When PRDnationwide Tamworth sales agent Mark Sleiman began his career in real estate three years ago, he had no profile or portfolio to his name.
Rather than waiting for business to come to him, he made the decision right at the start to use both traditional and new media to put his name on the map.
Social media, in particular, has been his most effective tool and the 23 year-old claims he is the first agent in Tamworth to utilise it and see it bear fruit.
“Other agents have tried, but they’ve gone, ‘Well in 12 months, we’ve only got one listing out of it – why are we doing it?’ It took me two and a half years to grow it,” he says.
Mark says that while his office supported him, he attracted criticism at first from his competitors.
“People were saying, ‘You don’t need the internet to sell a house’; ‘How are you going to sell a house on Facebook?’; and ‘How are you going to use Facebook when it comes to negotiating?’
“They missed the crucial part: how are they going to get the business in the first place if customers don’t know who they are or where they are?”
AN INSTANT CONNECTION
For Mark, the benefit of social media has been an instant connection with the public on a personal and professional level.
“Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all do very different things,” he explains. “With YouTube, I use that to have a topical conversation, so I’ll post a quick, one-minute video up where I speak to the marketplace about something. Then I’ll email that to our 2,000 clients in my database.
“With Twitter, it’s a lot more business orientated, so I get a lot of local businesses following me. I use that to keep them up to date with any interest rate movements, anything topical in Tamworth and any developments that are happening.”
Mark says Facebook has helped expand his profile to a broader audience through the content he shares with friends, family and even clients.
“The minute that I sell a vendor’s home, I put a ‘Sold’ picture up and tag them in it. They share that with their friends and then, all of a sudden, I’ve got 2,000 people that have seen that photo.
They’ve seen that ‘Sold’ sign, they’ve seen my name on the sticker and they’ve seen that happy vendor in front of that house. That’s very powerful and it cost me nothing.”
GOING ON AIR
Mark has discovered his other greatest asset is the tried and trusted tool of radio. For the past two years, he has advertised himself on local community channels, using radio to direct people to his social media channels.
His presence on air recently attracted the attention of broadcasters at Radio 2TM who were looking for a young agent to co-host a real estate program. In March this year, he began co-hosting Bricks and Mortar with leading real estate expert Andrew Winter from Selling Houses Australia.
The real estate show, which ran on Friday mornings, was a major boost to Mark’s profile and consolidated his presence in the New England region.
“We took live calls from the market,” he says. “People asked various questions from ‘How do I present my home?’ to ‘How [do I] get top dollar for my home?’
“There were a lot of buyers, sellers, builders and renovators and they all called up and [directed] their questions to me and Andrew. They got a take from the local market through me and also a genuine real estate perspective from Andrew Winter.
“It was exhilarating, but it was nerve wracking to begin with because it was broadcast to 18,000 people so I had to watch what I said. But it was a really good experience for me.”
Mark says the show helped him become more confident in answering questions and solving problems on the spot. This was enhanced by working with a leading real estate expert like Andrew.
“It was really good to work with someone with such a good reputation and to incorporate his insights from his experiences into the discussion,” Mark says. “Naturally, I know my market very well over here but Andrew provides a broader perspective on the Australian market.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Despite its being a successful show, Bricks and Mortar experienced a hiatus after eight weeks due to Andrew’s filming schedule for the second season of Selling Houses Australia.
Mark says he hopes there will be an opportunity for him to host a similar program in the future.
“I think [due to] the short time that we had that radio show, it’s still working wonders now. I’d be happy to do something like it again but I think it’s done its job.”
However, he retains a presence on air through his radio advertising.
“Radio is the number one medium for marketing because regardless of who you are or where you come from, you’re bound to turn on the radio and hear the ad,” he says.
“It’s a very effective way of putting my advertising across a broad audience, and from the radio, I link [listeners] to my social media networks and website. In that way, my advertising is a mix of radio and social media.”
Last month, Mark was the recipient of PRDnationwide’s Creative Marketing Award, which recognises agents for exceptional creativity and innovation in relation to a marketing concept or activity.
His marketing techniques have already produced good results, but there is no sign of Mark slowing down and his goal remains to list and sell more properties.
“I will always be exploring new ways of increasing my exposure and business for myself and my clients,” he says. “I look forward to expanding my sales portfolio, eventually employing an assistant and running an Effective Business Unit.”