There’s something I hear every week, without fail, in my work with real estate agents: “I want buyer leads for development X,; I don’t want people looking to buy in my neighbourhood, not someone interested in buying the exact same type of condo one block away, just leads for development X.” I’m here to tell everyone in real estate, that this person, this “lead”, does not exist and never will.

The issue is that people are not leads. Home buyers, even investors, are looking for something that fits their needs. They are not leads for one unit, in one specific development; they’re trying to find a home that works for them. Treat people like humans and they’re more likely to treat you like one in return. When it’s all about getting them in the door to close a sale, they’ll react like someone who’s trying to be closed and push back.

“What are the needs of this unique person looking for a home?”This is the first and only important question.

So, what does this mean for realtors and salespeople?

This focus on buyers only in the last step of their purchase process, is the conversion trap that all marketers fall into: Only looking for the easiest, most obvious clients that will convert to a sale as quickly as possible. The high-value of the client is itself the problem. There are just not that many people who are at the last step of the purchase process at the same time. And every competitor in the market is willing to outbid each other to get just a piece of that client’s attention.

This is what’s known as a Red Ocean strategy “Crowded market spaces where companies engage in bloody competition for market share.” This concept was developed and published in the Harvard Business Review by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, professors of strategy at INSEAD, one of the world’s top business schools. This focus from real estate salespeople and marketers on only the most obvious and competitive consumer pool will, “prevent them from entering blue oceans, previously unknown and uncontested market spaces with ample potential.”

Every marketer and salesperson on the planet is obviously concerned with connecting with customers at the last step of their buying process, when that cheque is put down on the table. But, the thing that has always distinguished great marketers from everyday salespeople is the ability to take a holistic view of customers as peoplelooking at needs from the customers’ perspective instead of from the sales perspective.

Let’s all stop looking at real estate consumers as leads and treat them as people: potential purchasers who need our help.

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House image by Pascal Willuhn via Flickr

Zack Korn

Zack manages BuzzBuzzHome's BuzzPro Agent Advertising Program, helping agents hyper-target their marketing on engaged buyers. With a background in sales, marketing and economics he brings a complex understanding of the market to help Realtors upgrade their marketing efficiency.

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