As you know, there are several keys to long-term success. Real estate mind-share is just one of them, but an important one.
Your real estate website is important, and it should be jammed full of useful information. However, it is limited in one important way. That is, that people generally don’t start looking at real estate websites until they’re ready to buy or sell.
When you have real estate mind-share, your potential clients know about you and connect you with real estate long before they need your services. They may even visit your website, just to read your bio and learn more about you. As a result, when someone speaks of real estate, they’ll think of you first.
How do you create real estate mind-share?
By becoming consistently visible in your geographic territory or your niche.
Having your yard signs all over is a big help, but while you’re on your way up, you’ll need other methods.
Years ago, when I struck out on my own and opened Cliff Realty, two other brokers vowed to put me out of business within 6 months.
That didn’t happen. In fact, within 2 years, our company had more than 50% of the market share. This was with 5 competing agencies, plus competition from a few out-of-town agents.
At first I attributed it to our marketing – and our customer service, of course.
No one else was making much of an effort at marketing. We were sending prospecting and just listed letters, placing ads and showcasing our listings in the local newspaper and the homes magazines, and sending out a monthly newsletter.
But then I realized it was in large part because we were the most visible. Not only were our yard signs everywhere, we were everywhere. Like the people who choose the restaurant with the packed parking lot over the one that appears empty, some were choosing us because, as they often said, “We see you everywhere.”
And we were everywhere.
We attended City Council and Planning & Zoning meetings, and I was an active member of Chamber of Commerce. We supported the Senior Center’s free lunch program. We spearheaded the revival of our town’s 4th of July celebration. One of my agents and I were founding members of the animal rescue organization. As volunteers, we were in many places.
And of course, since I love to write, I wrote articles in support of whatever causes we were working on, and those were submitted to our weekly newspaper.
As a result, we were in the news most weeks. Sometimes it was deliberate, because we were running a newsworthy promotion.
When we purchased 2 bins of pumpkins and gave them away at Halloween, the newspaper ran photos two weeks in a row. One year we purchased hundreds of small American flags and handed them out in the Post Office parking lot just before the 4th of July. That made the newspaper too.
We took part in our town’s annual celebration by participating in the parade. One year we had a booth at the entrance to the park, where we gave out hundreds of imprinted helium balloons. I don’t recommend that, unless you hire someone to help tie the balloons. Doing that all day makes for sore fingers! But, our name was all over town.
We didn’t have a name for it, but we had created real estate mind-share in our local community.
You can do the same.
First, choose your territory or your niche.
Unless you’re in a very small community, you can’t be everywhere and serve everyone, so choose those residents or those properties you enjoy most. If other people come to you for assistance, do help them. But focus your marketing and real estate mind-share creation efforts in one or two places.
Yes, if you have time, you can serve more than one niche.
Create a database.
Create a database with names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Leave room to add notes and other details as you acquire them.
Learn about your prospects’ habits.
If you’ve chosen a geographical territory, do the residents shop at stores or stop for coffee or meals in their neighborhood? Is there a publication that is delivered to all of them? Is there a community center? Do they have joint yard sales or holiday bazaars? Is there a dog park?
If it’s a community of young families, where do the children go to school? Do they have sports events you can attend and/or support?
If you’ve chosen a niche, such as waterfront homes, is there a clubhouse where residents gather? If they’re likely to own boats, is there a marina? Is there a publication that brings them local boating news?
If you’ve chosen senior citizens, is there a senior center nearby? If so, does it publish a newsletter? Do they have regular meetings?
All of these places / events offer possibilities for contact with your chosen prospects.
NOTE: If you are in a very small town, it will be your geographical territory. However, you can still give extra attention to a specialized niche, such as first-time buyers, downsizing seniors, golfers, water enthusiasts, etc.
Begin reaching out…
Prospecting by postal mail is a good way to put your name and your face into their homes. And yes, do include a good recent photo with everything you print, publish, or send out. You want everyone to associate you with real estate, and faces are easier to remember than names.
Begin with prospecting letters, such as those I offer on my prospecting letters page.
