The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Advertising Pens?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I just ordered my calendars for my clients and the printer says I can get 1,000 pens for a good price. Do you think this is something I should do?

A:  My first question to you is, “Do you have an annual advertising plan?” If so, are pens on that list of needs? If you don’t have a plan, note this question is easier to answer when you do. If you already know what your advertising plan and budget are, then you are better-able to quickly analyze if an opportunity fits into your big picture plan.

If you don’t have a plan, then getting a plan together is your first priority. If you aren’t mailing to your database monthly and don’t have a reliable lead generation program then there should be no pen order in your immediate future.

Zebras On Safari!


For those clients who have been with me awhile may remember Virginia – she is a world traveler! Recently she went on safari in Africa and took the amazing zebra photos you see below which she, of course, sent to me… Aren’t these guys cute?

Thank you, Virginia, for your #zebraspotting contribution!

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Vision… If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It!

Alannah on horse

This year my daughter, Alannah, went off to college. Hard to believe how fast the years have passed!

Something really special and enlightening happened at the end of her senior school year right before she graduated from high school. I received a piece of mail at my home and it was addressed to my daughter. The strange thing was that it looked like her handwriting but I couldn’t understand why she would mail herself a letter. Was it, in fact, her handwriting? Or did someone near her age with similar handwriting send the letter?

When she got home from school I called her into the kitchen to see the piece of mail. She looked at it and said, “Mom that looks exactly like my handwriting!” I agreed with her and told her that I thought exactly the same thing. She quickly opened the piece of mail and read the first few words of the letter and then very excitedly said, “Oh my goodness, Mom! This is the letter that my 5th grade teacher had me write to myself 7 years ago!” She then told me how her teacher instructed everyone in the class to write themselves a letter about where they envisioned they would be as they graduated high school. “What a cool idea,” I thought and wondered what my daughter was thinking seven years ago.

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Ask Denise: Mailing Quarterly?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I want to start a geographical farm, but it just seems so expensive to mail each month. What do you think of mailing to 500 people on a quarterly basis?

A:  If you are comfortable with printing and mailing 2,000 mail pieces per year (500 x 4) then I would rather you mail to 167 people every month. Monthly, consistent mailers with relevant local market information are the best way to get the attention of people who are new to you. Then, once you start to get success in that farm, expand. Perhaps this year you are mailing to 167, but maybe next year it is 250. Then 375. Mail consistently, don’t give up, and I expect in very short order you will be up to your goal of 500.

Past Clients: Honoring Your Relationship Long After the Sale Is Over

woman holding annual property review

It is essential that real estate agents pay particular attention to where their business is coming from. If you are an agent who has been in the business five years or longer and you have taken care of your past clients, then you should have a good chunk of business from repeat clients and past client referrals.

However, many agents who are newly working with me haven’t kept track of where their business is coming from and they don’t know how much of their business is from past clients, repeat business, or referrals.

It is critical to pay attention to your past client relationships long after the initial transaction is closed. Have you ever heard someone say they have been working with the same real estate agent for the past 15 years? Or that their real estate agent is also their families’ real estate agent? I can assure you that if a real estate agent is being referred by one family member to another you can bet that real estate agent has earned that position of trust because of their ability to maintain top-of-mind awareness in the eyes of the client.

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Ask Denise: Pushy Open House Agents?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am having a problem with my buyers and open houses. Several of my buyers are looking at open houses on the weekends, which is fine. I have told them that in order for me to remain their strong advocate they need to let the agent holding the home open know they are working with an agent already. However, a few of the other agents have been very pushy and downright unethical when it comes to communicating with my clients after the open house. What should I do?

A:  There are two things I would suggest:

1.  Instead of having your clients tell the agent they are working with “someone,” have them specifically tell the agent: “We are working with Jane Smith at Everyhome Realty. Any additional information about the home should go to her.” Give them copies of either your business card or a slip of paper with your marketing on it with instructions as to how the agent can get a hold of you.

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It’s the Most Advantageous Time of the Year

woman working

I can feel it in the air… The National Association of REALTORS conference is next week, followed shortly thereafter by Thanksgiving. It’s the feeling of brokers looking forward to turning their attention away from their business and towards family and friends. While others may be smelling gingerbread and stuffing made from scratch, I smell opportunity.

No matter if you live in an area that already has snow or you live in an area flooded with snowbirds and the winter months are your busiest time of the year, there is a market pause that seems to happen between Thanksgiving week and Christmas. What you do with this time is up to you, but if you are looking at your books, thinking you would like to either have another transaction or two to round out your numbers or begin the year strong, I encourage you to take action, look for opportunities, and encourage your clients to do the same.

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