One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my 35 years as an agent and broker — one I wish I’d have learned much sooner in my career — is that to be a successful agent, especially now in the age of the internet, you must focus on client-centric marketing. Putting the client’s goals and needs above all else will serve you better than worrying about your (or your broker’s) personal track record.

The hard truth is, potential clients couldn’t care less about you or your broker. Instead, they care greatly about one thing and one thing only: themselves.

Your potential clients are all bombarded with hundreds if not thousands of advertising messages every day. Breaking through all that noise to be noticed is incredibly challenging. However, it’s not impossible.

The most effective marketing strategies agents can employ are all based on addressing your target audience’s biggest challenge, fear or desire, and offering a compelling, clearly-stated solution that can be executed if you’re hired as their agent. In other words, you must focus all of your marketing and advertising messaging on them. Not you.

Here are three examples of what to do and what to avoid in your marketing and advertising messaging:

The dos

1. Understand your target market. What is most important to your ideal prospects? Once you understand their desires and pain points, you can begin to craft the ideal message.

2. Compel people to reach out to you. Your messaging should be designed to compel your audience to contact you for more information. This is the first step to building rapport and taking them on the client journey.

3. Your messaging should always finish with a clear call-to-action (CTA). Don’t ever assume your prospects will automatically think of contacting you. Also, give them at least three options for how they can contact you. The way you prefer to communicate might not be their preference. A few examples might be: your cell phone number, email, Twitter and Facebook Messenger.

The don’ts

1. Don’t try and be all things to all prospects. If you think solely in terms of commissions, then selling a detached starter home, a high-rise condo or a luxury mansion may seem all the same to you. A deal is a deal, right? Wrong! If you try and appeal to all buyers and sellers, you’ll appeal to none of them.

Once again, it is critical you understand your ideal client profile and focus your messaging to appeal to them only.

2. Your marketing should compel, not try to sell. As agents, we are all guilty of focusing the attention on ourselves, of trying to “sell” ourselves. We put out ads that scream, “Hey! Look, it’s all about me!”

Some examples might be: “No. 1 in my market,” “Everything I touch turns to sold,” or “List with me, and start packing.” These old, worn out cliches focus more on the agent than addressing any specific goals or concerns for the potential client.

3. Don’t imitate other agents. Be unique, and be genuine. For example, if you are naturally a funny person, let that shine through in your marketing. Prospects can smell a phony a mile away, so don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Not everyone will appreciate you for who you are, but those who do will become loyal, lifelong clients and a great source of referrals.

The sooner we figure out that people only care about themselvestheir  concerns, their challenges and their desires, the sooner we can start speaking “their language.” And that is what will attract them to us versus our competitors.

So take another look at your marketing messaging and remember: it’s about them, not you.

William (Bill) McIntosh is an author, speaker and coach with The McIntosh Method in Provence, South of France, after working in real estate for 35 years. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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