RTRE 50 – How to Not be Annoying when Advertising

Ever wonder why some people leave a bad taste in your mouth after meeting them?

Successful marketing requires building a relationship with your audience. Many real estate professionals avoid this and instead grab a bullhorn and shout at their audience expecting the same results.

Tune in for today’s episode to hear us talk about how to NOT be annoying in your interactions with the public.

The re:think real estate podcast is hosted by Chris LazarusNathan White, and Christian Harris. Thank you for tuning in. Please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

Audio length 30:15

[music] [Chris]: Welcome to re:Think Real Estate, your educational and hopefully entertaining source for all things real estate, business, news and tech.

[Christian]: I am Christian Harris in Seattle, Washington.

[Nathan]: Hi, I am Nathan White in Columbus, Ohio.

[Chris]: And I am Chris Lazarus in Atlanta, Georgia. Thanks for tuning in. 

[music] [Chris]: Everybody welcome back to re:Think Real Estate. I am Chris Lazarus here with Christian Harris and Nathan White. What’s going on guys?

[Christian]: Hey fellas what’s happening? Alright [laughter]. Today we’re gonna talk about being annoying [laughter]. 

[Chris]: That’s a great intro for that Christian. Before we get started Nate how is your CRM doing?

[Nathan]: Yeah…anyway…

[Chris]: [laughter] Alright. So yeah, we definitely want to talk about being annoying and how not to do that. Today’s episode we’re talking about marketing. And our good friend Joe Rand over from JoeRand.com just came out with an article a few days ago which was “Stop being annoying-The 3 phases of communication technology and why nobody likes us”. So great article. Nate you found this. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about it?

[Nathan]: Well I didn’t find it. It happened…you know I found it, whatever. I saw it. It was funny because I was having thoughts like Joe was having and Joe was much better with words than I, that’s why he has a couple of books right? But I just…I was getting annoyed because like I get on Facebook right and it’s just…it’s just…It’s not even Facebook anymore. What we used to know right. It’s kind of like you know how MTV changed. It’s all marketing. It’s just marketing. And a lot of it it’s realtors who won. I mean I’m not…I hate to be that guy to pick on our industry but again we got a content. It’s horrible but again you know whether it’s from…And I mean I am looking here right now. Some golf advert to realtor, to realtor, to realtor. Like it’s just nonstop and it’s poor. And I don’t know I feel like we find a good you know what would you call it, a medium, and than we go and ruin it and people hate us for it. And Joe you know wrote the article about how to stop being annoying. He offers a 3-part solution. Phase 1 the excitement. Phase 2 solicitation. 3 is the protection. 

[Chris]: Let’s talk about that.

[Nathan]: Well let’s talk about it but I want to get to the point real quick on this and then we go back to the 3 phases. 

And then he offers he says “What’s the solution?”. He says “Well we can’t do anything about everyone else”. 

I agree 100%. 

“But we can police our own behavior”. Instead of using email, social media, phones to make annoying calls that only serve our own interest we need to focus our outbound marketing efforts on providing a service to other people. Think about what they need not what you need. 

[Christian]: But being client centric? What. That’s crazy. Thinking about other people. 

[Chris]: I’ve never heard of that before. 

[Nathan]: I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that have we?

[Chris]: No it’s completely out of line with this show. 

[Nathan]: So Phase 1. Phase 1 is excitement.

[Chris]: And so phase 1 like I think he compared it to people getting an answering machine right. Everybody got an answering machine and everybody wanted to see the red light blinking and then telemarketers just ruined it. And then nobody has an answering machine now and people barely check their voicemail.

[Christian]: Sure I mean I think the idea is you know I mean there’s quite a number of books on you know technology and evolution of it and this plays right into that theme of when something new comes out it’s exciting. Everyone wants it. You know it goes back to like the days of pre-TV with you know door to door salesman. You know like being at home is boring so people wanted people to come to the door. 

And then that got saturated and you know you had the mail. People enjoyed getting mail and then you know solicitations and advertisement got in the mail and now people you know hover over the recycling bin throwing away mail. 

