“I can’t afford it” are words that can sink your real estate career before it even gets started. And sadly, those are words that I’ve heard from a good number of new agents. They’ve been told that real estate marketing and success are tied together, but…
BUT – before they can do any of that they need to have a few closings. They need to replenish the funds they spent getting their real estate education and paying for all the costs related to becoming licensed. Or, they simply don’t want to go into debt, even for a few hundred dollars.
They need the income before they can spend it.
That would be wise under many circumstances. You absolutely should have the extra money in your pocket before you go out and buy and expensive pair of shoes or splurge on a concert or dinner at a 5-star restaurant. You should even already have the extra money before you spend several dollars on a cup of espresso each morning.
However, real estate marketing and success are like a truck and trailer – one necessarily comes before the other.
If you want success, you’ll have to invest a combination of money and time.
- Have several members of your family and sphere of influence who will bring you business immediately
- Have joined an agency that gives you plenty of good, solid leads and well-written letters for following up with them
…you’ll need to get busy marketing your services.
However, you don’t have to over-spend, and if you invest more time, you’ll need to invest less money.
First, the over-spending. You may be tempted to spend on things you don’t really need. For instance, the newest iPhone or a beautiful desk and chair for your home office. Use what you already have until after you’ve built a good financial reserve.
You should also beware of placing ads in publications, on benches, on the sides of busses, on placemats, in grocery stores, etc. Those who wish to sell them to you will tell you good success stories, but take them with a grain of salt. Before you even consider spending that money, consult with other agents you know and trust. Most often you’ll learn that they spent the money and got nothing in return.
In my 19 years as an agent and then a broker, I heard dozens of pitches and even fell for a few. Those were wasted dollars.
I’m still hearing them: Last spring I had a call from someone selling ad space on score-cards for the Priest Lake Golf Course. I can see where that might be a good gamble for an agent who specializes in selling homes on that golf course. But it certainly wasn’t for a copywriter whose customers are real estate agents located all across the U.S.
The salesman was persistent – he had all sorts of reasons why I should give him several hundreds of dollars. But I did not, and you should not. Not yet.
When money is tight, invest more time.
In my book 107 Ways to Build Your Real Estate Career on a Tiny Budget,you’ll find ways to get your services in front of potential clients without having to spend more than you can comfortably afford.
About 15 of these methods require some financial investment, but are low cost. The rest cost either just your time, or your time plus some gasoline to get you out and about. And yes – gasoline is not cheap right now. So plan your outings.
Much of what you can do can be done at home, with your telephone and your computer. Here’s a sample of what you can do without spending an extra dime:
- You can build a Facebook business page, then write good content and share good articles you read. And do read – keep learning more every day.
- Join LinkedIn and begin connecting with people.
- Blog on real estate sites such as Active Rain.
- Comment on other people’s blogs. Make thoughtful, positive comments. (No “Great post!” comments, please.)
- Call all of your friends and let them know that you’ll be happy to be their real estate information resource. Be sure to sound excited and happy about your new career and the fact that you can help people.
Real estate marketing and success are tied together.
If you become licensed, then do nothing to put yourself and your services in front of prospective clients you’ll be waiting a good long time for a client to come along. In fact, they may NEVER come along.
Everything has a price – even inaction. Read this post on the cost of what you don’t do, and think about it.
So if you’ve been saying “I can’t afford to market myself,” stop it.
Start small and work up. If you really can’t afford a professionally written agent bio, read the samples on my bio page and try to create something comparable. Do remember to proofread!
If you can’t afford the postage to mail 100 prospecting letters, start by mailing to 10 or 20 homeowners, then keep expanding. Take time to do the research and target your most likely prospects.
And in the meantime, work on all the ways you can substitute spending time for spending money.
Time for marketing graphic courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net