Hidden in plain sight
During World War I, the British Royal Navy painted many of their Naval ships with Dazzle Camouflage. The intent was not to hide the ships from the enemy's u-boats, but to confuse the enemy about the ships' speed and heading.
Transactional vs Relational
Car sales is a transactional business. Most people I know don't go back and buy their next car from the same salesman, or even from the same lot. Because of this, there is no relationship to be built - only this one transaction: you might buy a car, and he wants/needs to sell it to you. He will say ANYTHING to keep you on the lot. And once the transaction is done, he'll most likely never see or hear from you again.
Real Estate is all about relationships.
People don't think much about real estate, until they do - and then it's all they think about. But once they're done (moving), they stop thinking about it again.
You want to build your relationship during the *years* when they aren't thinking about real estate. Then, when they switch into real estate mode, they contact you to help them navigate the real estate market - no selling is required.
Send them an email newsletter - weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.. the timing doesn't matter too much - and talk about the things that matter to them. Useful information a homeowner would want to know, or an update on new developments in their area (schools, roads, shopping, etc.). Even better is to send them something about their own personal interests...
Go ahead and sprinkle in some real estate facts and market statistics, once in awhile, just so they know you have your finger on the pulse. But most of the time, well - relationships aren't built on real estate statistics.
Marketing yourself as a Realtor to your sphere of influence uses a little bit of that "hidden in plain sight" philosophy.. Not because you're trying to confuse your friends and family members, and certainly not because you want to hide from them, but because it's completely different from any other sales job. You're right there, easy to reach and whenever they need you, but you aren't in their face as an annoying sales guy.
And if you ever want help with your eNewsletters, I'm just a phone call or email away, and I'd be happy to do all that work for you.
- Chris Butterworth