Category Archives for "Marketing"

Cheat Sheet on How to Make Your Ideas Stick in People’s Mind

“Don’t panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested.”

That’s the punch line for one of the most successful urban legends in the last fifteen years. What makes it so successful? It’s sticky: understandable, memorable and effective in changing thought and behavior.

How do you create ideas that are sticky? You use these six principles found in the book Made to Stick:

Simple: Think staggeringly simple.

Find the core of your idea. Like a proverb. Hollywood script writers create the high concept pitch. Journalists ask, “What’s the lead?”

Unexpected: Attract attention.

Surprise your readers. Create mystery and intrigue in your opening lines. Ask provocative questions.

Concrete: Help people understand and remember.

Make abstractions concrete. Insert hooks—images and experiences—into your idea. Put people into the story. Talk about people and not statistics.

Credible: Help people believe.

Use authority and testimonies. Use convincing details. Make statistics come alive.

Emotional: Make people care.

People donate more to one little girl than to a huge swath of Africa. Appeal to self-interest—and not just base self interest. Why does it matter to them? Appeal to identity: Texans don’t litter and Americans fight evil.

Stories: Get people to act.

Use stories to show people how to act. And use stories for inspiration. Look for three key plots: Challenge, Connection and Creativity.

Believe it or not, the acronym for these six principles is SUCCES.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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What Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech Can Teach You About Marketing

Do you know who David Axelrod is? He’s Barack Obama’s chief strategist. And he’s the man who Barack owes for winning the election.

Barack made this clear during his acceptance speech last night. He said, “To my chief strategist, David Axelrod–who has been a partner with me every step of the way, to the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics–you made this happen.”

It’s amazing what you learn about real estate marketing from a political campaign. And it’s even more amazing what you can learn from Barack’s acceptance speech. And what it can do for your marketing success. So let’s see what we can learn about real estate marketing from Barack’s acceptance speech.

Consumers Are in Control

I don’t think there was ever any question in Axelrod’s or Obama’s mind about who they needed to win over. Even during his acceptance speech, Barack Obama said “you” more times than we. And during his campaign, that was clear. He surrendered the message, the conversation, to his voters.

In the same way, you need to surrender your message and your conversation to your prospects and clients. How do you do this? Listen and respond by giving your prospects and clients what they asked for. It’s as easy as that.

Brilliant Storyteller

Outside of his excellent skills as an orator, his smooth, seamless delivery, Obama can tell a story. He can weave the hard issues of life into a personal drama that just about everyone can relate to.

Take 106 year old  Ann Nixon Cooper. Her story arced over a century with a generous amount of pain, hardship, misery and progress to finally see the day when she could not only vote–but vote for a black man. Over 60 years ago, this was impossible for two reasons–she was a woman and black.

Like a legend, that story will attach it’s self to the Obama presidency. And spread. Because it’s a story we believe. And it’s a story we respond to. Create a believable story and people will follow you.

Created the Common Enemy 

Obama knew the problems that plagued America. And not only the country, but the government. Whether he’s right or not, that’s another story. But he defined the problem in such a way that people responded. And responded in droves.

In his speech, Obama cataloged petty, immature, partisan politics, selfish, greed-driven markets and utter ignorance of the widespread suffering on Main street as the poisons that ruined our country.

In other words, he created an enemy. A common opponent apathetic, fatigued people could rally around. People rally quickly when threatened. Think Pearl Harbor. 9/11.

Find the enemy in your own market demonizing people…and communicate a plan how you plan to exorcise it to the people who are demonized and you’ll win big fans, rock star like status.

Used Social Media Wisely and Liberally

On Obama’s website, you could easily sign up for every single social media site Barack was on: Facebook, Twitter. You name it.

While he didn’t use social media directly in his acceptance speech, he did, I believe, use what he, Axelrod and their team learned from what voters were telling them via the social media sites.

How do I know? The sole purpose of social media is relationship. Connection. Listening. And responding.

It’s impossible not to learn anything about how people are feeling about your market, city or state when you listen to them. And social media allows you to talk to an impressive swath of people at all times of the day.

Think about it: This is cheap market research.

Free tools you can use to find potent stories, discover the problems that plague them and give the consumers the control that will ultimately make you a person they can trust. And a person they want to work with.

Your Turn

How do you plan to give consumers control? How do you plan to use social media? Do you have any brilliant stories you share in your marketing? Do you have a common enemy in your market?

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Why Your Advertising Never Works (And What to Do About It)

Has this ever happened to you?

