Offline Marketing & Local Real Estate Marketing Interview with Raj Sharma

Raj Sharma is an award winning real estate agent and brokerage owner in Southern California – DRE# 01886334, and we chat about some of the marketing efforts he’s done and how they’ve evolved over the last few years with a bit of emphasis on his offline efforts.

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We cover the following topics:

  • What kind of marketing he has done in his 13 years of real estate profession?
  • What’s changed in the last few years
  • What is working for him now
  • How he measures success in his marketing
  • What his favorite marketing story is
  • What should someone do if they are just starting out in their business and they don’t have a reputation to use, or a referral network?
  • What he says has contributed most to his success

This is a great episode to listen to if you are a small business owner, or are doing marketing for a small business owner, and especially if you are in the real estate space.

Raj’s Contact Info:
Phone: (951) 314-4251


Phil: 0:00
Welcome to the Opinionated SEO, where we talk about recent news and updates in the digital marketing world of SEO, paid advertising, and social media that impact you as a marketer also throw some of my opinion into the mix. Today we’re gonna talk to Ross Sharma, who is a real estate agent and brokerage owner in Southern California DRE # 01886334, and we’re gonna chat about some of the marketing efforts he’s done and how they’ve evolved over the last few years with a bit of emphasis on his offline efforts. Raj, welcome to the.

Raj: 0:38
Hi, Phil. Thanks for having me on the show.

Phil: 0:40
So, as my listeners know, I like to start a lot of these with just some random questions to help get to know our guests outside of the marketing realm. All right. Here’s the first one. What is the main thing that influences your decisions?

Raj: 0:54
Consulting with the wife

Phil: 0:55
Oh, okay. Happy wife, happy life. Right. What’s the most memorable class you’ve ever taken?

Raj: 1:01
That’s a recent one I took out, , in. Local city here for, uh, learning how to work with the VA buyers and how the VA loan works

Phil: 1:09
okay. VA max loans,

Raj: 1:10

Phil: 1:11
right? right

Raj: 1:11
VA Max loan. That was a good class to go to and educate.

Phil: 1:14
I heard a lot of great feedback. Now i want to talk about some of the marketing that you’ve done and you’re in real estate and you’ve been in real estate for how long is it now about 15 years

Raj: 1:24
Combined with my wife, 15 years, myself going into 13 years.

Phil: 1:29
What kind of marketing did you guys start out with?

Raj: 1:33
So going back in time, I have done many types of marketing. When we started, if someone said they’re doing this new thing just to test it out, I will listen to them and follow. In the beginning, I have dropped off flyers to local business in my neighborhood to get my name out. I have done door hangers, I mailed out postcards. I’ve also done door knocking, believe it or not.

Phil: 1:56
and for those that aren’t as familiar with the real estate side of things, door knocking is literally like your door to door salesman where you’re knocking on doors, introducing yourself. Oftentimes in your neighborhood or general area, they call it a farm, right?

Raj: 2:11
Right farming area. Basically you’re staying hyper local.

Phil: 2:15
I know you and I have talked a lot about SEO and things like that five, six years ago. I know you were doing a lot of work. How has that kind of come into play with your business?

Raj: 2:25
So the seo, I’m not a guru in it, but I know the basic stuff about it. Um, the key is staying consistent and learning the changes that come with, Google so catching onto the changes they make in adopting to it is the key, I will say. And it’s difficult for an average person like me to be on top of it. That’s where having a professional like yourself will be, uh, good to be on a team and keep up to date.

Phil: 2:52
and I think one of the things that you did, , and this isn’t by accident, but you are very much about reputation management. So really going out there and getting reviews, and I know six, seven years ago we talked about this and you really made it easy for everyone to be able to leave reviews for you, and that has really helped your Google My Business profile and your number one in your city, right?

Raj: 3:15
Yes. So I do have lot of reviews on Google, and that is the key to the success for online right now for local Google Map three pack.

Phil: 3:25
and I think that that ties into some of the offline marketing, and we’ll get into that. But when someone gets a flyer or something like that, what’s the next thing they’re doing? Are they calling you right away or are they searching for your name?

Raj: 3:36
most of the time when people get a flyer, either one or two things happen. They hang onto it, and when time comes, they. Bring it back on the table and contact you, or they’re just shuffling through their mail and goes to the trash can right away. most of my flyers that go out, they definitely hang onto ’em because tomorrow they’re gonna need a real estate agent and they reach out to me. Believe it or not, one of the calls I received was a year later, this woman had kept a postcard that I had mailed. and she reached out to me saying, Raj, I need your service now.

Phil: 4:10
Now, what are your thoughts on, I’ll call them kind of Useful offline marketing, like you’ll have notepads or calendars or magnets, or pens with your name on it. What do you think about those verse, like straight flyers or postcards?

Raj: 4:24
So those are good, but to be honest with you, , magnets are a thing of the past, in my opinion. I have gone to many appointments, at the homeowner’s. , kitchen, And seeing other realtors, magnets on their refrigerator, and they’re not calling them, they’re calling me. so being active in the neighborhood and providing service and uh, knowledge is the key. So having content online and reviews are the main key for getting calls from the clients. Yes, you’re right. Having those, uh, freebees out there like the magnets or the calendars, a lot of agents do that. It’s getting your name out there and branding is everything.

Phil: 5:04
Now, what have you seen change in the last few years?

Raj: 5:08
Lot has changed in last two years. As you know, we are just coming out of the pandemic. So two years of lockdown, or almost two years of lockdown changed every business, marketing strategy. So going door knocking was out of the picture. Sending flyers or dropping off flyers was not an option. So I had to change my strategy to be more on a online platform where everybody is nowadays and were back when the lockdown happened. So that was the key. Getting your name out there to the social media and doing, , advertisement online.

