Monte Mohr, Realty Trust – Monte has been selling homes for 28 years, and has owned 2 real estate companies during that time. He has personally sold over 2,500 homes and last year sold 101 homes himself in Middle Tennessee. He and his team sold 153 homes all together amounting to $41,000,000 in residential sales.
Terry McLaughin, McLaughlin Plumbing – Terry is the own of McLaughling Pluimbing. He has been doing plumbing for 22 years. In his spare time he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and is an active member of his BNI Chapter. Terry is actually married to his middle school sweetheart, who he met in the 6th grade.
1) What types of marketing have you done before?
Monte: TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, postcards, movie theater ads, bus benches, magazines, professional telemarketer and Internet.
Terry: BNI, radio, door hangers, social media, website, yellow pages, high school football programs, pay per lead services.
Wade: Clipper magazine, door to door sales, trade shows and fairs, vehicle wrap, yard signs, referrals, marketing lists, Yellow Pages, radio, postcards, BBB, newsletters, email, door hangers, BNI.
Mike: Yellow Pages, Yellow Book, direct mail, coupon mailers, magazines, radio, sports team sponsorship, welcome home mailers, website, search engine optimization, Google Adwords, fence signs, vehicle signs, Angies List, yard signs.
Angela: Direct mail, social media and digital presence (Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and other online directories, Pinterest, web site, blog), working with realtors and loan officers for referrals, cross-selling to existing clients, community involvement, taking fliers to apartment complexes and car lots, telemarketing, yellow pages ad (hard copy phone book), church and other local directories, tables at events (ack!), paid a company $2500/month to create and run a web site with the goal of increasing SEO (search engine optimization). SEO can and does work, but you don’t need to pay someone this much money to do it. It’s best to do it organically over time.
2) Out of these types of marketing, which has had the best ROI for you and explain why.
Monte: 30% of my business comes from my TV ad.
Terry: BNI (Business Networking International) is by far the best bang for my buck. I operate on a tight budget, and I can’t compete in the broadcast media with my competition. Almost every referral I get from BNI Members is a guaranteed sale.
Wade: The best measurable ROI for us has been letters and post cards that are pre-priced for our services at that customer’s address. Referrals are obviously better but it is hard to assign a true cost to the referral.
Mike: The best ROI I’ve had with my advertising is search engine optimization. Since working on SEO my company name appears very high in the Google, Bing and Yahoo search results. Most of my potential customer use search engines like Google to find companies that serve their fencing and deck needs. If my company name does not show up in the first few search results I won’t get phone calls from new customers.
Angela: I have had great results from marketing via direct mail. Over the years I’ve fine-tuned the wording on the letter, look of the envelope and most importantly, areas I mail to. These are items you have to continually monitor and tweak. Another thing critical to the success of my traditional direct mail marketing is including digital ways people can contact me, such as listing my web site and Facebook page. It’s important for a business to be easy to contact.
3) Out of these types of marketing, which one would you absolutely avoid like the plague?
Monte: Movie theater ads and billboards are a waste of time and money in my experience
Terry: The phone book. Most people who are not referrals find us on Google. I spent a lot of money in the phone book with little results.
Wade: Ad space on local news channels web site. We received absolutely zero results.
Mike: I absolute avoid spending money in the Yellow Pages or Yellow Book printed directories. In the past I spent thousands of dollars in Yellow Page advertising but I have not seen any good ROI in the last 3 or 4 years.
Angela: For my business, I would avoid yellow page ads. The type customers who keep and use hard copy phone books don’t fit my ideal client profile.
4) What is the absolute best marketing campaign you’ve ever conducted?
Monte: Last year a family from New York went on line and searched “best Nashville Realtor” and found my website in the search results. The buyer ended up viewing several of my videos and felt like she knew me. So, when her daughter who lives here told her she should use a friend of hers realtor, she explained, “No, we are using Monte Mohr as our Realtor. I feel he will do the best job for us”. I thought it was interesting that the impression that was created by my videos was stronger than a local referral in this case. When they arrived in Nashville I sold them a $640,000 property generating a $19,000 commission.
Terry: In BNI, a substitute just happened to come in one day and he owned a granite company. He was setting up his showroom and he needed someone to do the granite counter hookups for his customers. I was able to pick up the work and for awhile it was about 50% of my business because I was able to go in and make money and while I was there, I was able to market myself. I would install the hookups and then the customers would ask me to fix other things and call me back. Because of all the work I did for them, I was the first person on their lips when someone they knew needed a plumber.
Wade: We started a sister company to compete with our primary brand. Very low cost. We worked with any lost customer accounts and unclosed leads from our primary company and transferred them to our sister company, which was a low cost alternative for the previous customers. This landed us a high volume of customers in a short amount of time. We sent a direct mailer out to all of our primary company’s old accounts and gained 650 customers back as our sister company.
Mike: Realtors are one of my best referral sources. I had a realtor that worked in a high in subdivision in Franklin. I met her when I was cold calling with brochures and cards. She referred a customer to me and we did a fantastic job and the customer was totally satisfied. The customer was a nice guy but very demanding. When I followed up with the realtor later she was very excited. She said if you can make him (demanding customer) you can make anyone happy. She went on to send me referrals that resulted in almost 20 jobs in that one subdivision. She still send me jobs on a regular basis and that has been almost 9 years since we first met.
5) When it comes to marketing, what’s the best advice you can give a fellow local business owner?
Monte: In my experience ‘if possible’ today’s business owner needs a marketing plan that provides “multiple touches”. There is such incredible competition for Joe Consumer’s attention that he has to, by self defense, let most advertising slip past him as quickly as possible but if he is touched multiple times he begins to take notice. Every business owner must also have a good internet presence. We live in a very transparent world. That transparency creates an expectation in most consumers to “check you out” before they decide to do business with you and that is normally going to happen through your website. 90%+ of all consumers do their research online before contacting a realtor. In my business a strong internet presence and a good functional website is a must.
Terry: ASK ASK ASK. Always ask your customers for referrals to people they know or do business with. Also, build yourself a support group of other services and companies that you can refer people to. Be that “Go to guy/gal” when some needs something, they think of you because you know a… (insert profession here). Finally, brag on your company a little. If you or your team volunteer in your church or community share it on social media. Ask your customers to like you, and review your services on social media. I have received thousands of dollars in business from people who found me because of their neighbor’s Facebook post.
Wade: My advice is to measure everything. Collect as much data from customers and new estimates as possible to measure what it and what isn’t working. I would also suggest joining a peer group of similar businesses outside of your area of service. We use our peer group to share information with one another concerning all aspects of our business. This allows us to learn and growth together stronger together.
Mike: Franklin Fence and Deck has been in business since 1984. We have always gotten most of our business from referrals. We believe that clear communication is the key to our success. If we give our customers what we told them we would give them or more they are happy and always pass our name to other potential customers. Clear communication on what customers want and expect lets us supply our customers with great products.
Angela: There isn’t a ‘one type fits all’ marketing program that will work for everyone. The first step in creating a marketing program is to identify who your ideal client is and where and how they would like to be contacted. The best ad slick in the world won’t bring in clients if it isn’t placed in a publication or location where your ideals clients are looking. Some will want to reach you traditionally by coming in to your office or calling, or digitally by connecting online. The one who is easily found and accessible, wins!
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