Erin Davis: Hello and welcome to REAL TIME, a podcast for REALTORS® and anyone else interested in the latest real estate news, trends, and insights. So many facets and we’ve got some fascinating people and great information you can put to use in your life. No matter what line of work you call your passion. I’m Erin Davis, my passion has been radio, writing, and podcasting.
Through the decades of waking up audiences in Toronto, my motto was this: Early to bed, early to rise, work like a heck, and advertise, so what a perfect guest we’ve got, you and I, for our inaugural episode of REAL TIME brought to you by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association. His name is Terry O’Reilly. He’s a legendary force in marketing and advertising and has parlayed that passion, there’s that word again, to books, keynote speeches, and of course, his hugely popular CBC show and podcast, Terry O’Reilly, Under the Influence. If you haven’t heard it, it’s an amazingly well written, researched, and presented show.
Terry’s our guest today as we talk about selling the dream, the emotional connection between us and our homes, and how to zig when the rest of the world zags in marketing and advertising. Now, when we talked with Terry, the outbreak of COVID-19 had not yet been declared a pandemic. With that in mind, let’s escape a little in the discussion while looking forward to a return to normal, a new normal, because connection is important now more than ever, and when it comes to marketing and connection, Terry’s the guy. Let’s go.
Oh, Terry, what a thrill it is to have you on our podcast, because of all of the times that we got a chance to talk on stage for CREA, it feels like we know each other and you certainly seem to know the emotions and the business of real estate. We’re so happy to have you on the podcast today.
Terry O’Reilly: Well, I’m glad to be on your podcast and I really loved doing all that work with you, Erin. That was a lot of fun.
Erin: I think that what resonated with people so much over the real talks that we shared, was your idea of selling the dream and branding and all of the things that make REALTORS® stand out in a sea of REALTORS®. Let’s talk about that, selling or buying a house, not just a financial transaction. It is an emotional life decision. We’re not buying a house, we’re buying a home, aren’t we?
Terry: That’s exactly the difference. It’s not just a structure, it’s a home. That’s why I said to the REALTORS® when we went across the country, that emotion is one of the most important aspects of marketing. In other words, I have this firm belief that if you can reach somebody emotionally with your marketing, the chances of them actually acting on it shoot up, as opposed to just putting out information that they’re intellectually processing, if you can get their heart.
That means you can make them smile, you can make them laugh, you can make them think, but as long as it’s not just straight information, the emotion of the sell is so important, and REALTORS® are selling the most emotional product in the world. It’s where we raise our families, it’s our shelter. It’s our home base, it’s where people gather. It’s where family comes together at Christmas and New Year’s and sad times and happy times. Ground zero is got a bad connotation these days, but it’s ground zero for all the love in your life.
Erin: Terry, you made an interesting point that has always stuck with me when you were speaking to the CREA groups. That was in the case of an open house, the photos that are on the mantel, that some recommend you don’t have pictures of your own family on the mantel because the people looking at the house want to picture themselves in it?
Terry: Yes, it’s an interesting aspect of selling a home. One theory is to take down all the pictures of your family off the mantel for your open house or a showing because I think that when someone walks into a home, they’re evaluating it on a number of different levels. In other words, does it feel like it’s in the right neighbourhood, do I like the basic design? Then there’s a time when you try and picture your life in there and your family in there. If someone else’s family is intruding on that momentary fantasy, I think it gets in the way.
That same idea of making cookies an hour before someone comes to your house because that wonderful smell is so inviting. I also think that there’s probably a truism in taking down all the pictures of your family and letting somebody imagine their family in that space.
Erin: We’re going to talk about the imagination for a little bit and the aspirational content that is out there everywhere, the HGTV, home rental marketing, design magazines, renovation craze. How has that impacted what we expect? Does it allow us to use our imagination a little more and go, okay, this place is a verified dump, but I can afford it and if I put an X amount of dollars, I’ll be able to make it just like they’ve made it on HGTV. How do you think that all of the ideas that are out there now on our tablets and our TVs has changed the way we think about real estate?
