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The fallacy of “going back to the basics” in real estate


This editorial piece was originally published here on AgentGenius on 02.11.08 and is still timely exactly three years later.

I made it through just under three minutes of Saul Klein’s how-to video on marketing before I called it quits. It wasn’t that the points were thoroughly irrelevant – to the contrary, it goes to the heart of what all the old-time sales trainers tell you. It’s just that I’ve heard it before.

If I had a nickel – the hell with that – if I had a closing for every time I heard that agents need to “go back to the basics,” I’d be writing this post to you from the beach. This a tough market, we’re told. Go back to the basics and you’ll succeed.

Some of those basics make sense – price homes well, pass on unsellable listings, etc. But there’s an undercurrent in the “go back to the basics” theme that’s disturbing, and that is these new-fangled methods such as the web and blogging and such are little more than diversions from true income-generating activities.

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I can walk around the supermarket with my name tag on crooked and hope to start a conversation with someone who’s not actually a real estate agent – you can’t swing a cat by its tail without hitting three – or I can post to my blog and know the message will be seen by 100 or more people a day.

I can send out postcards destined for the trash heap or I can provide something of value – an IDX-based home search without registration required.

I can knock on doors or I can skip the front door and go straight to your monitor.

This isn’t to say there’s not value in the former; if such things work for you, do them. But stop telling me and everyone else that we have to “go back to the basics.” Looking back never is the solution when you need to move forward.

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Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.



  1. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 11, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I do miss the good ‘ol days of spending most of the day ripping out the old listings and putting the new ones into the 5 x 7 – 3 ring binder.

    Take me home Saul! .>)

  2. Ines

    February 11, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I had a smile from ear to ear while reading this Jonathan – spot on! I had an agent from my office last week who makes his business from sending bad photocopies of the same boring letter to expired listings tell me that the Lechuga $25 million lawsuit was the reason why no one should blog. I told him that lawsuit was the reason I am blogging with more enthusiasm and passion (he will never get it)

  3. Jacksonville Real Estate

    February 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    The postcard will last for two seconds before the prospect throws away. A well written article or blog on your website can continue bringing you business for the remainder of your career.

    You hit the nail on the head with this article!

  4. Andy Kaufman

    February 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Love this line!

  5. Andy Kaufman

    February 11, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    ….or maybe this line

    “Looking back never is the solution when you need to move forward.”

    ::slowly backs out of thread::

  6. Brad Nix

    February 11, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Spot On Commentary.

    Last week I attended the Georgia Association of Realtors conference and heard much of this same commentary all week long. I also kept hearing how having a “positive attitude” and staying “motivated” will make a difference. I don’t need people to tell me stay motivated. I wake up every day (and comment on blogs every night) and bust my ass to provide better service to all my clients. I am motivated by my desire to be better, to live better, and to better those around me. Hell, the agents who attend these conferences are suppose to be (by definition) more motivated to learn and network than the average agent. I sure don’t need a speaker I have never heard of tell me to stay motivated.

    As for the positive attitude, I couldn’t be inspired about the difference I bring to each transaction. I believe in my community, my city, my state and my country. I am so happy we have a country that protects private property rights (most of the time) and the right to own real estate – I don’t think I could be any more positive. However, I am also positive that these same rights and capitalism create dynamic markets. This real estate market is always changing and my attitude and positive thing and motivation will make me a better person to be around, but it will not create or impact the real estate market. I could change my name to George W. Greenspan and major in Reagonomics and still not have enough power to affect our markets with attitude and motivation.

  7. Jonathan Dalton

    February 12, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Ines – I actually send those same expired letters and have gotten listings from them. I guess that goes back to last week’s debate of if something works for ya …

    The key is prospecting, me thinks, and this is as viable a method of doing it as anything else. And far less intrusive.

  8. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Jonathan, don’t get me wrong, I think expired letters work – I just have a personal issue with the agent after he offended one of my customers with one of those ( What’s in your Realtor bag of tricks?) and then has sent the same poorly written letter to me twice!! (my own house which appears on the MLS as “owner agent” and I’m in his office)

  9. Denver Refinance

    February 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Are you saying that you get 100 unique visitors to your blog per day? From what I can tell, your blog doesn’t show up in the search engines. Where does that traffic come from? Also, are you talking about 100 unique consumers or just 100 readers, which could include your friends and blogging buddies?

