Starting a serious marketing campaign with a personal brochure allows you to introduce yourself in a professional, memorable way. Real estate agents have utilized this for years as a way to relate on a personal level with potential clients. Consumers need to feel connected and secure with the person they will be entrusting one of the biggest purchases of their lives to. As you develop visibility and sincerity with a personal brochure, you give people the chance to get to know you and then understand how you will be able to help them with their financing needs. You are now one step closer to becoming their trusted advisor.
Don Hobbs, chairman and cofounder of Hobbs/Herder Advertising, a company that has designed over 35,000 personal brochures for individuals and companies in the real estate profession, spoke with me regarding what makes a personal brochure successful. He stated that, most importantly, the personal brochure should be the cornerstone piece of a successful marketing campaign that will open the door to greater success. A well-developed brochure can eliminate or lower sales resistance as it helps with the beginning of a relationship based on a personal or emotional connection.
Consider the details of putting a personal brochure together. First, I highly recommend you have professional help with the copywriting, graphic design, and printing. While utilizing a desktop publishing program and printing the brochures on the office copier may save money, you will not look as professional and appealing to clients, which defeats the original purpose of having a personal brochure.
The cover of the brochure should be attractive and interesting; attention-grabbing in a way that calls to be picked up and read. Focus on things that reflect your personality and the niche you are trying to reach. You can’t be all things to all people—decide who you are going to target and speak to them throughout the brochure.
Once you have the prospect to the point of reading your brochure, the content will be what convinces them to use your services. As you decide to put together a personal brochure, remember to create “you” on paper. “Why I would like this person” needs to jump from the page.
A photo of you inside the brochure is essential for people to feel a connection. Definitely do not use a glamour shot or a digital photo your secretary took. Most photographers offer what is called an “executive photo,” which will portray you in a professional manner or “personality” shot. If you haven’t had a photo within the last three to five years, it is probably a good time for a new one. You want to make sure people recognize you when they see you in person!
Your personal biography and photos should be 60 to 70 percent of the content. This is about you and should be written in a story format as if someone else were speaking to your potential clients. As the story unfolds, remember to address things you have in common and accentuate the potential benefits to the reader. Telling a story will present you as something other than a machine-like, one-dimensional salesperson. Your brochure can make an immediate and lasting emotional impact—people feel a need to connect with those they do business with. If they didn’t, Internet loan companies would be the only ones doing business today.
Listing company strengths can also add to the depth of your brochure. If you work for the number-one company in town, state it. If your company has been serving local clients for 20 years, state it. People realize the importance of a solid company behind an originator and will want to know that you are supported by a flourishing company.
Personally, I like a few testimonials on the back page. This is the final statement, and using third-party comments on your abilities will strengthen the other messages of the brochure. Try to use statements that reinforce your personal philosophy or statements from a high-profile person that your readers might recognize. For example, if you are targeting teachers and have helped the local school district superintendent with his mortgage, that name and comment will add strength to your brochure. Well-voiced testimonials can link together everything else said in a brochure.
During my years as an originator, I consistently used the tag line, “The Highest Compliment I Can Receive is a Referral from a Friend.” This truly stated my business philosophy of working on referrals and becoming a friend to each client. A tag line does not have to be loan-related, as long as it connects back to you as a person. For example, one professional displayed herself as a gardener and used the slogan “Nurturing Great Results.” Be creative and find a short sentence that portrays you as a trusted resource. In a personal brochure, the tag line is best placed on the front cover and then below the testimonials on the back, reinforcing your position as their mortgage lender.
Remember that the best business connections are personal. Stay away from bragging and boasting statements throughout your brochure. Rather than boast of your degrees, designations, and impressive closing numbers, state your business philosophy in a way that allows to readers come to understand your desire to help them. You want to relate with potential clients, not impress them.
Getting it Read
Now that your brochure is put together, printed, and ready to go, how do you get it in the right hands? This step is crucial; since you have spent quite a bit of time and money developing this marketing tool, you need a plan to distribute them for the highest rate of return. You basically have two avenues of distribution. The first is potential referral partners, such as Realtors, financial planners, CPAs, attorneys, and builders. The second are possible borrowers.
In distributing brochures, the success rate of it being read and kept for any length of time goes up dramatically if the recipient has met you or knows of you prior to receiving the brochure. I term this “warm marketing,” (versus cold marketing where they have no prior knowledge of you). A few ways you can make sure your marketing is warm is to have some type of introduction before mailing or handing out the brochure. With referral partners, this can be done by a phone call introduction, or you may have met them through some type of networking. With potential borrowers, you might have talked to them on the phone or in your office. Do not give out your brochure when first introduced, as this can be interpreted as pushy.
Once you have a chance to be introduced to a potential referral partner, follow up a few days later with your brochure and a note stating you enjoyed meeting them. The same goes for borrowers; after your first contact with them, mail a letter along with your brochure, thanking them for their time. By meeting or contacting them first, you have hopefully sparked their curiosity to know more about you.
Reaping the Rewards
Now for the crucial element—contact after the brochure has been received. This is the step most originators don’t take, thus leaving their brochure and first impression to be thrown in the trash. You have invested time and money in this marketing tool, so make sure you receive the most out of it. A day or two after you know your brochure has been received, follow up with a phone call if it was a potential borrower. Ask if you can be of any further assistance and if they are ready to make an application yet. If you have given your brochure to a potential referral partner, follow up with a visit to their office or an invitation for lunch to discuss how you can help their business.
We are in a highly professional business and must continually seek to find new referral partners and clients. By utilizing a personal brochure, you are giving people a chance to warm up to you and hopefully feel comfortable about calling you and requesting your services. This is a tremendous tool to set you apart from your competitors and help create an image of being a professional and a trusted advisor. A personal brochure will draw more people to you and help you to create an incredible referral-based business—a fantastic goal of any marketing strategy.