During the football game yesterday, I was skimming blogs & came across Matthew Homann’s blog “the non-billable hour“. His blog illustrates various marketing systems for legal professionals. I took his 10 rules for marketing and tweaked them for today’s real estate market. Both professions have many things in common; we have clients with problems and we get paid when we find solutions for them. So enjoy his thoughts ( in black) and my comments ( in red). My hope is that you are inspired and find several 2009 marketing ideas.
October 27, 2008
Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing
Legal Marketing has changed. It used to be enough to keep an ad in the yellow pages and belong to the Rotary Club. Not anymore. Times are tough, so I present to you Ten “New” Rules of Legal Marketing. Let me know what you think.1. “My lawyer can beat up your lawyer” isn’t a marketing strategy. “My lawyer will call me back before yours will” is. Instead of beating up the other agent, we brag and toot our horns. ” I’m so good, I sold so many houses.” So what? Today, our clients are less interested in what you did in the past; they want to know what you can do right now. Their pain is significant and very real; they need someone who can solve their problems with today’s solutions. Also remember, your fellow agent is not your real competition. You REAL competition comes from those nasty third party vendors like Trulia and Zillow. They want you to advertise your current listings with them thereby creating traffic for their advertisers. Then turn and resell your leads generated from your (content)/advertising on their sites. (I don’t think so! Not my watch.)
2. Google tells me there are 337,000 “Full Service Law Firms” out there. Which one was yours again? Now, what do you have to offer that is any different in the eye of the consumer? The public may think Realtors are dead & useless; Some maybe. If you don’t wake-up and engage technology, you will be only a fungible by-product of the past. Don’t let yourself become fungible, become valuable; become essential, absolutely needed and wanted. Make yourself so valuable, they wouldn’t even think of buying or selling real estate without your knowledge and wisdom. (More how-tos in coming blogs.)
3. Unless the person who founded your firm 100 years ago is still alive and practicing law, he’s completely irrelevant to every client who’s thinking of hiring you today. This reminds me of the Coldwell Banker ads depicting both founders inside picture frames discussing real estate. You need to be relevant, approachable and alive. People do business with people they like and trust. Be a living HERO in your client’s life. Think outside the box. Make a difference. Stand out.
4. Market to a “want” not to a “need.” By the time your clients realize they “need” you, it’s often too late — for them and for you. Remember to sell the dream; sell the sizzle, not the steak. Paint word pictures. Stop boring your clients with too many word or words with no emotion. Stop saying, ” This is the living room.” Instead, “This is where Jill will host her homecoming party.” Create vivid memory pictures. Make a habit of learning and using adjectives and adverbs. Use your imagination to paint emotional word pictures.
5. Your “keep great clients happy” budget should exceed your “try to get new clients” budget by at least 3:1. First, do you know what it costs you to acquire a new client? It may surprise you. Another question. Do you know the difference between a lake and swamp? Lakes have water coming in and out; swamps only collect water. In real estate, you need a fire-hose flow of new clients to replace your jolly-happy clients. You must always be prospecting. Why not be a Smart Prospector? Learn to find, select, & then turn good clients into evangelists for you. The best advertisement anyone can have is a satisfied client who stands on tall buildings heralding your wisdom, creative approach and results in any market.
6. Thanksgiving cards say you’re thankful for your clients’ business. Christmas cards say you’re just like everybody else. Set up a strategic prospecting plan with specific tactical actions. Be different. Remember people do business with people they like and trust. Provide information, knowledge and wisdom. No one really cares how many homes you sold. Forget about it. Statics can be manipulated to say anything, so be approachable & REAL.
7. Having the scales of justice on your business card says you’re a lawyer — an old, stodgy, unimaginative, do-what-everyone-else-has-done-for-fifty-years lawyer. Same is true for your yellow pages ad To be different, I put on my business card “Chief Evangelist”. More people ask me about that title ( Chief Evangelist) than all my other designations (CRS, GRI, #1 agent etc.). At RealAgile we want to stop the “herd mentality”. Stop being like everyone else. Have fun; be creative. Make your clients go into the inquisitive state. When they do, they ask questions. You will be there when that happens.
8. Speaking of yellow pages, don’t abdicate your marketing strategy to their salespeople. They don’t know marketing. They only know how to sell you a bigger ad each year. Old school: Yellow Pages. New school: Focus on where your clients spend their time: “Saint Google” and snail mail. Yes, snail mail. The public likes & reads pretty picture postcards, and searches on “Saint Google.” For snail mail, think pictures and fewer words. No more “This is a 4 bedroom home on a quiet street.” BORING. Your clients want pictures, so give them pictures and then give them a few more.
9. Your future clients have been living their entire lives online and will expect the same from you. If you’re invisible on the web, you won’t exist to them. Stop being the sleuth agent. Stop being the “I don’t know how to turn the computer on” agent. Become the expert in your market. Learn the power of PR. Learn the difference between Twitter and Facebook. Get online, educate yourself & have some fun. Don’t just take up airspace. At RealAgile, we turn random, haphazard, prospecting into scalable, dynamic business solutions. We’re a movement to change the value proposition of agents from fungible to valued adviser. Join with us and stay on the cutting edge of the real estate profession.
10. The single best marketing strategy in the world is to find your best clients and ask them, “How do I get more clients like you?” He actually saved the best for last. Clients breed clients. You need to know where the football is going, not where it was. At RealAgile we tell you who and where your next client lives. Stop wasting your time with people who may be absolutely the nicest folks in town, but will never buy or sell a home in the next six months. You can’t afford to waste any more time or money. Be a wise steward of what you’ve been given.