How I use SendOutCards to grow my home inspection referral business

By
Home Inspector with Final Analysis Home Inspections

This is geared toward Home inspection businesses but the methods are a proven success that can be applied to all businesses.

In the last couple of weeks I've had several request from inspectors on how I use sendoutcards.com to build my business so I'll elaborate here and show you some examples. Some of you are already using sendoutcards and some are not so I've posted a few public samples on google's picassa web . In the interest of full disclosure, I do get a referral fee if you sign up under my name which I would be grateful for but not my intention here. In fact I would incourage you not to sign up if you don't think you'll use it because it would be a waste. But the good news is you can try it and there is no obligation to buy or commit yourself.


I'm big on building referral business because those leads are basically sold and just need to be scheduled. So my primary use of SOC is birthday cards, thank you cards and keeping in touch cards. These go to agents, buyers and sellers I've done business with. Any referral I do get, I will send a thank you card to the referrer and include brownies, cookies or a gift card to express my appreciation. This all garners a lot of extra business for me. I have learned no matter how good you are or how much money you saved them, they forget you almost immediately. But if you keep in touch with a birthday card or thinking of you card they always remember you. It don't make sense to left brained people like home inspectors but let me tell you, it works. People love to be appreciated and it leaves an indelible make on their psyche. Each day after my inspections are complete I enter the names, addresses and birthdays of the agents, buyers and sellers into the data base. Birthdays are pretty easy to get these days off of facebook but usually I'll ask them straight out if they mind if I put them on my birthday card list and they always happily agree. Then I just get the month and day. Once I put that info in I assigne them to a 3 year birthday card campaign that I created. I'll also send the seller a funny "thank you for allowing us to invade your home card" because they are potential buyers. and I'll either send a "nice to meet you" or "thanks for the business" card to the sellers and buyers agents along with putting them on the birthday card campaign. Additionally all clients and agents get assigned to seasonal cards and holiday cards. But by far the birthday cards are most powerful. I think it's because you thought of them and associated yourself with their most important day of each year.
By the way, the cards I send cost 62c plus postage and they're good quality but most of all they do all the stuffing, stamping and mailing. It's insanely cheap and time effective.


For what i'll call "new work" or marketing I also use campaigns. First let me explain about campaigns. campaigns are simply a single card or a sequence of multiple cards that you create before hand and can assign to a contact in your database. I use the campaigns a lot because it's a huge timesaver. Even after you assigne a client to a campaign card you can still edit it with a special message if you want.
I use these campaigns for Fsbo's, Expireds and Builders anniversary inspections to get the pre listing inspections or the builders anniversary inspections. I get the names from a couple locations including MLS and tax records but that's a whole other post. The new construction names I import to the contact manager in January for the entire prior years sales and I assign them to monthly campaigns that go out in a two card sequence 6 weeks and 4 weeks prior to the expiration of their builders warrenty. I get approximately 3 direct inspection per 100 cards and several referral inspections once the neighboors start talking.
On the FSBO's and expireds I go for the pre-sale inspection campaign "selling your house fast with less aggravation" This campaign list some of the benefits and a special package deal I have exclusively for home sellers. All of my marketing type cards say "call from this card and I'll give you $25 dollar discount". None of my cards are slathered with logos or company stuff. They only contain the company name and contact information. Remember, it's very important to keep it personal. They can check out all your professional credentials online or when they call. But logos won't make the phone ring.
OK this is getting to long but I wanted to give you a better idea of how you can use personal cards to grow your business in a fast, affordable and friendly way. again, here are some examples:
Campains and individual client cards.
If you're interested in learning more, feel free to PM me. Or you can go road test it for free at sendoutcards.com

PS: if you have an account with SOC and want to use my campaigns I can "share" them over to you for your own use. If you don't have an account with SOC just start a free trial account and I can also share them to you so you can at least check them out.

Comments (12)

Jared Hokanson
Hokanson Realty & Jared Realty Group - Medford, OR
Your Home Sold, GUARANTEED!*

Daniel - I've receieved several sendout cards and they are appreciated and of excellent quality.

Feb 22, 2010 05:16 PM
Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Good thinking Daniel. Steady stream seems to work. SOmetimes not the first or second but it keeps you fresh in their minds.

Feb 22, 2010 05:46 PM
Daniel Rogers
Final Analysis Home Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

Hey Jared and Randy I noticed you are agents. A agent friend of mine in Green Bay WI uses sendoutcards as if his life depended on it. He's in a slow market area but stays very busy. He's come up with some really unique ways to go after the expired and FSBO marker using SOC. He's also a nut about sending birthday cards. I actually witnessed him get a listing off face book after sending a birthday card with brownies. SOC has become his secret weapon. I can't divulge his secrets here publicly because he ask me not to. But you can private message me if you're interested in learning more.

Also, Check out this movie by David Frey, He is "da man" when it comes to refferal card marketing. I saw this movie over 2 year's ago and have implemented his ideas with great success.

Feb 24, 2010 01:54 PM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR, VAMRES

Referral is the business model to follow in my opinion... and cards are a big part of that model... but send out cards? Awww common. Did you ever read Catch 22? If you did you may recall ex-PFC Wintergreen created a letter for the Chaplin to send to loved ones of someone that was injured. Because ex-Pfc Wintergreen was interested in streamline operations and lazy the letter started out Dear (Mr. ) (Mrs.) (Mrs.)...

Next line ran "Your (Son), (Father), (Husband), (Brother) is (missing), (killed), (wounded) in action... then the letter writer need only mark the appropriate box... in short the very worst of well intentioned bureaucracy at work... send out cards are right up there... good intentions, pretty, and nice thoughts... but tacky, obvious computer generated and not just computer generated but a fau attempt to make it look like writing in the attempt to...I am not sure what...because it does not fool anyone...

