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Are You Still Talking At Your Clients?

The Agenda

I was reading a Seth Godin blog post this week, and one line jumped out at me. “The key in understanding someone’s actions is understanding their agenda.” While the context of the post wasn’t referring to homebuyers or sellers, it is completely appropriate. This is true from the first meeting with them, when you are figuring out if the client relationship is going to bloom, to the negotiation process, when you are working to get them everything they want in a purchase/sale contract.

Since I’ve been focusing so much on public relations, and prospecting for new business, this was definite food for thought. Then, I read a blog post by David Meerman Scott on implementing the new rules of marketing and public relations. He advises to cut back on “product-centric advertising and communications,” and get out to talk to potential clients (he calls them ‘buyer personas’) to understand how they make decisions and what is most important to them. Across the board, every marketing/advertising/public relations source I’m reading is now advising that relationship marketing is how to reach consumers.

People are Bombarded

Interruption marketing (television ads, print media) is now passe. People are bombarded with so many messages that they now tune them out. Tivo = no commercials! Think about it from a real estate standpoint: are they actually looking at your just listed or just sold postcards? You can’t build a client base with “look at me” messages, when the consumer wants to know “how does this benefit me?”

Using social media as a way of communicating with your clients is a logical progression: interupption marketing has given way to permission marketing, as the consumer allows you to engage them in genuine conversation, and you allow them to know you as both a professional and a source of information. Keep in mind that the goal is to converse with your clients, not talk at them.

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Written By

Heather is a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. She's also the 2008 VARBuzz Blog Brawl Champion, mom to four fantastic kids, and the wife of a golf professional. If she had free time, she'd probably read a good book or play golf. You can find her on twitter, @hthrflynn, or writing on her blog,



  1. Derek Overbey

    October 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    This is a great post. You and I have similar PR backgrounds so we have seen how the “pitch” has changed over the last several years. This “pitch” is no different in real estate. You are looking to source business and engage with clients. The twist is how you go about sourcing that business. We are seeing a whole new wave of agents that understand how the consumers want to be touched and communicated with, not at. Unfortunately, there are still many out there that are trying to use the old tried and true methods and can’t understand why their business is shrinking. Hopefully they will get it before it’s too late.

  2. Ken Brand

    October 23, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Damn skippy Heather. Your post reminded of a comment/share I heard at the Houston REBarCamp yesterday (it was great!). I wish I remember who said it, I wrote it down, but don’t remember who said it, dang.

    Here’s what was said, I’m paraphrasing, “We’re all bombarded with hundreds of advertising message every day, you know you’re on track and cutting through the clutter when your advertising turns to information. People desire “information” not advertising talk”.

    Amen right? Don’ capture and cuff – attract, magnetize and delight. Don’t tell – show. Don’t slug it out – hug it out. Conversations not confrontations. Etc.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Paula Henry

    October 23, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Heather – So right on – people are tired of being talked at! We need to let them know we care, we are listening and not selling them! I love what Ken paraphrased:)

  4. Todd Carpenter

    October 23, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “The key in understanding someone’s actions is understanding their agenda.”

    Seth Godin might be a Henry Ford Fan.

    “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

    Made sense a hundred years ago. Still works today.

  5. Katie Minkus, R(B)

    March 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Great post, Heather. Reminds me of an old saying, “We have one mouth and two ears for a reason…” Happy Monday! Warm aloha, Katie Minkus, R(B).

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