How to help a realtor with no Money

by Molad 21 replies
I know my title sounds silly.. but seriously this guy doesn't spend money on advertising at the moment. He wants to grow his business by 100%... to me thats an unrealistic expectation without any form of branding or advertising. But what do I know!

That said he is an acquaintance and I promised to make a website for him.

He mentioned 70% of his business comes from referrals. I'm thinking something that might help him without spending a lot of money is a establishing a system of collecting e-mails and providing a newsletter service to his existing clients.

He also has access to a large pool of first time home buyers / investors he is not taping into. (His Church). Apart from publishing articles in the church's montly newsletter, how can he further establish himself as the go to person in that community?

Any ideas?
#offline marketing #money #realtor
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
    That is a very nice thing you are doing, but be careful because it is a trap.

    And no, to be clear, it is not a trap that he is setting for you. Unfortunately, it is one that you may be unknowlingly setting for yourself.

    First, if they guy is not interested in spending money on advertising you are going to have an uphill battle trying to get him to pay for your services any time in the future.

    Also, if you ever do, since you have already established your value as Zero (by giving it for free) then you are not going to be able to charge a premium for your services.

    But worse than that, free clients that are friends or acquaintances are some of the WORST you can ever get. They, for whatever reason, seem to demand/expect more than other clients and take forever to give you feedback or information you need.

    Since you said you would build the site, then just do THAT. You can explain to him later on how he can leverage this "brochure" site to start getting more clients and then let him pay before you do any more work for him.

    That way, you can still get a good testimonial from him for the work you did and not a poor one for the unrealistic expectations he has that he isn't paying for.

    If there is one major thing I regret in this business, it is when I early on tried to get proof by doing freebie work for "friends".

    Aside from that, I might let the guy buy me a beer and I would share some of my ideas with him. Then he can hire me (or anyone else) to do it...

    but the chances are he will not only expect you to buy him the beer, but he will also expect you to squeeze his lime too.

    Good luck,
    Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxReferrals
    echo Scott Voss.

    Make sure you monetize the site traffic by having a way for him to collect optins. This is a very fundamental requirement but remains one of the most valuable of anything online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Diane S
    I wholeheartedly concur. Do nothing more than build the website. I would find a way to get a small monthly maintenance fee out of him for "Platform Updates." Then build a wordpress site and install automatic backup plugin and automatic update plugin. He will either find value in the website or not. He might not keep it, but at least you will have generated a tiny income.

    I will no longer do any website work of any kind for anyone I know. I have one friend that I built a free website for, and am doing their hosting, and charging $5 a month. They are not paying their bill to me, so I am giving them one month to call hostgator and buy a year's hosting. If they don't buy a hostgator plan, I will email them the backup and take the site down and they can do it themselves.

    When people find out what you do for a living, all of a sudden they find a need surrounding a website. The most I will do for anyone I know in the future is this:

    1. Teach them how to clear their cookies on their computer. I send a link to online instructions.
    2. give them my affiliate link for godaddy and tell them to set up a free account and call godaddy for help.
    3. give them my affiliate link for hostgator and tell them to call hostgator for help.

    Then I am done with them. They can hire whoever they want to build their site. But it won't be me. That is the only way to keep a friend once they find out what I do for a living.

    Lesson learned.
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  • Profile picture of the author truly_gifted
    Make him the website, and then keep going. Unless he's going to give you some referrals, I wouldn't be putting too much time into HIS business. Be careful working with "friends" because those can be the ones to screw you the most. Your time is just as valuable as his, so don't waste it on people who don't appreciate it. I'm willing to be that he wouldn't donate his services to you if he knew he wasn't going to get any money from it.

    You'd really be better off by just letting this one go. If you do happen to choose to stick with this project, then you need to be prepared to get taken for a ride. It's coming, and it could wreck your relationship in the end. I'd set some boundaries, for your own sake. Do the website, and then charge for everything else (i.e. content, email lists, newsletters, etc.).

    As for ideas on how to promote him to be the go-to guy, take this one.

    He should hold a seminar maybe twice a month, or maybe even weekly, to teach people about the home-buying process and other relevant topics.

    But, again, if you help him to plan it, charge him for your time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Molad
    Thanks everyone.

