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Real Estate Marketing

5 claims real estate pros need to stop using in their marketing

Some real estate pros are known for making sweeping proclamations about their quality without backing it up in their marketing.

People in office on computer discussing customer feedback

I just wanted everyone to know that I am the “Number One Executive Evers,” I also help lead the “Number One Fastest Growing News Organization” in the world. We have the “Highest Reader Satisfaction On The Web,” and I was voted the “Best Wife In The World.” There, I said it. I’m a marketing pro!

What’s that you say? How can you disagree with my claims? I put them in print, they must be true!

Alas, some of these may not be true, much like blatant imaginative statements made on real estate websites and business cards worldwide.

As most of you know, I’m not a Realtor, but I am a consumer who long worked 70+ hours at a boutique firm. With that,

I give you my Top 5 Offensive (and often false) Claims (pro tip – avoid these claims):

CLAIM #1- Top Realtor

This is a personal favorite – simply Google “Top [insert your city here] Realtor” and the results are endless. How is it possible that hundreds of people are ALSO the “Top Realtor” in your city? This claim is frequently used because it is subjective, but when everyone claims this ranking, it falls on deaf ears!

So, what does your claim mean? Are you the top highest producing, the top recruiting broker in the city, or do you claim the top closing ratio? All of us here know that fluff is abundant on websites and canned material still rules the day, but if you have to fake it… it ain’t that good.

CLAIM #2- Your Neighborhood Specialist

There are many specialists out there, and several Realtors can specialize in the same subdivision, but don’t close your eyes, point at a map, and pick a spot to farm, thus claiming your “specialty.” That would be like ME saying that I am THE Scripps Ranch, CA specialist (yet I’ve never been there and besides, the Bergs have it on lockdown).

I got a flyer on the door the other day. This Realtor claimed to be my neighborhood’s specialist and “Top Realtor.” Strange- I have never seen a sign in anyone’s yard with your name on it here – not once. Hmm… a look at the MLS and… nope, you haven’t had a listing in this subdivision since it broke ground four years ago, so my bet is that my neighborhood looked sexy and you wanted to be invited to the party. Fine, but don’t make false claims – your market will see right through you.

Please don’t say you are a specialist unless you really are! I would hate to go to a gastroenterologist only to learn he’s actually a pediatrician.

CLAIM #3- Top 1% of Agents

Top One Percenters get under my skin in a big way. Locally, there’s a super smarmy Realtor whose website features a clip art illustration of a guy with a huge screw in his back saying “don’t let this happen to you” followed up with his doctored photo, his name and claims to be in the “Top 1% of Agents Nationwide.”

I know he is a major producer, so I might believe him, but where does he get this number? Where does anyone not actually in the Top 1% get this number? If I were a Realtor and I was in the Top 1%, I’d be linking to every flashy site that mentioned my honor, lest consumers think I’m using a subjective term.

If you have a claim to fame (as I know some of you do), don’t just say it- back it up!

Your consumers would like to know – what are you the “Top 1%” of?!?!! Put “Top 1%” on your business card, but let people know what you are the best at (Top 1% of new home sales achieved in May 2016, Top 1% of Realtors who have been in the industry for under 12 months). Otherwise, to the consumer, it is fluffy fluffy fluff fluff.

CLAIM #4- Fastest Growing Company

This isn’t exclusive to real estate, but it is abused frequently in the industry. Look, there is a grassroots brokerage here that has cute marketing and is up to four agents; they claim to be the “fastest-growing company” in Austin… how is this measured? By percentage? If you have two people in a company and add one person that year, your company has grown by 50% – woo hoo!

Wait, should I be impressed with that? Be careful of how you approach marketing your growth, don’t just make blanket statements.

CLAIM #5- Highest Customer Satisfaction

How is this measured? Did your assistant call after each closing and ask, “yes or no, were you satisfied with Mr. Realtor?” or is it based on a national survey, an Internet Poll, an obscure rating website, or is it an honor bestowed upon you by a builder or your local Board? If you have proof, back it up, otherwise, knock it off.

The takeaway

The words “top,” “best,” and “specialist” are frequently abused in real estate marketing. Many Realtors have beaten these dramatic claims to death. Consumers do like flowery speech and if I were buying/selling, I would love to know that my Realtor is the best. But as a consumer, I can tell you – give me what I want – tell me what you are the best at!

Blanket statements can come across as lies, so be specific! As Seth Godin says, “just saying it doesn’t make it true.” In your marketing and on your website, link to the sites that have given you honors, OR simply state, “Top Producing Re/Max Agent in Michigan!” Period.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Diana L. Faulkner

    October 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Thank you for pointing this out. The public is easily mislead, and because it is on the internet… it must be true, correct?
    For instance:
    1. Agents who are listed as having 537 sales this year….. does the public realize that this is a team and might reflect the efforts of 10 to 100 agents? Generally, the public does not.
    2. Many reviews are paid for on FIVERR.
    3. The “Top XYZ Circle” or club, is generally not reflective of which agent is really doing the work and certainly not indicative of the quality of work and experience of an agent.
    Etc.
    As the public becomes more reliant on the internet for their news, it behooves us in the real estate community to begin to work with more transparency.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Pingback: Home prices up for third consecutive quarter, median price hits $232,100 - The Real Daily

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