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Can My Real Estate Blog Help Me Talk Like a Woman?

John Coley, still my favorite Lake Martin, Alabama blogger, sent over this gem, and I couldn’t wait to post it for your enjoyment.

Can My Real Estate Blog Help Me Talk Like a Woman?

By John Coley

real estate blogging communicationI recently got rejected on a listing presentation, and it hurt. 
Unless you're a realtor that signs up 100% of your listing presentations, you know what I mean.

This one was particularly painful because it was to list a couple's lake home and help them buy another. The combination of the two homes would have been about $2 million in gross sales, which buys a lot of groceries in Alabama.  It also hurt because I felt I had a really good relationship with the husband.  He contacted me out of the blue.  We talked a lot.  He liked the way I marketed other homes in the area.  So I was surprised to hear that I had lost at the last minute to someone else. 

I swallowed my pride and tried to salvage the episode by getting some good feedback. 

I said, "I'll be honest.. I am really surprised.  I thought that you all had made up your mind to let me help you.  Please do me a favor.  Can you give me the full unfiltered truth, even if it hurts my feelings?  How did I miss this one?"

And he told me, bless him.  He's one of the few people out there that will really tell you what they think.  I am so glad he didn't spare my feelings; what he said flabbergasted me as much as it helped my career.

He: "My wife didn't want to go with you."

His wife??  Up until then, he had been my main contact.  I had offered to meet with them both in person, but they declined for the sake of time.  How could she not like me if we had never met?

Me: (cringing) "Why didn't your wife want to let me help?"

He: "I'm embarrassed to tell you this, but it's because you're a man."

What?  Have I just become a victim of discrimination?  He's kidding, right?  No, he wasn't.

He went on to say that his wife felt that she could not work well with a male agent.  In their past real estate transactions, she liked dealing with women.

I thanked him profusely for his honesty.  The conversation ended on a positive note, but I was frustrated.  As a man, how can I overcome that objection?  Sure, there are a lot of great female realtors in the world.  I know many.  But there are also a lot of great male ones, too.  I really think that I could have done a great job for these folks.

So how can I lessen the chances of this happening again? Do I bashfully disclose that I am a man right off the bat, then go through some fancy Power Point slideshow to prove it won't be a problem?  Sounds silly.  Do I ask potential clients if they mind if I am a man?  Of course not.  Who would admit to that to my face, even if it were true?  It took a lot of pleading on my part to get my prospect to tell me, and even then he was embarrassed about it.

A year ago, I would have felt helpless.  Now I know that I can employ my keenest weapon to pierce the issue - my blog.

Because of my blogI could be wrong - after all, I'm only a man - but it occurred to me that maybe she feels she cannot relate to men as well as she can to women in that situation.  Maybe their rapport would suffer.  So what does good rapport consist of?  Mostly great communication.  What is my best communication tool?  My real estate blog - which can help in 3 ways:

1.)  Instead of pouting about losing, I can focus on winning the next one.  I can go further than merely promising good communication, I can prove it by blogging to communicate on prospects' terms, on their concerns, not mine.

2.)  I should have tried harder to talk to both spouses, or at least ensured that both had read some of my blog posts to demonstrate that I would be focused on their needs instead of my own ego or commission.

3.)  I need to post more frequently, and more personally, about the selling process - so readers can feel engaged enough to know what kind of agent I will be for them.

In short, I'll use my real estate blog to help me talk like a woman.

I know it will work, because it has already worked with people that are now clients.  I have had strangers to call me and tell me that they “really like how I think.”  How did they peer inside my head?  My blog. 

It remains to be the most effective way for me to answer the questions that people didn't even know that they had, or are too embarrassed to ask in person.

If anyone else has any tips on how to use my blog to be a better communicator, please reply below!

Related Must Reads:
9 Examples Of How Blogging Will Have You Overcoming Real Estate Objections
Young Blogs Be Free Tonight – Authored by John Coley
Why Blogging Makes You A Better Realtor

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Thanks John, it’s great to have you on the Vine.


John is an exceptionally professional Realtor in Lake Martin, Alabama.
His writings and real estate tools can be found at www.LakeMartinVoice.com
Voice: 334–221–5862


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Comments

John -- I owe you a huge thank you. The last few weeks have been spent adjusting to various changes in the lending atmosphere, which for the investment side of real estate is a different breed of cat. You made me smile, because you reminded me why, after seven years in the business I abandoned the house side.

