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Thursday, July 21, 2005

How a realtor can stand out of the crowd:

I'm meeting for lunch with a friend of mine, who's a newly minted realtor. Without hearing his strategic plans, or a SWOT analysis, I've got some unsolicited advice. Right now, we live in a really hot real estate market, and off the top of my head, I could name at least FIVE realtors who I have some sort of connection with, ranging from friends to social acquaintances.

How does a new realtor break through the clutter? Some of the things I've seen are invitations to social events quarterly, online newsletters that are produced by the mothership (eg, Caldwell Banker Homeowner club, with customization by a local agent), postcards when a house in a community sells with comparable sales, letters with detailed analysis of a particular market, the smaller the better.

Taking a look at some of the sites in the area, found by a search of Google. The first ad was for Zip Realty. They're competing on price, which is going to be difficult for a new agent.

Here's result #2. I'm not as keen on the graphic, but there's a point of trying to collect data.
This was the 4th ad on the right side of the search. Helpful features. I can sign up for a list of new homes on the market. That's good, and it potentially brings in people who need a buyer's agent, which still brings in a commission. There's a feature for sellers that will value a home in 24 hours. That's great, you probably just need an intern to do it, but high perceived value.

Here's #5 from that same search. This realtor wants to be a buyers agent. Design's good, she wants to get that email, so she can start establishing a relationship.

#6, Weichert Realty. Lots of agents.

What would I recommend? Networking, networking, networking. I'd try the typical e-marketing campaign on AdWords. I'd build up contacts on LinkedIn.
My key initiative would be to start a couple blogs or webpages on very specific areas that I wanted to target. I'd then have several options for communications, where subscribers could see content daily, weekly, or monthly.

The best chance for success would be a numbers game. The more people who know you're out there, the better the odds you'll get a call when they need someone. Fairly obvious, but in a market like the one that's going on currently, the more you can get people to feel as though they have a connection to you, and that you can meet their specific needs, the better you'll do.


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