Real Estate: Vendor Relations & Purchasing
The business of selling property requires people skills, persuasiveness and plenty of marketing materials. The average realtor spends $1,100 on marketing per year, this breaks down to just under $92 monthly. Whereas a top producing agent (one that makes over $100,000 annually) will typically spend 5 to 10 times more on marketing. While pros in the field technically are vendors property vendors that is they also must deal with a fair share of suppliers themselves. If only to stay ahead of the competition, realtors routinely place orders for personal campaign items. Brochures, postcards, websites, calendars and more it's all about getting the agent's name in front of potential buyers and sellers. Obviously you want to get the biggest bang for your buck and the majority of advertising mechanisms don’t come cheap.
If you will be working with traditional print or broadcast advertising then you need to be aware of the intricacies involved in their contracts- you need to make sure to read the fine print. For just a one time run of advertising it comes at a premium whereas multiple publications or spots will be supplied at a discounted rate. No matter what you do be sure that it does generate a return on investment and is worth the money put out to advertise.
Take into account that not every promotional supply vendor provides the same quality products as advertised. Much like the house that looks good in a newspaper photo, but disappoints up close certain real estate marketing materials also amount to nothing more than a money pit. For this reason, real estate agents should be very careful when selecting a vendor to essentially brand their identity. Low cost does not compensate for poor quality when trying to make a good impression. All too often, agents order marketing supplies in bulk based on the cheapest price. In the end, they're stuck handing out sub-par merchandise, potentially lowering people's expectations of the houses that agent represents.
As is the case with nearly all property, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that. The bullets below highlight some good rules of thumb when shopping for a marketing materials vendor.
- First and foremost, make sure to review the vendors experience and portfolio. Some of the more popular promotional product suppliers offer customer referrals, a good sign. Also, find out how long the business has existed. The last thing an agent wants to deal with is a young company overwhelmed by a particular order. In the same regard, ensure that the supplies will be delivered in a timely fashion. In an industry based on flipping property as quickly as possible, punctuality is everything when it comes to marketing materials.
- There are many one or two person operations that claim to provide marketing support materials geared toward the real estate industry. While a good number of these smaller vendors do provide the same high-quality products as a major supplier, others clearly are in over their heads. In short, anyone with fairly inexpensive software and a printer can claim to be a guru in designing marketing tools. Agents really need to research the business before cutting a check. One method to gage a vendor's eye for appealing merchandise is to log onto their website.
If it looks like an aesthetic disaster, there's probably a good chance their promotional products won't be any better. As self-proclaimed specialists in the field of real estate advertising, they should know that the layout of their website reflects on their product. If they fail to recognize this when it comes to attracting their own clients, what's to say they won't do the same when it comes to attracting yours?
- Some of the larger online vendors serve as one-stop shops for all real estate needs. While they do sell marketing materials, they also offer web design, provide lock boxes, calculators, clipboards, education books, etc. These all-in-one operations are perfect for the real estate newcomer that might not know where to search for materials, or what materials are even needed for that matter. Some of these suppliers also offer weekly specials and deals based on purchase size.
Take Advantage of Great Bargains, Easy Purchasing
Vendors catering to real estate professionals know that their target market only looks to grow in the future. Still, competition is fierce, and many online suppliers do what they can to stand out from the others. Because of this, agents need to shop around before settling on a particular provider. Many suppliers offer special deals for registered shoppers. Some even scratch shipping fees when a customer orders a certain amount of product. To make the online shopping experience all the more beneficial, a number of vendors now tout monthly closeout specials, reducing the cost of products drastically. By simply creating a personal account with certain vendors, the realtor can shop, keep track of order status and view past purchases in a matter of seconds. In a hectic field that keeps its professionals running from one sales property to the next, such one-click solutions make all the difference.