Affordable Canadian Home Inspections

Al Wright
Hamilton, ON
905-730-9300
al@affordablehomeinspections.ca

How to Market Yourself

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Al

The Affordable Advantage:

In This Issue:

How to Market Yourself

Next Issue: Adding Value to Your Networking
  • January 2010
  • Volume 1
  • Issue 1

Affordable Home Inspections


Al
  • Al Wright
  • 55 Deschene Avenue
  • Hamilton, Ontario
  • L9A 3J8
  • 905-730-9300
  • Home Inspections since 1997
  • 30 plus years as a renovation expert
  • 15 plus years as a real estate investor
  • 15 plus years in marketing
  • Technical teacher since 2000
  • MCSE, CNE, SCO Unix, A+, Network +

Not your average Home Inspector:

I’m not here to solicit anything, but rather to help you by giving back some of what I have learned. If you have an inspection done by someone else and you are questioning part of the report and would like a second opinion, send me an email or give me a call. I’ll give you my unbiased opinion and if need be, if it’s local, inspect that part of the home for free. I truly enjoy performing home inspections, meeting new people, networking, educating and teaching clients about all the aspects of the home. I’m 46 years old, previously semi-retired, born in Scotland, who came to Canada in 1973 and have lived in Hamilton for most of my Canadian life.



Helpful Hint: Anyone making $30,000 or more in Canada has to charge tax on their service. For a home inspector, this breaks down to less than 2 home inspections per week. So, if your inspector is not charging tax, you are using someone who is either inexperienced or someone who is dodging the tax man – Would you trust someone who cheats?



Please feel free share this newsletter with friends. To subscribe, simply send me an email with your name to Al@affordablehomeinspections.ca.



Information from National Realty Association

Property Seach Chart

  • 90% of buyers conducted research online before they bought their last home.
  • 36% of buyers found the home they purchased on the Internet, while only 2% of buyers found their home in the newspaper.
  • 63% of sales associates' marketing budget goes to offline advertising (newspaper, flyers, etc).
  • Consumers looked at an average of 12 homes over a period of 12 weeks before purchasing.

Where are you spending your advertising dollars?


  • 89% of consumers said that response time was very important when choosing their agent.
  • 56% of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes.
  • Average response time to an email is: 10 hours, 16 minutes.
  • 1/3 of online leads get ignored.
  • Only 5% of online leads are answered in their entirety.

Online Consumers understand that the Internet is an immediate medium.


What is your average response time?


  • 88% of Buyers said they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others (66% said definitely, 22% said probably).
  • Only 10% of Buyers used an agent they had used previously.
  • 81% of Sellers said they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others (59% said definitely, 22% said probably).
  • Only 24% of Sellers used an agent they had used previously.

The vast majority of consumers - 66% of buyers and 59% of sellers - say they would "definitely" use their real estate agent again or recommend that person to others. Yet only 10 percent of buyers and 24 percent of sellers say they used the same real estate professional that they worked with for their previous transaction.


Why is there a disconnect? One reason might be the lack of consistent communication.


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How to market yourself


There are many ways to market yourself. This eNewsletter is intended to give a brief oversight only. Otherwise, it would be volumes J



7 Steps to Marketing Yourself

  1. Set Goals. Like most marketing projects, marketing yourself will be a lot more productive if you know where you’re headed. Try talking to 10 new people everyday, whether it's standing in line at a grocery store or sitting by someone in a coffee shop.
  2. Who is your audience? Research your field in the physical area where you want.
  3. What are the current needs or trends within these areas? Introducing new products or services that aren’t currently offered. Some out of town realtors / companies pay for a home staging consultant to help sell the home. Others pay for a home inspection for the buyers.
  4. What benefits do you have to offer your client? What do you have to offer the client that others don’t? Think in general terms (i.e. prompt, good people skills) and specific terms (i.e. proficient in commercial properties).
  5. Develop an advertising campaign that targets the needs of your audience. This means your 'total package,' including your general appearance and attitude that matches your audience. A handshake and a smile can tell volumes about a person. When you meet someone, a firm handshake, but not too firm, a warm smile and a pleasant hello will take you a long way. Always have a business card to hand out and if you receive one in return, don’t just put it aside. Contact that individual from time to time and make them part of your network. These are the tools you use to advertise your product ß YOU.
  6. Network. Learn how to communicate effectively and build rapport with others. Don't be shy about networking because it is one of the best ways to meet people with interests similar to your own. Volunteering at local events is a great way to network.
  7. Constantly re-evaluate your approach, and be prepared to make changes.


If you were not in the real estate business, here are two questions to ask yourself:


  1. Who would you choose to represent you when selling your home?

  2. Who would you choose to help you find your dream home?

These two questions are important, as they answer some important questions. You are choosing the people who you look up to, who may be your mentors or you feel have an edge in the market that would benefit you most. Now you have to ask yourself, would they in turn choose you? If you can’t give the answer yes and be 100% positive, then you have to rethink on how you are marketing yourself.


The Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington has over 2400 registered realtors listed. When a buyer or a seller is looking for a realtor, what makes you stand out? Why would they choose you over the other 2400 realtors? The answer is simple: You have to stand out above the crowd. Be unique in some way.