    I'll just do the website and include an optin form. Get his referals and run.

    But I can't believe Realtors without advertisng budgets exists. I mean it's such an extremely competitive niche.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
      Originally Posted by Molad View Post

      But I can't believe Realtors without advertisng budgets exists. I mean it's such an extremely competitive niche.
      I doesn't make much sense, but that is the reason why there are Realtors who make 7 figures a year and others who don't make even a reasonable salary.
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    • Profile picture of the author danielkanuck
      Originally Posted by Molad View Post

      Thanks everyone.

      I'll just do the website and include an optin form. Get his referals and run.

      But I can't believe Realtors without advertisng budgets exists. I mean it's such an extremely competitive niche.
      It's a tough economy and business owners of all sorts are looking for ways to make more money without any costs. But i'm glad that you're going to build the site and then bounce. You deserve to be paid. And if the guy doesn't want to pay you top dollar for the services you gave him, then you should take your business elsewhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Ditto what Scott said.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Originally Posted by Molad View Post

    I know my title sounds silly.. but seriously this guy doesn't spend money on advertising at the moment. He wants to grow his business by 100%... to me thats an unrealistic expectation without any form of branding or advertising. But what do I know!
    It's actually a very realistic expectation and very much achievable, in fact there are many case studies and success stories of businesses (including realtors) doing just that.

    The mental trap of small business marketing is thinking that "branding or advertising" IS required...not so...

    ...in fact...proper marketing (done effectively) will generate brand recognition and natural word-of-mouth exposure on its own...but most people don't know how to do it correctly.

    In this case it sounds like there are quite a few ways you COULD help this realtor out...but I wouldn't do so unless it was a profitable move in advance for YOUR own business...otherwise you are better off moving to a client that will pay you appropriately for your services.

    The question is:

    Is the realtor willing to spend money on YOUR marketing solutions...or does he refuse to spend ANY money to market his business?

    The answer will make your decision very easy.

    Cheers,

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Personally, if you are just doing a website as favor, or need some practice, sounds fine to me.

    However, as already mentioned. I would not become his 'marketer', unless you like pain.

    A 'no spend' realtor could easily drive you nuts, by picking your brain, and assuming that you also have accepted responsibility for his business growth - which would be a big mistake, imo. To me the whole thing would just be about setting limits.
    _____
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author Molad
      Originally Posted by brucerby View Post

      Personally, if you are just doing a website as favor, or need some practice, sounds fine to me.

      However, as already mentioned. I would not become his 'marketer', unless you like pain.

      A 'no spend' realtor could easily drive you nuts, by picking your brain, and assuming that you also have accepted responsibility for his business growth - which would be a big mistake, imo. To me the whole thing would just be about setting limits.
      _____
      Bruce
      Thanks Bruce. I'm taking it on because I need the practice and I need a portfolio to show on my website.

      The marketing thing is out the door for sure except he is ready to drop $$$
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      • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
        Originally Posted by Molad View Post

        Thanks Bruce. I'm taking it on because I need the practice and I need a portfolio to show on my website.

        The marketing thing is out the door for sure except he is ready to drop $$$
        Then my suggestion (once you get past this guy) is to do a website and campaign on spec. It is kinda like when a home builder builds a home, but does not already have a buyer lined up.

        Just pick a Business Type and City, then build a site and an associated marketing campaign.

        You can immediately use that in your portfolio to show other businesses and once you get ranking, then you can sell/lease it to business owners for a handsome profit.

        At least this way, you will have the opportunity to get paid.

        If you are new enough to this and you still feel uncomfortable asking for the sale, then do this method and offer a barter/trade with the business owner.

        Just make sure you pick a profession that you want their services for and offer a deal.

        ------------------------------------
        On a side note, I am wondering if when you talked to the realtor you explained why you were willing to do this for free?

        I made that mistake early on. I explained that it was a win-win situation where they get the site and I get to build my portfolio.

        It was never said, but I started to get the impression that they felt as if THEY were doing ME the favor by letting me build their site and do their marketing.

        Not only was my service not valued at what I was charging (or at least at that time, planning on charging), but it was actually worth less than $0. In their mind, I owed them for the opportunity.

