VOL. 126 | NO. 138 | Monday, July 18, 2011
Selling on the Airwaves
By Sarah Baker
In the world of advertising, persistence is key. That can be through mail-outs, billboards, print advertising or, as in the recent case of Carol and Amanda Lott, broadcasting.
Real estate agents Amanda Lott, left, and Carol Lott of Prudential Collins-Maury Realtors answer questions on “Real Estate Now,” a listener-based radio talk show on every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. on AM 790.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
“Real Estate Now” is a local talk radio show on WMC AM 790 every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. The topic is everything real estate, both local and national.
“Radio advertising is like many other forms of advertising – you have to do it for six months to a year for it to even be effective,” said Carol Lott, president-elect of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. “Sometimes it is just one of the mediums that reinforces the other advertising that you do.”
The mother-daughter duo, who brand themselves as “The Lott Team,” are licensed real estate agents with Prudential Collins-Maury Inc. Realtors. Carol Lott has been licensed for 26 years. Amanda Lott has been in the business all her life, but has been licensed for three.
Together they were fifth in the company for 2009 and fourth in 2010. They have also achieved Presidential Circle Status for Prudential Real Estate nationally.
While the pair is off to a great start for the third quarter, it’s hard to say if that is a direct result of the show.
“The show keeps our names out there as a reminder that we are your go-to team for all things real estate,” Carol Lott said. “It also affords us the opportunity to inform people of what we as Realtors do other than list and sale homes.”
Lott got her feet wet in talk radio in the early 1990s while working for Banyan Tree Realtors in Collierville and hosting “Real Estate Magazine” during WMC 790’s same time slot. She had been on the air for about six months before she got her first listing, thanks to a nickname that has stuck with her to this day.
“One day I was cutting commercials because I did my own spots for the sponsors and I had just a little bit of time left and I didn’t know what to say, so I just said, ‘Call the Banyan Tree lady,’” she said. “To this day, there are still people if I’m in a restaurant or something or hear me talk, they’ll go, ‘You’re the Banyan Tree lady,’ or I’ll go on listings and they’re like, ‘Oh, Prudential, that’s where the Banyan Tree lady works.’”
Back then, Lott said, “everybody who was anybody” was on news talk. Now with a completely different format and in the era of satellite and Internet-based radio, the pair recognizes that the audience has changed, but at the same time is confident the fruits of their labor will pay off down the road.
“We don’t get as many calls as we would like but on average we get one to two calls a week and some weeks we get several test messages with questions,” Lott said. “We had a guy listen to the show recently and supposedly he listens a lot, and he went out and looked at one of our houses that we talked about, otherwise he would have never done that.”
And with topics running the gamut from construction to financing to May’s Mississippi River flooding, there is never a loss of subject matter.
“When we had the flooding, we spent the whole show talking about how that and the Grizzlies in the playoffs was going to affect real estate overall,” Amanda Lott said. “The market just kind of stopped because Memphis was the focal point in national news. When things like that happen, everything affects real estate and real estate affects everything.”
While their audience may not be the size it was in talk radio’s prime, the team has fun doing it. They’ve also ended up being a source for their peers.
“As Realtors, one of our roles is to educate the public and be advocates for homeowners,” Carol Lott said. “Several of our text messages during the show end up being from other agents wanting us to share our opinion on certain things like lease to purchases, remodeling, etc. It’ll take time. People still listen to radio and there are still people out there working on their cars in their garage with news talk on.”