As we head into 2019 and I inch closer to my second year of real estate, I have some opinions on the marketing I’ve seen from agents in 2018. I actually wrote this for Compass to go into an online publication, but apparently I’m a little too hip and cool (and controversial?) for that, so I’m giving it to you, my faithful readers, instead.
1. Broker Blasts. I'm not talking about sending your listing to the brokers in your database, those you personally know or have done business with before. I'm talking about cropdusting the industry by sending EVERY. SINGLE. AGENT. in your market (and sometimes beyond) an email about your listing. I spend a good portion of my day unsubscribing from emails that are not in my area, not relevant to any of my current customers, and from agents at other companies who I don’t know. The open rates are low (I only open in order to unsubscribe), and the unsubscribe/spam report rates are high. It’s disrespectful to your fellow agents and makes it seem like you’re throwing things at the wall to see what sticks instead of advertising intelligently.
2. Food that is difficult to eat at Open Houses. I understand that in a buyer’s market listing agents are looking for ways to differentiate their clients’ properties, but some of you are going overboard. It's hard to focus on the positive qualities of an apartment when you're trying to balance elaborate dishes while using a dull plastic knife to cut or spread. Finger food only, please. And nothing with too many crumbs, because that's just more work for you. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
3. Misleading pricing on rentals. If you are going the net effective route, it needs to be the first line in your listing copy. Hiding it further down makes other agents' lives harder. It’s also guaranteed to flood your inbox with inquiries from people who have the price wrong and therefore are not actually interested or don’t qualify. BONUS: This also applies to flex apartments. You can list a two-bed that can be flexed as a three-bed, but you need to address that early in the copy, not at the bottom. And dear FiDi agents: stop listing studios as two bedrooms. If I have to explain to another relocation that it's actually a 400 square foot studio but technically you could throw walls up and divide it, I'm making an angry phone call.
4. "Rise and Grind" videos. Bragging about how early you're working or how late you're in the office makes you look inefficient, not high-powered. We all have weeks where we work crazy hours, but the best agents are the ones who manage to have a life while making a killing. Also, if people think you’re too busy they won’t give you their business.
5. Posting your listings on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not where people go to look for housing. If they want to find an apartment, they are going to look to the actual outlets. Yes, if you have something interesting to say about a unique listing or if you did a record-breaking deal, you may want to brag to your people about it. But generally LinkedIn is for industry talk, not for pictures of three car garages and pools.
6. Fake personal email blasts. You know the ones. "Hey! It was so great talking to you at X! Let's connect in the new year." You rack your brain trying to remember this conversation, until the agent next to you receives the same email and it becomes clear the whole thing is an attempt to network. If you're new at a brokerage, be honest and reach out to agents individually. If you’re a vendor, you probably aren’t reading this and will keep sending these until I have to block you.
7. Giving everyone your business card the second you introduce yourself, before you even talk to them. Why do I have so many agents' business cards after any event I leave? I didn't even talk to half of you, don't trust you enough to send you referrals, and have zero common ground to reach out again. The cards float around in my bag for a while before I eventually throw them away, feeling guilty and annoyed at said agent for making me feel that guilt. These cards aren’t free; use them sparingly.
8. Random Requests for Referrals (via email blast). If I don't know you, I'm not referring you any of my clients. My entire business is built on trust and high standards, and without knowing you I can't assume you'll be up to snuff. Also, even if you're the best agent in the world, you still may not be a match for my specific buyer. When I get these emails I don't think "wow, I should send that person business in Miami!" Instead I think, "wow, that agent must be having trouble getting clients and must not be that good at his/her job."
9. Physical Mailings. This one is going to be controversial, but I hate mailings. The ROI is very, very low; they are a waste of resources (trees, stamps, mailpeople’s time); they will end up in the garbage. Are there times you want to send out a physical mailer to a building where you have a listing, or a group of close clients? Yes. But use them sparingly, especially if you’re reaching out to people under the age of 50.