Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.
The Caswell Team
The Caswell Team
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Since the beginning of time, any sales industry has been full of “gimmicks” used to get your attention. We’ve all heard the term “snake oil salesman” and, as a The Simpsons fan, I get a kick out of the Whacky Waving Inflatable Arm Tubeman commercial in one of the episodes (main picture above). And, the real estate industry is no different unfortunately, albeit more subtle.
I thought it would be important to do a continuation of Amanda’s post last week about The Secret List and the advertising of Foreclosures in the Greater Sudbury area. Even though foreclosures happen next to never in Canada, the term is still used heavily as “click bait” online. Click on her article above to read more specifically on that gimmick, but the rest of this post is based on a grouping of some of the others to watch for.
Before I get started, it’s important to note that I push the envelope when I’m passionate about something. My teammates support me but don’t always agree with me. Further, I’m sure some commentary in here will light up my phone and inbox with messages from my industry colleagues, possibly even crying foul. But nothing I say in here will push the envelope on the truth and, due to our Code of Ethics that all Realtors® must abide by, I owe fairness and honesty at all times to the public.
As Realtors®, it’s important to make our phones ring and connect with potential clients. We’re not as rich as the general public seems to think we are (that blog post is coming soon) and, in most cases, we’re commission only for our income. If we aren’t constantly and consistently trying to get new business to continue covering our enormous monthly expenses, we’ll be part of the Realtor® statistics of agents that just don’t make it in this business.
So, how do Realtors® get the phone to ring? We see lots of new techniques popping up daily and, of course, there’s the old “tried and true” methods that some agents swear by. But there’s a fine line between encouraging a client to work with you by providing value or luring you to work with them through gimmicks.
The term “gimmick” in this circumstance, as defined by Miriam-Webster, is “a trick or device used to attract business”. We’ve all fallen for the “2-for-1’s” and the “buy now, pay later” stuff. We’ve all pulled into a parking lot with a “charity bbq” going on in front of an office where the upsell is hard at work. And I bet there’s a few people out there that own a timeshare they bought on vacation where the promise of free golf or tequila is what got them to tour the property and sign on the dotted line. We all do it and that’s why some companies are incredibly successful with their “gimmicks”.
When it comes to the real estate industry specifically, here’s a few that I can guarantee most of you have seen:
FREE HOME EVALUATION! – I’m not sure if agents used to charge a fee back when my grandfather had Caswell Realty here in Sudbury in the 70s/80s, but I highly doubt there are any agents out there that would come over and give you an Opinion of Value on your home and demand payment for it. You asking us to come over is what gives us a chance to prove to you how we can help and try to secure your listing, not try to squeeze you for a few bucks. If you do find a Realtor® that wants payment these days for this service that we all offer, I’d love to hear about it!
SIGN UP FOR HOT NEW LISTINGS! – full disclosure, we use this one in our print materials. With today’s technology, every Realtor® has the ability to set you up on the auto-email system where you get new listings as soon as they’re posted to the MLS™. Again, probably a more successful gimmick in the fax machine or printed MLS™ book eras but, with www.Realtor.ca and most agent websites showing all the up to date listings with a few clicks of the mouse (like our www.SudburyMarket.com site), this is a pretty archaic attention getter. And now that I’ve written about this, we’ll be discontinuing the use of this moving forward.
WE’LL SELL YOUR HOUSE OR WE’LL BUY IT! This one makes me laugh every time I see it. It is SO loaded with conditions and disclaimers, it’s only advertised to get the agent through your front door. For instance, if your house is worth $250K and I “guarantee I’ll buy it if you follow my lead”, I can easily list your house for $209K and, guess what, I won’t be on the hook for it cause it will sell. Where the guarantee gets lost is the list price to satisfy the disclaimer is usually so low to meet the conditions for the guarantee, that only sellers who may be in a desperate situation to sell would even consider this offer as a necessity.
