Have you seen the TV commercial for a national cellphone carrier that pokes a bit of fun at the real estate profession?
In the advertisement, a team of six or seven real estate agents have ventured into a phone store and the salesperson is running down the list of her product's benefits.
Of course, the perfectly-coiffed agents are all decked out in their tan and gold blazers and breathlessly offer cliches about “closing the deal, etc.” before ending the ad in their best arms-crossed, superhero, “we're a team of professionals” glamor shot.
It's funny stuff and even funnier when you know you have (or at least had) marketing materials just like that.
But it's not quite so amusing if that is the sort of cliché that you are actually presenting to your clients.
Let's face it: cliches are always based in some sort of truth and, unfortunately, that TV commercial perfectly sums up the image that pops into the mind of many consumers when the phrase “real estate agent” is presented.
As far as caricatures go, we're only slightly better off than car salesman and television news anchors in the realm of public perception.
The point of this article and discussion is not to bemoan that fact but rather to remind you that it does indeed exist. And national television campaigns go a long way in perpetuating such an image.
So I'd like to challenge you to take a step back occasionally and examine the many ways in which you present yourself and business to the public, both face-to-face and in marketing efforts.
Is it your stated goal to differentiate yourself from other agents and gain listings and trust as a result?
If so, then you simply can't accomplish that by acting like a cardboard cutout.
So the question becomes: Are you and your business or team real and authentic? How are you different? In what ways are you better and unique?
One of the reasons that I talk so often about the benefits of blogging and being active on social media is the simple fact that those mediums provide real estate agents an ideal platform to differentiate themselves. It's a place to come across as real, authentic, and trustworthy human beings who also just happen to be competent and pleasant people who can help others through the process of buying and selling houses.
But blogging and social media feeds are just one element of “being real” and, frankly, I didn't start out writing this blog post to provide you with a list of ways to avoid contributing to a negative stereotype.
If you are going to be authentic, then it must stand to reason that you have to be the one to figure out whether or not you're doing a sufficient job in presenting your skills to a consumer base that assumes real estate agents are all the same and fake – just like the ones they saw in that funny TV commercial last night.
Take a step back, examine your marketing, look at your brochures, scan the website, think through your scripts and pitch, and decide whether or not you are real and likeable – or a cliché.
Then close the deal.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.