“Better to ask for forgiveness than for permission,” is how the old saying goes. We’re going to come back to that later. I wanted to rant a little on the social media thing.

It seems that builders are reluctant to release some of the control to their local agents. Understandably, they are concerned about controlling the message. When I present the idea about creating a community blog, Active Rain account or community specific email campaign and then follow that up with the recommendation that the sales person create the content – the response usually goes like this:

Whoa, whoa – hang on….We don’t want our sales people writing for us…they’re not the best writers…I’m worried about:

  • What they will say?
  • What kind of pictures will they use?
  • Will they get permission?
  • What if they get fired?
  • What if they are a disgruntled employee that we may want to let go…that might be better running through corporate…we have to keep the brand consistent…

ad nauseum.

And here is my bottom line response: By trying to control the message too much — builders will miss potential connections and very good customers that are craving a little transparency. (Side Note: Your sales execs are already sending out 100’s of emails and communicating with customers every day – are you controlling that message?)

These new home buyers don’t want the story from “corporate”, they want it from the guy on your team that knows them best, which is probably the sales executive who actually knows the families that just moved into the neighborhood, why they moved, what their concerns were, how the schools are, whether the neighborhood is safe and on and on.

They don’t want to see stock photography of kids at the park. They want to see actual photographs of families unloading their moving truck and eating pizza – bad hair and all!

A customer nowadays will typically prefer to see rough video shot on a camcorder and uploaded to Youtube – because it is real, not “produced.”

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for a more polished product – in fact, that usually needs to happen first to build credibility and attract the consumer. But what happens after you attract — how do you engage? I mean really engage online.

The internet has provided us the tools. It has shifted the power to the consumer; no longer do we control the whole message. As many of the larger builders have realized, it doesn’t take long for user generated “bad press” to get out there (in fact, Jim Adams has a great article about that here>>).

It’s about time that the building industry steps it up. Sales agents must start creating their own user generated “good press”. Tell the positive stories about your communities. Take the sales presentation to the web. Engage locally with your prospects, and with your Realtors!

Real estate is becoming hyper-local. The great Realtors are creating a local presence and becoming the experts in their niches — and they are seeing the results! Shouldn’t a new home sales agent have the same opportunity?

So back to the saying, “Better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” Fly under the radar. Exercise your ninja skills and create something outside of “corporate.”

Already doing it – leave a comment and show off your stuff.

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