Phil: 5:41
So what specifically is working for you now?

Raj: 5:43
basically our business is a repeat business, so we have a client from the past are reaching back to us as well as getting a referral from a client, um, friends and. And also being out in the field and, uh, doing a lot of open houses and meeting new faces when we are at the open house is also a opportunity for us.

Phil: 6:05
When people talk about referrals, they often forget that really what that is is customer service.

Raj: 6:11
Yes, that’s true. Just the other day I had a, person call me and said, Hey, uh, you had helped my sister and she has given me your number to reach out because I’m in the market to look to purchase a house for next month or two. And that was a perfect referral and a perfect client. I remember her very well because they were blessed and thankful to be in a home that we got them.

Phil: 6:33
and when we’re talking about referrals or even reviews, I think sometimes people forget that maybe you can help someone out, even if they’re not gonna end up using your product or service. It doesn’t hurt to ask them for review just to say, Hey, if I really helped you put you at ease, maybe I gave you information where you realized selling your house or buying a house wasn’t right. That review still can reflect that to say that you really went the extra mile to help them out, and that’s gonna go ahead and help you with all of those reviews and just that positive sentiment.

Raj: 7:05
That’s true. and my philosophy is if you don’t ask, you don’t get it. So doesn’t mean only reviews anything in life, so you gotta be open minded and, asking doesn’t hurt is free. And all they can say is no. So asking for review, even one person comes back and says, Oh yeah, I’ll do u favor because thanks for your knowledge and expertise, and here Google numbers are increasing and Google’s all about recent post and recent reviews where they’re tracking this business is alive still and making things happen.

Phil: 7:36
Exactly. So now how are you measuring success in your marketing?

Raj: 7:41
We are actually, you know, keeping track of how our business is running. So success would be, you know, results. Uh, anything that we do in life has to have results. So we are having, transactions closing. Our repeat business is there, and as well as our team is growing.

Phil: 7:59
are you doing anything when you are talking to people who maybe call you for the first time? Are you asking them how they found you?

Raj: 8:06
I do that sometime. I do forget, , but my main thing is when we start the conversation, I want to know where the call came from or how they found me. So most of the time they tell me, or sometime they just say, Well, I don’t know, because it’s been a while. I just got your number here and thought to call you. knowing where the call came from is the key. That way you know what’s working and what’s not.

Phil: 8:27
Yep. Exactly. You’re running a small business, you can usually attribute certain things because, you know, they came from that flyer, they came from your Google My Business, things like that. So maybe a little bit easier than like, enterprise, e-commerce system where it’s a little harder to tell where things came in from since you’re one on one with most of your clients. So now what is your favorite marketing story?

Raj: 8:53
Oh, this is a good one. . I will say my favorite marketing story would have to be getting a call from an older couple last year who found my ad on back of a magazine that I did that time and reaching out to help them sell their property here in Canyon Lake, California and help them move and buy a home in Gilbert, Arizona. And I also helped them connect with the local expert, real estate agent there. And believe me, they, this couple did not own a smartphone or have computer or internet at home. So everything was doing manually and old school, meeting them in person, signing wet signature on all the dotted lines, and that would be my favorite story to share.

Phil: 9:36
And that’s multimillion dollars in transaction.

Raj: 9:38

Phil: 9:39
Wow. So what should someone do if they’re just starting out in their business, and of course it doesn’t have to be real estate, They don’t maybe have that reputation or referral network. What do you think the best first steps are?

Raj: 9:52
Starting a new business takes a lot of guts. And to run a business, you should start with local marketing where their business is located. It doesn’t have to be entire city. You can start marketing half a mile radius from your local business. And focus only in this area, then go to one mile radius and grow from there. Don’t try to make it difficult on yourself where you will find it hard and give up and fail. I will say promote local, then go bigger as your budget allows.

Phil: 10:22
What would you say has contributed most to your success?

Raj: 10:27
So that’s very difficult to sum it up in one or two lines. There are a lot of things that has contributed to my success, making changes as time changes and adopting to new marketing strategy. For one, my lovely wife Josephine, support from day one and never giving up on me is that number two, and our lovely, hardworking team of agents who are go-getter and very hardworking. From day start to finish. So that would be our lovely small contribution and success.

Phil: 10:59
And you started in 2008 during the like crash, the real estate crash recession, the whole thing. How did you manage to start off at such a difficult time?

Raj: 11:14
So that time was obviously a life changing event for both of us. things were difficult, not easy. It was a new era we were going through or new changes at that time. I used to work for a bank doing loans, and then when the industry bottomed, The company shut down and laid off every entire staff they had. I joined, my wife and got into real estate and ever since then they say one door shuts and the other one opens. And the real estate was my another door and never looked back and love what we do now.

Phil: 11:48
and I think the lesson here is even in a difficult economy, you can still be success.

Raj: 11:53
Yes. It’s just dedication and, uh, passion about what you do and, and you love what you do. It’s, it’s never going to be putting you down. It’s always gonna take you up. So do the thing that you love from bottom of your heart. You will never fail.

Phil: 12:08
Well, appreciate you coming on here, and for any of my listeners, if you have questions about real estate or are in the market to buy or sell, Raj, how can they get ahold of you?

Raj: 12:18
They can reach me on my cell phone direct. My number is (951) 314-4251, or they can email me their question anytime. Raj

Phil: 12:31
Well, I really appreciate you coming on and thank you for making the time.

Raj: 12:34
Thank you, Phil.

Phil: 12:36
Have a good one.

Raj: 12:36
You too.