By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 4, 2009
“Become the neighborhood economist!”
Gary Keller from “The Shift”
There can be no argument with Gary Keller’s quote above in that if you want people to do business with you they must come to KNOW you, LIKE you, and more importantly TRUST you. The latter part of that comes from Bob Burg’s book Endless Referrals.
There is a basic principle involved in selling and that is to make more money, make more sales. However, you can also make more money by spending less on your marketing endeavors. If people do business with and refer business to people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST, would it not make sense to make the objective of spending money on marketing that would result in more people KNOWING you, LIKING you and TRUSTING you?
Keller’s book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent has the history of numbers working for it when he describes that as real estate sales people we need to touch the people we know 33 times a year, without fail, forever! Every time I would teach that I could see the disbelief on the faces of the students and more importantly the mental calculators working overtime calculating how much touching everyone 33 times a year would actually cost. THAT IS INSIDE-THE-BOX THINKING! If something is KNOWN to work, why try to find reasons why YOU can’t make it work for you? Find activities you can do to make it work and for less money than you think.
For example, if you called everyone in your database just once a quarter, 4 times a year for you-know-who, how much would that cost you? In money - $0.00 and I doubt anyone would think a telephone call once every 3 months would be excessive by anyone’s standards. In most cases it would probably be at least 3 more times than you currently call your database.
It also costs you nothing to make an appointment to drop something off to each member of your database and when you think about it, you would have to make a call to set up the appointment (1 touch) and then meet the person (another touch) and then send a thank you note for the meeting (a third touch) and it only cost you the price of a post card type thank you note or you may even splurge and send a fold-over type card and envelope which would be my first choice. How much would that cost? 50 cents?
If you follow Gary Keller’s advice and have a desire to become the neighborhood economist, you must first become an expert in gathering information relative to the local economy and real estate. The next step is devising some method of getting the information into the hands of each member of your database in a repetitive manor that is easy to do and cost effective. How about FREE?
In most if not all of Jeffrey Gitomer’s books, he discusses the benefits of writing every day and more importantly getting what you write into the hands of your probable buyers and/or probable sellers. Note well (as Gitomer often states) that he did not call them prospects or database people or even clients or customers, he called them “Probable Buyers” and/or “Probable Sellers.” Words mean things and they mean things to your subconscious mind so begin now by training your mind and attitude that everyone you meet IS a PROBABLE buyer and/or seller.
What can you write about? You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Nor should you write about something you are not knowledgeable about. Nor should you confuse the probable buyer and/or seller by writing about something totally unrelated to what you do like sending along cooking tips. You sell real estate or at least you hopefully sell real estate. Write about real estate not brownies.
I can hear the questions now, what do I know about real estate? You had better know a great deal and you obviously know more than you think you know or you would not have asked the question. What can you write about?
- Your latest listing
- Your latest listing
- Your latest sale
- Your latest price reductions
- What the mortgage interest rates are doing
- What are the most recent trends in the local market (forget the national market, real estate is local)
- Why would a seller want a home warranty on their home
- Why would a buyer want a home warranty on their home
Why would a seller want a home inspected before it is put on the market
- Why should a buyer always get a home inspection
- What will an appraisal tell a buyer
- What will an appraisal tell a seller
- What is Owner’s Title Insurance
- What is Lender’s Title Insurance
- What is the closing process
- What is the listing process
- What is meant by absorption rate on homes listed as compared to sold
- What is the latest on Lead Base Paint
- What is the latest on Mold and Mildew Issues
- What are some inexpensive ways to really dress up a home
- What kind of return could a homeowner expect to receive for major renovations or additions
- What is flood insurance all about
- What does a homeowner need to know about homeowner’s insurance
- Does a homeowner need separate liability insurance on their home and family
- What items might not be covered by a homeowner’s insurance
- When should a homeowner change or rekey locks
- Is a home security system a good idea
- Should self-activated lights be installed around the home
- What is a tax millage
- When is a good time to service an A/C unit
- When is a good time to fertilize a yard
- What are some of the best home safety tips
- How can someone make their home more energy efficient
- Why should a homeowner have a service contract on appliances, especially the A/C unit
- Why should a homeowner have a service contract for termites
- When should a home be re-treated for termites
- How often should a well be tested
- What one thing could a homeowner do today to increase the value of a home
- Why should a homeowner consider a second home
- How can a homeowner use real estate to help pay for their children’s college education
- What does a homeowner need to know about income taxes and homeownership
- What kind of records should a homeowner maintain
- Should a homeowner of an older home install ground default electrical receptacles near plumbing
- When should a hot water heater be drained and inspected
- When should a roof be inspected
- What can a homeowner do to make a home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer
What should a homeowner know about erecting outbuildings, installing pools, hot tubs, etc.
- What’s on the upcoming local ballot
- When is the next election
- How does someone register to vote
You should never need search very far to find something to write about. More importantly, you do not have to be the expert on many of these subjects, work with a guest writer and then give them credit and contact information.
Now comes the good part – blogging. You can create a blog for FREE, at least you can at the time this Nugget was written by going to www.blogger.com. You can create one free blog for each email address you have and you can have as many email addresses as you can create.
Now comes the absolute BEST part – it can and should be free to distribute via email. The hard part would be getting email addresses and the only proven way to do that is to ask people for their email address. “Mr. & Mrs. __________ I write a blog that provides homeowners with valuable real estate information such as (and then insert whatever is timely, pertinent to the probable buyer and/or seller, or whatever you think would be appropriate) and it is FREE of charge. I send it out to your email address (enter how often you update your blog) or more frequently if it contains time sensitive information. I would love to include you so you would not miss out on anything that could save you money or have you miss a very important upcoming event. What is your email address?”
Gymbeaux’s logic, right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. Why would you spend any amount of money on a product that you can obtain free of charge if the free of charge product accomplishes the objective? I have seen people spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars for all the “bells and whistles” on web pages and blogs failing to understand that it is not the bells and whistles that get the customer TO the site. The customer only sees the bells and whistles once they are AT the site and more often than not, the bells and whistles slow the experience down once on the site. If you insist on spending money on your web sites, spend the money on promoting the site on the Internet not so much on the frills being offered.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR FREE BLOG:
- Go to www.blogger.com (or another other free blog site)
- Select CREATE A BLOG
- Create an Account
- Name your blog
- Choose a template
BINGO – YOU HAVE A BLOG
Your blog address will be http://(the name you selected).blogspot.com.
If you want your blog more easily accessed, spend a few dollars to buy a domain name and forward the actual blog address to your new domain name. I have created two such blogs with related domain names:
http://readforachange.blogspot.com or www.ReadForAChange.com
http://nuggetsforthenoggin.blogspot.com or www.NuggetsForTheNoggin.com.
Which would be easier to remember without having to write it down?
You can use Microsoft Word to write your blog OFFLINE and then COPY AND PASTE your prepared blog onto your blog site, use the embolden and change the text as you wish, and then PUBLISH IT to the web. You can do all the work yourself in just minutes a month.
To distribute your blog, create an address group using your email account service. Then as you post new blogs, send out an email to your address group simply telling them a new blog has been posted at and then include your internet address such as I have above. It would be wise to “tease” your database by suggesting what they might find on your latest blog.
Include an opt-out so the customer can ask to be removed from your distribution at any time.