5 marketing tactics Realtors commonly use that can HURT their business (Part 3)

Real estate agents, you’ve got it tough. Many markets are crowded with agents and all of them offer exactly the same service at exactly the same price. Every agent seems to use calendars and bus benches to advertise.

If every agent is saying exactly the same thing, how do you differentiate? How do you position yourself as THE agent to call when someone wants to list?

This week, we’re looking at the different ways that Realtors try to attract attention from their prospects. All of these ideas will be familiar to you — in fact, you might even use some of them — but I’ll show you why these common real estate practices might be keeping you from success.

The marketing idea that can hurt a Realtor’s business:

BREAK OUT THE CHICKEN COSTUME

The idea: Some agents like a little schtick — something that makes them funny or silly or memorable. Maybe there’s no agent that actually wears a chicken costume, but you get the idea. Maybe an agent dresses like a cowboy or always wears a tux or speaks only in rhyme or something.

My opinion: Okay, here’s the deal. I think selling can be fun but it’s also serious business and there is a balance that can be struck. And, I think that using schtick to sell is used-car-salesmanship-101. But (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) if real estate agents generally provide the same service, then the differentiation required is to simply be “top of mind” when a buyer or seller is about to dial the phone to contact an agent. And they will likely remember the schtick long before they remember the great service you provide. So, schtick works because it’s jarring enough to a person’s reality that you’re memorable. (Believe me, it hurts me to write this as much as it hurts you to read it). There’s a viral factor to it, too. (“I bought my house with a chicken”, etc.)

I realize that people become real estate agents because it is a profession of helping people, not a job as a mascot. So this is not going to be right for everyone. If it’s okay that people don’t take you seriously, then bust out that chicken costume and go to work. But if you want to lean toward the professional side of this profession, find another way.

However, if your market is over-saturated with the same old thing and you desperately need to stand out from the crowd FAST, and it only comes down to just getting people to dial YOUR number when they dial the phone, then wear the chicken costume.

5 marketing tactics Realtors commonly use that can HURT their business (Part 2)

Real estate agents, you’ve got it tough. Many markets are crowded with agents and all of them offer exactly the same service at exactly the same price. Every agent seems to use calendars and bus benches to advertise.

If every agent is saying exactly the same thing, how do you differentiate? How do you position yourself as THE agent to call when someone wants to list?

This week, we’re looking at the different ways that Realtors try to attract attention from their prospects. All of these ideas will be familiar to you — in fact, you might even use some of them — but I’ll show you why these common real estate practices might be keeping you from success.

The marketing idea that can hurt a Realtor’s business:

“I GIVE GREAT SERVICE”

The idea: The agent promotes their service as being superior.

My opinion: Superior to what? All the experiences I’ve ever had with real estate agents who were helping me to buy or sell a home have been EXACTLY THE SAME. They’re all nice, they all engage me in conversation, they all do the paperwork, they all work on my behalf. I know (and so does everyone else) that the service I’ll receive from one agent will be comparable to the service I receive from someone else.

Folks, service does not sell. You have to have it if you want to stay in business, don’t get me wrong, but it shouldn’t be a tagline. Ask yourself this question: “Exactly what quality of service do I offer my clients that no other agent offers?” I think you will be hard-pressed to come up with the answer.

I hear lots of ideas on this matter when agents defend themselves. They say things like “I treat every listing as if it’s my own home” or “I’ll take you by the hand and walk you through the sale”. These sound great, but every other agent does these things, too. (Yes, they do. Don’t argue with me on this point).

So drop the use of service as a differentiator unless you…

  • Pick people up in a chauffeured limo
  • Pay for their babysitting
  • Pay for lunch and coffee
  • Flood them with free stuff
  • Personally visit when the deal closes with a bottle of expensive wine
  • Help them to arrange the details of the move

… I could go on and on here, but I think you get the idea. Your service needs to be jaw-droppingly amazing to be able to advertise with that you offer exceptional service.

5 marketing tactics Realtors commonly use that can HURT their business (Part 1)

Real estate agents, you’ve got it tough. Many markets are crowded with agents and all of them offer exactly the same service at exactly the same price. Every agent seems to use calendars and bus benches to advertise.

If every agent is saying exactly the same thing, how do you differentiate? How do you position yourself as THE agent to call when someone wants to list?

This week, we’re looking at the different ways that Realtors try to attract attention from their prospects. All of these ideas will be familiar to you — in fact, you might even use some of them — but I’ll show you why these common real estate practices might be keeping you from success.

The marketing idea that can hurt a Realtor’s business:

“GET YOUR FREE HOME VALUATION”

The idea: Agents market their ability to get an accurate estimate of a home’s value so that people can list with them.

My opinion: I get a ton of these letters in the mail all the time and they all proclaim “I may be surprised to discover what my home is worth”. All of them offer a free, no-obligation home valuation. Because there are so many agents offering this service, it’s no longer a compelling differentiation. Add to that the feeling that consumers have when they know that contacting a real estate agent puts them on a list. And that means annual calendars and notepads, telephone calls every 6 months, and a personalized letter.

People don’t want to be sold anything and they’ll go out of their way to avoid a salesperson. (Note: a real estate agent is more than a salesperson, but not in the consumer’s mind). For a while, free “on the web” home valuations were good — and it’s a service that all agents should offer — but it’s not a differentiator anymore. And, if people want to know what their home is worth, they gossip with their neighbors about what other people nearby are selling their homes for. I have 4 people in my neighborhood selling their homes and I know basically what those homes are selling for and that gives me an idea of what my home is worth. It’s not the most accurate because I have a corner lot and more trees and a double garage and they don’t. But it’s close enough for me… and I would guess that “close enough” for most people probably means within 10%-20% of the home’s value. And, let’s face it.

There are 2 kinds of home value seekers out there: the curious (like me, who just gossips with the neighbors) and those about to list… and the second group knows that they can just talk to any agent. Therefore, advertising that you offer free home valuations isn’t helpful. Offer it, include it in your list of services, but don’t make it a primary differentiator.