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Lowe's Realtor Benefits program helps Realtors differentiate themselves from the competition

By Stephanie Andre

It's not often that you can get something for nothing, these days. However, through the Lowe's Realtor Benefits program, Realtors can get just that. With just a few clicks, Realtors can sign up for tips, tools and marketing pieces. In this interview, Lowe's Customer Marketing Manager Betsy Jackson discusses the impetus behind the creation of the program, NAR's involvement and how and why the program truly is a beneficial value-added service.

Real Estate magazine: Lowe's is such a large, mega-company. Why did it decide to create this program that would reach out to such a specific niche?

Betsy Jackson: Lowe's realized early on that Realtors have a tremendous influence on homeowners, not just in their purchasing decisions, but in how they remodel their homes. Realtors, more than anyone else, know what it takes to increase the value of a home. Realtors seemed like a natural group to reach out to, so, in early 2005, we launched this program.

RE: Can you explain the partnership on this program between Lowe's and the National Association of Realtors®
BJ: We began talks with NAR and formed an agreement in 2005; we are a member of NAR's Realtor Benefits program. There are many companies wanting to sell things to Realtors. Lowe's is different because we want to be a partner to them who adds value. This program helps our Realtor members differentiate themselves in the market.

RE: Please describe some of the Lowe's Realtor Benefits program features.
BJ: We have a direct-mail piece through which Realtors can reach out to their buyers and sellers. The mail is free, turnkey and personalized to the client. For example, let's say I'm a Realtor, you've talked to me about listing your home, and you decide to go with me. What I can do as a member of the Lowe's Realtor Benefits program is go to www.lowesrealtorbenefits.com, put in your contact information and quickly send you a piece of mail that is customized with my picture and contact information. It might say, "Thank you for choosing to work with Jackson Realty, Stephanie. Now see how Betsy can help you attract the right buyers. Stephanie, you'll find valuable offers inside to maximize your home's value." There will be a 10% off coupon for Lowe's inside the card. We also offer great tips and ideas to our Realtor members, as well as daily and monthly newsletters.

RE: What are some of the program's biggest benefits for agents?
BJ: I think one of the biggest things is that it really is so easy to use. The program definitely offers Realtors an added touchpoint for reaching out to their clients. Getting coupons, advice, etc., from your Realtor is unexpected so it really drives home the "wow" factor. Whether you're a buyer or seller, you notice that your Realtor is going the extra distance for you. Getting something like a coupon in the mail, whether buying or selling your home-is a huge benefit. In turn, the Realtor is creating loyalty among her customers and as a result may gain repeat business and referrals. This is definitely an added benefit for Realtors.

RE: How does the program help agents to better market
themselves?
BJ: Our direct-mail piece is very professional. It's not just a form letter, but offers helpful home tips and inspirational images. Also, it's about timing. The piece is delivered right when people are getting their home ready to sell. The discount comes at a good time to do repair work. On the flip side, if you're moving and trying to get settled in a new home, an additional closing gift, such as a coupon, is great. Plus, it doesn't cost the Realtor anything.

RE: How has the program helped Lowe's form better relationships with the Realtor community?
BJ: Our gift cards actually help attract a lot of Realtors. Through their membership with us, they can buy gift cards at a 5% discount. These gift cards make great closing gifts, and Realtors can also take advantage of the discount even when working on their own homes.

RE: What are some of your goals for the program?
BJ: Well, of course, we'd like to encourage more Realtors to join the program-helping their customers, who are also our customers. Ultimately, it's a win-win for everyone because while Realtors are building customer loyalty with home buyers and homeowners, Lowe's is hoping to do the same.

RE: How are you reaching out to Realtors to create awareness for the program?
BJ: Lowe's is reaching out to Realtors through our partnership with NAR, with direct mail and online initiatives. We have also worked together with NAR and Habitat for Humanity. Realtors are such an important factor in our business because of the influence they have over consumers. If we're serving them well, we're serving their customers, too.

Sidebar:
A Look at Some of the Lowe's Realtor Benefits Program Offerings

For Sellers:
Seller direct mailer
10% off coupon from Lowe's
Tips on preparing a home for sale
Personalized letter from you
Personal branding

For Your Prospective Buyers:
Prospective buyer direct mailer
Exclusive personalized dream book
Personal branding
Great for open houses

For Your New Homeowners:
Buyer direct mailer
10% off coupon from Lowe's
Tips for moving into a new home
Personalized letter from you
Personal branding

Closing Gifts:
Discounted Lowe's gift cards
Free Lowe's Creative Ideas for Home and Garden Magazine

Relationship Building:
News You Can Use (monthly newsletter)
Lowe's Daily e-News (daily newsletter)
Free articles to send your clients
Exclusive promotional ideas
Monthly tips

For more information, visit https://www.lowesrealtorbenefits.com.

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