Are you spending your advertising money wisely?

Do you clients brag about you to others? If your phone ringing off the hook with prospects or have referrals dried up like a river bed in summer heat?

Everyone wants more referrals. These referrals only come from your clients evangelizing, but hoe do you make it happen and happen repeatedly? You need to build a lifetime of client loyalty.

Here’s the Old School Way:

You have just handed the keys to the buyers for their brand new home and have been handed your commission check. After the walkthrough, you return to your office and begin hunting for your next buyer. Perhaps you advertise in the local paper (not a great idea with so many paper companies closing), perhaps you mail bushels of postcards advertising your sales and listings (have you heard up to 3200 USPS offices are closing? (posted by Jim Pryor of Oklahoma)), you have advertised your open houses regularly. Now you are frustrated over money and time wasted on advertising to get average or below average results.

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, you are not alone.  Even during the summer, many Real Estate Agents are having a hard time finding buyers and listings. They express similar frustrations, yet many continue doing it because its what they know, even when facing incredible odds.

What do we know about today’s buyers and advertising?

They’re Skeptical – Dishonesty has become part of every industry. Advertising has deceived them before and they worry about walking into another sales trap. It’s true, there are dishonest people in the market place. Paul Henderson in Washington just wrote a post about a possible Bait and Switch , so its obviously still happening even with the new rules and regulations the government is placing.

They’re cautious – They don’t want to make a commitment until they see the whole picture. They want you to unveil everything before they sense any trust. Not only that, but how many times are we going to visit the Tax Credit? First it was $7500, then it moved to $8000, now they are shuffling the idea of $15000. Many homeowners are still on the fence because they feel rates will possibly go lower and/or they will lose out on more Tax Credit. Plus… everyone is still looking for that STEAL in the market place. I have news for you… the steals are almost all dried up. By the time a home buyer wants to make an offer, the sellers have already received 4 others. Its happening around you. Get them off of the fence.

They’re tired of selling and sales pressure – From phone sales to junk mail, buyers are fed up. They prefer working with a professional who has come recommended. Everyone is promising the sun, or at least the same type of GREAT service and attention they are looking for. How is the buyer or seller suppose to know the difference between one agent and another? Should they go with the agent that has the nicest website or is dressed the best? Word of Mouth is the KING in any market condition.  Word of Mouth can increase or decrease sales… depending on what things are being said and how well you performed.

The above reasons are why its hard to turn advertising dollars into clients. Greg Nino in Houston posted recently that he and his partner had $5000 to spend on marketing. He offered $350 to anyone with a great/original idea. And if that advertising turned into a sale, it could be worth more. Its a great idea to see what others are doing, if its works.

You use twice the effort and spend double the money chasing strangers, instead of leveraging your MVPs to bring your most wanted goal – another sale.  In sports, the MVP is the Most Valuable Player. They are players that contributed the most. This term can be used in our profession as well… Its CLIENTS who REFER YOU THE MOST. You have MVPs…but do you have enough of them? You can have more of them by servicing ‘after the sale’. The more MVPs that you have, the more new buyers/sellers that get referred to you.

So, what ‘Service After The Sale’ tactics do you use? As you know, a referral is when a client tells someone about you. But if you rely on clients to tell others about you, you may be waiting a long time. Instead, you need to speed up the process. How? By maintaining top-of-mind-awareness and create that loyalty.  Sure, it sounds like it could be a lot of work, but it isn’t, especially if you set up different campaigns. A campaign is a connected series of messages sent over time designed to bring about your most wanted response.

Remember the old adage… People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

A well designed campaign will include at least one message a month (minimum) and should be split up based on buyers, sellers, past clients, people on the fence, etc. You can then split up that group even further with price ranges, areas, are they buying in 6 months or less, or longer than 6 months.  You can never be TOO specific because that is how they know you have their best interest at heart. Include in the campaign, messages for birthdays, anniversaries, holiday cards, newsletters, and more.

Keep in mind that TOO much is TOO much. There is a line that should be drawn so that you are not cramming your information down their throat. With that being said, as long as the information is USEFUL TO THEM, then it will not be considered too much.

Each time you send information to your clients or potential clients, you should think of Three Valuable Requirements to make the message effective:

  • It must be Distinct
  • It must be Memorable
  • It must have Long Shelf-Life

When you demonstrate how much you appreciate your client, they will brag to others about you as a reward. With an effective ‘after the sale’ campaign, you get more referrals in less time and you can cut down your advertising costs by at least half.