You spend the weekend hunched over your computer writing and designing a postcard to announce a new listing. On Monday, you spend one hundred dollars to print the postcards. On Tuesday, you spend an additional fifty to mail them.

But nothing happens. What gives?

The Reason Your Advertising Doesn’t Work

The reason your advertising doesn’t work–whether it’s a billboard or email newsletter or postcard mailing–is simple: you never test.

Testing, especially for you DIY real estate marketers, is critical if you want to find out what works. And make it even better.

But all good tests start at the same place: a good test strategy. You must know where you are going before you begin the trip. And to do that, you must ask the right questions. Otherwise, at the end of the test, you are lost in an ocean of data.

To avoid that conundrum and to stop wasting your time and money, follow these four critical ways to test.


Creative tests involve experiments with the copy, cover treatments, envelope size and envelope copy. These tests tend to be the easiest to conduct. And offer a popular way to increase response.

A common test is to write two entirely different pieces of copy. One uses fear and the other uses pride. And the whole reason you went after these two emotions is because you’ve studied your prospect and profiled him. (Remember, writing is one of the best skills you can practice and hone.)

Another common, easy creative test is envelope copy. Try one envelope with a teaser like, “You will never sell your home, unless…” and the other envelope with no copy at all. If you find out the teaser copy pulled in more response, then roll it out to the rest of your list.

Or test and refine the teaser copy. Your call.


Most real estate marketers go after offer tests after they’ve tinkered with the creative. These tests involve promotions–or a combination of promotions–to increase response.

An example of differing offers can be as simple as “Sign with me and I’ll let you use my moving van” or “Sign with me and I’ll pay your moving costs.” You’re looking for what motivates people–service or money.

Offer tests help you understand what drives response and are an efficient way to work your list of prospects.

One thing to watch out for when conducting an offer test: make sure you account for the full cost of the test. Examine how the test impacts your profit and loss in the long run. That means don’t forget to include all costs for owning a moving van, if that’s your offer.

Timing and Frequency

Another big question real estate marketers like you need to ask is “When and how often should I mail/email/advertise/etc.?”

The answer to that question will help you to determine if an aggressive pay-per-click campaign or ad placement does better in getting more customers for a small investment. Or it will give you the value of an incremental mailing.

Do you get more response when you send out an email on Monday morning or Monday evening? Do you get more response when you email them twice a week for three months or once a week for six months?

Those are the kinds of questions you need to ask.

Keep in mind, you need to wait to the end tests before making a judgment on your test. Especially when it comes to long-term tests. If your incremental mailing is six months, wait six months.


Testing lists is a basic must-have in your marketing plan if you want to acquire new prospects and clients. But the questions you need to ask aren’t as cut-and-dry as the previous tests. You’ll need to think deep on this.

For example, which zip code responds better to an appeal on prestige, success or fear? What neighborhood will accept a flat-out advertisement versus a more editorial style advertisement?

However, investing time in figuring out the right questions to ask will reward you well. In addition, you must experiment with just a portion of a list until you find the right combo of other factors. Once you do, then roll it out to the rest of the list.


Asking the right questions is the key to effective testing. And once you find out which list responds to the right copy, creative and offer you’ll become a rock-star real estate marketer.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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The Two Most Productive Lead Generation Activities in Real Estate

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The Two Most Productive Lead Generation Activities in Real Estate

In June 2008, four Baylor University researchers discovered that referrals and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology rank as the top two most productive lead generation activities in real estate.

Researchers Pullig, Indergard, Blake and Simpson focused on lead generation as a three-step process:

•  Lead generation. This step identified potentinal clients through efforts like direct contact, print advertising, list acquisition or referrals.
•  Conversion of the lead to an appointment. This step established an appointment.
•  Closure of the appointment to a transaction. The final step involved a listing with a seller or the buying of a property with the buyer.

What Real Estate Lead Generation Activities Really Worked

In addition to referrals and IVR technology, real estate agents in the survey rated seven other lead generation activites as significantly productive–that is, they had a higher return on investment than other activities.

•  Repeat Business
•  Open Houses
•  FSBO Expired Leads
•  Networking
•  Signage
•  Telemarketing
•  Internet/Website

Television, print advertising and direct mail were all rated as not productive in terms of how much money was spent on these activities. However, it’s been proven, print and direct mail advertising can be improved using IVR technology.

Where Do Agents Spend Their Money When Creating Leads?

The Baylor researchers identified 18 different sources that real estate agents invested their lead generation dollars into. The top nine sources for lead generation spending were:

•  Direct Mail (23%)
•  Internet/Website (17%)
•  Print Advertising (14%)
•  Referrals (10%)
•  Signage (9%)
•  Repeat Business (6%)
•  Open Houses (5%)
•  Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Technology (4.5%)
•  Promotional Items (4.2%)

Notice how spending has no effect on performance? More on that later.

