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The Kilted Realtor: How Reid Greiner’s Real Estate Marketing Campaign Propelled Him to a Level He Never Thought Possible (And How He Became a TV Star in the Process)

Canadian personal marketing success story Reid Greiner shares his secrets to real estate lead generation.

When prospective clients first meet REALTOR® Reid Greiner, one of the first questions they often ask him is “Do you play the bagpipes?” It might seem like an odd question, but Reid will take that any day over “How do you plan to market my home?” or “Will you reduce your commission?”

You see, about a year ago, Reid launched a personal marketing campaign based on a distinctive trait: His 6-foot-4 Scotsman stature that regularly wears a kilt and traditional Celtic attire. The campaign has made Reid quite a standout in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. But more importantly, it’s made his phone ring (not to mention landed him on HGTV – but, more on that later).

“I’m no longer running around chasing deals,” Reid says. “Now the phone rings, and off I go.”

Hindsight Is 20/20
When Reid first got in to real estate in 2002, he made cold calls every day for hours on end. It worked, in that it generated business for him, but it was a drain on his productivity and led to long hours. Working from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm day after day, Reid was headed for burnout and knew the way he was doing business had to change.

A former advertising producer, Reid tried creating his own marketing materials but found it difficult to write about himself. He then attended a Hobbs/Herder MegaMarketing seminar and was exposed to a whole new world of personal marketing. He considered hiring Hobbs/Herder to develop a personal marketing campaign for him, but instead Reid made a decision he now regrets.

“I hemmed and hawed about it and thought it was sort of expensive,” he says. He decided to seek out a lower-priced alternative and hired another company to create his marketing campaign. To paraphrase Reid, it was a case of “you get what you pay for” and he’s now looking forward to putting that experience behind him. In the midst of that debacle, Reid decided to do what – in hindsight – he should have done far earlier.

“I figured it was time to do it right,” Reid says. “I picked up the phone and called Hobbs/Herder.”

Going Out on a Limb
When Hobbs/Herder first presented Reid with a campaign focused on his Scottish heritage, he admits he was hesitant. His market demographics show a diverse, multinational-population, and Reid wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in a Scottish guy in a kilt. He soon realized, however, that sharing unique personal insights is what personal marketing is all about, and that his distinctive attire would definitely make him stand out.

“I get lots and lots of positive feedback,” he says. “The kilt is a big icebreaker. Everyone is interested in it and they ask me all sorts of questions.”

Spreading the Word
Reid launched his Hobbs/Herder campaign less than a year ago and has already seen a dramatic difference in his business. He’s been aggressive in following Hobbs/Herder’s recommendation that personally handing out his real estate brochure in large quantities is crucial. Reid gives one to almost everybody he meets, and also distributes them through a kiosk in his local mall. He also sends them out in pre-listing packets and buyer introduction packets. When he hands someone his brochure, which he had printed using glossy UV coating, they immediately take note of its exceptional quality.

“People always say, ‘These must be expensive,’ and I just say, ‘Yeah, but you’re making a big decision. You should work with someone who thinks it’s worthwhile.'”

Reid also sends brochures to his past clients, sending two brochures in each package along with a note that asks his clients to keep one for themselves and give the other to a good friend. All of this has kept him so busy that until very recently, he hadn’t introduced a direct mail component in his campaign. However, he recently sent out his first Powerkard message to a select group announcing a very exciting development.

Becoming a TV Star
Reid’s friends and neighbors recently received an invitation from him for a special TV viewing party at the end of September. Because of his distinctive marketing campaign, Reid was selected by HGTV as a featured agent on a new show called “Realtor® vs. Realtor®.” After taping the first episode, Reid was invited back for a second appearance which he is currently in the process of filming. Reid’s first episode aired on September 30. The second episode has not yet been slotted into the network’s schedule.

Reid deserves credit for leveraging his marketing message on his website (TheKiltedRealtor.com), which is where he presumes the HGTV producers found him. Reid has also branded everything a client might see with his unique graphic hook and personal logo. For instance, his listing presentation includes graphic elements from his brochure, and he even had his personal logo etched onto the back of his Blackberry. He says those minor details have a major impact on how his clients perceive him.

“The fact that I’ve got that continuity, people know I’m organized.” Reid says. “I’m not sitting there arguing about my commissions. There’s an implied, intrinsic value and it makes my time that much more valuable to the consumer.”

Success Tailored to Reid’s Goals
Reid’s objective with personal marketing wasn’t necessarily to increase his sales production. It was mostly about becoming more efficient and effective in order to increase his quality of life. Instead of working 15-hour days chasing business half the time, he’s now working a regular 8-hour schedule. He sees his kids after school. They eat dinners together. He’s able to attend his daughter’s softball games and play golf with his son every now and then.

“Just for those things alone, it’s been worth every penny,” Reid says. “My dollars-per-hour generated has definitely increased dramatically.”

Looking Ahead
As Reid looks ahead, he’s wanting to extend his brand even further, including introducing unique signage and applying a custom wrap to his car that would turn it into a mobile billboard. Reid remineces on his early days in the industry and now realizes he was shortsighted about the importance of having a brand identity. Today he recognizes the value of investing in high-quality real estate marketing materials.

“Agents ask me if it’s worth the money,” he says. “I tell them it’s really not that much, and if you get a couple of deals from it, it’s paid for itself. Everything else is gravy.”

Hassle-Free Lead Generation
In the meantime, Reid will continue to distribute his brochure and enjoy each time the phone rings without any effort. What’s more, the people calling are already sold on Reid’s services. That’s why they never ask about cutting his commission or grill him on how he’ll advertise their home.

“People read it and then feel like they know you,” he says. “They’ve become very comfortable with you and know they’ve received something of quality.”

And by the way, regarding the bagpipes, “I’m learning,” Reid says.