Terry: That’s an interesting question. I think in one way, it maybe raises the standards to maybe some unrealistic points sometimes because you’re seeing sometimes a lot of really great homes that you can’t afford, or you’re seeing a renovator or an interior decorator you can’t afford doing their magic. On the other hand, I think a big part of deciding on a home is imagining the possibilities. Instead of just taking a home for what you see, you think you know what, it’s got potential. Those shows demonstrate that even the most simple home can have tremendous potential. By and large net-net, it’s a good idea, those shows actually enhanced the real estate industry.
Erin: How have those shows made consumers more savvy and thus have put REALTORS® on guard? We all know now that cozy means small or fixer-upper means, oh God, go in here with an exorcist. Has it changed the rules do you think?
Terry: Yes, but I would have to say it’s not just those shows that have made that happen. I think that homebuyers are savvier, to begin with, in this day and age. I think all those television shows dedicated to homes and home and garden, and all the fix it or sell it shows have made them savvier homebuyers. I also think the sheer volume of information being shared on the internet, on social media, shows like my radio show and my podcast, which tries to explore the world of marketing. I’ve talked about how those phrases in real estate what they really mean and what they’ve meant over time.
In other words, a lot of things are converging to make people more savvy homebuyers. It’s not just those shows but those shows are part of the mix in what’s making them more attentive and more attuned to marketing ease.
Erin: That’s part of the reason I find your podcast so fascinating. You look at advertising and things that worked over the years, things that haven’t worked over the years. If people are listening and want to go back to Terry O’Reilly Under the Influence on CBC podcast, season eight, episode 19, deals specifically with real estate and REALTORS®. You point out something that I found fascinating that the very first radio ad that was broadcast was for a real estate company.
Terry: I think that shows you how important real estate has been to the advertising industry because I think REALTORS® take out more ads than almost any other industry. If you think about classified ads and ads online, it’s all about promotion when you’re selling a house. It’s all about getting attention. As I said in my talks, REALTORS® are some of the biggest marketers in our world, so there you are. I remember some funny radio commercials from the real estate industry in this country over time, and certainly, there’s some great television commercials too but I think they’re more television-oriented than radio as a rule.
Erin: Coming up, the million-dollar question.
Erin: CREA Café is a cozy place for REALTORS® to connect and share thoughts and insights, like we’re doing with Terry today, on the latest industry happenings over a virtual cup of coffee. With insightful new content created weekly, join the conversation at CREACafe.ca. Oh, and stick around to the end of this show today to find out how you can be part of our podcast. We really want you to do that, okay?
Now, another question for Terry. Here we go. In 2018 over $600 million was spent in Canada on real estate advertising. Terry, I’m giving you a million dollars, tell me how you’d spend it on your real estate company.
Terry: Well, that’s another good question. I really feel that if I was going to spend a million dollars, Erin, and I was the owner of a big real estate company, I would really try and brand our company to tell consumers why our company is smart, what makes it unique, what we do differently. Then when someone, a REALTOR® is being considered for a listing, that when they plop their card down on the table, they get a lot of attention.
I equate that to like movie studios. Nobody cares if a 20th Century Fox movie hits the theaters. No one cares, but they do care if it’s Pixar and they do care if it’s DreamWorks because those two companies have done great branding.
Erin: Okay, branding, let’s talk about branding. One of the pivotal questions that you have asked is why do REALTORS® put their faces on billboards? Like you’ve said, you wouldn’t choose a doctor or perhaps, I don’t know, a mechanic based on their face unless the doctor is for plastic surgery and they look really hot because we see that a lot, but why do you think, and why has it worked?
Terry: That’s an interesting and fascinating question that I wanted to explore in that episode because it’s a service industry, yet it is dominated by pictures of REALTORS®‘ faces. I wanted to explore that. Because I’m in the advertising industry, which is also a service industry, but we never put our faces in our advertising when we’re promoting our companies. But when I did the research and explored the history of REALTORS®, it was very interesting that back in the early part of the 20th century, there were a lot of scam artists in the real estate trade, meaning that they would literally sell you a piece of swampland in Florida.
