The Impertinences of an Egocentric Lightweight
The Impertinences of an egocentric lightweight.
Here's a good one.
"Estate agents are lazy."
A self-confessed provocative headline that appeared in Estate Agent Today, a few weeks ago.
And now? Qualified, on a podcast episode, that estate agents are also "scared."
I considered whether, like the majority of UK estate agents, to dismiss this as the ramblings of an egocentric lightweight.
Never, though, had I heard so many wrong things, one after the other, in so short an audio clip.
So here's my take on those ill-considered, uninformed, and often illogical ramblings.
"the entire acquisition strategy, so marketing basically, is all about spending loads of money. Particularly on things like Facebook and Google ad-words, local press & so on...if the phone doesn't ring, we just assume it's quiet and that's it."
The point then being made that agents need to be proactive rather than simply waiting for the 'leads' to show up.
Aside from his misuse of the term marketing (promotion was more appropriate), there's an entire discussion to be had around why the phone doesn't ring for estate agency when using digital marketing.
Only 9% of online ads are even noticed - Bob Hoffman, author of Bad Men: How Advertising went from a Minor Annoyance to a Major Menace.
Far larger companies have been sucked into the shady world of digital marketing than some poor traditional estate agent. Even the lavish ad spend of Purplebricks dwarfs in comparison to the world's most sophisticated advertiser, Proctor & Gamble. A mouth-watering $7 billion ad spend, of which one third is spent on social media.
Having seen a 8% drop in sales from their initial hugely expensive Facebook campaign, P&G reduced by $140 million their Facebook advertising spend the following year, only to see sales increase by 2%.
There's also evidence aplenty of online advertising fraud - some $16 billion of fraud, happening next year, according to J.P. Morgan Chase,
So the phone not ringing when some online estate agency is duped into investing their promotional budget on digital advertising is very much to do with it being a bad medium, rather than it being quiet. The estate agency has no audience. Nobody interested in what they have to say. Nobody that would miss them if they were gone.
Badly Lead by social media 'experts', estate agents follow blindly and are bemused when the 'more online' strategy doesn't work.
No mention, though, of the wasted millions of other people's money that was regularly flushed away on digital advertising.
Just a segue into that most basic of all estate agency techniques - door-knocking.
"Knock on ten doors that are for sale, there's a 6/10 chance of that property coming to you and you potentially selling it."
"Door-knocking - Agents won't do it." responded the podcast host.
"Then why the hell not? I know why not. Because people are scared of doing it. I do it now!"
As though him doing it was motivation to the many agents that don't interrupt and beg for new business in that way.
"They're too scared of rejection?"
"When you're earning £150 commission, it's just not worth it. If you're earning £2,000 out of the £3,000 fee, you think it's worthwhile."
Rather reminds me of the quote attributed to Lord Beaverbrook where he propositions a famous American actress:
"What kind of woman do you think I am?"
"We've already established that. Now we're just haggling over the fee."
The kind of estate agent that does knock on doors. Or, more sensibly, one that doesn't.
It's one, or the other.
Estate agents are either scared (they're not), or it's not worth the hassle (It isn't, whatever the fee).
There follows a not-so-subtle example of how that might work.
Straight from the suspect Keller Williams 33 Touch Point playbook.
"Build yourself up as the local property expert."
Or local property pest - take your pick.
"You have to accept you're going to get the door slammed in your face...so be a bit more surreptitious."
Def: Surreptitious acquired by stealth.
synonym: covert, furtive, sneaky, underhand.
Is that how you want to behave as an estate agent?
Ignoring the social cues that position you as a beggar. Reduced to interrupting strangers in their home for that most basic of reasons - that you want to sell them something. Along with the double glazing and driveway salespeople, could you sink much lower?
Then, to cap it all, the £100,000 question:
"Would you knock on 25 doors a week if I paid you £100,000 a year to do it?"
Well, here's my question to that egocentric lightweight.
Would you pay me half, just £50,000 a year, to knock on 25 doors a week?
Of course not. There's substantially more to it than that.
It's not about getting the "mindset right".
It's about an impertinence that puts your interests above anyone else's.
Estate agents aren't lazy. Or scared.
They're some of the hardest-working and courageous individuals out there.
In a world filled with con-men, hucksters and snake-oil salespeople that set the bar so low that it's a challenge to even answer the door anymore, estate agency has a chance to lose the commodity label and disassociate itself from these bottom-feeders who prey on vulnerable homeowners.
They're also smart enough not to be duped by the taunts and illogical ramblings of an egocentric lightweight.
Above all, most estate agents lack impertinence.
Thanks, as always, for reading:)
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