By Gee Dunsten
As we discussed in last month’s column, word-of-mouth marketing is perhaps the most valuable way to get your message across and build business. Why? Because it happens naturally and, therefore, creates unquestionable credibility for you, your firm and the services you offer.
While we provided some creative ways to generate positive word-of-mouth marketing in Part 1, this month, I’d like to focus on the people who are out there talking about you: the messengers.
One very important thing to remember about your word-of-mouth marketers is that they—the consumers—are in control. Their voice—whether it be spoken across the table over a cup of coffee or written on a blog or social media site—is extremely powerful and will grow legs, for better or worse. In the eyes of the consumer, we are the experience—in other words, it’s what we do, not what we say. Remember, Uncle Google has created a permanent record of everything and everyone. Thanks to the Web, we now live in a transparent world, so be careful what you do and say.
Talkers are our best “apostles,” so we must focus on finding and recruiting the best, real people we can to spread our message. If you stop and think about it for just a minute, you’ll quickly realize that there is an abundance of potential messengers for your word-of-mouth marketing:
• Community connections, such as your kids’ coaches and teachers, gym mates, local business operators, hair dressers, restaurateurs, etc.
• Family members
• Online aficionados, such as bloggers, reviewers and social media buffs
• Happy customers and raving fans
Learn to identify the character traits of potential word-of-mouth marketers. They’re often those who are enthusiastic, passionate about what they believe, credible, outgoing, popular (off- and online), and love to share. Once you’ve identified your potential advocates, be sure to proactively reach out to them. We must:
• Create reasons for people to talk about us.
• Ask for their help.
• Look for ways to create memorable experiences through simple events for customers, clients, friends and fans.
• Feed them with relevant information about real estate and your community.
• Say thank you, personally and publicly.
• Listen to what they think and have to say and make them feel special.
We all know it: There is no better way to build business in real estate than through a personal referral. So treat word-of-mouth marketing as a strategy, not just a lucky occurrence. The benefits of focusing your attention in this area are unbeatable.
George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years. Dunsten has been a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialists for more than 20 years.
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