Philip Kotler once said, “Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.”
Seth Godin has been heard to say, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Marketing is not that hard to learn or even understand. In short marketing is about the stories you tell. People love to listen to stories. So your job is to tell them. Tell them your why. Invite them into your world and give them something to become emotional about.
This excerpt, taken from the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek, helps you to visualize this.
Which sounds better to you?
We make great computers.
They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
Wanna buy one?
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We
believe in thinking differently.
The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products
beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
And we happen to make great computers.
Wanna buy one?
Same information, just presented differently but which one do you connect with more. Start thinking about marketing as stirring up emotion in your customers.
Some points to keep in mind:
Marketing starts with you. And, there are some key items you need to have control over as you venture out into the ocean.
1. Honesty: If you don’t know something then don’t talk about it as if you do. If you screw something up, own it. People do business with other people; people they can trust.
2. Integrity: Simply put, do what you say you are going to do. Imagine a lender that promises you a loan and then backs out at the last second. Are you going to recommend him to fellow investors? Always operating with the highest integrity will allow your reputation to precede you.
3. Professionalism: Run it like a business, not a hobby. Dress appropriately, keep a clean car, have your business cards professionally printed, send “thank you” follow ups. Be on time.
Marketing starts with you and ends with you.
Different ways to Market
My favorite way to market is through networking. Become genuinely interested in people.
-Networking is simply the process of getting to know others for the purpose of moving both individuals forward.
When you think of networking you envision a gathering of people, usually trade specific, handing out business cards. When I think of networking I see it as a life style. Some of the most noteworthy connections you’ll make will come from impromptu conversations about your real estate investing. When the opportunity arises take advantage of it. When someone asks you what you have been up to tell them you have been flipping houses, or buying real estate to rent out, or maybe you have been reading about foreclosures. Don’t be shy.
You would be amazed at how many “ordinary” people own, or are interested in owning, investment property. The next time you take your kids to sports practice, dance class or martial arts, take a look around. I guarantee there is someone there that can benefit from your knowledge or has at least one investment property. Even if they have no interest in real estate they may become part of your team.
The dad of the third baseman that is a home inspector, or the mom that is a CPA. How will you ever know if you don’t talk to them? So don’t be shy when someone ask, “So how have you been?” Don’t be afraid of being the one that starts the conversation. The key here is to just enjoy conversing with them. Become genuinely interested in people, if you are then you never loose, because at worse you just made a new acquaintance, maybe even a new friend.
Methods of Marketing
There are as many ways to market as there are grains of sand on a beach. Let’s explore a few. In no way is this meant to be a comprehensive list of avenues to take, but rather to give you a brief exposure and show you some of the ways.
You gather property owners contact information, either from public sources like the local tax assessor’s office or you buy it from a company that compiles such information. You then send them a piece of mail.
Post cards are a generic form. They have a commercial feel to them. But they do get your message into the hands of owners and they at least read enough to know they don’t want it and throw it away……or ……put it on their desk as a large business card for future reference.
Yellow letters are exactly that. Yellow sheets of lined note pad paper with your message written on it. Placed in an envelope that has a hand written address. Usually your message is also handwritten. This all portrays a friendly presentation, like it was a letter from an ol’ friend.
One of the biggest keys to direct mail is tracking what works and what doesn’t. Then keep tweaking what works to you find the sweet spot.
When starting a direct mail campaign be prepared to mail out letters multiple times before getting responses. It’s a game of timing. Your card has to appear in front of them at the right time. You may have to mail to the same owners every month to month and a half for six months or more. So there is a significant upfront cost. Direct mail is effective though and more times than not when you go to look at the deal, the competition will be low.
Often estates want to get rid of property quickly due to creditors or other issues that need to be paid off. Part of the attorney’s job is to have references for their clients. Be at the top of their list.
Mail Men, UPS Drivers, Police Officers
These are the ultimate driving for dollars guys. They see the neighborhood each and every day and talk with residents all the time. Use their eyes and ears as an extension of your own. Again this gets back to becoming interested in people. I always like to start with “What led you to become a Police Officer, Postman, etc.?” or “I am an investor looking to buy some property here in town. If you were looking to buy where would you look?” Use open ended questions to find out more about them. Just think about how many people the postman sees and talks with on a daily basis. Cultivate these relationships, you won’t be disappointed.
How many times have you submitted an offer for it to be turned down………….how many times have you followed up a few weeks later on those offers? This allows you first to stay at the forefront of their minds so when something does change and they become motivated they think of you first.
Second, it gives you valuable market research that cannot be attained anywhere else.
Make sure your follow ups are upbeat and positive. If they have sold congratulate them. Let them know how happy you are for them. Extend an invitation to help them in the future if they should so need it. As the conversation winds down, ask them for a referral. “Do you happen to know of any property coming up for sale that may be a good fit for me?”
The most used form of print media is your business card. Make sure you use at least 16pt stock, you want your card to feel good in their hand. There it is again, what, you ask? Your product stirring up their emotion. In addition, that heavy card will stand up to a bit of abuse. There is nothing worse than taking out your card and seeing it has a crushed corner. Better yet carry your cards in a card holder. This ensures you’ll never have a dog eared corner and it adds a bit of professionalism. It’s all the small subtle things that add up to build the larger image of who you are. I just purchased 500 high quality cards online for $20 shipped. There is no reason nowadays, to print them yourself.
Everything you hand out, post cards, business cards, thank you cards, follow up letters, ads, everything should have at least one type of contact information to reach you: email, phone, website, social media. The last thing you want to happen is a potential customer goes looking for your number finds that thank you card you sent him 3 months ago and it doesn’t have some way of reaching you. This goes for emails as well. I always include my number even if I know the recipient already has it. He may forward that email to someone who does not.
Nothing fancy needed here. Letterhead gives you more of a professional look and it also takes care of having your contact information on your print media.
The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers. Envision a funnel, large and broad at the top and small and skinny at the bottom. As your prospects move through your funnel, they become fewer and fewer, but also more apt to act on what you are offering. There are a few tiers of the funnel. Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Intent, Evaluation, Purchase. This is just a quick overview.
This is where you cast a wide net. You’re looking to get the word out. This is the step you’re taking when you tell everyone and anyone what you do.
Now that someone has become aware of what it is you do you must pique their interest. “We rehab vacant homes and sell them below market value to less fortunate individuals.”
At this stage you now have a true lead; a prospective customer. They may ask for further information. This is the ideal time to start really cultivating that relationship. Answer their questions and help them become informed and comfortable with you.
Your prospective customers will make the final decision to purchase or not to purchase from you. Making it easy to deal with you is really important here. Pre-completed forms, notaries sent to customer residences, pre-paid overnight envelopes, making it as easy and stress free as possible, goes a long way for multiple reasons. People like easy and convenient and this can set you apart from your competition.
You made it! Signed, sealed and delivered. Make the process a positive one. Your customer should feel good. They should feel like they made the right decision. A positive experience gives you the best marketing ever- the power of word of mouth. Your new customer will spread the word to all of their contacts.
You, yourself, are the best marketing you have. Be honest with yourself and those you deal with, let integrity lead the way and you will open doors you never knew existed.
My challenge to you:
Meet just 1 person a day and tell them what you do!
I will end with the golden rule: People buy (and sell) with people they are comfortable with, people they like. Be one of those people.
Leave a comment and let me know how you did.