Your agents have likely asked you for help with funding their newly found marketing efforts. In my personal opinion, I believe people appreciate the things they earn more than things that are given to them. If an agent can’t afford to do a full-scale marketing plan, he needs to (1) save up or (2) purchase in steps.
Save up money. I believe the best way to start a marketing plan is to do research and find out all the costs associated with the plan. Suggest the agent puts 15% of everything he makes into a separate savings account until he has enough money. When he’s finished saving he can purchase everything he needs and not lose forward momentum. This will save the agent from the “I’ll send one postcards and see how it goes” mentality. Marketing is a process, not a single shot.
Purchasing marketing in steps. Sometimes saving money takes too long and doesn’t correspond with an agent’s personal deadline. In this case, the marketing pieces can be purchased in steps, this is what many of us do when we start a new business. (1) Buy or research that prospect list. Going through a purchased list and researching every business will take about 2-4 weeks. Traveling to a County’s records department and developing a list will take around 2-4 weeks as well. This gives an agent some time to make some deals and move onto the next step – writing a Special Report. Sending it to an editor and graphic designer may take a few weeks as well, providing more time to save up money for the next steps – website design and mailers.
Brokers lending money. Aaahhh…agent billing. The cry of all independent agents, “Take it out of my next check.” But you’re opening yourself up to, “Not this check, the next one!” Newer agents and those who have suffered hardship may need your help. Be sure you never give an agent cash or checks to purchase marketing. Money directly into personal pockets is much more likely to be spent 50% marketing and 50% personal expenses. Order their requests yourself with the company card and distribute the goods / services directly to the agent yourself. Follow up with requests to physically see progress; don’t rely on emails that assure you the marketing is being done. If other agents see that you’re serious about using borrowed money properly, it will discourage requests from people who aren’t as serious about lead generation.
Using the company marketing department for lead generation?
Most commercial real estate firms have a small marketing team with limited resources and may not be able to take on the additional workload of creating lead generation materials for each agent. If your marketing department has agreed to help, ensure that they have the tools needed for success. Don’t expect your team to build 6 individual postcards for each agent with only a collection of Microsoft clipart. Provide your marketing team with stock images from Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com) or a similar photo provider. A one year subscription will cost you $2,560. You’ll also need to provide editing services. Sites like Scribeni (www.scribendi.com) will proof read Special Reports and mailers. Their editors will help your agents with word choice, sentence structure, organization, and grammar.