Beyond the Brand: 7 Ways to Connect and Close

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If you’ve targeted your top prospects, and you’re sending mailers and hitting them online with digital ads, that alone is an amazing start. But it’s not the extent of what you can be doing to get and keep the attention of your prospects. Here we offer seven great ways, sourced from top agents across the country, that make an indelible impression on those in their farm and community to establish themselves as the go-to agent in town.

1. Better-than-Average Community Events

We’ve heard community-minded agents take on events ranging anywhere in size and scope from Christmas tree sales, to pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny, to pumpkin giveaways, paper shredding events and so much more.

But one amazing agent contributed a new idea that also happens to support a local, beloved business in her area! At her Wine and Wisdom events, our client invites her top prospects —  the homeowners predicted by SmartZip to sell in the next few months — to a wine bar downtown on a Sunday afternoon.

In this informal setting, the agent (who co-sponsors the event with her lender, title rep or home inspection expert), connects with prospects as she offers advice and tips, answers their real estate questions and discusses relevant real estate topics or anything else they want to talk about.

This a low-pressure, inexpensive and easy way to bring value to her neighbors and make a deep impression. And by supporting her local wine bar, the agent creates a reciprocal relationship, thereby becoming the agent that the manager, owner or server will recommend when a customer hints at or talks about needing an agent in town.

Not into wine? This idea can easily be replicated at a coffee/tea shop, dessert bar, park, office or even at an open house.

Takeaways: Offer a unique event that allows you to connect deeply with at least one person; go in with a goal; stay consistent and stay connected.

2. Creative Door Knocking

Door knocking isn’t always easy but there are ways to make it a bit more fun and creative. One of our clients has found a way to leverage the direct mail flyers that are sent to his top prospects via the SmartTargeting platform.

Armed with his list of likely sellers, he brings a few of his most recent postcards as he knocks doors in his farm. When the owner answers the door he says, “Hi, my name is Bob, I’m an agent in the neighborhood. I don’t mean to bother you but I just hired a marketing company and I wanted to make sure they are sending out my post cards. Did you receive one that looks like this?”

It’s a nice, non-invasive approach and is typically enough to warm up the homeowner and get a conversation going.

Can’t get yourself to knock at all? Another client makes his mark by planting small American flags on the lawns of prospects every July 4thand Memorial Day. Because he only adds flags to the homeowners who have been deemed “most likely to move” by the SmartTargeting platform, it gets the attention of everyone in the neighborhood — including those who don’t get a flag. Not only is he starting a neighborhood dialogue, the conversation is all about who is selling and who is staying! It’s a great way for him to gauge potential movement in his area.

Another agent, along the same lines, hands flags out at the post office the day before these special occasions. To each flag she attaches her business card. She loves being able to see each person, share a united feeling and spark a conversation, in some cases.

3. Get a Unique Selling Proposition

The movement to build a new shiny brand has become a big topic in our industry lately. Even NAR has joined the shift, albeit to mixed reactions.

And it’s important to remember that everyone has a brand, whether they realize it or not. A brand can be developed as easily as leaning into a nickname. An agent in Phoenix, who has the nickname “Anna Banana,” decided to play up this moniker on all her marketing. She even has a banana mascot attend every event she participates in!

Another example of brand building is demonstrated by a agent in Florida who, in a very casual neighborhood, has decided to make his mark by dressing in formal slacks and jacket along with a bow tie. The bowtie is his signature standout element which people really remember. This agent uses his image with his bowtie on all of his marketing collateral and signs. People know him as “the bowtie guy.”

Other suggestions from real-life agents:

  • Wrap your car with your logo and brand. To some, this can be somewhat cringeworthy but one agent is emphatic that wrapping his car makes him recognizable and “brings him a ton of business.”
  • Get a signature color! One agent wears orange, the color of her boutique brokerage. She wears the same shade of orange with everything and in every way she can think of, from her polo shirts to tennis shoes to sweaters, skirts and more. This agent is intentionally unforgettable!

Takeaways: Take advantage of your distinct qualities, interests, ideas, style and build on those. Make them your “trademark.” Include your unique selling proposition in your marketing, or include it in your everyday style.

