Mocking Me Won't Make Me Buy

Industry Observer with Swanepoel T3 Group

“Ma’am, I’ll bet your butt would look pretty hot in these jeans”.The Nordstrom sales girl who called this out was trying to get my attention, appeal to my vanity and get me to spend money. Since I am too old to have a hot-looking butt — even in $300 jeans — I smiled and walked on. But her call-out lingered.

Why? Because she made me feel a little uneasy, a little embarrassed, even a little ashamed about my 51 year old REALTOR® self. Sort of the way I feel hearing from some of the most popular real estate gurus and consultants.

The tone of some marketing and technology gurus swings between mild contempt and outright disdain. There is usually an implication -- or it's directly stated -- that while "most" agents are lazy, there are some who become superior beings by virtue of using a particular technology, marketing plan or coaching system. 

The “dinosaur” label is the most popular way to condemn an agent who hasn’t (or won’t, or can’t) do things the guru's way. So who is a dinosaur today? Is it the agent who blogs, generates leads, gets transactions done, and gets good reviews from clients, but who doesn't have a mobile website? Or a full library of "real" video tours? Or the latest iphone? 

Facebook usage is where some marketing gurus draw the line between the "with it" and the "out of it" agents.Should an agent be labeled a “dinosaur” if she believes that her clients are unlikely to use Facebook to develop a new relationship with a real estate agent? 

I know that most of my clients, regardless of age, do use Facebook…but many do so privately and they want to keep it that way. I read in a recent report on Mashable "for the majority (of users), social networking sites are most important as a way to share and communicate with friends and family who are already key social ties". 

And many people work for firms with policies that explicitly restrain their use of social media sites.

For example, a president of a public company I worked with asked upfront if I would comply with his firm’s corporate policy for vendors' social media usage. Among the requirements, there could be no mention of his firm or his executives on platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

This executive in his late 40s is definitely not a tech dinosaur: he carries 2 smart phones, an ipad, and occasionally a laptop.  As a REALTOR® working in the murky area of an executive's public/private life during a corporate reorganization, I fully complied with his firm's rules. We had a successful transaction and he has referred me to his colleagues. We’re not friends — that would be presumptuous for either of us to assume -- and I wouldn't dream of trying to "friend" this client on Facebook. But we enjoy a good business relationship, which is, after all, a good goal to achieve.

Every day I work at learning new ways to be a better REALTOR®. I believe that continually evaluating and implementing new technologies and systems is important, But I won't be mocked into doing things that are bad for my business.

And while I'll keep spending money at Nordstrom, it won't be on the latest butt-enhancing jeans.


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Kate Akerly
Kaminsky Group - Manhattan Beach, CA
Manhattan Beach Residential Sales

There are a lot of "gurus" with some product or system to sell that they will claim you can't live without.  We try to give a lot of new technologies a shot.  If there is an ROI, then we run with it, if not, I don't care what the gurus have to say about it!

Nov 23, 2011 07:45 AM #106

Hi Leslie,

I've been in some form of sales my entire working life.  It's been my experience that whoever can sell will and will use whatever works for them.  And yes, being open to new ideas, approaches, technology, etc.  Those who would like to make a living selling and can't try to teach others how to sell.  (and...I would be highly worried over anyone other than my wife who paid much attention to my butt)

Nov 23, 2011 08:55 AM #107
Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan - Morristown, NJ
Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ

Thats what makes this business what it is ultimately - all about choice, all about who you prefer to work with and who will seek you out to work with them.  Interesting post.

Nov 23, 2011 11:33 AM #108
Robert Bryer
Apex Results Realty Inc. - Burlington, ON

Well, that makes me feel better. I am very tech savvy and have been since the internet was referred to as the WEB. However, I haven't yet seen the real benefits of social media. Although I'll keep having an open mind.

Nov 23, 2011 12:17 PM #109
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Leslie,  I agree, most of their pitches turn me off, much less want me to use their services.

Nov 24, 2011 06:46 AM #110
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Blogging is working great for me, but Facebook.  Not so well.  Fifty one is not old.  At least not know that I am here.

Nov 24, 2011 10:47 AM #111
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I'm not sure why some people think that a consecending way is a way to get me to open my wallet. Since when hearing that I suck is the way I like to throw money away. I've attended a workshop that asked, How many of you are happy with the way you're business is going? You're definitely here for a reason. I took it the absolutely WRONG way. I took it that if I showed up, that I was a loser. I didn't walk out but I did just as soon as it breaks.

Sorry that I stopped by a few days late. But better late than never I guess.

Nov 24, 2011 10:37 PM #112
Jayson Holland - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

I do not friend my clients on FB. I friend my friends (and family). Of course some of my friends are also my clients....which is one of the great bonuses of this career!

Nov 25, 2011 05:43 AM #113
Marie Graham
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY - White Plains, NY
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager

Leslie-I agree with John @ 17, and  I love this post, for so many reasons. The GREAT segue from jeans to gurus aside, you bring up a quesiton we all deal with at sometime.  We work hard to be smart at wheat we do, so there is confidence...but is there a chance we might be missing a boat somewhere? Asking that quesion every so often is a wise and humble thing to do, good reality check. Last week I met with two associates I know, admire and trust to talk about my marketing efforts, and came away reinforced, but also with good ideas. Gurus are often self-proclaimed, and they need to market themselves like anyone else. Too often looking for the weaker in the herd seems to be their way.

