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Rants N Raves: Real Estate Sales–Time for New Approach

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The following rant is from a relatively new friend of mine, Amy Lewis. She just sold her home. And, she has some interesting ideas on how we might improve this often painful process.

I’m selling my house (editor’s note: Amy sold her house since submitting this post). Your sympathies are welcome.

As a marketer, it has been an eye-opening process. I’ve been surprised how, even in light of the new means of reaching and engaging people, the real estate industry chiefly relies on marketing techniques of 20 years ago.

Take pictures.

Put the listing on MLS.

Make flyers for bulletin boards.

Put a sign in the yard.

Have open houses.

And wait…and wait some more.

When the house doesn’t sell right away, lower the price. When a realtor’s bag of tricks is exhausted, the price is lowered again.

Maybe it’s just my realtor but I don’t think so. She’s learned her technique from others around her. That’s why I’m looking forward to the discussion at SMBMSP #25 on real estate and social media. Knowing SMBMSP’s track record, I’m sure the speakers are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a blog and other social media to build their business and their reputations. Near as I can tell, these folks are in the minority.

A Different World

Can you imagine if every company followed the marketing practices of realtors? Our world would be so different. Imagine:

  • Every company would promote their wares with a tacky sign in front of their buildings – probably one of the pretty yellow ones with a lighted arrow across the top with a few bulbs burnt out and messages in black magnetic letters with scattered ones missing.
  • Bulletin boards at coffee shops and grocery stores would be the size of billboards to accommodate scads of outdated 8-1/2×11 flyers about cutting-edge products.
  • If sales are slow, prices would continue falling until every company operated at a loss.
  • Companies would host their own trade show exhibit at their facilities. If you want to see what a company sells, you have to have an appointment or see the products when they said you could come in.
  • Every product would be sold with the hard sell. No subliminal messaging. No attempt to build a reputation or goodwill. No partnerships with related products or services.

What do you think marketing would look like if realtors were charged with marketing for General Mills or Apple?

No Crystal Ball

I’m no expert when it comes to real estate. I can’t predict what will sell my house. But my marketing instinct tells me that what will sell the house will be networking and exposing it to as many people as possible. What a perfect use of social media!

Networking? That’s the premise of social media. My realtor could use social media to connect with other realtors who may have buyers looking for a home like mine or directly with prospective buyers. Realtors who use Facebook and Twitter to build their networks are ahead of the game – particularly if they use them for building relationships rather than shameless self promotion.

A blog? Also a great way to bring attention to their expertise and provide relevant content that Twitter followers and Facebook friends or fans would be interested in.

Video? A video that goes viral would have amazing potential, would it not?

With the versatility of social media today, it seems to me that selling a house could be so different. How would you use social media to sell a house?

For nearly 20 years, Amy Lewis, principal of Renown Marketing Communications, has been helping companies achieve business objectives through effective communications that influence the stakeholders who impact their success.

Photo credit: Dick Phillips, FlickR Creative Commons

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Rants N Raves: Real Estate Sales–Time for New Approach

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