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It’s All About Me – Again

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Aaron Dickinson reminded me of something that always leaves me a little let down. The end of the transaction.

We work extremely closely with our clients, spending a great deal of time with them. We learn about their families, jobs, finances, personal preferences, even their favorite tv shows. We’re creating a relationship, a bond, a trust.

In order to find just the right house, we need to know if they like to garden. Do they have a dog? Big dog? Inside or outside dog? What do they do for a living? How far will they be commuting? Or do they need a home/office? Maybe they bring home a work vehicle. Do they cook and have a lot of gadgets? Do they prefer a gas or electric stove? Do they have one car or two? Have they purchased/sold a home before? Do they enjoy the negotiation process or is it going to keep them up all night? The questions go on and on. Why?

Realtors always have a dilemma: are we providing to much information or not enough? It’s important for the client to be educated, not overwhelmed. They should be comfortable in making decisions, know they’re in control of the process and understand what’s happening and why, know what’s normal for a purchase or sale, and know what the options are in each situation.

We’ve got the criteria. The next challenge begins. Now we have to put it into a tangible property in the right price range, location and condition. That house isn’t always available. We’ve gotten to know the client and now it becomes a concern of them becoming disappointed. We want them to not only be happy with our services but be happy with the process. If they see too many houses they don’t like, it becomes discouraging and frustrating.

We find the one. We review the disclosures and there’s something unappealing about them. Nope, it’s not the one. The process starts all over. By now I know them even better. We’re a team. We’re working toward a common goal. The stakes are really high. If I make a blooper now, it could ruin all the trust I’ve worked so hard to build. And the client is out all of the time and commitment they’ve invested believing that I could do the job for them.

Right from the beginning, I’m fighting an uphill battle. I have to prove that I’m not the same as Aunt Patty’s realtor in Florida who cheated her out of her life savings.

So back to shopping we go. We find the right home. It’s the one they’ve always wanted. The inspections and disclosures are great. Friends and family come by to give their approval. Now I’ll really be a jerk if I screw it up.

We get the appraisal. No problem. Loan documents arrive at the title company. We sit at the table together while they sign them. A few days later, they’re proud, happy home owners holding the keys to their dream. Their new life is off and running.

What about me? I don’t get to see or talk to them several times a week. I lose track of their every day life. Yes, I call to catch up, but it’s not the same. So I’ve gotten quite sneaky. I make them my friends. That way I can call whenever I want, drag them to dinner or a movie, go to the dog park, birthday parties, baseball games. I have to say, it’s worked out quite well.

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Nice one! We DO work so hard to build a relationship with our clients. We become an intricate part of their lives … until closing. I hate breaking up as much as the next guy. So, I love to make my clients my friends as well, because you never need an excuse to call a friend.

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    As a guy I can say it is no different for me. My clients are everything to me, it’s personal, it’s not about a commission, it’s about winning for them. They see this, know this, live this for the life of a transaction and suddenly it’s over- they’re moved in and the need for you is very small. So you have two choices, 1 get dumped and it’s over, or 2, you do exactly what you described- you make friends. Golf, football, bbqs, whatever- I can honestly say some of my clients have become by greatest friends, many others have become friends of my wife, but one thing is for sure, my life is richer because of them, our relationships go far beyond that of a commission.

  3. Jeremy Hart

    October 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I agree, I’ve been so fortunate to see customers become clients, and clients become friends. Just this week I’ve had lunch with one client-become-friend, golf with another, and then some weekend fun with another. One of the benefits that CAN’T be valued in this business is the opportunity to influence lives, and have yours influenced, by these relationships. Great job Vicki!

  4. Vicki Moore

    October 23, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    It’s one of the best parts of the job. I was calling them client-friends, but I’ve dropped the client part. Somehow the people I don’t like know it and they fire me.

  5. Athol Kay

    October 24, 2007 at 4:44 am

    >>Somehow the people I don’t like know it and they fire me.

    That’s a whole post right there.

  6. Vicki Moore

    October 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Ooooo Athol! Thanks for the direction. I’ll put that together!

  7. Athol Kay

    October 24, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I do what I can. 🙂

  8. Vicki Moore

    October 24, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    You’re the best!

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.

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Man and woman at kitchen table online shopping on laptop together, boosting customer loyalty.

With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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