Manipulation – It’s The Name Of the Game.

Manipulation – It’s The Name Of the Game.

Manipulation – it’s the name of the game.

Don’t try to deny it. Embrace it.

Be proud of it.

Let vendors/landlords see the real you.

Lest you be unacquainted with the word, here’s the definition:

“To control or play upon by artful,  unfair, or insidious means, especially to one’s own advantage.”

The practice is rife in estate agency.

Realtors and estate agents, the world over, being manipulated and doing the manipulating.

Being manipulated?

Moi? Surely not?

Yep, ‘fraid so.

Not by the very best. But by those who would have you believe them to be so.

“I didn’t produce content as a top-of-the-funnel machine to get you to buy anything. I would love for that to happen, it would be nice for that to happen. I’m not even scared to ask for that to happen, but I’m not doing my giving behaviour with the manipulation to make you do that – there’s no video that stops on social, but then says “if you want to see the rest, go here. Or, “I’m going to give you content, but sign up for my 7 day trial. There’s no monetisation of my audience from an intent to manipulate. It’s build the brand, bring value and it’s basically karma and guilt people into doing business.”  – Gary Vaynerchuk.

Contrast the generosity of Gary Vee with a certain few, headline estate agency trainers.

A few minutes of video, or podcast, and just when it starts to get interesting and the ‘secret’ is about to be revealed….. cut to the sales pitch. “Our membership is now open.”



What’s worse, is that the content you’ve just listened to isn’t, apparently, their best work. No, for that you have to subscribe. At best, with contact details – a name, email and phone number. At worst, with cold-hard cash.

In this age of social credibility, we all seek authority. Trust and shared distribution.

But what the manipulator seeks to do is to provide second-rate information for free and to make you pay for what they claim is their best stuff.

Where’s the trust in that?  How does that demonstrate authority?

Said differently, I’m an expert but you have to pay me to find out whether that’s true.

Gated content is usually mediocre stuff. Put out to increase awareness with a target audience.

It’s often generic and uninspiring.

Why would any realtor/agent sign up for second rate content?

Answer? Because they’re desperate.  They adore shiny objects and they fear missing out.

All that’s needed from the manipulator is a little intrigue.

“If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”

The Million Dollar Agent Strategies seems to work well for those that manipulate.

There is No Wrong Way To Generate A Lead screams the headline on the Tom Ferry website.

The answer to which turns out to be the ubiquitous geographic farming, open houses, expired listings, FSBO , door-knocking, Facebook ads, Google PPC and video marketing.

” I’m going to make a bold statement – I think you should be in the top 1%.  I don’t care if you’re in Normal, Illinois, or New York City, someone will be making seven figures – I think it should be you.”

Right there, there’s the intrigue.

Could it really be ME, Tom? Could it? Could it, Tom?

“Work through the fear and get to a state of power.” says Tom.

I will, Tom, and thank you for that.

The Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Steven Bartlett, Nicolas Cole and Ryan Fletcher‘s of this world don’t manipulate.  They don’t need to. That’s not their game.

Their very best content – all of it for free, without obligation.

Gary Vaynerchuk precedes the previous quote with this:

“When you actually don’t care whether anyone buys your stuff, you just wanna be in a position for it to potentially happen – when you’re actually giving rather than manipulating.”

Which gets to the very heart of marketing your estate agency/realtor brokerage.

“You don’t actually care whether anyone buys your stuff.”

The polar opposite of just about every realtor/agency out there.

Desperate, they are, for the lead. Desperate for the listing.  Desperate for the offer.  Desperate for the glowing review.

Desperate for the attention. Desperate for the social media approval. Desperate for trust.

Just desperate.

Just one simple consequence of transactional selling.

That which you chase, runs away.

When you don’t actually care; when you move away, others will do the chasing.

The confidence.  The swagger. The authority.

Vendors/landlords can read these social cues.

And in a sea of commodity agents, all hustling for their worthiness, that agent stands out.

That agency is different.

The desperate agent, though, manipulates.

A deliberately inflated valuation figure. Homes that remain unsold and which are then withdrawn for a few days – only to reappear as a ‘new’ listing. The fake 5 star reviews on TrustPilot and other review sites.

The ‘gated’ content. The database of ready and willing buyers that never materialize.

The low offers that a vendor may be persuaded to accept – because the agent needs the fee.

The list of manipulations is long.

It does estate agency no favors.

Whether you embrace manipulation, or not, vendors remain wary of this trickery – before you even set foot in the door.

“The average conversion rate for pop-up forms is 3.09%”  – Source: Sumo

Vendors aren’t prepared to disclose contact information to someone they don’t trust. Most estate agencies fit that bill!

Even the leading U.K trade publication, Estate Agent Today, opens with this pop-up,

“Nobody likes pop-ups, but while you’re here.”

In this world of digital frippery, where companies can’t even figure out how to talk to one person, it doesn’t pay to scale up and attempt thousands.

Enough with the manipulation.

It’s adversarial and so blatantly transactional.

The Company vs. The Consumer.

“I know you’re not really surprised by this, but you & I don’t have a lot in common. With very few exceptions, the message you’re sharing across multiple social media channels, personal website and traditional media is fast becoming the exact opposite of something I want to listen to.  This might have something to do with the fact that I find the  language, of constantly being sold to, incredibly boring.”   – Karen Smart.

That language that we find incredibly boring?

Bragging, promising and emotional manipulation.

All realtors/agents do one or the other.

“We’re the best. We sell more homes, more quickly, for the best price. We have most awards.”

“The market’s picking up.  We should market your home at a premium price to reflect the demand. I’m confident it will go for more.”

” Why pay extortionate high-street fees for the exact same service? Think what you could spend that extra few thousand on?”

What’s the alternative for any agent?


The antidote for artful, unfair or insidious behaviour.

Let vendors/landlords see the real you.

Only this time, not for one’s own advantage, but for the advantage of others.

Only then will the artifice, that vendors perceive estate agency to be, disappear.

Those that are transparent, authentic and engaging will thrive.

The remainder will simply choose manipulation – not because it works, but because they’re just not good enough.

An endless purgatory of manipulate and be manipulated.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear them.  My advice is always free.



















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