Among the many writing services I provide to real estate industry professionals, I ghostwrite books for them. These books serve several purposes for the agent. Among them is that, because the agent is listed as the author, the book conveys expertise, knowledge and credibility.
Most important, however, is that, since the books are full of valuable content for real estate consumers, they are meant to be included in the agent’s “customer service” bucket, not the “marketing” bucket, although they accomplish both.
I worked hard to avoid agent-promotion and marketing jargon in the books and to include only information of value to the reader. For my clients who kept the content of the books true to its intent, this approach works.
Now, this blog post isn’t about my book-writing service. It’s about my book-buying clients – or at least a handful of them. It’s about the knee-jerk reaction of some agents to plaster their greatness on everything they touch – to turn everything into a marketing opportunity. It’s about how it’s like pulling teeth to get them to back off.
They just can’t seem to understand that there are times to self-promote and there are times to think about the consumer – to share with them their expertise. If you are among those agents that feel the need to promote yourself at every opportunity, you might want to read on. You might also want to take a good long look at what you provide: SERVICE. Not to yourself, but to consumers — people who are sick and tired of having to wade through marketing garbage to find one nugget of useful information.
Joseph Conrad, one of my favorite writers, first offered that advice more than 100 years ago. His advice is even more pertinent today. We live in a visually-oriented world where most folks want action, not talk.
Tell them until the cows come home that you’re the “neighborhood expert” or the king or queen of local real estate and they may or — more likely — may not believe you.
Hand them a book full of helpful information that SHOWS your expertise, or provide a sprinkling of strategically placed client testimonials on your website that prove your real estate chops, and now we’re talking.
Although Harvard Business Review’s Sarah Green’s review of a book about self-promotion finds few redeeming qualities, she does address one. “. . . the author’s willingness to cop to his own bragging blunders,” she reveals.
“He describes one incident in which he caught the eye of a pretty bartender. She asked what he did, and he launched into ‘a long recitation’ of his professional accomplishments. Her response? ‘That was really unattractive.’”
Another Harvard Business Review contributor and author of the book “Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt” claims that our culture of self-aggrandizement has been taken too far.
“Reams of psychological studies show that being perceived as modest is associated with a wide range of positive outcomes. The message is clear: People do not value confidence unless it is accompanied by competence — and even when it is, they prefer to see as little confidence surplus as possible.”
Real estate consumers don’t care about you. Really, they don’t. They don’t care how long you’ve been in the business, how many credentials you have, how many homes you sell per minute or anything else about your business.
They only care about what’s in it for them. Will you sell my house for what I want within my preferred schedule? Will you find me the home I want for the price I want? What should I expect during the transaction? What’s the market like right now?
Sure, there’s a time and place for self-promotion, but when every page of your website is devoted to describing your accomplishments you become the Selfie King or Queen of real estate – the Kim Kardashian of the housing market, if you will.
It’s important to balance your needs to market your business (which is yourself, if you’re an agent) and the needs of real estate consumers. While you’re busily telling them how swell you are, they’re busy looking for reasons to believe your rhetoric. Give them one without all the hype.