How to Master the Single Greatest Skill for Real Estate Success

By Craig Forte, Founder - Posted on
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Last Updated on April 7, 2017

Well, there’s an “outrage” being committed by well-intended (but misguided) “experts” in our industry…and it’s sending unsuspecting agents down a freeway to frustration and failure. Not long ago the cover of REALTOR® magazine featured an article about “What Consumers Want”. I knew that whoever wrote it didn’t know a hoot about marketing or selling…because their advice was 180 degrees WRONG. And in this tough market, you can’t afford the luxury of being “wrong” about your prospects, clients or your marketing focus. Why does our industry talk about the importance of “tuning in” to the desires and needs of clients in one breathe, then turn around and tell unsuspecting agents that unaccountable, “look at me” image marketing is the key to their success? “Image” and “look at me” marketing is the surest road to the poor house in real estate or any other small business. Why? Because image marketing focuses on “you” the agent, while “empathetic” marketing connects with the prospect or client on their level. Here’s a piece of advice that will forever change the way you market your services: The single greatest personal skill you will ever acquire in your business (and life, for that matter) is…

The Ability to See the World the Way Your Prospects and Clients See It

I’m talking about your ability to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and clients to identify the PROBLEMS they’re facing in their situation…and reveal the BENEFITS they’re looking to gain. And if you want them to “connect” with you and your services (i.e. hire you), you must FIRST connect with THEIR problems and the benefits they seek. That’s “empathetic marketing.” But this doesn’t just apply to marketing your services. I’m talking about how you promote and sell your listings. How you promote your buyer and relocation services. How you go about a listing presentation, price reduction or negotiate contracts. See, the primary focus of ALL your marketing should answer the age-old question ALL your prospects and clients are silently asking themselves…

“What’s In It For ME?”

You can quickly multiply your success in real estate if you simply understand the essential (WIIFM) question and three rules of marketing and sales success… RULE #1: People HATE To Be Sold, But People LOVE To Buy. Buying implies control. Getting “sold” is the opposite. No one wants to feel out of control or manipulated, especially by another person. So the first rule of selling is: Don’t make people “feel” like they’re being “sold.” How do you do this? By tuning into their problems and desires FIRST, then offering reliable ways to help. OFFER to give something, don’t force. Give them specific and meaningful reasons to call you and work with you…reasons that solve their problems and deliver benefits. I call this “pull marketing”. Pull marketing works by creating a “magnet” tuned into the problems and benefits buyers and sellers want, then making an OFFER for them to receive it from you. Want some examples? When prospecting for listings, offer consumer tips on how to sell a home for the most money. Or offer a special report revealing proven tips for dressing their home to sell for top dollar. Or offer to give more than a CMA? I teach agents to offer a “Maximum Home Value Audit™” designed to study the home and market and reveal ways to generate maximum price for the home in minimum time. When prospecting for buyers, offer consumer tips on how to buy and finance a home. Or how to beat other buyers to new homes on the market. Or a customized list of homes perfectly matched to their criteria. Or how to find great sources of affordable financing. Do you see the difference here? RULE #2: People Make Buying Decisions For Emotional, Not Rational Reasons. You hear this one all the time by sales trainers. But few really get it right. Regardless of what you think or what a client tells you…no one buys a home with logic. All buying decisions are made on an emotional basis. How do you connect with the emotions of people? By first understanding and appealing to the Seven Deadly Sins: Fear, Greed, Vanity, Lust, Pride, Envy and Laziness. Every one of your prospects or clients is feeling a certain way about buying or selling. I call this their…

“Dominant Emotion”

Your job is to identify the dominant emotion (at any given time) that causes your prospects or clients to spring into action. How do you do this? When working with clients, you ID their dominant emotion by ASKING QUESTIONS and LISTENING? not listening for a simple answer, but the “emotions” hidden behind the answer. For example, if you ask what your buyers are looking for in a home, and they say things like bedrooms, baths, etc., you need to dig down deeper. If they start talking about needing a gated community, certain schools, a specific design of home, or lifestyle features? then they’re starting to reveal their emotions. You know you’re getting close to a dominant emotion when they start to reveal “feelings”. And it’s that dominant emotion you’ll need to focus on when you’ve found the perfect home, and now need to close a deal. RULE #3: Once Sold, People Justify Their Purchase With LOGIC. The decision to buy is an emotional move? even with the most “rational” people. That’s why you need to support the “yes” decision with lots of rational reasons to support it: the lot location, the construction quality, the 24-point alarm system, etc. Smart agents give people logical reasons to help them justify their emotional decisions. Logical reasons are things like: “Hey, we couldn’t pass up the low interest rate on this deal” (emotional reason: it’s 200 square feet bigger than my best friend’s home)… “Heck…this thing is built with hardened titanium walls on a post-tension foundation” (emotional reason: My wife will divorce me if I don’t buy her this home!)… “Sure it’s $400,000 more than we wanted to spend, BUT…it’s close to parks and schools for our kids” (emotional reason: I gotta impress my friends at any cost)… You get the picture.

So Here’s a Quick Review of Empathetic Marketing…

First and foremost, your life (and production) will take a hurdling leap forward the minute you CHANGE YOUR FOCUS away from “look at me” marketing to “you” marketing…and learn how to see the world the way your prospects and clients see it…and recognize that your job is to solve problems and deliver benefits. Second, realize that everyone is SELF-INTERESTED. They don’t give a hoot about your multi-million dollar production, your fancy Lexus, your big Balloon in the sky. They only care about themselves. They become interested in you to the extent you prove that you understand their situation, and are the very best, most competent choice to solve their problems and deliver benefits they’re longing to obtain. Third, every purchase? even NASA buying rocket fuel? is an emotional decision. In order to make a purchase commitment, there must first be an emotional agreement inside the head of the purchaser. Finally, every decision to buy is rationalized with logical reason(s). Focus on these four items, and your business life (and personal life) will be forever changed for the better.

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Craig Forte
Craig Forte has helped more than 32,000 real estate professionals over the last 22 years, helping them generate more clients, more referrals and repeats, and grow their production with less stress, time and effort – all by using innovative marketing training, systems and tools.
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