Over the 10 years I was a title rep I met with a lot of real estate agents – a lot. If during our meeting they asked me what I thought about their marketing I would ask “do you want the truth?” Now that I am out of the title industry, I meet with real estate agents as a marketing guy, to discuss their websites – what is right and what is wrong, what is working and what is not. After the pleasantries I ask one question “Do I have Permission To Be 100% Honest With You?” 95% of the time that I ask that question the demeanor of the real estate agent changes. Many real estate agents meeting with vendors like title companies and loan officers are used to hearing how awesome they are, how wonderful they are how important they are. That’s not me. You want the truth? Can you handle the truth? Do I have permission to be 100% honest with you?
Imagine for a moment you are a consumer, [shouldn’t be a stretch – we are all consumers in some way] you are at home sitting in your favorite chair watching TV, the kid(s) are asleep, your “honey do” list is complete – for today. You are sipping an adult beverage maybe two, watching one of your favorite TV shows – GLEE [hurl!], Dateline, How I met Your Mother – whatever it is. Then a commercial comes on. Your favorite show is not recorded on your DVR or TiVo – it’s LIVE. Do you watch the commercials or do you take the break in your favorite show to check on the kids, refill that adult beverage, check your email, facebook, etc? If you are like me you probably don’t sit there are watch the commercials. I get up and do other things. Why? Because I don’t respond well to advertising. I do not like to be SOLD TO. Funny huh, I’ve been in some form of sales since I graduated from college and I hate to be sold to. Are you the same way? My attitude is – if I want something – your product, your service, – I will let you know, leave me alone – my time is valuable. Ya know who else feels the same way? Your prospects. Yep, I said it.Now before you say O.M.G. – not my prospects – listen.
If someone is NOT in the market for your product or service and you interrupt them with your message you are ADVERTISING. While that may not sound like a bad thing to you, consider this - 80% of consumers don’t trust advertising. Remember my attitude when I was watching my favorite show? ” if I want something – your product, your service, – I will let you know, leave me alone!” This is how 80% of the people your real estate marketing message lands on [in their mailbox, stuck to their door, in their favorite magazine, on the radio, TV], likely feel as well. People simply don’t like to be interrupted. Do you?
If I want information about anything, cars, technology, vacations, attorneys, real estate I will find it. Myself. If I discover a need for something I will go online and look for it. One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make is assuming the consumer wants to or needs to hear from them. They don’t. Yep, I said it. Most consumers will see you as advertising until you prove differently. Talking about how awesome you are and how all of your clients love you and how you sell more homes than anyone and that you were the top agent in your office last week and that you have all these amazing designations “for all of your real estate needs – wink” only serves to prove the point that you are advertising. You can overcome the advertising label by providing the information consumers look for online. Look at it like this: If you were driving down the road and a mechanic knocked on your window at a red light and said “for all of your car needs – wink” would you pay attention? Probably be a little annoyed right? Now imagine your car broke down and you were approached by a mechanic when you need one, would you be just a little more receptive? Yep. You might even give him a smile.
So what is the message I am going for here? You can annoy people with all kinds of “stuff” they didn’t ask you for or you can help them find you when they need you or your services. We all think we are important. I know I do. Am I? Outside of my friends and family – probably not. Too many real estate agents think they are important. And it shows in their real estate advertising. Marketing is about the consumer. Not you. It’s about what the consumer wants. Do they care that you are a top producer 2005 [it’s 2011] or multi – million dollar producer or a member of some presidents circle? Nope. What they do care about is homes for sale and information of value to them. Information they are looking for like short sale, REO, How To Save My Home, Loan Modifications, Best Places To Live, Best places to Invest, Homes near an employer and so on. If you want to grow your real estate business you will need to stop talking about yourself and start talking about value. Value is what they are searching online for. If you want to get found online by consumers looking for your help buying or selling a home you will need to shift your real estate advertising. Get yourself a website that works [like this one] fill it with content [blog posts, videos, pictures etc.] consumers are looking for online and TRUST ME, they will find you when they need you. And you won’t be irritating them either. It’s the difference between a guarded consumer answering the phone when you say “Hi Is This John?” and John Calling You. Which would you prefer?
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