Directionals Move Properties

One of the most effective and frequently overlooked methods of filling or selling a property is the use of directional arrow signs. I’m guilty of it myself, although usually I’m merely lazy instead of overlooking this great marketing technique. Being lazy usually costs me in terms of holding costs, especially if you happen to be in a buyer’s market as I currently am. Even if you’re in a hot market where everything is moving quickly, directionals will move your property that much quicker.

Yes, there are numerous other methods you can use such as: flyers in the neighborhood and large stores and shopping malls, ads in the large and small papers, listings on the internet, listing with a real estate agent, calling real estate agents to inform them, mailouts to apartment complexes, yard signs with flyer boxes, open houses, calling loan officers, emailing your buyer list, etc., etc. (I have one friend use advertises her properties on the cable preview channel and she says it works great. Unfortunately, that option isn’t available in my area.)

Why Do Directionals Work So Well?

Directional arrow signs work well for a number of reasons. First, they are targeted to the neighborhood where the property is located so the folks who will actually see them are the buyers or tenants who are already driving the neighborhood looking for properties. The second group of people who will see the signs are the residents who already live there. Many times the nearby residents will have family or friends who want to move into the neighborhood.

Flyers delivered to the neighborhood will also accomplish the notification aspect that there’s an available property, but what flyers don’t do is lead the prospect or prospect’s friend straight to the front door.

Why Not Just Use Typical Bandit Signs?

For those that don’t know, bandit signs are the road-side signs that many people utilize to advertise their business, favorite politician, and/or properties for sale or lease. The signs come in many colors and sizes, some professionally done and some hand-written. The nickname bandit signs stems from the fact that many municipalities have sign ordinances that prohibit their use or restrict use in the public domain or right of way.

The primary weakness of typical bandit signs for marketing a property for sale or lease is that the sign provides a little information (often impossible to read while driving by) and a phone number. If I’m out looking for properties today, I don’t want to leave a message or turn around to go see what the sign said. I want to drive by NOW, not tomorrow, not later today, right now.

How is a Directional Arrow Sign Different?

Who said anything about one directional sign? I’m talking an entire series of signs that leads the prospect from the main thoroughfare all the way through the neighborhood to the driveway of your property. There’s no thinking, major squinting, turning around, or phone calls involved here. “Oh, honey, turn there quick.” Then it’s “look, there’s another sign, turn there.” etc., all the way to the property. Then, of course, there’s more information including contact numbers available at the property.

Okay, So How Do I Implement This Technique?

Here’s the way I do it and you should tweak it and improve to suit you. When a property becomes available, I study the neighborhood and determine the “best” ways to lead prospects to my property. By “best”, I take into consideration ease of navigation, neighborhood amenities like parks and schools, and surrounding properties. If there’s a back way into the subdivision or location, I map out both paths.

My target locations are every single corner that my prospects will need to turn in order to get to the property. If there’s a really long stretch without a turn, then I might need a directional arrow in the middle of that stretch to keep them coming. My experience has been that I will have to replace signs within the neighborhood only a few times, but I have to monitor the signs on the major roads and replace them fairly frequently. However, these signs tend to stay put much longer than a traditional bandit sign.

Then I simply go door-knocking and ask people if I can place a small directional sign in their yard. I intentionally do this during the day to miss folks because I’d rather not get involved in lengthy discussions about the property and I’ve got many doors to get to. Once I’m sure no one’s home, I leave a letter in the screen door or someplace where it will be easily seen. I drop this letter at all four houses on each corner on the route.

What Does the Letter Say?

I’ve found it’s important to NOT come across as a real estate investor or a company. I use an informal style and simply ask for help in finding someone to buy or lease my property. Points that I include in the letter are:

It’s just a small directional arrow sign
I’ll put it right by the corner and not really in their yard
I’ll make sure I don’t damage any sprinkler systems
They get a $20 gift certificate once the process is done
They get to choose the store, restaurant, etc.
Please call me to replace the sign if it gets removed
The first person who calls me wins

This technique has never failed. Frequently, I’ll have two or more people from each corner call me, but I’ve always had at least one person call to agree to the arrangement. Some of them have even taken serious offense to do-gooder neighbors who remove the signs as the property owner is concerned they might not get their gift certificate. I’ll describe the signs in more detail below, but I started adding “Placed With Permission of Owner” on the top of the signs and this reduced my losses.

The end result of this effort is that perhaps I pay out $160 to $200 in referral fees, but I have to run my $50 to $150 worth of weekly newspaper ads many, many fewer weeks. It definitely pays off from a monetary standpoint. The other benefit is that I now have a list of folks near each property (whom I’ve never even met) who think I’m great. Every single person will call me back after receiving their gift to thank me and the large majority volunteer that I’m more than welcome to do this anytime I need.

What Do the Signs Look Like?

The signs I use are basically the standard bandit signs cut in half. A normal size bandit sign is 18″ x 24″ and I use 9″ x 12″ signs for my directional arrows. I have a red directional arrow that takes up about 5 inches of the sign, leaving the bottom 4 inches blank. Within the red arrow I ask the sign company to put my message which could be “Owner Finance” or “Lease Purchase” or whatever you prefer. The message is easy to read.

In the blank space I use a large marker to write the property address. It’s important to leave enough blank space below the arrow to write the address in large numbers and letters. Also, as I mentioned above, I include the “owner permission” tag line on top of the arrow. I buy 36″ wooden stakes from Home Depot and attach an arrow sign to each side of the stake so the information can be seen coming and going.

