What exactly do you do?
I have to confess that I’m guilty of something. I don’t do a lot of self promotion. Here is a case in point: This particular column marks the beginning of my sixth year writing this weekly article about real estate investing and then posting it to my blog. Yet I have friends and family who have no idea that I do it. I just don’t broadcast it.
Self promotion seems to be a difficult thing for us. Take yesterday for instance. Ashley was over at a friend’s house for a playdate with someone that I’ve known since college. While they were talking, her friend asked, “What exactly do you and Joey do?”
This was funny to me because the friend’s husband is in the HVAC field and has done work for us before. But for whatever reason, just defining us as real estate investors didn’t convey to our friend what we do. Ashley did a good job explaining that we not only buy, fix up and resale houses and mobile homes, but that we try to keep as many of those properties as we can as rentals. That clicked, and now the friend understands.
Over the years, I have struggled with trying to say concisely what we do when someone asks us. Simply saying “We buy houses,” doesn’t seem to do the trick. I’m not sure if people understand that buying and selling houses is a real profession because people often follow up with, “Oh, so you’re a realtor.” I have to explain that I’m not an agent but a real estate investor. That’s when the conversation takes on a somewhat dismissive or cynical tone.
This pattern reminds of the story of my good friend Britt.
We were at an event where Britt saw my truck with its big sign on the tailgate that states, “We buy houses.” He turned to me and asked, “You buy houses?” I responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” That’s when the cynicism creeped in. I know this because Britt leaned forward in an inquisitive yet doubting posture, cocked his head slightly, lowered his voice and said, “You … (pausing for effect) buy houses?” I mirrored his body posture and responded with a low and slow, “Yes.” His response was, “Oh.”
Grant Cardone said that obscurity was the single biggest killer of any business. That’s because you may have a great service or product. But if people don’t know who you are, what you do and how to get in touch with you, they won’t find you and your business will fail. Preventing this scenario necessitates self promotion.
This is an important concept for everyone, but it’s even more important if you are just starting out.
Social media is a great tool to overcome obscurity and let people know that you buy houses. For a relatively small amounts of marketing dollars, you can place an ad that will let a targeted audience know what it is that you do.
But there’s a catch. Once you start a marketing campaign, people have the ability to backtrack from that post and find your personal page. For newbies, this can pose a credibility problem.
I saw an ad last week where someone in my area was claiming to buy houses in any condition with fast closing. Wondering who the person was, I backtracked to the person’s profile. What I found was a very young man who had profile picture of himself doing a duckface type pose. That image did not instill confidence in me that he could actually purchase a property.
Also, the second post on his timeline said that he just wanted Santa to pay his bills for Christmas.
If you are making posts like this about not being able to pay your bills, what would make a seller believe that you could buy their house?
You have to be careful on social media. Sellers are going to check you out. And If you’re posting things like this, even if you just think it is funny, it will hurt your creditability.
Other things that can hurt you include not using punctuation in your texts; using slang, profanity and other jargon that can be offensive or misunderstood; and finally, posting things that you think are funny but are totally inappropriate.
Remember, you are paying to tell everyone you are a professional. But if your timeline contradicts that statement, your audience is either going to move on because you blew your credibility or still be wondering what exactly it is you do.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.