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Content Marketing,  Copywriting,  Writing Tips

Confidence vs. Angst: What Your Website Content Says About You

There I was, driving down the street when I saw it: A sign that said, Eager to Close!! Seller Will Pay All Closing Costs!!

(Yes, the explanation marks were included on the damn sign.)

At the time, I was in the housing market. That sign was meant to attract people like me. It didn’t work.

My reaction to the sign was disgust – not excitement.

What was the agent thinking? Did she really think we’d pay listing price on that home? Not. A. Chance. We’d negotiate the hell out of that house… if we even took the time to look at it. And at that moment, I kept driving.

The palpable angst, fear, and desperation in the real estate agent’s message sent me running for the hills – not running toward the sale.

Does your website content make you look just as desperate?

It’s no secret that the real estate industry is filled with hungry agents who want to close their next home so that they can make a buck. As an entrepreneur, I respect the need to sell something. But the approach you take matters. It could get prospective buyers driving by – or it could get them in the door.

There are two ways you can approach a potential customer.

The first is the desperate way (see the example above.)

It’s the biggest turn off and the most gut-wrenching, cringeworthy approach.

Here’s another, less obvious, example of obvious desperation from a real estate agent during our house hunt.

While at an open house, the listing agent started chatting us up. My husband and I were the only ones in the house at the time, but she claimed that there was a lot of interest in the house. As we kept the conversation flowing, the truth came out. She was eager for us to place an offer on the house because it had been on the market for 120+ days.

Having an Air of Confidence in Marketing

The second approach is more refined. It’s also the approach that won our real estate agents the contract.

We’ve known our real estate agents for years. They’re a married couple who just enjoy getting out of the house and helping people look at homes. The interest they have in their job is palpable. They want to help.

When we bought our first house, this was the team of agents that helped us make the purchase. My husband met them while he was out on his own looking at houses. They saw him peering into the window of an empty for house for sale and stopped to ask him if he needed some help. He did and they handed him their business card.

This approach is helpful.

They saw someone who was clearly interested in buying a house and in need of help. They offered their expertise.

The approach was also gentle.

They never once made us feel like we had to buy immediately. Instead, they asked us what we wanted and then hit the ground running to help us find it. It was a win-win.

Which Approach Are You Taking?

I’ve won my fair share of sales contests. I’ve grown my own business selling my services without the help of an outside sales force. I get the need to sell, sell, sell.

I have also sat on the other side of a hard sale and felt how uncomfortable it can get. It’s awful. It doesn’t make the seller feel good (or at least it shouldn’t.) It doesn’t make the person being sold to feel good. It’s a lose-lose.

The world is cluttered with noise both online and offline. People are constantly trying to get your attention on television, the radio, road signs, social media, search engine results, and with flashy, ridiculous, embarrassing banner ads.

You need to stand out! But the way you stand out matters. Are you using desperation to get found? Or are you offering helpful, valuable website content to hit home with your marketing message?

One makes you sound like a teenager at an Ed Sheeran concert…

… the other makes you sound like an easy-going professional who is so confident in what she has to offer, she doesn’t have to beg, plead, and hound you to sign a contract.

10 Comments

  • Michele

    Yes! So true. I often think of business like dating – if you come across as desperate, insecure and over eager, it’s a turn-off. Simple advice but very useful. Focusing on helping rather than ‘making the sale’ usually ends up actually making the sale.

  • Kathy Pine

    This is such a great message and written so well to communicate this. I often feel this when I work with clients on their brand strategy – you have to sell from a place of value not desperation. Thanks for wording it so well and putting it out there!

  • Siedah Mitchum Designs

    You make a really great point Kimberly. I find it easier to not to try to sound like I am a “seller” by just writing from the heart.

    By getting back to “why” am I in business or “why” am I creating this program and telling a story really helps me communicate from a place of love.

  • Daniela

    Hi Kimberly, thanks for this post! I agree that it’s a real turn off when someone is desperate to sell. I prefer to approach all people as potential relationships instead of potential buyers or clients. I think the desperation comes from feeling like you constantly have to make a sale, but in reality, as a freelance web developer, I’ve found that it’s not selling that gets me clients, but connecting instead.

  • Lewis LaLanne

    The coveted position to be in is having someone reaching out to you vs. you reaching out to them.

    When you do a great job of showing up in someone’s life with your site where it communicates, “Hey, there’s a ton of really useful free stuff here. But don’t believe me. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.”

    This is part of your marketing – the continual and never-ending education that you know your what you’re talking about and can be of service to your perfect prospect.

    I’ve found that people enjoy being “Invited” to do join you in an activity rather than being “Pressured” and muscled into doing something.

    Michele brought up the dating analogy before and I wanted to expand a little on it in this context.

    If a guy’s marketing i.e. his approach/initial conversation is bad and then he makes things worse by putting a girl on the spot by asking her for her phone number, he’s probably gonna get shut down, or given the wrong number to get him out of her face.

    But if a guy’s marketing is good AND in the conversation he has brought up something fun that he was going to be doing in the very near future and in a non-needy way he invites the girl to reach out to him if she’s interested in hanging out, this is massively different.

    If she’s genuinely interested, she’ll make sure to grab his contact information before they part ways and then she’ll make sure to reach out as well. All of this was her decision.

    There was zero pressure put on her by him. Just an invitation to do something cool. The entire vibe is, “If you want to hang out, that’s cool. If you don’t want to hang out that’s also cool. Either way, it was fun meeting you.”

    The guy isn’t attached to her asking him for his contact information. He would be open to her reaching out, otherwise he wouldn’t have extended the invitation, but he doesn’t care if she does or not. He did his part by inviting her. If she wants to take it further, the ball is in her court.

    I think most women would love for conversations to begin this way just as I trust all perfect prospects for what you’re offering would as well.

    Like you said Kimberly, the key is showing up with the spirit of “giving” as opposed to showing up with the energy of “taking”.

    Thank you for reminding me of a lesson I can’t be reminded of too often.

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