Bad Real Estate Marketing

Recently I was shown a copy of a, “My Why” recruiting ad from Re/Max. Aside from the title someone thought was cool, it highlights the fact: 1,482 Re/Max sales agents of Georgia averaged $123,438.00 a year in compensation. WOW, the average GA Re/Max sales agent makes more than 2 full-time Atlanta Cops plus 1 full-time science teacher, combined! That’s an odd thing to brag about.

Ever see CPAs parading around their income? Morticians wearing fancy jewelry? Plumbers pulling up to job sites in Jaguars? Mechanics wearing Rolex’s? When you work in the Service industry, bragging about your income comes off as tacky. Short of the music industry, Realtors are the only other group who thinks flaunting their cash is a smart idea.

Elephant in the room; Realtors have an image problem with the public. It’s hard to see how “My Why” helps. Especially considering anyone reading the ad knows it’s as phony as a 3-dollar bill. Their $123K average agent compensation is actually impossible to achieve in many rural communities. Statisticians will tell you with a sample size of 1,500 agents, the national average of $38K, would be more representative.

So, in order for Re/Max to brag about their $123K agent average, it means a bunch of Re/Max agents are making a stupid, crazy amount of money; YouTube star kind of money! Do you really want consumers to dwell on how much the industry unnecessarily takes from them?

Stay in your lane. Know who you are and what you do. Realtors make nothing. They own nothing. Their lot is one of “service”. Person A wants to sell and person B wants to buy. Realtors wedge themselves between the two and extract money from the Seller because the Buyers certainly aren’t going to pay anything. That’s the job. Marketers can make the job sound complex, dramatic, even inspirational. End of the day, realtors are in the same lane with all the other middlemen.

Speaking of leaving one’s lane, Compass Realty, CEO, and adult brat, Robert Reffkin actually thinks he is redefining the real estate industry. Reffkin is quoted as saying; “I want Compass Realty to be the most inspirational company in the history of the world”. “Over the next 10 years we’ll give back over a Billion dollars to charity” “I want to elevate the human experience”. These are actual quotes from the great leader. Realtors elevating humanity? Dude, take it down a notch!

Hey genius, you want to be the great “giver”; how about this: stop taking!

Realtors make money at the expense of home sellers. At the expense of their “nest eggs”! Agents should always remember, and never forget, to be respectful of their income source. Despite what Mr. Reffkin thinks of himself, given a choice, sellers would rather keep their own money versus giving it to Compass Realty to fulfill Mr. Reffkin’s, “I am the savior” fantasy.

Sure, Compass Realty is the extreme. They were given $800 million dollars in start up cash from the Venture Fund of the Saudi Royal Family to presumably change the United States real estate market. And of course, being mindful of money, isn’t their thing. Re/Max is a big chain. What plays well on a corporate white board, doesn’t always translate to the field. Point is, Brokers do stupid things their agents will then have to deal with.

Negative selling isn’t attractive and it rarely works. Still, if you find yourself competing against Compass or Re/Max, how could you NOT use their glib flaunting of excess against them? It‘s a terrible story and one not easily explained away. 

Talking about how great you are or how much money you make is yesterday’s real estate strategy. As hard as it may seem for some, real estate transactions are NOT about the sales agents. As we start a new year, it is a great time for re-evaluation. Be smart, and be aware. Don’t do a Reffkin. Never put yourself, or what you stand to make, above your own client. And, always, repeat always, be respectful of those who pay your bills.

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