Polly Want a … Chicken??? | The Zebra Blog

Polly Want a … Chicken???

You probably remember my Zebra Report from March 1st, entitled “Adventures in Selling” which was a guest post courtesy of my friend “Polly”, who had just decided to list her home for sale.

In Polly’s guest post she shared her frustrations with the agents she had interviewed to list her home.

Well, I got a follow-up email from Polly this week … and I just have to share it with you.

“Denise, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you do not teach your coaching clients to send rubber chicken key chains as solicitations for business.  And NO — this tool is not one of the people we interviewed!!  This agent sends a lot of post-its and the occasional comb or letter opener but this chicken keychain was a first!”

Polly was kind enough to include the photo of the keychain she received:

(Note: I’ve blacked out contact information to protect the privacy of the agent.)

Sigh.  Poor Polly!  She’s been the victim of yet another example of unprofessional behavior in our industry.  Which leads me to today’s topic: marketing!

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m not going to recommend you send rubber chicken key chains to potential clients.  Or past clients, for that matter.  A rubber chicken key chain is not going to impress anyone.  Yes, it gets someone’s attention.  But not in a good way.

So, if rubber chickens are out, what’s in?

Information.  Expertise.  Market knowledge, professionally showcased.

Yes, it’s really that simple!

For decades I’ve been recommending to agents and business people I work with that they commit to sending a high-quality mailing each month to past, present, and potential clients.  And folks, I’m not talking about emails!  I’m talking about quality materials, showcasing your unique brand and differentiating you from your competition.

Do you have any idea how few businesses send good quality information out by snail mail on a regular basis?  If you want to position yourself as the business person of choice, commit to creating a monthly mailing that provides information your clients will find valuable.

If you’re a real estate agent, please stop sending information on changing batteries … or details of heart-healthy diets.  Instead, do a little research on your local MLS.  Pull statistics about what is really happening in your market – not what the media is claiming to be true.

Instead of sending rubber chickens, combs, or letter openers how about sending a visually stunning market report?

Of course, after providing this suggestion to agents for many years I’ve heard all the excuses about why they won’t do it … “Denise, I can’t afford to do a good quality printed piece,” or “Denise, snail mail is so old-fashioned.  Don’t you realize everyone uses email now?”, or “Denise, I don’t want to do all that research!”.

OK.  I get it.  As smart as it would be to send a great quality mailer packed with information each month, some of you simply won’t do it.  So let’s take a look at what else you could do to build credibility.

How else can you position yourself as an expert?

  • Teach.   Many community colleges, and community groups, need teachers.  You don’t have to have a doctorate, or even a master’s degree.  First-time home buyer classes are something I’ve recommended for years, but think beyond this.
  • Start a blog.  Done correctly, blogging can be a quick (and very effective) way of building expertise.  But do it poorly, and you’ll regret it.  (If you need help learning to build the best blog – ever! – check out my work-at-your-own-pace “No Blogger Left Behind course”).
  • Guest blog.  Not enough time to create and maintain your own blog?  Offer to be a guest poster on someone else’s blog.  This is a great way to get your feet wet.
  • Radio / podcast:  The number of radio shows and podcasts are increasing every day … and that means hosts are looking for guests.  Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a celebrity to participate.  You just need information about your line of work!
  • Video:  Whether you post these directly to YouTube or you also put them on your website or blog, video is powerful, and the audience for video is enormous.  If you can’t afford to mail market information, how about creating a video instead?
  • Press release:  Need to get the word out about something interesting you’re doing in your business?  If you’re doing something unusual, or solving an interesting problem in your industry, a press release can help create visibility.

Before you place that order for rubber chicken key chains, really think about what you’re spending your money on … and what message you’re sending.  And then take action – a different action.  Create attention with dynamic market information that showcases your expertise, not gimmicky rubber chickens.

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2 Responses to “Polly Want a … Chicken???”

  1. Okay, that’s hilarious. I just passed your friend’s picture of the keychain to my entire office. I’m sure it’s going to be the brunt of many inside jokes over the next few years. It’s difficult for me to see mistakes like these made in our industry. It makes all real estate agents look desperate. Your advice is solid, especially when it comes to sending out market reports, something that most potential clients don’t have access to. Great blog!

    • Denise Lones says:

      I’m glad you liked the post! Many agents have asked if the story was real — and it is! That was really a sad example of just how pathetic some agents represent our industry. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comments.

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