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Why you can sell in person, but your marketing copy fails: First, blame Mom

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

When you get face to face with sellers, you can get the listing. When you have a buyer, you're able to establish an instant rapport and guide them smoothly through finding and buying the perfect home.

But … when you try to write a prospecting letter, your efforts fizzle and your results are dismal. 


The list of reasons has to be headed by your natural reluctance to toot your own horn. And for that, tooting your own hornyou have to blame Mom – or Dad – or any other adults who influenced your early years.

If you were raised as I was - to be quiet, never brag, never be pushy - it isn't easy to break out and tell the world what you have to offer.

 Even though you know you must do it, your attempts can be ineffective. They're wimpy because you haven't got the courage to step out of your comfort zone and show people what you can do for them. Somewhere inside, you're saying "But bragging is so rude!"

In fact, you may be trained so well that you don't even allow yourself to consider how much better you are than the average agent. You may be one of those agents who, when I begin to write their copy, tells me "I don't do anything any different than anyone else."

The first step to overcoming this obstacle is to realize that yes, you are better than the average agent.

The things you do are beyond what average agents do. You wouldn't even be here on Active Rain if you weren't in the top tier of agents nationwide.

So, step out of yourself for an hour and start writing a letter about you. Sing your own praises. Tell about the extra effort you make to help your clients. Talk about the things you do for them when you'd rather be curled up with a good book or spending an afternoon with friends and family.

Think about every compliment you've gotten from a client or an associate - and realize that they mentioned what you did because it's beyond the norm that they expect.

No one else ever has to see your letter. In fact, you can shred it when you're finished. But you need to admit to yourself that yes, you are better – and you need to understand why.

Next, start incorporating some of what you learned about yourself into your marketing copy. You don't have to shout "I'm great" but you do need to start incorporating some of the extra things you do into your marketing copy.

The tasks you perform for your clients may sound like routine to you, but they may sound exceptional to your future clients.


Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Hi Marte, really good points. All too often we agents overlook the things we do as if they are part of our job, when really it is going that extra mile. I'm going to do as you suggest and write that letter. 

Jan 29, 2012 08:40 PM
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Good morning Marte! Being able to "Brag" about ourselves can be challenging, especially for me. I know I have skill sets that many appraisers don't have, but I'm not comfortable pointing them out. This will be something I'll have to work on.

Have an awesome day.

Jan 29, 2012 10:44 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Somehow you got inside my mind this morning!  This is actually on my list of things to contact YOU about one day soon...I know I am deficient in tooting my own horn - we apparently had the same upbringing and need to find a soulful way to do so without being obnoxious.  ;-)  I plan to email you this week to discuss. Thanks for the blog post this morning!

Jan 30, 2012 12:56 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Tooting our own horn is definitely not how we are raised.  It's a hard mindset to overcome, but absolutely necessary to succeed in this business.

Jan 30, 2012 03:47 AM
Lynn Pineda
eXp Realty - Boca Raton, FL
Real Estate Promises delivered in SE Florida

Hi Marte, it's true...sometimes we aren't real comfortable in talking ourselves up yet at the same time how are our prospective customers going to know about our abilities if we don't tell them. It can be a gift in how we put it into words.

Jan 30, 2012 12:47 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Well, this is interesting - where are the replies I left this morning?

I think Active Rain is having a problem or two...

Pamela - When you write your letter, don't be shy. Remember, you're the only one who is going to read it!

Michael - But if you don't point them out, those poor clients are apt to mistakenly hire someone with fewer skills - not good for them or you!

Susan - When we're raised that way, it really is an obstacle to overcome. I'll look forward to your email later in the week!

Chris Ann - Yes, but as I told Michael, it's the only way to save people from going with someone inferior.

Lynn - You just have to do it in a way that demonstrates what you have to offer without making you sound like a braggart. It's not simple, but it can be done.

Jan 30, 2012 03:21 PM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I've blamed Mom for a few things, and surely I can add this to the list.

Doubtful that Mom knows to tell me to call you, but I can figure that out on my own.

May 25, 2015 12:07 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Claude Labbe It's awful how we blame moms for so much... but it's OK. I can blame mine the same way my kids no doubt blame me... 

And you're right - your Mom probably doesn't know me. 

May 25, 2015 01:51 PM