What Kinds of Leads and How Do Real Estate Agents Handle Them?

Real estate agents who responded to the survey said 58% of the leads they generated were buyers while 42% were sellers.

They also reported that, on average, 50% of the leads converted into appointments while 48% of appointments converted into transactions.

Nearly 64% of real estate agents said they followed up with 4 hours of generating a lead. Eighty-seven percent said they follow up within 8 hours.

Only 39% of real estate agents in the survey said leads outpaced what they could handle. In that case, many followed up on the most recent leads while others cherry-picked–a strategy we highly recommend.

Five Characteristics of Successful Lead Generating Real Estate Agents

The Baylor researchers also discovered two things about those real estate agents who reported doing better or much better in their market. These real estate agents also reported:

•  Significantly higher lead conversion rates to appointments
•  Higher conversion rates from appointments to a transaction when compared to those who say they are not doing as well

Real estate agents who reported doing much better in their market tended to:

•  Have higher lead and appointment conversion rates
•  Spend less on open houses as a percentage of their total spending
•  Spend less on promotional items as a percentage of their total spending
•  Are more productive when using open houses
•  Are more seeker oriented in their lead generation activities

Seeker-oriented real estate agents typically invested in the proactive strategies like networking, referrals and IVR technology versus attract strategies.

Attract-oriented strategies tend to be activities like print advertising or signage where the real estate agent puts out the ad or the sign and then waits for leads to come in.

The Not-So-Surprising Results of Faster Lead Conversion Follow Up

As might be expected, real estate agents who reported greater success in their market on average respond to leads more quickly.

However, there is no real difference between a lead followed up within four hours versus eight hours. But, conversion rates drop drastically when the lead isn’t followed up until after eight hours.

Characteristics of Successful Agents in Tough Markets

Perhaps one of the more useful pieces of data found in the survey are the traits of those agents who reported doing better or much better in a sluggish market.

These agents tended to have:

•  Higher lead and appointment conversion rates
•  Greater spending on Internet/Website as a percentage of total spending
•  Greater spending on IVR Technology as a percentage of total spending
•  Less spending on signage as a perentage of total spending
•  Less spedning on open houses as a percentage of total spending
•  More seek-oriented in their lead generation activities

In contrast, real estate agents in a healthy market tended to lean on attract-oriented lead generation strategies while agents in stable markets use a balance of both seek and attract-oriented activities.

What to Do Next

One way to approach this information is to use it as a baseline for your own lead generation investment.

Are you spending your lead generation dollars in the right places? More importantly, are you tracking, measuring and testing your lead generation activities?

Without question, IVR technology is the perfect tool for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your lead generation activities. In fact, IVR technology can slach your advertising costs by 30% while raising the amount of leads you generate.

Second, determine which type of market you are in. Then, adopt one of the strategies pointed out above: seeker-oriented, attract-oriented or seeker/attract-oriented.

Third, develop an effective referral-generating system. Service-For-Life is a great, inexpensive tool.

Finally, if you are stumped on how to close more appointments into listings and more listings into transactions, seek help. Training by coaches like Bob Corcoran is priceless.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Take Advantage of This Psychological Buyer Quirk to Sell Any Home Now

Once upon a time a seller could price her home with the promise that she would get the full price.

She would review each offer as it came in. She would work with her agent to make a careful and calculated decision about which offer she should take. Then, she would select her buyer–normally above or at full price.

Unfortunately, in most markets today, this doesn’t–or can’t–happen.

The Death of the Typical Bidding War

Hot markets meant buyers made absurd, exuberent offers for just about every home that was priced. That doesn’t happen anymore.

In a slow market, a typical bidding war begins–if it begins at all–with the marketing of a slightly undervalued home. That means selecting a price that is at the low end of the expected selling price range.

This may not please your seller one bit–but it may result in multiple offers. And naturally, multiple offers tend–no promise, though–to drive the selling price up.

However, if you choose a low-pricing strategy, make sure that the property is adequately exposed to the market before you entertain offers. (And make sure you use the seven natural laws of prospecting I wrote about in August.) That’s the key to taking advantage of the psychological buyer quirk I’m going to share with you in a minute.

The New, Slow-Market Approach to Pricing a Home

Typically, sellers using this approach wait 10 days to two weeks before they entertain offers. During this time there is a broker open house and one or two public open houses.

Without this exposure, your home could sell at the low end of the range because only a limited number of buyers will have seen the property.

