Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series.
Peter Knight of the United Kingdom’s Property Academy had great insights on how real estate professionals from around the world market their businesses. If you need some fresh marketing ideas to spice up your marketing campaign, implementing Knight’s suggestions is a great way to start.
Part 1 of this series outlined where Realtors are missing the mark in much of their advertising. Rather than promoting themselves, Knight argues that they need to shift their focus to the most important truth when it comes to selling houses: You’re not selling a house, you’re selling a home that becomes the frame in which people create their lives.
8. Get back to real life (see Nos. 1-7 here)
Most Realtors in the U.S. go for sterile staging. In other words, we remove all the signs that a real family lives in the house. Agents encourage sellers to remove personal items including pictures, unusual art, or just about anything that would not fit in a model home.
The strategy seems to work, as staged properties consistently sell faster and for more money than those properties that have not been staged.
Knight suggests that it may be smart to go in an entirely different direction. The example he used was a picture of the door to a little girl’s bedroom. The little girl had a brother who constantly teased her with his rather obnoxious habit. The girl took out her crayons, made a sign, and taped it to her door. The sign read, "No Fart Zone."
Knight believes that when you’re selling homes rather than selling houses, sharing some of the idiosyncrasies of family life actually makes the home more desirable to potential buyers.
9. Create a resume for the property
While most real estate marketing focuses on features, buyers purchase based upon the emotional benefits they believe the property offers. Instead of doing the standard description that most agents use, get the "Gosh, that’s amazing!" response by creating a resume for the home that tells as much as possible about the house.
For example, describe who built the house, who used to live there, as well as the human side of the home’s story: "We watched our son take his first steps next to the big hibiscus bush in the backyard. When he reached junior high school age, we finished off the basement. He promptly named it the ‘man cave.’ Now that he is grown, it’s still the favorite place for his children to hang out when they come to visit us."
To use this approach in your business, invite your sellers to share their unique insights about the home as well as any special memories they may have. Ask them what attracted them to buy in this area and what they loved about living there. While this is clearly not an option for all properties, where it is appropriate, it is an extremely effective way to market.
To put this approach on steroids, don’t rely exclusively on written words. Instead, use your video cam to capture 60- to 90-second clips of the sellers describing what matters to them about the property.
To illustrate this point, a Realtor who had listed a ranch decided to interview the seller on camera. The rancher explained how the ranch had been in his family for more than 100 years. He shared what it was like when he was growing up as well as the fun he had raising his three boys. As he described his memories, a small tear ran down his cheek. No ad copy could ever match the power of this touching video.
10. Locate an "in-house" historian
Almost every area has a number of people who are local history buffs. It could be someone who is an antique collector or a local history professor. In either case, many of these people are eager to find audiences where they can show off their knowledge. You can turn this to your advantage in several different ways.
For example, if your "in-house" historian likes writing, you can invite the person to post on your blog. You could also have him or her write a column for your newsletter. If the person is not a writer, you could conduct a video interview at different times of the year. Ask about local holiday traditions or how people managed during extreme weather in the past.
Another way to capitalize on the "in-house" historian approach is to have the person conduct a walking tour of some of the local sites. If you have ever been on one of the ghost tours in New Orleans or Hollywood, these can be quite fascinating.
You can also conduct your own tour as well. For example, if you work in a historical part of town, you might conduct a walking tour that points out features unique to the area. This can include architectural styles, old restaurants that still operate today, or any of the other historical events that someone buying in the area may find fascinating.
What makes this approach particularly effective is that people who live in the area see you walking with a posse of potential buyers following you. This is a great way to make you the Realtor of choice when they are ready to buy or sell.
Remember, people purchase upon the story and the emotional benefits — that’s what creates the "Gosh, that’s amazing!" experience.
Need more marketing ideas from around the world? Don’t miss Part 3 on Monday.