And you know now you’re getting that you know with social media. Like you used to enjoy getting on social media and checking in with friends and whatever and now you have to whip 30 you know half of it is solicitations from agents or other marketers, you know, as agents. We’re getting solicited for leading this or growing your business that you know by who knows who. You know so self-described gurus. And you know now you have to filter there. Now you know it takes away the joy of what once was. Looking forward to getting online or looking forward to getting the mail or looking forward to someone getting to your house. Now it’s annoying.

[Chris]: Yeah we find something that we enjoy. We get excited about it. New technology and all the advertisers start catching on to it. They start saying “Oh we can reach people in a new way through this technology”. 

And then they start soliciting and soliciting and hounding us left and right through the mediums that we’re enjoying. And that’s the end game right? Because that’s how these platforms make money. It’s though advertising. They’re advertising companies. 

And then what happens next that’s what Joe says is phase 3. That’s protection. We stop paying attention to them. We develop coping mechanisms to not be solicited and not listen or not pay attention to the ads that are coming on. And I think that this is a big reason why our attention span has now become that’s less than a goldfish. Because that has been a coping mechanism to pay…to not pay attention to all of these solicitations that we’re getting. 

[Christian]: Yeah I mean I would say that part of it is just a medium of social media. Not necessarily being advertised. You know it’s you know there’s another big leaf. There is a message in that medium so it’s not just the only thing they’re consuming is the message you know but consuming a message via print versus auditory, versus you know social media. You know like it’s gonna do different things in your brain. You respond differently you know. 

But it doesn’t help that we now have all this extra white noise to filter through to get to what we actually wanna see which is typically you know friends and family and not solicitors trying and sell us something.

[Chris]: Absolutely and so let’s talk about how we cannot be annoying. You know I friend people in real estate all the time and last week somebody reached out on Facebook, sent me this message. This person is in real estate. 

This is what they said “Hey Christopher I almost didn’t message you because I don’t want to come across spammy. LOL. My wife and I have had some great result with “Thrive”. More energy [cough] mental clarity, weight management. I even sleep better. It might be for you and I think or it might not and that’s OK. Just wanted to share what’s working for me. Would you be open to more info?”

There’s absolutely nothing of value that that person delivered to me. And it’s just…

[Nathan]: If you’re not sleeping well it could be of value.

[Chris]: Well do I want more energy or do I want to sleep better? I mean does…is it just me or those 2 are completely different ends of the spectrum? 

[Nathan]: [censored] I just want my kid to stay in his bed at night and not interrupt my sleep so if they can fix that for me in that email.

[Chris]: [laughter] I mean it’s what has become of people. And that person is in real estate and they are paddling a multi-level marketing product on the side. I mean do you think that their real estate marketing may end up following similar pattern? I don’t think it’s a farfetched to actually see that leap being made.

[Nathan]: I think-no go ahead sorry.

[Chris]: No I mean I…kind of the point I kind of make here is if you’re just going out and peddling something in front of somebody they’re gonna ignore you. Those are the coping mechanisms that we have developed now. It’s no longer…like we don’t like being sold things. 

[Nathan]: No I am attracted to the brands or things that eat my curiosity. That I don’t feel like they’re jammed down my throat. 

And so I’ll use a perfect example and in no form or shape I represent them but recently I have been doing the Purple Carrot Meal Delivery right. And I just hashtag it on my Ohio running realtor Instagram. You know “#purplecarrotblablabla”. The…I take pictures of the food which is really good. But I have had more people reach out to me just through organically saying “Hey can you tell me a little bit more about Purple Carrot?”. 

I am not…I am not on there going “Purple Carrot is the bomb bla bla bla”. I put what the meal is. I state you know whether it is cous cous or whatever it may be, insert a joke there and take a really nice picture and then put it out there. 

And I have had a lot of people private message me or DM me or whatever you wanna call it and say “Hey can you tell me more about it?”. I am not forcing it down anybody’s throat. I am not saying you have to have this”. But it has created interest. 

