Blowing My Cover

There I was at a listing appointment this week.   The owner of a beautiful ocean-view property was doing his due diligence. Interviewing three prospective Agents – like conventional wisdom says a smart Seller should.

At one point, this likeable, highly-educated, sophisticated home-owner, fixed his gaze intently on me and said with utmost sincerity: “I’m  looking for an aggressive Agent to get the job done.  Someone who will target the right markets. Places where the money and the buyers are  – starting with Silicon Valley.”

Ok. No problem. Makes perfect sense.  I’m with ya’.

But suddenly out of the blue he took a left turn and started pitching curve balls in my direction.  Holding up a glossy local real estate magazine he continued on with his defacto job description:  “ You know, I want someone who’ll run these big color ads. Someone who’s going to put my place in the Wall Street Journal. Get a special mailing list of big time corporate CEOs. Send them all postcards. Run displays in the San Jose Business Journal to connect with all those up and coming Facebook millionaires.

A crash of cognitive dissonance washed over me.  Punctuated by ringing in my ears – the sound of inner “ca-ching-ing” as all those imaginary dollar signs rolled along with my eyes back into my head.

I recognized the place. Been there. Done that. Many times.  One of those lonely marketing cul-de-sacs where listings go to die.  Despite everyone’s best wishes, best efforts and best intentions.

Once again I was reminded that there are still an amazing number of Sellers who don’t quite seem to get it yet.  They are unclear on the concept. Running on autopilot with notions that were old even in the old days.  Having trouble reformatting their brains. Possibly doomed to spend the rest of their upcoming days on market as analogue people lost in a digital world.

Perhaps it would help to list a few of the common disconnects between reality and realty that are floating around out there:

– Homebuyers from Silicon Valley aren’t driving over to the car wash in Santa Cruz to pick up a glossy magazines so they can search for available real estate.  They simply log on. Why would any serious buyer window shop randomly – when they can see the entire inventory in a couple of keystrokes?

Most Sellers in Santa Cruz moving to other parts of the Country are doing the very same thing their own potential Buyers are doing – looking on-line.  Why would it be different for their Buyers than it is for them?

Advertising isn’t going to convince someone to buy something if they aren’t already moving in the direction of buying something.   Buying is a long process. Property ads don’t create buyers.

The chances that someone reading a four line classified in the Wall Street Journal is going to drop his coffee cup, get on the next plane and plop his money down are none and slimmer than none.  Who reads the WSJ classifieds anyway?

Someone who isn’t already familiar with Santa Cruz isn’t going to be moving/buying here anytime soon.  Near-term buyers are people who already are attracted to our area and have it on the same radar as their homing instincts.

Corporate execs aren’t checking their daily junk mail on the latest and greatest random real estate opportunities. Snail mail or  email. You know how you ignore all the superfluous crap you receive?  Why would they be any different?

And those Facebook millionaires?  Check our their Facebook pages. Not a lot of them are reading the Business Journal.

The majority of advertising dollars that agents and brokerages spend – are designed to sell the sellers on an Agents’ sell. Not to sell Buyers on what they are selling. We run those expensive ads mostly so more of you will list with us.  Been there. Still doin’ that.

Oops.  Now that I’ve blown my own cover, perhaps next week we can focus on how today’s real estate marketing really does work and which things Sellers should really be insisting their Agents spend money on.


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