No, it’s not the title of a Friends episode. But it is a factual account of me, a property marketer, and my current experience selling and buying real estate. During which process I’ve realised two revelations relating to my career as a property marketer.

Revelation 1: Not all real estate agents are created equally

I sold my home late last year, kicking myself for not acting sooner and benefitting from a greater sale price that would have been guaranteed no more than three months earlier. But that harsh realisation was softened because of my agent experience at the time.

When I sold my home, I had the pleasure of selling with Danielle Fordham from Sweeney. Evening meetings to suit my schedule, constant updates on enquiries, understanding the potential buyers coming through my property and painting an honest and realistic picture throughout the campaign given the market conditions – Danielle provided a service standard that is evidently going the extra mile.

Fast forward to this year, and Saturday mornings started looking like this:

Driving around suburban north-west Melbourne with a list of all the homes that came up within my search criteria from realestate.com.au. My husband and I walked into the properties and walked out just as fast. While we’re prepared to renovate, there are some things we won’t budge on – small bedrooms, no backyard, no space for a second bathroom. And one new criterion I didn’t realise I had – if the agent isn’t friendly, I don’t want to buy from them. A revelation I shouldn’t be entirely surprised about, considering I’ve seen customers react worse at not being asked if they’re collecting Stikeez at Coles.

I forwent smashed avo brunches to dedicate my Saturdays to visiting homes. And when I visited the homes, sales agents were quick to tell me what a “bargain” and “great opportunity” the properties presented in a buyer’s market. But no one actually bothered to ask what I was looking for. Instead of being asked what I wanted in a home, I had to volunteer this information. Often apologising before I asked if they had anything else coming up on the market that would better suit my needs.

I actually couldn’t believe that something so standard in qualifying leads was actually not-so-standard at Saturday morning open houses. In a buyers’ market, how is this an effective sales strategy?

Revelation 2: In the words of Simon Sinek, “Value is a perception, not a calculation. Value is something people feel, not something we tell them they get.”

One particular property I inspected needed a decent amount of TLC, but not more so than some of the other properties we considered. The price point was attractive, and as the agent described it, “a steal”.

I asked, “What’s wrong with the property?”

He said, “Nothing. People in Melbourne want to spend a lot of money buying a home, and when a cheaper one hits the market, they think something is wrong with it.”

This made me think about the value of engaging with consultants.

When launching a project, development teams take a no-expenses spared approach to branding, creating brochures and installing the biggest billboard council will permit along the freeway.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on creating impactful first impressions. And don’t get me wrong, this is very important – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. But what happens after you establish that initial contact and try to build a relationship? Is there enough substance for that second date?

That’s where we come in – guarantors to get you a second date with your customers. We take a holistic approach to creating the customer experience and nurturing your leads into qualified prospects. Yet, the perceived value on something that seems quite intangible compared to above-the-line creative, can be, at times, difficult to get across the line in a project’s budget.

When structuring your marketing budget, consider this as your new rule of thumb – for every dollar you spend getting leads through the door, spend two dollars nurturing them. It’ll pay in spades.