  10. Jay Thompson

    February 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    With 262 pages indexed in Google (showing, likely more), 13,800 back links in Yahoo and 1,480 back links in Google, I suspect Jonathan’s blog shows up in plenty of search engine places.

    I also suspect most of his “blogging buddies” subscribe by feed reader so their visits don’t show in the stats.

    I don’t know of any stats package that will show you if it’s a “consumer” or a “reader” visiting your blog.

  11. Denver Refinance

    February 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    His blog shows up #40 in Google for “Phoenix Real Estate” and not at all for “Arizona Homes.” Both of those keyword strings are in his page title. If his home page isn’t showing up for the keywords in his title with thousands of links, it begs the question of where he is showing up. Also, as far as I know, it doesn’t matter how many indexed pages a site has. Pages that have 20 pages rank well alongside sites that have hundreds or even thousands of indexed pages. More pages do, however, provide more landing pages. I would also contend that getting 13,800 backlinks requires a TREMENDOUS amount of work, not to mention the work of blogging itself. These web 2.0 strategies are not easy, and they do indeed take time away from traditional strategies. In fact, I would contend that it would be difficult to pursue traditional strategies such as building referral partner relationships and put the time into blogging that Jonathan has put in. There are also only 10 top 10 spots in Google for any search term. If you’re not on page one, you don’t exist. If there is a future wrinkle in the Google algorithm, a particular site or blog that used to rank well suddenly might not rank at all. Putting all of your eggs in the web 2.0 basket is risky. However, traditional strategies such as building referral partner relationships or advertising cannot be taken away in one fell swoop. You may lose one referral partner or a direct mail piece might no longer provide the response that it used to, but it’s not an all or nothing thing like the Internet. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a top blogger crying because he dropped out of the Google rankings. In my crystal ball, he wishes that he hadn’t thrown out the concept of getting back to the basics. I’m all for the power of the web, but people need to realize that there is risk in spending all one’s time bowing to the Google gods. Live by the sword, die by the sword. If you make your living based on Google rankings, those can be taken from you so fast that you can’t even believe it.

  12. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Just because an agent is pro web2.0 tools, it doesn’t mean that they place all their eggs in one basket. I can speak for myself when I tell you that I still use a lot of the traditional methods (maybe not a lot but enough to keep a healthy balance).

    You looked into Jonathan’s site with only 2 keywords to see where he appeared in Google – only Jonathan can tell us which keywords and what his SEO strategy is. SEO goes beyond Googling “your city’s real estate” and there is the concept of the long tail that I don’t think belongs in this discussion.

    The whole point is that agents that only use traditional methods are alway knocking web2.0 and don’t want to take the time to understand the concepts. I can only speak for myself when I say that the results I am getting from blogging are truly amazing and have surpassed any of my expectations (now ask me if it has been easy and the answer will be no).

  13. Jay Thompson

    February 12, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I’ll leave it to Jonathan to speak for himself, he is more than capable in that regard.

    But speaking as someone whose blog has ranked #4 in Google (currently #11 it bounces around) for “Phoenix Real Estate”, I can tell you that particular search term is somewhat over rated. Yes, I get traffic from it, but searchers using that term often have a very vague understanding of what they are looking for.

    Far more powerful are “Long Tail” search terms. If someone Googles “Val Vista Lakes Realtor”, they tend to be either: 1) a Val Vista Lakes resident looking to list their home; or 2) someone interested in buying in Val Vista Lakes.

    Blogs can rank *very* well for dozens of those types of search terms, for a long time. My VVL post was written over a year ago, and I get visits from it all the time. I could list dozens of others that do the same.

    “I would also contend that getting 13,800 backlinks requires a TREMENDOUS amount of work, not to mention the work of blogging itself.”

    I contend otherwise. I have over 80,000 Yahoo back links, and over 4,000 Google back links to my blog. I have *never* spent any additional time or money over and above writing blog posts to get those links. No reciprocal link programs, no link “schemes”, no PPC, nada. Yes, blogging takes time. So does door knocking, cold-calling, mailings and every other form of “traditional” prospecting. And prospecting is exactly what blogging is. Or can be.

