Putting Your Prospect First

By Brandon Cornett: Too much agent ... not enough prospect. It’s one of the most common mistakes in real estate marketing, especially with those new to the profession.

putting your prospect first

In your marketing, you should focus on putting your prospect first. That means you should identify the wants, needs and fears of your prospects, and address those things in your marketing. Make a strong offer. Solve their problems, answer their questions, and quell their fears.

Address these things before you say one word about your qualifications, your length of service, or any other personal attribute.

And while we’re at it, let’s address the elephant in the room. Let’s talk about multi-million dollar clubs, superstar performers, gold star agents, and similar accolades:

1. They may impress other real estate agents, but they won’t impress your prospects.

2. They put you at risk of alienating certain audiences with lesser income levels.

3. They smack of ego and self-importance.

4. They shift the focus from the prospect to the marketer.

5. They’re ill-timed and therefore ineffective (too much, too soon).

What do the above five points share in common? They fly in complete contrast to proven marketing principles.

I know what you’re thinking: "But my prospects need to know I’ve been successful in the past." And you’re right. The question is ... when do they need to know it? Right off the bat? Do you really need to hit them between the eyeballs with your super-platinum-awesome-club membership status before you’ve even offered them something of value?

Ask yourself what you really want your marketing message to accomplish. Do you want it to convince prospects of your superior service? Or do you simply want it to persuade them to contact you?

If you're a smart marketer, you'll focus on the second goal -- to get them to contact you. That's an objective you can actually achieve through marketing. So use a strong, valuable offer to get them to call you.

Then you can invite them down to your office, or offer to stop by and chat with them. Then you can share some of your (relevant) success stories.

Focus too heavily on your credentials at the expense of ignoring your prospects’ needs, and you will not be the first agent they call. Goodbye listing or purchase.

Let the others shout about their millions of dollars and elite statuses. Choose instead to spend your time developing a whopper of an offer and focusing on your prospects’ needs, fears and desires. Make it a point to harvest those critical first phone calls. See who comes out on top.

Dan Gooder Richard summed this concept up nicely in an article he wrote for Realty Times (www.realtytimes.com), October 2004: "Let them get to know you -- not by what you say about yourself, but by how well you show them you can provide solutions to their problems while saving them time, money, and headaches."

Renowned copywriter and marketer Bob Bly echoed the sentiment in his book, The Elements of Copywriting: "When writing copy, start with the prospect, not the product. Your prospects are interested primarily in themselves -- their goals, their problems, their needs, their hopes, their fears, and their dreams."

Brandon Cornett has worked as a marketing manager for a direct mail company serving the real estate industry since 1986. He now dedicates his time to helping real estate professionals improve their marketing. His Modern Guide to Real Estate Marketing and his free newsletter are available at: http://www.ArmingYourFarming.com.

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