Sunday, July 5, 2015


I was walking with Wilma one day when I noticed that a pretty plant perched on many a front step we passed. Tied around the festive wrapping paper was a card that said "Enjoy your pepper plant!" on one side and showed a business card on the other.

Pretty soon we met the woman in the photo, who was pulling a little red wagon full of plants. "Hi! I'm Diana," she said. "Would you like a pepper plant?"

She told me she was a real estate agent and she was giving the plants away. We talked about the neighborhood. I told her I already had a real estate agent. Diana said, "That's great! Please take a plant anyway."

So, being a lover of free things, I took my plant, thanked her and walked on.

She had canvassed the neighborhood. Those plants were all over the place.

My pepper plant has been enjoying my back porch for two weeks or so, and I've had time to think about Diana Nikolof's evil plan. She gave something of value and she did it cheerfully. In my case, she gave while knowing I would not buy her product. She didn't know I was going to write a blog post about her. She didn't even know I have a blog. She only knew I wasn't in the real estate market and that if I were, I had another agent to call.

Networking is giving. And I believe it pays off in the long run. You can't know how it's going to pay off. You just have to get out there and give.

What do you think of Diana's methods? I wonder what I can give at book fairs, etc? Should I walk around the neighborhood and leave bookmarks on peoples' doorsteps? I don't think people care much about bookmarks. Then again, I don't have Diana's budget. 

You like Smarties, don't you? Everybody likes Smarties. 


altadenahiker said...

I expect you're right. But it's too bad that "build it and they will come" isn't a viable business plan. It's the one I prefer.

LOLfromPasa said...

Hum, I will have to give this advertising ploy some thought. Actually, I'll tell my friend who is an estate agent (as they are called here in the UK) in Sierra Madre and see what she thinks. Putting that to one side I have to say I loved reading your blog post. A gem!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Well, that's a first.. of course its an advertising ploy..gotta admit, its original.. it did what it intended to do.. as far as bookmarks, my daughter brought a few back from France.. they're etched.. maybe I'm in the minority, I use mine.. (cuz I use post-its to mark passages)... The real estate folks in our valley drop off memo pads w/their faces plastered on it.. the plant is better.. :-)

Petrea Burchard said...

It would be nice if it were effortless, Hiker. Seems once the work is done the work of selling the work begins.

Thank you, Lauren!

KBF, one thing I like about this is the originality. Although I wouldn't mind a note pad, either.

Jean Spitzer said...

Great marketing on her part. Better than keychain, pen, measuring tape . . .. It's apt to attract people who love plants, maybe sharing common interest with the agent.

William Kendall said...

It does strike me as a good idea.

Bellis said...

It's a red-hot chili pepper good idea, effective, welcome, original, and not too expensive. You could put vine plants on doorsteps to promote C&V? Ah, but which vine would it be?

Petrea Burchard said...

Jean, probably some of the plants she left behind won't get nurtured, but that's the chance she took. I hope folks will at least keep her contact info.

I agree, William.

Bellis, I hope it's not a hot pepper! I'll let you know when it grows. I love the originality of it, and your idea of a vine is a good one. Maybe one that roots well in water...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

No offense meant to the agent, but when I was in college, I used to earn money by placing this kind of stuff on peoples yards. Agents refer to it as 'farming' and each one would have a specific area they covered.

I would do it in the middle of the night so I wouldn't experience disgruntled homeowners (which is why the agents farmed out the jobs to me to began with). My favorite was when I put an American flag on actor Robert Reed's front yard. He was so pissed off that he called the agent the next day.... and he used those very words "do you know who I am?"

What really galled him was that the flags were made in Korea. I kinda get that. Stick with peppers.

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't think she'd take offense, PA. She was out there in broad daylight, doing her own farming and just being nice.
I get why Reed didn't like the flag marketing bit.

Gunn said...

Diana is a smart marketing woman!
I hope most plants will be a nice success for those who now look after their free plant:)

Petrea Burchard said...

Mine is still doing well, Gunn. I hope it's a good sign.