In this economy, we probably all know someone who has fallen on hard times. Maybe you have a family member who’s lost a job, or you know a friend whose income has dropped drastically.
Try to think of someone you know in this situation, and let me ask you a question about them:
Have they stopped eating?
Chances are, no matter how bad things have gotten, they have not given up food. Maybe they’ve had to change what and how they eat. Maybe they’ve had to be more careful about how they spend their grocery dollars – fewer meals out, more store-brand food items, more burgers and fewer steaks. They might have had to change what they’re doing when it comes to food, but it’s likely they have not stopped eating.
Heck, maybe they’ve given up cable TV, started taking the bus to work or clicked the thermostat down a few notches to saving on their heating bill. Those are the things people do before they stop buying food.
Why? Because no matter how bad things have gotten, we all have to eat.
Unfortunately, that simple logic doesn’t always transfer to our businesses.
I have seen it first-hand, and you probably have, too. As housing markets across the country have declined, agents have had to cut back. What I have seen is that one of the first areas to get cut is marketing. Want proof? Look at the size of your local newspaper’s real estate section or your area’s home buyer magazine this week compared to what it was just a couple of years ago.
Commission income drops, and so does marketing. And I’m not talking about agents simply doing less marketing; I’m talking about a virtual stop to ALL marketing. This is a mistake. And what follows when an agent stops marketing is almost unfailingly inevitable.
They are out of the business. Starved out.
Marketing generates the leads that are the food for our business. You have to have food to live, and so does your business. No matter how bad things get, food should be the last thing you cut.
Like food, lead-generation and lead-conversion are not luxuries; they’re necessities. Luxuries are the office that’s bigger than we need, the fancy phone system, the personal assistant. When times are tough, no doubt, fixed expenses need to be trimmed.
These luxuries in our businesses are the cable TV, dinners out and expensive car payments that a household trims before chopping the grocery budget. Marketing is that grocery budget, it’s the last thing you chop, not the first.
It’s vicious cycle, I know. Without selling houses, you can’t pay for marketing. Without marketing, you can’t sell more houses. But like you’d find a way to feed your family even if you had to cut everything else, you’ve got to find a way to continue to feed your business … even if it means cutting back everywhere else.
Look, we had it easy in the steak-and-lobster days of the housing boom. But just because you can no longer afford steak and lobster doesn’t mean you can afford to stop eating.
You might have to change the way you market – develop more affordable campaigns, tactics that get you more bang for the buck. You might have to get creative and find ways to stretch your marketing dollar, the way a struggling family stretches the grocery dollar, but you cannot stop marketing, just as that family can’t stop eating.
You wouldn’t let your family starve. Don’t let your business starve, either.
Believe it or not, you can learn a very valuable lesson on marketing in a unique story about two farmers. You can read the story and find the marketing lesson at www.FreeFarmerReport.com.
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