Look, It's a Salesperson! No, It's Graffiti Buster!

July 1, 1996

When Amy Siedlecki left a brokerage to start her own, she needed a way to generate new business, despite a strong referral following. She tried typical prospecting methods, but as the broker of a small operation, she found that those old chestnuts were no competition for the bigger companies.

Then in October 1994 she noticed not only the spooky Halloween decorations adorning properties in her farm but also the even scarier graffiti. She realized that removing it would not only benefit the residents but also be good for business.

Siedlecki contacted Chicago's Graffiti Blaster department, which offers a free graffiti removal service for property owners. "The city was all too happy to send me hundreds of flyers about the service," she says, "and appreciated that someone was getting the word out."

Siedlecki took the graffiti flyers and her company marketing materials and hit the streets. "I went door-to-door introducing myself and the graffiti blaster program," she says. "If people weren't home, I left the materials at their door. I was amazed at how many people didn't know about the service.

"And people were much more receptive to this approach than if I'd knocked on their door and said, 'I want to sell your house.' I got referrals from people in the neighborhood who weren't selling but recommended me to people who were. One man had called the graffiti blasters six months before I came along but was having trouble getting them to come out. So I called the service to see if they'd expedite the process. They removed his graffiti soon after, and I got some referrals from him also.

"For me, this project meant very little outlay, but the residents really appreciated it," Siedlecki says. "And now people know me. I can drive down the street and wave at people."

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