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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, February 2010—Anita Rich
Keller Williams Realty
Years in real estate: 30
Region Served: Southern California
Average sales price in your market: $900,000
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 45 to 60 days (if priced well).

Key to success in real estate? The main thing for me is that I have to think outside the box. Why would people use me otherwise? I have spent my entire career coming up with creative ways to do business.

How has your marketing changed to meet the new challenges in this market?

I am doing a lot more marketing on the Internet. I utilize showcase listings on Realtor.com, and I get a website URL for each listing. The photography must be crisp. I also have interactive virtual tours for each listing—this is very important. The company I use distributes the interactive virtual tour through many websites. I receive instant feedback on the tours, which allows me to tweak my marketing approach. For example, if the feedback tells me consumers are only looking at the first three photos, I change the order of the photos around every three weeks to make sure viewers are seeing something different.

I also send e-mail blasts to clients and prospect. It’s critical to make sure the material I use online is excellent.

What percentage of print versus online are you using to market your listings?

I do fifty-fifty because I have a lot of high-end, old world clients and they want to see their houses advertised in print. I am also a firm believer in handwritten personal notes. I still think there is something special about getting a personal note over an e-mail.

What strategies do you use to make your branding stand out?

I start by making sure my branding is included everywhere…on every single piece of material I send out—flyers, stationery, everywhere. My logo is an important part of my branding and really stands out. My brand is “The Richgroup” and the logo features a crown, which gives it an old-world, royal look.

How has the Luxury Home Marketing designation helped you build business?

Most of my business comes from referrals and the Luxury for Home Marketing designation gives me credibility with my clients and helps them feel very confident in referring me to others.

What are you doing to market yourself?

I am the go-to person for all of my past clients. My past clients get an item of value from me once a month. I market to 180 past clients and each one receives an “item of value” from me each month. Calls, notes and “pop-bys” are the basis of my business. I always take a little something with me when I go, like a bag of popcorn, and if they are not at home when I pop by, I leave a note that says, “Sorry you were not at home when I popped by.”

Additionally, I have a client appreciation party every six months. For example, I’ll buy tickets to the Hollywood Bowl and invite 90 people and at least 60 show up. For $500, I can entertain between 50 and 90 people and I always get at least two leads from each one.

Another great idea I use to build referrals is to hold garage sales in neighborhoods with moderately priced homes. When I sell a house in such a neighborhood, I ask the neighbors if they are interested in having me host a garage sale. I go to 10 -12 houses in the neighborhood and ask if they would like to be part of it. If I go to 20 houses and get three to join in, then I add them to my database and I’ve instantly increased my prospects.

All of these ideas help grow my business. That’s why the referrals keep coming in.

What is one of your most creative ideas for marketing properties?

I host theme open houses. I just listed a house for $2.2 million dollars and I am concerned this house will not sell. So I figured out what the most unusual thing about the house is. In this case, it has a 15-car garage, so I am calling antique car collectors to see if they will exhibit their cars at the house. Then I will throw a party and invite antique car collectors and people who love old cars. I am also going to talk to some artists to see if they would set up in the entryway with their work. I’ll provide the wine and cheese, and then I will have a great theme open house.

My best advice is find the best thing about the house and promote it.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

My passion.

Why did you become a Member of Top 5?

Allan Dalton (president of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network) is a creative genius.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?

Balance. I sit down in December and I plan my entire year. Also, I do not take large periods of time off. Instead, I take three days off every five or six weeks, and have a lot of mini vacations.

The key to any successful real estate business, however, is lead generation, which I do at least four times a week. People may love you but they are not going to think about you for real estate unless you remind them. Think about it. Do you think of your dentist unless you have a toothache? The same thing with real estate. I am the queen of networking and I am very grateful every time I get a referral.

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