The weekend was typical for me. Soccer, Kids, and some Real Estate.
After a long day of driving 2 hours each way for a soccer game in Virginia for Anthony, running him directly to play practice and meeting a buddy to catch the last quarter of the Redskins, I finally returned home at about 6:45.
I had to write and submit an offer for a buyer before finally getting to relax about 9p last night and watch some of the MLB Playoffs.
I was sitting on my couch and a 2014 edition of Ijamsville/Urbana Living, a small magazine targeting the Ijamsville and Urbana area, caught my eye on our coffee table. I started thumbing through the magazine and noticed the ads from a couple real estate agents. I LOVE looking at these ads, going back 2-3 years seeing who was advertising and if it has had a positive impact on their businesses. Then, as a real estate agent, I have direct access to see how many homes these agents sell. I can go and put in their MLS (Multiple Listing Service) number and search how many sellers and buyers they are working with and in what areas they are serving.
The first ad that find is a huge half page, full color ad with a big headshot… you know the kind of ad.
The headline says: “No. 1 Team in Urbana… I’m Not Only a Realtor Here But I’m Also Your Neighbor.”
Really? Number 1 Team in Urbana… I’ve never heard of you. I go back and search this agent and this team. Wanna know how many homes they’ve sold this year? ZERO, ZILCH, NADA!!!
The second ad that I come to is another half page, full color ad. No agent picture on this one, just a picture of a house with the Headline:
“Urbana Home Team. Looking to Buy, Rent, or Sell in Urbana? We are Your Local Urbana Home Expert”
So, I search this agent. 7 Transactions this Year. All of ‘em in Urbana, right? NOPE not A ONE. 5 in Baltimore. 1 in Howard County. 1 in Frederick County.
These self-proclaimed “EXPERTS” with the “No. 1 TEAM” are nothing more than paper champs.
I feel bad that these agents think spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month on a half-page ad in a niche magazine will help their business. What they don’t realize is that these magazine ads are worthless and have very little return. Could they be used for branding? Yes, but even with that, their message is all WRONG. And on top of that, they don’t have the content and documented results to back up their claims.
IF, a BIG IF I were to ever do an ad like this I would try to get an emotional attachment and benefit for the consumer. I wouldn’t say that “I’ve sold XXX number of houses this year” or that (I love this one) “Top 1% of Agents in the Country”. Who the Heck cares? Probably not you! And if you did, probably not the type of client and relationship we want to have.
I would probably give them a snippet or a quote from the book where we document the Approach we use to help sellers sell their home for up to $30,000 more than other similar homes on the market and then I would offer a copy of the book so they could do their own research. They could then see for themselves at “The Psychological Approach to Sell Real Estate”, if our Approach would work for them.
Nowhere in the Ad or in the Book would I proclaim that I’m number 1 in anything. Consumers DON’T care, all they care about is how you are going to help them AND then if you stand for more than just selling homes.
So, next time you see these agents with their full color ads. Take heed, within 2 years, as these 2 agents are NO LONGER doing ANY business in the area they are advertising. Be careful, Be Diligent, Do Your Research. Just because someone says they are number 1 means NOTHING!!!
But it gets even Better…
The next day I was driving, listening to my favorite SportsTalk radio station and this ad comes on for a real estate agent. The ad goes on to state that the “J*** L**** Group of R**ax GUARANTEES the sale of your home and, in fact, if they can’t sell your house that they will buy it at an agreed upon price.”
Really? Too good to be true, right?
Of course, I know the program, us in real estate call this the “Guaranteed Sale Program.” It is a ‘Bait ‘n Switch’ program to get the phone ringing. All this guy cares about is getting as many leads as possible.
We’ll call this method of collecting leads and pestering them, ‘The One-Night-Stand Agent’
Once the prospective client asks the program he points to the fine print that states, yes he will buy the house at a steeply discounted price. For cents on the dollar. Trust me, this is a NO LOSE situation for the real estate agent. He gets the listing and if he must buy the house he’ll buy it at 60% of the market value. But the house must have inspections done before he buys and an appraisal. And guess who pays for them?
This guy. The agents in the Magazine they are ‘One Night Stand Agents’.
Their philosophy is to have as many One Night Stands as possible. They look at each ‘lead’ as prey that they can take advantage of just for the sake of a ‘sale.’ Then when that sale is over, just like the one night stand they are never to be heard from again. Then the cycle starts with the next lead. And the next lead. Capture the contact info of the lead then beat into submission with their ‘tricks’, get the sale and then move onto the next.
Hey, it works for some and you can make a lot of money doing this, but it wears on you. Always chasing the next ‘lead.’ It eats away at your soul. At your character. This is why there is such a high turnover and burnout of real estate agents.
Then there is the opposite model, The ‘Relationship Model’… Where there is no chasing. No pestering. No leads. Just relationships. Each person that we Engage, that become our clients, they are treated as relationships, not one night stands. These relationships, they are for the long-term, not just for a transaction.
We don’t look at potential clients as ‘leads’ and we don’t view our clients as ‘sales’ everyone is long-term relationship. It’s much harder to do this as compared to the one-night stand. You have to form a trust with that partner. You have to do what you say your gonna do and always be there for them. Then you have to foster and strengthen that relationship over time. We do this by our monthly newsletter, “The Eric Verdi Letter” that you are reading, where we document our philosophies and strengthens the relationship. We make sure that people hear from us at various other times throughout the year.
Never ‘asking or begging’ for business. Just to check-in and Sharing Stories.
See, the trust is built through ‘Stories’ not some stupid a$$ sales pitch.
Just yesterday I received a text from a past client, a friend, who sold and purchased last year. We were friends prior, and friends still. We were introduced through mutual connections and the relationship has strengthened over time.
“Hey Eric! How are you?! I have a quick question and hope you may have the answer off the top of your head. If not, I can just look for our paperwork. Our AC unit upstairs isn’t working….Thanks”
I responded within a few minutes and got the answer she needed and gave her the contact for an HVAC guy that our clients have used for years.
Think the ‘One Night Stand Agents’ foster their relationships and help clients’ years after the transaction? NOPE, they are too busy trying to capture their next prey. Because we don’t chase, we don’t have ‘leads’.
Leads are treated like one night stands… While our clients and potential clients are treated like relationships.
So, we’d much rather form 10 new relationships in the next year as opposed to having 100 One-Night-Stands.
You will never be a One-Night-Stand with us. You will become a trusted friend and relationship.