Over the years, there have been countless books written about how to sell and the art of selling. Some of the basics of selling, like thinking about the “four Ps of marketing,” have been deeply ingrained into many of us. But many of these concepts, at least to some extent, are beginning to show their age.
Today, the art of selling (whether a real estate investment property or anything else) has dramatically changed. The best way to sell a product, it seems, is to avoid directly selling altogether.
This dramatic shift from the selling basics of yesterday is far from surprising. The people, as a whole, are collectively fatigued. If we hear yet another, “For just three low payments of $19.99…” or, “But wait, there’s more!” or, “If you call now…” we’ll likely lose our collective minds. There is no longer anything remarkable, impressive, or captivating about these hawking, direct approaches—we are ready for something new.
The rise of social media and digital marketing has only accelerated the need for change even further. Those who succeed in the social media space, particularly those who are working in video, do not list the benefits of buying a product or making an investment. Rather, they use these platforms to further their brand, establish trust, and captivate an otherwise uninterested or indifferent audience.
In some cases, video content that deviates from this new paradigm may actually have a negative effect on a brand’s image. If a person’s video content consists of them sitting at an office table reading from a script for half an hour, they will quickly be recognized as out of touch and ineffective. They will be perceived as outdated and incapable of adapting. And, as Darwin has effectively shown us, those who fail to adapt will not be around for very long.
Watch as article author Adam Gower discusses why using video is essential for real estate syndicators with Jamison Manwaring of Neighborhood Ventures in Phoenix, AZ.
There Is No Such Thing as a “Product”
In real estate syndication, where the target audience is often first-time investors with limited awareness of the industry, a developer wanting to raise money online will need to identify what, exactly, they are selling. Bombarding someone—someone who is likely only mildly interested—with aggressive promises of “15% IRR,” “$200 per square foot CapEx,” and other baffling jargon will more likely push them away than draw them in.
But if the seller can develop a different perspective, one in which the original promise is information and education, they will be much more likely to develop the level of intrigue needed to result in a final conversion.
Helping people simply learn more about the role of crowdfunding in real estate syndication—perhaps never even mentioning the name of the sponsor—will help build confidence in both the platform and the industry. Without the ability to establish this confidence, most video or other content will be rendered ineffective.
And in some cases, the sponsor may want to detach their tangible selling points from the content even further.
A sponsor might specialize in financing senior living projects in the Southwest, but if they uncover an interesting video discussing the crowdfunding of a new soccer stadium in the Midwest, that video will still be worth sharing. Why? While the stadium is, on its face, unrelated to the senior housing project, it is likely interesting to some people and, to a certain extent, still takes place within the same industry.
Quickly, the sponsor begins to shift their image from “a platform always pitching investments in their deals” to “a platform where I can learn more about the ins and outs of the ever-changing real estate industry.”
These sorts of strategies may require more time to play out, but these early, ongoing efforts will inevitably pay dividends. They create many paths to the end goal (investing) without overwhelming those on the periphery. Even a 10-second video of the sponsor’s family—something that is completely unrelated to real estate—can still function as a friendly reminder that the firm is out there, is human, and wants to interact with its broader audience.
As has been the case for decades, content can be used to inspire people to act. But contrary to years past, the type of content that inspires action has dramatically changed. Whether in video or any other type of digital content, selling is no longer cool.
What is clearly cool, however, is being honest, transparent, informative, and real. If you can continue producing content that people will enjoy consuming, then you may actually end up achieving your long-term goals.
What kind of content do you find most engaging?
Tells us what captures your attention in the comments.