But don’t stop there. Make it a point to “touch” them at least monthly. You may get immediate response from those who are thinking of buying or selling soon, which means that prospecting by postal mail is both a short-term and a long-term key to success.
Once you begin your real estate mind-share campaign, be consistent. Don’t let them forget you.
Create a monthly market report or newsletter with information that will be of interest to them. Or, do both.
Be sure to send just listed/under contract/just sold cards to remind residents that you’re active in their community or niche.
If your budget won’t yet allow for mailing to all possible prospects, start with what you can afford, then expand as you gain more clients and closings.
More ways to create real estate mind-share…
Deliver your market reports in person.
Walk through the neighborhood and talk with people. If no one is home, use door hanger bags to leave a copy behind. Write a short note saying something along the lines of: “Sorry I missed you. If you have questions, please get in touch.”
When I did a search, I found 2,000 clear door hanger bags for under $50 at fourstarplastics.com. You could use these for your market reports or newsletters, or for your just listed or open house notices.
Share your real estate expertise…
Write a weekly, monthly, or quarterly real estate column for a local publication. Share your market reports, along with a narrative.
Write articles for niche publications with information people can use. For instance, if you deal in historic homes, learn about and write about topics such as where to find antique glass panes or someone who can duplicate antique crown moldings. If your clients are seniors who are downsizing, write about topics such as easy step-by-step ways to de-clutter and sort belongings before a move.
Should you happen to list a property with a story to tell, do tell that story. Perhaps it once belonged to the first settler in a small community – or the mayor who was arrested for bootlegging. (Yep – that did happen in my home town.)
Volunteer to speak at service club meetings. Groups like Rotary are always eager to welcome speakers. Volunteer to speak at senior citizen meetings or at the local school’s Career Days events.
Get involved in the community to help build real estate mind-share.
Go to the yard sales and the ball games. Attend the bazaars. Have lunch at the local cafes. (Always wearing something that indicates your status as a real estate professional, of course.)
Stop in at shops that serve your niche market and get acquainted with the proprietors. Let them know who you are and what you do – and offer to pass along information about what they have to offer.
Volunteer with a local non-profit whose mission you believe in. You’ll not only make new acquaintances, you’ll have a good time while doing good.
When you shop at local stores, smile and say hello to people. Remember waitresses, the people behind the counter in stores, your hairdresser, and the person who services your car. Make sure they know what you do and how much you love it. Offer to be their source of local real estate information.
Attend meetings and be willing to talk with people who ask about real estate. Hand out your cards and offer to send your market reports to all who are interested.
To create real estate mind-share, use your social media accounts wisely…
Post your listings and sales, but do more than that. Share your market reports and write about things that will interest your niche. You can repeat the same articles that you wrote for niche newsletters.
Share something nice – such as a photo you took of a sunset or of a deer and fawn you encountered when showing a home.
Post about a fantastic meal you had in one of the local eateries – or mention the unusual and useful items you found in a store that serves your niche.
Make positive comments about your work – be enthusiastic. Tell your readers how much you enjoy helping your clients.
Do NOT be a Debbie or Daniel Downer!
Do remember to invite your social media followers to visit your website.
Encourage friends and family to refer to you.
Be so enthusiastic and professional about your work that they’ll do so gladly. And when they do – thank them profusely.
One more thing…
Don’t ever let your past clients forget you. Perhaps you won’t need to use postal mail, but continue emailing them with interesting information. If you aren’t sure what to say, and you know your past clients like to smile, use my event-themed staying in touch letters.
And, continue staying in touch just to say hello and catch up with what’s going on in their lives. Make sure they feel like they are more than a paycheck to you.
They, along with those in your sphere of influence, can be your personal gold mine. In addition to possibly becoming repeat customers, they’ll refer others to you – as long as you never let them forget you. Even those who have moved out of your community can be sources of new business, so don’t disregard them.
My first brokers didn’t teach me this, because they didn’t follow up with past clients themselves. I shudder to think of how much business I lost in those early years, just because I didn’t stay in touch.