Marketing has undergone a huge change over the last decade. Unfortunately, your clients’ ideas about marketing haven’t. Most still believe that an ad in the newspaper or in a Homes magazine will sell their house . . . so your challenge in the Listing Consultation is to do a credible job educating the Seller about how marketing really works in your office. Failure to do this will result in countless ‘what are you doing?’ calls . . . and will likely lead you to do what ordinary REALTORS do . . . which is to put an ad in the newspaper to pacify the seller, knowing full well it probably will accomplish nothing.
Start by painting a different picture of your Help-U-Sell office and what you do to get property sold. You have a marketing system that includes lots of internet marketing, some direct mail, a little print media (and more), all designed to generate buyer inquiries into your office. When the inquiry comes in, your staff expertly handles it, captures contact information and earns the right to help the caller find their dream home. Sometimes it is the property that motivated the inquiry in the first place but usually it’s not; it’s another home in inventory. The office acts as a kind of clearinghouse – or matchmaker – connecting buyers and their specific housing needs to inventory. All of the marketing you do (even pieces that don’t feature your Sellers’ listing) is working to produce the one thing needed to get the Seller’s listing sold: Potential Buyers.
Listen: there are a finite number of people interested in buying real estate in your market place at any given time. Maybe it’s 50 people today or 200 people tomorrow. The best thing you can do for your Seller is to cause as many of those people to contact your office as possible, and you do that with Marketing – not advertising, Marketing. But how do you communicate this to a seller who expects to see his or her home in the newspaper or in the homes magazine at the grocery store? Try this:
You know, Sue and Al, marketing is very different today than it was just a few years ago. The National Association of REALTORS reports that nearly 90% of home buyers start their search online. That’s why Internet Marketing is the real heart of my Marketing System. I put your home on dozens of property websites – everything from Trulia and Zillow to REALTOR.com and the local MLS. I also get you up on my own websites that have all been optimized to be attractive to search engines so that homebuyers can find you.
In addition, I use a lot of direct mail – things like these just listed cards and this big marketing piece that get delivered to thousands of households in the area, signage and even some print advertising in local newspapers and homes magazines.
All of my marketing is designed to do one thing – and I know you think I’m about to say ‘sell your house,’ but I’m not: it’s designed to generate inquiries from potential buyers into my office. You see, the best thing I can do to find the very best buyer for your home – the one who is not just qualified but also willing to pay the most for it – is to be in touch with as many buyers interested in the area as possible. And I use my Marketing System to find them. It’s funny though: most times, the caller quickly eliminates the property that motivated their call; they find it’s too small or in the wrong location or doesn’t have the amenities they want. But my staff is expert at quickly building rapport and credibility with those buyers and then matching them to houses we have in inventory that DO meet their needs.
So we use the houses we have in inventory to fuel our Marketing program . . . which produces dozens of homebuyer inquiries into the office (last month we had more than 200 inquiries). We then match those buyers to houses we have in inventory that meet their needs. The office, my staff and I, act as a kind of clearinghouse or an old fashioned match-maker, putting buyers together with houses that meet their needs.
The real key, though, is Marketing to Generate Buyer Leads. We don’t just advertise your property – though you’ll see your property in our advertising – we are a marketing company and we market your home by producing leads from potential buyers. You list with us – of course because you want to save money – but also because we have an ongoing flow of buyers coming through our office, any one of whom might be perfect for you home. Make sense?
It’s important to have examples of your marketing with you when you meet the sellers for a listing consultation. It is important to put your brag cards and ETMs out on the table, to show your Internet syndication diagram, and your Homes Magazine ad. But don’t fall into the trap of describing every individual piece of advertising you do! That only reinforces the sellers’ misconception that advertising their house will get it sold. If that’s all it took, they could do it themselves! Instead, simply put them out, let the seller pick them up and look them over as you continue to talk about how your office acts as a property clearinghouse.
Old style Listing Presentations would spend a lot of time doing ‘show-and-tell’ about advertising. The idea was to overwhelm the seller with all of the different places the agent was going to advertise their home. And by the way – that’s pretty much what your competitors are going to attempt today. Taking this tack sets up at least two false expectations for your seller: first, that advertising is what will sell their home and, that they should find their home in every bit of real estate advertising they see!
Be different! You should be able to convincingly present your marketing system in 5 – 10 minutes at the most if you focus on concepts – not on the individual marketing pieces you do. You’ll find that the seller will be much more understanding and supportive of your efforts if you do.