But if all the pieces come together, you’ll have an environment for a multiple offer situation–which can be very lucrative.

How to Correct Pricing Misconceptions of a Home Seller

In addition to stressing the benefits of setting a lower price to your sellers during the pre-listing stage, this time also affords you the opportunity to correct sellers’ misconceptions on pricing.

Some sellers might be tempted to choose another salesperson who quotes them a higher asking price.

This shoud make you ask: “Does the salesperson want your success or a listing?” A salesperson who gives an unrealistically high price is making an empty promise.

Why Overpricing Doesn’t Work

Other sellers believe that overpricing will work to their advantage because it will give them ‘bargaining room.’

If you run into sellers who want to overprice their home, tell them that althouhg overpricing in a rising market may be appropriate, no one has ever had a successful client overprice in a falling market.

Leaving bargaining room isn’t as valuable a negotiating tool as bringing in a greater number of highly motivated buyers.

The Secret to Creating Irresistable Demand for a Home

How do you lure in the greatest number of motivated buyers? By setting a competitive price. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know this.

Explain to your client that an attractively priced home pulls in buyers. This sometimes means a home below market value.

Tough sell. But remind them, more buyers equals more competition. And more competition means that the home will actually sell–which, in reality, is the most important thing to keep in mind.

Tap Into This Psychological Quirk of Buyers

Did you know that a home usually gets the most attention from buyers just after it’s put on the market? That’s right. Immediately after a home is listed, its flooded by buyers.

These are the buyer’s who are highly motivated. They have agents. They have instant notification via email and text when homes go on sale. They scour neighborhoods weekly. They’re primed.

And they flock to new homes on the market–ready to make a bid on the drop of a hat if necessary.

If you could view the number of times a home is seen during the first four weeks, what you’d see is a spike in activity in the first two weeks–then a sudden drop.

That’s why it’s necessary to encourage sellers to take full advantage of this phenomenon by showing their home in the best condition and…setting it at the best price during the first four weeks of the marketing efforts.

You want this home to be something buyer’s won’t forget–even if they’re not ready to buy just yet.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you did this for two weeks…but no takers. After your careful research, you and the sellers decided it’s still priced too high because you got plenty of activity…but zero offers.

If you use a tool like Showing Feedback, all you have to do is log into your Email Center on your account and send an email blast to all of the agents who have viewed the home. This includes every single person who was in the first wave of buyers.

If the home is priced accordingly, then there’s a good chance that you have laid the foundation for multiple offers.

What to Do Next

Now, if you find that you still don’t get the activity that you expected–lower the price even further.

You’ll eventually get to a point where the house is priced at an acceptable rate for the market. Send out another email blast…and kick back…and wait for the calls to come in.

Because they will. It never fails

Remember: There are enough people in this world who are interested in your client’s home. As long as you have chosen your clients carefully.

You just have to make sure the price gets to a point that they crave. Then they’ll come out of the woodwork.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Four Ways of Looking at Real Estate Marketing

Marketing. What is it?

It’s not about tactics. Promotions. Or advertising.These things are useless without a sound foundation of research and analysis.

Marketing is about consumers.

It’s about understanding how they think, behave and talk. It’s about proper communication, segmenting and powerful distinctions.

Most importantly, its about understanding what works–and why. Without this last piece, everything else you do is simply blowing in the wind.

To help you understand this concept of marketing in real estate, lets look at four of the most popular and proven ways marketing shows up in real estate.

Social Media

It’s hard to argue with what is hot. Right now, social media is hot. But is there a payoff?

Becky Boomsma thinks so. She says “If you are interested in defining your expertise in specific geographic areas or on specific real estate topics, social media participation is extremely effective in developing and differentiating your expertise and brand.”

On the other hand, Redfin’s Glenn Kelman wonders if this is the best way to talk to his clients.

Glenn quotes a New York Times article by Clive Thomson called Brave New World of Digital Intimacy that suggests social media like Twitter or Facebook is at best creating an awareness of your actions–that’s best suited for people under 30.

For a business, it seems rather absurd.

That’s why I like to go back to stalwart advice from online experts Brian Clark and Jakob Nielson.

Jakob Nielson said in his article Web 2.0 Can Be Dangerous, “AJAX, rich Internet UIs, mashups, communities, and user-generated content often add more complexity than they’re worth. They also divert design resources and prove (once again) that what’s hyped is rarely what’s most profitable.”

And in his article Blogging Is Dead, Brian Clark said, “Blogs that provide true value by teaching, informing and offering unique perspective are thriving….Value will always be key.”