SELL YOUR HOUSE IN “X AMOUNT” OF DAYS OR WE SELL IT FOR FREE! Again, loaded with conditions and disclaimers. First, as above, it has to be the listing agent’s recommended price or it’s a no-fly zone. But, even if you do fulfill that caveat and go with the low price, do you really think the buyer’s agent is going to waive their commissions cause the listing agent couldn’t sell it in the time period they said they would? Fat chance. You don’t pay the listing portion of the commissions only – you’re still on the hook for the buying side and now you have an agent who is working for free. How hard are they working now for no commissions?
ONE-DAY LISTING! This is a gem. Sign a 24-hour listing agreement so the agent can bring their buyer through the home. Why would you go to the open market and get what your house is worth when you can save all the headaches and sell your house to whatever this one buyer thinks it’s worth? There are over 350 Realtors® registered with the Sudbury Real Estate Board that are working with pre-qualified buyers, so there’s a pretty good chance there is way more than one buyer interested in your property. You have now passed all the benefit to the buyer in this situation as they can negotiate with you without any other interference. Zero benefit to you as the seller with this click bait gimmick and be very wary of a Realtor® who thinks you should only deal with their buyer and not go to the open market.
SELL PRIVATELY AND PAY YOURSELF THE COMMISSIONS! What a beauty! You can pay some company $1000 for a $50 coroplast sign for the front lawn and a $1 spot in a corner of their website and you’ll make all this money back when you sell!!!! (And the private sale companies call us crooks – wow.) What you’re actually doing is telling every buyer out there that you’re unprotected in the transaction and you’re not paying any commissions. Now the buyer calculates how much you’re “paying yourself” and expects that savings passed on to them. So, instead of saving money, you’ve actually opted to give the buyer a great deal on your house and sold it to them completely unprotected. You’ve basically saved, or "paid yourself", nothing and put yourself completely at risk in the process.
THE “POWER/SUPER/AWESOME/SUPERAWESOME/SUPERPOWERFULAWESOME” SELLING SYSTEM! Come on. Throwing an exciting adjective in front of the word marketing is so passé. Most agents all use the same marketing channels – MLS™, www.Realtor.ca, our websites, our social media accounts, email blasts, text codes, etc. I guess if we put a Whacky Waving Inflatable Arm Tubeman on your front lawn, then we can call it a “powerful marketing” technique to qualify these days! Instead, you should look for a Realtor® with solid Days on Market and List/Sale Ratio stats (every Realtor® should know their stats for this).
“INSERT ANY CHEESY SLOGAN HERE”! Browse a few Realtor® websites and you’ll find some beauties! That being said, some deserve some credit - there are some pretty catchy and well-played attention getters out there, commonly a play on words with the last name. Unfortunately, not all of us were blessed with the name “Max Power” or the last name “Sold”. If you’re considering trusting one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make in your lifetime based on a great one-liner, you could be headed for disaster.
Like every industry, there are all skill levels and quality of service in real estate. But the key to remember is getting licenced in real estate doesn’t require a marketing degree, it is not mandatory to be tech savvy at building your website and certainly not necessary to know how to implement catchy gimmicks or create a slick slogan.
As Realtors®, our education, experience and training is Contract Law. We understand the important legalities of very complex transactions and must protect our clients while guiding them through the entire process of buying or selling real estate. Regardless of age, gender, years in the business, what office we work for, what car we drive or whether we use glossy or matte finish on our business cards, we’re all bound by rules, regulations and ethics to ensure our client’s best interests become our best interests. No “tricks” or “devices” can, or should, change that, but it’s up to you, as the client, to make sure you look past all the slight of hand or smoke and mirrors gimmicks and find the right Realtor® for your needs.
In closing, our team doesn’t use gimmicks or cheesy slogans. We won’t get caught up in the noise trying to catch your attention and get you to “click” into a situation where we get all your info in order to stalk you and hound you incessantly. Instead, we rely on our professionalism, our expertise, our experience, our loyalty and our attention to detail to help you understand that we’re the right choice for you. Our past clients can attest to this.
We’re confident that, if you provide us the opportunity to show you the classy and professional way to get things done, it won’t take you long to agree that you’ve found a good match for some of the most important financial decisions in your life. Don’t forget to check out all the other great blog topics while you’re here and never hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 705.586.3334 if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Better yet, to finally meet your new real estate team.
Cell - 705.561.8767
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries. For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at email@example.com.