Let’s face it, there are a lot of things that need to get better in this industry yesterday. Facebook, Twitter, Video, mobile and blogging may be what most are buzzing about, but there are also some basics that need to catch up. Today I tackle business cards (pretty hard tackle).
Note: I reached out to a business card company knowing that I was writing this post and may inspire a few of you to get new cards. They have offered all of our readers an exclusive TSA discount, details at the bottom of this post.
I am not interested in fighting the battle over whether or not the front of your business card should have your picture on it. I absolutely do not think it should and I will leave it at that.
I am more interested in helping you leverage the valuable real estate (pun intended) on the back of your business card.
To start, let us dissect the 3 most common backs of Realtor business cards. I can not back these 3 up with any hard data, but I do meet 1,000’s of real estate agents around the country from all major brands and small boutiques alike and quite honestly collect more Realtors cards than I think is healthy for one human being. If you feel I am off base in this assessment feel free to voice that in the comments below. Here we go…
1. I LOVE REFERRALS – or as I like to call to it, I heart referrals. Typically there is some additional verbiage about how you will take the same great care of my family and friends as you did me and that referrals are how you have grown your business. So why doesn’t this make sense? First and foremost how often do you give your business card out to people that you know extremely well and already helped? Wouldn’t they already have your contact information if you did a deal for them? So, if that theory holds true and the majority of the time you are giving your card out to NEW prospects, the messaging makes ZERO sense. We just met at the grocery store or coffee shop and you are already offering to help out my friends and family as well (salesperson)? More so, do you really think that you can earn someones business as well as their sphere of influences business in an often 10 minute or less interaction? I don’t, but hey that is just me. Magnets, sports calendars and recipe’s are dead, please let I heart referrals die with them. One last point, can you trace one single transaction to someone that said by golly I am going to call this guy and refer him someone because the back of his or her business card said I should?
2. TIP CALCULATOR – or as I like to call it, separating yourself from your profession completely. This one really bothers me.
First of all, maybe you haven’t seen the commercials, but there is an app (or a million apps) for that. Do you honestly think that when people go out to Outback they pull out your card when the bill comes and use the chart on the back? Even if they do (which again I am positive they don’t), would you care to argue that because they figured out 18% of their bloomin’ onion more quickly they then tie the value of that back to listing their home with you or referring you a buyer lead?You are a Realtor not a bartender, please stop doing that.
3. BLANK – or as I like to call it, a complete waste of valuable space. This one is pretty simple.
There are 2 sides of a card, please use them both. Considering your head-shot is more than likely taking up half the front, I could argue that the back of your card is the better half (sorry couldn’t resist). I know that many of you will argue that you like to leave blank space to write, good news is that still can be done even if you leverage the back in the ways I am about to suggest. With websites, blogs, social media resources and logos, both sides of your card need to be in play.If you are looking for more space to write, consider removing your picture…
So now to what I would have on the back of my card and a strategy that I am going to coin “The Anticipation Theory”.
When you are out and about and someone finds out that you are a Realtor what is the most common question that you get? Are people asking you if you would like a referral from their friends and family? Are they hoping that you can help them figure out their tip later that evening at Waffle House? No. Are they asking you to write something down for them? Probably not.
The most common question that real estate agents are getting is “How’s the Market?”. So what does that question really mean? It means that they have lost a lot of equity (in some markets upwards of 50%), have been inundated with doom and gloom from the national media. Plain and simple they want to know what their home is worth through it all. Trust me, they do not care about the whole market they care about their street. What is even sadder is that most real estate agents immediately reply to the question “How’s the Market?” with “It’s Great”.
I am all for blind optimism (not really) but if you want to fit nicely into the car salesman category that many consumers already put you into, keep saying the market is great when it isn’t.
I reread the above verbiage a few times before publishing this and felt like it was a little blunt. The reason I left it the way it came out naturally is because as is my typical fashion I am about to offer you a solution to what I obviously feel are problems that lower the bar for OUR industry.
So here is my idea. When someone asks you how the market is impress them immediately with the back of your business card, having addressed that question in advance. Purchase a domain name that entails something along the lines of HowsTheMarketInYourNeighborhood.com. Then let them know that because the market has completely changed, you have had to adapt by leveraging technology and have completely changed the way that you now market homes (thanks to Max Pigman for that one). In fact, if they check out the website on the back of your card, they can see for themselves instantly how the market is on their street or neighborhood. Here is an example of what I would land them on when they type in the domain. Oh yeah, if they have any questions after they see the market statistics you provide them on that site, all of your contact information is on the front of the card and you would love to hear from them in the future. Sure to impress, relevant, tech savvy and shows your expertise in the industry that you actually make a living in.
You may be wondering what technology to provide on the website that the domain name points to like in the above example. My favorite “How’s the Market?” tech tool is called Market Snapshot (affiliate link). It pinpoints their rooftop on a map as the center point and within 10 minutes of a request provides all of the live listing, sold and trend data from your MLS surrounding their home. It then emails it to their inbox without you doing anything, resending an updated report monthly with current data each time. All this branded only to you, the guy they met for 8 minutes at Target and asked how the market was. Also, Altos Research has some great trend data tools you could point them to that again are visually impressive and addresses their #1 question directly. If you aren’t looking to spend money (I can appreciate that btw) then just roll up your sleeves and keep a page on your site up to date at all times with MLS sold data broken down by area and point the domain name to that sub page for no cost.
Make more sense then a tip calculator or referral request? I for one think so. I hope you agree and take action.
As for QR Codes which I recently wrote about and shared strategies on, there should still be plenty of room on the back of your business card for one of those along side your new domain name. I even found a company that generates a QR Code that when scanned adds your contact information directly into that persons cell phone address book.
I hope that this post will inspire change on a marketing piece that desperately needs it.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post we have secured a discount of 15% for anyone that needs new cards now using the PROMO CODE: TSA
Visit their site now to take advantage of the discount which will expire on October 25th. They offer custom or template business cards as well as the aforementioned QR Code technology that adds your contact info to anyone’s cell phone when scanned, outlined in the video below, all at a fair and competitive price. Full disclosure, we are getting free cards from them to bring to the upcoming NAR convention for linking to them in this post.
Have a better idea for the back of a business card? Agree or disagree with this strategy and thought process? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!