People are on holidays, he’d tell me. They’re enjoying the summer so selling their home or buying one isn’t their top priority. As the temperature goes up, listings tend to go down – or so I was lead to believe by him and other veteran agents. Summertime was down time. I didn’t believe that and I took to working summer hours. I saw it as another under-used opportunity to sell myself.
When you think of summertime, it conjures up images of picnics, parks and family fun. That’s just what I worked at during those warm months. I wanted to do something that was pretty much a customer appreciation party without seeming like one. With that in mind I started thinking of possible things I could do to not only say thank you to my clients, but also raise my profile in the community. What could I do that hadn’t already been done a thousand times by a thousand other agents?
One night while I was putting my daughter to bed, the answer hit me. Actually it didn’t hit me as much as it cuddled me. It was her favourite teddy bear. There was a children’s entertainer in our town who held teddy bear picnics. Children would bring their teddy bears to his show, where he entertained them with stories and songs.
This was a case where I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel; I just had to hook my wagon to his star as it were. So I called him up and told him I’d like to sponsor a teddy bear picnic to be held at the park in town and he was more than happy to do it.
I sent out invitations to all my clients, telling them that they and their children would have a wonderful day in the park. I also invited the public at large to come along if they wanted to. If your message contains children and teddy bears, it’s easy to get on the open line shows and promote it and yourself. Plus it creates a buzz as people tell other people about it.
In no time I had strangers calling me and asking for the details. Their contact info was added to my data base and they were calling me instead of the other way around. It was all good. Once the big day came, I had my signs peppering the park and a large banner over the stage welcoming people to the Debbie Hanlon Teddy Bear Picnic. Everyone who walked through the park that day saw my signs and heard the children laughing and singing along to the entertainer. What’s not to like about that kind of publicity?
All in all, it was a great success and quickly became an annual event that clients, as well as possible future clients looked forward to. It gave them a chance to meet me as a person, not as a real estate agent, and it gave them a day to enjoy with their children. I would walk around the crowd introducing myself and making small talk about anything but real estate. That gave me a human face, not just the one they saw in the paper or on my signs.
So if there’s something happening in your town this summer that you can become a part of, do it. Most of these events are looking for sponsors and the cost is far outweighed by the positive exposure you get and the chance to meet so many future clients. Take a look at what’s on the go and attach yourself to the one you like best. You’ll find out in a hurry that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get on a roll.
Debbie Hanlon is the founder of Hanlon Realty and CEO of All Knight Inc. She is a three-time top 50 CEO winner and was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. She is currently an elected city official in St. John’s, Nfld. and is available for motivational and training seminars. Email email@example.com