Your Klout score doesn’t matter in selling real estate. Even when someone uses it against you…

Todd Carpenter wrote an interesting post about Klout last week, with the gist of it being that paying attention to Klout score doesn’t necessarily measure anything worth measuring for a real estate professional.  The way to get your Klout score up is basically to talk to and be +K’ed or mentioned by other influential people (influential based on their Klout score), so at the end of the day you might be Klout-worthy or influential, just in the wrong circles when it comes to selling real estate in your specific market.  Again – my interpretation, read the post, it’s short and quite good.

klout is meaningless

another shiny object

This post was inspired by a comment to Todd’s blog from Michael J. Maher, a Realtor in Kansas and the author of “(7L) The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals”. 

He voiced a dissenting opinion, stating that Klout score is not only important to a real estate professional, but he uses Klout during his listing appointments.  And I quote, from Michael’s example of how he uses his Klout score to get listings: “One of the questions I want you to ask the other professionals you interview is, what is your Klout score (and that is with a K, K-L-O-U-T dot com)? This is a beautiful question because 1) if they don’t know what it is, you can instantly eliminate them, 2) when they tell you, you can instantly compare influence, and 3) please write this down – mine is 78 and rising steadily. They say 20 means you are out there and over 50 is outstanding. What’s nice is that with one question, you will get a feel for their Internet savviness [sic.], which as you said before is important to selling your home.”

Outside of what I took to be a rather condescending tone of this particular sales pitch, it got me thinking that if I were say a Realtor in Michael’s market who happened to follow him to a listing appointment and a seller indeed asked me about my Klout score, I would quite possibly burst out laughing (after the initial shock and confusion wore off some).  I would then have to point out to this seller just how misguided the question is and I would probably feel compelled to explain just how very meaningless Klout score is.  I would have to tell them that having a high Klout score (or any, for that matter) would help me sell their house in the same way that being a Mayor of a particular Starbucks would.  But I don’t sell real estate for a living, and I do know what Klout is and what it does.

So it made me wonder how many agents, asked that same question would blush, state that they’ve no idea what their score is (or, God forbid, what Klout is for that matter), and walk away feeling like they’d done something wrong.  They’d run home and spend an inordinate amount of time getting a Klout score to compete with Michael’s, they’d light up twitter with requests for +K’s and such and do all the things they are now told matter, none of which pertain in any way to the business of helping people buy or sell real estate.

So here is my attempt at saving you some time, should you ever find yourself having to answer the Klout question:

First, remember that If you are ever asked what your Kllout score is, chances are, there was an agent there before you who believes Klout score is a meaningful measure of online influence and he used it in his sales pitch.  Now, feel free to explain to the seller that unless you are trying to score free movie tickets or lotion baskets, your Klout score is a pretty meaningless number as it pertains to your job.  It does not measure your online marketing efforts’ success in selling a home any more than winning at Farmville measures your aptitude as a farmer.  And then tell the seller how you will market their home online in all the places where buyers are looking for homes (and Klout isn’t one of those places), and explain the rest of your marketing strategy.

Lastly, feel free to tell the seller that there are two kinds of marketing, one that is all about agent self-promotion and one that is all about actually reaching a goal (in this case the goal of selling the home).  In order for you to have a high Klout score you’d have to devote every minute of your time to promoting your own greatness, and that would leave very little time for staging and photographing the property, for writing phenomenal descriptions of it, and for syndicating that property every place meaningful on the Internet.

In simple terms – you are a real estate professional and not a kid trying to get laid.  Your job demands that you don’t waste your time on gimmicks in the hopes of getting a listing.  Klout, Foursquare, Empire Avenue et. al. are games, designed to boost one’s ego, and occasionally engagements in these platforms give one a false sense of doing something important.  So do what you do, and either engage in these little games or not, so long as you understand that they are just that, games and distractions, from which you might occasionally land a lead in much the same way you might land a lead from any other chance occurrence, – pleasant when it happens but statistically irrelevant.

For the record, my Klout score is 58, and it means absolutely nothing, I assure you.

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4 Responses to Your Klout score doesn’t matter in selling real estate. Even when someone uses it against you…
  1. Jeff Belonger
    July 20, 2011 | 12:20 pm

    Inna.. I think this is spot on and keep arguing with someone that sells social media, telling me how important your Klout score is. Real Estate or not, I agree, it’s a number that can be manipulated if you know how to play the game well. I just go about my own business and Klout has me at a 68. Besides, this friend of mine also has talked to the person that has created Klout and I guess he bought into it…

    Overall, good topic here, especially for realtors. I do think Klout can help guide you in what you do… but just because you have a high number, doesn’t mean that you are good at what you do. Good post..

    • Michael J. Maher
      July 21, 2011 | 4:37 pm

      Jeff, great reply. I totally agree. Michael

      • Michael J. Maher
        July 21, 2011 | 4:40 pm <– saw this article and thought of you Inna! Blessings! Michael

        • Inna Hardison
          July 21, 2011 | 5:05 pm

          Michael – useful to those looking for a job… Not sure you can say that it applies to real estate professionals, though, unless consumers start researching people and not properties or neighborhoods as their primary targets. That said, let’s pretend for a second that the article actually applies to real estate pros as much as it does to some one looking for a job – then I’d still say that Klout is a lousy metric in this sense. It doesn’t measure your reputation, just level of online engagement, and even that is very specific and not general enough to be meaningful. The day Klout score spells out personality traits and has an honesty-meter or some metric like that installed, it may become useful. But as it stands right now, high Klout score simply means you communicate a lot. It does not measure the quality of those communications though or your level of expertise on any given subject.

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