‘Show, don’t tell’ is one of the most powerful marketing strategies in real estate today.

Much like in the movie Inception, your goal is to plant an idea in the mind of your prospective clients (or new team members) without them being fully aware of it. Someone is more likely to perform an action when it’s inspired by their own idea, not someone else telling them to.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we explore the ‘show, don’t tell’ marketing strategy and examples of how you can apply it in your business to attract (and retain) clients and staff.

Real Estate Business & The 'Show, Don't Tell' Marketing Strategy

During a recent meeting I had with a mid-size multi-office real estate agency, the business owners sighted their number one challenge right now was retaining market share against multiple new boutique independent agencies opening in the area.

This particular agency was certainly not lacking innovation. They have an in-house marketing and graphic design team,  a beautiful brand, multiple offices – all highly profitable – and they have a reputation spanning over 40 years of success in the local area. Despite all that, some of their agents were still being lured by the promise of better commission splits and shiny new office fit-outs.

The business owners were emphatic that this was a problem they wanted, and needed, to solve. But not only was staff retention their goal, they also had a strong desire to grow their sales and property management teams.

I asked what they were doing right now to retain their staff and they proceeded to tell me about the free gym memberships offered to staff, professional coaches, trainers and mentors and social events outside of work. To attract new staff, they were running Seek, LinkedIn and Facebook ads – advertising new positions. They were posting to social media about how great it is to work for their business they also ran career nights.

We spent the next 15 or so minutes looking at their competitor’s websites and social media profiles to see what they were doing so differently.

Very quickly, it became evident what the difference was… Their competitors were telling better stories.

Instead of using their websites and social media channels to tell people what they do, their competitors were showing people what they’re doing.

Instead of posting to social media about a new position becoming available, or running job ads, their competitors were showcasing the wonderful moments that happened in their business with photos and videos. They were taking people behind the scenes of their ‘every day’. They were capturing special moments and posting them live on social media for the world to see. They were giving themselves permission to make each and every story bigger.

There’s a big difference in business today between telling people what you do and showing them what you’re doing. – Josh Cobb, CEO – Stepps

The business owners I was meeting were telling people what they do.

Comparatively, their competitors were using their website and social media to show people what they’re doing.

Amazing stories happen in your business every day. But if no-one knows about them, do they really exist? Give yourself permission to make your stories bigger.

  • Instead of telling people about your features and benefits, use photos and video to show them.
  • Instead of telling people your points-of-difference, show them a success story of one of your clients, or something you did in the community that no other agency does.
  • Instead of telling people why working at your company is so great, showcase the successes and milestones of your team members and post it to your website and social media channels for the world to see.

An attraction business, outside of real estate, who thrive when it comes to staff retention is Adobe.

Their website, Adobe Life, is all about their team members. They produce stunning videos of their staff, showcasing who they are and what they stand for. Their team members produce articles for the website, showcasing their thought-leadership – giving them a platform to be recognised as a subject matter expert in their field among their peers.

Adobe has consistently been ranked as one of the world’s best places to work, especially for anyone in the graphic design space. Adobe doesn’t tell people what they do, they show people what they’re doing, and I think it’s a valuable lesson for all of us in business.

What about you?

Are your competitors out-storytelling you?