A few years back, I met with a couple looking to sell their home in Seattle. As a newer agent who had found some success with buyers, I was hungry for my first listing.
- The hero's journey involves a character (the hero) who goes on an adventure to find something.
- While on the journey, the hero experiences a problem that can’t be overcome. In the midst of this problem, the hero meets a guide who offers a plan.
- Is the real estate agent the hero -- or the guide -- in the transaction process? What do your marketing materials say?
During the listing presentation, I over-confidently stumbled through a CMA (comparative market analysis), pointed out a few things that needed to be painted and showed them my “awesome” marketing materials (including video skills).
After a self-absorbed 45 minutes, I boldly declared why I was the best person for the job, shook their hands and walked away thinking I had nailed it.
They went with another agent.
After patiently hearing me out, he asked me a peculiar question: “Tyler, who is the hero in this story?”
The Hero’s Journey
He went on to explain the “hero’s journey,” a template that storytellers have used for thousands of years.
It involves a character, the hero, who is searching for something and goes on an adventure to find it.
While on the journey, the hero experiences a problem that can’t be overcome. In the midst of this problem, the hero meets a guide who offers a plan.
The hero then executes that plan, overcomes evil and saves the day. The hero returns home, forever transformed, and lives happily ever after.
For reference, think of any movie you’ve ever seen. Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Moneyball, Back to the Future — we could go on.
Let’s apply this framework to Star Wars:
- Luke (the character) leaves his home after losing his family.
- He discovers that the dark side is threatening the galaxy (the problem).
- He meets Yoda (the guide) who trains him to become a Jedi (the plan).
- He executes the plan, defeats the Death Star, saving the galaxy, and he becomes — the hero.
So who’s the hero?
This idea of a hero’s journey got me thinking.
All too often as real estate agents, we think of ourselves as the hero.
We create websites and videos that talk about how great our numbers are and why we’re the best. We tote our reviews, brag about our listings and flaunt our sold signs.
But what if we are not the heroes of this story? What if we’re Yoda and our clients are Luke?
How would this change the way we speak about ourselves?
Would we listen to our client’s problems more thoroughly? Would we post photos of our clients standing in front of their new home instead of us in front of our sold signs? Would we provide tailored plans to help them defeat their Death Star?
Since that conversation, I’ve drastically changed my mindset and my marketing materials.
Now, when I’m in a listing consultation, I ask questions and listen for concerns. I help create a detailed plan for them to overcome their unique problems.
Let’s be honest, agents: We don’t have a reputation for being the most humble industry — but we can change that!
We all know how annoying that one person is who won’t stop talking about himself — or herself. Let’s flip the script and focus on what our client needs.
Here’s an exercise: Go back to your marketing materials. What do you talk about? Your successes? Or the client’s problems and fears?
Switching to a guide mindset has transformed my business and my life. (If you’re ever interested in brainstorming how it could apply to your business, please don’t hesitate to email me.)
If you want to learn how to become a guide to your customers, this free series of videos from the folks at StoryBrand can help you figure out where to start when giving your marketing materials a makeover.