Advice from a Master Copywriter: Bob Bly

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

The following letter from Master Copywriter Bob Bly came to my in-box this week, and I immediately wrote to ask him if I could share it with my friends at Active Rain.

The reason I wanted to share, of course, is because Bob’s advice goes hand in hand with what I keep saying about agent bios: You need to share a little personal information.

If you let readers know a few things about your life, you’ll create a hook that allows at least some ofArabian horse them to identify with you. They’ll think you’re somehow “like” them, and therefore you must be a pretty good person.

It might be where you were born or grew up. It might be where you went to school, or the jobs you held before you chose to become a real estate professional (or stager, or inspector, or lender, or…). It might be your hobbies or your volunteer work. It might be your love for dogs, or cats, or horses - or chickens. It might be your interest in exercise or natural health.

Here’s how Bob Bly tells it:

I am not a tough guy or a macho man or particularly strong.

But what if that's what you need to be to fit in with your
colleagues, customers, or coworkers?

While I was going to college, I worked summers and Christmas
breaks in the warehouse of a company that distributed potato
chips, pretzels, and other snacks.

It was a minimum wage job doing mindless manual labor, and I was
the only college student -- and the only employee who worked just
seasonally. Everyone else in the warehouse was full time.

About two-thirds of the crew were adults stuck in a low-pay,
dead-end job; one-third were younger guys about my age who were
either high school drop-outs...

...or, if they had graduated, had gone as far as they were going to
go in their education. And they all knew I was in college
studying chemistry.

Naturally, spending 40 hours a week working side by side with
them, I wanted to fit in as best I could.

Well, the toughest guy there was "Big Hank," an incredibly strong
forklift operator who stood about 6' 2" and weighed around 300
pounds -- almost all of it muscle.

One day, on the lunch break, Hank got into a challenge game with
the guys one at a time.

Hank and his opponent would shake hands, and both would squeeze
the other's hand as hard as he could -- until the victim couldn't
take the pain anymore, cried out in agony, and was declared the
loser. And Hank never lost.

Worker after worker could not withstand Hank's grip -- and begged
for release.

After Hank made Chris, the second-strongest guy in the warehouse,
yelp in pain and plead with Hank to release his hand, I calmly
stepped in front of Hank, looked him in the eye without smiling,
and held out my hand -- shocking everyone on the crew.

Hank grinned. Then he gripped my hand. But no matter how much he
squeezed, I stared right back at him, and my expression never

Amazed, he clamped down all his might, intending to cause me
maximum pain -- but to no avail.

Finally, realizing he could not beat me, he released his grip,
shook his head admiringly, and said out loud, "Fellas, this
college boy is the only tough guy in the room aside from me."

Now the truth is, I never tried to squeeze or crush Hank's hand.
I was strictly on defense.

And, I have this odd thing in my right hand: no matter how much
pressure someone applies, the bones move or slide in such a way
that they do not break or bruise, and I feel virtually no pain.

Hank and the crew did not know that, and so after the contest,
they liked me better, because I was more "one of the guys."

The next day, a younger coworker, with whom I was already
friendly, wanted to show me his martial arts fighting prowess
during lunch.

So he leaped off the ground and lashed out at me with a karate kick
-- designed more to dazzle than to hurt me.

He was slow, and I easily caught his foot in my hands and held it
there -- putting him in an embarrassing position with his leg
extended parallel to the floor and him unable to move it, which
amused the onlookers.

To get free, he leaped up to kick me with the other leg, and as
that leg went airborne, I released the first leg.

With both legs in the air and nothing to support him, gravity
took over and he fell hard on his back and ass -- to uproarious
laughter aimed at him and some congratulatory pats on the back
for me.

I have to admit, these two victories felt kind of good!

Anyway, after that, all the guys became my pals -- and on Friday
nights we often went to a bar or a pool hall to hang out. I was
accepted as part of the gang.

The lesson for you as a marketer is: People like people who are
like them.

So the more you can show the prospect that you are "one of his
people," the more open and receptive he will be to what you tell

Whatever you can do to show the prospect you have something in
common with him or her, as long as it is both true and sincere,
the better the relationship -- and the greater your chance of
making a friend ... and the sale.


Of all the messages I receive each day, Bob’s are the ones I read first. He’s not a real estate writer, but the principles and the psychology behind his advice is as valid for you as it is for a direct marketer. Visit him at to sign up for his daily messages.


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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Marte

Thanks for sharing Bob's words of wisdom and a great story he told - it makes lots of sense, and I have hooked up with several buyers as a result of some personal information in my profile. One was a relocating Human Resources professional (I was too) and I sold him and his wife a $1.4M home just a few months later. Sweet! Coming from Boston (New England) has also been ap lus for folks coming from that area!!


Apr 11, 2017 05:31 PM #1
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Marte- I never got to meet him, but I did have breakfast with Amy when they were in Delray on business.  And what he says is so true.  Find the commonality, show your common ground to gain someone's attention. 

Apr 11, 2017 05:48 PM #2
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Marte, so if my profile says I am a Wine drinking snob who loves pets and focuses on Luxury life I will get like minded sellers? Just kidding great post my friend, Endre

Apr 11, 2017 11:44 PM #3
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This was a great read. I do think we need to connect with people on some level in order to be able to work well together.

Apr 12, 2017 03:33 AM #4
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Marte Cliff

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