Whose Bio Is This? And Why I Hope It Isn’t Yours

It’s awkward to talk about ourselves. How to reveal just enough of who we are as a person and combine it with our rock star skills and expertise without bragging or boring people?And yet we must figure it out. Writing your bio may cause crabbiness or nausea, but it is an important part of your brand portfolio and must be done – in advance of needing it. You’ll use variations online, as a speaker, and when looking for a referral or an introduction. Waiting until someone asks for it will result in head banging and produce a mediocre version of you in words.Figurative head banging can be just as painful as the real thing.A bio is not a bunch of slick-sounding but meaningless words. Words that do nothing more than take up space are like a boring speaker or cheap wine. The speaker makes you want to leave the room and bad wine, well, there’s no reason to buy that brand again.Sunday I was Googling, randomly reading stuff about copywriting and looking at the competition. My competition isn’t any or all copywriters. There are two market segments I run in: mission driven/personal development entrepreneurs and speakers in the same arena. One result Google delivered was “How to write a professional bio.” Looking for something new, I went there.His article was basic but informative. His bio was going to prove his points I thought, “Add credentials, expertise, and what makes you unique.”

Not so much.”M, specializes in coaching and mentoring conscious individuals and heart-centered entrepreneurs who want to follow their dreams and create successful businesses that are aligned with their passion and purpose, helping them make money doing what they love, creating a fulfilling life, and make a greater impact in the lives of others.”Know anyone who sounds just like this person? Sure, we all do. We probably know too many. Someone reading this might have a bio that sounds similar…
There are no credentials, no signs of his expertise, and nothing I would call unique.He called out his market: “conscious individuals and heart-centered entrepreneurs.” The heart-centered part I’ll agree with, and forgive me for asking but how would you coach an unconscious individual? It’s a commonly used idea, but what does it really mean?Where is the unique? Everyone coaches and consults, but what makes this one better, or different?I’m not done yet, and this is in the interest of having you sound like the dynamic individual you are – not just being bitchy.”Who want to follow their dreams.” Who doesn’t want to follow their dreams?Maybe M is eliminating those less-than-ideal clients.Or are his words just taking up space on the page?One last thing, “create successful businesses that are aligned with their passion and purpose, helping them make money doing what they love, creating a fulfilling life, and make a greater impact in the lives of others.”This sentence is an award winner in the run-on sentence category, and the last half needs to break away from the motherland. It’s a fine idea, and many of us in business want successful ones that align with some aspect of us. We want to be fulfilled, and have an impact. SO WHAT?!I mean, so what do all of those words do to help me get to know M? And when does he breathe when reading this out loud? You know you should ALWAYS read everything out loud before publishing or sending, right?Look peoples, I know this critique may be harsh, but your brain goes to sleep instantly when it’s not engaged and wondering what’s next. Your bio is no different than your pitch from the front of the room, the copy on your About Page, or anywhere you are marketing you. Don’t be boring!What constitutes a strong bio? Voice, speaking to a specific target audience, personality, expertise, credentials.And one bio will not do every job. Depending on who wants to read it or get to know you, you will change the slant and what you include.Here are the guidelines to writing a bio that does the job:

Shorter is always better.

You can start with your value proposition. “Marketing is overpopulated with boring, meaningless bios and web copy.”Or your full name – and generally, speak in the third person. “Maryann Jones runs a wellness spa catering to midlife women recovering from cancer.”Like that.Use your full name, but only once – then use your first name or “Maryann or Ms. Jones works with,” or your bio will feel clumsy.

State who you work with and your expertise. Add a phrase that will be memorable or at least interesting about your work. “Linda has been featured in Forbes magazine for her work with autistic children.” “Thomas has over 100 testimonials from satisfied real estate agents who have taken his course, ‘Sell more homes than they do.’”

Depending on your industry and brand voice, you can use humor – but run it by someone to make sure it’s not misunderstood. Social media invites can be playful but make sure your services are clear.

Why not review your current bios and be sure they are interesting, as short as possible, and work to let others know what sets you apart? You are unique, even if you do what a thousand others do. Your bio should reveal that.

What to Know When Selling a House As an Open Listing Or As a Sole Agency Listing

When you decide on selling a house through a real estate agent you will be faced with the decision to list your house with several real estate agents, this is called an ‘open listing’ or you could list your house as a ‘sole agency’ or ‘exclusive’ listing. The decision you make about which option you’ll choose will have quite a large impact on the entire sales and marketing program when selling a house.

In this article we’ll explain what is involved with listing a house as an open listing as well as a sole agency listing and we’ll explain the pros and cons of selling a house using both methods. The method you choose could affect the final selling price of your house and the time that your house is on the market for, this is why it is essential that you firstly have the right information in order to make a decision and then assess which method will work best for your house and your personal situation.