That was going on, so the genuine REALTORS®, the ones that had integrity wanted to establish an industry that had credibility and accountability and your face gives you a lot of accountability. If you’re willing to put your face on something, people know where to find you and who you are. To battle all the scam artists, the REALTORS® with integrity started using their faces in their advertising and their addresses where their offices were because that showed the public that they had accountability, that the public knew where to find them. It wasn’t just a fly by night person or a fly by night organization.
That seeded itself early in the real estate industry and has continued over time. It’s funny that it stayed so long because I think that aspect of scam artists really has long gone, but that practice has stayed for all these years.
Erin: A couple of points on that. You pointed out that the word REALTOR® was actually invented to separate the wheat from the chaff when it came to real estate brokers and agents who were honest and the scam artists.
Terry: That’s right. It is an invented word and a good one. That was part of the accountability and part of the branding of the real estate industry is to make it appear to be what it is with standards and regulations and knowledge and experience. People have to study to get their real estate license, so REALTOR® was really an encapsulation of all of that professionalism thinking.
Erin: Now, putting your face on a billboard or a bench or a bus shelter, or wherever people put their faces, I found it fascinating. You did some research that said that the more attractive agents had higher selling prices and higher commission, but the lesser attractive ones, the normal-looking folks like you and me, they had lower selling prices, but more listings and sales. The extrapolation from that is those of us who aren’t, the beautiful, beautiful people are the ones who seemingly work harder. Is that what was taken from that message?
Terry: If you are strikingly handsome or beautiful, you are the freak of nature, right? Because there are many, and it’s why there are so few movie stars in the world. It’s just that it’s the cosmic tumblers have just rolled in your favor, but to be average looking, not unattractive, but to be average looking means that you have to work harder. That was really the extrapolation of that exercise. Yes, more attractive agents get more listings, but the more average-looking agents had made more money was because they worked harder. It was just simply, they had to work harder.
Erin: Working harder includes the wonderful and, let’s face it, toxic world of social media. Reviews, responses, and more coming up with Terry O’Reilly, marketing marvel, talking tweets, Facebook, and more. There were 1.6 million searches for REALTORS® on REALTOR.ca last year alone. REALTORS® make the most of those visits with the REALTOR.ca tools provided as part of your CREA membership.
Terry, how hard is it now to control your own brand and your own message when somebody can show up on your Facebook page and said– I’ll give you an example. In our neighbourhood, somebody had an open house, and one of the agents parked in front of a hydrant. Then a neighbor went out and said, “You’re parking in front of a hydrant,” and she said, “Is there a fire?”
Well, that exploded into, “I’m never going to use this agent. I’m never going to use this company,” and other people saying, “Oh, just back down,” but that’s just the example of how one little conversation with somebody who’s got an ax to grind can blow up in a REALTOR®‘s face. This has to be a whole new set of challenges these days.
Terry: It is. It is indeed, Erin. The problem I think with social media, one of the problems I should say, is that bad reviews, bad feedback never goes away. The episode of my radio show and podcast, by the way, I’m working on right now, is on online reviews. How reviews and feedback have altered the marketing industry to such an extent these days because everybody’s got an opinion, everybody wants to broadcast it. You can leave a review for a cup of coffee, a haircut, your dentist, and your REALTOR®. It’s a very difficult situation. You have to try and address negative feedback without being vindictive or malicious or trying to strike back.
We found through our radio show, which is very interesting to me, Erin, we found or we discovered that sometimes we would get emails from people who were haters. We found that often, the people who send you the most vicious emails are in fact your biggest fans. That was an epiphany to us because I’d get an email that would say, “Dear Idiot,” comma, and they would go on, and then I wanted to send back an email that really started the same way, but my wonderful wife, Debbie, who produces the show said let’s not do that, let’s in fact engage them, so we tried that.
I would write back and I would say, thank you for your email. I can see that you’re very hot under the collar about what I said, but let’s have a discussion about it. Let me elaborate my point of view a little bit more, and then let me hear from you. Then the next email we would get from that same person would be, “Wow, I can’t believe you answered my email. I didn’t think anybody would on that side. I love your show.” That would happen over and over again, Erin. That was a big epiphany to us that people sometimes love you so much and then suddenly you take an opinion or a stance on something that they viciously feel differently, they lash out.
