Perhaps you already have all the market share you need or want. You may be so well established that people think of you first when they think of real estate. But if not, you probably want a greater real estate market share. With the number of sales dwindling due to lack of inventory, increasing your share is more important than ever.
How can you increase your real estate market share?
By increasing your mind-share. In other words, by becoming so visible in your marketplace that potential clients think of you first when they think of buying or selling.
You’ll increase your visibility using many of the same methods you use to generate leads, as discussed in this post. But there’s more. And what might work will depend upon your target market.
What works in a small town may not work in a big city. What works for one niche may be different from what works in another.
Right now I think perhaps increasing your market share might call for a step back in time.
You do need a website, and you do need to fill it with valuable content. You also need to blog. But counting on the Internet to bring you all the business you need may yield disappointing results.
Why? Because only the people who are thinking of buying or selling right now are looking at real estate websites.
If you want to be the first person they think of when they begin to think about buying or selling, you need to be in their minds ahead of that thought.
Mind-share can have a snowball-effect for you, as it did for me.
If your market is a small town, a reasonably small geographic area, or a niche market, I think much of what worked for me 20 years ago will work for you today.
When I had an agency our real estate market share grew each year. It took less than 2 years from the time we opened the doors until we had more than 50% of the market share – despite having 5 competing agencies in our community. (And two brokers who vowed to have us out of business within 6 months.)
At the time, I thought business was growing because we were doing more marketing and trying to serve our clients well. Most of our competitors didn’t do those things. But thinking back to how that happened, I don’t think that was the whole story. I remember many people commenting “I see your name everywhere.”
To increase real estate market share, increase mind-share with those who don’t yet need you.
People were seeing us everywhere. As our market share grew, so did our number of yard signs everywhere. On top of that, we were involved in things. We attended City Council and Planning & Zoning meetings, and I was an active member of Chamber of Commerce. We supported the Senior Center’s free lunch program. We spearheaded the revival of our town’s 4th of July celebration. One of my agents and I were founding members of the animal rescue organization. As volunteers, we were in many places.
Our town has one annual celebration, with a parade. We were in it, and one year we also filled and gave away hundreds of printed helium balloons during the activities in the park. One of my agents even got brave and tied one to the bumper of a police car as it went through the parade route. By the way, I don’t recommend giving away helium balloons unless you hire someone to help fill and tie all those balloons and strings. Our fingers were sore at day’s end!
And I wrote articles. Citizens could read something about activities at Cliff Realty or see our names associated with other organizations in nearly every issue of our weekly hometown newspaper.
Sometimes our newspaper coverage came from deliberate marketing activities.
When we purchased 2 bins of pumpkins and gave them away at Halloween, the newspaper ran photos two weeks in a row. One year we purchased a box full of American flags and handed them out in the Post Office parking lot just before the 4th of July. That made the newspaper too.
Giving things away helps increase visibility…
A few times each year we purchased promotional pens in bulk and gave a dozen or so to each of the checkers at the local grocery store. Of course they all eventually went home with grocery store customers. We also gave away promotional notepads, and every December we handed out wall calendars. Keep in mind that we had a visible office with plenty of walk-in traffic. We didn’t have to pay postage for those.
We used the postal mail to increase our real estate market share…
We mailed prospecting letters and postcards to people in areas where we wanted to list, and we sent a monthly newsletter to past, present, and prospective clients. We used just listed and just sold cards, too.
You might think that because you don’t get a response from the first letter or two, you never will. But marketing experts say it takes a minim of 5 touches to reach a “cold” prospect. Here’s why.
In addition, your messages may have a long shelf-life. After I let my license go, I still got calls from people who had received my mailings years earlier.
Postal mail is not outdated…
My friend Barbara Todaro, now retired, took the Todaro Team to #1 in their Franklin, MA marketplace with massive, consistent postcard mailings. Unless they never sort their mail, there isn’t a homeowner in her mailing area that is unaware of the Todaro Team.
That sounds intimidating, and expensive, but Barbara says she started small. She began with sending Just listed / under contract/ just sold cards to a few homes surrounding her listings, then increased as the marketing worked and her budget grew.
One thing I didn’t do, but should have…
A very good way to build mind-share is through public speaking, which I could never force myself to do. If you can, stop and think about the places where you could give a presentation. It could be at local service club meetings, Chamber meetings, or senior citizen gatherings. It could be at HOA meetings.
If your niche is horse properties or waterfront, get invited to speak at one or more of their meetings. If you serve first time buyers, pair up with a lender to give a mini-seminar. If the community is large enough to generate an audience, you might do the same for downsizing seniors, divorcing couples, or estate executors.
Just remember to impart valuable information – not a sales pitch!
What can you do to create mind-share?
Look at what we did and see how you can use those ideas to become the agent that people think of first when they think of real estate.
Define your area or niche and begin sending prospecting letters. Then magnify that impact by putting your face and name in front of those people in as many more ways as you can fit into your schedule. Make it your goal to have those in your farm area or niche say “I see you everywhere.”
Just as people choose the restaurant will the full parking lot as opposed to the one with an empty parking lot, they’ll choose you over agents who have no visibility.
One more thing…
If you use social media, use it to build mind-share with people who don’t yet need your services. In addition to posting your listings on your business pages, post short bits information on your personal pages. In addition to market tidbits and buyer or seller advice, you could (with permission) wish sellers a happy move to a new home or welcome buyers to your community.
The result: your internet friends will see it and begin to automatically associate real estate with you.
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