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Your New Real Estate Motto: ‘Helping Beats Selling’

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Marketing Expert Kelly McDonald offers indispensable advice for connecting with prospects and clients.

Think of the U.S. as a “salad bowl”—rather than a “melting pot”—that integrates many different cultures as you develop marketing strategies to reach a diverse set of prospects and clients. Marketing expert and author Kelly McDonald offered attendees a range of tips to foster strong and meaningful connections in her Monday session, “How to Market and Sell to People Not Like You,” at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

  • Be relevant in your marketing. “Identify what people want, and give it to them,” McDonald said. You may have lots of information about the features and attributes of a property to share with buyers, but that matters much less than keying in on “why it benefits them. You have to be able to make sure people understand ‘why I should care’ about what you’re telling them.”
  • Adapt to the needs of your clients and prospects. People need you to understand and relieve their pain, but you need to know what the pain points are,” McDonald said. She cited an example of an auto glass repair company that set up an introduction system so that customers knew which technician would be coming to their home. They sent along a photo in advance, so clients knew who to look out for. “This addressed the strong need women have for a sense of security and great personal service, she said.
  • Keep your communications short. Your clients and customers don’t have enough time in their lives as it is, so present information “in bite-sized portions,” she said. Use white space between paragraphs and bullet points to increase the chance people will read what you send them. “Whenever possible, shorten your voicemail and emails, and use pictures and graphics to make your points.”
  • Cultivate your ‘pilot fish.’ It’s important to know what you’re doing wrong, but you may not learn what that is until you ask someone with whom you’ve done business. “People won’t tell you if you don’t ask them,” she said. “And don’t be afraid of acknowledging the problems. You can’t fix them if you don’t know about them.”
  • Foster a culture of empathy when hiring. “It’s more important to hire the right person than the right resume,” McDonald said. “Don’t be afraid to recruit from new ponds” because you can always get them up to speed on the tasks and skills needed for the job. “Awesome people are awesome no matter where they are working.”
  • Don’t be defensive when you’re wrong. If something is going haywire with a transaction, people only want to hear five words from you: “We’ll take care of it.” The blame game is never productive, so “stop offering excuses when things go wrong. People want to know how you’re going to take care of problems, so unless they ask for a lot of details about how something went amiss, don’t go there,” she said.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the Editor of REALTOR® Magazine.

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