Target Offices - How to Select Which Offices You Should Market To
By David Pace, MCI
There are 63 real estate offices in your area and 1500 Realtors®. Maybe there are 15 offices and 300 Realtors in your area. Have you spent time thinking through which offices you should market to? Whether there are 10 or 100 offices in your market area, how do your determine which offices to concentrate on? Should you target the larger 40 to 50 agent offices? Maybe it’s to your advantage to concentrate on the small 4 or 5 agent offices. After all, you can get to know them better. But do they generate enough business? Is it better to drive by 5 offices on your way to an office on the other side of town? Brand X inspection company has a strong presence in a particular office, should your target that office to get some of their business. Are there hard and fast rules for which offices to market to? The short answer is no. Let me share some ideas that may help you decide on which offices it is best to spend your marketing dollars.
What should your criteria be for selecting a target office? What factors should you consider? Let me suggest some things to consider. First, how many agents are in that office? There is a greater chance of get a larger share of business from a larger office than a smaller one. If Tanya T. Tornado is a Realtor® in a larger office, there is greater chance she will sing the praises of your inspection company to a larger group of real estate professionals. She tubs elbows with a greater number of people than there would be possible in a small office. Do you ignore the smaller offices? Not at all. The size of the office is just one factor.
Another factor to consider is can you get beyond the gatekeeper (receptionist) to talk to the agents. It’s the job of the gatekeeper to keep the pesky home inspectors, among others, from penetrating the office “front line”. The gatekeeper is the first line of defense. There are strategies for getting beyond the gatekeeper. That however is a topic for another discussion. If you can’t talk to the agents, maybe your marketing dollars are better spent elsewhere. Marketing is about building relationships. It’s difficult to build relationships without having access to the agents.
You should gauge the attitude of the broker toward home inspectors. The broker may believe it’s the sworn duty of every home inspector to “Kill the Deal”. The broker may believe home inspectors are hazardous to his or her wealth. If that’s the case, you may want to consider targeting a different office. However, you may want to develop a long term strategy to demonstrate to the broker that you are a professional who communicates the condition of the property to your client in a non-threatening manner. Win them over.
Another factor, are there educational opportunities in the office you are considering. There are several reasons to consider educational opportunities. First, providing short presentations during an office meeting gets you in front of the real estate professionals. It gives you opportunity to start building relationships. They can match a face with the name. It allows them to see you as a person rather than just a name on a business card. It also plants a seed that you are the “go to person” if someone has a question. You will be the one they call for help. You are positioning yourself as the obvious expert. It will help distinguish you from your competition.
Are there social opportunities in the office? Are there activities and projects, which are important to that office, which you can become involved in? Spending a day working with a group of Realtors® painting a women’s shelter or hauling bark for a neighborhood playground can pay dividends beyond the satisfaction of making a meaningful contribution to the community. It shows you are concerned about the same activities and projects they are concerned about. You share similar values.
How far is the office from where you live? You should make contact with a target office every week. Remember it’s about developing relationships. It’s not realistic to drive past a dozen offices to market an office 20 miles away. Your marketing must be consistent. If you are unable to visit or make contact with the office on a weekly basis, maybe you should consider targeting a different office.
What is the business potential for the office? You may start with getting only a few inspections per month from a particular office. However, consider the potential number of inspections from the office. How much market share is possible from that office? If you put together a marketing plan for that office, is there the potential of getting a significant number of inspections from that office? If there is little potential, maybe you should consider a different office.
Will you be able to leave flyers and other marketing materials in the office? Will the office allow you to pass out the flyers or will the gatekeeper “pass them out” for you? (We are assuming the flyers are of high quality and interesting.) Are the flyers and other marketing materials destined for the office recycling bin?
There will likely be no offices which will meet each of the above criteria. It will take time to get to know an office. It will take time to find the answers to the questions we have suggested. You must be flexible and adjust accordingly. I would suggest it is better to find a couple target offices that you can market well, than finding many offices you market poorly. Once you find a couple target offices, drill deep. Build lasting relationships. Become the obvious choice when it becomes time them to order an inspection.
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