    Not building referral partners?? I could name dozens of agents in dozens of markets by first name, and find their email / phone number in seconds. Dozens and dozens of agents that I know and trust and understand how they do business that I would refer clients to in a second. And if I may be so bold, I suspect those dozens of agents know and trust me as well. And we “met” through blogging.

    I’ll put my list of “referral partners” up against anyone’s “traditional method” list.

    To assume anyone (or everyone) that blogs “puts all their eggs in one basket” and “bows to the Google Gods” is a bad assumption.

    At this moment in time, I’ve had 824 unique visitors to my blog today. What would it cost me to mail something to them? Let’s see…. 824 * 0.41= $337.84. How long would those 824 postcards last? How long will today’s blog post last? And then there is tomorrow.

    Last month I had 26,209 visitors from all 50 states and 110 countries.

    Let’s see, 26,209 * 0.41 = $10,745.69 — to get each of them one postcard.

    Those 26,000 visitors used 12,565 different search terms. You can have “Phoenix Real Estate” and “Arizona Homes”, I’m happy with the other 12,563 terms people used last month.

  14. Jay Thompson

    February 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Ines wrote: “and there is the concept of the long tail that I don’t think belongs in this discussion.”

    Well, I put it in my response. Sorry, I got on a roll there… 😉

  15. Jonathan Dalton

    February 12, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Interesting strategy … “I have no real point or argument so I’m going to assail the writer of the post.”

    Google “Westbrook Village Real Estate” and tell me what you see, Wade (nice use of keywords instead of your real name, incidentally. Congrats on the hard click to find out who you are.) Now change it to Westbrook Village and tell me how that looks. I’m assuming counting to three isn’t a taxing exercise.

    No, I’m not on the front page of Google for Phoenix real estate. No, I don’t consider that a defeat when I rank 40th out of 2.2 million search terms. The long tail seems to be working just fine for me.

    If you doubt my traffic, ask me to prove the numbers and I’ll happily pass them along to you. But don’t make yourself look foolish by implying that I have any reason to lie about the traffic to my site. It only goes to prove that you yourself haven’t read a word to find out who I am.

    And incidentally, having “realtor buddies” reading the blog isn’t so bad … I’ve picked up quite a bit of referral business that way. But I guess that happens when you engage in conversation rather than looking to pick a fight with a losing argument.


  16. Jonathan Dalton

    February 12, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Incidentally, here’s where my traffic comes from:



    % of Site Total: 100.00%

    The average number of pages viewed during a visit to your site. Repeated views of a single page are counted.



    Site Avg: 2.06 (0.00%)

    Avg. Time on Site
    The average duration of a visit to your site.

    Avg. Time on Site


    Site Avg: 00:02:37 (0.00%)

    % New Visits
    The percentage of visits by people who had never visited your site before.

    % New Visits


    Site Avg: 57.22% (0.00%)

    Bounce Rate
    The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page).