I’m like that too. I love Apple. Everything I own is Apple. I have an Apple phone, Apple computer, Apple in my theater room at home, et cetera. Then when Apple stops working for me, I want to throw my Apple computer out the window. There you are. Because I love that Brand, but I can turn on them in a second because I rely on them so much. That’s an epiphany to us. I say to REALTORS® sometimes, it’s not all the time, sometimes those negative messages can be turned around if you’re just polite and patient. Otherwise, you just got to walk the walk. You got to move your car away from that hydrant because you’re risking some wrath. I would say, just walk the walk when you can.
Erin: Is there any wisdom in ignoring negative reviews?
Terry: That’s a very good question. I have to say I respond to probably 97% of bad feedback. There are some that I don’t because it’s just so vicious or so– I just know that there’s no coming around on it or they just hate the sound of my voice. I don’t know how I can possibly swing them around on that issue. There’s some that I don’t go near, I just leave alone. I have a rule too, that I only go back and forth two times with somebody who feels really negative about us. I’ll really try twice and then I’ll leave it alone.
Erin: It’s a little bit like a political conversation. They may have their feet absolutely cemented to the ground and there’s not going to be any changing their minds, so it’s just a waste of time on your part.
Terry: I do try, but you sense pretty quickly if you’re going to actually have a good back and forth, or if it’s doomed.
Erin: Something I see on US social media, and this may be a bit of a diversion, but on Twitter, if someone makes a comment in favor of a politician that I despise and I click on to see who they are before I blocked them, and they may be a REALTOR®. I think, do you not know that your comments are out there for anybody who might want to be buying or selling a house, but I guess if they know who they want to serve, it’s their gamble, right, but you have to be so careful with your brand, even when you’re in bed on a Sunday morning.
Terry: I think that’s a really good point you’re bringing up, Erin, that there should be a definite delineation between your professional social media and your personal social media. Even that is a little bit dicey these days, but I wouldn’t be spouting political hatred or being vindictive and vicious on my social media if that was my professional account, I just wouldn’t do that. Some people can disagree with me on that, I just wouldn’t do that. I think there’s a place to express a personal opinion, I wouldn’t say it’s on your business account, but that’s me and I think you do have to be careful, I think, and especially, we’re in such a polarized age, we’re in the zeitgeists right now, take a side and it’s very, very uncomfortable.
Erin: We’re talking with Terry O’Reilly. Oh, I love this guy. Hope you’re enjoying our inaugural REAL TIME podcast. I’m Erin Davis, and we’re about to discuss open houses, a concept that has changed vastly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and ensuing pandemic. Our chat was recorded just before our world changed. Keep that in mind and let’s look ahead to open houses to come and remember, you can always visit, REALTOR.ca to connect with a REALTOR® near you.
I may have misspoken a few moments ago when I said, “When you’re in bed on a Sunday morning doing your social media,” we all know how many REALTORS® are out there hustling on a Sunday morning with open houses. What are some of your ideas, Terry, on getting people out of their beds to go to an open house? You’ve seen some pretty amazing things over the years, whether YouTube or signage, throw a few out at us that really have stuck out for you over the years.
Terry: Well, you know what, I’m a big fan of being unusual in marketing and being bold or taking the path less traveled and zigging when everybody else zags, and I don’t see a lot of that in the real estate business, yet it’s one of the most competitive industries on the planet. I would say to REALTORS®, be smart but be interesting. In other words, even in that show you referenced, I talked about signs that would say– the typical REALTOR® sign and then a little stick on that said, “Free pizza with purchase.” Which I think is such a funny thing to say when you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. It just shows me that the REALTOR® has a sense of humor and they’re trying to be different.
One of my favourite REALTOR® videos that I’ve seen in the last year was from Australia. It was beautifully shot, it was in black and white and you see this man wake up in his home, he’s obviously a very handsome man, he’s naked. [laughs]
He walked through this beautiful home and you see the kitchen and the bedroom and the bathroom and the living room and the deck, and it’s stunning. They shoot it in a way, he is nude, but it’s tastefully done and then he walks into the living room and there’s a woman sleeping on the couch, she’s also nude, he puts a blanket over her and then a doorbell rings and he walks to the door and he opens it up, and there’s a REALTOR® standing there clothed, who says to the camera, this beautiful house is so private, you could walk around naked all day and no one would know. Then he starts talking about the house and I thought, it’s so tastefully done and so interesting and so bold that I loved it.