Up until the end of November, CMHC states that the year-to-date MLS Residential Activity for Hamilton was just over 17,000 listings . The average Sales-to-New Listings for the 11 months is 69%, which gives an approximate 11,750 total homes sold. With this statistic, there is a potential to earn commission on 23,500 transactions (sales/purchases) over an eleven month period. Which averages a commission on 10 homes per year, per realtor.


Networking is the key to success, the more people who you know and/or know your name, the greater the chance of acquiring a listing or helping a potential buyer. What you have to do is get your name out there. Most top realtors you can pick out in a crowd from seeing some sort of marketing campaign. From advertising signs at bus stops, in real estate print magazines to postcards, etc. These all work but have a limited reach, Doing this alone will not put you to the top, but it does start you up the ladder. The trend nowadays is the use of the internet as it is available 24/7 and is being used to extend the marketing of properties worldwide . Statistics show that 80% of buyers use the internet to seek home buying information.


Type keywords in Google, Yahoo, MSN (BING) (i.e. Hamilton Ontario real estate agents) and see whose names appear. If your name or company is listed on the first page, there is a greater chance that someone will click on your link and visit your website, potentially contacting you (This is provided you even have a website – if not, get one. There are many free website providers. Choose one that you can edit). Have your web address on all your promotional material along with your email and phone number.


There are many ways to achieve high ranking. You can have other sites linked to your own, showing the search engines that others trust your site, therefore boosting your ranking. You can also use pay per click where you pay to advertise on the various search engines. Even better, like I do – have both. I have other home inspectors (Out of town of course), realtors, home stagers, mortgage brokers and businesses linked to me from all over the world, which usually helps me be listed on the front page and usually near the top. The higher the ranking, the higher the chance a potential client will visit your website. I also advertise using pay per click, directly with the search engines. Approximately 50% of my clients are from the Internet. There are many link marketing sites where you can register for free, where businesses get together and exchange links. Key though is when adding a new link is to limit it to no more than 5 per day. Also, do not have more than 20 links on any page, or this can backfire on you and label you as a link farm. Grow your link base slowly and watch your ranking go up. Visit http://www.alexa.com to see how your website ranks.


If you have joined a new company in the last few months or know of someone who has, try Googling their name and check out the results. I tried an experiment on January 5th, 2010 through Activerain by posting blogs congratulating them on their new appointments. The results of the Blogging experiment was that each post ranked on the first page and mostly near the top. The reason is Activerains website is ranked 4,000th in the world. This little experiment proved that the higher ranking your website is, the higher the rating of your site and therefore the greater exposure for yourself and/or your company.


You have to be unique. For example, this eNewsletter. There are other eNewsletters but they are either paid marketing (i.e. "Home Hints") or from large companies (i.e. Pillar and Post), all of which provide no local real estate market information and are basically a generic cookie cutter newsletter. One of my networking contacts on Activerain hosts his own radio show on the local real estate market in his area. Another hosts a weekly TV news segment. (Quick blog – Activerain {http://activerain.com} is a real estate networking site with over 169,000 members, membership is free, though there is an upgraded membership available. Check it out or send me an email and I can send you a personal invite).


When marketing yourself you need to bait the customer to call, email, visit your website or drop by the office. One of the best ways is a no pressure approach by offering them a free newsletter, appraisal, estimate, seminar, consultation, etc. These items entice the customer usually costing only your time. Another way is to entice the customer with items that will save them money. Though the cost of the service is paid by realtor/brokerage, the bonus is you have this client that the other 2400 realtors didn't get and potential commission from the sale of a home. For Buyers, offer a free home inspections ($300 Value alone with an added bonus, a 400 page Home Reference Binder a $99 value absolutely free). Giving a value of a service gives you an edge as the client likes to see dollar figures. For Sellers, offer a free home staging consultation ($200 value) or a Move-in Certified Home Inspection ($300 value that comes along with additional marketing incentives).


Being unbiased with realtors, when I look through the local real estate publications there are always a few individuals (or teams of individuals) that stand out. The key here is not to be like them, but use them as a stepping stone to get to a higher level. Now with this in mind, if they are smart they’re building higher stepping stones to keep ahead and may leave too big of a gap to be overtaken. You need to start the race in full stride and even though there may be obstacles in the way, you can hurdle over them and reach the goal line ahead of the others with proper training.


One thing that will help a rookie or veteran agent/investor succeed in any market is defining a target market. A target market is the process of breaking the market into segments and then focusing one's marketing program directly to that segment. The latter would be mass marketing (usually done by companies and teams) as it is costly and often times does not yield that much of a return. Target marketing (best of individuals) would be a single family home in a certain city, in a certain school district, in a certain price range. This allows you to not only become an expert in that market segment but, also save time when prospecting for properties. Imagine how impressive you will appear when talking to sellers and buyers when you know pretty much everything about that area. In closing, resist the temptation to mass market, find an area that you know a lot about, and work that area. You will win every time. (This paragraph is courtesy of Activerain - David Perry, Portsmouth, VA).