    Bounce Rate


    Site Avg: 63.97% (0.00%)
    Source/Medium Visits Pages/Visit Avg. Time on Site % New Visits Bounce Rate
    (direct) / (none)
    778 1.59 00:01:40 64.91% 73.78%
    google / organic
    314 2.33 00:05:10 41.08% 53.18%
    3. / referral
    240 2.46 00:03:40 10.00% 53.33%
    yahoo / organic
    152 1.97 00:02:10 76.97% 69.08%
    5. / referral
    119 3.17 00:04:15 83.19% 38.66%
    6. / referral
    118 3.01 00:02:52 88.14% 54.24%
    7. / referral
    75 1.71 00:02:10 2.67% 64.00%
    8. / referral
    74 1.12 00:00:26 20.27% 90.54%
    9. / referral
    64 2.89 00:04:30 57.81% 56.25%
    10. / referral
    61 2.10 00:02:54 68.85% 57.38%
    11. / referral
    54 3.06 00:03:41 66.67% 53.70%
    12. / referral
    51 1.55 00:02:03 43.14% 68.63%
    13. / referral
    49 1.18 00:00:40 0.00% 83.67%
    14. / referral
    48 1.23 00:00:04 97.92% 85.42%
    msn / organic
    43 2.28 00:01:29 95.35% 53.49%
    16. / referral
    33 1.52 00:00:43 72.73% 75.76%
    17. / referral
    32 1.53 00:01:09 53.12% 62.50%
    18. / referral
    32 1.66 00:00:44 56.25% 75.00%
    19. / referral
    32 2.09 00:04:50 6.25% 43.75%
    20. / referral
    30 3.93 00:04:34 66.67% 43.33%
    21. / referral
    29 1.55 00:00:28 89.66% 75.86%
    22. / referral
    28 1.04 00:00:07 100.00% 96.43%
    23. / referral
    26 1.31 00:01:33 96.15% 84.62%
    24. / referral
    22 3.23 00:04:11 95.45% 36.36%
    live / organic
    22 1.95 00:00:58 100.00% 63.64%
    26. / referral
    20 2.00 00:01:43 0.00% 50.00%
    27. / referral
    17 1.53 00:00:26 82.35% 76.47%
    28. / referral
    14 1.79 00:02:24 28.57% 50.00%
    29. / referral
    14 6.79 00:14:16 14.29% 21.43%
    ask / organic
    13 1.85 00:00:30 92.31% 69.23%
    31. / referral
    13 6.23 00:17:08 7.69% 30.77%
    32. / referral
    12 3.58 00:02:39 25.00% 50.00%
    33. / referral
    11 1.82 00:01:20 72.73% 63.64%
    34. / referral
    11 1.27 00:00:23 100.00% 90.91%
    35. / referral
    10 2.00 00:01:07 80.00% 70.00%
    36. / referral
    9 2.11 00:02:20 55.56% 77.78%
    37. / referral
    8 2.12 00:01:48 25.00% 50.00%
    38. / referral
    8 1.00 00:00:00 100.00% 100.00%
    39. / referral
    8 1.38 00:00:41 87.50% 87.50%
    40. / referral
    7 1.00 00:00:00 71.43% 100.00%
    41. / referral
    7 3.71 00:06:29 100.00% 28.57%
    42. / referral
    7 2.14 00:02:02 42.86% 57.14%
    43. / referral
    7 1.71 00:03:32 71.43% 57.14%
    44. / referral
    6 1.17 00:00:09 50.00% 83.33%
    45. / referral
    5 3.00 00:01:09 60.00% 60.00%
    46. / referral
    5 1.80 00:00:48 100.00% 40.00%
    47. / referral
    5 1.20 00:00:35 100.00% 80.00%
    48. / referral
    5 5.20 00:06:02 60.00% 60.00%
    49. / referral
    5 1.40 00:00:05 80.00% 80.00%
    50. / referral
    5 1.00 00:00:00 100.00% 100.00%

  17. Greg Tracy

    February 12, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I agree with Saul- this whole “internet” thing is a fad… it won’t last.

  18. Brad Nix

    February 12, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    LOL @Greg

    I also love Mark Cuban’s take on how the Internet is Officially Dead and Boring:

  19. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Jay – this is not my post, but I can tell you that you can go on a roll anytime! 🙂 I did 150,000 hits last month on Miamism (how’s that for numbers?) – and 3 new listings this week

  20. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    February 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    The challenge is to mix old school with new school. If your postcard advertised your blog (maybe a “blog post” card?) and your IDX “see all the houses I see” link to your site, it may save itself from the trash heap. Larry Cragun has a tri-fold brochure promoting his blog which he leaves at strategic locations– tell ’em Lar.

    Or send an r-card to all the folks on millionaire’s row:

  21. Denver Refinance

    February 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I wasn’t trying to pick a fight, and I certainly never intended to imply that you were lying about your numbers. I was just trying to better understand the point that you made in your original post, which didn’t make sense to me. I will bow out of this conversation because I never intended for it to go in this direction.

  22. Jonathan Dalton

    February 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    My point, Wade, was that the constant undertone of ignoring new paradigms in favor of door knocking and the like is both misguided and tiresome. At the end of the day, though, the best strategy anyone can use is the one that generates the checks for them.

  23. Allison Davis

    February 13, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Firstly, let me thank you for a great blog. It’s great to learn how cutting edge agents are starting to think about marketing differently.

    I will say that I mostly agree with you. Being in newspaper and online sales (focused on real estate), I do still believe in the power of more traditional methods, and I really think it depends upon your market. (Although, working at an alt. weekly paper, we’re hardly “traditional.”)