Erin: It stuck out, and it’s so hard with all of the media noise and things popping into your feeds every 20 seconds, to stand out. Again, we’re going back to brand and now, it seems almost like you have to be a multimedia expert to get your message out there. You want to shoot the best pictures using drones as well if you can, videos, voiced over videos, which I love to do, by the way, stuff like that and multiple websites and social. How do you break through? Is the integrity still the most important message, Terry, that REALTORS® can get out there?
Terry: Well, integrity is essential, but I think you can start from a point where if you’re advertising a home, I think you really want to be interesting. You’re right about branding, it has to be an all-terrain vehicle these days. You have to understand how Facebook works because that’s different from Instagram and Instagram is different from Twitter and Pinterest is different from all of those, so you’ll have to create real estate marketing that fits that channel, that uses that particular channel to its fullest but at the same time, you have to what I call adhere my Shish-kebab theory, which is that everything should be held together with a skewer.
In other words, if you’re on radio and television and on a website and you’re on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram for a single property, there should be elements that are consistent through all of those channels so that people seeing it in multiple channels connect all the dots. I think that’s great marketing. Most small marketers don’t do that, everything feels like a one-off, but smart marketers know that it’s all about having connective tissue between all of those different channels.
Erin: Yet for the big, big picture, we remember things like a gold blazer or a balloon. One of my favourite stories that you tell is, it couldn’t be any less social media except for word of mouth. Can you tell the Albuquerque story of the Remax balloon, Terry?
Terry: I’ll try and do it in 25 words or less. The head office I think if I’m not incorrect, for Remax, was in the southern states at the time. Somebody, some franchisees came to them and said, “We have this great idea. We could inflate a giant hot air balloon with a big Remax logo on it and that could become part of our marketing, and head office didn’t like it. They just thought it was too cookie and didn’t see how a hot air balloon relates to marketing, relates to real estate.
Then a few years later, they were trying to come up with a branding device, they realized that they were losing ground in the marketplace. Someone remembered that crazy hot air balloon idea, they didn’t have anything better going on, so they decided to try it. They got a hot air balloon, they put it up in the air, they filmed it, beautiful shots. They did some research on it the next day or the next couple of weeks rather with a research firm and the research firm cannot believe the recall on this balloon.
They’re saying, “No, you don’t understand, this isn’t just an interesting idea, this is one of the biggest ideas we’ve seen. The amount of people who know this relate back to Remax and remember it is off the charts. That crazy idea that was hatched by a couple of franchisees in a small town literally became maybe the most remembered piece of marketing and branding for a real estate company.
That’s why I point to Remax because they’re really a milestone as far as branding a big sprawling company in a very competitive category because I think they probably have the greatest– I could be wrong on this, but I think they have the greatest awareness out there because of that long-running campaign.
Erin: Unbelievable, and all just because somebody said yes to the balloon.
Terry: Yes, and the line was above the crowd which was positioning them as a better choice, so the whole thing was smart.
Erin: Yes. Definitely.
Staying above the crowd. Why people need to use an industry expert and how to deal with disruption. A reminder, we chatted with Terry O’Reilly before the COVID-19 outbreak. Terry, I want to do a little something called open house. I am coming into your advertising agency and I’m saying, “Look, I have this realty company and we’re doing pretty well, but I’m finding out that more people are looking for houses online and going to dot com and seeing the listings there and that sort of thing.”
As we’ve seen in things like travel industry, for example, where people will book their own vacations, their own flights, their own accommodations, instead of going through an industry expert who can help you if there’s some kind of cancellation or God forbid, a rampant virus or something that’s going to change your travel plans, why should people use REALTORS® instead of just doing so much of the research and a lot of their own pecking around online? Is there a way we can sell the idea of people trusting REALTORS® instead of some phantom figure there on the internet?
