There’s always something to howl about

Social Media’s Dirty Secret: It’s Not About You, It’s Not About Marketing

The Realtor® Fantasy that is part of social media fascinates me.

Social Media “experts” have attitude that if you’re cool enough, transparent enough, and seem to care enough, a brinks truck full of money will be backed up to your door, you’ll get on the cover of a National Real Estate Magazine, and you’ll be given the recognition that you’ve always wanted.

Your “personal bland” will dominate the landscape and you will become the recipient of tickertape parades all across the country.

As if.

We are…salespeople.  We have intimate relationships with people’s finances.  We must sell people on our own competence.  Not coolness.  We must sell people on the idea that we care.  And, buddy, that doesn’t happen when we ‘drip’ on them.   We must truly be caring and competent, or else we’re screwed.  And we’ve gotta convey it.  (Dan Melson again comes to mind).

There is no Search Engine technique that will cause the web to organize itself to have presold buyers slobbering to pay us 6 percent on something.  There ‘s no blogging technique that will eliminate the need for someone to answer questions and be a fiduciary

We…are salespeople.  Social media is just a way of meeting, reaching, helping and working with fun people.  It’s nothing more than that.  Your marketing is probably generating leads.  Your leads can’t be sent to AMEX to pay the bill.

But are you closing them?  Are you reaching out to demonstrate-definitively–that you are their best and most caring option?  That you have sharpened your skills to navigate this market.   Probably not.  And that’s where the problem lies.   You are not selling.  You are not reaching out, risking rejection and trying to help.  And despite the cries that people have that they “don’t wanna be sold to.”   They “don’t wanna be sold to” by a moron.  Don’t be a moron.  People need someone to take charge.  They need some expert in Real Estate, Mortgage or wherever to just get the damn thing moving forward.

When you’re building a “you-centric” personal brand, website that is bereft of information that your friends might want…you’re not selling.  Your social media is not selling.  It’s broadcasting, spamming, looking cool, but NOT SELLING.  I am cleaning the clock of web people that are legitimately better than me.  I’m doing it with–no lie–a shoebox and index cards.  Every time I see someone’s website I can make better, I write it down.   I call those people up, introduce myself…and sell them.  I dump ’em into aweber or wherever eventually.

And I’m not that good at sales yet.  I sell a lot, but on a scale of 1-10 of selling, I’m probably a 3.5 or 4.  I just do it.  Call, ask, repeat.   I’m digging myself out of the IRS hole that I spotted the world (current estimated emancipation date is 1 November 2009).    But still–I’m not that good.  But I don’t suffer the entitlementality that is sweeping the social media landscape.  I’m not gonna get mad if someone rejects me or needs a refund.  It’s business.  My own soul isn’t so heavily invested in this stuff

I don’t expect you to think I’m cool, or be impressed enough to call me.  I don’t expect you to call me.  I don’t care if you don’t.  I’ll call you and do the best job I can helping you get whatever the hell you need.  Because all of us in our professions–are fundamentally salespeople.

We must embrace–not eschew–that concept if we’re gonna win anything.    And we must not use the marketing we do to insulate us from salesmanship.  Get it?  Good.  None of us are gonna become superstars…unless we’re here to help other people.  It’s about what someone else wants, beeing there to meet the need.  Social media is not gonna make people genuflect at our greatness.

Now…follow up matters, auto-responders work.  But none of it performs at half the level it could without the passion and enthusiasm of an earnest and dedicated salesman.

Don’t think of sales as a redheaded stepchild.  Marketing is good, but it’s a poor substitute for sales.  It gets you a date, but it get doesn’t you upstairs.


12 Comments so far

  1. Greg Swann August 19th, 2009 10:05 am

    Bravo! This is excellent. Brian and I were talking about this on the phone yesterday. I’ll have my own take on the topic when(ever) my time opens up.

  2. Benjamin Dona August 19th, 2009 10:26 am

    Very well said Chris. I couldn’t agree more!

  3. Ian Greenleigh August 19th, 2009 10:38 am

    They “don’t wanna be sold to” by a moron.

    You pretty much sum it up there, Chris. I’ve been the moron and I’ve also been on the other end. But more often, I am the guy that provides answers about a product I know they’re interested in. They thank me for it. Salespeople aren’t used to getting thanked, but when someone is reminded of a product or service that they had looked at seriously at one point, or when they are educated as to the value of this product/service, they see the sales call (if done correctly) as having value in of itself. It’s all about the approach, being consultative, being honest, treating them as an individual. It’s never easy, but making money and doing anything well never is.

