By Erika Villegas
I recently moved to a new neighborhood in Chicago where I had only sold a few homes. I didn’t know many people there, but more importantly, I didn’t know enough women.
From my experience in real estate, women are often the ones that make important decisions like when and where to purchase a home. I wanted to grow my business in my neighborhood, so I needed to meet more people; I needed to meet my neighbors.
After thinking about marketing options like the local newspapers, social media, online marketing, postcards, or good old door knocking, the light bulb lit while enjoying a glass of wine: I could combine two of my favorite things – real estate and wine.
A women’s wine social was the solution. A gathering of women who enjoy a glass wine and interesting conversation as much as I do. An event to “wine” down for a few hours with other women who juggle work, kids, and all the other responsibilities that come with being a parent.
As I started planning, I was mindful about two things: the location and a recurring date. I wanted a date that would work for as many people as possible. After considering my own schedule, I also looked at days off from school. I chose the third Friday of every month. The location was an easy – I decided to ask a different business in my neighborhood each month to allow me to host at their location. This allows me to meet new people and grow my brand within the community while also supporting other local businesses.
The kickoff wine social was January 16 at a local restaurant, and more than 30 women attended. I had cases of wine delivered, a lender donated goodie bags for my guests, another local restaurant prepared the appetizers, and I ordered the dessert from a local mom. As I stood back and watched all the women talking, laughing, and enjoying good conversation with their glass of wine, I knew I had made the right decision about how to market myself. At the end of the night, the restaurant had to kick us out because no one wanted to leave.
Real estate is about people; it’s about making connections and making sure everyone you come in contact with knows that you can help them achieve the dream of homeownership.
A few days after the first wine social, a woman who had attended decided that I was the right REALTOR® for her and we started looking at homes soon after. I am glad I decided to go with an unconventional way of marketing myself. I found a way to mix two things that I love: wine and real estate.
What would you mix with real estate? Perhaps a dog lovers’ gathering or maybe a book club? Go with what feels natural and easy to accomplish. As with any type of marketing, stay focused and consistent and the business will follow.
Erika Villegas is a broker associate with ERA Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago. Connect with Villegas at www.erikavillegas.com.