The danger of the marketing pitfalls

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  • | 12:00 p.m. July 16, 2002
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Some real estate agents leave no stone unturned to get their names, their track records and their photographs in front of the public. Then there are the agents who claim they never market themselves and are just as successful.

The claim itself is doubtful. Wittingly or not, REALTORS® are marketing themselves every time they come into contact with a prospective buyer or seller or a source of referral. The agent’s actions and the prospect’s perceptions determine whether business development is encouraged or driven away.

Avoiding the following four common mistakes can be just as important as implementing the right marketing techniques:

• Don’t underestimate the impact of first impressions.

Make sure the first impression is the one you want prospective buyers or sellers to keep in their heads — because they probably will. Some marketing professionals think there is no overestimating the power of first impressions. Too many real estate agents do not pay enough attention to how neat their offices are, how long people have to wait for appointments and their own disposition and demeanor. Surveys show that it is very rare for a person to engage the services of a REALTOR® they don’t feel good about after the initial meeting.

• Don’t hide your marketing in the closet.

What no one knows about you can’t do you much good. If you have a personal brochure, hand it out instead of your business card. If you have a message or additional information printed on the back of your business card, bring attention to it when you hand over the card to the prospect. (If you’re not using these two simple marketing techniques, ask yourself “why not?”) If you have a team working with you, make certain everyone knows what is going on and how to convey the information. You should instill yourself and anyone who works with you with the philosophy that business development is not a dirty word.

• Don’t try to be what you’re not.

The marketing of professional services is, necessarily, highly personal. So it ought to reflect an agent’s personal tastes. For example, a REALTOR® who has a strong aversion to computer technology should not try to maintain a web site just because it has potential as a marketing tool. A “technophobic” REALTOR® will almost certainly regard this as an unpleasant task and the site as well as the marketing will suffer from neglect and lack of imagination. If you are a good writer and enjoy doing it, by all means use that in your marketing — publish a newsletter or write columns for local newspapers and business journals. If you enjoy public speaking, teach a class or seminar and give speeches or lectures to groups that can boost your real estate business.  Generally you’ll find that the things you are involved in will get you new business, but if you do it to get business it probably won’t work.

• Don’t give away your time.

Many so-called inexpensive marketing techniques can require a large commitment of an agent’s time — time that might otherwise be spent generating real estate sales. The sad truth is that many REALTORS® don’t keep track of the hours they spend on various activities. If the expense of hiring a high school student for $5 an hour to slap mailing labels on newsletters is charged against your marketing budget, the time you spend networking at industry functions should also be accounted for in some manner. Otherwise, you will never be able to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of different efforts.



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