  4. Jeff Brown August 19th, 2009 10:56 am

    A superb post on so many levels.

    When I was 17, it was summer of ’69, and I was going to licensing school, while also being trained to be an agent. Sales was portrayed as the engine driving American business — ‘Nothing happens ’till a salesman does his job well — getting the prospect/client/customer what they wanted/needed.’

    Today? Sales is beneath most folks born after the mid-70’s. They don’t say it, but their behavior gives them away. Marketing for most folks is spelled S-A-L-E-S. This is a mistake from which most never recover. Meanwhile, the large minority out there who get it, the grinders, are out there skinnin’ cats daily and paying more taxes in many cases than their competition’s gross income.

    You’re the poster child for doing things the right way. You may be Gumping your way through much of the time, but I bet the dead presidents you’re generating still spend.

    Many times I’ve spoken of ‘at-bats’ — the opportunity to be in front of somebody who can tell you to go to hell — or become a client. If readers don’t take anything else from this post, it should be this: Those who succeed most consistently are those with the most at-bats, combined with the mindset of the salesman. Salesmen/women generate THEIR OWN at-bats. If they’re able to successfully market, they know when they should be donning their sales hat.

    Meanwhile the ‘avoid rejection at any cost’ marketing crowd keep pounding their drums in an ever impotent application of denial. Does marketing work? Duh, of course it does. But your point shows the ability to sell is the end game — the one resulting in dead presidents — or skinned cats if you will.

    Truly remarkable post. Wish I’d written it.

  5. Kevin Schmidtchen August 19th, 2009 11:38 am


    Good post and commentary. I think Social Media is great but people are getting way to caught up with it and think that if you are great at blogging and marketing…the $$ just rolls in. Social Media as you pointed out is simply a great tool to get to meet people and get leads. From there you have got to be the best at what you do.

  6. Joe August 19th, 2009 11:50 am

    Excellent post Chris. Sales is like baseball practice. When I coach I make sure my kids have the maximum number of touches (ball and bat contact) per practice I can in a give two hour practice. Sales is the same. The more personal contact that can be made, the more sales will be had. It’s a numbers game. Not sure if an internet presence quite does the job of a ‘personal touch’ necessary to sell ourselves and our product.

  7. Russell Shaw August 19th, 2009 12:10 pm

    Perfect post, Chris.

  8. Sean Purcell August 19th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Marketing is good, but it’s a poor substitute for sales. It gets you a date, but it doesn’t you upstairs.

    Damn that’s good. There’s a flip side too. The agents in my workshops are always afraid to put their personality into their marketing. I tell them it’s a time saver: “Why pay for three dates only to discover you don’t want to take them upstairs!”

    So many good lines in this post, I’ve got to put a tattoo artist on retainer! My favorite is easy – hands down this should be a sign on every one of our desks (if not tattooed on our forehead):

    Call, ask, repeat.

    Bravo Chris, Bravo.

  9. Robert Worthington August 20th, 2009 4:07 am

    We all needed to hear that Chris. We can have the best drip campaigns and the best lead capturing tools, however, we still need to call the customer. We need to overcome the fear of getting rejected and just say to ourselfs…next.

  10. Scott Cowan August 20th, 2009 7:07 am


    Another frying pan to the side of the head post here on BHB. Just what I needed to start my morning off with a focus towards sales.

    I am putting Call, ask, repeat above each of my monitors today. Such an excellent and simple recipe to success.

    Thanks to you and all of the other sales people who share their thoughts here.

  11. Joe Hayden August 21st, 2009 11:32 am


    You’re point of selling yourself is well-taken… The challenge with this business is that sometimes we are caught between “selling” and “representing”…

    I think the focus on yourself can help mitigate some of those issues…

  12. Louis Cammarosano August 22nd, 2009 10:11 am

    Chris thanks for this. Just getting yourself on page one of google doesn’t mean you know the first thing about selling real estate
    I think there needs to be a balance between Marketing and Sales skills. As you say marketing is good but not a substitute for sales.
    I remember at Unchained last year a participant asked Greg or brian what he was doing wrong. He had employed many of the marketing techniques discussed at the conference, scored high on google, got leads but closed little business.

    The answer was he was doing nothing wrong with marketing at all, indeed he was excelling.
    Since unchanged in May 2008 was about makreting, the follow up sales techniques were not covered.

    Would like to see more discussion on conversion and follow up. After all what good does it do to get them in the door if all they do is look around.frontdfvoserr