Us, Them and You-We-They

Sometimes I think the way we market ourselves reinforces all of the bad rumors ordinary real estate agents spread about us. By ‘WE’ and ‘US,’ I mean Help-U-Sell.

There is a great book by Al Reis and Jack Trout called ‘Marketing Warfare.’ Really:  it is an absolute MUST READ for anyone trying to establish a real estate company (or any other kind of company, really).  One of the principals they advocate is studying your competitor’s strength, and then finding the weakness within the strength . . . and exploiting that.  I think our competitors have done a pretty good job doing it to us.  We offer home sellers the option of finding their own buyer and thus saving tons of money.  That’s a strength of our program.  Our competitors turn that against us by telling sellers we are a For Sale By Owner company and they will have to do all the work.  That bad rumor is further reinforced by our name:  Help-U-Sell.

Our primary marketing message – which is:  we are here, people use us, it works, and they save money – does a pretty good job of opening many doors.  However, I think it sometimes falls on deaf ears if the bad rumors have become established as if they were fact.

I wonder if one of our key tools – The Seller Savings Comparison (you know:  the You-We-They chart) – doesn’t further reinforce the mis-information about us that is out there. We all know it’s a perfectly logical document that sellers can have difficulty understanding because it flies in the face of what’s normally done in the industry. We know we have an educational challenge when we use it to explain our fee structure;  and the first thing we usually talk about is how they save the most money by finding their own buyer.  I think that taps into the well of bad information the other guys have installed in the general psyche, reinforcing that false picture of us.

Maybe the YOU option should just be a footnote.  Maybe we should stop talking about a showing fee or buyer agent fee.  Maybe we have only two options:  WE find the buyer or THEY find the buyer.  For example:



Discussion about seller participation and saving even more ends up being a conversation, a footnote, not the featured attraction.

One of the things I find interesting about this ‘Two Way’ approach is that it shows we have an incentive to find the buyer ourselves that ALSO increases the seller’s bottom line.  They save MORE and we make MORE.  In the traditional ‘You-We-They’ chart, the fee is seen as going up, not down.

NOW HEAR THIS:  this is not a change I am advocating (yet).  I’m putting it out here to see what you think.  Are we feeding into the mis-information about ourselves that is out in the marketplace by over-emphasizing seller participation and finding your own buyer?  Would this kind of presentation be easier to explain and easier for sellers to understand?  Please, click the ‘add a comment’ link below and tell me and everyone else in the company what you think!

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