Nov 25, 2011 03:05 PM #114
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

I have befriended many of my clients on Facebook, but there are many more whom I don't think would be appropriate as FB friends. And even though I'm fairly tech-savvy, I haven't embraced YouTube as a way to market listings. Maybe I'm a dinosaur in that respect.

And as far as jeans go, since I have no assatall, I don't buy high-priced brands. I just stick to Lee.



Nov 26, 2011 01:37 AM #115
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Robin: FB use is a spectrum for most of us, I think. 

Marie: that's an interesting with associates not to present how great you are but to do some accountability

Jayson: my thoughts!

Loreena: these posts hang on like Halloween candy....still plenty to pick at after a week

Gene: shopping with 15 year old daughter makes a lady feel old 

Bob: seems to be a common thread

Robert: glad to help

Bob: thanks

#108: those who can, do 

Akerly Team: I'm a great trier, too.

Tyla: it really is a change, isn't it...but there are costs, like eye contact and conversation




Nov 26, 2011 03:17 AM #116
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Kimo #105: I love your spirit...

Brian #104: I think QR codes will find their niche...keep at it.

Ken: what's the saying "nothin happens until somebody sells something"

Sherry: nope, but there is room for hope.

Evelyn: HI THERE!!!! Hope things are good down by you. 

Morris: she was just a girl trying to be cute

Summers: I am hearing of some younger agents (early 30s) who have 1000s of friends after a couple of jobs, moves, college, and they are working those spheres through FB. It's going the other way for someone like me who has a mental line between public and private.

Debra: one reason I stay on FB is to keep on eye n my teenagers, so I am careful about what I say and do online

Todd: I work on my titles and opening sentences. The juxtaposition between the high class Nordstroms image, the saucy sales girl, and what we do in real estate made it work.

Kimo #96: I will enjoy my day after reading your thoughtful comment

Mike: I hesitate in the LinkedIn world so far...need to learn more

Doug: I have yet to get paid just because I bought a new gadget

Merv: thanks for commenting

Carolyn: that's me!





Nov 26, 2011 03:31 AM #117
Former Agent
None - Adak, AK

Hi Leslie. To me, a lot of these gurus are selling churn and burn systems.  That's not the way I run my life or business.  Slow and steady wins the race.   You don't propose marriage on the first date, and it seems like this is what a lot of these real estate gurus advise.

Nov 26, 2011 04:28 AM #118
Karen Shrock-Jones

I worked with a broker a few years ago who was totally into one of the marketing gurus. The guru seemed okay enough in his principles, but I didn't care for the broker's interpretation of the message or his devotion to this guy. We could do it his way or we'd be asking "do you want fries with that?" That comment was based upon his experience in college working at a fast food joint. Well, I never worked fast food in college or any other time and trying to form myself into a sales machine that was contrary to my own personality just did not work. I'm 55, and I tried once to follow someone who was going to save me from evil influences and it almost destroyed me.

I am not a follower. I've spent a lot of time on this earth learning who I am and what works for me. There seems to be a career track in real estate that evolved into one becoming a guru developing a group of followers who pay you their hard earned money to hear the guru's wise words from the top of the RE hill. I'm not buying it.

My style is one on one. Facebook is for me about family and friends and chillin'.

Nov 26, 2011 06:15 AM #119
Karen Shrock-Jones

P.S. I found that the gurus earned their fortunes and reputations is the glory days of real estate using techniques that don't apply to today and are not necessarily related to any kind of technology. It was the day of the "salesperson". I am not and have never considered myself in the sales profession or the marketing profession. It's corny, but I am a service professional, and I had a rich life and career before real estate that lead me to the path I'm currently on.

It's mostly the young bucks that left during the hard times because the fast money wasn't there any more. When I go to association trainings, I see a lot more over 50 or even 60 realtors in the seats with their iPads and smartphones than 20 or 30 somethings.

Nov 26, 2011 06:38 AM #120
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Leslie ~ what a wonderfully written post!  Trying to just keep up with all the new fangle-d technology is tiring in itself, let alone becoming an expert at using it all.  Social Media is a way to possibly earn some business, but not the only way.

Nov 27, 2011 09:27 AM #121
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Listen...I am 42 and I still don't get twitter or FB.  I send my posts there, but that is it.  I get on to FB every now and again to check what others are up to as far as folks I KNOW, but other than that, I just simply don't have the time.  

I know I MUST Learn FB, Twitter, LinkdIn, and ALL the other Social media sites but I just get I suppose I'm not with it.  I have only been a Realtor® for four years, so I can't even use the dinosaur I guess I am just going to be not with it, lol :)!  

I am getting the hand of AR and getting another blog site and that will be it for me...if I can't find my clients that way then oh well...I don't have the time God gave me to "tweet" a million times a day, lol :)!  


Nov 27, 2011 11:01 AM #122
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Leslie, I've pretty much had it with one size fits all coaching - and I wonder if that girl in Nordstrom's realizes she could get in trouble for sexual harrassment! lol


Nov 29, 2011 01:43 PM #123
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Continuing to strive to be better is always a good thing! I try to work 15 minutes a day to get more immersed in different marketing venues, that way it stays manageable, but at the end of each month, I've gone a long way.

Dec 19, 2011 12:16 AM #124
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Leslie, I find the majority of my clients are not on Facebook. The majority of my business is with clients age 50+. The ones who are on Facebook are my "friends" in the real sense. Every agent has to find what works for them and then use it.

I wish $300 was all it would take to make my butt look great.

Jan 20, 2012 09:09 AM #125
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Leslie Ebersole

I help brokers build businesses they love.
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