As REALTORS(r) we constantly worry about how to get our name out into the public, if we are advertising enough, not enough, spending too much money or not enough.
I know that my business plan is cyclical in nature.
I get a big closing.... advertise a lot.... dont get many calls from print advertising.... get disgusted.... start just getting out there... talking to people....making contacts....answering calls....doing research...showing houses....listing houses....writing offers...making sure it all happens....closing deals...getting paid....advertise a bunch...get disgusted. And round and round it goes.
I am determined in this year not to advertise myself. I will still use print advertising because our buyers and sellers in our small town watch the monthly homes magazines to see what is on the market. I will reserve the Sunday paper only for Open House ads, which work for us, and advertise all of my listings on my website, our office website as well as making an ePropertySite for each listing. These get farmed out to various online real estate search sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Front Door. The majority of our incoming buyers come from the web or referrals from past clients.
The funniest thing that I have noticed is the more I focus on promoting myself the less customers I get. The more I focus on doing my job well, the more I get done, the better my customers are served and the more customers I have. I think that REALTORS are the only ones that judge other REALTORS by how much they advertise themselves. I see faces splashed all over the billboards and on skins on cars but being behind the scenes I see that those agents aren't doing the most business. Its the ones that are being helpful, going out of their way for people even if they don't have a guarantee of a big commission that are winning the customers for life. and that is the best promotion you can have.
For example. Take our Broker, Carolyn Spence, It was a floor call of a couple asking about Rentals. Instead of just reading them the rental list and hanging up she realized that this couple relocating because of the Air Force may not like our availiable rentals compared to where they were coming from in San Antonio and decided to actually take time with them to discuss area rentals and the benefits of home ownersip in our growing town.
They took a day and went to the lender to see what they would qualify for, they went and saw numerous houses, she took them out to lunch, they were tickled that they were new in town and had already found a friend. They were still undecided about whether to rent or buy but they knew that they had a REALTOR to trust in any event. They ended up deciding to buy and Carolyn made an offer on a house that was much less than they were approved for but much nicer that the available rentals in that same monthly payment range. They were happy not to be pressured into a bigger more expensive house and Carolyn was happy that they found something they would be comfortable in for the next few years.
Then the Clovis News Journal calls - They are doing a story on transferees opting to buy instead of rent and Carolyn shares the story. I open up the Sunday Paper and see, above the fold, this article. http://www.cnjonline.com/news/air_32857___article.html/force_home.html and Carolyn was just doing her job.
It reminds me of a bible verse. "He who seeks to save his life shall lose if but he who loses his life for my sake shall save it." Luke 17:33
I know the verse is talking about eternal life but another meaning to me is that sometimes you don't always gain the thing that you are seeking by pursuing it. Sometimes you have to walk the higher road and do the right thing for your customers and then promotion comes just because you did the right thing.
And if the only way some agents can get their face out there is to pay for it to be there, I hope it works for them. I'll just keep plugging away.