Friday, May 22, 2015

How To Work When You Are Not Working!

How To Work When You Are Not Working!
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown May 22, 2015

For some reason I thought of my former real estate buddies that I have come to know over the years; both in my company as well as competitors.  Today I started to list marketing/advertising ideas that I DON'T see agents doing that should and could create business for them while they are doing something other than working.  Actually it is like "stealth working,"  you are working while giving the appearance of having fun.

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS:  This should be a no brainer for those agents who are successful meaning those agents who are making money.  The hard part would be having access to a non-profit organization.  Work with your company to create one if it has not already been done.  Then advertise in everything you do that you provide $1000 scholarships to local high school students created from the proceeds from the sales you make.  You can set the grounds rules for qualifying for the scholarships and how many you will provide even if it is only one.  Then the money you contribute to your own scholarship program could be run through the non-profit making the contributions tax-deductible.  And if you host fund raisers of any kind to help fund your scholarship program, you can provide all the people donating to the cause, a Tax Identification Number to enable THOSE FOLKS to also deduct their deductions from their tax returns.  This is really so simple, I don't understand why every real estate agent isn't doing it or for that matter, every real estate company.

SPORT TEAM SPONSORSHIPS:  For the price of one expensive color advertisement, you can sponsor a sports team, the younger the better.  Softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc.  If you sponsor them, you should be able to include the name of your company and YOUR name on their uniforms.  You can then move along the sidelines developing relationships with parents of the players ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FIELD.  Obviously if you have children, it would be in your best interest to support the team or teams your children play on.  This turns the things you do anyway, attend their events, into networking opportunities.  Again I have seen companies do this but rarely individual real estate agents.  Not sure why.  I would also recommend purchasing a folding tent, the type you see at sporting events that provides shade for the team.  Include your company colors, name and your name on the borders.  Cost is minimal and it can be used for all sorts of events.

GET OUT THE VOTE CAMPAIGNS.  Create events that encourage people to vote.  It would probably not be in your best interest to promote individual candidates as you will turn off prospects that support opposing candidates/parties.  Simply work to impress upon people the importance of simply voting.  At the same time you are wearing your company logo shirts/blouses/jackets with your name included.  This is being political without being political and cost you nothing but your time and any cost for logo clothing that you can use over and over again.

LOGO CLOTHING.  Speaking of logo clothing.  WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING CLOTHING EMBROIDERED WITH YOUR COMPANY NAME AND YOUR NAME?  WHY?  You are show the world what you do.  I went so far as to include my personal web address on the back of my polo shirts I wore "just in case" someone standing behind me in a line might have a real estate need.  I have received many comments on the practice yet I am the ONLY one I have ever seen do it.  WHY?  Costs so very little.  Here is the best part. Permanently (as compared to clip on items) logo clothing IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE (unless they change the tax regulations).  Professional cleaning is also TAX DEDUCTIBLE (again as long as currently authorized).  Are any of the clothes you wear now TAX DEDUCTIBLE - I didn't think so.  Why every real estate agent is NOT wearing their company colors, logo complete with your name is beyond understanding.

FRIDAY MORNING DONUTS:  Again this costs so very little and the good public relations is immeasurable.  Buy a couple of dozen donuts/pastries/bagels and then simply PERSONALLY deliver them to a local company and spend as much time as permissible/comfortable at that company.  Put it on your calendar for a specific day of the week like Friday Morning.  Cost is minimal; exposure priceless.  To expand on the idea, create your own donut boxes with your company name, colors and YOUR name on the boxes.  You might even consider asking the local donut company if they want to participate in your promotion by paying for some of the donuts if you include their boxes and/or if you create your own boxes but with their name and info on it as well.

DISPLAY BOOTHS:  You oftentimes see real estate "companies" have display booths at local events, home shows, etc, but you rarely see individual real estate agents with display booths.  To make them work, you must do something other than just sitting there hoping people will stop.  That does not work.  Give them a reason to stop by your booth.  Raffle off something desirable like an art print especially if from a local artist.  You may also get the artist to work the booth with you.  This provides a reason to stop and talk and also capture personal information on the raffle ticket if done properly.  Unfortunately this provides you with only ONE opportunity to have your name broadcast over the PA System when the items is actually raffled off.  Therefore, I would encourage you to purchase something with your company name, colors and YOUR name on it, like t-shirts, and then draw from those people who visit your booth every 10 to 15 minutes (provided they announce your name over the PA system).  I found that if I set up my computer with a printer and I had already purchased very inexpensive software, I could get people to stop and talk by offering them a very professionally created "what happened on your birthday" presentation.  The software also enables you to do the same for anniversaries and special days.  I have had people come back to have them created for family members and friends.  It gives you time to talk, develop relationships and capture personal information.  It works - price is minimum when you consider how many people you can actually talk to IF you work it properly.  There are many sites, here is just one

