Thursday, March 23, 2006

House on a Stick

What a great story from an Agent CEO in Minnesota. Think you could pull this off in your town?

To generate leads from over 2 million visitors to the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Jon Hoffmeister of Coldwell Banker in Prior Lake created the House-On-A-Stick campaign. The even bigger story, however, is how he used sponsors to pay for the promotional materials and created a second Web site to generate the leads.

“Everything at the fair is sold on a stick,” begins Jon, a HouseValues and JustListed Certified Professional. “There’s sausage-on-a-stick, candy-on-a-stick, and more. Handing out my House-On-A-Stick is a great ice breaker. It builds instant rapport with people. They let their defenses down because they don’t think you’re trying to sell them something.”

Jon’s 10,000 sticks promote his Web site, and a drawing for a free dinner at Outback Steakhouse drives traffic to the site. Best of all, Jon didn’t pay a cent to cover the costs of the sticks or the dinner.

“It’s all about finding a sponsor,” begins HouseValues coach Mark Strother. “Sherwin Williams gladly donated the sticks. Our strategy for the Outback was to ask for $500 worth of free dinners, knowing we would walk away with one $100 Gift Certificate.”

The first two days of the state fair Jon handed out 1200 sticks. In addition, he strategically parked his truck at the main exit gate to generate leads via metallic signs (attached to his doors) promoting his site and the free drawing.

Jon’s three goals for the site are to: 1) capture email addresses for building his pipeline through Market Leader 2) offer a free market evaluation, and 3) direct viewers to his main site. To date, Jon has two transactions (a listing for $239,000 and a sale for $340,000) from the program, plus he expects to convert three more of the over 20 leads.

In 2006, Jon is using the House-On-A-Stick campaign at two local county fairs, targeting prospects closer to his market. “I really enjoy this program because it’s fun to meet so many people and have the chance to help each one get their dream home,” shares Jon.

Jon shows the even bigger reason behind his success: daily practice of the meaning behind the phrase “real estate is a numbers game, but it’s a people business”.