August 9, 2009

Looking At It Through Another's Eyes

You're a busy agent or you're aspiring to be one. You go from appointment to appointment, return phone calls and emails as they occur and you feel like you've been putting out fires from sun up to sun down when you pull in your driveway at the end of the day. In fact, most days, it's almost like you're on auto-pilot.

Your assembly-line protocols may involve buyer packets used at Buyer Counseling Sessions, pre-listing packets that you drop off prior to Marketing Presentations, open house handouts or even FSBO and Expired packets. The information contained in these packets is detailed, thorough and designed to be impressive to the consumer. Ideally these materials are informative and educational, helping deliver a message in your absence.

So when was the last time you really looked at what you are putting into those packets or presentations? When was the last time yours were updated?

Today's post is to encourage you to schedule a time with yourself - ideally once a quarter for those closing 24 or more transactions each year (semi-annually below that level of production) - and look at your materials through the eyes of a buyer, seller or customer.

Here are some things to look for:

Has your photo been updated? Customers who see your materials should recognize you when they meet you for the first time and past clients shouldn't think you have been a guest on a Maury Povich makeover special.

Is your company logo sized correctly and in the correct colors? Brands spend a lot of money and work hard to established a recognizable logo. You should never use a logo in a different color scheme. Can you even imagine seeing a big green M outside a McDonald's?

Keep things in properly sized proportions. There's nothing worse than seeing someone who doesn't know how to format a photo correctly. You can tell because their head is either extra tall or extra fat. (If your head is naturally extra tall or extra fat, no offense was intended)

Due ewe half spell Czech? Dew U yooz it? People love to catch spelling and other typographical errors in marketing materials. Jay Leno has made a funny segment out of advertising bloopers and blunders in his Headlines segment. Double or triple check your copy to make sure there are no errors in spelling, punctuation or proper names. It's sometimes prudent to have a proof-reader review the materials.

Is your information correct? Facts are great...if they're true. Has anything changed since your original creation of the document? Sales figures or rankings? Titles or positions? Personal information such as children's ages, designations or office location? Has your team (buyers agents, mortgage providers, title reps) changed?

How many fonts do you really need? - Keep it simple by selecting a common font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Bookman Old Style. Stay away from the script fonts as they can be very difficult to read.

White space isn't bad - Every square inch of your fliers or materials doesn't have to be filled with text, photos or graphs. Allow some things to be more prominent, others more subtle.

Make a Resolution - That your photos used in your marketing materials and handouts will be of a high quality. Head shot photos and any property photos should be of the highest pixel quality available. Nothing shows less effort than choosing poor photos.

Laser-like Focus? Was the last edition of your handout packet created on a black and white printer? Have you upgraded to a color laser printer? Use clean, high quality paper but only use glossy paper or lamination when necessary.

Tell me if you agree with this statement - "Buyers buy homes...Sellers buy image."

If you think that's true, spend one hour this week looking at all of your "stuff" from a different view. See how many aspects of your materials you can make better. Trust me, your image and your bottom line will thank you for it.

Until next time, keep building relationships...solving problems and having fun.