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Azleen Abdul Rahim

8 Marketing Secrets For A Winning Real Estate Listing

To win something, you mustn’t rush the process. Patience is a virtue

Image via ScreenFish

Question. Have you ever watched Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, or perhaps Ocean’s 8 too maybe? If you must know, I watched all of them many times. Repeatedly. I just love their plots. It’s just crazy, positive crazy I mean. I recommend you to watch them all.

One of the many things I learned from them is this. To win something, I mustn’t rush the process. Patience is a virtue. Take time to understand the nature of the situation first. Then plan it carefully, select a team, execute the plan and the contingency steps to be taken if any of those steps don’t work.

That is why I love all the thought-provoking movies. They taught me how to structure my thinking by just observing how they’re doing it via those scenes. I can apply it to my marketing projects and to my life too. In fact, it can be applied to all as long as you understand the underlying concept behind it.

Now, how do you actually market your house effectively through listing? Here’s a piece of advice, it starts way before you work on your listing. If I were you, here’s a string of steps of what I will do before thinking of listing it out.

Reconnaissance. To begin with, you need to take the time to understand the situation out there. Open your eyes wider and see how others are ‘playing’, see how the market condition is right now, how the banks are responding to loan applications at the moment and how the sellers are selling their houses during this downturn. Observe and zoom into certain scenarios. For example, why some house owners are successful while others suck at it. Check out the reasons why some deals go through easily while others are abandoned halfway. It may also help you a lot if you can dig into the details on financing. What’s the latest update on the bank’s expectation to get any loan applications approved. Ensure there is enough information in hand so that you will know what to do next.

Understand who exactly is your target buyer, then put yourself in their shoes. Visualise yourself as a potential buyer and understand how they think. Ask yourself, as a buyer how would you do your homework during the window shopping period? Which platform will you go first and which platform would be the next one? What exactly do you want to see? When you scroll and search for the right house, which images, videos or copywriting that makes you stop scrolling? Understand the reason behind each buying too. Understand also what makes them decide.

Once done, you will see a pattern. A pattern of the entire scenario of things that will work, things that might or might not work and things that won’t work at all. You will see the entire scenario, from the market’s perspective, the bank’s and the buyer’s too. From here, you will find yourself with a number of critical information in your hand to build your case.

Product. Humans are visual. That is why IKEA remains as one of the top brands in the world. Basically, they know how to play this game well. If you noticed, once you’re in IKEA, you will realise that you will spend no less than 2-3 hours there alone. All they want you to do is to be there at the store and check out how they do things so that you’re able to grasp some ideas for your house. They just want you to be there to get ideas, not to ‘buy’ their products. However, you end that short-visit-for-ideas by buying something instead. IKEA wins, you lose.

Showing people your empty house, whether via online or physical, won’t cut it as people mostly aren’t able to visualise the real beauty out of it. It could be a showstopper too. Instead, you must prepare the house accordingly just like how IKEA does. The objective here is to entice the potential buyers to make them fall in love with it at first sight when they see your listing, by striking at their weakest points.

Before you do anything, refer to your note during the reconnaissance period first.

I would suggest you beautify the house, to begin with. Clean up the premise, fill up the house with temporary furniture and carpets, grow or buy strategic plants to park them in and outside the house. Quite an effort here, I know, but it is going to be worth every minute of it. Remember, make them visualise the house as if it is the final piece of the puzzle to complete their journey in searching for a perfect life.

Content. Consider doing a photoshoot. To enhance their visualisation experience, there is no other way to create content for your potential buyers except high-resolution images and videos. The most impactful way to do it is to use a DSLR camera or a smartphone with higher pixels. If you decided to do a video, it should be a professional one. Don’t simply snap pictures or videos of the house only, you need to insert some human elements into it too. Please have someone in it, either the house owner, the real estate agent you’ve appointed or a presentable third party. It helps to humanise the content to avoid being dull.

Value Proposition. This is another very important element you need to have. What is a value proposition? It is an answer to this burning question inside the potential buyer’s mind, “Why must I buy this house?” As you know, the potential buyers will not only see your house alone, it could be a few others. And some of them are much more beautiful, bigger and could be strategically located too, than yours.

If your answer to the why-must-I-buy-from-you question is perfectly crafted, the deal will go through. Simply because the answer is unique only to you and your house. Other house owners won’t have the same answer that you have. If your answer is similar or the same as the other house owners, then there is nothing unique about your house. The potential buyer might not see your house as special and they will likely move on.

Godfather Offer. A Godfather offer is an offer made to the potential buyer that they can’t refuse. Not only they can’t refuse it, but they also won’t get the same offer elsewhere too. They will also feel that if they don’t take your offer, somebody else will and they eventually will lose out. Again, your offer doesn’t have to be about a discounted price all the way. It could be something else. Find it.

Awareness to Selected People First. After you’ve done all the above stuff, start approaching selected people, both someone you know and strangers, and see their response towards your offering. Find a small group and test the strategy out. Take note of their response and collect the data. Again, do not rush the process. You need enough samples to design the ultimate ones.

Tweak Your Original Strategy. Based on the information and feedback gathered, you may want to tweak a certain strategy to suit the market requirement. You only tweak it if you think there are flaws with the original strategy. If you receive great feedback from the majority of them, then it shows that you’re ready to roll. Now, the game is on.

Awareness. It is time to work on the awareness big time. I seriously think that this part is the easiest part of all. The best marketing method if you must know is all methods because the eyeballs are everywhere. So, go for all methods then. Don’t just do a listing. You may do online and offline listing, you can also utilise your own social media channels, hire registered real-estate agents, organise an open house gathering, email marketing, doing creative signage, social media influencers and last but not least, engage real-estate bloggers too.

It’s not the awareness that makes the potential buyers decide. It’s the fundamentals behind it. Besides being a visualised creature, humans are also a selfish creature. They decide when they know they will earn something in return, something bigger than their money. And most of them are emotionally related. They do not care about others. Everything is about them.

In order to win, you must know how to use this sentiment to your advantage. Just like the way those Ocean’s Eleven crews are playing.

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Azleen Abdul Rahim
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Azleen Abdul Rahim is the Co-Founder of Marketing In Asia. He is also a Partner at NSE, a marketing advisory company. NSE consults medium-large businesses and corporates on marketing strategy. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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