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Bland is banned

Jerry Lyons explains why the words you use (or don’t use) in your marketing and PR could be losing your estate agency thousands of pounds.

Jerry Lyons

Jerry Lyons imageMarketing and PR dancing people imageI met my partner online. Match.com to be precise. It worked for us. Five years, three homes and one lovely little daughter later we are still a good match (well most of the time).

I like to think she clicked on my profile because back then my pictures sold a leaner, less grey and dazzlingly dashing figure of a man.

‘We’re a vibrant, dynamic and passionate agency…’ The reader thinks, ‘What a load of old twaddle.’

Unfortunately for my ego it was not the photos that really caught her eye; she told me it was the brief biography I wrote.

I can’t remember what I said but it would have been along the lines of ‘unpretentious failed footballer with a goldfish like attention span seeks someone with a lot of patience and a sense of the ridiculous.’

My partner told me the bio stood out and the write up made her laugh and warm to me. There are indeed a lot of bland bios out there and not just on dating sites.

“Great. Well done mate,” I hear you say while thinking what the hell does this have to do with getting my estate agency more business?

KERB APPEAL

Stay with me reader. You see if I’d have played a straight, boring bat and spoke about being ‘interested in extreme sports, reading classic novels, walking and socialising’ she wouldn’t have sent a wink (and I’d have been lying through my teeth).

The romantic chain of events wouldn’t have been set into motion and our lives would be totally different now.

This is why I suggest a motto of ‘Bland is Banned’ when it comes to estate agents writing about themselves or getting someone to do it for them.

I see a lot of ‘Meet the Teams’ or ‘About Us’ sections on estate agency websites. Some are really, really good. Funny, interesting and revealing. Sadly, many are really bland, chock full of clichés and meaningless jargon such as, ‘I’m a visionary with a customer centric approach to estate agency and a strategic approach to selling property.’ The reader reads it and thinks ‘what a load of old twaddle.’ Or more industrial words to that effect.

PERSONALITY

If the old saying ‘people buy people’ is true, that sort of biography is getting you left on the shelf. Leave those sorts of lines for contestants in the early stages of The Apprentice TV show.

The worst kind of About Us sections are the ones which mention no names but pour out tired statements… ‘we are a vibrant, dynamic and passionate agency.’ Spare the reader please.

How can you have an About Us section with no names or photos and has about as much personality as a wet cardboard box?

The best examples of these vitally important sections are ones that tell stories and paint pictures in the reader’s mind. Q & As are brilliant for injecting a bit of fun into your Meet the Teams and biographies.

Don’t be afraid to show some personality. If you are an independent agent this is your chance to highlight that you’re not a faceless corporate agency.

Talk about your family, share your genuine passions, your local interests and ultimately be yourself.

Use interesting images – there’s a very good agency near me in Brighton which uses photos of their team as they look now and as they did when they were toddlers. Avoid pulling David Brent poses or trying to look sexy, even if you are sexy.

SPRINKLE MAGIC

Vendors judge you on your website. Many make snap decisions based on whether they ‘like the sound of you’ or not before they call you in for a valuation.

Don’t be shy or too modest. For example, if you have won awards in an industry competition, particularly The Negotiator Awards, tell the world.

Third party endorsement, whether press coverage or winning important awards is gold dust which your agency can sprinkle all over its marketing and PR efforts. Turn thank you cards into success stories. If a delighted client sends you a thank you card chances are they will be willing to wax a little more lyrical.

Recently, I was writing up a success story for a client. The vendor told me the main factor in his decision to call the agency into value his property was the personable tone of the agent’s website. It made him feel he’d be putting his property on with people that would offer a more personal service. That decision turned into a £6,500 commission for the agent.

Also please remember to have fun while you are doing it because it’ll show if you’re not.

Dismiss the importance and value of the words on your website and marketing materials at your peril.

After all a well written, entertaining and lighthearted bio can get people to fall in love with you, in my case literally.

Jerry Lyons runs Property PR Expert helping estate agents tell their stories, build their brand and win many more instructions.
www.propertyprexpert.co.uk

March 17, 2016

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