The reason was exactly why you lost the listing. The difference is how you and I interpreted the problem. We're on opposite sides of the same coin.

You say the wife couldn't work with a man so you lost the listing. True enough, especially since it came directly from her husband.

I say you lost the listing because the woman's husband refused to go with his business judgment, which clearly showed you were the guy in his neighborhood to bring him success. I'm not sure how to say this in a PC manner -- the man clearly takes orders from his wife, taking objectivity almost completely out of the mix. You lose.

That's why I left your side of the business -- if one more wife said something silly, while her husband stood silently by, I was gonna be on the 11 o'clock news. :)

What you find on the investment side of the business are men who tend ignore wives who become a part of a problem instead of the solution. Of course that begs the question -- what about women investors?

They're incredibly cool folks once they decide you know what you're doing. The objectivity in investment real estate is wonderful. I'm in your debt -- you reminded me why I've been able to keep my sanity the last 30+ years. :)

Bawldguy talking - maybe you lost out on dealing with women because you treat them as if they don't exit or matter. Women can be very intuitive and pick up on your feeling of superiority.

"...if one more wife said something silly" (and then you implied committing a violent act)

"What you find on the investment side of the business are men who tend ignore wives who become a part of a problem instead of the solution."

I haven't had anyone decline my services for that reason but if they are more comfortable with a certain feature of a person then move on. People will always choose based on their own standards.

Let's take these for example:

"I don't want the Realtor who drives a Lexus, she makes too much money."

"1980 called and they want their hair back. I can't stare at his goofy cut while we buy a house."

"Women understand my needs better than a man ever could."

It sucks but people are judgmental and if you are going to be in the people business then you've gotta be ready for it. I personally love most of my clients and it's never been an issue of race, gender, religion etc. If anything, the only problems I've had are personalities not meshing together well which I can usually determine at the first meeting.

Good luck on the next presentation! ;)

Hi John,
Don't feel bad- I had a listing last year with a couple- One of their objections with a prior agent is that she never showed it herself. From my advertising I showed it myself 7 times. It was listed at 750k. I had one buyer willing to pay 650k- but the seller was not going to "give it away". So as the listing came to an end without selling, they decided it would be better to list with a MAN- What? I recovered, and long story short- after listing and expiring with a MAN, it is now listed again at $615,000-with a WOMAN (I guess they are giving it away now!!)

For every woman who says they want to work with a female Realtor, there will be a woman who wants to work with a male Realtor.

Maybe the real reason is this: by only meeting with the husband, you made the woman feel like her opinion didn't matter.

I have been in room with loan officers who only talk to the man when talking about a loan- yet the woman worked in the finance industry.

I've had home inspectors only talk to the husband and tell the wife- "ladies just don't understand this stuff" without knowing the "lady" has an engineering degree. (needless to say- she got a second opinion on a fireplace issue, got it fixed for half the price!)

Treat both people like they are a couple who have to make a joint decision to make and you just may see different results.

When returning phone calls- ask them who should you call. I've found with couples, one may be handling one part of the transaction- like the home inspection and the other may be handling other parts, like moving. In other cases, one is just more accessible during the day.

When talking to them- make eye contact with BOTH! Ask both of them questions. Mostly don't forget- they will both be making the decision. How they do that is up to them.

In some couples, men are really easy to please- because it doesn't matter to them. In others its not. But if you treat them both the same from the start, you won't have to worry that you are talking to the wrong decision maker.

Okay, John, here's another solution: get a Realtor wife, or just borrow one from time to time. And go together on listing appointments.

I haven't a clue why, but the whole boy/girl thing is alive and well. My partner/wife and I have well-defined, separate jobs within our 6 person team, but - unless we know for an absolute fact that we have a listing in the bag - we always do listing appointments together, to nip and boy/girl bias in the bud.

It's worked all but once: we didn't get the listing on a very $$$$ home that two women were selling. Seems they thought my wife Bev was a charm, but that I was something of a clod. I've worked very hard on my cloddishness ever since.

Hi John, don't worry just keep up. Bloging is very powerful tool. Concetrate on it.

This is a terrific headline, really creates curiosity and makes you want to find out what the article is about. I am inspired to write more high impact headlines! Thanks..