Mass Marketing

Is mass marketing dead? Good question.

Mass-marketing used to mean making one pair of black Nike shoes and getting the whole world to wear them–even if someone wanted a pink pair and another wanted a red pair.

Today, we’ve moved into the world of target marketing. Nike makes shoes in every color for every sport. Anyone is bound to find a shoe that’s perfect for them.

But target markets are very large. So, target marketing is nothing but camouflaged mass marketing.

How does this work in real estate marketing?

Segmenting your audience into specific needs. Seniors who want to buy an upscale second home. Young urbans who want to buy their first home condo downtown.

For you, this means finding a niche–and owning that niche.

While you may market mass amounts of email, postcards or phone calls to this niche, I think it still means that mass marketing is dead. You cannot make money throwing large amounts of mud at the wall. The same holds true for the next real estate marketing medium.


Will anyone recognize your brand? This is the question Steven Van Yoder asked in his article on real estate branding.

That’s an important question.

Why? Establishing a brand is equal to defining who you are. Establishing your brand requires determining who you are, what makes you different than everyone else and why anyone should trust you.

Establishing your brand helps you focus on your business. It helps you identify what you can offer consumers that no one else can offer. And it will help you grow.

But you can’t focus on branding alone. Branding is very difficult to monitor and measure. That’s why you need a predictable and proven marketing strategy like direct response.

Direct Response Marketing

What can direct-response marketing do that social, mass and brand marketing can’t do?

It can tell you what works and what doesn’t. Quickly.

Direct-response marketing is the bread and butter for marketers who want to not only survive, but thrive–in any economy.

Think Bill Jayme. QVC. Billy Mays.

Obnoxious, you say? Think twice, as the Direct Creative Blog argues:

I think few would say they “like” to watch a Billy Mays commercial. He’s considered obnoxious by many. But that’s irrelevant. Just as people say they dislike catalogs while continuing to place orders, they say they don’t like Mays’ in-your-face style while emptying the store shelves of the products he pitches.

The one thing you should learn about direct-response marketing is this: learn from what works–not from what you like.

Here’s What You Must Learn

Your best bet? Train yourself to think like a direct marketer–then test new marketing mediums like social media. Or experiment with target marketing.

That way you can avoid the over-hyped. You can avoid flushing money down the toilet. You can avoid trying to keep up with an overwhelming amount of stuff.

When you test everything, you are making decision based on facts. And, I think you’ll agree, that’s the best way to do business.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Sick of Failure? The Seven Natural Laws of Real Estate Prospecting

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Sick of Failure? The Seven Natural Laws of Real Estate Prospecting

Tired of dealing with snobbish buyers? Getting walked all over? Losing? If so, what you need to do is create some competition using the same principles farmers use to grow crops. Let me explain.

Prospecting is essential to success in real estate. It’s a key ingredient that will help you earn and get paid the amounts of money you want to make each year.

Yet, so many agents disregard, forget, ignore or flat out neglect prospecting. That’s bad. Especially in this market.

What you need to do–instead of settling for whatever rolls in from the front desk–is create an arena of competition. That is, you must get buyers competing with each other for a home. That means, you must get a lot of buyers bidding for the same home.

How do you do that? Prospect, prospect, prospect. Even though that sounds easy, it won’t happen over night. You have to sow today, to reap tomorrow. Any farmer will tell you that. It’s the natural law of the harvest.

And part of the law of the harvest is to focus your efforts on prospecting. Just like a farmer plants, then waters, then fertilizes, then harvests…you also focus on the other three pillars of real estate–and prospect.

Follow these seven natural laws of prospecting to create competition and in no time you’ll harvest a bumper crop this year of leads, clients and commissions.

1. Prospect Enough

Prospecting is THE PATH to finding the leads that will become your successfully closed transactions in the weeks and months ahead. If you don’t search for and cultivate the best people to work with in your territory, your competitors WILL find these people…and successfully close transactions with them instead.

2. Prospect With a Good Attitude

People respond to you based upon what you are putting out to them. When you have a great, positive, fun-loving attitude people will like talking to you more.

3. Follow-Up With Prospects

Following-up on the leads you’ve uncovered and enrolling your prospects in follow-up systems is really what being a successful real estate agent is all about. Follow-up systems are essential.

4. Prospect the Right People

Are you prospecting the people you ideally want to be working with? Are you prospecting in the geographical area that has the properties you really want to list or sell? Make sure you’re prospecting the people who will be closing the exact kind of transactions you want to be working on.

5. Ask Your Prospects for Referrals

When you are prospecting you will maximize your results when you ask your prospects who they know that might be interested in buying or selling in the near future. When you ask the right questions you can also begin prospecting everyone else they know. Don’t be afraid. Just do it!

