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What’s the Message? Ask Yourself ‘Why’

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Toby Boyce

Toby Boyce

By Toby Boyce

“What do you think Heather Jones* does?” my mother-in-law inquired as we followed a heavily decorated mini-van through the streets of a north-central Ohio community.

“Well, I think it would be real estate,” I replied. “You can just make out a ‘just listed’ and ‘sold’ in the paintwork beside the license plate.”

“How in the hell was I suppose to figure that out?” she quipped back.

Ahh, Ms. Jones* — name changed to protect the guilty – did you just get the gist of that conversation? Your marketing while stunningly beautiful and definitely eye catching lacked the most important thing – the why factor.


It is a simple three-letter word that is often the first question children learn. Yet it is often the last question that we tend – or desire – to address as adults. It is a challenging question – nothing like how. How can be explained away, it is a process. “How am I going to sell your house? Well, first I’m going to…” What, Where, and When are just as easy.

But that continues to bring us back to that pesky “why” and just as important “why did I just do that?”

Every successful agent knows their return on investment for various projects that they continue to run. It doesn’t have to be a hard-and-fast number but something that says this is working and this is not. Has anyone ever gotten a deal directly from giving away a pumpkin at Halloween? Odds are low that many have, but yet hundreds of offices around the country continue to draw people into their office for a free pumpkin.

But if you don’t know “why” you just handed out 300 pumpkins at $8 a pop for a $2,400 hit to your budget – not to mention the time, energy, and cost associated with handing the gourds out – then you may have just wasted your precious time and money. Last fall, I received a free pumpkin on my porch in the middle of the night. Where did it come from? I have no idea – no marketing material associated with it at all. So this person just wasted all that time and money without getting anything back in return other than providing a good deed – assuming, of course, that it wasn’t local teenagers stealing pumpkins from Mr. Lainer’s patch and dumping the evidence.

Is giving away pumpkins a bad thing? Of course not, if you’ve taken the time to evaluate how it figures into your overall marketing strategy.

In other words, you’ve asked “why.”

Toby Boyce, MBA, is a real estate practitioner with Keller Williams Consultants Realty in Westerville, Ohio. Visit his Web site: www.delawareohrealestate.com.

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