2009 was a great year for Wendy Harris, of Team Harris Realty, despite the horrible macro environment for realty businesses. While many of her peers reacted to the real estate downturn by reducing or eliminating mass-marketing, Wendy moved in the opposite direction with spectacular results.
Wendy recently wrote to share her story: “Thanks to Cumulus radio, I outsold every resale Real Estate agent in Fayetteville and continue to increase my business!”
Wendy took advantage of radio’s unique ability to deeply inform potential clients as part of the mass-reach/high-frequency branding process. She differentiates her business with a unique listing proposition: a guarantee to sell the house at a specified price by a specified deadline and backs her guarantee by agreeing to buy the home if she doesn’t hit her goals. By breaking this concept down into several explanatory radio commercials she quickly communicated this program to anxious sellers. “The phones started ringing the first week I started.”
This type of program could never have been brought to life with such clarity and persuasiveness through “for sale” signage, the dominant form of marketing in the real estate business. Direct mail, which other brokers use to communicate their strategies for potential sellers, just doesn’t get read enough to be effective.
A larger issue is that Wendy competed aggressively for new business at a time that her competition was pulling back. As we’ve noted in other posts, tough times are typically the best times to grab market share from conservative rivals. These gains come at much lower cost than gains made in good times, when everyone is competing aggressively. The momentum generated during downturns typically lasts for 2-3 years after the recession ends.
In Wendy’s case, her new status as the area’s most successful business will generate a windfall of referral business. The visibility of her expanded listings (in the form of omnipresent branded For Sale signs), coupled with her radio campaign, will help position her for further growth as the market and home sales improve in 2010 and beyond.