In my experience in dealing with couples, the wife always ultimately is the bigger influence in deciding, so we must make sure to tune into her frequency. While men may be the strong decision makers in a lot of areas, they generally defer to the wife when it comes to the home.

John, this is a great post. You still are going to be a man, but your blog will help you get listings. It won't make you talk like a woman, and it won't necessarily get a woman to list with you if she is uncomfortable with a man.

But...it will communicate to other people who think like you. If have found that a blog is a self filtering lead generation machine. I can't get everyone to think like me, but some people do. They call and say they like the way I think, can I list their house. The blog brings in the people who already like you. You don't have to worry about the people who don't.

If someone calls because they read your blog, they already have pretty much made their decision.

Keep blogging.

John, loved this post and your ability to look to the future. My husband is known for saying Women buy houses and Men figure out how to pay for them - of course it's a generality but it often speaks to roles and we've found it more true than not - love your idea of having your blog show your "softer" side - i do believe that works - good luck!!!

You could always:

a.) Partner up with a woman

b.) Make listing presentations in drag.

c.) Keep on bloging!

I had a similar situation. On a buyer appointment I met with both husband and wife. Initially the wife felt slightly cold but the husband and I were building great rapport.
I know you must focus on both and treat them the same. It was difficult because she didn’t appear interested in me.

My female partner was not able to attend this meeting but I introduced her and her role to both of them and explained that both of us would work with them and that even though she wasn’t here, one or both of us would follow up and keep in contact.

I called their home about a week later after a few positive emails. I knew that my partner had called a few times. The husband said, “That girl keeps calling me.” And then, “we’ve decided on someone else.”

It appeared to be a no win situation, the wife didn’t seem to like me and the husband was put off by “that girl.”

Sherry -- "...if one more wife said something silly" (and then you implied committing a violent act)

Your choice to immediately jump to the most extreme and somewhat irrational interpretation of an obviously humorous and self deprecating remark is why I enjoy the investment side of the business. :) It was MY inability to deal with subjectively made decisions on issues so critically important that forced my move to the investment side. MY inability -- not theirs.

I showed my comment to my wife, Mom, and my 23 year old daughter. Knowing me, they all agreed with it, but only after they stopped laughing. Sometimes print isn't the best mode of communication.

And for the record? I checked this morning, and fully 42% of my ongoing clients are women. Over 80% of my male clients are married and investing with my advice with the full and enthusiastic support of their wives.

Of course, their wives and my female clients are only interested in results.

Great Scott...this has happened to me before. Now, my wife (agent)and I go together on all listing presentations and try to strike a balance from both perspectives. It is working well!

We have this happen sometimes - I'll be talking to a potential client or their referring agent and based on what/where they're looking will recommend my son, Rob, work with them. Often I hear, Oh, but we/she doesn't want to work with a man. Often it's past experience with a man who didn't listen, who wanted to make decisions for them. I explain that Rob listens, is patient, empathetic, etc. Blogging is a great tool, especially if you talk about situations where you listened to a woman and as a result... Another suggestion is to post in a blog, on your site, etc testimonials from women - even some like Rob got that - "I've never been comfortable working with a man, but Rob is different. He listens to me and I love working with him."

Thanks everyone for comments - I am glad you enjoyed the post. What interesting comments on my little sad moment. Sorry I am slow to respond, I was at the RETechSouth conference in Atlanta today. Tomato Nerd Jason Benesch was there and when he spoke people quit looking at their iphones and started furiously scribbling down every syllable he uttered. Well done.

To shed a little more light on the episode, I never met physically with either of them. The husband called me up cold and said, I love your blog, will you please help us buy a lake home and list ours? (me: yessir!!) They were wanting to move so fast there was no time to meet. I even offered to drive 1.5 hours to meet them both in person the next day. No thanks, they said they would see me at the showing three days later. This is pretty typical as I am in a second home market and I rarely meet face to face with anyone before a buyer showing or listing presentation. Most owners live 2.5 hours away.

The man / woman thing was a shocker. Usually, it's just the opposite. From my blog leads, 90% of the time it's the wife that has read all of my posts and is hip to the blog, whereas the husband has just read a few posts. Last Friday I was writing up a contract for a totally different buyer couple and the wife was sitting there knocking down the husband's objections, one by one, by quoting my blog posts. I didn't have to say a word. I just sat there with my "you know she's right" look on my face. He laughingly asked me if she is on my payroll.