Terry: Because so many industries are being disrupted in this digital era, the advertising industry has been disrupted, the music industry has been disrupted, the real estate industry is being disrupted right now with online-only companies. To sell against that, and I think CREA is smart in the way they’re doing it now. If you’re going to sell against an online-only company, the way to do that is to talk about experience and personalized service and knowledge of the area and accountability and being able to talk to somebody and their knowledge in negotiating the sale or purchase of a home or a building.
All of that is pretty hard for an online company to match because it’s really just transactional in an online company. Whereas with a human being, it’s a relationship. They get to know you, they know what you’re looking for. They’re not going to waste your time. They’re going to know what the neighbourhood’s like. They’re going to know what the, where the closest schools are. They’re going to know how to negotiate something if you’re stuck on a selling point, all of that is what I would do. CREA’s doing, that’s exactly what they’re doing in their television advertising. They’re saying there’s a lot more to buying a home or a building than just looking at pictures.
Erin: Branding, the emotional ties, not just from the buyer to the home, but the buyer to the agent. I’ve gotten to the point where we’ve got an agent that I’ll call every couple of months just to see how she’s doing. It’s a really special thing and especially when you’re buying something that is going to be a place where you make memories perhaps for the rest of your life, or not if you’re a serial mover like me.
Terry: Well, it’s also the biggest purchase of your life and I think you want somebody in your corner when you’re making the biggest purchase of your life. There’s a lot of reasons to have a very smart REALTOR® helping you with that entire search than just going online and flipping through pictures.
Erin: I think you make a very good point about the biggest purchase that a person is going to make or a family. Is this why you think that REALTORS® are a little less likely in some cases to think outside that box? Because you’re not selling vacuums or mattresses. You can’t have Crazy Al doing your ads. This is something that’s serious and for life. Is that why it’s treated with a little bit more trepidation I think than the exception, which is the guy who raps on YouTube about this house you’re going to have with the Lamborghini and all that?
Terry: I think you’re making a good point there and I want to harken back to something I said earlier. You never want to be seen as sophomoric or a little too crazy or a little too off the rails in your marketing. When I say you want to be bold and unusual and stand out from the crowd, I’m talking about being smart about it and being charming about it. It’s okay to use humor, but there’s a certain tone that you should strike.
Even in the real estate industry, in the real estate business, so many people are all doing it the same way. It doesn’t take much to stand out. You don’t have to be Crazy Al. Just putting a little something somewhere in the marketing is going to make you stand out because most REALTORS® go the usual route, which is just signage and a website. I think there’s a lot more to marketing if someone sat down and thought, how can we be smart about this? How can we be unusual? What’s unique about this property? How can we express that in a creative way that when someone’s perusing 150 different homes on a Saturday morning, that our marketing stops them in their tracks? How can we do that?
Because there’s always an answer to that, Erin. There’s always an interesting way to market something. If you’re willing to stop, roll up your sleeves, look at what everybody else is doing and say, we are not going to do that, so if we’re not going to do that, what are we going to do? I always think great marketing comes about as a result of doing that kind of thinking.
Erin: Ah, physician heal thyself. Terry tries to sell his own home. Great insights coming up. You can find even more at REALTOR.ca Living Room, the source for all things home, from articles on market trends and developments in real estate and DIYs, and all things design. Find the inspiration you need in one place on Living Room. Now, to Terry’s living room and bedroom and theater room and I don’t know how many car-garage, and more. Back to Terry O’Reilly, Under the Influence and under the pressure of trying to sell a very special house.
If you don’t mind me getting personal for a moment here, Terry, I want you to put your money where your house is. You’ve got a house that has been listed and I wonder how you chose your REALTOR®, and if you had any input or did you just write the whole thing yourself? What’s it like selling a house for Terry O’Reilly?
Terry: It’s funny because the real estate– First of all, we interviewed three different real estate companies because we wanted to find the right fit. All three of them said they were a little leery of talking marketing with me, but they were very funny about it, but we really sat down to really think about the marketing. I wanted to, when they talked about a video, I wanted to do a video about what it was like to live in my home, not just the shots of the home. I thought there’s our opportunity to tell a prospective buyer what it’s like to live here. What does it look like when you sit on our deck at twilight? What do you hear in the morning when you wake up at our house?
