4) Go Green, Stay Clean, Become Lean

– The Scenario –

Print is pretty and there will always be a place for it in business. However, it can also be expensive, wasteful, bulky, and hard to keep track of in the modern office, let alone the home. I won’t waste your time with an environmental ethics seminar: the average agent spends hundreds of dollars a year on print alone. The bigger brokerages will spend thousands… and that is just on raw materials, not time! This is especially wasteful when you consider just how many of those flyers, magazines, and cards will just be thrown out. You can’t cut out all of that waste, but you can become part of a popular trend that will save you cash and engage your leads more useful manner by targeting green trends while at the same time reducing costs.

 – The Solution –

Business Cards:
You can create a QR code as your business card. No, not as an image: as a real stored contact. A V-card image uploads your information to the reader’s phone or computer as a complete person, phone, website, email, and everything. See for yourself:

Make your own at Qr.me and print it out to display on the front of your business card holder. Don’t worry about it looking tacky– the site allows you to customize colors under the options menu! The next time you want to connect, offer the person to simply scan your code instead of taking a card. Ostensibly you are saving them precious time because they won’t have to enter you their selves: it’s a very gracious gesture. If they want a card, they’ll ask for it, but many people will be happy that you connected with them in a quick and simple way… which also keeps you looking hip!

Flyers:
A proper open house has flyers for those who prefer print, but for many people, paper can be a pain. Your more adaptable clients will appreciate a paperless alternative (an especially popular notion in Seattle!) by engaging them in a unique way. Try displaying your flyers with two large QR signs: one with your contact info that can be re-used (like the V-card above), and one which is connected to the URL of your listing (like below).

It doesn’t have to be a listing URL, either: it can be any URL you want! You can link the image file via its URL from a separate image hosting service (like Imgur) which lets you upload files. Now, make a third sign (which can be reused) to engage people to use the codes rather than the paper. Watch your supply costs go down. Try minimizing the number of flyers on hand, or try printing them on paper vertically, two at a time, to decrease costs. You can re-use practically everything for your next showing and even your next listing. The point isn’t to look cheap: it’s to look smart. Your clients will respect you for your smart, transparent, and unique look.

Print:

This is a pretty simple section, but it’s all about saving you cash. Many younger agents are willing to embrace paperless alternatives, and it can even be a very profitable attitude. The magazines I know in the Seattle area charge a minimum of five hundred dollars for a simple page ad that is glossy and pretty, buy only pulls in a handful of leads a month at most. Billboards and bus ads can be better, but they tend to run in the hundreds of dollars as well. On the other hand, 9 out of 10 buyers start their searches online, where you dictate your costs and your audience. A promoted Facebook post costs as little as fifteen dollars a day, and it goes out to thousand of people using the keywords you select. Getting yourself, your brokerage or agency registered via Google Business (so that it comes in first for search results) is as simple as mailing in a flyer. It’s not as pretty as print, but it’s important to know when to let go, because this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eliminating money-wasting print media.

– The Reward –

I present a simple equation: costs go down, savings go up. Less hassles with the printer and more time for your business and your leads. You have just built yourself a bridge between your print media and your digital profile; thereby consolidating your contacts. New technology is impressive, and in Seattle, it’s more important than ever to keep up with your tech-savvy clients while reducing overhead. It only takes faith in your market: they will respect your willingness to diversify and respond to their demands.