A couple of thoughts on this specific example:

1.) The prospect said that the only way I would have convinced her was in person. She was not a internet person. He feels sure I could have convinced her though. He said I should have insisted to meet them face to face in order to do business. In this internet age, I hate to be insistent on that. Most of my other clients seek me out exactly because I can do things remotely.

2.) If any non-realtors out there are reading, I want to stress how TRULY greatful I am to the prospect by giving me such clear and unfiltered feedback. Most people (esp in the South) don't and you're left wondering what went wrong. Now at least I can have a plan or means to counteract the problem (to the best of my ability, I realize you can't win em all). Here's to all those folks who give honest feedback from a position of grace and not snarkiness. It greases the wheels of capitalism by improving any industry.

3.) Rather than getting into a man / woman thing, I would rather use it constructively to look at myself in the mirror and ask - how can I get better? At least I have a blog and can (hopefully) head that issue off at the pass for the next potential prospect.

4.) Meeting in drag??!?!? HA!!

5.) I can guarantee eveyone that the next time I don't have a chance to meet with the wife, no matter what the excuse, I will email them this post and beg them to read it.... with all of your comments included!

Thank you all again for the comments, help and support.

John C
www.lakemartinvoice.com

John:

Now you're making me wonder about my lost listings and sales that resulted from me not meeting with and reassuring...husbands.

Methinks it is just a hazard of the business (and why timeshare presentations always require the presence of both husband and wife:-)

Good one! There are always personality hurdles, and there's always chemistry (or lack thereof). Many wives don't want to deal with female agents. My dream is to generate enough respect over time to draw clients to me naturally.

John,
First and foremost from someone who has been in the business for 30 years- you must respect that there are 2 people in a marriage- ie:Owners etc-a husband and wife and your initial conversations should have included her all along. If you want respect from any gender you must give it away first, and because you showed her no courtesy as a decision maker - you left her no choice but to choose gender. You don't need to think like a woman or be offended- you simply need to respect all parties that are involved in a transaction from the start!If I were her I would have been offended and not chose you either- no matter how good you are.

HCovy- thanks for the input but maybe you missed the part where I offered to drive 1.5 hours to meet them both the next day after the first call. See my comment a couple above yours. I only had 2 phone conversations with the prospect, both initiated by him. Kind of hard to crawl through a phone line and force someone to talk to me. Again, we planned to meet in person three days later at a home showing, so it wasn't like I "showed her no courtesy." You can ask my mamma, my granmamma, and my wife - I know how to respect women. Please read my comment above for the rest of the story, maybe you'll feel differently.

Good golly heck, looks like John opened a can of worms with this one - I guess the bottom line is, you stand a much better chance of acquiring the listing if you meet with both sides of the couple; same goes for investors working with homeowners.

Jim, we love your blog at Black Widow Network..... care to be a guest blogger on oiur site sometime??

Let me know,

Yours with boundless enthusiasm,

Richard :)

Chief Deal Weaver
www.BlackWidowNetwork.com


Richard,

What would you like me to post about?

Sorry that you were the victim of the same discrimination that formerly kept women from getting ahead in the business world. Stupid isn't it? Could be that the husband's wife had dealt with someone like BawldGuy in the past.

The suggestion of teaming up is a good one...there is a husband and wife team in my office who does very well - "two for the price of one" and all that.

John, Great post & awesome discussion!
Did you pre-qualify the clients? (NO) I believe you would have earned the business if you would have qualified them fully. I know you offered to drive and meet them, but that gives you even a better reason to pre-qualify them.
This is one of my biggest complaints about this business..... You go on a listing appointment...(a job interview) they say no because of gender. If you go on a job interview with any fortune 500 company and they say "NO your a woman". There's a lawsuit.
If buyers or sellers would look at an agents resume. The business would be different. But... no... I am going to use this agent because I am related to them, or, the agent was nice to my dog and sends me recipe's.
I am new to blogging and I can see the light... it gives me the opportunity to demonstrate some knowledge and expertise in real estate.

++++ Editor's Note++++
Below you will find another perfect example of being an ass in the comments. I have no written policy, but do moderate comments. This is something that would normally be deleted and reported as spam.

The author's email is velozzypher@yahoo.com - I hope publishing it earns them more spam themselves.
++++End++++

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