This morning on Agent Genius I renewed my argument that much of what real estate agents peddle as “marketing” actually is an exercise in “branding.” It’s not your home that they’re trying to sell with their gimmicks, it’s themselves.
Some do it to earn the business from buyers (who most likely will not actually be buying your house.) Some do it to earn the business from other sellers who mistakenly think that the work being done has anything to do with a house.
In either case, I don’t have much of a problem with it as long as the agents are up front and honest about their intent from the beginning.
“Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I will have an open house each of the first three weekends your home is on the market. While I banish you from the premises, I’ll have whatever visitors come through register in this handy booklet so I can briefly ask for the same feedback I probably received when they were in the home. But more importantly, I want to contact them so I can become their agent as well and help them find a home. After all, it’s not really my fault they didn’t want yours and I ought to be able to earn a commission.”
Somehow, I don’t think the open house part of the listing presentation sounds much like that. Even if that’s the agent’s intent from the beginning. And that’s why I promise my sellers that I will NEVER hold their house open. I’ve got ways of finding buyers without having to kick you out of your home to do it. Here in the Phoenix real estate market, open houses are incredibly ineffective except in very, very specific circumstances.
I’ve also abandoned using property flyers in favor of a 24-hour, 1-800 information line dedicated to the home. Since green is the new black I could say I’m doing this to help the environment, but the real reason is for the thousands of flyers I’ve printed over the years, I can count on one hand the number of calls I received. Not so with the 1-800 number, which has led to countless more conversations with actually interested buyers.
Think of it this way … it takes next to no effort to pick up a flyer. It doesn’t take much more to dial a phone number, but at least in pressing the extra digit to talk to me, the buyer has indicated they’re at least serious enough to speak to a human. Most people who only are looking or calling for the hell of it won’t take that final step.
Print ads? Don’t get me started. Just keep in mind that advertising keeps newspapers in business and then look at the shell that was the once-proud East Valley Tribune. No one is buying newspapers looking for homes. Hell, very few still are buying newspapers.
So what do I do? I market heavily online, where the buyers are. Nearly 20 websites, individual property pages (soon to be individual websites), online virtual tours, etc.
There still may be a small element in personal branding, but that’s unavoidable. And it’s almost irrelevant as well, since online buyers aren’t shopping for agents. They’re shopping for homes.
My goal is to make sure they see yours. And it works.
[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]