One man's trash is another man's treasure. Are you guilty of discounting the pearls on your doorstep? The creative inspiration and connection to business resources you need to get to the next level may be closer than you think. Here are three underestimated sources of input that a simple shift in mindset can reveal.
Junk Mail -- From postcards to ValPak, junk mail can teach you about:
- businesses in your local community -- These become referral resources and talking points for local market expertise. Blog about that new restaurant that just opened. Visit the Mom & Pop hardware store and promote them on social media. Find missing trades to name on your referral list for specialty services. This information and social sizzle is mutually beneficial.
- marketing services other small businesses use to design, print, and distribute correspondence --We've found some of our best vendor partners this way.
- graphic design trends -- Fortune 500 companies give you FREE samples of ad agency work, right in your mailbox, folks! Pay attention to the content wording, imagery, color palates, paper selection, envelope teaser, packaging, call to action, and response mechanisms. Their direct mail is designed, tested and re-tested to get a response.
- what not to do -- Just because someone paid thousands of dollars to get their flyer or postcard distributed via EDDM doesn't mean they should have. See something you want to consider trying? Call the advertiser directly and ask them how the campaign/method has worked for them. The insight you gain could save you from expenditure errors.
Junk Email -- Folks in the real estate business get more than their fair share. Our email addresses are publicly available, and we are among the top targets for solicitation from folks who want to sell us something or gain our referral business. Here are golden nugget opportunities being handed to you on a silver platter:
- email flyer ads & listing announcements -- You can learn a lot by watching how other agents/firms advertise and promote properties. From insight on listing language to the knowledge of distribution tools, paying attention to these messages can sharpen your professional skills. And, as they are meant to do, they can fortify your awareness of property matches and help you get there first. Don't be that myopic agent who waits for a Buyer to tap him on the shoulder with the news of a fresh match or a price drop on a watched property.
- education opportunities -- Real estate schools and education providers (lenders, title companies, brokerages, and Associations) are fantastic about promoting continuing education courses and helpful reminders to keep you on pace for licensing renewals. They are also some of the best avenues for learning about specialized (niche) training courses, discounts, and combination training events(networking or meals provided).
- lender newsletters -- Those email newsletters lenders send out talking about current rates, loan limits, current events that affect the lending landscape, and new product offerings are valuable information tools. One of the enduring weaknesses of real estate agents as a whole is the lack of knowledge concerning financing matters. Treating those "junk emails" from lenders with new respect can elevate your game! The only guarantee in this business is that nothing will stay the same. Hyper-awareness of what is changing, and who can fill a need for a particular lending scenario can take you from zero to hero.
- newsletters from other agents -- Iron sharpens iron. At some point in time, you will land on the DL (distribution list) of colleagues and competitors. Pick and choose here, but know that hyper-connection to admired pros is a good thing. Seeing the consistent activity from your own peer group can simply remind you how "staying top of mind" works, and serve to fuel content ideas for your own touch points, whether email, texting, or social media is your thing.
Direct Sales / MLM companies -- You heard me right. Think about it. Party plan businesses, no matter what the product, typically have great training, amazing marketing collateral, and a strong understanding of the social connection of sales. If you lead a team in real estate, there's a LOT you can learn from someone who manages a volunteer army of network marketers. If you want to learn how to motivate others, stay "product focused" & top-of-mind, and concentrate on benefits-based messaging -- take a page out of Thirty-One's book, or eyeball Young Living, for example. The most successful reps are info-rich and selfie-poor in their content -- a lesson that would benefit many real estate agents. There are numerous companies that would be worthy of consideration (too many to name here), and signing up with one that sells a product you genuinely love could be a consistent source of sweet inspiration, providing you apply what you learn to your real estate activities.
Great ideas can come from anywhere if you train your mind to be receptive to opportunities. What are your best sources of unexpected inspiration?