In other words, the feel of living here, not just the brochure, pictures of living here, so that I brought to the video of that. I’m always looking for interesting and pushing our REALTORS® for interesting ways to market our home. For example, our REALTOR® had a very interesting idea. In our neighbourhood, in our area, we live in the Creemore area, not a contest per se, but there is a competition’s a better word, at Christmas time, for the best-decorated home.
We entered that competition because on that weekend, everybody goes to every home. It’s a big open door, hundreds, people get involved in this and they walk through all the homes and they look at how they’re decorated. Then they vote all of them at the end of the day, as to which is the best-decorated home. We won that one that Christmas, but it was also a way to get about 200 people through our home.
That was an initiative by our REALTOR® as just an offbeat way, because you never know who’s going to bring in a buyer. It might not be any of those 200 people, but one of those 200 people might bring a friend through or say, I just saw a beautiful home on the weekend, you should look at it. We’re always looking to do something unusual that way to just try and break the mold and try and get someone’s attention with our home. We’re always looking for ways like that.
Erin: Did you have someone decorate the house for you?
Terry: Hired somebody to help us with that who’s really terrific in our area. We really, and I think most people do when they enter that competition, they get some help too, so yes, it was good. Part of that, by the way, why that was such an interesting idea was that when you win that competition, you get five pages of editorial in one of the most beautiful magazines up in our area. It was really an interesting bit of marketing.
Erin: Speaking of which, staging. How important do you feel staging is in terms of putting out the absolute best product you can for the split second that somebody sees an ad?
Terry: I think staging is really important. I think every ad is staged if you know what I mean. When we are putting together a print ad or whatever it might be, we’re very, we think a lot about what might be in that ad. What is the right tone? What’s the right angle? What’s the right furniture? What’s the right– I think that the same definitely holds true for a home.
I think if it could use a little staging, that means to declutter, to make it simple, to maybe bring in some flowers or add some color to a room that’s a little bit drab. I think you can always tell when a house is for sale because it never looks better than that moment. The lawn is mowed, the outside is painted. It’s time to stage, there’s no doubt about it.
Erin: I’ve always said that we should always keep our homes up as if we’re going to sell it the next day because you’re absolutely right. It’s never cleaner, everything’s in its place, and it’s all running smoothly. Why don’t we do that for ourselves, right?
Terry: I know. I know, and when you have a house for sale, you have to be constantly on guard. You’re going to get a call out of the blue saying someone wants to come see your house tomorrow. When your house is for sale, you’re in a perpetual staging mode I find.
Erin: Oh, yes, and you’re never cooking fish in the house, that’s for sure.
Terry: You’re right.
Erin: How hard was it when you proposed the ad with you walking around your house naked and they had to turn you down, Terry?
Terry: It’s a little dicey.
Erin: Terry, it has been such a pleasure to talk with you here today. I look forward to our paths crossing again through CREA, and thanks so much for being part of the podcast.
Terry: It has been an absolute pleasure. Great talking to you., Erin.
Erin: Terry O’Reilly is a marketing guru, host of Under the Influence on CBC in show and podcast form, so good, and author of the books, Age of Persuasion and This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence. Great reads and listens if you prefer audiobooks. If you enjoyed today’s conversation, and I sure hope you did, wait till you hear what we’ve got for you next time. Chris Chopik talks real estate sustainability and the impact of climate change, as in how to market an environmentally friendly home, plus so much more. Oh, and be sure to hit that subscribe button now so you don’t miss it.
I’m Erin Davis and, oh, wait. Hi, it’s Erin. You’ve reached the CREA REAL TIME podcast. If you’re calling for tips growing herbs, you’ve spelled time wrong. If you’re calling for Terry, he’s not here right now. He’s walking around his house naked, but if you’re a REALTOR® calling to share some of the best advice you’ve received during your career, leave it at the tone.
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Thanks for joining us for REAL TIME from CREA, produced by Rob Whitehead and Real Family Productions and Alphabet® Creative. Don’t forget, for more REALTOR® resources, be sure to visit CREA.ca. I’m Erin Davis. We’ll talk again soon. Don’t forget to subscribe.