Truth in Advertising... It Works!

Elle Zober stuck a sign in the ground that said: "Husband left us for a 22-year-old... House For Sale by scorned, slightly bitter, newly single owner." It went viral! Marketers pay an arm and a leg for that kind of publicity. Yet why can't they get the traction Elle did?
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Now how the heck did a single mom in Oregon capture the world's attention with a simple "For Sale" sign for her house? All Elle Zober did was stick a sign in the ground, which said "Husband left us for a 22-year-old... House For Sale by scorned, slightly bitter, newly single owner." It went viral! Any marketer, company, salesperson with something to hock would kill for that kind of exposure. Many in fact pay an arm and a leg for that kind of publicity. Yet, why can't they get the traction Elle did?

First of all, most people who are trying to sell you anything have no sense of humor whatsoever. They want to make the sale, get their dough, and scram. In the real estate business, I come across lots of stiff stuck up real estate professionals who take themselves way too seriously. This stodgy air of authority creates distance and ultimately distrust (like it or not, we live in cynical times). We need to be more like Elle, whose sense of self deprecation is disarming! You can not help but like her. Her property's website even says "Rocking... 1,132,467 Visitors and Counting! and I just need one little offer... lololol." She feels accessible, like we are on the same level. Because I like her, I want to do business with her...or at least find out about her house for sale! (Mission accomplished, right?) Take a lesson, sales folks! If you want people to like what you are hocking, they better like you! Poke fun of yourself. A little levity goes a long way!

But what I love most about this story is that she just told the truth. She is being honest (Gee, imagine that!) And THAT is why it has taken the internet by storm. Not because she is some savvy marketer with a unique sales pitch. The media coverage has cynically described her unique sale pitch or her savvy marketing prowess like she sat at home strategizing on a white board how to take over the world. It's not that complicated! Her husband ditched her for a 22-year-old yoga gal, and she needed to sell her house. She just put it out there! Let it all hang out! Without guile.

In real estate where it's often sell, sell, sell (barf!), there is something so refreshing about a sales pitch... without a pitch. No spin. No PR. Her own true story is in fact all she needs to promote her listing. Her experience is more powerful than the house itself. In any industry now, the modern consumer craves that kind of background. Buyers who include a short and sweet letter of introduction about themselves with their offer often endear themselves to the seller. Real estate agents who blog openly about their life, hobbies and the ups and downs of the business come across as authentic. And you can't fake that! Gen X/Y and millenials, who are driving the market now, especially are an information-starved group. They are nosy! They want to know everything and more about a property, the owner, the real estate agent. Don't hide anything. You'll be amazed how telling the truth and being true to yourself captures people's attention. If you can do it with a dose of humor and her self-deprecation, even better! Just ask Elle! We're rootin' for ya!

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