Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Is Now the Time to Retreat? Hardly!

[I just wrote this article for Realty Times and thought I’d share it here. Because the article is kind of long I’m putting it out in two parts. Enjoy!]

Sure, market conditions have shifted in many parts of the country.

Cause for despair? Hardly.

You can still make as much money this year as you did last year -- and even more.


Start by forgetting everything you think you know or have been told about operating in this type of challenging market.

Many agents make the mistake of retreating when the market shifts like it has over the past year. They cut back on spending, on advertising and marketing, and on what they hope to earn.

Don't join them in that trap.

Agents who build and maintain a large, healthy pipeline of prospects do not worry about changes in the market. Truly, they don't. Instead, they continue to close business, because they have a steady stream of customers to work with.

Here's what these top agents are telling us right now about this particular market and how they're meeting its challenges head on:

They are not cutting marketing dollars. Their advice to you: Market now more than ever. The key is to spend your marketing dollars wisely. Now may not be the time to spend much, if any, on image marketing or branding; rather, target your dollars on efforts that will generate prospects. Analyze what is working and what isn't. Track where your business is coming from. Spend more there and eliminate the ad buy that doesn't bring in prospects. A word of caution: You need to give this time to work. Don't just try something for a week and drop it.

They are advertising online. No big surprise here: According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 80 percent of consumers search for information about homes online -- and trust me, that number is only going to grow. Consider the vast array of information consumers can now get online: multiple photos of homes, neighborhood information (check out HomePages.com), virtual tours, mapping technology, and even printable fliers with detailed property information.

Homes with multiple photos are viewed 299 percent more than those not offering multiple views. That is not a typo. Take advantage of online ad opportunities. For example, the enormously popular Craiglist.org lets you advertise for free. Google and Oodle are other options for ads. Your goal should be to advertise your listings and services 24/7 and not be limited by local distribution like most newspapers and magazines are. An individual webpage per listing is becoming more and more popular, and is a very cost-effective way to advertise.
My next post will continue the article with 3 more ways to meet the challenges of a changing market.

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