I teach/train/preach to agents that they need to “pick” their market and just do it! I think Alison is ready to roll. md

ps- Alison’s new Book- Diary of  Real Estate Rookie – will be coming out soon.

Birth of a marketing plan

Diary of a real estate rookie

Friday, January 12, 2007

By Alison Rogers
Inman News

Alison Rogers Alison Rogers

I closed four deals last year. Four “sides” is not fabulous for a new agent, but it’s better than zero, especially since I ended up working only about half time. (Writing and editing — my old publishing life — took up the other half.)

The thing is, I nearly closed five. I had a $5 million deal on the table, and sadly, it died. The way this column works, I don’t write about deals in process, so you haven’t heard any of this story. And the mechanics of the $5 million deal, that’s a column for another day.

But I bring up its existence because there was a period, a brief period but a period nonetheless, when I thought it was going to close.

More stories by Alison Rogers

A word on self-branding

Befriend agents, walk new neighborhoods: ’07 resolutions

The Christmas wish list

Real estate and the art of Internet friends

The Internet ‘relo’

The walkaway


At the time, I thought, “Jackpot!” I’ve done it. I’ve made a big score, I’ve validated my career choice, I’ve entered the big leagues, and I can buy a nice purse now.

Now my sponsoring broker Gil has taught me well, and he has taught me that the deal’s not done until the check has cleared the bank. So I didn’t run off to get a Gucci handbag in real life, although I did in my daydreams.

And in my daydreams, when I thought I had a $65,000 commission coming in, I did plan my first advertising campaign.

This comes back to me because last night I went to a party full of Hamptons brokers. It was organized and sponsored by The New York Times real estate section as a way to showcase its advertisers.

Two things happened that were extremely salient: one is that we were sitting around talking to a bunch of the Times advertising guys, and it took forever to find out the price of their product. (Two of them were highly placed marketing muckity-mucks; the actual salesperson was so blotto, it just took him awhile.)

Me: How much is a quarter-page black-and-white ad in the Sunday real estate section?

Confused Salesperson: It’s $600 a column inch for 31.5 inches, what is that?

Me: Around twenty thousand dollars.

Confused Salesperson (shaking head): No, no, that’s not right, I need a calculator. Let’s see, $700 a column inch …

Me: I liked $600 a column inch better.

And I thought, wow, how could you not know the price of your product? I can tell you how much a two-bedroom condo costs.

The other thing that happened was that Michael Daly of RE/MAX Beach was there. Michael is a Hamptons Realtor I met years ago, when I was a press person, and he’s been a big cheerleader for my career switch. So I saw him at this party and he had a great piece of advice: “You know the agent you think you’re going to be? Don’t try to follow steps to get there. Just be that agent.”

He told me the story of how, on his first day, someone showed him the computer system and said, “Let’s run searches between $200,000 and $300,000,” and his response was, “Why don’t we add a zero?” Soon after, Michael made his first sale … on a seven-figure property.

Now there’s a man who knows the price of his product.

Well, at the end of last year, I came so close to “adding a zero.” If I had sold a $5 million apartment, I would have been “that agent.”

OK, I still wouldn’t have spent my advertising budget on one single quarter-page ad, but I would have had to draw up a marketing plan. And now, with only a teeny-tiny marketing budget to play with, what do I do? If I listen to Michael, I should … draw up a marketing plan.

Watch out world, because next deal I do, I’m buying a brand-new purse.