top of mind
How Did You Get My Name?
By asking prospects this simple question, you’ll learn if your
hard-earned marketing dollars are working.
I used to throw thousands of dollars at
print and online ads for my real estate
business, believing they’d give me exposure and bring more clients through the
door than I could handle. I watched other
agents do it, and it seemed to be working
for them. But after several months and
many dollars down the drain, I didn’t see
any increase in my customer base. The
only thing that went up was the ad sales
rep’s bottom line.
I’m not saying real estate profession-
als shouldn’t take out ads. But we all lean
on marketing crutches—tactics we’re
told are tried-and-true or products and
systems we’re promised will send us au-
tomatic leads. That’s not how you should
decide where to spend your marketing
dollars. There’s a simple way to find out
what kind of marketing actually works for
you; just ask your prospects one ques-
tion: “How did you hear about me?”
I learned to do this early in my 35-
year career, asking all my leads why
they called and how they got my name. I
became lax about it when business was
booming, but when things slowed down,
I bought into marketing gimmicks to pick
up more clients. I realized I had gotten
off-track eight years ago after becoming
frustrated with the lack of results from
my print and online ads. I vowed to begin
asking every prospect these questions
again—if only to prove to the advertising
and lead-generation companies that they
were doing me no good.
That’s when I learned what I really
already knew: Most prospects contacted
me after seeing my yard signs or being
referred by one of my past clients. This
was a wake-up call to stop throwing my
money away on marketing products that
weren’t working and focus on getting
more signs into my community and
working my client database.
Knowing where your business is
coming from helps you make smarter
decisions about where to spend your
marketing dollars and how to use your
time. But you can’t rely on anyone else to
give you this information; you have to find
it out for yourself. I see too many practitioners exhibit blind faith that whatever
marketing company they’re working with
will send them leads automatically. If that
were true, those companies wouldn’t
need to call us; we’d be calling them.
Failing to find out where prospects
learned of your business isn’t a rookie
mistake. I was 27 years into my career
when I realized I was passing up such a
clear opportunity to better my business.
But I’ll admit that even after I corrected
my mistake, I wasn’t immediately
ready to give up all the other marketing
crutches I had relied on. It took more
than a year to let them go and refocus
my resources. Once I did, my business
began to increase. After reorganizing my
marketing focus, it was only a few weeks
before I saw a big uptick in leads and new
business. And in the first year, I brought
in 10 percent more income.
With the endless marketing opportunities the Internet now affords us, it’s even
more critical for you to know where your
business is coming from. On top of that,
it’s an ego boost when prospects tell you
they called for a particular reason. It lets
you know what you’re doing right. How
can you know what’s pulling the clients in
if you don’t ask them?
I ask all prospects who call, e-mail,
or meet me at an open house how they
heard about me or my listing. I don’t miss
many opportunities anymore. When you
slow down and regularly assess where
your clients are coming from, you’re
better able to target the right people.
Debbie Reynolds, ABR, GRI,
is with Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices PenFed Realty
in Clarksville, Tenn. [dreynolds
Note: Opinions expressed in “Commentary” do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine.
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Don’t skip an opportunity to find out where
your clients are coming from. The information
will help you refine your business planning.