perception of service, the agent is in trouble. On top of that, if the service claims World Class, Great Service, etc., and procedures that an agent uses are easily duplicated by another agent, then the agent does not even have a defensible marketing position, and in the long run it will fail to produce sustainable results.
A Long-Term Plan to Make You Rich
Agents always tell me, “Greg, you make it so complex! Can't I figure out all that other stuff later? I just want a great marketing piece that will make me some short-term money today.” The problem is that short-term marketing materials are always hit or miss. Sometimes they can work, sometimes they don't. This is true of magnets, chip clips, jar openers, calendars, notepads, pens and all the other novelty promotional tools that agents try.
Connect with Your Audience If you sit down and think through a marketing strategy, develop your marketing plan and your service plan, you will build a powerful long-term plan that will make you rich. Let's say you are a 48-year old mother of three who wants to get back into the work force but still have some flexibility with your time so that you can stay active in your kids' lives. The first question to ask is, “What do I really want out of my real estate career?”
If you answer that you really want the flexibility to spend time with your kids and that is more important than how much money you make, I think you should consider calling yourself the Family Realtor. Pick a farm area that has lots of families and develop your personal brochure outlining your personal paradigm of family values.
Establish a Plan That Ensures Consistency
Set up a plan to mail to this group starting once a week for eight weeks, then two pieces per month. Buy advertising in the local school directory and PTA newsletter every month. Post school activities, events and important days on your family-oriented personal Web site. When you meet with clients, have a coloring book and crayons for the young kids, have some handheld video games for the older ones, and a couple of iPods for the teenagers with a selection of pop music for them to listen to.
Now when your clients meet you, it feels to them that you are the Family Realtor. You give them a schedule of your kids' activities so they know when you cannot be reached. Everything you do reinforces your family concept and theme. Now your marketing message will start to resonate with your prospects. Furthermore, they are getting exactly what they bought into in your marketing materials, and you are loving what you are doing and spending time with your kids. It's a win/win for everyone.
Make the Necessary Commitment Agents say, “ Greg, that sound great, but I don't want to be limited to just families. What about first time buyers? I love them, and some of my clients don't have children.” That inability to commit to one niche is why consistency is so hard and what kills most agents' chances.
Don't let it happen to you. Make a commitment and deliver your message consistently to your market. With patience and consistency, your visibility and credibility will soar.