Storytelling is Powerful for your Real Estate Business

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Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. -Unknown

Did you know that storytelling is one of the most effective strategies that you can use to grow your business?

I spent much of my corporate career giving presentations (also known by many as “PowerPoint hell”), and through those years of experience as well as some coaching from expert communicators and marketers in the business, I learned that nothing beats storytelling when it comes to connecting with people and making a lasting impression. I’m not talking about just any story though…I’m referring to a relevant and engaging story.  I’m taking those same lessons and applying them to my real estate business today.

I think marketing expert and author Seth Godin stated it best in an interview I read about his book Tribes.  He said “People buy stories, not stuff, and it’s stories that spread, not stuff.  Leaders tell stories. Gandhi or King or Che or yes, Rush Limbaugh. They tell stories. The stories matter and the words matter. Of course the product has to live up to the story, the service has to be there, the story has to be true.”

How is storytelling effective for your business? First, it helps people to relate to a product or service and visualize how it might work for them. Secondly, it assures people that others have found value in a product or service (social proof).  You may be thinking this is the same thing as testimonials.  Yes and no.  Yes, because some of the strongest testimonials are indeed stories.  No, because often times stories are more engaging.

You can use storytelling on an ongoing basis in your real estate businesses in several ways:

  • Marketing materials (letters, brochures, websites, videos)
  • Conversations with motivated sellers (e.g. stories about sellers you worked with who were in a similar situation)
  • Conversations with retail buyers (e.g. stories about the wonderful neighbors, or positive experiences from some of the awesome features you’ve added to the home)
  • Conversations with investor buyers (e.g. stories about the frustrations from making offers directly on the MLS, or stories about successful wholesale deals you’ve done with other investors who went on to flip the home or make a great cashflow on a home purchased from you)
  • Conversations with potential private money lenders (e.g. stories about how other private lenders you’ve worked with have been so ecstatic about their return on investment and how it compared with their returns from other investments such as CDs, mutual funds, stocks)

These are just a few examples of how storytelling can be powerful.  Of course you want to be ensure that you’re telling an effective story as well, and below are some tips to help you do just that.

Elements of Effective Storytelling…the story should be:

  1. Short and easy to tell — not only does this make it easy for someone to remember, but it also increases the chances that the story will be retold to others (and accurately!) which is exactly what you’d want to happen.
  2. Memorable — there should be some highlights to the story. Providing specific results can be impressive rather than sharing vague generalities. Sometimes its the emotion (both good and bad) of the story that makes it memorable.
  3. Relevant – every story you tell should have a point…and a relevant one. Keep in mind that there is a distinct purpose for you sharing this story, whether its in your marketing materials or in conversation.  You don’t want people to be thinking  “So what’s the point?” or “Who cares?” when you’re done.  You want people to be so intrigued that they ask you for more.

I hope these tips give you food for thought.  In what ways have you found storytelling to be powerful in your real estate business?

Photo: Pedro Simoes

About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!

13 Comments

    • Absolutely! Of course it can work the other way around too…I’ve had people tell me stories that ended up giving me a negative impression! That storyteller had not considered the ramifications of sharing that story….and broke rule #3 on the elements of good storytelling. 🙂

      Thanks for your comments!

  1. Hi Shae!

    You raised some very interesting points in your article.
    When I take a look at the Canadian real estate investing landscape, some of the best marketers in this arena are excellent at telling stories.
    They do it in a very simple manner, and in many cases through social proof, as you mentioned above. Fellow Canadians, Tom and Nick Karadza of Rock Star Real Estate are an excellent example of people who market very effectively through story telling.
    http://rockstarinnercircle.com/

    All the best,
    Neil.

  2. Shae – what a great article!!

    When we’re presenting a deal to a joint venture partner the biggest thing we can do is tell a good story about the deal. Our joint venture partners are often far more interested in hearing the details of how we uncovered the deal and negotiated it down than they are in what we project the return to be. The revel in the details of how we found an opportunity and the ways we uncovered little extras for the deal. It’s the story they buy into more than anything else – you are SO right.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with this article, Shae. In several well-written paragraphs, you pratically outlined the reasons for the recent explosion in my business. Story-telling is all I do, and I try to do it often, via my blog, and dealings with everyone I know.

    If people don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll never be as successful as you could be.

  4. Shae,
    I love the idea. I’d like to add something as well. When talking to others and telling your stories, have passion for what you are doing. Your excitement is addictive to others. I think Zig Ziglar talks about this frequently.

    I spent the entire lunch hour on Saturday discussing the potential for a neighborhood I am buying in. The gal I talked to use to live there. What a great conversation. I had her as excited as I was. I missed a huge opportunity though. She could have become a private money lender. Did she have money or want to invest in real estate? I don’t know, I never led the conversation correctly. Lesson learned.

    The key though is as your article stated, the story telling opened the doors of possibility.

    Jason

  5. The concept of mixing storytelling and real estate is something that I definitely believe in even if I haven’t personally seen it being applied. I am fond of stories, especially those stories that engaging. I’m also sure that most of us are. I commend you for a very creative way of doing business in real estate. I hope to read future blogs related to this specific topic. Thank you for the post!

  6. Hi Shae,

    You are so right. The investing books I love the most are full of real life stories. I still remember a story from a 2 hour investing course I went to 25 years ago. It’s stuck with me all these years, but I can’t remember a single other thing the guy said.

    Thanks for the idea!

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