    I live in a small city in a rural state. Sure, tons of younger folks are using Facebook, CL, blogs, etc to get their real estate information (like me, for example) — and you better be reaching the younger generation if you want to have a job in five years — but I think you also have to reach out to non-techies thru more traditional methods that reach folks in the country. In the same way that a postcard is wasted on many people, so is a blog entry. I think it’s best not to shun any marketing avenue — it’s about being smarter with your mailing list, efforts and budget.

    Question for you… once you have a blog and an innovative site, what methods work best for marketing these endeavors?

  24. maggiechandler

    February 14, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    definitely have to keep on the cutting edge of technology becuase our clients do. lots of agents dont even take 10 pics and upload to the mls. in this day and age they do a disservice to the seller. the buyers are more savvy than the sellers…lots of whom still list with susie cause she’s a relative or part of the community not because she’s the best realtor for the job. i think its a matter of time before these dinorealtors are toast.

  25. MJ Adams

    February 15, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I think Joseph Ferrara has the right approach; mixing old school with new school. I’ve made this the cornerstone for expanding my business in 2008. I love the idea of the brochure pushing the Blog. If you want to market to Generation X and Y, you had better be Linked.In, on Facebook and other major social online networks.

    I have no issue with what Saul has to say in his video. In the end, you do want to market yourself, your services and your listings. And I know, as one who completed the e-PRO course, that he supports the ideas of web 2.0.

    Regardless of the approach, to differentiate yourself from the crowd, one must offer value to the consumer and the content they are searching for.

  26. Linda Davis

    February 16, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I support the Joseph Ferrara idea of mixing the old school with the new school. I knew I liked that guy. I happen to make a lot of money on farming and am starting to get bored with those (none here) that think because I believe in direct mail I’m somehow archaic. Ok, I’m old but my methods still work especially in my small marketplace. Heck, it was only a couple years ago we even had high speed internet access. I think sometimes those in the big cities or on the west coast forget how some of the rest of the world lives as they dispense generic real estate advice. Heck, a lot of the bloggers giving real estate advice have never even sold real estate for a living.

    I track my business very closely. I know where it comes from. If I tried to do business like a realtor in an area like Berkely or Seattle, I’d be out of business. And they would probably be out of business if they did business like me.

  27. Jay Thompson

    February 16, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Linda said, “. . . but my methods still work. . .”

    And that my cross-country friend, is what really matters.

  28. Kristal Kraft

    March 2, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    When I hear the “go back to the basics” advice, I think more along the lines of “pay attention to doing what made you successful in the first place.” I’m not thinking door knocking or cold calling, but “focus.”

    I think the back to the basics term means different things for different people.

    Of course looking at Linda Davis’ response, she just said what I said. Only she said it first.

    Ditto Linda Davis.


  29. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 2, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I think the “back to the basics” phrase does hold true in today’s market – with 1 caveat: its back to the basics of giving your clients what they expect/want/need – and exceeding them, and doing it within whatever framework that they are most comfortable in dealing. Whether it be through an online internet presence/marketing, traditional print media, etc – you need to serve your clients.

  30. Eric Hempler

    December 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I don’t think it’s so much back to basics as it is continue to do the basics. When the market is a seller’s market it’s easy to become lazy and we ride the tide, but when the market becomes a buyer’s market we’ve forgotten everything. If you do all the tricks you do during a buyer’s market I’m willing to bet your seller’s market will be that much better and your buyer’s market won’t be as difficult as it can be. There’s no reason why you should stop doing one task just because the conditions change. What changes is the amount of traffic you get from that task. Continue to do these same tasks during both market conditions and you’ll see growth.

  31. JIm Gatos

    December 5, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Does anyone here track numbers? How many listing appointments/buyer inquiries does each blog post, each facebook entry, etc actually generate?

    I do.. I can also say I stopped sending out postcards to my sphere monthly for over a year. When I re-started this year, I noticed I was averaging 3 listing appointments and referral appointments and one listing per mailing, and this was with 200 people on my list,

    I’d like to know, specifically, what your numbers are. What the SEO and Google
    Gobblyleegook numbers are I don’t care; I want to know listing and buyer appointments are. I’d like to know so I can learn what I should do to make the high numbers like you guys and gals..

    I can tell you mine.. Since blogging in late 2006, I made zero sales from blogging, two listing inquiries from Activerain, and two from Facebook. I started Facebook a year ago.. No sales yet.. From Postcards, which I re-started in May.. I have 4 sales and more coming..

