Columbus Ohio Real Estate Experts: Do You Provide Data or a Story?

Do You Provide Data or a Story?

People remember a story, they don't remember data. Do you walk into a listing presentation with tons of data, projections, and what you can do for them? Maybe, but you also must have a story. Anyone can spew numbers and data out, not everyone can provide a great story that makes you remember them. 

Everyone has a story, especially if you've been in this business for any length of time. Nearly every deal has some unique story, like the time I walked into a vacant house to show my clients with a foot of water in the entire house, or how I managed to save a deal an hour before closing when the other party decided to back out. 

Can you offer a solution or just facts? Anyone can provide information or statistics. Buyers and sellers want to know you can provide solutions. And because this is such a relationship-driven industry, people need to know you care about them, not just about you. You are not the hero of the story, your client is. They need to feel like they are the main character, not you. You are the guide to get them where they need to go. 


Know your audience.

If you don't tell a compelling story, your audience will tune you out. I'm not going to be talking about Instagram, snap chat and how I will market their home on social media to a seller in their 70s. They don't relate. Even though I will market to the right audience, I don't tell stories that clients can't relate to. We will hold open houses and price their home so they get what they need out of it.


Evoke Emotion.

People want to know what's going to happen next. Did you save the day? Was all hope almost lost? Now, while you don't need to divulge a novel of epic proportions, you should evoke some emotion. Like the time a new couple was buying their very first home and just before closing the owners had removed all the appliances without permission. The couple was devastated until we negotiated for all new appliances at the last minute. 


Continue to tell stories. 

Use examples to explain how you market. Use past experiences of success stories and even problems that arise and how you found solutions. I tell the story of a military family I helped buy a house. They knew they were only going to be stationed for 3 years, so not only did we find a house that would work for them now, but that would sell easily in 3 years and they could walk away with a profit. It's finding the solution now and in the future, that really appealed to these folks. 


Read More: 10 Things Homebuyers Want to Know


Give on-going solutions.

Instead of giving them a name and number of a repairman, tell them how to maintain parts of the house both now and in the future. give stories of maintenance that has saved homeowners hundreds of dollars. Provide answers and where to find the answer. 

Never forget that your client is the hero in the story, not you. You are the guide, just like Yoda, Peeta, Hermione and Ron. Guide them through the difficult areas and help them find solutions. There must be a path toward a happy or a sad ending and with you, the ending should always be happy.  - Join me on Linkedin for the original post.

columbus, lewis center and gahanna real estate

Columbus Ohio real estate - Vision RealtyAs a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.


Donald Payne - Vision Realty, Inc.
4608 North High Street

Columbus, OH 43214

Toll-free: (866) 510-2223

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Comment balloon 46 commentsDonald Payne • November 13 2017 06:58PM


Great post! I am a story teller!

Posted by Michelle Gordon, Finding Your Place (JH Realty Partners) over 2 years ago

Great message, Donald Payne. Wish I had the power to suggest featured blog posts to AR. This one deserves it!

Posted by Amanda Thomas, ​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™ (Providence Group Realty) over 2 years ago

I love this post.  Thank you for writing and sharing.

Posted by Anne Edwards Johnson, Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260 (JP and Associates) over 2 years ago

Love this post, Donald! I too, am a story teller and love having the data to back up the story - you nip two different customers with that - those who love numbers and those who just want to hear the story!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 2 years ago

Donald Payne , That is a relief!  I have been telling stories to make my points since I got in the business. It is the only way I feel comfortable informing my customers and clients.  The data and canned talking points give me a rash!

Posted by Dana Basiliere, Making deals "Happen" (Rossi & Riina Real Estate) over 2 years ago

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou


Great post Donald.  Great message.  This is how we run our business.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 2 years ago

Awesome article Donald!  I like to tell stories that help people understand how my services can help them accomplish thier goals. 

Posted by LaShonda Solomon, Serving Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, Bartow Counties (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 2 years ago

Good evening Donald Payne ,

So glad to see this post featured! What a great way to share how effective story telling can be! Need the data to back it up..but this is all about the client..great advice!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 2 years ago

Wonderful post Donald. I have always been a sucker for a good story. It is so difficult to get people interested in statistics. Its better to give them something to relate too.

Posted by Joseph Domino over 2 years ago

Great post, now if I may add not only do you want a story teller, but you want an HONEST one:) Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) over 2 years ago

wonderful post ...very honest, interesting and compelling! Thank you for sharing such really good information!

Posted by Debra Leisek ( Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska) over 2 years ago

So well said, Donald.  Relevant stories told with passion and emotion is a wonderful way to convey who you are and what special talents each of us brings to a situation.  And one of the best ways to cemnt a relationship which is so critical to success in this business.  Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC, CNS (Everything Pines Partners, LLC.) over 2 years ago

You really need to have that emotional connection and the storytelling is certainly a way to achieve this.  Nicely done.


Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 2 years ago

I agree that people will relate to and remember stories.

Your point: Know your audience is critical to the process.


Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA over 2 years ago

This is a wonderful post, connecting with stories is important. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Cathy Starkweather (La Rosa Realty, LLC. ) over 2 years ago

Thank you for the great tips. I willbookmark this and read it again

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 2 years ago

Great post, Donald!!  Everyday sharing stories :) 

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 2 years ago

Donald, thank you for your post.  I am not a "natural" storyteller - though note my name!

You do make a good point, folks do connect on an emotional level.

