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?

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.

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