Sometimes it’s good to “talk too much”

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

A successful businessman I once knew often said “You don’t have to tell everything you know.” He was, gossipof course, referring to giving too much information to those who might use it against you in the future – either personally or in business negotiations.

You follow this advice when you tell your buyers or sellers not to speak with the agents or principals on the “other side” of the transaction. They might reveal information the other side doesn’t need to know – like the reason for their move.

Wise people also follow it when they refrain from indulging in office gossip. Even if you “know” that Nancy is seeing Betty’s husband on the sly – if you’re smart you keep your mouth shut. The same applies to repeating anything anyone told you in the heat of anger or frustration.

But then there are those other times – times when it’s best to tell all you can.

One of those times is when you’re explaining the process of buying or selling a home to a client. They need information, and the more of it the better. You need to take your time and make sure they understand what you’ve told them. And sometimes you need to repeat it over and over.

Another is when you’re providing information to your copywriter.

When I send my questionnaire to clients prior to writing their agent bios, I always say “Tell me more than you think I need to know.” Almost all comply. Some write pages of information and then apologize for rambling, but their rambling is good. It gives me insight into who they are and how they do business. Often it’s in the rambling that I find a golden nugget that sets them apart from their competition.

Then there are the others – agents who don’t want to reveal anything about themselves or their business objectives, but still expect me to write about them. When I write with a specific question they answer with something vague that doesn’t come close to providing an answer – reminding me of politicians being interviewed on TV.

I’m dealing with one like that right now – and hoping that when I make something up it will come close to hitting the mark. I’ve asked the same simple question three different ways and still don’t have an answer. So…?

Remember this – your copywriter is on your side. He or she isn’t going to use your information to strengthen the other side in negotiations. So tell all. Answer every question clearly and completely – and don’t say “Yes” if your writer asks “Did you mean _______ or _________?”


 Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Comments (7)

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Marte I think sometimes agents have a hard time 'blowing their own horn' and that's probably true for me as well.  I do remember you asking me for lots of information and I hope I gave as much as possible!!

Jul 21, 2017 11:41 AM
Marte Cliff

You did well, Anna Banana Kruchten, CRS. I think most of us have trouble blowing our own horns - blame our Moms! That's probably why I write so many bios.

One line I've heard many times, even from agents who blog regularly and write most of their own web pages,  is "I started trying to write my bio, but I just can't get it to come out right." 

And - it's not just with regard to bios that some don't give enough information. It can be for letters or web pages as well.

Some days (today) I feel like a dentist, trying to pull teeth with a tweezers.

Jul 21, 2017 11:56 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Tell only as much as you need to to get the job done or secure the listing or sale.

Jul 21, 2017 03:44 PM
Marte Cliff

Yes, William Feela - and when you're talking with your copywriter, tell more than you think you need to - so he or she can do a good job for you.

Jul 21, 2017 03:50 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


When Ron and I decide to write a post, we often have too much to say and write.  However, that does clarify the nuggets, and then we edit away, and the result is great.  A

Jul 21, 2017 03:55 PM
Marte Cliff

Ron and Alexandra Seigel - editing can be difficult, but it's often necessary. Copywriter's call it "Killing your babies" when you cut a sentence or paragraph that you really liked, but doesn't add anything to the content.

Jul 21, 2017 07:55 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marte- you make a very good point. You have to know enough about your clients to write something that won't sound canned. This is why agents use agent bios to help clients learn something about them that will set them apart from others. 

Jul 21, 2017 05:59 PM
Marte Cliff

Yes, Kathy Streib - We need to know enough to feel that we're a little bit acquainted with that agent.

Jul 21, 2017 07:56 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I have trouble with blowing my own horn.  I'm content to offer up a few facts about how long I have been licensed, and where my interests are, and then leave it at that.  You provide a little insight into why I should reconsider.

Jul 22, 2017 03:54 AM
Marte Cliff

Yes Myrl Jeffcoat - I think it's important for your writer - and your audience - to know what you think is most important/ valuable about the service you provide. I also like to read the agent's testimonials to learn what clients think is special about that service.

Jul 22, 2017 08:04 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I can't imagine how tough your job would be, doing a bio for someone who is clamming up about themselves.

Jul 22, 2017 10:42 AM
Marte Cliff

Chris Ann Cleland - it isn't easy! If there are testimonials, I do pick up clues there.

Jul 22, 2017 10:46 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Featured in the group:  BARTENDER, MAKE IT A DOUBLE.

Jul 22, 2017 10:43 AM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Chris Ann Cleland!

Jul 22, 2017 10:46 AM