Realtor Targets Clients When They're Drunk

By Sarah Beller 05/08/13

An enterprising real estate agent in San Francisco goes after prospective buyers at bars.

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Matthew Holder, a young San Franciscan real estate agent, has come up with a creative way to market his services by targeting potential clients "when they're intoxicated." At a time when the Bay Area's real estate market was floundering, Holder worried that if he merely put ads in newspapers, he'd fly under the radar. “Consumers put blinders up to a lot of those things because they expect to see it,” he says. “I wanted to go someplace where no one else was advertising; reach them at a different point.” Holder, now a product manager at real estate listing site Trulia, went after prospective buyers and sellers by distributing custom-designed coasters and cocktail napkins to bars and restaurants; he has even proposed branded urinal cakes, which he says "would be just the best thing ever. Holder says his strategy has worked. Plenty of watering holes and restaurants were happy to accept free supplies, and he began receiving calls from new clients who had picked up his info while out drinking. He was able to measure the success of his scheme by tracking the number of visits to the unique URL printed on all the coasters and napkins. Holder even got into the "spirit" himself, by having drinks and chatting up clients in person. “There were people at the bar who would talk about the coasters. If I was there, I would overhear them,” he says. “I would use that as an opportunity to go talk to them.” He says his bold strategies promise to carry over into his work with prospective clients, explaining: “That’s the unique marketing that I can bring to you to help you sell your home.”

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Sarah Beller is a writer and the Executive Director at Filter. She has written about drug policy with a focus on harm reduction for Substance.comThe Fix and Salon. She has worked as a social worker with formerly incarcerated people in New York for a number of years. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’sThe HairpinThe ToastReductressThe Rumpus and other publications. You can find Sarah on Linkedin and Twitter.

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