Rich Burghgraef

Creative Marketing by Bob the House

By: Rich Burghgraef | February 25, 2015 | 
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Creative Marketing for Boring Industries and Bob the HouseBy Rich Burghgraef

OK, I am not actually Bob, but I do play him on Twitter.

Bob says some things that I don’t, but that’s Bob.

He is a house.

And while houses tend to keep this under their roofs, they have pretty good senses of humor.

Much better than I do.

In case you missed Laura Petrolino’s blog post about me and some creative marketing for boring industries, here’s the backstory: I’m selling a house.

Creative Marketing

Rather than just doing the same-old-same old marketing tactics, I decided to do something creative.

I gave the house a name (I went with Bob because the house is on Robert Drive) and took to Twitter as Bob the House.

It’s been a fun project, but more importantly, it has generated quite a bit of attention. 

Since I began tweeting , I’ve gone from one or two showings per weekend to six to eight.

Here’s why I did it: As a career salesperson, I learned long ago people will buy from people they know, like, and trust.

However, when you are talking about selling a house, nobody cares about the person selling the house.

What buyers care about is whether the house can be their next home.

Bob the House is Born

Enter creative marketing. And Bob.

My goal with Bob was to give him personality, give people the opportunity to learn more about him, and illustrate why you, potential buyer, might want to live in him.

I wanted to go beyond price.

If you look closely at Bob’s posts, he rarely misses an opportunity to tell you about some of his great features without playing the old FAB (Features-Advantages-Benefits) statements game I learned as a young account executive in the early 90s.

Rather than jamming down your throat why he should be sold to you, he subtly mentions things that paint a picture and entice you to buy.

He’s shared stories about how the school behind him taught him to tweet (great, my kid can safely walk to school), about his stepson the swing set (family-friendly), and his daughter, the two car garage (plenty of room to park your cars when it snows in the winter).

Even the stop sign on the corner got a nod (safe for play and cars are not speeding down the street).

He shares pictures of himself, his basement/den, dining room, and other areas that allow the more educated buyer to collect data and fall in love with him even before stepping in for a showing.

Creative Marketing for More than Just Real Estate

So how can this type of creative marketing be applied to industries beyond real estate?

People who buy things—whether houses, electronic components, software, professional services, or whatever it is you sell—have more access to information today than ever before.

They are constantly gathering information, so you have a great opportunity to differentiate yourself by listening to what clients want, and providing them with information that makes them feel comfortable with buying from you.

Competition is About Much More than Price

I work with a lot of newer salespeople, and one of the common frustrations they come to me with is how they lose confidence in the product or service they sell, because the competition came in at a lower price.

I ask them who their competition is, and inevitably they mention someone who sells a similar product or service.

To me, if you truly understand and are passionate about the fact that YOU have the best solution for your client, the only true competition is apathy.

So who is Bob’s competition?

According to the comps that my real estate agent pulled up, it is the three bedroom house a quarter mile away, is selling for $5,000 less.

Or the split level house two blocks away on the main street that can be bought for a lot less, but needs a full rehab.

On paper, if you simply look at the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, they could be considered competition, but not to me.

And certainly not to Bob, the family house who will protect you from the cold and make sure your kids can safely get to school.

He just needed to find a different way to make you fall in love with him.

Twitter worked for Bob. Would it work for you?

About Rich Burghgraef


Rich is an entrepreneurial relationship developer with over 20 years of experience in sales and business development. He has worked with organizations including Pfizer, Schering Plough, American Academy of Dermatology, and Elite Staffing. Rich’s track record as a leader in sales, training and management has provided the foundation to allow his company, Randolph Sterling, Inc., to continue to evolve by working with high growth, sales oriented companies.

  • That’s amazing. I love creating thinking and humor. It seems you did well on both accounts with Bob the House.
    I hope you have a long and prosperous future with Bob.

  • Pingback: Bob the House: Twitter Star. | Arment Dietrich()

  • ExtremelyAvg I’ve had a lot of help because I am just not that creative! Bob is part character, part sales tool, part ideas from friends, and a whole lot of interaction with so many people who helped give him life. Bob may be a house, but this is a way of marketing so many different products and services. It is a way to give personality to something thought of as a commodity.

  • BobtheHouse1303 ExtremelyAvg and it rocks #fan #nottheceilingkind

  • BobtheHouse1303 ExtremelyAvg Bob is cool and seems like a friendly house.
    Will he ever get a friend, possibly a cute little duplex named Suzy?

  • SUCH a great point re: The http://www.salesreadinessgroup.com/blog/bid/324623/One-of-the-Worsts-Mistakes-Even-Highly-Experienced-Salespeople-Make game. Buyers don’t want to be talked at. They want to *think* they’ve figured something out for themselves! LOL By subtly inserting Bob’s finer traits into your content, Rich, you kinda-sorta “subliminal messaging’ed” them. So smart, and a fantastic case study.

  • biggreenpen BobtheHouse1303 ExtremelyAvg #nottheceilingkind LOL!!!

  • belllindsay you are so right. I learned a long time ago (first by trial and error) that people do not like to be sold, but they love to buy. I felt that real estate was too much of a commodity (check the comps that have the same number of bedrooms, etc.) and then tries to tell you things are important (42″ cabinets, which Bob has, but I still don’t know how anyone puts anything on the top shelf!) rather than letting you find out for yourself what is important.

    Bob is unique and doesn’t compare to other houses. Say, for example, you have small kids. Even if the exact same house is across the street, you may decide to pick one over the other simply because your kids don’t have to cross the street; so why do real estate agents sell them like they are all the same?

  • ExtremelyAvg, BobtheHouse1303 has had experience with a cute duplex or two. 😉

  • First there was Bob the Builder, now there’s Bob the Building – love it! 🙂

  • BobtheHouse1303 I couldn’t agree more.

  • Danny Brown We can do it! Yes we can! #flashbacks

  • I have been quite smitten with “Bob” ever since he appeared on the twscene. I am hoping my proposal to make Big Green Pens the official writing instrument of Bob the House succeeds! 🙂

  • Sooooo sorry I’m late to this game! I was traveling yesterday so unable to give my friends Bob and Rich due attention!! So excited to be able to debut the man behind the house!

  • SpinSucks

    TheMikeEllis Such a creative campaign, right?

  • TheMikeEllis

    SpinSucks THE BEST!

  • LauraPetrolino is one of very few people who would even consider interviewing both the house and the man! What creativity.

    This campaign was a huge success as it had more people look at me. The end result? My new forever family moved in this weekend!

  • Pingback: A House That Sells Itself — as the Salesperson | ShackShout News()

  • SpinSucks

    FishRonda We LOVE BobTheHouse1303 here ^lp

  • Pingback: A House That Sells Itself — as the Salesperson | Virtuoso Intranet()

  • Pingback: A House That Sells Itself — as the Salesperson | Fine Homes Newport Beach()

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