6. Mail to Your Circle of Influence Constantly

Mailing to your circle of influence keeps you “top of the mind.” You get their attention and remind them of who you are every single month. And the more you consistently mail the higher the probability that one of your circle of influence (or someone they know) will buy or sell right around the time that one of your mailers arrives on their doorstep.

7. Prospect Even After You’ve Generated Activity:

To be the best you can be in your real estate career you need to prospect constantly. If you get busy and stop, or substantially reduce your prospecting you will most definitely experience a gap in your incoming commissions in the weeks and months ahead. Don’t delude yourself about this. Know with certainty that whenever you slow down your prospecting you will substantially decrease your income for the year.

Final Thoughts

Carve each day you work into four quadrants and focus on one pillar in each quadrant. Especially prospecting. Don’t deviate. Always prospect and you’ll create competition and render those snobbish buyers humbled. Count on it.

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The Surprising Secret to Growing a Business Through Self-Control

Around 1970, psychologist Walter Mischel launched the ground-breaking “Marshmallow Experiment.”

Mischel left a group of preschoolers inside a room with a bell and one marshmallow on a plate. His instructions: Wait 20 minutes and you’ll get a second marshmallow. If the child couldn’t wait 20 minutes, ring the bell and he could eat the one marshmallow–but not get another one.

Videos of the preschoolers show children squirming in their seats, hiding their eyes and kicking their legs. Some children couldn’t wait one minute. Others bailed at 15 minutes. And some waited the 20 minutes and got a second marshmallow.

What Mischel Did Next

Then Mischel tracked these children as they grew up. What he found was astounding–and could have a big impact on your real estate business.

According to Mischel, those children who waited 20 minutes ended up getting higher SAT scores, entering better colleges, learning more, earning more money and having a better social life.

Those who couldn’t wait the 20 minutes ended up becoming bullies, failing parental and teacher evaluations and using drugs.

What does this tell us? It tells us that self-control is essential. And here’s how you can use self-control to grow your business.

The Curious Secret to Self-Control

Do you know what the most popular alternative medicine website is? It’s Mercola.

Several years ago Dr. Mercola started his website and did nothing but give away great, free content–on his website and in his e-newsletter.

Over a period of three years he built his subscriber base  to 1.2 million people. So, when he started offering books and other information products, his subscribers bought them in droves.

The same thing happened to David DeAngelo.

DeAngelo is the founder of DoubleYourDating. It’s a website that helps men learn how to pick up beautiful women and get as many dates as they want. DeAngelo started the website in his basement six years ago. And in less than six years, he makes $20 million dollars a year.

How did he do it? The same way as Dr. Mercola. He gave away free, useful, unique, urgent and specific information. Information people could use. The moment he started offering products, his subscribers bought like mad.

Why Does This Work So Well?

I’ll tell you why. Reciprocity.

What is reciprocity? Reciprocity is the principle–noted by Dr. Cialdini–of returning a favor. In a nutshell, if I give you something, you have a sense to give something back to me.

Reciprocity was one of the reasons the Hari Krishnas were so successful back in the 80s. They gave flowers to people who then felt obligated to hand over a dollar or two.

What Does Self-Control Have to Do with Growing a Business?

Here’s the self-control part: Stop bulldozing people with requests for work, leads or money. Stop harassing people at parties, on the street or in church.

Instead, learn how to give–and give enormously–before you ask for anything in return

For example, give of your time. Volunteer your time at a soup line, homeless shelter or city hall.

Or, if you like to write, create substantial newsletters or articles. Give away free, useful information. Or pay someone to do it. Think valuable stuff that people can actually use–like breaking news on the mortgage crisis, secrets to avoiding foreclosure or insider tips on short selling.

Or, give up two hours of your week to consult with clients on a variety of issues like financial planning, gardening, do-it-yourself home repair or elderly care.

Find out what people want and enjoy–and give it to them.

Why You’ll Never Have to Ask for Business Again

Here’s the point: Avoid demanding people for work, leads or money before you give anything away. Delay your immediate gratification.

Like Dr. Bernie Siegal said, “If you spend two hours a week giving your time to people who aren’t your family, you’ll never run out of family.”

The same goes for your business.

If you invest just a small amount of time, money or effort–without strings attached–in other people you won’t have to ask for business. You can simply make an offer and people will respond immediately.

So, what are you giving away? Let me know in the comments. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Do You Use These Bill Jayme Techniques When Writing?

