What if Clark Griswold Bought & Sold Real Estate?

by | BiggerPockets.com

In spirit of this Christmas season, I thought it would be fitting to reference one of the holiday movie classics as the perfect parallel for today’s lesson on real estate marketing. In fact, since my wife and I just sat down to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase last night, it is still very fresh in my mind.

However, for those of you who may be a little rustier, here is a link to a part of the film when Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase), finally receives his long anticipated bonus check in the mail:

Yes this is a hilarious break from reality, but what exactly does it have to do with your business? Well surprisingly, my intention was not just to waste 5 minutes of your life. Instead, I want to highlight one disastrous mistake that real estate professionals can tend to make with their real estate marketing campaigns and how you can avoid it. We’ll refer to this concept as…

Aspiration vs. Desperation

Can anyone else relate to the following? When I had initially started my professional career wholesaling houses, I constantly felt the sting of desperation early on. This always came as a result of not having enough leads or potential business in my pipeline to keep me busy.

As a result, I would constantly go into “freak out” mode and start massaging my dead beat leads for all they were worth, checking emails and phone messages every hour, dwelling on what I would do to keep paying the bills, or becoming consumed with all the potential “what if’s.”

Similar to Clark Griswold, all my eggs were being stashed in one basket. Instead of actively pursuing new opportunities or implementing innovative real estate marketing ideas, I would start playing the victim game and temporarily forget that I alone was in control of my circumstances and future.

Yes, I’ve been there and never want to go back…neither do I wish this upon any of you. There is a solution when you’re faced with this dilemma. Don’t let anyone else dictate what your business or income will look like. Instead, you call the shots by taking action and never looking back.

Learn how to be a person who aspires to succeed by conducting some of the following:

  1. Formulate new ways that you can build up a stronger referral base.
  2. Produce real estate marketing videos full of testimonials similar to my man Tim.
  3. Reach out to other spheres of influence within your industry.
  4. Set up as many systems as possible, such as email follow up campaigns which will get prospects to raise their hands instead of you chasing them.
  5. Test new offline and online marketing pieces and measure your results. Pitch that which fails and improve those things that succeed.
  6. Invest in courses, books and seminars that will teach you how to become better professionally and individually.

In other words, become so singularly focused on those things that only help to improve your bottom line that you naturally sift out those time and money leaches. If you adopt this mentality for your real estate marketing plan and business, your life will be infinitely better because of it! This I can promise you.

About Author

Jeff Logue and Retechulous, LLC are focused on training agents, brokers, investors, and other professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada on how to effectively implement online real estate marketing ideas for maximum profits.


  1. Great article Jeff.

    You make a very good point about avoiding the “desperation” mode. It’s tough to do when you are new. But like you said, you have to work on designing systems so that those leads keep coming in. Without leads your business will die.

    I read an article once that talked about the downside of worrying about your bills. The author of this article had some great advice. He said, “To focus on making money, and the bills will take care of themselves”. That is so true.

    • Love it Sharon. Even if we spent half as much time focusing on solutions and positive outcomes instead of worrying about tomorrow, this alone would probably give the extra boost we need to make it through those difficult times.

  2. Education is a great thing, in theory–sadly, for an industry that seems to have so many available classes, I find that most of the classes are completely out of date, and/or taught by a broker who failed in the business–so he/she decided to teach others how to be successful. Point in case, I just finished a class for investors, thinking that I may learn something new (I am a Realtor and investor who sells 25-30 properties a year). The class had not been updated since the MLS was found in a book! MLS listings in books in the Realtor’s office! Have you ever even seen such a thing? Sadly, I have been to classes with instructors that we reported to be “The Best instructors in the area” who talk about online marketing as if it is a short term fad, and others who have just learned how to set up e-signatures or a FaceBook account and are out telling the world how to become technology savvy. I have yet to meet a teacher who knows half of what I know about what can be done or should be done in online marketing or social media–in our business, that is. There are lots of people who are “doing it right”, but few seem to be teaching it in Real Estate. It is a very sad state of affairs. I would love to take more classes and learn from someone who has worked out the kinks and knows how to get a leg up in today’s technology marketing, but I find that I am so far ahead of everyone that I meet, I can’t turn to the Real Estate industry to make my next big step forward. I am forced to figure it out on my own.

    Yes, I know that sounds arrogant–but it is really a plea for better training, better trainers, and better materials for our industry. In my humble opinion, it is time to clean house and start over with new materials and instructors. tT

    • Hi Tom,

      Excellent points, and I’d agree that there is a lot of crap out there that needs to be sifted through. I’ve personally come across numerous great courses taught by people who are actively using the same methodologies in their own businesses alongside others who just wanted to whip together a high priced affiliate offer. So I would have to disagree on your blanket statement that we need to totally “clean house and start over with new materials and instructors.”

      I have personally found that those who teach from a mindset of building long term relationships and offering real value tend to keep clients out of mutual respect rather than generating a one time $2500 sale. People are smart — they can possibly be “tricked” once into something that teaches outdated material, but not over and over again. As you already know, each course addresses various skill levels and knowledge bases, so there is never a perfect fit for everyone.

      Great forums such as this can help people to discover what courses can truly help to build businesses and offer something of value. I would encourage you to consider reaching out to others with your own extensive knowledge of the right practices and advanced methodologies that can be used for success. There are others who would want to learn everything that you know and have learned, so perhaps you could help to fill those shoes.

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