If you want to go to the effort (and you should) to use cards then for gosh sakes take the time to write something and address and send it out... you have the time... and isn't that the point that you are touching someone and showing them they are important... you all klnow how you would feel when you call your minister for some help and you get "press 1 for sins, 2 for counseling, 3 for someone who cares...." honestly it kind of reminds me of the saying... "excuse me but you have confused me with someon that gives a s---"

I just think the whole idea of send out cards misses the point and is soooo glitz and no substance. But the idea is good...of a card!

Feb 24, 2010 11:51 PM
Daniel Rogers
Final Analysis Home Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

Thanks for taking the time to comment Perrin. I appreciate your opinion but you are quite the cynic. To be honest I almost didn't reply because your remarks are so gloomy and negative. You seem a bit jaded by life as the examples you give are a testimony to how impersonal our society has become. I agree with you on that. but it cetainly doesn't equate with SOC. In fact they have found a way to harness the power of the information age and cut straight through the impersonal apsect of it.  I also can't  believe that you speak from experience in using SOC because you wouldn't feel this way and you wouldn't  make judgments not based in accurate facts.  In fact, it is the very personal nature of these cards that make them so powerful.  Read this story I posted a while back. card-becomes-a-priceless-treasure

I just hung up the phone with an agent who thanked me for the birthday card and then booked an appointment with me. This is an agent I've never met before and he never would have heard of me, much less booked an appointment if he didn't get my birthday card.

Where else can you send a personalized card in your handwritting, signature and photo for 62c ? I have over 12,000 clients now and they all get birthday cards, seasonal "thinking of you" cards and holiday cards. There's no way I could keep up with this on my own. yet I have several hundred cards going out each month.

Here's the big secret that you don't get Perrin, It's not about a dumb piece of cardboard in an envelope. It's about the heart felt feelings of appreciation that it contains.  Humans like to know they are appreciated. They remember you for that and they typically reciprocate the treatment.  You spread enough love around, it comes back to you. "Don't  knock it, till you try it"

Feb 25, 2010 02:05 AM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA
Broker, ABR, VAMRES

"Here's the big secret that you don't get Perrin, It's not about a dumb piece of cardboard in an envelope. It's about the heart felt feelings of appreciation that it contains.  Humans like to know they are appreciated. They remember you for that and they typically reciprocate the treatment.  You spread enough love around, it comes back to you. "Don't  knock it, till you try it"

Actually I have used them. And I agree it is NOT about the cardboard...but it is about personal and heart felt vs mechanical and faux sincere.... and I do "get it" but computer generated faux personal does not pack the punch of the real thing. If I neeed to make apersonal contact with someone via a card (and I do every day) $.62 is not even a consideration...if that is the consideration I am again suspicious of the "true sincerity" and that is not cynical...

I think the cards work... but I believe that personal is not a computer program faking personal... I believe that the real deal is more effective. Yes you can send brownies, design your own card (actually not a bad idea given the message being delivered) but it is still not "personal".

We agree on cards... we agree on contacts... but we disagree on the type of message being delivered! Plastic has its place too as does neon...but not everywhere. By the way I know send out cards work...but personal, in my opinion and experience, works better...

This is your post not mine and I appreciate your setting your opinion out there... and allowing others to consider what is also a viable option. But ex-PFC Wintergreen would not have been that open.

Feb 26, 2010 12:57 AM
Daniel Rogers
Final Analysis Home Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

Perrin, I appreciate your old fashioned values. I'm much the same way. These cards more than serve the purpose for which they are intended.

1) Cards with your clients photo in front of house. How's that for "punch"?

2) Your unique authentic handwriting and signature. Digitized but still personal.

3) The ability to send hundreds or thousands of cards every week using the contact database and campaigns.

You just can't possibly do that the old fashioned way. Even the old timers who use cards for relationship marketing had a staff write their cards. That shouldn't count as personal either, but it worked. Now you don't need a staff.

By the way, SOC used the same printers as Hallmark. My wife owns a hallmark Gold crown store.

It's just the age we live in. people said Netflix and I-tunes wouldn't work either. Well SOC is the netflix of the greeting card world.

If PFC Wintergreen used SendOutCards he would have been promoted to Colonel Wintergreen.

Feb 26, 2010 02:26 AM
Anonymous
George

Perrin...It's funny that you think a personal handwriting is better! That's your opinion. However, It's the message!

I have sent out alot of cards and I have gotten alot of calls thanking me for the cards....however, I have NEVER gotten a call where someone said "I loved the card BUT it would have been alot better if you had handwritten it yourself instead of some computer generated card!!!!"

 

Jan 30, 2011 01:47 PM
#12
MATT ARNOLD
Vector Security - Virginia Beach, VA

Great info Daniel. I've decided to use SendOutCards for my business. Signed up a few weeks ago and already seeing awesome results. Thanks for this golden tip.

http://homesecurityvb.co

May 18, 2011 01:48 AM
Candace Breen
Carma Real Estate Community - East Providence, RI

This is great. I recently became handicapped due to a car accident and I don't want to quit my real estate career. I was beating my brain as to how I am going to handle my business. Thanks so much for this.

Nov 17, 2014 10:04 PM
Jessie Perozo
YRENTNY LLC - Bronx, NY
Yrent When You Can Own...

Hi Daniel, 

I already use SOC. I would love for you to share your campaigns with me. Thank you so much

Mar 25, 2015 02:06 AM
Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Ormond Beach, FL
New Homes Sales Ormond, New Smyrna, Daytona Be

My question is does this also act as CRM data base?

 

May 06, 2015 02:00 AM