Everyone must write. Whether it’s an email, postcard or blog post, you have to write. It’s one of the most important things you can learn.

Writing overflows to most of what you say or do. And it can make the difference between appearing like a Stanford graduate versus a high school drop out.

But if you want your writing to persuade, compel, encourage or convince everyone, all the time–then you need to write like Bill Jayme.

Who Is Bill Jayme?

The late Bill Jayme was one of the greatest direct mail copywriters of the 20th-century.

He wrote persuasive direct mail letters for magazines like Business Week, Smithsonian and Esquire. Commanded $20,000 to $40,000 per letter he wrote [this is back in the 60s, 70s and 80s]. And had powerful publishers flying to California begging him to write a subscription letter for their magazine.


Jayme had a way of making friends with the reader. Of respecting his intelligence. Of always being fascinating. And selling ever so gently.

Copywriter Gary Bencivenga said “I don’t think anyone could match his record of control packages in the magazine field. He had such an erudite flair for capturing the essence of a magazine and making you want to be part of its magical circle.”

So, how do you write letters, emails or blog posts that make people want to be part of your magical circle? Master these seven techniques Bill Jayme used religiously.

Arouse Curiosity with Mystery and Intrigue

In direct mail, your outer envelope is the place you arouse curiosity. In blogging, it’s your headline. Email, subject line.

Jayme’s teaser copy almost always compelled people to rip open the letter and read the copy inside. He did this by asking questions like the Psychology Today headline:

“Do You Close the Bathroom Door Even When You’re the Only One Home?”

Or leaving a cliff hanger: “The problem was Mrs. Eggers was no bigger than a minute….”

Understand, Jayme’s creative ideas came from tireless research. He studied to learn what worked and didn’t work. He didn’t depend on inspiration, whiskey or cocaine.

In the same way, hard work will help you create a promise or story line that people cannot resist.

Involve the Reader

Getting your reader to think about doing something is a great way to get readers into your blog post, email or letter. Getting them to actually do it will lift response even higher.

Think psychological profile.

Ask questions like: “Do you go to the movies alone?” or “Do you feel awkward when you are talking on the phone naked?”

Include two or three dozen yes or no questions and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Create Urgency

Jayme once said that the concept of urgency should be part of every package. Jayme’s favorite way to create urgency was through scarcity:

“Only so many copies printed each month, no more.” Variations to this theme abound.

•  Only so many hours I can spare in a month, no more.

•  Only so many invitations printed a year, no more.

•  Only so many clients I can juggle a month, no more.

•  Only so many subscriptions I can manage a week, no more.

The point: Create the impression that if someone doesn’t act now, then he’ll be left out in the cold.

Elevate the Status of Your Service to Something Else

This is by far the most intriguing Jayme idea: transubstantiation.

One of Jayme’s greatest examples of transubstantiation came through a letter selling a course on mastery of personal computers.

Instead of talking about drives, RAM, OS, coding or programming, Jayme focused on the deeper benefits of personal computing: Success.

Jayme’s letter begins:

You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. If you’re planning to succeed in business over the coming decade, you’ve now got just two choices left. You can come to terms with the computer. Or you can marry the boss’s daughter.

He’s not selling features or facts. He’s selling a new life.

Say FREE Six Ways to Sunday

Does the word “free” still work in on our sophisticated society? Undoubtedly. Even among luxury clients.

“When something is free, say it six ways to Sunday,” advised Jayme. “For example: ‘Free gift comes to you with our compliments gratis—on the house. It’s yours to keep as an outright present without cost or charge—not a penny!’”

Don’t ignore this copywriting staple. And if you don’t believe it has the power to persuade, go ahead and test it yourself.

Avoid the Boring

In other words, get provocative. Write stuff that elevates people’s blood pressure. Get’s them dreaming.

Use words like sex, death, naked or free.

Think “Confessions of a Naughty Negotiator.” Or “20 Reasons Why So-and-So Is Dead Wrong about Real Estate.” Or “Why Don’t Home Sellers Know These Facts?” Or “14 Things FSBOs Aren’t Telling You.”

Stir the pot and you’ve got yourself a killer blog post, email or letter.

Target, Target, Target

Know who you are talking to. And make sure you clear the mud from the windshield for them.

Jayme developed a knack for identifying the audience–and the reason why the magazine was ideally suited to them–in his copy, right up front.

For instance, the teaser copy for a promotion for Coastal Living straightforwardly says: “If you love the shore, this new magazine will do you a world of good.”

Five words–“If you love the shore”–told you if the magazine was for you. Do the same for your blog readers. Or email subscribers. Anyone you’re writing to.