    • Jay Thompson

      December 6, 2009 at 2:00 am

      I track numbers Jim.

      It’s virtually impossible to connect a single listing appointment or buyer inquiry to a specific blog post. It just doesn’t work that way.

      I’ve got roughly 7,000 people in my contact database. These come from both my traditional web site and my blog — and again it is difficult to separate those two. I can say though that the 2,500 or so in one particular IDX database that is only on my blog are all as a result of the blog. So I guess you could say (very roughly) that the 1,400 posts on the blog resulted in 2,500 potential contacts. (the total number is higher, it’s just that’s the only specific tool I can attribute to only the blog).

      Actual closings are also basically impossible to tie to one specific blog post, Tweet, FB entry or whatever. However, I do zero mailings, zero cold calls, and zero door knocks. All of our business is generated from our “internet presence”. This year’s transaction sides are at 42, with 4 currently in escrow that MIGHT close this year.

      Plus, our web presence also generates closings for our agents. I haven’t run those numbers.

      One of the cool things about the blog is it can generate business from very old posts. I’ve got posts written over four years ago that still get visits (and can potentially attract clients) every day.

      How many postcards mailed four years ago make the phone ring today?

  32. Real Estate Feeds

    December 6, 2009 at 12:42 am

    The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate: I made it through just under three minutes of Saul Kl…

  33. Jay Thompson

    December 6, 2009 at 2:07 am

    And I should have added there is absolutely noting wrong with doing mailings, cold calls, expireds, FSBOs, etc. If it works, more power too you. Those methods have worked for decades and they’ll continue to work for decades.

    I’m just not good at those methods, so I chose not to use them. That doesn’t mean they won’t work for someone that is good at them.

    Same is true for blogging, social media, etc.

    “Old school”, “traditional” or “Web 2.0” — they are all just prospecting methods. Some work better in some markets and/or for some people than others.

    Do what works for you, and to hell with what other people say/do.

  34. realdiggity

    December 6, 2009 at 3:23 am

    The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate: comments

  35. Matt Stigliano

    December 6, 2009 at 9:49 am

    A post resurrected from the dead (well, 2008).

    This post started before I was even officially a licensed real estate agent. I was still in classes trying to wrap my head around real estate concepts and had no idea about marketing, prospecting, or leads.

    A couple of months later, I was out in the real world, license in hand. It took me a long time to truly know who I was as an agent and what I was going to do.

    I tried various methodologies and ideas to generate business and fell down a lot along the way. It wasn’t fun, but I was determined.

    Reading through the comments and the post itself, one thing came to my mind.

    How many of the people that preach back to basics are selling you something? How many of them are coaches, guides, and motivational speakers? I took a lot of Brian Buffini classes before I realized that his approach didn’t work for me. Does it work? Sure it does – for people who find comfort in what he’s preaching. What gets me is his willingness to tell me I will succeed if I use his methods, but to also tell me I’m not doing it right if I fail. Have you ever seen any of these grand wizards of real estate say this? They all do. And in many cases they may be right, but it always comes back to “you’re doing it wrong” if the method doesn’t work.

    I might be doing wrong, but perhaps it’s because I don’t believe in your system – it makes me uncomfortable, feel like I’m faking my way through life, or lying to people. I don’t want to feel any of those, so your methods fail me.

    “Back to basics” should only mean one thing – get to work on that which is generating you business. Work hard at that. Try new things and work hard at them. Cut the things that are unnecessary and don’t bring in value. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep the “basics” alive, but be inventive. Facebook might seem like play time to some, when in reality it’s nothing more than door knocking without the creepy aspect of a stranger at your front door. Of course, the dialog has changed from “want to sell your house” to “hi, I’m a local and thought we should connect.” Door knocking might be great for some (it does offer a chance at instant gratification if someone say, “Why yes, we were just discussing selling our home, come on in.”), but for me, the instant gratification of an email after an excellent consumer oriented post is much more satisfying (and in the Texas summer, much more relaxing).

  36. Ken Montville

    December 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Amazing that even though this post was from almost a year ago it still has some relevance.

