A few weeks ago I posed the question in an article as to “Just how competitive is real estate in NZ” – citing the factual comparative advertising shown in the UK. At the time I suggested that factual comparative advertising was not regarded as appropriate in New Zealand within the industry.
Wel,l I was wrong. What is more, I have found it alive and well right on my doorstep in my local community newspaper in Devonport, the suburb in which I live.
The local comment newspaper, “The Flagstaff” is a great collection of news, letters, profiles and historical insights, very conspicuously supported by the real estate industry in the community – one in 5 of the pages is a real estate advert for an agent or a listing. Not unusual, as I am sure such local community papers exist around the country and are widely patronised by agents to reach out to the community.
This week's paper had two full page adverts from individual agents, both of which typify the traditional approach taken by agents to promote themselves.
One approached the advert in a traditional manner – full photo and a biography of past achievements and involvement in the community, talking of "bringing energy and confidence to the real estate process," of "real estate expertise and real world experience and success through hard work" – all laudable attributes of an agent.
The other chose to let her clients speak for her with a glowing testimonial, extolling her capabilities and commitment to go the extra mile and her passion and positivity. Oddly, given the industry’s love for profile pictures, I was surprised that this advert does not have the ubiquitous agent photo and personal contact number – merely the office details.
Both of these adverts are what I am sure we are all accustomed to and would be likely replicated around the country by many hundreds of agents each week. There is no implied criticism in these adverts and they serve a purpose in raising the respective agents' profile.
However, turn the page in this community magazine and I was surprised by this advert.
This advert is direct, factual, compelling and has an arresting capability to attract attention and get people talking.
This agent makes a statement of performance that leaves the other agents struggling to catch their breath.
In past two years in the suburb of Devonport this agent is responsible for selling 46% – virtually half of all the properties sold in the suburb for over $2 million. That is 23 sales out of 49 in the past 2 years and this is by one agent. There are, as she states 42 agents in Devonport – she is one of them and she alone accounts for close to half of all sales above $2m. The suburb has a median price of $1m - Wow!
I have to say, if you owned a $2 million house in Devonport, you would have to think twice about why you would not use her or at least get her to pitch for the business.
This is without doubt smart advertising. It's factual. It is absolutely relevant and clearly it is true and it blows out of the water the subjective differentiation other agents seek to establish around ‘pillars of the community’ and working ‘that bit harder’ – after all what counts is results.
Maybe what the real estate industry needs is to expose more of the facts and let people choose agents based on their performance and let their performance track-record speak for itself.
Former Realestate.co.nz CEO Alistair Helm is founder of Properazzi.
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