During a recent management meeting we discussed some topics for future office meetings. Sometimes a little brainstorming goes a long way. We came up with a handful of really good ideas. One in particular was started by the question….can you find a market where one doesn’t exist? Hey I’m always up for a challenge so at this week’s meeting I put the question to our group. Of course you have to get the ball rolling so I asked people to start throwing out general ideas with the hope of sparking something brilliant. In a matter of a half an hour we had a pretty substantial list. Check it out.
So here are a couple of questions, do you find any of these ideas a bit out there? how many of these ideas would you consider traditional? The truth is that all of these 36 ideas seem rather traditional. Now I suppose one could argue that farming a particular demographic profile on Facebook is thinking outside the box but Facebook has been around for sometime now and we shouldn’t be strangers to their ads. Let’s focus on a few that got the most comments;
First of all, there seemed to be a common theme around being a part of a group. I draw your attention to community BIA’s, business club networks, special interest clubs (like gyms, yacht clubs, etc), getting people together, philanthropy, and working for causes. In each of these suggestions the idea is to build relationships and trust within a group that may be unrelated to real estate.
Second, I loved the idea of leaving your business card everywhere. Okay so you might think this one is a long shot. Consider the local car wash. At the one near my office there is a board absolutely littered with real estate business cards. It’s actually kind of funny. But consider this, someone is looking at that board and maybe recognizes a name on the same day as he (or she) just got a big promotion and is thinking about buying a condo. A stretch? Probably. Impossible? Hey, nothing is impossible but I can guarantee you one thing, just like the lotto….you gotta play to win.
Third, creating your own niche. Whether it is marketing to groups with specific interests or hobbies, being the expert will go a long way. Sometimes the idea for a niche happens by accident. Consider this perfect example. There is a terrific agent in Coburg named Dave Chomitz http://www.cobourgclassic.com/ who is a wiz at video. Every time he lists a house he creates a website using the address. Once he got a listing of a beautiful stone century home but the owner didn’t want a sign on the property so Dave decided that instead of using the address he used www.astonehome.ca . Well he sold the house quickly and since he had the website already he started calling private sellers and putting their homes on his site. Dave tells me that in the last six years he has created a data base of 554 families that get his updates and newsletters and is averaging about 18 sign ups a month. While Dave admits that some are owners just watching what he is doing, the majority are buyers. Oh, and you will love this, for a small fee, other Realtors can advertise on HIS site.
Well, hopefully you have a couple of ideas on how you could create your own market. If you have other ideas and want to share them with me, I would love to hear them.
Happy mid February. My how time flies when you are busy. Between preparing for our next Bosley U, agent and budget meetings, and my duties at the Toronto Real Estate Board, I have to admit that I was less than prepared for today’s weekly meeting. Then, completely by chance, I got a call from a friend asking for my help. He has a friend with a beautiful condo downtown. It has been on the market for two months already and the friend is starting to wonder if the agent is missing something. According to him the price is comparable to what has sold and is currently available. So I got to thinking, what if the owner had called me directly? What could I tell this person? Could I say anything? Presto….meeting topic!
Well if you are any agent worth your salt, you know that our profession doesn’t allow us to interfere with contracts of other agents. Our Code of Ethics says that a registrant who knows that a person is a client of another agent should only communicate with the person through the agent unless the agent consents in writing. I started throwing lots of “what ifs” into the crowd. What if the client wanted you to give them home staging advice? Would you provide it? What if the seller wanted to know how to cancel a listing so that he could give you the listing? Would you tell him? It doesn’t seem like providing that information is interfering but then again….
Here is one that came up in our meeting. An agent has just sold a home well out-of-town but during the home inspection the owners asked for his card. They explained that they were moving downtown and while it may have been understood by their agent that he was going to help them find something, they would prefer to work with an agent who worked downtown. No BRA was signed, but ethics aside, could this agent start talking about the downtown market with these people?
Let’s look at this scenario; you’ve just shown a house. As you are saying goodbye to your clients, the owner shows up and starts asking you for feedback on the showing. What would you say? Would you say anything? What if they asked you something specific like did the basement smell turn them off? What if that client wanted to know your take on the market?
The reality is that it is pretty easy to engage in a conversation with someone else’s client. It’s in the Realtor’s DNA to want to stop and chat. But you should remember this rule, engage brain before putting mouth in gear! It is often a tough call. When someone else’s client wants to talk to you, we instinctively think the door to a new opportunity is opening. Well, some people might argue that NOT engaging would make our business seem slightly sinister. A Seller might ask “what are you hiding from me”? If we are going around saying we are professional and knowledgeable agents then surely you have a better response than “I’m sorry I’m not allowed to talk to you, please ask your agent”. Perhaps your tact should be, “Mr Seller, I appreciate your concerns however you have a relationship with another agent whom I respect and it is important for me to keep our ethical bond intact. I would encourage you to ask him your questions yourself, conversely I would be more than happy to have him call you”.
And going back to the beginning of this story. Could I tell my friend why the listing hasn’t sold knowing full well that he would relate that information back to the owner? And what is my responsibility if the owner tells his agent that Mark McLean said they were marketing it all wrong? Clearly there are somethings that you can talk about, but when in doubt, bite your tongue. Yes it will require some serious will power.
Enjoy your week!
Happy New Year Everyone. Are you as excited as I am to get moving again? Oh, and was that a collective sigh of relief when the kids all started school again? Yes, I think it was. Well, I wanted to kick off my first meeting of the year in style and if you know me then you know that it probably involves champagne. In the past, my early year meetings usually involve discussions of goal setting or market reviews and projections but this year I wanted to try something a little different. I got the idea while driving in my car over the holidays. While surfing through the channels I came across a great hit from the 80′s….Eye of The Tiger. Do you remember that song? It was used in one of the Rocky movies. I thought to myself, this should be my theme song for the year. I downloaded it from itunes and put it in my regular running playlist. It occurred to me that you really can’t go wrong having a theme song and I wondered if this could be a good meeting topic. In the days leading up to my meeting I asked the agents to do one bit of homework. Find their 2013 theme song. Sound crazy? Crazy like a fox.
Imagine you are sitting in your car. You are parked outside a house waiting to present your offer. You are one of three. What song would get your blood really flowing? Or maybe you are sitting on the dock at the cottage. It is a beautiful hot and sunny day. You are with all your best friends. What song would you love to hear? Or you are coming to the last 3oo metres of a ten Kilometre race. What would be the song that would give you the energy to explode across the finish line? These are your ANTHEMS.
Well to make my meeting even more interesting, I spent a few evenings going through my own music library and choosing a real estate rock anthem for everyone in my office. Needless to say, the results were pretty interesting. Ok I may have missed a few, but generally my picks were pretty accurate. We had a packed house, I set up speakers and a docking station and we just kinda rocked out over the course of an hour. We heard sound clips from Guns and Roses, BTO, Van Halen, New Radicals, and the Beatles and just to prove that we are a diverse group I also played a little Edith Piaf and Sinatra.
So what is the point of this exercise? Why is it important to find your REAL ESTATE ANTHEM? In Yoga it’s called your “chi” and it is basically the same thing as your energy or life force. I can’t think of anything wrong with having a song that can quickly change your mood, give you energy or inspire you. Think of it as a quick shot in the arm, a way of focusing your mind back to the task at hand….being a positive, happy and successful Realtor. So what is your REAL ESTATE ROCK ANTHEM?