All real estate agents around the world, from those who are brand new to those who have been in the industry for years, are continually trying to promote themselves, their businesses, their offices and their companies.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a host of others out there promoting you and your business every day? Let’s talk about something I’ve seen top performers in the industry do, whether it be in North America or Australia.
What we are talking about here is creating partnerships in your community and getting other businesses to promote you. The important thing is, this works just as well for brand-new agents as it does for those who are established.
Very simply, you put together a list of the better businesses around, such as restaurants, hairdressing salons, DIY stores etc. You then approach them and ask, if you recommended that your database of customers do business with them, would they be prepared to give them a discount?
Let’s assume your total customer database is 2,000. From experience, if somebody has just had 2,000 potential customers recommended to their business, they will happily offer a discount – normally 10-15 per cent is easily achieved (please understand the actual database is never handed over – the businesses and the discounts offered are merely referred to your customers).
You then advise your customers that you have organised discounts at a large number of businesses – EXCLUSIVELY for them! You list these businesses on your website so you can add to the list continually, and provide your customers with VIP discount cards.
By doing this, you will also effectively lock in all your existing customers – a great bonus, as every business can lose customers unawares.
You then provide point-of-sale material to each business, stating “XYZ real estate company discount card welcome here”. When your customers shop there, they may shop with a friend who will ask them what this means.
And they will tell them, “Oh, we are customers of XYZ real estate company and they arranged discounts at all kinds of places for their customers”.
This is where the law of averages comes in – a number of those friends and others who just see the point-of-sale material will be in the market to sell, buy, rent or have somebody manage their investment properties.
If they want to know who to contact, they can then refer to the business cards you have provided as part of the point-of-sale material, ideally numbered on the back, so you know where the referral has come from and can thank that business accordingly.
It would also pay to set up a reward system for the businesses that refer customers to you. The more rewards they get, the more certain you can be that the point-of-sale material will always be displayed prominently. Everybody wins, and another bonus is creating the perception that you dominate the area, without people putting it down to the number of signboards they see.
When I was doing an advertising training session on the Gold Coast, one of the attendees volunteered, “I know exactly what you mean – when we were in Tasmania, this one real estate group appeared to be absolutely everywhere: shops, restaurants, you name it”. As far as they were concerned, that real estate group dominated the entire area, and they never once thought about or mentioned the number of signboards they had on display.
There is another world-beating agency in Victoria that has around 120 businesses promoting it – how powerful is that! The businesses cover pages and pages on their website, broken into categories so their loyal customers can ‘shop’ there to establish where all the discounts are available.
Another broker in North America, who I’ve known now for around 14 years, does the same thing. He has never cold-canvassed, and over a few short years I watched his business go from 250 to 500+ annual customer referrals. He is reputed to be in the top 1 per cent in North America – not surprising!
I mentioned brand-new agents above – some are young and enthusiastic and others are older, having undertaken a change of career. But they start with nothing, appearing to have nothing to offer in terms of a successful track record or previous satisfied customers. They far too often fall into the trap of cold-canvassing, which is an absolute no-no in my personal opinion, and the rejections they get do nothing for their self-esteem.
However, if they take the initiative and their office allows them to refer their client database to selected businesses in their local area, then even though they are brand-new, they have an important role to fulfil. Plus, the business owners they talk to will see them as someone important, not just a rookie.
The added beauty of this is that as they talk to all these companies, they are not soliciting business; they are offering customers, so there is no pressure and no defensiveness. And, guess what? In the course of their calls to these businesses, they are going to stumble across those owners or managers who just happen to be in the market for real estate – buying, selling, renting or investing. What a great bonus!