Telling the Stories that Sell
If you’ve paid attention to marketing advice in the last few years, you know that stories sell. People want to hear stories that they can relate to, not strings of facts and data. Stories have the power to move people. They create an emotional connection that can prompt them to move from potential buyer to placing an offer on your listing.
Even Forbes magazine agrees. Ryan Serhant, of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing shares in an article on Forbes.com: “Storytelling is a simple and powerful way for humans to connect, stories are something everyone can understand and relate to. The story behind a property can serve as a talking point, can make a property memorable and can be used as a hook to draw more people in to take a look.”
He goes on to tell the story of an ordinary property that he found out through some investigation had been previously owned by a famous musician. Reframing the property as “once belonging to…” gave him a hook and story to tell potential buyers. Making it far more intriguing than the fact that it had a newly remodeled kitchen and brand new hardwood floors. In fact, this property didn’t have any of these things, but the neighboring property, also for sale, did. By highlighting the history of the property, he was able to get an offer quickly and sell this older property faster than the newer, seemingly more coveted one.
The trick is to tell an interesting story that potential homebuyers can relate to. The story should be able to be shared in a variety of ways and through multiple platforms – your website, marketing brochures, social media, speeches at network meetings – wherever you can share about the property, use the tools at your disposal to tell the story.
Examples of stories you can share:
History of the Home
As shared above in the story about Ryan Serhant, the history of a property can be the biggest goldmine of storytelling opportunities. Previous owners, notable historic events, even the property’s original design or owners can all provide a starting point for the hook you need.
History or Unique Features of the Neighborhood
If your home is in an area that is filled with history, capitalize on that. Emphasize the property location to these historic landmarks. Provide captivating pictures of historic relics in the area. If the property is situated near a fabulous park or other points of interest, this can be another entryway into a story that you can build around your listing.
Unique Aspects of the Home
Is there a unique add-on or remodel that was done? Does it have an unusual architectural element? Was it built by a custom builder to meet a specific need for the original owner? Simple things like these can be easily overlooked, but a home with a widow’s walk on it can be highlighted by sharing the story of what those widow’s walks were built for in historic times. That cupola on the barn (which in itself would be another feature to build a story around) provides great talking points.
What Problem Does the Home Solve?
Find the pain point of your potential buyer and offer a solution. Does it provide an easier commute because of its close proximity to a major highway? Is it in a convenient downtown location, close to the park for families with kids? Maybe it’s close to grocery stores for busy working couples? Does it have an HOA that manages the lawn work of all of their properties, freeing new owners up to enjoy their weekends instead of doing yardwork? These are all features that could solve problems some buyers did not know they had until they hear your captivating story promising to provide an answer.
How Does Photography Tie In?
They say a picture tells a thousand words. What even the best creative writer can convey in a few words, a picture can encompass in one shot. Photographs are a critical element to tell your home’s story. There are a couple of things to consider when you’re looking at telling a home’s story through photographs.
First, an iPhone photo or another amateur photograph will not do the trick. You will need an experienced real estate photographer. One that truly understands the nuances of light and shadows and how to make a property look like a place that a family or the young career professional wants to move into – to start the next chapter of their own story.
From a sales perspective, another one of the “hooks” of stories to sell is the ability to take a reader or viewer back to a place and time that evokes nostalgia. This can easily be done during an open house through the use of smell. Small touches like the smell of fresh-baked cookies can bring up positive memories and a desire to have that feeling in their own home.
But you need to intrigue the potential buyer enough with the listing to get them into the house to make the sale. A skilled real estate photographer knows how to make your property look like a cozy, warm, and inviting home that can easily match the tone of the story you want to focus on. They can highlight architectural elements, capture the openness and expansiveness of the newly added on great room, or show the sweeping property views of the quaint little historic town at the bottom of the hill. You get the picture, right?
Don’t Discount the Writing
How do you write your property descriptions? Are you a “just the facts” kind of realtor or do you fully engage the power of the written word to captivate readers and lead them right to the door of that listing you have? It’s important to use highly descriptive phrases when you share the features of the home, to further intrigue your potential buyers. Coupled with the photography these are the two most powerful pieces to compel viewers to continue looking at your listing.
Not Just Your Listings, But Also Your Branding
Storytelling is also an important part of your branding as a realtor. What story do you want to tell potential clients? All of your marketing tools should work together cohesively to create a story of your business and how that story addresses any pain points your audience may have. If you’re part of a larger team, your branding may already be done for you as part of the real estate team’s branding. If it’s not, this is an area that’s just as important to focus on as the listings themselves.
Northern Virginia Real Estate is uniquely qualified to provide you with the perfect images to help you tell your home’s story. Not only does our lead photographer and founder, Bryant Payden have over 12+years of experience in real estate photography, he also has 20+ years of previous experience as a wedding and portrait photographer. Wedding photography is all about telling a story from beginning to the final point of the wedding day. Using these same sequential storytelling skills, combined with real estate photography, as well as architectural and commercial photography enables us to tell the story of a building – your home.
Northern Virginia Real Estate also offers in-house copywriting services for our clients, providing a complete marketing package for your real estate needs.
Using the power of a story to sell your listing can be highly effective and lead you to an entirely new customer base. All it takes is doing a little research on the house, the history, and the surrounding areas to find the story you want to tell.
If you’d like to learn how Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography can help you with telling the story of your next listing, contact us today at 571.377.8681 or email us at [email protected]