Lies that hurt our profession, part 2

Barrett Rossie

A friendly radio voice says he can sell your home 26 days faster than the national average, usually for the full asking price. You can even fire him! But you won’t want to.

That voice. It’s so friendly and cheerful, you want to believe him. Especially since your home has sat on the market for months with no offers. But before you decide to re-list your home, or even form an opinion, you had better think these claims through. 

I’m here to tell you, as an unenthusiastic participant in the local housing market, no one is getting the full original asking price. In case after case, the words “New Lower Price!” grace the bottom of for-sale signs.

Always question everything

In good times and bad, it’s a sad fact that some advertisers always play fast and loose with the truth.

26 days faster than the national average, huh? This spot has run with a similar claim for more than a year. The market has changed dramatically since then. Is the claim still valid? Was it ever? 

Besides, the “national average” is irrelevant. Local sellers must sell to local buyers, facing local market conditions.

And the claim about the full asking price? Completely meaningless. An agent that talks his client into listing a much lower price naturally has an better chance of getting his price. There’s nothing wrong with strategically lowering the price. But that’s not what the claim implies.

But wait. Might the “full asking price” in the ad really be the “New Lower Price!” on the for-sale sign?  If so, the claim isn’t exactly what you thought, is it? Well, it’s only advertising.

Differentiate, don’t obfuscate

Smart businesses create significant brand differentiators. Yet when claims sound too good to be true, they usually are.

In our local market, other real estate firms advertise innovative programs that seem much more likely to add value, such as a multi-year home repair guarantee for the buyer. And staging services. 

The fact is, it’s not easy for non-professionals to evaluate professional services, be they real estate, legal services or otherwise. There may be good and bad at any office. You can’t judge a Re/Max office in Spokane by an experience with Re/Max in Scottsdale. The situation is ripe for unscrupulous advertisers. 

Consumers: Whether you’re comparing ad agencies or real estate professionals, find and verify case studies. Get personal references. Never accept hype at face value. 

Marketing pros: Our job is to build relationships. You can’t build them on lies, even little white ones. Do you have clients who shade the truth? What are you doing about it?

Sure, it’s only advertising. But if we don’t police it, who will?

Comments? To leave a reply, scroll down. 


2 Responses to “Lies that hurt our profession, part 2”

  • raji of denver Says:

    There are so many lies in advertising that people just stop paying attention.

    Companies need to dump the old ways, and expend their resources improving their products, services, customer service, support, design, etc.

    Innovation, quality and honesty make a difference. Lies do too… only not how they intended!

    I hope you will do more “Lies That Hurt Our Profession”, “The Worst Of Advertising” and do national ads as well.

  • Barrett Rossie Says:

    Thanks raji. I’m kind of hoping people have their own “Lies” to report. Feel free, there are plenty out there!!

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