        It just does not put you in a place of power, if it is presented that way. It doesn't seem that it would happen but there is a weird shift that seems to occur.
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        • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
          You can say you need a hosting fee up front. Also add Adsense to the site so you are at least getting some income for your time. If he does not pay at all change the site and collect some Adsebes revenue while you seek out other Realtors.
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  • Profile picture of the author jdwolfe
    I used to be a Realtor...do not even build him a website.

    As far as I know, all Brokers furnish a personal realtors/agents website that collects potential customers emails and their information.

    All he/she has to to is buy a domain name and forward it to their page.
    (short and sweet)

    Also, he has an advertising budget (or he would not have become an agent)... if he can get you do to do it for FREE, then he is able to take a 2 week vacation at your expense!

    Realtors motto; Location...Location...Location

    Your motto: Run...Run...Run
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    • Profile picture of the author Molad
      Originally Posted by jdwolfe View Post

      I used to be a Realtor...do not even build him a website.

      As far as I know, all Brokers furnish a personal realtors/agents website that collects potential customers emails and their information.
      I wasn't aware of this info... would this apply to Canada as well?
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    • Profile picture of the author truly_gifted
      Originally Posted by jdwolfe View Post

      I used to be a Realtor...do not even build him a website.

      As far as I know, all Brokers furnish a personal realtors/agents website that collects potential customers emails and their information.

      All he/she has to to is buy a domain name and forward it to their page.
      (short and sweet)

      Also, he has an advertising budget (or he would not have become an agent)... if he can get you do to do it for FREE, then he is able to take a 2 week vacation at your expense!

      Realtors motto; Location...Location...Location

      Your motto: Run...Run...Run
      Well, that's a solid piece of advice from someone who knows from experience. If I were you, I'd adopt that motto (Run...Run...Run) immediately! The next time you talk to him, just tell him that someone just offered you a HUGE deal, and you've got to devote your time to them since they're spending their hard earned money with you.

      He's a businessman, so he'll understand. Just let him know that you might be able to work with him in the future, but right now, you've got a really large client to tend to that you can't afford to disappoint.

      And there you have it. You've got a way out of a very sticky situation, and the only thing he can do is offer you MORE money that the other guy that you just told him about. If he does try to make a counter offer, then make sure that you quote him accordingly. I'd say that you should set the bar at $5k or more, and then you'll know if he really means business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Molad
    Ok Dexx, I'm curious and you do have a point about whether he is wiling to spend money on my marketing solutions. If he has been in business for 6 years and isn't spending a dime today on advertising or marketing; I'm not sure I would be able to convince him to change his mind.

    Could you share 2 or 3 workable solutions that a realtor can use to grow his business by 100% without spending any money on marketing?

    I'm a newbie so I don't know much.
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    • Profile picture of the author jdwolfe
      Originally Posted by Molad View Post

      Ok Dexx, I'm curious and you do have a point about whether he is wiling to spend money on my marketing solutions. If he has been in business for 6 years and isn't spending a dime today on advertising or marketing; I'm not sure I would be able to convince him to change his mind.

      Could you share 2 or 3 workable solutions that a realtor can use to grow his business by 100% without spending any money on marketing?

      I'm a newbie so I don't know much.

      Yes, have your friend become a REO Specialist (Real Esate Owned)
      and get his name out to all the banks that handle foreclosed properties.

      Does not cost him anything except a FREE phone call and HIS TIME not yours.
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  • Profile picture of the author PowerWealth247
    Build his website but let him know that he'll need hosting for it but luckily you know an inxpensive hosting plan, then give him your affiliate link for hosting, build his site then inform him that you'll be available for future marketing when his budget allows.
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  • Profile picture of the author redcell1
    Your realtor person can make anywhere from 3k on a 100,000 house to 15k on a 500,000 house. So yeah he can make it with no website (I know people that have a referral base that is crazy with refferals) but if he chooses not to spend money on advertising then I would not do it.

    Marketing idea - have him do a free seminar or something along those lines at the church and give a portion of his profit to the church ? Win-Win ?

    In your case, you won't make any money. He is one of those people that is a face to face person and an online lead he would be out of his comfort zone. I talk from experience by working with actual broker office/ real estate teams.
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    Just here to see the shenanigans.

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