MARGINALLY SUCCESSFUL REAL ESTATE AGENTS:  Let's face it, real estate agents come and go.  The successful ones stay, the unsuccessful ones leave.  Think about it.  The agents who leave the business have a database of friends and past customers.  Take these agents to lunch.  Make them offer for their database of people they know.  Then work up a letter that will be addressed to each member of their database that will be signed by the exiting agent and you indicating that they have decided to leave the business and that he or she would encourage the prospect to work with you for their real estate needs.  The next alternative is that when an agent leaves your company or the business, you can review closed files that involved that agent and capture the contact info for their customers and contact them, add them to your database.  Before you do this, consult with your broker to make sure there is no company policy that forbids this.

CARDBOARD CUTOUT:  This is outside-the-box thinking and I am not personally aware of anyone who has done this.  You can purchase a life size cardboard cutout of yourself.  Why would you do this?  I would not put it along side of your yard sign because I doubt it would stay in place very long as it would be an ideal target for vandals.  You CAN put one inside each of your listings along with a sign that welcomes visitors to YOUR listings.  This is one of those cases where sellers start to think, "my agent doesn't do this" and when that happens you have just increased the likelihood that they will select you as their next real estate agent.  Think out-side-the-box - do something different than what your competition is doing.

MAGNETIC CAR SIGNS:  Again I do not understand why every agent is NOT doing this.  They are so inexpensive.  I once did my own study (many years ago).  I had just put my magnetic car signs on and was curious how many people "could" see them.  So I drove around town for one hour.  I counted each car as one person instead of trying to see how many people were inside each car/truck.  You would be amazed at how many cars have the opportunity to see you and your car while you are driving around town.  I then calculated how much my cars  signs cost per the number of people who "could" see it for one hour.  The cost per sign was reduced to about 3 cents per exposure FOR JUST ONE HOUR.  Do you own study.  I did mine over 30 years ago so the 3 cents would probably not apply today.  While MAGNETIC CAR signs are great - CAR WRAPS are even better.  You have an opportunity to really make your car/truck unique and memorable.  Be creative but stay within the Real Estate Commission's Rules and Regulations.  Don't be so creative that your car is unattractive or cluttered.  Make so memorable that a viewer can easily remember your web address and/or contact info.  I once new knew an agent who had a full size fan "dressed out."  I encouraged her to save a space on the back for a "Vehicle Number,"  magnetic of course.  Then periodically change the number giving the appearance that she had MORE THAN ONE VAN driving around town - perception of being very successful.

USE "EM" ALL:  This should be obvious.  Telephone number, email address, twitter address, Linkedin address, web address, QR codes (which are free, why not use them),  Look at your business card.  Your name should be large - that's obvious.  But what size do you use for your web site, email address, etc.  Take it from someone who unlike everyone else, grows older by the day and so do my eyes.  Using small fonts for your contact info is NOT in your best interest if you want the maximum number of people to be able to read it.  Yet, what do you see on almost every card?  The contact info is the smallest font on the card - go figure and this applies to everything you do - business cards, advertisements, car magnets, car wraps, flyers, etc.

"Cause and Effect" AND Shelf-life:  I prefer to think of this as "REASON and Effect."  If you don't give a person a REASON to contact you or follow-up on whatever you are doing, you will have NO EFFECT on your efforts.  Offer them something of value (as compared to some cheap gizmo that has no shelf life) that you will provide when they contact you.  You should have a real estate information newsletter because everyone likes to know what is happening in the real estate market.  If they don't you probably barking up the wrong tree.  Offer them access to your newsletter (paper and/or online). 

THE KILLER QUESTION:  Do you go door to door?  There is no right answer to this activity.  I know that I do not like strangers coming to my front (or back) door.  There are a lot of people like me and maybe even you.  But if you do go door to door here is a killer question that has worked miracles for those agents who have used it.  "What can I do to improve the quality of life in (insert the subdivision name)."  Then shut up and listen.  Write down what they suggest and make sure you get their name and contact info so you can properly follow-up.  YOU DON'T have to make whatever they say happen but you can certainly find out who can and how they can contact them and inform them that you have already contacted them and whenever you get a response you will advise them accordingly.  It is a fabulous "door opener" to get more and more quality people added to your database.  You not at their door to get them to list or buy, you are there to gather information about the area.  I don't know of anyone who has tried this over the phone but I would expect that it might or could work because you don't have the "not at my front door" concerns.  If you use this over the phone, the Do Not Call regulations should not kick in because you are engaged in a survey or information gathering as compared to selling.

If you found this useful and/or if you have other activities that have worked that you are aware of and want to share, send them to me at and I can keep this Nugget updated for others.