How do you feel when a homeowner tells you he is going to sell his home by himself?
Stop and think about that for a minute. Does it make you angry? Does it fill you with pity for the poor soul?
I’m sure you’ve encountered the situation before. I know I did when I was selling real estate. In fact, one of the homeowners, whom I eventually listed, was a cardiac surgeon. I called him “Buttinsky” behind his back because, despite turning the reins over to me, he still felt he needed to have his hand in every aspect of the transaction.
I remember when he originally told me he wanted to sell the house himself. I wanted to ask him the same sort of question I just asked you: “How would you feel if I told you I’m going to perform my own open heart surgery?”
From then on, whenever he acted like Dr. Buttinsky – attempting to take control of the real estate process — I promised him that if he would allow me to do my job, I wouldn’t barge into his surgery to help him operate on his patients.
Why do so many people think they can perform jobs that others have trained for, that others have years of experience doing and that others are so much more effective performing?
Not only are there people that try to sell their own houses, there are those that try to do their own taxes, home repairs, haircuts and even, write their own marketing materials.
Yes, I’m sure a lot of the reason they do this has to do with saving money. A lot of it also has to do with the fact that these skills look a lot easier than they are to acquire. This is probably why we don’t see a lot of folks doing a DIY embalming job on dearly departed Aunt Martha, performing root canals on their kids or trying to be an airline pilot with no training.
Just as amazed as I was when a homeowner told me he was going FSBO I am now astounded when I read the writing on most real estate agent’s websites. Even more confounding are the real estate marketing gurus that counsel agents about how to market themselves.
Here’s the one that sparked this post: a real estate agent marketing whiz has a post on his blog advising agents how to improve their websites. Lo and behold, number two on the list is all about content.
Does this guru take a minute to caution the agents about lousy writing? Does he mention that sloppy punctuation and grammar may make potential clients feel that everything else the agent does might be sloppy as well? No sireee.
He tells the very agents that become incensed when a homeowner feels he can do it himself to “write some new pages,” focused on “the neighborhoods that you like to operate in.” He adds, gleefully I might add, that this “fresh” new content you write will “compel visitors to come back and want some more.”
That’s like telling a terrible chef in a restaurant to just add more dishes to the menu to attract new diners. Huh?
You know the dangers that lurk in every real estate transaction. You’ve probably dealt with some of them and you know how to meet them head on. Most homeowners don’t have the benefit of your training and experience.
In the same vein, I know the dangers of real estate agents trying to write their own website content and blog postings. The first impression I get after reading many of these is that if the agent doesn’t care about how she markets herself, how is a client supposed to think she’ll care about the marketing of her house?
Writing, like selling, requires skill. Writing an effective lede requires skill and blood, sweat and tears. I’ll pause here while you look up the meaning of “lede,” and hopefully you’ll learn of the absolute importance of it, especially when writing for the web.
You only have a fraction of a second to capture your reader’s attention. If you fail, it doesn’t matter how much “fresh content” you add to your site or your blog, visitors will never be back for more.
Market thyself, agent. Yes, it costs money. But, hey, marketing dollars are tax deductible and oh, such a huge part of doing business.
Now, let’s make a deal: Every time I see them, I’ll give FSBO signs the stink eye if you promise to step away from the keyboard.
Image courtesy of Mooselopedia