Driving for Dollars: How smart local businesses discover opportunity while driving.
Driving for Dollars (D4D) acquaints you with your market and reveals more opportunities – opportunities that riding a desk and scanning data never reveals.
Why Drive Your Market?
The physical condition of properties and the visual characteristics of a neighborhood offer insights not accessible from a spreadsheet. Boarded-up or outdated windows, worn out roofs, cracked driveways, code enforcement tape in front of the house, mailboxes filled to the brim…these visuals can indicate a potential new customer or client. Subtle observations like children’s toys on the front lawn or a bumper sticker on a car in the driveway may be the nuance you need to get your foot in the door and connect with the resident. While not often but frequent enough to be considered a best practice, driving your market will uncover opportunities because of errors in public property and owner information data records. Hunting for these observations and clues make D4D an effective strategy for exposing new business possibilities in your hyperlocal market.
Driving is active marketing.
Think of driving as active new-business marketing. You’re gathering invaluable information in a way that staring at a laptop and studying disorganized demographic data will never reveal. If you’d rather limit your carbon footprint, we know many folks who choose to combine exercise with hyperlocal marketing by touring their neighborhoods by biking or walking.
PropertyRadar’s hyperlocal property and owner information marketing app features were developed by working with many of our expert users who’ve been driving for dollars for 10 or more years. PropertyRadar helps you plot an efficient D4D strategy that makes the best use of your time.
So, what are the strategies?
Driving for Dollars Strategies
Download and install PropertyRadar on your smartphone.
First thing’s first, make sure you have the PropertyRadar app on your smartphone. Smartphones are equipped with GPS and PropertyRadar’s mobile app takes advantage of that functionality while you’re driving. Plus, any list you’ve created on PropertyRadar’s web app is easily accessed from our mobile app.
Download the PropertyRadar hyperlocal marketing app to your iPhone or Android here.
When driving your market, always pull over to a safe spot and come to a complete stop before using the PropertyRadar app on your smartphone. Never use your phone while driving; not only is it dangerous, it’s also illegal.
Once you have PropertyRadar on your smartphone,
it’s time to hit the road.
Start with the Discover feature.
Once you have PropertyRadar on your smartphone, it’s time to hit the road.
Many customers say that our Discover feature with data visualizations on their mobile is addicting to use and provides far more insight than a spreadsheet could ever hope to offer. Discover lets smart business owners “see” their hyperlocal market or neighborhood with patented heat maps identifying the best potential customers.
For instance, a foreclosure specialist may want to see how many properties in a neighborhood are underwater, in foreclosure or owned free and clear. A roofing contractor may want to explore homes with roofs that are 20+ years old. The fitness facility marketing manager may want to discover and connect with homeowners based on their net income. You get the picture. The Discover feature lets you set parameters on your clientele and displays them on the heat map. It gives you answers to questions you didn’t know you had in easy-to-understand visual context.
By leveraging your smartphone’s “center of the map” and “compass,” the Discover map moves with you as you drive.
Zoom-in to the street-level view and toggle one of the many visualization tabs to quickly identify properties by that tab’s color. Simply select a property to view its complete profile in the app or select ‘back’ to return.
“I wish I’d taken a photo!” is a regret we hear from inexperienced D4Ders. Take at least one photo of the property and upload it to the Property Profile. It’s recommended to shoot more rather than less. Photos can highlight something that catches your eye and can trigger smart small businesses to flag opportunities later when reviewing property content.
Uploaded photos can be used to help re-qualify a prospect, as support within a proposal or estimate or as part of a direct mail postcard or letter as “proof of interest” when you indicate to that owner or client that you drove by and visited the property. We’ve rarely heard of an experienced Drive-for-Dollars pro regretting snapping too many photos.
Make notes AND set a status.
While a picture is worth a thousand words, recording a few notes about a property and its surroundings when your observations are top-of-mind is invaluable. Jotting down bulleted highlights on the property and its surroundings as well as conversations with residents and neighbors can be helpful later when you’re working through a qualification or purchase process.
Take advantage of your smartphone’s microphone dictation feature to take copious notes and give your thumbs a break.
Additionally, the Set Status feature on the Property Profile page helps smart individuals and teams organize and maintain a workflow.
Drive opportunistically and discover the missing data.
There is always an opportunity to discover new clients while driving your route. Keep an eye out for visual cues about properties not on your researched list.
Whenever you see a property that piques your interest, open the Explore feature, zoom-in to your location and select the property to access its Property Profile in the app. These properties may not be on your researched list, but you can take the opportunity to snap some photos, add some nots, set a status and add the property to a list. OR, strike while the iron’s hot and knock on the door. As the great Wayne Gretzky said, “you can’t score if you don’t shoot.”
Finally, whether you’re reviewing properties already on your search list or just taking an opportunistic look at properties in-person, it’s important to compare what you see with the public record information that makes up most of the Property Profile. Public record information may not be current or accurate, which can be a significant advantage to you. Having the insight of understanding something about a property that would be missed by competitors searching only a spreadsheet is one awesome way that many of our customers gain incremental new business.
After you’ve driven your market, implement best practices like sorting your original driving list into qualified and unqualified lists and using the Set Status function to determine your next action. Whether your next step is to send direct mail, attempt to reach the owner by phone, email or social media, PropertyRadar has you covered. From within the app, you can send direct mail, print mailing labels or export to a .csv file to mail-merge or import into a CRM.
Sometimes after consideration and further research the next action is to revisit certain properties with the aim to door-knock and leave a door-flyer. Then, use the same process to move properties into a new list or simply revisit the Status you set.
Looking for something specific?
Do your research in advance (Web app).
Before you hit the streets, do some research in advance. Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the properties of interest to your business and know your marketing well. Use the Explore and Make a List features on the web app to save prospective properties you intend to drive-by to a list. Sub-divide your list into lists of 30 properties or less that can be driven-by in a day or evening.
You can define specific areas by using the polygon tool in Map View to geofence the specific area you intend to drive-by in an afternoon, evening or day-long excursion. For example, you can define the specific area in a neighborhood using the polygon tool and set the app criteria to show Single Family Residences that are Absentee Owner properties owned free-and-clear, where the owner lives in another county.
Optimize your driving route.
Once you have a targeted list of properties to visit, use the Route feature on the online version of the app to optimize a driving route. Select the specific properties you wish to visit, click “Route” under the Marketing Options and then enter a start and ending address. The PropertyRadar app then produces the most efficient turn-by-turn driving route for you. Print this route or save it to your computer or smartphone to access while on the route.
As with any skill, D4D is something you will get better at with experience. While this is a fairly comprehensive overview of how to succeed, as you do it more often your experiences will eventually turn you into a Driving-for-Dollars expert.
And should you bike, run or walk your market, may you live to be 100 years old and die skinny…and rich.
Happy hunting from your friends at PropertyRadar.