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Thriving In This Market through Web 2.0

by Mary Nack

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Are you still haranguing your sales manager to run newspaper ads for you – or even worse, spending your own hard-earned money to do so?

While "traditional" marketing has its place, Web 2.0 marketing strategies are a much better way to promote yourself and your listings. But how do you create a sense of "community" online with complete strangers?

The secret is to create what my teacher and mentor Marshall Thurber calls "lagniappe" (pronounced LAN-yap) – giving service beyond what is expected and having "raving fans" to promote your business for you. 

Business As Usual

The first, most basic level of service is to provide the service you say you will provide. In other words, you get the property sold, get the buyer into a new home and so on. If you have systems in place and provide people with what they expect, you create trust. They are willing to compensate you in accordance with what is "standard" for the industry, though they may try to negotiate your fee. 

They may use your services again, provided you stay in touch. However, the experience was not memorable, and they are not likely to refer you to friends and family.

Going Beyond What is Expected

In the second level of service, you not only provide what is expected, but also individualized service to meet the customer's unique needs. This cannot be handled strictly by systems, but relies on building relationships. 

Dialogue between you and your customer exists, and you are willing to provide them with the individual attention that they request. At this level, they most likely will not try to negotiate your compensation. They may even feel that you have earned your fee. 

You have created trust but still not a memorable experience. If you make the effort to stay in touch following the transaction, they will likely use your services again. They may refer you, if they are well-connected and have a referral mindset. At this level, you make money and are profitable. 

The highest level of service is "lagniappe." This is where you go above and beyond what can be reasonably expected. This makes the experience memorable and, in fact, unforgetable. At this level, there is no question that they will use your services again, as well as refer everyone they know to you. In short, they become your "raving fans." 

At this level, you never need to negotiate your fees. And if your fees are in-line with the industry standard, you may even have some clients pay you a "bonus."

"Lagniappe" is the level you must play at if you are going to successfully market yourself through Web 2.0. The Internet is a powerful tool to create raving fans for your business, but you must first provide the above-and-beyond service. 

For one thing, you must give great information openly and freely without any expectation of "getting." Why? Because of another Marshall Thurber truism: "Givers get." Doing so consistently will prove to that nameless, faceless Internet consumer that you are the genuine article. And when you give beyond what anyone can reasonably expect to receive, they cannot wait to give back to you in return with referrals and testimonials. 

For more free information on using Web 2.0 marketing strategies, visit "Fail-proof Online Real Estate Marketing System For Non-Techies."  In addition to the course, you will find free materials to jump-start your Internet marketing campaign. Also, I recommended reading Tribes by Seth Godin and Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.

Mary Nack, CRB, CRS, GRI, PMN, is a real estate agent and broker with over 30 years' experience. She is a founding member of Women's Council's Chicago Chapter, which she joined in 1986. In 2009, Nack began a training business with her mentor and Internet Guru Neil Venketramen. Together, they are committed to helping real estate professionals thrive in a down market by utilizing Web 2.0 marketing strategies. For a free tip you can use to generate a lead right now, visit http://RealEstateMarketingResults.com

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