I am a brand ambassador for Prevail Botanicals. You don’t see my thread on Facebook with Prevail every day. We use a hashtag. We don’t jam it down your throat. Have that people say “Hey what stuff do you use with your sore muscles and your AT pains from running and bla bla bla” and I say “It’s Prevail”. 

If they wanna know more than they’ll ask but I feel it’s the same with real estate. Like if somebody is really genuinely interested in real estate they’re gonna ask you. Just…you don’t have to jam it down people’s throats. At least I believe that you’re a [censored] realtor. Like just I don’t know I feel like we’re so over the top. Like over the time. Like “What do you like better this back porch or that back porch?” “What I like is when you don’t post [censored] like that personally but…” 

[laughter] Like nobody cares right. I just…They don’t care about interest rates unless they are buying a house. They don’t care about houses unless they are buying a house. So that’s me and it works for me. It doesn’t mean it works for everybody else. And my colleague, Mr. Harris, has his hand up over there so I am gonna let him talk on that. I am gonna thank you Christian. 

[Christian]: Alright. I am gonna play the devil’s advocate here for a sec. What if someone…What if someone is listening and thinking “Well how do we know they’re real estate agents there?” Where is the balance between letting someone know and being in sales and annoying when you talk about houses?

[Nathan]: Because there is a way to be subtle about it. Like you know…like I don’t…I just…like when I go to a closing the biggest thing that I do other than my hashtag that’s on a separate entity but I check into a closing and I put “Doing a closing thing”. People know…I mean most people know, I don’t want to say everybody, but they know that I am a realtor or that in some way I am doing that business. And there’s other ways. 

I don’t know. I just don’t want my social media feed filled with that crap and guess what I have taken the option of doing. I have taken the choice of filtering all that out. You know. It’s that old advertisement. You don’t like something on the TV change the channel. I have changed the channel. So…

[Chris]: I think it all comes down to the message. Marketing is required. The marketing is the…it is the whole process of staying top of mind in our sphere but there are different ways that we can do it right. 

So an example is, Nathan you just brought up rates. Your typical buyer doesn’t care about the rate. Unless they’re very savvy. They care about the payment. So if your post on social media “Up rates just jumped again” and all you talk about is the rate than that doesn’t really provide any value to them. That your target audience may know that you have something to do with real estate but they’re not really paying attention to that message. 

On the other hand if you say “Rates just jumped again” so…and then you kind of put that in context and say “Well a $200.000 house now the payment went from on average about 12.000 to now about 13.000” that means something a little bit more that is easier for somebody outside of the industry to understand. 

I think that marketing involves us putting ourselves in the potential client shoes. The shoes of the consumer, to understand what is important to them. 

If you talk about due diligence right they don’t care about due diligence. They buy a house once every 10 years. They don’t need to know that stuff every day. They need to know what is going on in the community. Right. 

Realtors should be the digital mayor of the community. They should be out there saying “Well we have these festivals going on. I’ll see you there”. Or share a personal story that really somebody can resonate with that may reflect around what you do professionally that gives some sort of authenticity and come insight to show that you’re human and that you’re not just trying to sell them on something. Because that’s…that’s been the focal point for everything that we do. That’s the idea behind client’s centricity. Is putting their needs first. We need to do that in our marketing too. 

[Christian]: I think you being up an interesting point. It’s a lot of it comes down to marketing you know that is that. And in my experience yeah the majority of what is being peddled out there is marketing in real estate you know by franchises, by gurus, by trainers is pretty much the opposite of you know Joe Rants “Don’t be annoying”. 

You know they say “You gotta be top of mind”. And to them that’s making your phone calls and pestering people and going online. And if you go “Oh by the way if you know anyone that can buy or sell a house” like everyone is taught to say that so everyone says it so no one…so it means nothing to no one. People are just like “Oh yeah that’s what a realtor says” you know. It’s like a stand up. You know that’s bad marketing. That is low bar. I am not thinking I am just told to do this and I am gonna do it and supposedly that will give me result. They probably are not the results that you want. 