More of Jayme’s techniques can be found in The Bill Jayme Collection.

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Your Personal Strategy to Building Some Serious Real Estate Wealth

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, here’s some more bad news: Economists think inflation is here to stay. And it’s likely to get worse.

You’re only option is to make some serious money.

But it’s not that easy. Or is it?

Most people don’t achieve serious wealth because they make simple mistakes. Simple, easy-to-avoid mistakes that prevent them reaching their goal of building serious wealth.

What are those mistakes? Lets look at them.

1. Depending on someone else to make you rich.

Serious flaw, here. While it might be tempting to believe this, the reality of building wealth is this: You need to do it for yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else.

2. Believing you can build serious wealth overnight.

When it comes to real estate, it seems we’re constantly bombarded by claims and stories of people who’ve made a mountain of cash in a ridiculously short time.

But let’s get real: these stories are rare. These people are a tiny minority. Plus, they’re usually the recipients of some extremely good circumstances.

That’s not to say you can’t build serious wealth quickly.

I know dozens of real estate agents who’ve gone from near bankrupt to flushed with cash in a matter of months. The key is you need a plan. I’ll get to that in a minute.

3. Working hard is the path to serious wealth.

This simply isn’t true. Yes, you have to work. And at times you will have to burn the midnight candle. But simply working hard will not make you a wealthy real estate agent.

There’s something else you have to add to the mix, which brings me to my next point.

4. Being innovative is the trick to pulling in serious wealth.

Eh, what do you think?

My mind goes immediately to all the hoopla over Web 2.0. Yes, social media is hot. Yes, social media is innovative. Yes, it’s cool. But is it bringing in the  bucks?

It could be. And I think it needs to be part of your strategy. But it in itself is not going to change the face of making real money in real estate.

Also, I’ve known people who spend all their time trying to make some new discovery that they miss the basics of real estate marketing: giving your audience exactly what they want.

Innovation, in fact, can sometimes prevent you from making money. Just walk through the dot com graveyard to see what I mean.

5. Play aggressive defense to build a mountain of cash

Super Bowl 42 was a game of defense. The Giants and Patriots pretty much kept each other from scoring. And in the end, the Giants won because they played exceptional defense.

But the Giants also put points on the board. And when it comes to building wealth, you have to do both. Defend and attack well.

Because if you lose money, you have to recover lost ground and catch up. This eats up time.

How to Accelerate Your Income

Yet, the key to making money in real estate–to steadily building your wealth so a dying market won’t kill you–is to use the power of compound marketing [name and email required].  And once compound growth kicks in, sit back and watch your income accelerate.

Compound marketing needs to be part of your overall strategy. Like I mentioned earlier, at times you will have to work hard. But combine that with a little innovation, some compound marketing and a dash of time, and you’ll begin to climb out of your hole.

The Secret of the Worlds Wealthiest Real Estate Agents

Remember when I said in order to compete in this inflation-plagued market you’ll have to make some more money? Well, that’s exactly the secret behind long time real estate stars like Roger Dawson, Howard Britton and Bob Corcoran.

Might seem simple, but they had a plan: accumulate wealth and pour it back into their business. The key, though, is they had a plan.

Do you see my point? I different times I’ve stressed this. I’m doing it again today.

Great Way for Mr. Average to Build Wealth with Low Risk

Now your probably wondering what is a good way to make money, that’s simple, easy, cheap and can make a tidy sum with low risk?

You may have never considered it before but it’s a response hotline.

Now, I know you’re not stupid. This is our product. And we’d love to do business with you. But more importantly, because we’re hearing that pain of so many real estate agents it would be dishonorable if we didn’t step up our approach.

See, I’d love nothing more than to see you succeed in today’s tough market and I truly believe that this a simple way to build wealth open to all. That’s my reason for my boldness.

Besides, I’ve been in your shoes before. I’ve struggled, swamped with debt and fought tooth-and-nail to bring in a few bucks so I could keep a roof over my children’s heads.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t be telling you this if I didn’t think this was a great way for you–whether you are an average agent or a mega producer–to build wealth quickly with such low risk. In fact, it’s our clients who are telling us this. Who are telling us its been the difference between life and emotional, mental and career death.

And finally, it’s that little bit of innovation you need to supercharge your business.

Take a peek at this innovative tool right today. Now’s a really good time with the offer we’re running. But you don’t have long. We’re pulling the offer Friday at midnight.

And if you have any questions about real estate or current market conditions, please take a few moments to enter your question in the comment box below. My goal is to provide you with some of the best marketing tips, tools and ideas to making money in real estate, but I can’t answer questions that aren’t asked.

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