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Business Marketing

The Hidden Meaning Behind “Add Value”


You’ll hear it across all the marketing blogs and in the social media buzz but how often do you really pay attention to it? You’ve probably read about “giving value” to your market about umpteen times. And when it comes to “building trust” with your readers and prospects… well, it’s a constant topic out there.

But, what does it really mean?

Are you getting tired of hearing about it? I am too. However, it still bears repeating for one simple reason…

The underlying principle is quite simple

Some people just don’t get that the underlying principle in building any relationship – business or personal – is to give before you get. Before you ask for something in return, folks need a reason why they should go ahead and do it.

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You already know that average folks are bombarded with about 5,000 marketing messages a day. There’s no way we can cope with that kind of barrage so we put up filters and naturally approach any message that gets through with a degree of skepticism.

Let’s face it, no one wants to be scammed out of their dollars, their privacy, or their time. That’s why they’re cautious about parting with an email address or picking up the phone. It’s also exactly why 80% of real estate research starts online.

Self-defense for real estate

It’s only natural that folks are skeptical. It’s a defense mechanism we’ve developed for self-preservation in a life that, like pimpin’, ain’t easy. No one wants to be taken advantage of.

So, how do you get past their defenses and get them to take action?

It starts with managing their beliefs about you. It’s about changing the way the perceive what you’re doing…

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You’re not going to sell them, you’re going to provide a consult. You’re not going to spam, you’re going to help meet their needs. You’re not a salesperson, you’re a passionate person interested in their goals.

You must position and re-frame their perceptions of you.

What does “add value” really mean?

Okay, so let’s get back to the “add value” and “build trust” parts. In fact, let’s re-frame that while conversation into one that’s more tangible: always seek to give before trying to get.

Much clearer picture, isn’t it? More actionable, too, I think.

Start with giving away helpful free content. Answer their questions before they ask them. Even the ones they didn’t know they had. Show them tools they can use and how to use them. Give tips to make things easier. Thought-points to gain clarity. Surprise them with something they’d value. Develop a history of giving. Be recognized as a giver.

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This is exactly how you get folks to sign-up, subscribe, call, buy and take action on your suggestions.

People become clients

Look, you’re selling to people. People who, when you go about it right, care about you. This is how you reach your goals… by helping them reach theirs.

So, take a look at how you’re marketing… what are you giving away? Then challenge yourself to give away more.

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Written By

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.



  1. Lani Rosales

    June 8, 2009 at 10:28 am

    @markeckenrode I *love* this reminder and reframing of an agent’s value proposition. An example of how reframing was used: sending out a simple post card.

    The typical return on a direct mail campaign is 1%. A single subdivision was mailed a modern blue post card with Austin RE stats in b&w and in big letters said “blanket stats are stupid, real estate is local” and showed the last three homes that sold in the neighborhood and how far off the mark of the Austin stats they were (this particular neighborhood was doing *really* well and was underselling itself).

    The return on that campaign was 24% which is astronomical for a direct mail campaign. By framing the value proposition of expertise and debunking something held so precious here (ABoR stats), the trust factor was introduced immediately.

  2. Joe Loomer

    June 8, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Lani – I switched from personal promotion garbage some time ago, to sending market updates. Similar return rate. Also stops you from taking the blame for the market when they’re well armed with data. I found my Sphere was very hungry for something that told them exactly what the fuss is all about. Making it about them and their situation – down to the macro level – is far more valuable than blah blah blah about how great you are.

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