Spam and All Its Clones (Online and Off)

My door’s always open, Jones . . . so be careful you don’t walk in by mistake.

–Cartoon showing a CEO sitting at his desk, addressing the janitor in the hall

As someone who works in sales, it’s always amazing to me how many people violate the first rule of prospecting: don’t start out by annoying — or antagonizing — the prospect.

If you have a phone and a front door, you certainly know about all sorts of invasive, poorly-timed (is there a right time?) telemarketing and cold calls. (To me, at least, it certainly seems like “do not call” lists have become increasingly porous.)

However, as a Realtor (and blogger), you’re an even bigger target.

Here’s what I routinely encounter:

The unwelcome open house guest. Broker opens, at least in the Twin Cities, are held every Tuesday from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Although the target audience is other Realtors, if a non-Realtor type sees my signs and wants to take a look, great (I am trying to sell the house).

What I’m not receptive to is sales pitches from “newbie” home inspectors and lenders, like the one who showed up at my Broker Open this Tuesday.

I do appreciate how tough it is out there — but, hey, it’s tough for Realtors, too!

When I’m hosting a Sunday or Broker open, I’m working for my client, trying to sell their home — not your captive audience!

Now if only a great handyman or electrician showed up at my open houses . . .

Stealth blog posts. The artful kind actually start out commenting on your post. However, a couple sentences in, they drop the pretense and shamelessly start pitching their product or service, larding in multiple links and Web addresses for good measure.

Note to Readers: I try to catch and delete these, but as you’ve probably realized, a couple still sneak through.

Spam. No, spam targeting Realtors isn’t qualitatively different than “regular” spam.

Rather, the difference is quantitative: maybe 10x as much, often with mailbox-busting attachments riding along.

So, here’s my suggestion to all the folks out there trolling for new business:

If you really want my attention, do what I do: send a handwritten note. Seriously.

P.S.: One of the most effective put-down’s of a heckler I’ve seen at a stand up comedy act is this one: ‘Hey, do I jump up and down on the end of the bed and distract you when you’re trying to work?!?”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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