Real Estate Marketing: The Walking-Talking Billboard

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Credibility. This was probably my single biggest fear when I first was getting started.

How am I going to find good deals?

How am I going to get good contractor pricing?

How am I going to impact people with my face-to-face networking?

Let’s be realistic, the majority of people starting out in real estate investing don’t exactly have the budget for renting out billboard space along busy highways. This was the boat I was in, so I figured a way I could somewhat replicate this marketing function was through t-shirts. I started doing some shopping.

Here’s what I ended up purchasing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I purchased a few different colors, and my wife wanted one, so I even picked up a couple in purple and hot pink. I highly recommend a hot pink shirt if you have someone willing to wear it. There is no other color that can stand out in a crowd! I also purchased a couple long sleeve ones so I could continue to advertise in the cooler portions of the spring and fall.

The design is simple. My company name and logo on the front. On the back, a slogan, phone number and website.

Confession: I’ll admit it, I do not like my slogan. Not sure what I was thinking back then, but I wish I didn’t use “homes”. If I could redo it (which I’m actually thinking of getting a new batch made), I would have used “houses”, “property”, “ugly houses” or something of that nature. The word “home” implies finished product, and that’s NOT what I’m looking for. I don’t know if I would call it a mistake per-se, but just something I’d do a different way if I could go back in time.

I wish I could sit here and say that these shirts have caused the deals to flow in, but so far, I haven’t landed any deals from the shirts. They’ve been a great conversation starter out in public, and I could very well be getting some private money in the future from a conversation I recently had (started by the t-shirt), but as far as someone coming up and saying, “hey, I will sell you my house” – hasn’t happened yet. On that same note, it’s not like I need to pay a weekly/monthly fee for these shirts. It was a one time payment, so all it will take is one deal to pay for them and then I can keep on using them, how great is that? Although not monetary, the shirts have already paid for themselves indirectly – keep reading.

Now… what HAS happened is something I never really counted on: instant credibility.

At this point in time, I have credibility via the fact people know I pull the trigger and I’ve hired many contractors multiple times, but when I was first starting, it was amazing how well the t-shirt worked. I would wear it everywhere. Going to watch my nephew’s sporting event? I wore it. Going to run to some errands? I wore it. Going out on a date with my wife? I wore it (well, when she would let me!).

The two most important places I wore it was when I was meeting with another industry professional or meeting with a contractor. It was amazing to watch their eyes shoot down to where my logo was, and then pop back up to my eyes and you could just “see it” that thinking, “okay, this guy means business!”.

Don’t get me wrong, if you sit there and demand this, that, and the other thing, OR open your mouth and make it very evident you really have no idea what you’re talking about, the t-shirt can only help you so much. What I’ve learned though, is with some education and professionalism/common courtesy, throwing a t-shirt into the mix can make a total rookie appear as someone who has been around the block a few times (remember – perception is reality).

About Author

Clay (G+) is a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Huber Property Group, LLC, a real estate investment company located in Grand Rapids, MI. His company purchases distressed properties with the main exit strategy of fixing them up and reselling with owner financing, particularly, land contracts.

8 Comments

  1. Jason Grote

    What an interesting thought Clay! I believe that the more marketing “fingers” you have the greater the success. I wouldn’t discount that seemingly small marketing finger one bit.

    Also, I think the credibility aspect is revelatory. It shows your commitment to what you do. Very nice!

    I am going to ask my wife what she thinks about hot pink t-shirts today!

    • Jason, if your wife goes for it, just make sure you hand her a batch of business cards to carry around. My wife “understands” the business, but ‘selling’ isn’t her thing, so she has business cards on her to hand out so she can simply say, “call my husband” – haha.

  2. Jason,
    Great post, I thought the same thing and not to say your shirt isn’t nice, but I took it a step further and for about $12 a piece on Vistaprint.com, I bought embroidered collared shirts for myself and anyone in the family that would where them. I went with plain white as it made my small symbol and business name pop more, and they had the same effect as yours, instant credibility! I wasn’t pushed around by the older fella’s in the game, or the contractors trying to get their overpriced estimates past me. Although I am very new in the game, with only 2 properties personally owned (long term player), and representing 3 more as a property manager, every time I meet a prospective renter, they comment on the shirt. They now that I’m not messing around, and I have everything I need to make sure my clients interests as well as theirs are professionally handled. It also has helped that I have a dedicated line for my business, which I understand is hard to launch when its a side gig like mine or just starting, but I think is neccesarry, and it has added value to my business, even if not directly in the form of sales/income.

    Just a thought for the next batch, good luck!

    • Great points Joe. I also have a few collared shirts (I didn’t want to talk about my whole wardrobe in the post haha) and you are right, when you’re going for a total professional look, it is very hard to beat a simple collared shirt with your logo on it.

  3. Thanks for sharing. This is a fun, simple marketing idea. If it doesn’t/hasn’t yet worked to purchase houses, it certainly sounds like a good ice breaker and networking tool. Once I get my RE sight up and running, I’ll consider this. Even my “workout” clothes can be a convo starter/write off that way!

  4. Hey Clay,

    I was just thinking about this very topic about a week ago. I’m getting shirts for networking at events and it’s as you’ve said it’s a great conversation starter. It may or may not lead to deals, but in the end it gets the word out!

    • Michael, you’re exactly right: it gets the word out.

      The amount of ways company apparel can pay for itself are limitless. You don’t need to find a house deal, you could find a quality contractor, private money lender, tenant for a home, etc. You may not be able to measure the “deal” monetarily, but there is no doubt in my mind (I’m speaking from experience) that apparel brings ‘value’ in a multitude of ways.

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