[Chris]: I think you just hit the nail in the head there. 

[Nathan]: I do too.

[Chris]: Thinking. And that’s the problem. If you’re gonna market effectively you have to think about what the message is that is gonna solve the problem for your consumer.

[Christian]: Well you have to start with who your consumer is. You know if it is the population that you asked well there is your first problem. Like that should not be your targeting market. You know.

[Chris]: You’ve got different segments right. You’ve got …there might be an itch that you work. And that might be your thing to go after her whether that we based off of a previous profession, a hobby. Whether you’re running or cycling or you just love giving back in the community and you’re in the philanthropy space. You have geographic which is you can market based off of where you live and where you do business or you can go and just focus on something specific in real estate right. 

If you focus on if you’re in the equestrian market and you’ve grown up in the equestrian world and you understand horse ranches better than anybody else that is something that you can specifically market to but the fact is that no matter what you’re marketing to, what segment that is you’ve gotta find out a way to provide value to them. 

It’s geographic. Share what’s going on in the community. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that said, “Share what is going on in the community“ and how little people actually do it. 

[Christian]: Yeah I mean even if you don’t have all that figured out just be an interesting person [laughter]. I mean like I think like Peter Lorimer or something you know. Obviously he’s got a big personality like British accent and stuff but like this guy has hands in everything. And it’s all really interesting to watch or listen to. You know, and I get the impression he is trying to sell to me. Like it’s always helping agents or you know “Look at this cool thing, this is what I am doing in my life right now”. Like it’s never “Hey if you’re looking to buy or sell you know in Los Angeles…” or whatever you know yeah I mean you could figure it out. 

So going back to kind of our initial conversation about Joe Rants 3 things it’s as you were giving that example you know you received a social message whatever it was. It is interesting that we have gotten you know most people think we are related to this. We’ve gotten so far along the hiatus to the sales pitch that they don’t even pretend it’s not a sales pitch. They just come up like “Hey I hope this isn’t annoying to you” or “I hope this doesn’t come off as spammy” [laughter] which really means “This is a standard sales pitch”.

[Chris]: Yeah you know “I am about to annoy the hell out of you”.

[Christian]: As if that’s more authentic and will make it less salesly or you’re more likely to you know like they think that that’s they know that’s a barrier and they think that admitting it will be less a barrier. When in reality that’s just like “Oh thankfully I didn’t read the whole message. Delete”. Just put it up front so I can delete quickly you know. 

[Chris]: Definitely. I mean my response to him was” you know “You should have stuck with your gut. [laughter]. It was definitely spammy and annoying. And shouldn’t have messaged me.”

But agents do that all the time. Real estate agents they do the same thing that multi-level marketing people are doing. “Hey haven’t talked to you in a while. Wanted to reach out and let you know I am in real estate now. Do you know anybody that is looking to buy or sell in the next you know 30-60-90 days”. Whatever it is. 

Agents do that all the time and there’s…it’s actually really easy to not do that. Like if you meet somebody and they ask you what you do the first thing you’re gonna say is “Real estate”. And they’re just gonna come down and immediately ask you how the market is. That is the instantly question that the buyers or anybody that you meet are gonna ask you once they find out that you’re in real estate. So what do most agents do?

Well most agents the moment they get asked that question they say “The market is great. The market is great. When are you looking to move?” or “Are you looking to move?”. They immediately position themselves for the time share pitch. And that’s the high pressure. 

[Christian]: That’s desperate.

[Chris]: They come off as desperate. And the people that are on the opposite side they don’t feel like they’re on a conversation anymore. They feel like they’re being cornered into becoming a lead. And people don’t want to be considered a lead. They want to be considered you know their name and they don’t want to be you know a prospect. 

