The Market Has Changed. How Should Marketing Change With It?

October 5, 2008

Back to the Future: Relationship Selling

If you’re in resort and residential real estate, it comes as no surprise to you to learn that the market has changed. What is surprising is that most sales and marketing tactics haven’t changed with it.

We are learning that the soft landing we were all anticipating is in fact, a fundamental paradigm shift. Gone are the herds of sheep. The speculators. The flippers. Who does that leave? The end user. Remember them? They’re the people who actually build the homes and live the dream that we all help to create in glossy brochures and dynamic Web sites.

The good news is they’re still there. And they still believe in dreams.

The bad news? They’re gun shy. Every day they read news reports of the slumping housing market and are subjected to forecasts that suggest things might not bounce back any time soon. They could use a little persuasion, a little salesmanship. Slick, opulent marketing materials simply aren’t enough to sell in the current environment.

Selling is going to take an evolution in the way we market and communicate. But there are also some tried-and-true methods that can work better than ever in the current market. I know this may sound a little old fashioned in the age of virtual tours, e-mails and over-the-top collateral, but there’s never been a better time for effective relationship marketing. Get that prospect, that end user with the emotional attachment to the property on-site in order to experience the lifestyle firsthand and press the flesh with talented, energetic sales people.

A recent direct mail campaign from Hill Mullikin is a perfect example. We targeted our client’s affinity base promoting a preferred-rate stay at their sister resort destination in tandem with a tour of the real estate community. No pressure. No launch date. No call for a “priority reservation.” Just “come and enjoy one of America’s greatest retreats. You just might stay forever.”

Our client has booked over 136 tours in less than 60 days. Now the market is right where we want it. Onsite.

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