Personal Brochures: A Stand-Out First Step

Your marketing materials should include a snappy personal brochure. Here's how to do it right.

January 1, 2000

Since everyone carries business cards, their effectiveness as a marketing tool is questionable. Look at it this way: If a prospective buyer visits a half dozen open houses in a day, collecting business cards at each, will any one card stand out at the end of the day? That's not say that you shouldn't have a business card. But if you want to stand out, you must promote and brand yourself in other ways, too. A personal brochure is a great start.

The design

Before you begin working on the message you'll convey in your brochure, create a layout that includes

  • A recent and professional photograph
  • Your business slogan
  • Your personal and company logos, if you have them

Once you've designed the layout, have a high volume of color brochures printed as templates. Then you can economically add your message to as few of the templates as you need at a time. This way, you can modify your brochure often or print multiple versions targeted to different prospects. Think of the effectiveness of creating a brochure that speaks entirely to the buyer's needs; one customized for sellers; and another for builders.

Having a commercial printer create shells could run anywhere from .25 to $1 or more, depending on the number of folds and colors.

Don't forget a place in your brochure templates to insert a business card. This could be expensive depending on the equipment that the printer already has. In addition, you can buy brochure templates from printing supply shops (or from office supply stores, but usually at a much higher cost) that already have cuts in them.

Not everyone will keep your brochure, and that's okay. If prospects read your brochure and are favorably impressed, then there's no harm done if they discard it.

The message

The biggest mistake you make when crafting your message is to only talk about yourself. To effectively impress prospects and build good will, think about what's important to them. Prospects will have three questions in mind as they evaluate working with you:

  1. What's in it for me?
  2. Is this salesperson reliable and credible?
  3. What is this salesperson's motive?

Be sure that your personal brochure answers these three questions, and in order. Prospects won't be interested in whether you're reliable until they've decided that working with you will be beneficial to them. Likewise, your motivation isn't particularly important to them until they've determined that you're both reliable and credible.

To begin writing, instead of simply listing all of your positive attributes, answer the question of what's in it for them. How will they benefit from working with you?

Next, list your qualifications, experience, and committee appointments. Be sure to keep this relatively short, as you only need to present enough information to be deemed credible; and no prospect wants to read your entire resume.

Finally, address your motivation by dedicating a short section of the brochure to discussing your values or beliefs. This is where you dispel any concerns that you're a slick salesperson, only interested in making a quick buck.

Mention community involvement, business principles, and family values to separate yourself from the negative images that many prospects have about salespeople generally. If readers picture you as genuine, they'll lower their guard and be more receptive to working with you.

As you write each of the three sections, make statements that are directly relevant from the reader's point of view. For instance, after the following generic statements, read how each can be more effective.

1. I've been in the real estate business for 15 years.

Better: With 15 years of experience, I know how to negotiate the best price for you in today's market.

2. Our company is one of the largest and oldest in the marketplace.

Better: Being with one of the largest companies in town, I can give you immediate access to the greatest number of new homes on the market.

3. I hold the Graduate, REALTOR®'s Institute, GRI designation.

Better: Earning the Graduate, REALTOR®'s Institute, GRI designation has provided me with the advanced marketing knowledge required to sell homes faster, and for more money in today's competitive marketplace.

4. I've lived in the Ann Arbor area all of my life.

Better: Having grown up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and with two children currently enrolled in the local school system, I'm personally committed to this unique community. My wife, Jodi, and I are active in numerous local community groups. In addition, I've served three terms as a director for the Ann Arbor Jaycees, am active in the chamber of commerce, and regularly volunteer my time to Habitat for Humanity.

The more detailed statements convey the same basic information as the others, but are much more relevant to prospects' wants and needs.

Part with them

Finally, when you're finished with your brochure, make a commitment to get rid of them. Countless salespeople have gone to great lengths, and expense, to develop wonderful marketing pieces, only to let them sit in the bottom drawer of their desks.

Give your brochure to every single person you meet. Even if you don't think that young couple that just walked into your expensive listing is serious, or even financially capable, remember these four facts:They'll probably buy something, eventually.

  1. Everyone has friends, coworkers, and relatives who'll eventually buy, too.
  2. The average salesperson commission split on a sale in the U.S. is close to about $2,000.
  3. The average brochure costs less than a dollar.

Properly developed and well distributed, you'll find few other investments that pay off as well as having a personal brochure.

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