24 Jan Move In A Little Closer Baby.
“Move in a little closer, baby. You’ve got to keep me closer, baby. Come in a little closer, baby. Together, we can make it happen. Wait and see.”
Lyrics from the late, great 60’s artist, Mama Cass Elliot that realtors & estate agents, worldwide, would do well to regard.
Instead, vendors/landlords are kept at arms length for much of the initial ‘courtship’.
A media blitz brings attention. Showcasing the competence of each and every agent. That’s how it’s always been done.
Until the time comes to pitch your services.
Then, it’s time for the agent to State and Prove the bleeding obvious – they’re an estate agent, just like all the rest.
Just a little better perhaps? Or, even better than all the rest?
Here’s the thing.
We don’t know and more importantly we don’t care.
We don’t care how competent the agent is – until we find out whether they have certain character traits.
Integrity. Honesty. Vulnerability. Transparency. Determination. Conscientious, Responsible, Optimism.
Any number of traits that we value in those around us.
The very best estate agent title means diddly squat if they achieved those results from dubious practice.
So vendors interpret cues, when meeting the agent for the first time.
In how they say, what they say. The tone and cadence.
The mannerisms. The demeanor.
Kinesics to give it correct terminology.
“Did I mention that our agency is #1 in the area for homes sold and % of asking price achieved?”
We don’t care – Yet!
In the excellent Marketing Book Podcast where host, Douglas Burdett, chats to guest David Meerman Scott, the conversation turned to what David describes as “close physical proximity.”
Neuroscience explains that we, as humans, desire to be closer to those we trust and stay distant from those that pose a threat.
He explains the various zones that effect our response to anyone.
Public Zone is where we are in a crowded public area and, we don’t need to pay much attention to our safety.
Social Zone is approximately 20 feet where we intuitively become aware of someone, either through verbal or non-verbal communication.
Personal Zone is within 4 feet.
This is where, for estate agents and realtors, the problem arises.
It’s hard-wired into our DNA.
When someone we don’t yet trust, in this case a realtor, is in our personal zone, we feel wary.
Until we assess them.
The less they share about themselves, the less we trust.
Making matters worse is that all estate agents/realtors, already, are perceived a risk.
A public perception that is unfair, but one which agents seem unwilling to remedy.
So a realtor/agent sitting directly opposite, or God-forbid knocking uninvited on your door, impinges your personal zone, poses a threat.
And blindly pursues the goal of convincing the vendor that they are competent –
before they convince them of their character.
“Ass backwards”, as they might say in U.S.A.
“Arse about face” as we impolitely articulate here in the U.K.
When vendors have to guess, they often guess wrongly.
So, if your appraisal/instruction ratio needs some work, start there.
With character. With relationships.
David Meerman Scott’s book, Fanocracy, co-authored by his daughter, Reiko, outlines the principle that relationships start with curiosity.
For sure, vendors are curious about an agent’s character. It’s how we choose.
But I sense a lack of reciprocity on the part of the agent. All too many vendors/landlords are labelled ‘LEAD’.
That impersonal, inglorious sobriquet destined for the sales funnel.
Don’t conflate an email address, a phone number and a ‘like’ on your agency Facebook page for a relationship.
It’s not even a one-night stand.
And the 33 touch campaign, so beloved of Keller Williams, isn’t the answer.
If loyal clients are your ultimate aim, then you have to do more than scratch the surface.
In The Man & His Music – Advice From The Boss, Bruce Springsteen had this to say:
“Trust in a relationship is a complicated thing. Trust requires allowing others to see as much of ourselves as we have the courage to reveal. Allowing others to see behind the mask. The mask we all wear to overcome fear.”
And from Brené Brown, it’s vulnerability.
“The Courage to be Imperfect.”
Yet, we still have the likes of Tom Ferry, Grant Cardone, Tom Panos and Craig Proctor demanding that agents seek perfection. Many agents follow blindly, even when they are badly led.
They’re sales people – in a sales culture. And it’s not working!
They’re destroying, with their interruption marketing methods, the very thing that real estate needs right now.
Who you are. What you value and believe. What matters most. What makes you unique.
Move in a little closer, baby.
Together we can make it happen. Wait and see.
Thanks, as always, for reading:)
If you have questions, I’m happy to help. My advice is always free.