Posted by Marie Story, Broker Associate, Pinecrest (Miami) Specialist (Coldwell Banker - Pinecrest (Miami)) over 2 years ago

This is a great post!  Everyone loves a good story - you are so right!

Posted by Rochelle Kretchmar, Simply Irresistible Staging (GenEquity Mortgage ) over 2 years ago

I agree, Donald.  I hear the voice of the teacher on Charlie Brown when someone is trying to offer me stats and data on something that I may not fully understand or want to understand. I am sure that's what too much data sounds like to our customers.  While the data is important, some may need a bit of something relatable, memorable or even humorous to help absorb the data.

Posted by Chris Lima, Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you. (Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise) over 2 years ago

You are so right. Potential clients want to bond with a human. Data is something you may want to leave behind or to back up a story.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 2 years ago

With advents of Internet people reading habits have changed. It is very shallow reading. Any story without charts or illustration is unlikely to get the audience. About 45% of audience read from a device 2" by 4" size.   

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 2 years ago

I really like this, Donald. I think most people will relate better to a story to illustrate your points, especially one they can identify with (this is how I will help you).


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 2 years ago

Excellent topic, its true about stories versus data.  Thanks for your time

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) over 2 years ago

Donald, this is excellent information and timely, too. Many of us are starting to think about setting up our content calendars for next year and these tips will come in handy. Thanks so much.

Posted by Elva Branson-Lee, CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent (Solid Source Realty GA) over 2 years ago

Thanks for this great post - I'm going to save this one as you make some really important points.  

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) over 2 years ago

Congratulations on a well deserved Featured post. I am an advocate of story-telling - it is how people relate and provides a path for connection. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 2 years ago

Sometimes it helps to answer a question with a story,  Stories may help to illustrate a point you are trying to make.  Well written.

Posted by Dwight Puntigan, Dwight Puntigan (DRP Realty, LLC) over 2 years ago

We humans do love stories, and they definitely work to drive home points.


Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 2 years ago

More than one promotion media stream on properties helps sell them quicker in the real estate matchmaking. Describe the property "seeing" and talking one one to this lifestyle buyer, this growing family purchaser. Describe this space is ideal for a loved one challenged by stairs to have their bedroom on the first or ground floor. Or to use for a home business. The buyer niche's ears perk up when they know you are talking to them with this approach in your videos, your narrative,  in all your market.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 2 years ago

I really liked this blog.  I agree with the 'tell a story'.  Stats are important, service is more relatable.  Emotions play such a big part in buying or selling, I try to emphasize 'be sure you feel comfortable with the agent you chose, you want to be sure that he or she is there for you and will take the time to really service your needs."

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 2 years ago

I like telling stories when I give speeches and presentations, but I am very analytical.  I have been working on a sales letter for sometime and have not been happy with it.  Your post got me out of my analytical head to help me realize I was writing my sales letter from an analytical approach - more like a college thesis on the subject.  Your post caused me to understand that I am still talking to people - just not in person, but through my letter.  I now know what stories and how I can use them in my letter to make it just as informative, but with an engaging personal approach through stories. Thank You!

Posted by Barry Brown (Bear Realty) over 2 years ago

Well thought out article.  And I like your visuals!


Posted by Elizabeth Bouchard, Associate Broker in Northern Virginia (Long & Foster Realtors) over 2 years ago

You are so right, and data needn't be the culprit. If we can tell a story with the data we have instead of just presenting numbers we could better get the point across. Nice post, Donald.


Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 2 years ago

Donald, this is a great blog post. The power of story when it comes to communication is incredible. 

Posted by Luke Acree, Making Agents Memorable (ReminderMedia) over 2 years ago

So true. Thanks for reminding us the power of stories. People learn through stories and its how we connect. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Stephen Turner, The BIG Guy of NEW HOME SALES (Burkentine Realty Group (Burkentien Builders)) over 2 years ago

My favorite buyers are doctors, engineers, accountants and the like.  They, like me, are comfortable with "just the facts."   With other types I try to be more "story friendly."

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Don  Another great post  congrats on being a FEATURED post on AR!!!!

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 2 years ago

Donald- I love this post. When numbers begin spewing out, that's when we start to lose people. And we're all human. We want to know what's in it for what you're saying relates or will impact us. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

 , great topic & article ... over the years we have finally learned, that the "data tells, and the story sells!"

Posted by Dan Hopper, Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale (Dan Hopper - Individual Proprietor) over 2 years ago

In my experience, I also realized that people love to hear the stories. One of a well-known architect in Chicago once advised me to tell the story slowly. People tend to pay more attention when somebody speaks slowly, of course not too slow that they might even fall asleep. Thanks for sharing 

Posted by Delphine Nguyen (Baird & Warner) over 2 years ago

Very good advice. I hope I apply it well.

Posted by Brian DeYoung, Brian DeYoung ( Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 2 years ago

Donald Payne "If you don't tell a compelling story, your audience will tune you out...I don't tell stories that clients can't relate to. "

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) over 2 years ago

Good morning Donald. What a terrific post this is. We are telling stories or we are just passing time.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

Very thought provoking post for me to read Donald Payne 

Thank you for taking the time to share with us importance of stories, and "evoking emotion."

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) over 2 years ago

Now that I've been a REALTOR for a few years, I have some related stories to tell. Before then, I had to show how a similar experience in my Retail business had applied and helped in a similar situation. As you say, always have a story to humanize and personalize...

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\) over 2 years ago