It’s been a great year for Sergio Martinez, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell San Antonio Hill Country in Schertz, Texas. He’s recently earned the ranking of second most improved office of all the franchises nationwide in terms of overall growth in sales, increasing his number of houses sold by roughly double the amount in the year previous. How’d he do it? As it turns out, a strategic combination of several actions are at play.
Where It All Began
“I was living in California at the time. My mother asked me to find her a house that was closer to mine. I saw one I already liked, because it had the exact floor plan as my own house,” Sergio shared. “I saw that it was a Help-U-Sell represented home. When I checked it out, I realized the seller was able to save quite a bit on the commission and was in a better negotiating position because of it. I was so impressed by that, I came out of retirement to do it myself.”
Sell and Be Seen Where You Live
Hailing from New York (which is plainly evident when you speak to him) Sergio lives in the community where he also sells homes, about three miles from his office. Living and participating in the community through venues like the Lion’s Club, the Police Club, being seen around town, and constantly reinforcing branding through advertising and full wrap signage on his company vehicles, all help solidify him and his business as a constant presence.
Know Your Audience
One of the largest expenditures Sergio makes is on advertising, which he does a lot of on conservative radio in Texas.
“My spots run on the shows hosted by Larry Elder, Dennis Prager, and Hugh Hewitt. The commercials are voiced by them also. Is it expensive? Yes, but there is a lot of money here in conservatives hands. The audience responds well to the messaging,” Sergio explained.
The messaging always includes: “What is the difference between selling a $200,000 home and a $500,000 home? About $18,000 in commissions.”
Make It Personal
It’s no secret that the internet has impacted how people see and buy homes, but Sergio believes that many real estate professionals have taken that to mean a reduction in personal service. “When showing a home, there is now less work to do. People see the house they’d like to look at on Zillow or Trulia and call the agent to show it to them. While that exclusivity of information is gone, the opportunity to cement yourself with them is not. I don’t meet half the agents with whom I do business, which is ludicrous to me,” Sergio explained. “So many agents don’t make any calls. They’d rather email or text. Relationship building is everything in this business.”
Once, after setting up a new prospect on a drip email containing new listings, Sergio called the next business day to follow up. The client was shocked: “I didn’t expect to hear from you,” the client said.
“Texting is a way of hiding. I call everybody,” Sergio said, “Good news, bad news. It doesn’t matter. When I drop off paperwork with my proposal, I call back after a day or two to follow up. That face to face time is critical.”
Location, Location, Location
Two years ago, Sergio moved his office into the front of an H-E-B grocery store, where the registers ring around 125,000 times weekly. Not only is there high traffic, there is the opportunity to constantly see the neighbors and interact with hundreds of people daily. The re-cementing of daily impressions is invaluable. People learn who Help-U-Sell is, and remember the brand when the time comes.
“I watch people inspect their receipts and go back to customer service over a 20 cents overcharge. People are highly attuned to the desire to save money, and I can save them thousands. I offer the same product and service at a lesser rate. Once they know that, they choose us. I also love a win/win situation: The seller makes money, I make money. Everyone is happy.”
What Drives You?
In parting, Sergio offered: “There is a word in Spanish: ‘ganas’, which translates into ‘desire’ in English. I get to meet phenomenal people every day. I don’t have to work. I LOVE to work.”