If you don’t have a source for these signs, please contact BanditSigns.com to get some. They’re inexpensive and well worth the cost.

I hope you’ll add this tool to your marketing techniques and discover the same success I’ve had in using it. You may find that you abandon many other advertising tools you’ve been using in the past.

Online Marketing Blog: The Benefits Of Blogging

Blogs are first intended as means of expressing one’s thoughts and opinions. Then, they gradually became a tool for publicity for celebrity and paparazzi. Later, blogs were picked up by the business world and used as a tool to promote their sites, create more online presence, and expand their businesses. From simple web pages, blogs have become an important online marketing instrument that can benefit both small and large businesses. Here are the benefits of blogging in online marketing:

Brand Building
A marketing blog builds your brand as easy as making one post per day. Blogs help you to generate not only online presence, but also brand recall, making it possible for your business to become known to whoever has access to the internet.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing
Blogging is a great way to generate organic traffic and a great way to directly communicate with your clients, but more importantly, if you are running a marketing campaign, it helps you generate traffic.

Inexpensive
Blogs are generally very cheap compared to other online marketing campaigns. You can just hire one blogger who will maintain one or many blog sites as well as update contents daily. Or, you can simply write one blog per day about your business and it will easily build online presence and reputation. And as long as blogs stay live, your content is valid and can be picked up for many years to come.

Accessibility
Users do not need to sign up to view your site. They can open, read, write comments, and get information easily without the time consuming process that is more common with other marketing tools like online forums.

Direct link to customers
Other forms of marketing tools do not quite match the power of blogs. Because your clients can post comments in blogs anytime, businesses can get instant feedback and can send messages back to the clients to provide answers to their queries. This makes the business more connected to the customers, providing a sense of personalized service.

Reputation building
Image is crucial to any brand. Any problem of your company or complaint raised by customers can be damaging to your business. If not addressed as quickly as possible, your reputation will suffer. Blogging helps your clients to discuss these issues directly to the business. You can then send replies to your clients addressing these issues right away, protecting the business from any damage that may result from any unresolved or unaddressed concerns.

Direct Sales Training – Are You Smarter Than a Junk Dealer?

Most of us balk at being called a junk dealer, but follow along with me.

One of Napoleon Hill’s stories in “Think and Grow Rich” made me consider how many of us aren’t even good junk dealers. Sometimes you think you’ve hit the mother load in your business – a great customer, a superstar recruit, the next big promotion – and then something happens and you call it quits. You figure you’ve tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING WORKS. You think it’s not meant to be, so you give up hope and give up striving.

Guess what? You’re right. You’re also wrong.

In Hill’s story, a man “was caught by the ‘gold fever’ in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH”. His hard work proved his claim to be the richest in Colorado, and after more time, sweat and money, they reached a break-even point with the venture.

And then the vein was lost.

Oh, they kept drilling, digging, searching, and scrambling to find the vein, but invariably, as most sad stories do, this one ends with the decision to give up, sell everything and return to the life he once knew.

But for one savvy junk dealer, this is not a sad story.

You see, he bought all the equipment from the man for pennies on the dollar and then made a brilliant decision: he hired an expert to advise him on what to do next.

After crunching a few numbers, the expert said that the first man’s didn’t know what he was doing. In fact, ‘his calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet’ away from where the first man quit.

The junk dealer became ridiculously successful mining millions from the very vein that was thought “lost” by the first man.

One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure.

Now the first man didn’t “just quit”. He kept trying for months after he first struck gold. Had he sought expert help, though, he could have saved himself a ton of time, money, energy and the humiliation of apparent failure.

Do you think you’re smarter than a junk dealer?

No doubt the first man thought he knew exactly what he was doing – and that he was doing it right. He did strike gold in the first place. He was successful at first, wasn’t he?

How could a junk dealer know more than he did about mining gold?

The point is the junk dealer didn’t assume he knew more than anyone. He sought out an expert to handle the details he was unclear about. As a result, the price he paid for that wise counsel paled in comparison to the great riches he mined from his claim.

Many times MLM and Direct Sales reps do the very same thing: struggle for months with what you THINK you know to be the gospel truth about running your business. You might even listen to a few voices in your up-line that offer advice to you about the best methods of prospecting. But are they truly experts? Nope. They should be experts on running their business, NOT running YOUR business. Just because they’ve been successful in the past doesn’t mean their advice will serve YOU in the present – or even into the future.

This is a CRITICAL mistake that so many people in this business make.

It is unreal how many people say “I just do what my up line tells me” blindly obeying every command from their up line. Lest you think I’m being one-sided here, it’s even MORE unreal to me how many people choose to ignore completely the advice their up line gives them, and then struggle to be successful, ultimately quitting because “that MLM stuff doesn’t work”.

So what should you do? Be at least as smart as a junk dealer.

Don’t assume you know everything – you don’t or you’d be at the top of your pay scale in your company.

But don’t assume your leaders know everything either. They can’t possibly be expected to know everything under the sun about running your Direct Sales business – chances are good they built most of their “empire” using outdated tactics that barely work for them anymore. There’s no way they have time to learn Internet Marketing Strategies, Direct Response Strategies, Bulk Mail strategies, P2P Strategies, and any other strategies that come down the pike in the next 5-10 years. At best, they’ve picked up a few things that work for them, but that doesn’t guarantee it’ll work for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for expert advice. And don’t be afraid to invest in your business education. Experts are rarely free, but their advice is sound and usually guaranteed for the price you pay. And the cost of that investment always pales in comparison to the return on the knowledge you’ve gained.