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Beat the Economy – Be the Hero – IDEA!

An Idea in Mid Thought

So we’re brainstorming about the economy, buyer and seller realities versus perceptions and an idea sparks. I typically like to try or test an idea before I bring it to the table, but how to go about this is more up to the individual agent rather than the concept, so I share this concept in hopes that it sparks a fire in you and in your neighborhood.

Using the Economy to Your Advantage

Because you are the neighborhood pro who loves to blog and talk about goings on in your neighborhood, it’s lately become complicated by the state of the economy- pessimism is at an all time high and buyers and sellers are virtually in a state of unknown.

Understanding this is the advantage, and you’re about to provide the solution.

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Print marketing
  • Your blog, or hyper-local blog
  • Local economists or local experts
  • Title officers familiar with market stats and conditions
  • The local press
  • You
  • Every buyer and seller in your neighborhood (not working with other agents)
  • A local library or event hall

Who’s on the Panel

  • Mortgage pros [refi, first home, & investment]
  • Title officers who know the realities
  • Local real estate professional [for both buyers & sellers, aka you]
  • Economist [specialty should be real estate]
  • Real estate reporter [you’re going to need them- give them a voice]

The Event

Your goal is to bring potential clients an interactive 2.0 State of the Union Event that is approximately two hours in length held in the evening. Your purpose is to bring to bare every market tool at your disposal to give an honest assessment of their neighborhood, conditions, and opportunities good and bad. You’ll want each panelist to be given 10-15 minutes to hash out what they’re seeing and one hour of moderated floor time for the neighbors.

Who’s Invited

Those who are seeing homes in their neighborhood in foreclosure, those who may need to refinance, those who are facing foreclosure, those interested in buying or selling in the neighborhood and especially those who are now leasing in the neighborhood.

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Consumer Side Pitch

Essentially with a door to door campaign or knocking and knob hanging, you’re going to pass out literature that empathizes with the neighborhood realities and fears, and that you understand that national economics isn’t really painting the picture for your neighborhood hyper-locally. So you’ve gone about the task of assembling the best minds that are the most familiar with your local market.

Their number one goal is not to sell something but rather create a town hall meeting because the neighborhood needs to be informed, and neighbors need answers to alarming questions. You want to help provide an opportunity to answer their needs as the neighborhood expert with a plan.

Preparing is Important

Once you’ve assembled the team, you will need to have a round table discussion to compare your facts with those of your panel. You’ll want to cover specifically “when should sellers list,” “when will it be a good time to buy or sell,” “what should market prices be at or near,” “options for refinancing, and what to do if refinancing is not an option.” These are important to cover because the business you’re creating for later might just be business right now- you need to understand the page in order to be on it.

Designing Around the Event

Your local or hyper-local blog should begin speaking directly to what you believe are consumer concerns – namely values, days on market to expect, and up to the minute evaluations of the market. In doing this, your invitation should lead directly to your blog with a capture mechanism for an RSVP so that you can remind and keep in touch with those that will be in attendance, while also reminding them to invite their neighbor.

You should also look at the neighborhoods around the neighborhood that you also work and begin telling those markets what you’re doing and ask them to request it for their neighborhood. The local reporter you’ve slated for the panel will be vital to spreading the word about what you’re doing to drive more demand and focus.

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The Event Itself

Don’t be cheap- feed them snacks, give them beverages, and by all means, give them white paper to read before and after with the names and business contacts of each panelist. Assign them homework during the event that will inspire your neighbors to follow the advice of the panel – this should be easy because you’ve already met in the round table to discuss all of your findings on the best course of action for the neighborhood.

You should be prepared to provide instant bottom line CMAs based on no upgrades, but simple two or one story and reported square footage in order to provide an idea to the audience where their pricing currently falls in a range only- obviously you’re happy to come by next week with specifics for those in the room who want to know, or buyers who didn’t think it was time to buy.

The Hero Part – Leadership

If you can provide folks with real leadership and a belief that you have an answer while others are either pessimistic, alarmist, or just plain uneducated, you’ve not only beat the economy, but filled your database with real relationships and gained market share through leadership, not hyperbole.

Be Mindful

There are strict laws about market steering or price controlling that you need to be mindful of. Also, we’re not allowed to create market panic, rather, our mission is to educate and make recommendations. Stick to generalities in areas that may lead to misunderstanding- the consumer wants information, so give it to them while making suggestions that can help guide them now for the near future. Whether that be in the importance of upgrades and spending where it should be spent, or selling later if it’s at all possible. Educate on the importance right now of neighbors helping neighbors in selling properties that have been on the market for long periods, while helping those in need avoid costly foreclosures. Demonstrate the hazards of the foreclosures on the market and the need to get them purchased and off the market. Invite investment in these homes, or first home buyers the opportunity to pick these homes up today rather than tomorrow, and define to future sellers why this is absolutely a priority in the values of their existing homes.

We’ve Picked a Neighborhood

We’ve selected a neighborhood already for just this purpose and will begin to put this together over the next month to be held at the beginning of February. We hope some of you will give this idea some thought and maybe help us build on it.

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The art I’ve used above is just filler that I threw together in a few minutes, I’ll follow up later with a more thoughtful piece.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Teri L

    December 5, 2008 at 6:09 am

    This idea has legs! And plenty of ways to tangent off to provide real value to a community. Good luck!

    (And can I add how nice it is to see your contributors again! 🙂 )

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 5, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Teri, we think so too- over coffee this morning I was thinking this is sort of the counter of the foreclosure bus tours in Florida. I think the difference here, and I do mean difference, is that the positive results are long lasting within the community where you and your business and trust is concerned.

    As for seeing the contributors again, the old way we managed images had man hours involved so we wanted a way for writers to have more control over their image destiny, unfortunately, you’d be surprised how many folks do not have a gravatar- so it took a little time to get everyone faced up in order to turn on the code- the bio boxes have always been there 🙂 So why not go get your gravatar so everyone can see your contributing face 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Teri L

    December 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

    >So why not go get your gravatar so everyone can see your contributing face

    But this way I get to feel like a ninja. 😀

  4. Paula Henry

    December 7, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Benn – We’ve talked about this before and I am going to give this a shot. It may be a March timing, because it is cold here in February. Thanks for the step by step plan.

    BTW – My gravatar shows up everywhere but AG. Whassup with that 🙂

  5. Paula Henry

    December 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Ooops, there it is! first time it showed up.

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