In this Coffee and Cards Conversation with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate we share tips on how you can grow your real estate business with greeting cards.
Kandas: Kandas Rodarte of GratitudeGeek.info sitting here with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. And we’re going to talk a little bit today about how greeting cards can help you grow real estate business. But before I do that, I want to share with you some of the cards that I received this week, it is the week before Christmas. This is a lovely card, that’s a 2-panel card that costs $0.62. This is a great card from a real estate agent that we both know who’s commercial, and it’s a picture of her and her husband and a beautiful template. This card was only $0.93. Here’s another beautiful card with a picture; a $0.93 card. This is the card that my husband created for our holiday card.
Tanya: I love it!
Kandas: It’s a caricature that he drew and our daughter colored and inside we had a picture of ourselves being silly and a little bit of a story. This card was just $0.93 plus postage. The other exciting thing that I receive in the mail this week is this Greeting Card Revolution t-shirt! It came in this beautiful box from the company that I work with and it just means that I have decided to get paid to be nice and join the Greeting Card Revolution. Fun, huh? So let’s talk about what you do.
Tanya: Well, I’m a real estate agent here in the Montgomery County area and Harris County, too. I’ve here, now, 3 years – love the area and my job and my clients and my friends. All is good.
Kandas: Why did you choose real estate?
Tanya: I chose real estate in the beginning because I thought it would give me a “mom-schedule.” I had two young children and I thought, “Oh, this will give me a good mommy schedule,” but I’m not sure that’s the case, but it is flexible.
Kandas: You can work your own hours.
Tanya: Yeah, I can work my own hours and decide just how busy I want to be.
Kandas: Somebody asked me recently how I can do all the things I can do and I said “Because I enjoy everything that I do and I don’t do anything unless I’m having fun.”
Kandas: That’s a very good business tip, by the way. Pick a business that you have so much fun doing that it’s not work. So tell me… I know the story, but I think the audience needs to know about what you did for ten years of your life when you were very young.
Tanya: I lived on a sail boat and sailed around the world and raised babies and —
Kandas: You raised babies on a sail boat?
Tanya: Yes I did. I varnished and that’s how I supported myself and my husband–
Kandas: Varnishing boats?
Tanya: Varnishing their boats, yes. Mine was like the template. so when we would go into port and go to a marina, people would say “Oh my gosh! your boat is beautiful!” “I can do that for you.” That was quite as long time ago, I got paid $15/hour to make their boats look pretty.
Kandas: Wow! And then after you lived on a sail boat for ten years you did something else that’s pretty remarkable.
Tanya: okay, I didn’t know you were going to put me on the spot. I got my pilots license and my commercial license. I ran a flight school at an airport in Maine. My husband ran the maintenance department. That was really cool, too. I loved that. Again, my passion during that time was helping the teenagers. We’d give them free half hour lesson and the teenagers would come and fly.
Kandas: I wish you were still an instructor.
Tanya: That would be so cool.
Kandas: That’s total bucket list right there: Learning to fly. And, it would be really cool learning to fly from you.
Kandas: Because that means you’re a good instructor.
Tanya: Well, it’s been a long time, but thank you for the compliment.
Kandas: Wow! Okay, so, I was listening to a training tape…I don’t even think I remember what I was listening to because I listen to so much on audio while I’m working, but Jim Rohn said that people are not trees and that we were meant to move, not just stand still, not to be rooted — and people get rooted so easily. I know that one of the things that you do is that you help your clients relocate.
Kandas: So tell me about some of the services that you offer to people who are relocating.
Tanya: Okay, so when they’re moving here and they don’t know, they’ve never been to Houston, or the Woodlands, or Magnolia, or Conroe, or whatever it is, the first thing I do is I find out what they’re family is. You know, kids? Are they coming with elderly parents? What do they need? What do their kids do? What do they swim? Do they play football? All those kinds of things… Any special needs that they might have… Then I put together a relocation packet that’s specific to that family…
Tanya: So that they can then walk in and talk to this coach, or go get their nails done here, or whatever it might be from simple to really complex. It might be they need home health care for their elderly parent… so, all of that goes into a packet.
