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RISMEDIA, January 4, 2010—Setting your marketing budget in anticipation for the year ahead is a critical task for real estate professionals. While prospective buyers are increasingly turning to the Web to start their search for a home, real estate professionals across the country are allocating more of their marketing money to the Internet. Here, Josh Barker, broker/owner of Town & Country Home and Investment Realty in Redding, California, discusses how he focuses all of his attention on marketing that generates business.

Josh Barker
Town & Country Home and Investment Realty
Redding, California

In real estate: 10 years
Number of offices: One
Number of agents: Five—myself, one buyer’s agent and three licensed assistants
Best tip for negotiating the best listing price: In a declining market, remind the seller that it is a choice—sell sooner for more money or later for less.
Best tip for running a successful meeting: First, know what is important to the people you are meeting with. Second, know what is important to accomplish in the meeting. Then, bridge the gap!
Most effective way to motivate agents: Remind them to start every day at zero. If you had to list or sell something today to keep your job, could you do it? Prove it!
Key to staying profitable: Ego and profit run in two separate directions. Focus all of your attention on lead-generating activities only.

What are your most effective training strategies?
Focus on learning sales scripts ASAP. The more confidence you have with what you have to say, the more you will be willing to say it. Learn common objection handlers for the market or season you are in. The more prepared you are for the business, the better you will perform. Train yourself to be a good business generator by doing it every day. Get on the phone or face to face with at least 20 people every day. There is no better training than experience.

What are your best strategies for dealing with a slower market?
Show up every day energized and enthusiastic. Do not let anything negative into your world until after you have spent the first half of your day prospecting for new business.

How do you determine your marketing spend?
I focus all of my attention on marketing that generates business—not satisfying ego. If it doesn’t make the phone ring, I don’t do it. I set my marketing budget for print advertising at the beginning of each year. This keeps me accountable for taking as many saleable listings as possible to keep the advertising pages full and the phone ringing.

How does this break down between print and online marketing?
I split the cost between print and Internet advertising nearly 50/50. We have found that popular print mediums are good for generating buyers when you have well-priced listings to promote. Print mediums are also good for establishing a brand, and keeping in touch with past clients or center of influence. A good print medium, such as The Real Estate Book, has the ability to take what you do in print and get it online as well, at no additional cost. More exposure means more sales.