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The Key, The Lounger and The Guest

What you see is a stylized version of my room key from the Albuquerque Sheraton. Inside my room was the most amazing lounge chair. This became my home away from home, as I watched the shadows fall on the Sandia Mountains while reading the latest Clive Cussler novel.

Also inside the room was a rather fancy packet explaining all of the wonderful things that the Sheraton had to offer. (The pancakes, incidentally, weren’t all they were cracked up to be.) That packet had nothing to do with my decision to stay at this hotel – I already was there and unpacked by the time I noticed it.

Mea Culpa, Mrs. Castles

This week, I was accused of being a man by one of my fellow Geniuses. To those who may have had doubts, given that I cop to watching Dancing With the Stars (only for Warren Sapp) and The Bachelor (for the endless supply of double entendre-laden comments), I plead guilty.

No, really. I do.

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But I can’t sit back and agree with the leap of logic that says that because I am a male, I’m unaware of the emotional impact marketing can have on a person. After all, the only brand of sugar I have purchased in my entire adult life is C&H. (Now that the C&H theme is stuck in your head, you’re welcome. If you don’t know what I’m talking about … oh, never mind. Or ask your parents.)

In fact, as a buyers’ agent it’s the emotional impact that I count on … it may sound tired and apocryphal, but it doesn’t make it less true. Most buyers still make up their mind on a home, positively or negatively, within the first five steps they take in the home.

Impress Us – Quickly!

As such, I would argue that marketing a home needs to be directed in two directions.

  1. Entice my buyer into the home.
  2. Wow them when they walk in the front door.

How can you do that? By providing enough photographs of a property without necessarily showing me every last light socket. Put them together in a virtual tour that highlights the best the property has to offer. (Just in case Kris’ clients are looking in north Phoenix, I used my latest listing that has glass block.)

And speaking of Kris’ clients (and yours, too, for that matter) …

As a listing agent, I don’t really care that your buyer can’t live without cherry cabinets. I do care that your buyer might want Kelly green Corian counter tops as this selection is illegal in 14 forward-thinking states. My listing is my listing and I’m marketing to the wider audience in an effort to attract the narrower band of buyers.

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If your buyer’s not interested based on something major such as the above two examples, I’ll have the photographs available to help them come to that realization. If their lack of interest comes from the $2.47 light switch cover with my sellers’ child’s name … there, I’ll just have to hope they can overlook the extreme inconvenience of unscrewing a single screw. Or at least add it to the repair request later.

If We’re There, the Rest is Fluff

Earlier I mentioned the Sheraton … and, quite frankly, I’m expecting a free-night coupon for the sheer amount of advertising given here. (Just not in Albuquerque … lovely town, too damned cold.) And it was with cause – as polished as the information package was … let’s call it, oh I don’t know, a property book) … as polished as that property book was, I already had made my decision. It didn’t matter what the book looked like or even if it existed. They had me at hello, as it were.

I can understand why a buyer might want the book after the close. It’s a keepsake at that point. For that matter, so are the three pens, the four-sizes-too-small robe and the two mini-bottles of shampoo with the Sheraton logo. None of them had the slightest bit to do with my decision to stay on this occasion, but since they were there I was more than happy to avail myself of them.

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

My Listings are Open Virtually All the Time

I find the real value is in making our listings accessible to the throngs of unrepresented, uncommitted, listing agent-shopping, limited service agent-affiliated customers who now threaten to dominate the buyer population

So do I. Except I go looking for them online, where they exist in droves.

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Of course, all real estate is local. And having survived traffic in San Diego myself, there just may be enough cars parked on I-15 to equal the number of folks Googling, Zillowing and Truliaing.

Besides, I’m just a man.

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. Kelley Koehler

    November 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Dood. Leave my Kelley Green Silestone out of it. Green countertops are cool.

  2. Kris Berg

    November 20, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Jane, you ignorant… Never mind. Points well taken, albeit misguided. I will offer a more thoughtful response when I have finished delivering the signed acceptance by my 9:00 deadline on a home which did indeed enjoy an interactive floor plan, an insanely expensive brochure, a unique URL, professional staging, AND MORE! By the way, all that stuff is essentially on-line, so we are not so different after all.

    By the way, I bet you stole the little bars of soap, didn’t you? 🙂

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    November 21, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Kelley – Ah, Tucson. That’s also the city where I once showed a home with eggplant carpet. Yes. Eggplant. I mean, wow.

    Kris – See, I’m glad you finally came around to my way of thinking. Staging gets people when they walk in the room. The floor plan, the URL, that helps buyers find the place and virtually view the place.

    The brochure … yeah, not so much.

    In any event, I believe your next line should be Gilda Radner … “never mind.”

  4. Bob Wilson

    November 21, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    You guys are all missing the boat. Here is how you sell a house online.

  5. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Bob – Oh my!

    Maybe it is a man v woman thing. I don’t know. But I do know that a lot of women buy houses. And speaking for my species, I like pink fuzzy slippers, glossy shiny flyers, and cookies at tour.

    We’re selling a feeling. Yes, it’s an investment – a cold hard blob of wood. But it’s the feeling it gives people when the walk in that sells them – or not.

  6. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Oh! And love the post, Jonathan.

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