Florida Realtor Magazine
January 1, 2003
Open Doors With A Personal Brochure
Interview with Kevin Tomlinson
Every day, prospects all over Florida are flooded with postcards and other mailings from resourceful Realtors who claim they have what it takes to sell a listing, in record time, at top dollar. With thousands of salespeople vying for business, what can you do to "stand out" in the crowd?
Kevin Tomlinson discovered that a personal brochure helps him create name recognition and initiate a dialogue with prospects. "A (personal) brochure quickly elevates your image to a much higher standard," says Tomlinson, a salesperson with Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Miami Beach.
Tomlinson wanted to brand himself as one of the predominate salespeople in his niche. "My clientele are a very chic group, mostly Miami Beach/South Beach trendsetters," he says. "So, I created a stylish brochure that "speaks" to them."
And speak, it has. "Ever since I've had my brochure, I land practically every listing I go on," says Tomlinson. "I was already successful in my niche, so I can't accurately track the results, but, there's no doubt my brochure has given me instant credibility."
When one of his farm area's largest upscale condominium developers stopped by the printers to pick up an order, she caught a glimpse of Tomlinson's brochure and was so impressed she called him right away. According to Tomlinson, the developer said, "I saw your brochure at the printer's, and it's amazing." "She went on to say that I was a "heavy hitter," and she asked me to come in and talk with her," Tomlinson says. "My brochure literally opened that door for me."
Here are some tips for creating a personal brochure:
1. Communicate Your Style
"A brochure does more than promote," says Tomlinson. "It allows you to communicate your professionalism and personality. This is vital because prospects tend to focus on the individual (salesperson); if a prospect dislikes the salesperson they're not going to hire the company."
Tomlinson's tri-fold brochure is printed on black matte paper with reverse type and full-color photographs. The front cover reads, "Style, it's nothing without substance," and the back cover features his logo and contact information. His brochure opens up to a photograph of Tomlinson in the centerfold,an aerial shot of Miami Beach in the background, and text describing his experience and background on the left and right panels.
"When someone sees a high-quality brochure, his or her impression is "wow, this person is a professional,"" says Tomlinson.
2. Know Your Target Market
"Most of my clients are second, third, fourth, even fifth,homeowners who reside at multiple addresses in a given year. Whether I send my brochure to prospects in Venezuela, Austria, New York City, or locally, it allows them to get to know me."
Tomlinson regularly works a mailing list of about 1,500 prospects. "My initial campaign runs eight weeks," he says, "beginning with a few weekly postcard mailers and "just sold" cards so that, by the time the brochure arrives, (prospects will) have a sense of the familiar."
Tomlinson primarily targets condominiums along Collins Avenue, also known as "Millionaire's Row," in the $500,000 range and up, and says he reaps about four viable leads per promotion.
3. Professional Design Optional
Hobbs/Herder Advertising, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based agency specializing in personal brochures, created Tomlinson's brochure. He spent nearly $15,000 on the project. "I knew I wanted the best," he says. "They were meticulous about every detail, from the detailed questionnaire about my life experiences, down to the logo and "tone" of the brochure. I hired a professional photographer and delivered the completed photos to them, and when everything was finished I took the project to a local printer."
There are lower-cost options. For additional savings, you can opt for a two-color version and submit your own photographs. One of the best ways to ensure cost savings is to have everything completed before you submit it to the printer because most print shops tack on extra fees for layout and design.
"The photography alone cost a lot, especially for the aerial shots, but printing was the biggest expenditure because I selected a coating that resists fingerprints," says Tomlinson. "I initially had 5,000 brochures printed, and I can easily replace photographs every few years as my looks change. Sure, the overall cost was high" says Tomlinson."But, when you consider the end results, it's relatively inexpensive."
Top 5 Items to Include in Your Brochure
1. Be Personal. Tell your story, and don't mention real estate in the first half of the text.
2. Don't Be A FSBO Designer. You're not a graphic designer just because you own a computer. Remember: design is an art form.
3. Prominently Feature Your Brand. Every brand name, including your own, needs a logo and slogan for consistency and recognition.
4. Use Great Photography. Kevin Tomlinson went the extra mile with strong professional photographs. Don't skimp here, or it'll show.
5. Exude Professionalism. The quality of your brochure, from its concept, to its writing and design, to the paper it's printed on, will leave a lasting impression. Don't always look to save a few bucks.
Source: Hobbs/Herder Advertising, www.HobbsHerder.com