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Market like a gardener, by Cynthia Thurlow

Market Like a Gardener

Market like a gardener, by Cynthia Thurlow

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, and I think a lot while I do it. There are so many metaphors with gardening and life, and that doesn’t exclude marketing!

This morning as I was watering my midsummer garden, I saw that some of the plants have gone to seed and need to be pulled out. They’ve passed their time. Picking raspberries, I noticed that the perfume of the nearby rosemary bush when combined with raspberries is delicious smelling.

Then I started thinking: If you market like a gardener, you’ll do okay. So here are a few metaphorical pointers.

Prepare the soil. In marketing terms, this means have your operational ducks in a row before you start driving leads and getting people into your community. Good food, clean and tidy entryways and community, and an HR process for greeting not only your new potential residents, but everyone, means the leads and tours will fall onto fertile soil for growing.

Get comfortable with long-term goals. Short-term thinking works neither in gardening nor marketing. What? The garlic isn’t ready yet? I planted that last fall! And yet the spinach is going to seed, while the peas are just ready now. When it comes to marketing, think of your campaigns, programs and leads in terms of diversity. Have multiple irons in the fire, all generating leads, and then categorize your leads into buckets: some that will move in within six months and others that will take years. They’re all good and they’re all productive. So be okay with long-term marketing goals.

Rethink hyper-analytical thinking. It isn’t always the best. If I were an anal gardener, all of my veggies would be in neat rows, spaces between them… and everything in its place. A nice way to be; however, there’s something to be said with testing things and also allowing some vegetables and fruits to happened organically. That volunteer pumpkin in the potato patch is rocking. The same willingness to let go of some things is true in marketing. Rather than a “no” mindset, try a “yes” mindset to new ideas, watching and learning from organic patterns such as seeing leads arriving from specific neighborhoods outside the community area .. or noticing that when tours meet a specific team member, they soften up and begin to ask more questions. Also be willing to test out new ideas—and then measure.

Don’t force it. No matter how hard you try, some plants grow at their own pace. It’s part of their DNA. The same is true with selling relationships. Some mindsets in this industry require their sales teams to make 15 phone calls a day, and it feels forced. The sales teams don’t like it because they get a lot of no-answers and hostile leads who really don’t want to hear from them. You can’t force these relationships or decisions no matter how badly you need five move-ins this month!

This points back to the diversity idea. Make sure your marketing team is constantly generating new leads and then sorting your leads into hoppers: short-term movers, mid-term movers and long-term movers. Then be sure you feed and care for each of these categories in the appropriate ways.

Happy sales gardening. May you have a green thumb and enjoy the process! Please contact us at [email protected].