As a new real estate agent, when you began the process of designing your marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, and web pages, what is the first thing you did? I will bet I can tell you. You almost certainly did what I did.
When we enter a new business, we are unsure of ourselves. We do not want to stick out, or do something stupid, to make it obvious that we do not know what we are doing. We want to do things that work. We want things that are proven. So we play it safe. We begin by gleaning off of those we feel are successful. We do not copy (hopefully), but other people’s material does tend to inspire us and guide us as to what we might do. We run around gathering up other people’s business cards and brochures, we surf the internet to see what other people are doing. After all, this is the tried and true can’t-fail system that has driven real estate sales for generations. And it holds true in virtually all businesses. If you were going to become a barber, a record store owner, start a band, or open an amusement park, the first thing you would do is look around and see what is working for other people who are trying to do the same thing that you are trying to do. That is only smart. But you should also be aware that it can be extremely dangerous.
There are some communities in desperate need of certain kinds of businesses and people. There are communities desperately in need of doctors. Some areas need teachers in the worst way. Some areas need recreational businesses like swimming pools, skating rinks, and baseball diamonds to help keep their youth out of trouble. But do you think there is any community, anywhere in the country that needs another real estate agent? I can tell you that there is almost certainly not. There are more agents than ever getting into the business. The world does not need another real estate agent. Now there are some that will say the world does not need any real estate agents. If you have not run into those people yet, you will. But that is a topic for another discussion. So, you have got your work cut out for you. That is what is wrong with what I call “Me Too” marketing.
First of all, you are trying to make it in a business that truly does not need you at all, and now you are going to look, act, and sound like everybody else in your marketing, too? The key to survival in this business is to make yourself needed in the marketplace by finding out what makes you unique. What unique thing are you the only provider of? The only thing you have to offer your clients that nobody else has is your own uniqueness. You will never find that, let alone be able to express that to others, if your marketing is all of the “Me Too” variety. Look at the real estate signs you see lining the streets. Do any of them stick out as especially good or do they all sort of look the same? Look at a bunch of business cards from other real estate agents. Do any of them stand out and really say anything unique about the agent? Maybe one in a hundred actually do, but the majority of them have the same goofy-looking picture, usually taken twenty years earlier, and the same generic babble…
“#1 in Service”, “My Business Is You”, “Helping Buyers and Sellers”, etc.
Look around your office and see what other agents are doing to market themselves. You will see the same things over and over. The same ads in the newspapers, the same business card magnets being mailed out, the same “I’m #1” claims being made. Have you ever seen another industry that uses how much money they make as a marketing tool? Yet how often do we see “million dollar club” or “multi-million dollar producer” flashed around like a badge of honor? Do you think the customer cares about any of that? No. They care about two things, and two things only. Can I trust you and can you get my home sold. That is it. End of story. “Me too” marketing can eat your budget alive and leave you no better off for the money you have spent. If every single piece of your marketing does not differentiate you and educate your future clients about your uniqueness, you are not using your time and money at anywhere near its best use.
Take a fresh look at every single way you market yourself, from the way your business card looks to the way you answer the telephone. Virtually everything you do in this business has a marketing element to it… even bumping into people you know in the grocery store. Examine all of these aspects of your business and begin to ask yourself if you are doing basically the same thing everyone else is doing. Is it “Me Too Marketing”? If it looks like it is, it is time to get creative! This opportunity for creativity is one of the greatest aspects of this business. Creative people can absolutely thrive in it! Ask yourself what you can do differently to truly stand out from the crowd and be noticed. The trick is to retain your professionalism during the process. A big ridiculous purple fuzzy hat would get you noticed, but would it instill confidence in your clients? Your creative marketing needs to have a common thread running through it. I have seen this done successfully with people who support charities, have certain hobbies, or just have a really great and unique product or service to offer.
You will find that a strange thing happens when you start being unique. The people working around you will not necessarily like it. You will hear things like “We have never done it that way before,” or “That will never work… you need to send out refrigerator calendars.” People who are addicted to “Me Too” marketing fear the new and innovative. Their biggest fear is that maybe they should be doing that, too, but are not willing to take the risk. You may even get resistance from your broker. A broker who does not support your creative marketing strategy is a “Me Too” broker that is hampering your ability to build your business. If people are questioning what you are doing and its effectiveness,
you are on the right track. klimt cairnhill