So a great way that that can be changed is instead of asking them “Well you know are you looking to buy or sell?”. “Who is your realtor?” “Oh I don’t have a realtor I am not in the market”. “Oh great well not everybody is in the market at all time. So who do you call when you need to file your tax assessment? Who do you call when you’re trying to figure out how much money you should spend on the renovation and you want to make sure that you don’t get negative equity?” “Like these are kind of free services, they’re complimentary services that we offer to everybody in the community as part of our company and I’d love to be able to be that person for you if you ever need to reach out. If some of these people end up using me to buy or sell some of us don’t but it’s not a big deal but we’re here for you and we want to provide value”. 

Doing something like that the conversation goes a whole different way. People have respect for you for not trying to sell them. They thing that you’re a professional and that you don’t need to beg for the business and it’s just a different impression that we can leave on the people that we meet.

[Nathan]:  That’s just…it makes me think of this example of why we have a bad name. Next door you know the social site, right? OK right so somebody the other day posted “Hey I got friends looking to move in the neighborhood. If you know anybody looking to sell let me know.”

Of course it got like 5 responses right. And one of those responses is somebody I know that is getting ready to least and bla bla bla. What they didn’t realize as soon as they responded the person said “Well I am an agent and I’ve got clients looking in this area, what do you have and I’ll let you…” It’s the classic [censored] you know. They didn’t have anything. 

[Christian]: Switch. 

[Nathan]: It was just the baiting switch. And my client was just like “Man that is so shady” and I was like “And people wonder why we have such a bad name. When you do [censored] like that it’s just horrible”. I like…I wanted to message everybody in that thread and “Hey you do know this person is an agent and they’re actually not looking for their family member, they’re trying to find new clients. Like it’s such a [censored] shady way to do things”. 

[Christian]: Do you guys follow the broke agent?

[Chris]: [laughter] Yeah on occasion. 

[Nathan]: Yeah you’re talking to him [laughter].

[Christian] Alright. You know there’s a funny you know GIF meme he posted the other day. It was like it was a clip from one of The pirates of the Caribbean movies where Jack Sparrow is being chased across the beach by a mob, you know. It’s like I think the subtext was like “You know when someone posts online about their selling their house and these agents just the mob of agents chasing them you know”. It’s like pretty much sums it up.

[Nathan]: Yeah they go “Opportunity oh my God lets start salivating and jumping over each other”.

[Chris]: So lets talk about that. If someone posted online that they want an agent what do you do?

[Christian]: They usually won’t though. They’re usually more cryptic like “I am moving to this area” or “I am fixing my house up to sell”. Like you…I mean no one goes out there and says “Hey I am looking for an agent”.

[Chris]: Well like OK so whatever the message is whether that is cryptic or direct what do you do?

[Christian]: Well usually there is over 150 replies by other desperate agents by the time I read it so I usually do nothing.  

[Chris]: OK. Nate do you do anything on those posts?

[Nathan]: It depends. And sometimes yes I will. But I try to spin it from what you said. What value I can give them upfront. And part of that I think it’s just being honest you know. So…you know again if they choose you than great. I have never had it happen. Actually no. I take that back. I had person that I did speak with who actually didn’t list their home but they appreciated that I was just honest. They felt that everybody reached out to him swung him some line of [censored] and I just told him what I felt. But we all know that’s me so…

[Chris]: Well you’re good at that. So one of the things that has worked for me because I actually have gotten some business off of some of those posts. Everybody is gonna comment “Oh so and so is a great realtor. So and so is a great realtor”. What I have done in the past is I have reached out to them directly. Send them a private message. 

[Nathan]: Yeah.

[Chris]: If I knew them personally I would send them an email or text. I would just say “Hey I saw your post online. I know you’re gonna have a million people that are hounding you for business. Just be careful who you hire. Make sure you vet them properly. If you need anything just know that I am in real estate and…” Throw a couple of credential in there but just let them know that if they have any questions you know we’re here to answer it.  

