There is a temptation when trying to sell or rent a property in Thailand to spend too much time in the office and to place too much emphasis on internet marketing. For many people they just want to go to a nice air conditioned office, sit in front of a computer for seven hours and go home to a cold beer and feel they have done a good day’s work. This is an easy trap to fall into. You find a comfort zone and you are reluctant to get out of the office and try something different to promote your Thai property.
So far in this blog I too have placed too much emphasis on internet promotion and have ignored other ways of generating leads. So below I will briefly list other strategies for generating enquiries and interest.
Brochures may seem old fashioned but they are still a good marketing tool in Thailand. In a future post I will look at some of the salient issues involved with making a good brochure, but for now let us suppose you have your brochure. Leaving them on a table in your office is not good enough. You must be proactive and put them out in places where tourists and potential customers go. The best thing to do is to purchase a number of Perspex brochure holders and put your company logo and details on them. The easiest way to do this is with a sticker. Then you need to drive around your local area and visit bars, restaurants, hotels and resorts and ask to be allowed to leave some brochures. Often these places have a table dedicated to information. Place your brochure holder with brochures there. More often than not Thai people are happy for you to leave brochures. In one day you can often place brochures in up to 20 tourist spots.
It is important to keep a record of where you have placed your brochures and to take your time to return to check your brochures. Sometimes all the brochures have been taken. Sometimes some cheeky person has put their brochures in your holder. Never leave too many brochures in one place and count how many have been taken. This will give you an idea about which spots are the most effective and which are not worth continuing.
Going to opening parties for new businesses and to launch parties is a good way of meeting people who are potentially interested in Thai property. Of course you will meet mostly people looking for new customers like you, but not everyone attending will be in the business so to speak. Networking doesn’t have to be confined to parties. It can be done on a very informal basis. Sometimes just going to a bar and striking up a conversation with a tourist can result in a new lead. Be friendly, find common ground, buy a few drinks and more often than not the conversation will get around to what you do. Offer to show them a property as a form of recreational activity. It is vital to never hard sell. It puts people off when they are out trying to enjoy themselves.
Show Friends and Family and Friends of Friends Around
It is always a good idea to take time out to show family and friends not only your property but also the general area. Show people the benefits of an area and they will grow to love a place. It is only then that viewing your property can be done in the right context. Being kind makes you look good and it makes people more inclined to take your words as the truth. Furthermore, when your friends and family return home they are more likely to recommend you and your property to their friends. If you show hospitality and kindness to enough people the word will soon get round. A personal recommendation is a powerful selling tool in business.
In the same vein it is sometimes good to let people stay in your property for discounted prices or even for free. If they had a good time it is a strong advertisement for you and your property. People back home will see the holiday photos and be envious.
Again, as with networking, it is important to not pressure people. People will often react negatively to pressure and back away. It makes you look desperate.
Placing Classifieds in Shops
Again this is about leg work and research. You would be surprised how many people stop to read classifieds in shops and supermarkets. Placing your ads in these places gives your property visibility. I heard one story of a successful promoter of a property in Spain who got the vast majority of his bookings from placing classifieds in supermarkets in the north of England. Lots of people don’t trust internet adverts but do follow up on ads placed in shops and in printed media.
Finally, it is always a good marketing strategy to make as many friends as possible. If you do someone a small favour they will be more inclined to do you one back. Maybe they have a friend coming to Thailand for a few days. They remember about how nice you are and come up with a plan to put their friends up at your place. Scratch enough backs and something must come of it.
So there are a few tips on what you can do outside the office and away from the computer to generate leads and paying customers. This is not an exhaustive list. I hope to be adding to it in the future.