4. Call with a Hook

Cold calls can be painful to both make and receive. So often we’re on one end or the other of a script. Scripts can be tremendously useful in getting a conversation started or to give an agent the confidence to make more calls.

The key, said one of our top agents in Connecticut, is to connect authentically and listen intently about what your conversational partner is really saying — without planning your response too far in advance. Not sure how to put this into action?

Here’s a real-life example:

The Connecticut agent connects with prospects by talking about their house and what makes it special. Her favorite inroads is their AVM. It’s most satisfying for her when the AVM is either too high or too low. She begins by saying the values are computer-generated and don’t take into account any updates the owner has made to the house.

Next, she says, “Tell me about your home. Have you made any changes?”

From there, she agent listens intently and responds accordingly and candidly. To someone who is excited to talk about the updates they’ve made, she may say, “Oh, that sounds wonderful, I would love to see your new kitchen.”

This type of dialog shows her passion for real estate, interest and knowledge of these types of homes and proves she is really, truly interested in this person’s home. It also opens the door to a potential visit. The agent stresses that taking your time with the prospect and demonstrating that you care about their house as much as they do goes a long way.

5. Charity Drives

Like community events, charity drives are a great way to impact and become known in your neighborhood.

We see many agents:

  • Collecting canned foods
  • Organizing coat drives
  • Collecting clothes and must-have items for homeless shelters
  • Hosting Special Olympics events highlighting local athletes
  • Raising money for local animal shelters
  • Gathering volunteers for cleanup and rebuilding projects after a natural disaster

These are really powerful ways of demonstrating that you are invested in your community and the people it serves. You can also meet potential contacts who have the same passion for your chosen cause — a great way to bond and eventually win business or referrals from like-minded locals.

6. Memorable Door Drops

Agents have become really imaginative and committed to making themselves memorable when providing door drops. One of our top clients in Virginia bakes cookies Every. Single. Day. out of their office. They leave them for prospects and clients alike. Another agent drops off a flyer with a flash drive that houses his CCRs, listing presentation, 7 seller tips, tax documents and other really useful resources. Holiday drops are also very effective. People love to get a colorful package with holiday-themed candies. To add some extra value, include a flyer showing recent sales in the neighborhood alongside your candies.

7. Be the Neighborhood Expert

“Neighborhood expert” gets talked about often and cannot be understated. And here’s why: the agent who carries the neighborhood expert moniker is not in the business for the short-term. And to their community, they’re so much more than an agent.

The neighborhood expert knows, off-hand, the:

  • Best shops, restaurants, bars… and the coffee shops with lax wi-fi policies
  • Most trusted local contractors, roofers, plumbers, landscapers and electricians
  • Most professional accountants, attorneys and more

In the case of one of our close friends, their agent was also the go-to person to find a dog sitter on short notice! Our friend knew that even if the agent didn’t personally know of the right recommendation, she would find someone who did. This agent cares and serves — and is therefore most assuredly in the right line of work!  By making the effort to locate a dog sitter, she fed the agent-for-life relationship and reginited the potential for future referrals.

Do you have all this information in your brain, but not typed out? Consider writing up a resource list for buyers, especially buyers who have come from out of town. In addition to the above bullet points, include recommendations for local bakeries, churches, babysitters, Trader Joe’s, CostCo, animal vets, local clubs, yoga studios, etc.

You can provide this list to a buyer whether you represented them or the seller in the transaction. Grateful buyers are all alike — they’ll be inclined to reach the agent who was most helpful and knowledgeable, even if it wasn’t the one who represented them last time around.

Final Recap

I know, that’s a lot of information. But here’s a quick overview of what’s most important as you consider new, varied brand-building tactics:

  • Use a multi-touch approach. Don’t rely on just one form of marketing.
  • Always provide value and content.
  • Bring into your work a piece of you. Amplify your brand by being the best, biggest, brightest you.
  • Care deeply and genuinely. Take the time to listen carefully and really hear what your clients are saying. Remember, you’re not just their agent. You’re often their confidante, counselor and their best source of information.
  • Be smart about the way you spend your time. Decide what you love best about your business and ensure you have the time to do that. Automate the rest.

Happy selling!

For more helpful tips, visit the SmartZip blog.

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