I have had more conversations with people like that and I have received probably 6 or 7 referrals off of threads where people were like hundreds steep. I have received 6 or 7 of those referrals where I have messaged different agents and let them know the exact same thing. And people appreciate that. They don’t like being sold. They don’t like being pressured. And it’s just a different environment. You get out of this competition thread and you get into this 1 on 1 message. And people like feeling like they’re the center of the universe so you just make them feel that way. 

[Nathan]: I agree. 

[Chris]: Good so I like being right.

[Christian]: So awkward silence yeah. How do you sum up this episode? What are your takeaways here other than don’t be annoying?

[Chris]: Yeah I mean we’ve gotta be careful with our message. It’s so easy to get out there and just want to tell everybody that you’re in real estate. But I think that agents need to put some thought behind what they’re saying. And really think about how it’s gonna come across to the people that they’re delivering the message to. 

We’ve talked about proving value throughout the history of the show. And I think that now more than ever that’s gonna be more and more important. Especially with the rise of the high byer where they’re getting ads saying “Hey it’s so easy don’t deal with all the hassle. Don’t deal with being hounded by 100 agents when you comment online. Don’t deal with staging or showing or any of that just let us sell it.”

And people are so willing to avoid us and to avoid the showings and the solicitations that they’re willing to give up 20-30% of the total value of their house just to not do that. And I think that that is absolutely insane. So we’ve got to shift our focus. Anything else guys?

[Christian]: I would say if this is confusing to you as an agent forget everything that’s you know your broker or the better agents told you about it in prospecting and hounding people and being top of mind. Just think to yourself “Hey would I like someone else to do this to me?” 

If the answer is “No I don’t want someone calling me pretending like they care about me just to ask if I am looking to buy or sell this year” well don’t do it. 

If you don’t want someone knocking on your door without you inviting them over, don’t [censored] do it. You know I mean like it’s really not that hard. Stop making excuses about “Well this is my job and if I don’t tell them or bug the [censored] out of people, if I am not annoying than I am not doing my job”. Well figure out how to do it not annoying or you will find another job to do. 

[Chris]: And I’ll just add on to that because calling is important. It’s not to say “Don’t call your prospects” but when you call them don’t say “Hey do you…I can sell your house. I can do this”.

[Nathan]: [laughter] Don’t lead with that. 

[Christian] Provide some value. Yeah.

[Chris]: You know provide value. “Hey what can I do to help? I am sure you’re getting a million calls right now” or “It’s been a while since we’ve touched base. What…Where are you in the process?”. Make it about them.

[Christian] Right and I will add. The value is not you calling them as an agent. You know I have had…I have seen online threads where basically an agent has been told their whole career to provide value but they don’t know what that is. They think just them showing up is them providing value. 

You know like it’s…It reminds me of the scene from Office Space where you know the guy is being grilled like “What exactly did you say you do here?” “I AM A PEOPLE PERSON. WHY CAN’T YOU SEE THAT?!” [laughter]. “I PROVIDE VALUE. WHY CAN’T ANYONE SEE THAT?” Like you’re probably not providing value if people can’t see that.

[Chris]: Exactly.

[Nathan]: Amen. Cool. 

[Chris]: Hey any final words?

[Nathan]: No. Don’t be annoying. I agree that what Christian said, if it would bother you than you probably shouldn’t be doing that. Just what sounds like common sense is really not common sense or maybe is that whole adage of the easiest thing to do are the hardest things to get done. 

[Chris]: I like it. Alright. Well everybody thank you so much for tuning into our 50th episode of Re:Think Real Estate. We appreciate you tuning in and listening. If you haven’t yet please go to the website rtrepodcast.com. Subscribe so you never miss and episode and give us a 5 star review on iTunes and Google Play. We’ll catch you next week. Cool. 

[music] [Chris]: Thanks for tuning in this weeks episode of the Re:Think Real Estate  Podcast. We would love to hear your feedback so please leave us a review on iTunes. Our music is curtesy of Dan Koch, K-O-C-H, whose music can be explored and licensed for use at dankoch.net. Thank you Dan. Please like, share and follow. You can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/rethinkpodcast. Thank you so much for tuning in everyone and have a great week.