Clients are not cows

Real estate marketing professionals interested in farming, cultivating, or harvesting customers should consider something new. Livestock management perhaps? How about genetic engineering of new hybrid corn? Better yet how about driving a combine or cultivator? It’s time to shed these agri-centric terms that are so often used in conjunction with traditional Customer (Client) Relationship Management (CRM) theories.

Potential and existing clients are neither livestock, corn, nor wheat. Clients are people who have families, passions, wants, desires, and needs. And they likely would not want to be managed, cultivated, harvested, or farmed. Instead they’d likely want a meaningful interaction with your brand where you treat them like a human rather than like an uninformed data element.

As a first step to embracing clients and potential clients as living and breathing HUMANS, rather than disembodied data nodes, firms ought to shed certain traditional labels of CRM as well as agri-centric terms in favor of human-centric labels. Use “client” rather than customer; clients seek professional advice, customers purchase products. As a real estate professional who’s positioning yourself as a trusted adviser and subject matter expert, aren’t you more interesting in engaging clients as opposed to just pushing products?  Similarly, use “engagement” and “conversation” rather than cultivate or nurture; engagement implies a recognition that your client has a role in the CRM process and conversation recognizes that you’re goal is to enlist the client in a dialogue, rather than having them passively remain rooted in your system like a seed and plant in a field until they’re harvested at maturation.

Words matter. And labels inform your conduct. If your CRM system focuses on the human touch, the people element, then your CRM operations become more focused and in tune with promoting engagement and brand partnership. Consumers want to trust your brand. Give them a reason to do so by acting like you trust them.

Photo credit zieak

6 thoughts on “Clients are not cows”

  1. I think this is what many people believe but too often marketing people do as they are told rather than speaking up and doing it the correct way. The human way! I think we have all lost sight over the last several years that real estate is a human business, and we must treat it that way or we will fade away. Great post Eric. Keep em coming.

  2. Yer preachin’ to the choir brother. 🙂 Preach on!

    The only thing that needs discussing, IMHO, for marketers is this: If we move to this human-centric model of CRM, then how do we do metrics?

    Because marketing is justified by production, and production has numbers attached to it.

    I don’t know the answer myself. But seems to me that this will be the challenge for marketers.


  3. I couldn’t agree more! We are trying so hard in real estate to make the business more consumer centric. These terms really hold us back from a new way of doing business. Mooooo!

  4. I knew this was good stuff from the first read but the proof came in the following days when I stopped myself from saying “farming” at the last second and I said “engaging” instead. Each conversation was improved. Word choice has definite impact. Thanks, Eric, for an insightful piece.

Leave a Reply