    Yeah, I think the “basics” have changed. It’s important to keep up with changing technology and the changing preferences of whatever demographic you’re working. It used to be “target anyone who could buy or sell a house” (that means everybody). Now “hyperlocal” is the buzz word. It used to be door knocking and cold calling. Now it’s social media and e-mail marketing (eNewsletters, Drip e-mail and all the rest) and blogging.

  37. Tyler Wood

    December 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Gotta do what works best for you. Lots of ways to skin a cat, right? I can tell you that we use a mix of “old school” and new school techniques, and “old school” still brings in a ton of business.

  38. Velda

    December 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    How about going back to the basics and using those basics to really push, push, push your technology … website, facebook fan page, twitter, IDX, YouTube, etc?????

  39. Coy Davidson

    December 7, 2009 at 2:37 am

    @agentgenius The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate

  40. L&F Insurance Agency

    December 7, 2009 at 3:15 am

    RT @CoyDavidsonCRE: @agentgenius The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate

  41. egoldre

    December 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

    This blog is just as relevant today as it was a year ago, before I got my license as well. I am probably one of the biggest fans of Facebook as a business tool. ALL my buyers and listings have come from Facebook except 2. For a real estate rookie I’ve racked up quite a few since March. With that said, it depends on your market and on your target buyer/seller group.

    My target clients are all on Facebook, check their email at least once a day, most own smart phones and are constantly connected to the web. So that’s where my focus is.

    There are other agents in my office that send out postcards, letters, and advertise in our local newspaper. That’s where their target clients are. Are they wrong to do this? No! Their ROI substantiates this.

    When someone says go back to the basics it just means, if you’re struggling and have no business, try something new (er old) and see how that works. If it does, great! If not hopefully you haven’t spent too much $.

  42. BHG Real Estate

    December 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    The Fallacy of "Going Back to the Basics" in Real Estate

  43. Charlestonism

    December 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

    amen to that @agentgenius The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate

  44. Realty Infusion

    December 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    RT @agentgenius The Fallacy of “Going Back to the Basics” in Real Estate

  45. Andrew Mckay

    December 10, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Like Matt I’ve only had my license since 2008. Add to that moving from London, England to a town of 16,000 in Ontario with zero contacts ( no family or friends) in November 2007 and mine was the literal standing start.
    The web has been my “in” and a way of differentiating myself in a town which still relies on the “old school.”
    My main comment though and one I don’t think has been made is that I thoroughly enjoying blogging and social media ( I’m 47 so not bought up with it.)
    This enjoyment certainly makes it easier to get up for work and with 30cm of snow over the next couple of days door knocking would not hold the same attraction.
    I make money from a job I enjoy because of the marketing methods I employ. Happy days.

  46. Realty Infusion

    December 10, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Always good stuff from @agentgenius "On the Fallacy of 'Going Back to Basics' in Real Estate"

  47. Stephanie Hofman

    December 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for this post, and for affirming my self-doubt. As a newer agent (less than a year under my belt), I am constantly being told by my manager and regional vp that I have to door knock, make phones calls, etc. Now, understand, I completely respect, even revere, these seasoned professionals, and they do fully understand the need to use tech-forward communications methods. But I am relying upon methods like eblasts and eflyers to make personal connections (ok, so it seems less ” personal” but I can “touch” them more often and keep myself top of mind!!) with my potential and current clients. I feel I have to embrace fully the technology available to me. It’s faster, more efficient, and cutting edge. The phone calls, and especially drop bys (I mean, who drops by unannounced? We all have cell phones – you always call first! I am suspicious when my doorbell rings and I’m not expecting someone!) seem archaic. I am going to trust my gut, and use the technology available to me to connect with my client base more so than the “old ways”! Thanks!!

  48. Billy Jalbert

    February 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Didn’t watch Saul’s video, but I think it depends on what basics you’re talking about. If it’s the SOS that Realtors have done for decades, then yes I’m with you. If it is the fundamentals of business 101 that so few Realtors seems to practice such as proactive thinking, problem solving and follow through / follow-up, call me old fashioned all the way to the bank.

  49. Teresa Boardman

    February 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for writing this. You are right on target.

  50. MH for Movoto

    February 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    In troubled times, everybody goes “back to basics” and nine times out of ten it works. The point is, Internet marketing is now inextricably part of “the basics”, and has been for YEARS.

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