The State of Real Estate
PM: How long do you think the downturn in the market will remain?
SC: I believe that things will pick up in spring of 2009, but I still don’t think our market is as bad as what you hear.
PM: What sort of promotional product giveaway items do you generally see in the real estate
market and what should
SC: Magnets are very popular—some are the size of business cards ... others are notepads or calendars that are attached to the magnetized business card, and they are a bit more helpful.
The best magnet I’ve seen is a plastic calendar holder. It is approximately 8x11", and holds a refillable calendar that is only slightly smaller. Every other magnetic calendar I’ve seen is practically useless, because it’s too small for the calendar to be of real use. However, the large one holds a calendar big enough for writing on the dates—which is why you’d put a calendar on the fridge to begin with. The point is, distributors really need to offer well thought-out items and be prepared to sell agencies on their intrinsic value.
PM: What giveaway item would you suggest distributors offer to help real-estate agents in the present climate?
SC: Money. Or, if that’s not possible, something useful, “sticky” and inexpensive. Maybe a tiny Maglite keychain flashlight, something like that.
PM: What was the most
effective promotion you’ve seen or done?
SC: Chocolate-covered pretzels, actually. About 15 years ago, an agent in my office got the idea to send chocolate-covered pretzels to her then-manageable client list with a note that said something like “I love your business, and I love referrals!” Her referrals began to increase, as did her business. Over the past 15 years, her client list has grown huge—she now sends out more than 800 boxes of chocolate-covered pretzels each Valentine’s Day. Many, many of her clients have mentioned the pretzels to her, and how much they love receiving them. It’s the kind of long-term promotion and marketing that can really help an agency.