I am a pretty active guy, always on the go and always pushing toward the next goal. I get up, go to my desk start working until I”m exhausted and can go to bed. Working, making time for my daughters and my wife allows for precious little quiet time or time for reflection. However, in the quiet hours of the early dawn, when the sun is just breaching the horizon, my mind starts turning, its at that time that mistakes of the past, failures and missed opportunities start to haunt. In these moments my belief system guides me toward peace and brings clarity to unanswerable questions. My faith is strong and it’s what I rely on to answer the haunting of failure and the screaming of pressing goals. Its what drives me to desire a better balance to my work and personal life, to be more to my children than my parents were; to love my wife the way she deserves to be loved. My essence is defined in the foundation of my belief in God.
However, my foundation is not something that I will use to gain an upper-hand on my competition.
Misconceptions and Perceptions
When first licensed, I branded my business as a “Christian Agent”, I wouldn’t advertise in the church bulletin or pass out cards at church, but I perceived that my belief system would bring like minded clients. The heterogeneity of beliefs is a funny thing. Being a person who believes in God, or any other Deity means so many different things to so many different people. I quickly found that regardless of what we called ourselves, the clients that were drawn to me through the use of religious imagery on my business cards or webpage, did not necessarily think the same way that I did. Within my first year, I dropped using any reference to religion in my business marketing. I was far better off once I had made that separation. The perception from competition is typically, that they think you’re merely using your church as a way to gain an unfair advantage. The perception of most consumers is that they don’t care or will see you as an easy target.
What about Fair Housing
As a Fair Housing instructor, I get tons of questions in class, e-mails and phone calls tattle-telling on one agent or another who has a fish or a cross on their business card. Recently I saw an advertisement for an agent stating that she was “The Lord’s Realtor.” I personally find this exclusionary marketing line, offensive. However, so long as these marketing venues of the practices of the agents aren’t ‘limiting the choices” of a protected class, there is nothing illegal about them. Do I think they are a good idea – no.
Are you Attractive or Offensive?
Beliefs are typically very personal to people. It has been my experience and feedback from other consumers that they do not feel comfortable working with people who are so zealous about their beliefs as to use them a marketing ploy. You also have the group, who may believe the same as you, but are offended that you would try and use their beliefs as a gimmick. My personal experience is that the folks who I’ve worked with in the past, who profess to be on the same belief are typically the most difficult to work with. When you combine all of these ideologies and experiences – what exactly was the benefit of using religious imagery in your marketing?
I feel the same about religious bumper stickers 😉 No one drives well enough to be a banner for your Deity!
Let Your Passions Influence Your Work
If you are passionate about your beliefs than continue to let them be a guiding force in how you conduct yourself and your business. I completely encourage you to allow your faith to be a cornerstone, however it shouldn’t be a stumbling block. Not everyone believes in a Deity or religion for that matter, and they certainly do not all believe the same way. One of my very best and most trusted friends has completely opposing views as I do, on this matter; but she is trusted and cherished as a friend, non-the-less. There are many good, ethical people out there practicing real estate and it has nothing to do with their attendance at a Synagogue, Mosque or Church. Treat clients fairly and honestly regardless of the personal beliefs. People will start to sense your passions soon enough – regardless of if you “advertise” them or not.