Canvassing for todays vendor
Over the last few months and years much has been said about the response rates or lack thereof of traditional canvassing methods. I’m talking about the “Dear Homeowner” letters and glossy A5 leaflets many of us have been using for centuries. On my travels, I’ve heard things like leaflets don’t work or vendors don’t read letters. I’ve met estate agents who have dropped these methods altogether and others who continue on just in case, or because they believe in the “drip, drip” effect name awareness.
So should we abandon them or not?
Some time ago I wrote an article titled “Are leaflets dead?” which was a 1000 word rant on how leaflets were a complete waste of time. I was prompted to write the article after being confronted with a massive pile of leaflets stuck behind the door of an empty property I was visiting with an estate agent. Here is a picture of that pile:
However, I took this article down after about a week of publishing it because something just didn’t ring right with me. It was just too easy to dismiss leaflets as a waste of time and I knew it just wasn’t as simple as that.
Since then I’ve received a good few leaflets through my letterbox of varying quality but strangely enough pretty much the same message across the board, “ we need your property & we’re willing to charge less than everyone else to sell it”. No wonder vendors think all estate agents are the same and are shocked when you want to charge them anything more than 0.75% including VAT, but that’s another topic altogether.
Back to the point, the fact is nobody cares what you want or at which level you are willing to charge to get it. If they happen to call you from a leaflet it’s probably because it was convenient that they just so happened to be thinking about selling and now they don’t need to look up a telephone number. Trust me when I say no one is saving your leaflet for a rainy day when they need the cheap estate agent who is desperate for stock. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s the simple truth.
Is it the leaflet to blame or is it the content?
The fact remains the the humble leaflet can be a cheap and convenient medium to get your message in front of an audience. Once you send a leaflet, the receiver will pick it up and glance at it and there ends the job of the leaflet, it has been successful. The leaflet then hands the baton over to the content and that is when it is often dropped. The receiver is not interested and the message has failed to generate a response.
The issue therefore is the content and what that content is conveying to the audience. If the message is not relevant to the receiver then they will simply discard it without giving it a second thought.
The thing is, just because the receiver may not be selling a property at the moment they receive your leaflet it doesn’t mean that your message will always be irrelevant to them. It doesn’t mean that they are not interested in the local market or the housing market in general. If that were true Kirstie & Phil would be out of a job, not everyone who watches Location,Location, Location is selling a property.
In any case It’s irrelevant wether your message lands on the doorstep of a “potential vendor” or not. What is relevant is the content of your message and wether it generates a response. If you already know before you even send a leaflet that most people you send it to are not selling then why are you asking them for their business? It makes no sense at all, in fact you are almost insulting their intelligence by reminding them of what estate agents do. They either know who you are and what you do or they don’t know who you are and don’t care that you wan’t their business. This is why the response rate of this kind of leaflet drop is so low.
So what’s the solution?
If you’d have asked me this question a year ago I’d have probably suggested that you would be better off investing all your “leaflet money” in a Google Adword Campaign or hiring an SEO specialist to help you get your website to page 1 on Google. however I have spent the last year studying with the best Internet Marketing Gurus simply because these guys know how to generate an audience and how to sell to them. It has since occurred to me that there is another way which combines the old canvassing methods with new age business generation. More on that later…
For now, lets go back a step. To find a solution first you need to establish the goal. The mistake most estate agents are making with their leaflets is to make the goal a valuation/market appraisal call. This generates a hit and hope approach which simply does not work. Want proof? Send out 10,000 leaflets offering free valuations and see how many serious sellers respond. You don’t even need to do that to know the answer, you’ve already been down that road. The goal is far simpler than that, it has been mentioned in this article a few times already and is always discussed in the debates I mentioned right at the beginning.
The goal is to generate a RESPONSE and ENGAGEMENT. If they are not responding to your requests for property, why do you keep asking? It’s like walking up to someone you’ve seen for the first time and asking them to go out with you. Sure it will work on the odd occasion but more often than not they will simply walk off.
The new age combo I promised
Rather than asking them to trust you with the sale of their house on the first date, try starting with something smaller. Remember, right now all you want is a response, you want the receiver to take action. So how about offering them a free gift for simply visiting your website?
This simple change of tactic will help you generate a stream of traffic from people in your local area to your website. You can’t even pay Google to do this, it’s invaluable! Once at your website they simply leave their email address to receive their free gift. How easy is that, they don’t even need to speak to anybody!
There it is you now have a database of people in your local area who have shown an interest in the local property market. Best of all it’s measurable without the need for special phone numbers and extra cost. Now all you need to do is to keep them engaged. You can do this with newsletters and blog posts which position you as the local expert. Share community news and send them the odd gift here and there to keep them subscribed. No need to tell them how great and cheap you are, when they are ready to sell they will have no choice but to contact you as they will feel that they already know you.
Every single person you deliver your leaflet to is a potential vendor, wether it be today, tomorrow or in ten years time. Your job is to create a lasting, trusting relationship that positions you and your brand as the authority in selling property in your area. What you need is long term engagement with your market place and a leaflet can work as a great first step in creating this engagement.
Not sure how to build a landing page for your website or how to build a gift to give away, sign up to our mailing list at www.eaanalytics.co.uk. We’ve got some fantastic training courses coming soon and we might even give you a free gift!
Alternatively you can see it in action right HERE.