A happy “HOG” farmer
How do you spend your free time? If you belong to a club, play a sport or have a hobby, chances are there’s new business all around you.
When Ileana Rodriguez rode “Fatgirl,” her Fatboy Harley-Davidson, to the local bike shop, she found a new real estate customer behind the counter and sold her a townhouse. It really didn’t surprise Rodriguez because members of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) have been her farm and her friends for years.
“When people found out I was a Realtor, they’d say, ‘Wow, I want you to sell my house because you’re so cool,’” she says. “I immediately realized I could use my hobby as a marketing tool.” Here are some of the ways Rodriguez, a 22-year real estate veteran and associate broker for RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami, markets herself to bikers:
1. Make Contacts
Like clockwork, Rodriguez joins fellow HOG members at monthly events to have fun and network. “About 200,000 people ride down to Key West,” she explains.
“My purse is always full of business cards,” she says. “I give them to everyone. One day I walked into my dry cleaner’s and the [owner] said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were in real estate,’ and I sold her house.”
2. Recruit from Your Farm
Networking expands when you enlist like-minded helpers, so Rodriguez keeps an eye out for assistants and partners who ‘live’ on the same farm. Several of Rodriguez’s assistants are also motorcyclists, and she recruited a Harley salesperson who has a real estate license.
3. Advertise and Hand Out
Rodriguez places ads in her local HOG chapter’s monthly calendar of events flier. She also wears T-shirts with her company name and phone number on them, and she wears traditional Cuban Guayabera shirts with her logo embroidered on them. “I wear [the shirts] to show properties, or wherever I go, instead of a nametag,” she says.
Every Thursday, Miami-area motorcycle enthusiasts meet at Fuddruckers restaurant, and Rodriguez comes with a handout. “I created a little flier that says if they own a motorcycle and buy or sell a home with us, I will give them a $500 gift certificate to Home Depot or their favorite store.”
4. Display Pride
In her office, Rodriguez displays Harley-Davidson-related memorabilia. She enjoys talking about her motorcycle hobby with clients and customers, and she’s proud to tell fellow bikers she sells real estate. “I’m not pushy,” she says. “I tell people I have a real estate company and [ask] if there’s anything I can help them with.”
SOURCE: Florida Realtor magazine, January 2005
Update May 2013