Your First 3 Months

 

Create a Personal Marketing Plan

Now that you’ve embarked on your new real estate career, one of the most important things to do is to let people know about it. Personal marketing is the process of getting your name “out there,” so that people think of you when they need to buy or sell a home.

For more on creating a plan, see our tool kit on personal marketing.

How do you do that? The first step is to develop a Personal Marketing Plan, a written document that describes your business goals and how you plan to achieve them. The plan should include:

·         Objectives and goals. Clearly state what you want to accomplish for yourself in your new career, whether it be letting all of your family and friends know that you’re in real estate, attaining 10 listings in your first year, or achieving name recognition in 50 percent of your target market area. Be sure to quantify your goals so you can then measure your accomplishments.

·         Audience. Who is your target market? Is it everyone within a particular geographic area? Is it certain type of homes or a particular group of like-minded people? You shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. It’s a good idea to select one or two groups to target with your marketing efforts.

·         Differentiation. What makes you unique? Setting yourself apart from other salespeople is essential in a crowded marketplace. Decide how you’ll approach real estate sales to set yourself apart from others in your market. Also determine whom you will appeal to, and tailor your message to this audience. Selecting a niche within your market that works for you is an important part of your future success in real estate.

·         Media. Determine which media—print advertising, brochures, Web site, in-person marketing, community involvement—you’ll use to get the word out about your services. Focus on two or three media initially to control marketing costs and determine effectiveness.

·         Action plan and schedule. Establish a detailed to-do list to execute your marketing plan. You need to be consistent in your marketing and stick to a marketing approach for at least six months. Repetition is the key to having prospects remember you. Read through our sample action plan for a salesperson with limited marketing funds.

·         Budget. Once you have a marketing plan, establish a budget. It may be tough to think about spending money when you may not have made much, or any, money in real estate yet. But most veteran practitioners agree that setting a marketing budget from the beginning of your career to promote yourself and your services is essential to achieving success in real estate. (Check out our entry on developing marketing skills, for a list of the marketing materials—business cards, brochures, and so on—you’ll need).

o    Determine how much you need to spend to acquire the basic marketing materials by getting estimates from vendors. To get started, you can spend a small amount to have your business cards and personal brochures made now and then allocate, say, 10 percent of your commission in the first few years to develop other marketing materials.

·         Once you have a marketing plan and budget in place, be sure to re-evaluate it each year. It’s important to determine if you’ve met your goals for the year, and if you haven’t, decide what you need to do differently the following year to accomplish your goals. You also should increase your goals or set new priorities each year to ensure that you continue to grow your success.

Preparing for A Marketing Plan

As you begin to practice real estate, your primary goal within the first few months is to build awareness of your services around town. At the early stages, your focus may be solely on closing that first deal, but once your career gets going, you'll want to create a marketing plan. But even while learning the ropes, there are several questions you can ask yourself to prepare for that time when a marketing plan is needed:

·         What's your target audience within your market? How much of that audience are you engaging with now?

·         Do you have a functional website—even if it's just a free about.me site—separate from your brokerage's page?

·         Do you have a professional Facebook page and/or Twitter account? Are you actively engaging your followers and fans?

·         Have you thought about what social media sites would work best for the demographic you wish to attract? For example, if want to primarily sell to lawyers, LinkedIn may be a better option than Pinterest.

 

·         Have you considered developing your niche? What specialized sector of your overall market appeals to you the most?

 

How Do You Find Clients?

No matter how slick your brochures, business cards, hardware, and personal marketing plan, the key to successfully launching your business is acquiring clients. Follow these tips to find prospects:

  • Make sure all family, extended family, and friends know that you’re working in real estate sales and are available for their buying and selling needs. Send them your new business card and personal brochure and follow up with a friendly phone call in the first few weeks.
  • If you’re involved in community organizations, activities, or other personal interest groups, be sure to let everyone in those groups know of your new career. Inform members of your religious congregation, your children’s sports leagues, your doctor, your insurance agent, your dry cleaner, and other service providers.
  • Find a high-producing sales associate in your office and offer to assist him or her with open houses or other aspects of his or her transactions to gain experience and possible referrals. Consider joining the sales team of a high-producing practitioner until you can establish your own client base.
  • Develop contacts with the human resources departments of any major employers in your area and offer your services for relocating employees.
  • Contact organizations that you’re involved with or that interest you and offer to provide free homebuying seminars to its members.