Selling a House as an Open Listing:
An open listing gets its name from the fact that when you list your house for sale as an open listing you ‘open’ the listing up to multiple real estate agents from multiple real estate agencies to allow them to represent your house as the sales agent. With an open listing you’re not tied into using only one real estate agent for a set period of time as you would under a sole agency listing.

Each real estate agent will have their own database or contact list of buyers that are looking for specific types of houses and if your house matches the requirements of one of their existing prospects, it could result in a sale. It’s only natural that the more agents that know about your house, the more number of homebuyers that could be inspecting your house. However, open listings will never get the full attention or service from the agents as it would if your house was listed as an exclusive-agency listing.

One important tip here: With an open listing all the agents will want to put up a for sale sign in front of your house so that they can increase their chance of receiving sales enquiries off the sign. Never have more than two For Sale signs (from different agencies) in front of your house. If you have any more than two signs out the front of your property it could appear to be a ‘distressed’ property (one sign is ideal). A ‘distressed’ property is one where the vendor is in desperate need to sell. This could be because the house has been on the market for so long, the price could be too high or there could be something wrong with the property or the area in which it’s situated. Having too many agent signs out the front of your house could make it appear to be a property in distress and this could affect your end selling price and even the buyers first impressions when they drive past your house.

Listing your house as an open listing may also result in having to spend less money in advertising. This is due to the fact that there are a lot of agents that may have buyers already interested in the type of house your offering as well as the fact that you might spread some ads over several different agents over several weeks.

If you do have an open listing and intend to begin an advertising campaign to sell the house, it’s important that you have one ‘lead’ agent for your advertising. Do not place an ad one week with one agency, then run an ad the next week with another agency.

If you place ads with more than one agent it could appear that the house is in distress and that you’re advertising with anyone who will take on your house to sell. Also, buyers will call several different agents about houses advertised and if your house is advertised with several agents you will be wasting your money.

Open listings will generally suit properties that are low to mid priced for the area in which they’re situated. This is due to the fact that more expensive houses or more unique houses attract a more discerning buyer, or to put it more simply, a more targeted buyer. And therefore mid-priced to expensive houses are better suited to sole agency listings.

An open listing can work in your favour especially in a boom property market when houses are selling quickly as we’ve seen in the recent property boom in Australia around 2002-2004. When there are few houses for sale, this forces agents to focus more attention on selling what is available and therefore will increase buyer activity on your house. In quieter times, you may need more specialist attention and more targeted advertising in order to attract the right buyer, this is where a sole agency listing applies…

Selling a House as a Sole Agency Listing (a.k.a Exclusive Agency Listing):
With a sole agency or exclusive listing, you have one agent/agency representing your house for sale. Sole agency listings work especially well with mid range to expensive houses due to the fact that the higher the selling price, the less people there are that will be able to afford the house. As a result you’ll need a more targeted advertising program as well as more personalised attention that a sole agent can provide.

Real estate agents will almost always emphasize a sole agency listing to homeowners selling a house as the agent gains exclusive rights to market and sell the house which promotes their name and their agency name, the agent receives a higher commission and they have less competition from other agents.

If other agents have buyers that want to buy your house they cannot approach you with their buyer in an attempt to sell the house. Other agents need to make contact with your sole agent and ask if they will do a ‘conjunction’ on the sale. A conjunction on the sale of a house is where one real estate agent shares the sales commission with another agent at a predetermined percentage, usually 50/50.

With a sole agency listing you’ll have a dedicated advertising program that will be set out from the moment you decide on which agent you choose to represent your house. The agent might start out saying we’ll advertise the house in this way and at this price for three weeks running then we’ll assess the type of buyers we’re attracting and make changes if necessary. Using different headlines, copy and pricing in your ads will attract different buyers.

For example, if a house has a particularly large backyard, you would be best to market the house as a family house provided the rest of the house suited a family ie. Quiet area, spacious house, adequately fenced, away from main roads etc. If the house requires very little maintenance and is near a CBD, you would be better off promoting the house to single people or young couples. You know your house and suburb better than anybody and will be the best person to make this type of decision.

Your advertising will generally promote your open house on a Saturday and this is where you’ll attract the majority of buyers. Open houses can attract good numbers of buyers through your house and this increased activity can do wonders for buyer interest. If you’re having an open house make sure you hide any valuables from sight and put them in a safe, secure place that no one would look for them.

As there is no definite answer on whether you should sell your house as an open or sole agency listing please use the above purely for information purposes to make sure you weigh up your options and decide on the method that best suits you personally, your house and the area where the house is situated.