Your personal marketing strategy

Every salesperson should develop a marketing strategy specific to how they do business.  It should be a plan that you personally create or possibly design alongside a professional to outline how you can satisfy your customers and achieve your goals.  I define marketing as “identifying the needs and wants of a target customer and then appealing to and satisfying those needs.” Creating a complete marketing plan may consist of such items as: research on customers, defining their needs, product design, pricing and promotion. Here are a few ideas that might not be part of a corporate marketing plan but can immediately become part of your personal marketing plan

Review your Business Card – It should be informative and be memorable     

Your business card is important.  When you meet a prospective buyer this is what they will have in their hand after you have introduced yourself and parted from one another.  You should deeply consider what your card should have on it.  Don’t think about what most business cards have on them, because most business cards are horrible.  Think about the best business cards you have seen, how did they sell you, how did their business card separate them from the others?  Your business card should be able to ‘sell’ you without you even being in the room.  I often see business cards that tell me absolutely nothing about the person or what they do.  They may have slogans such as ‘we can do it’ or ‘we make it happen’ but nowhere on the card does it define the services or products they offer.  If you give your card to a random person and they can’t figure out what you can do for them or how you can help them then your business card needs a redesign.
 Real Estate agents, unlike many other professionals, have been doing a lot of things right with their business cards for many years.  Having photographs on a business card is such a great idea.  Some claim that it is cheesy but if it is a professional photo it can’t really hurt you.  The photograph allows you to connect each time they look at your card when you are not even there.  They will look at your face and remember what you discussed and how you presented yourself.  They will be able to distinguish you from all the other business cards they have including your competition.  It will help them remember your name and what you do when they run into you again.  Of course you’ll want to include all the obvious items such as: your name, your company name and logo, phone number(s), mailing address, email and website addresses.  At that point most would say your business card is complete; I would say it is now half complete.  Why waste the back? Why not pay a little extra to put your personal advertisement on the back? Your differentiating factors? Your services?  Use the back of your business card as a sales tool, you still have an entire 3.5 x 2 inches to make sure your customer knows what services or products you offer.   Let them know how you can help them.
If you are a Real estate agent you may want to list any specialties or designations you have.  If you have lived in the area over 10 years let them know that.  Explain to them you know this area inside and out and can help them buy or sell their property successfully.  Tell them if you have a family here and kids in the school systems.  Feel free to lay some information out there to set yourself apart and let them know something about you and your skill set they do not know.  Let’s face it; every person who is buying something has options, as a salesperson it’s your goal to provide the information to let buyers know you can effectively satisfy their needs.

Does Google think you exist?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?   If someone uses Google to search for your name and they don’t find you, do you exist?  Google is probably used by 75% of all Internet users every day.  It is used to do research and find more information about a variety of topics.  I don’t think I am the only one, but I often use Google to research companies and individuals.  I feel it is extremely important that anyone searching for my name can find more information about me.  It is probably easier to build a website and get information about yourself on the internet than it is to make sure you show up on Google for a search on your name.  At least that was true until a couple of years ago.  Google now has the ability to bid (purchase) on keyword phrases.  You could bid on your name which would ensure that a link to your website shows up on the Google results page.  To show up on Google for a paid advertisement on your name you should expect to pay 10-30 cents per visit to your website.  Google has made it easy to ensure your ads only show up in certain regions of the state, country, or world.  They have also made it possible to put a daily budget in place to ensure you do not spend more then you are willing on Internet ads.

Specialties and Niches

Do you have a particular market or customer that you excel at servicing?  What makes you different then all your fellow salespersons?  Figure out what your differentiator is and make sure it is known to all your potential clients.  Here are a few niche ideas that a real estate agent could use to showcase a unique position:

  • Knowledge of the area – you have lived there a very long time
  • Luxury homes – maybe you specialize in showing and selling large homes
  • First time buyers – you are a pro at working with young people, educating them and helping them decide what is right and what they can afford
  • Ethnicity – do you speak any other languages? Do you know another culture well enough to know what they look for in a home?
  • Buyer’s agent extraordinaire – do you absolutely love helping someone else find their dream home?  Figure out a way to market that and let people know it doesn’t cost them anything to use your services.

Don’t assume people know what you know or how your business operates.  Don’t assume they know how real estate splits work, or that they know the seller pays for the real estate agent.  Not everyone knows these details, some people looking to buy their first house may be afraid of real estate agents because of costs or fear of being pressured by them.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to think what they can be told to make them more comfortable or eager to start working with you!  Once you can put yourself there, then you can start a truly effective sales strategy.  If you are having trouble getting in their shoes, contact a few of your previous customers and setup a focus group.  Use your questions to uncover what you had to educate them on, and what was most important when working with you.  Ask them if there’s anything they still do not know, and how you can help them with it.  You could even use this information to make a small marketing pamphlet for yourself.  Include information about you, the area, and how the process of using a realtor works.  You can hand this pamphlet to interested parties and it will unveil your knowledge of the industry and your openness to educating them.  Your goal should be to educate them as much as possible.   You are not looking for a quick sale or to trick them into buying a property that has many problems they are unaware of.  Your goal should be to foster relationships with these individuals for the enjoyment of it and a lifetime of referrals and business from them.

Do people in the community know who you are?

Participate in groups in your area.  Attend your area’s chamber of commerce meetings, join a Business Networking Institute (BNI) group, volunteer at a non-profit.  Figure out ways you can get your name out there and meet people.  The main goal is to be out there meeting people and making friends.  You are trying to build up your network of contacts and knowing people is the key to getting the business referrals you are looking for.

Keep In Touch and Educate Your Audience

Start an email newsletter.  Newsletters take time and discipline to make but if you continue to send an electronic newsletter out you will definitely see the benefits of it.  Sending out an email every month (or two) and providing your readers with useful information will keep you at the forefront of their mind.  Maybe you send out an article you wrote; maybe you found it online and are republishing it for their benefit, the point is to provide them some added value every month that they will look forward to receiving.  Do not use email newsletters for blatant self promotion or purely sales propaganda.  You want to provide a service that they will enjoy and hopefully learn something new and exciting.  The Web Ascender team chooses to always write our own articles.  It allows us to determine exactly what we want our audience to learn in a particular month and when we write our newsletters that are targeted only to a technical audience it positions us as a leader in our industry.  If a real estate agent wrote an article every month and sent it out to all of their previous customers and professional contacts I believe the referrals they would receive would far outweigh the time it takes to write and send out an article.  We get 3 or 4 referrals and a sale or two out of each newsletter we send out.  Our newsletter on average grows by 100 contacts a month, we do not SPAM anyone and we always provide an article that is beneficial to all of our readers.

Your Personal Brand

Consider what people think about when your name comes to mind.  Now, consider what you want them to think about when your name comes to mind.  Your personal brand consists of many things but it is ultimately your reputation and how you are perceived by those who know you and those who are getting to know you.  It may be the things such as the knowledge of your industry, experience, your network of contacts, appearance, personality, or your list of satisfied clients.  Your personal brand is the image that the world sees; you determine what your brand is and how you want it to be.  Start a plan today to get yourself where you want to be.  Evolving your brand usually starts with education. ‘Love The Killer App’ by Tim Sanders is a great book regarding personal brand and professional relationships.
Pull out all your marketing materials, reflect upon what you know and what you need to know and start taking action today.  Need more ideas and help growing as a salesperson?  Consider the following books, most are available 100% for free at your local library.

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