The Chicken or the Egg in Real Estate Marketing

Chicken and egg

by Jay Zenner on July 29, 2009

In the ebook that I’m offering for free here in the sidebar, our heroine, Marty Maven confronts the chicken or egg question all newbie agents, no matter how well they are trained, must ask themselves, “Do I promote myself to get experience or get experience that I can promote?”

I can remember vividly as a new agent reading a real estate advice column in the newspaper that was responding to a consumer’s question about how to select a real estate agent.  The answer of course was to find somebody with a lot of experience. I wonder how many other newbie real estate agents were discouraged by seeing something similar?

Frankly, I thought that was bad advice then when the boom was in full swing and is worse now in a depressed market. Here’s why.  Not all experience is the right experience. Most practicing real estate agents today built their careers during the boom years when marketing homes was easy. The tough part was getting clients.  The ones that I admire the most are the ones that worked hard for their clients, communicated well with them and quietly built a following based on a solid reputation. Most of these folks probably didn’t think of it in exactly these terms but they were also building a solid referral base that precluded the necessity of any additional marketing. Others approached the business by “building a personal brand”  and spent tons on refrigerator magnets, farming neighborhoods, glamour shots, web sites, personal brochures, bus stop benches and even billboards.

Like Marty in the story, I got my first experience sweeping up the leftover crumbs of a couple of the first type of agent. My listings were those they didn’t want to mess with.  I also helped the vets measure houses, held open houses in their listings, crawled under houses during inspections for them, did final walk-throughs on their behalf, etc., etc. until I could walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

The irony of all this is that the radical shift from a sellers market to a buyers market has left us all in the same boat.  The new emphasis on marketing will not be on marketing ourselves or competing with other agents for business, although neither necessity will go away.  The new emphasis, especially for those of us who want to control listings, is our ability to market HOMES and compete for the sale with dozens of similar listings.

In the story Marty brings some credibility to her role as a pioneer in the field because of her marketing experience in other industries.  Most of us don’t have that advantage.  However, if we build a learning community of passionate agents willing to share experiences and help each other, we can get there.   If you think that community might include you, I invite you to join the 4 Ps movement. All that is required is your name and email address. Marty’s story comes with it.

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