Just Listed! Just Sold!
By Markelle Harden
Bring Postcard Advertising Out of the Dark Ages
Let’s take the concept of ‘Just Listed’ and ‘Just Sold’ and bring it up to speed with current marketing trends that work, and can leave you with a much better image among the recipients.
I once attended a ‘By Referral Only’ seminar, and Joe Stumpf described a scenario for his audience that described the Dark Ages of Postcard advertising: “Your neighbor is a car salesman. You keep getting these slick, glossy postcards in the mail, with his photo, and a photo of a car he just sold. It says ‘I can sell you one too!’ “ Upon receiving one of these postcards per month, are you going to call him to buy a new Lexus? What a great analogy for how SILLY Realtor advertising can get. Don’t feel bad if you’ve done this or currently do it, EVERYONE has. And who sells it to us? Why, the postcard design and printing companies! These companies DO NOT know how to get a listing appointment, present a CMA to a seller, or get them to sign on the dotted line for a listing agreement. The only know how to take your credit card information and print what you tell them to, ‘because everyone else is doing it’. Are you listening? You can still be successful if you don’t do it the way everyone else is. And for less money!
Scenario #1: Just Listed Open House Postcard, custom designed as an invitation or hand delivered. Realtors send mail pieces to neighboring homes of a listing to reinforce name/brand recognition. Why not try to meet these people in person? Most Open Houses are full of nosy neighbors anyway, why don’t you invite them? If they received an invitation, they won’t be as embarrassed when they come over to check out the color scheme/furniture placement for their own curiosity! Once they identify themselves as a neighbor, you can smile and say ‘Did you get my invitation?’. Better yet, maybe you already met them because you hand delivered the invitation a week prior, and this is your second meeting! A second meeting certainly entitles you to ask some important questions: “Are you planning on selling or buying a home in the future? Do you know anyone else in the neighborhood who is selling? Would you like to be notified every time a home is listed or sold in your neighborhood? Sign up here!” This method would be a fabulous way for a new team member or agent you are mentoring to spend their time. Open houses can be profitable, if planned for and the right tools are utilized.
Scenario #2: Introduce your Sellers to the neighborhood. Maybe it’s not a very tight-knit community and your sellers don’t talk with a lot of people, and it’s not a great location for an Open House. Send the neighboring owners a personalized letter about your sellers (with their permission of course). Example:
“Bob and Barbara HomeSeller recently learned of a job opportunity in Texas, and they are going to try and sell their home before making a move. They would like your help! If you have a friend, co-worker or family member who is looking for a home, would you mind telling them about this home? I’ve enclosed some brochures for your convenience. If they would like to tour the home or learn more about financing options, please tell them I would be happy to help. Thank you for your time!”
*This scenario is delicate; you don’t want to share too much personal information about your seller, and you want them to initial the letter to keep a record that they were aware it was sent. NEVER highlight a distress situation to a neighbor in a letter, even if your seller is OK with it. Just because it’s true does not mean you have to be the broadcaster. A nice alternative could be ‘John and Susie have a limited amount of time to successfully sell their home, and we are asking for your help!’. Again, it is all-circumstantial and you’ll have to use common courtesy and common sense, but it can be done, and it’s much more personal. This approach takes you from a ‘salesperson’ to a ‘helper’. Much more favorable in a consumer’s eyes!
Scenario # 3 You’re the Buyers Agent who would like to list property in that neighborhood that your Buyers just moved into. Invite the neighbors to a ‘Meet the New Neighbor!’ party, hosted by Yours Truly! It would not cost much to supply some snacks and beverages, and since you’re the host, you’ll get to meet everyone and chat with them! This event would need some thought and coordination; but it’s a ‘twofer’ as they say – a closing gift for your Buyers and a networking event with neighbors. Once you’ve held the party, put everyone who was invited on a ‘Market Watch’ newsletter campaign to keep in touch.
The possibilities are endless! Most of these ideas were obtained from a By Referral Only Main Event, so I would like to give credit where credit is due! Real Estate coaches and mentors can help you think outside the box. If they recommend the traditional ‘Just Listed, Just Sold’ cards, please picture that car salesman postcard mentioned above, and RUN as fast as you can in the opposite direction of that coach!
Markelle Harden is the owner of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant Company, servicing Realtors nationwide. Her company helps Realtors implement non-hype strategies that yield referrals and cash flow. For more information visit www.AVirtualGenie.com.