Do you worry about following outdated real estate agent advice?
When someone advises you to read a book by one of the legendary marketing gurus like Claude Hopkins or EugeneSchwartz – or sends you a link to an article written years ago, do you go, read, and see what you can learn? Or – do you think it’s too outdated to be relevant today?
I just looked at my Active Rain statistics. One of my most read articles is “How to Write an Effective Real Estate Prospecting Letter,” written on May 14, 2009. So far, it’s been viewed 32,303 times. I just re-read it and the information is as valid today as it was more than 20 years ago.
On the other hand, I have a few Internet marketing books cluttering my shelves that need to go away. To be painfully honest, I was foolish to have purchased them, especially since I don’t enjoy trying to understand “techie stuff.”
What’s the difference between real estate agent advice that’s “evergreen” and advice that’s outdated within months?
- Advice that taps into basic human nature and psychology remains valid year after year.
- Advice that guides you with “how to” tips on subjects such as Search Engine Optimization and social media marketing can become outdated in a heartbeat.
With one important exception*, human nature doesn’t change.
Humans are always tuned into “Station WIFM.” Translated, that’s “What’s in it for me?”
That’s the reason why your messages need to be about them and their concerns – not about you, what you want, and how wonderful you are.
In my estimation, there’s no worse way to begin a message than to say “Hi, I’m Rita Realtor, and I want…”
Humans want to like the person they’re doing business with.
That’s why marketing messages need to be conversational and friendly. It’s also the reason why you should let your personality come through when you’re writing. (Nobody really “likes” an encyclopedia or text book!)
It’s also the reason why I encourage my clients to let me add personal information about pets, hobbies, volunteer work, etc. to their agent bios.
Humans want to be treated with respect.
Nobody wants to be talked down to or made to feel stupid. That’s one of the reasons why marketers avoid using industry jargon and sophisticated language. The rule of thumb in copywriting is to keep it at a 6th or 7th grade level. Keep the words short and clearly understandable.
The other reason is that communication IS important, and most people would rather misunderstand than ask you the meaning of a word. (They’d also rather go deal with someone who doesn’t make them need to ask.)
Humans want to trust the person they’re doing business with.
This one involves the exception* noted above. Human nature hasn’t changed in this regard, but gaining that trust has become more difficult over time.
Perhaps it’s the fault of the Internet and email – with bogus offers, spam, etc. coming at us every day, we’re skeptical. We have good reason to be less trusting than we were twenty years ago.
Marketers have always recommended offering “proof” or verification to a sales message. Once upon a time it was good enough to add a picture of a person in a white coat to verify that a health remedy or weight loss product was effective. Now marketers had better be able to prove that person really is a doctor and really did endorse the product.
This need for proof is the reason why it’s a good idea to include full names and even email addresses to the testimonials you publish.. We’ve read too often about writers being paid to post good reviews for companies and people they don’t even know.
Unfortunately, real estate agents remain on the list of top ten least trusted professions. Different surveys place agents in different positions on the list, but interestingly, almost every study I checked ranked members of Congress as the least trusted. Also in the top ten: Car salesmen, telemarketers, journalists, advertising executives, lawyers, and business executives.
What that means to you is that you have to work to gain that trust.
You can create trust by demonstrating that you know what you’re doing.
- Increase the trust people have in you by giving good advice in marketing letters.
- Demonstrate your area knowledge by blogging extensively about your community.
- Prove your sales ability by sharing easily documented sales statistics. You can increase trust by responding to your client’s calls and emails promptly.
Humans want to be noticed and recognized as individuals.
That’s why handwritten notes are so well-received. They show that you took the time to think about that individual person.
When I wrote the monthly newsletter for my brokerage, I left a space on each one for a personal note. Past clients knew that while they got the same newsletter as everyone else, we took the time to remember them personally. The notes showed that they were more to us than a name in a database.
Of course that required more than writing “Hope you’re enjoying this summer weather!”
One more thing: People do still like to read words printed on paper.
Yes, some gurus might tell you that in today’s world, all you need is email – or social media accounts. That would be nice, since it is so inexpensive. But it isn’t true.
Today, more than ever, marketers need to use a variety of methods to reach their clients. Print mail is one of those methods.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article, where, where among other important things, you’ll learn that 98% of consumers open their postal mail daily – and even millennials like it. Compare that to how many consumers routinely delete marketing messages when they open their email each morning – and continue deleting as messages roll in over the course of the day. How much of your email do YOU read?
The bottom line for real estate agent advice:
- Advice that helps you understand and appeal to human nature and psychology is not going to become outdated. Claude Hopkins passed away in 1932, and you can still learn something if you read his books.
You can also learn from Active Rain articles – both the advice posts and the tales of real estate adventures that other agents have had.
- Advice that tells you how to optimize your website or gain leads via social media IS going to become outdated. Study the most recent advice you can find.
- Not all advice is good. When you read something that disagrees with other advice you’ve read, think it through and use your judgement. A case in point: Some will tell you print marketing is a waste of time and money, and it simply isn’t true.
And now – we’re already into February – if you haven’t gotten serious about marketing and prospecting for 2020 sales, get busy!
Outdated photo film Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
friendly greeting & verification Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net