Kandas: Wow. That’s called appreciation marketing, relationship marketing. When you work with a client based on their individual needs and you really put a lot of focus onto what they need, and being kind to them, and showing them that you’re grateful for their business, and extraordinary ways. Something –I know that you can’t do, because unless I missed something, you’re not an ordained minister.
Kandas: But when we bought our first and our second home, we used a real estate agent who was an older man, very kind and he was also an ordained minister and he knew that we were planning our wedding. We bought our house and we were planning to get married three months later. So, he offered to be our minister (free-of-charge) at our wedding.
Tanya: Really cool.
Kandas: Now, not every real estate agent can offer that extra service, but just going above and beyond makes all the difference in the world and you better believe that every single referral that we ever got or we every had for real estate went to him after that. he’s no longer with us. He passed away a few years ago.
Tanya: Okay, well that’s sad, but now I can be your real estate agent.
Kandas: You do get my referrals.
Tanya: I know, I do. Thank you and I’m very grateful.
Kandas: I remember I sent you a referral for six houses. Something like that – something outrageous.
Tanya: Yes, you did.
Kandas: Okay, so speaking of real estate and how to market it. Tell me about your greeting card story. How did you use a greeting card to get more business?
Tanya: Well, really that boils down to you. You sent me a couple of example. Well, you cards you sent me just for me are awesome and I’m very impressed with them. “Oh my gosh! This is so cool.” Then, obviously we’ve talked and you’ve shown me some samples and I’ve used them and they’ve worked. Like the “For sale by Owner” campaign, it was a listing that I got through Send Out Cards. Just sending them once a week, something that would help them with their home, and giving them some tips, after the third card I got a phone call.
Kandas: So, once a week you sent them a card with tips to help them sell their homes?
Kandas: And they were just a “for sale by owner” listing that you saw?
Tanya: Just driving by a neighborhood.
Kandas: That’s really good.
Tanya: It’s is awesome and I’m very thankful for you because actually, it was your idea.
Kandas: Really? It was?
Tanya: Send Out Cards was really… My clients like it. I get compliments all the time because I can make it specific to them – a picture of their home and picture of their family, versus just going to the store and buying a generic card. That’s just making it personal.
Kandas: So, very recently, you decided to add greeting cards and gifts as another income stream. Talk to me about that.
Tanya: Well, I discovered that I can actually give it to my clients so that when they close, when they move into a home, I can give them a set of cards that are change of addresses and things that take it to the next level. So, I’ve just taken it to the next level and hopefully that will –I haven’t done it yet, but that’ll be my very next client that will have a stack of cards for change of address. I’m really looking forward to that.
Kandas: Awesome! I love this concept of showing appreciation from all aspects of the sale. So the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the handyman, the..
Tanya: home inspector…
Kandas: pressure washer, the home inspector, the air conditioning dude, anybody who had anything to do with the sale of the home sends a thank you card to the buyer and the seller. And that that team just became the super team and everybody who ever talks about wanting to buy a home suddenly says “I know who you should talk to because she has a terrific team!”
Kandas: Appreciation is the best advertisement you can do.
Tanya: Absolutely. Yup.
Kandas: Well this has been really fun. I do want to pitch myself one more time.
Tanya: Okay, go.
Kandas: On January 25th, I am giving a public speaking workshop at the Power Pink Studio here in Conroe. It’s from 9AM until noon on January 25th and I will teach you the trick that I use to wow the CEO of the company that I worked for when I was just 23 years old and I became his go to person in that department. I was just 23 years old and I had the ear of a CEO of a major corporation. So that is January 25, it’s called “On Target Speaking: Breaking the Ice” You can register on my website GratitudeGeek.info. Thanks for chatting today with me Tanya.
Tanya: Thank you for having me.
Kandas: Kandas Rodarte, GratitudeGeek.info.