Marketing and Seduction: A Valentine’s Day Special

Ah, Valentine’s Day. I’ve always hated this particular “holiday”, whether single, dating, or married. How a religious holiday celebrating a guy who was beaten with clubs and stones before being beheaded for the crime of trying to convert a Roman emperor to Christianity became a day of flowers and candy and male guilt is beyond me. Well, unless the example of St. Valentine is something that men should keep in mind as their fate should they ignore their girlfriends and wives…

In any event, although I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day (or Black Thursday as it was known to my friends back when we were all lonely singles), it does seem like an appropriate day to revisit a topic I first touched on back in 2009 and maybe expand on it.

This is a dangerous line of thinking, by the way, and wholly unproven so you, the reader, is hereby warned not to wander down this path, lest you come across horrible things like original insight or politically incorrect thoughts thereby. But here we go.

Marketing is seduction. Seduction is marketing. What works for you in seduction is probably what would work for you in marketing, and what doesn’t work for you in seduction won’t work for you in marketing.

Wooing Customers

Back in 2009, I found this amazing graphic from the wonderful web magazine @Issue:


The picture is funny, because it’s true. In a real way, that is how the different disciplines of marketing works.

And we’ve all been doing “marketing” since the onset of puberty, but for some reason, when it comes to marketing businesses or products or services, people put aside what they’ve known for their whole lives and try to follow the advice of gurus and experts and marketers. Like me, for instance.

Real estate agents, especially, are advised to do all sorts of things like cold calling, farming, blogging, Instagramming, checking in on Foursquare, whatever, so that they are “top of mind” when someone thinks about houses. Thing is, if you think about all of those things in the context of seduction, you’ll find pretty quickly that many of those things simply won’t work for you and for your personality.

For example, cold calling. Straight up calling up strangers and asking them for business.

The seduction equivalent is approaching a stranger at a nightclub and asking her to dance. There are guys who can pull that off, and guys who can’t.

Branding is the heart-and-soul desire for everyone in business. But the seduction equivalent is to stroll into a bar and have every head turn because you look so damn good. Who wouldn’t want that? Of course… there is the small matter of the work and expense it takes to look that good… even if you’re genetically gifted.

So here’s a thought on this day of all days.

When you’re thinking about marketing yourself, your services, consider what feels comfortable to you when trying to seduce someone. Then do those that fit in your modus operandi. Ignore those that don’t. Because they won’t work. Because those tactics aren’t you. You’re not good at them.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means to Me

While we’re on this line of thinking, consider not just the marketing/seduction tactics you’re comfortable with, but also think about “motivation” (for lack of a better word).

Real estate people love to talk about “building relationships” and “client for life” and such things. Then they throw themselves at clients promising all sorts of wonderful things, drive them around for weeks, cater to their every need, for free!

Then they wonder why clients don’t seem to be all that loyal to them.

The answer is easy if you put it into seduction terms. It’s awful hard to be “building relationships” and being taken seriously if you’re giving up the pootenanny within an hour of meeting somebody at the bar. In fact, if you’re throwing yourself at anybody at the bar, desperation oozing from every pore, it’s gonna be an uphill climb to have people take you seriously as a “relationship” target.

Thing is, in business and in romance, I ain’t judgmental. Hate the game, maybe, but never the playa.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone who doesn’t mind the client equivalent of a series of one-night stands. If you’re all about mass lead gen, quick-and-dirty transactions, and the whole thing is just a numbers game… I’m all good with that. You do what works for you, but understand that the tactics of “dating” are different from the tactics of “marriage”, and don’t even bother with the tactics that require years and years of effort and dedication and getting to know someone deeply. There are clients out there who want nothing more than a quick competent service without all the treacly “I Love You” crap.

Conversely, there’s absolutely nothing wrong or stupid or bad-business about doing the slow and steady, let’s get to know each other better first, flirting and dating, and all of that, to build a real relationship with a select few clients. Don’t let the dating doctors tell you otherwise. If that’s what works for you, and that’s what you want, then do that and forget about the tactics of the quick-and-dirty wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am types.

Final Thoughts

If you dig deeper, this whole line of thinking really is fun and dangerous, and insightful. And I got stuff to do. But I’ll leave you all with a couple of thoughts-disguised-as-questions.

Isn’t it possible that men and women market their real estate services differently, because they seduce differently? Men tend more towards advertising and marketing, and talk about going “belly-to-belly” with the client, while women lean more towards branding and word-of-mouth, and talk more about personal reputation and personal brand. Marketing is seduction, after all.

Shouldn’t one of the first questions that a real estate agent asks of a potential client be whether he’s looking for a long-term relationship with a real estate expert, or a quick “help me with this deal” thing? The word “fiduciary” gets thrown around a lot in real estate, but what if the client isn’t looking for that kind of love?

Ah well, on this day of all days, I just wanted to say to all my readers… single, coupled, other…

I got nothing but love for you.

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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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