The Best Advice I Ever Got
The Best Advice I Ever Got
When I was 24 and still relatively new in real estate, I remember calling my dad and complaining because my “well had run dry.” I closed all the deals I was working on and was becoming discouraged because there was nothing new on the horizon and I didn’t have “anything to do.”
His response to my complaints about not having any new business? “Create it.”
From that point on, I made it my mission to always be busy. Creating new business and opportunity was my eternal goal. Just because everyone said the real estate market is seasonal didn’t mean my business had to be.
After talking with my dad, I sent out my first mass e-mail, titled “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” because I wanted to feature my next-door neighbor’s house. It wasn’t even my listing. Marketing someone else’s listing was unheard of, but I had nothing to lose.
I took a very “me” approach in the message, which went to a few thousand of my “closest friends.” Within five hours of me sending that e-mail — in the “off peak” time of the year, no less — I had my neighbor’s house under contract. Full-price offer.
I learned from that experience that by taking a nontraditional approach, I could easily set myself apart from not just other real estate professionals, but from other salespersons.
With this new perspective, my momentum began to build again. As it did, I started thinking about a way to put my name on the map. Real estate pros love to promote themselves, and I’m no different. Where I differ from others is I realize that there are good marketers and then there are brilliant marketers. With all due humility, I consider myself the latter.
For my next move, I wanted to create something fun, creative, and trendy — something that grabbed people’s attention while simultaneously mocking cheesy real estate advertisements. Something that I could send to my celebrity friends. Something that made it very clear who I was and what I do.
That led to my first brilliant marketing idea: a T-shirt that promoted my real estate services. I got the idea from seeing the “Jesus is my Homeboy” shirt at Urban Outfitters. Whether people wore it because they were Christians, or they just thought Jesus had cool hair, it was on their chest and it was loud. I ordered about 200 in my first shipment. As of today, I’ve given out more than 10,000.
The best part was the exposure I got from famous friends. Pop princess Britney Spears decided to sport one during her “wheels off” week, and as a result, a photograph of the shirt appeared in People magazine. Celebrities from Tony Romo to Soleil Moon Frye (aka Punky Brewster) have also been spotted wearing this now-famous walking billboard.
(In case you’re wondering, I sold the T-shirts for $40, hoodies for $60, and doggy shirts for $50. I even shipped one all the way to Ireland. Don’t ask.)
My name was seen across the country. I was able to capitalize on the exposure, but the biggest problem now was my support system. That is to say, I didn’t really have one. That’s when I realized I needed to build a team, which I’ll go into in my next column.
Until then, cheers!