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Are you Talking AT Your Prospects or WITH Them?

Talking At vs Talking With

In my recent post about reaching out to your circle of influence, someone left a great comment about the importance of talking with people instead of at them. That got my juices flowing because I think far too much marketing in every industry is aimed at people.

When you talk at people, they feel overwhelmed and defensive. The message is entirely about you and how you know exactly what they should do next. Talking with people is more about discovery – what does someone need that you can help with?

Here’s how to make sure you spend more time talking with people than at them.

Put Others’ Needs at the Front

I cringe every time I see marketing that talks all about the business. “I’m great, I’ve done this, I’ve won awards. Work with me!”

Spoiler alert: This doesn’t work. (But I still see it ALL THE TIME!)

To create really great marketing materials, or to have a really great conversation, you need to answer these questions:

  • Who am I talking to?
  • What worries keep them up at night?
  • What can I do to solve the problems that keep them awake all night?
  • How can I convey to them that the problem is solvable and that I can help?

Then, when you create your marketing, start by acknowledging the problem and suggesting that there is a solution. Explain all the benefits your prospect will get by solving the problem. Finally – LAST – offer yourself as someone who can address the problem.

Ask Questions

If you talk for 15 minutes straight and your prospect hasn’t said more than three words, something is wrong. This is true in person, but it’s also true in your marketing materials, such as postcards and flyers.

If there are no questions, the whole thing is an information blast about you, your needs, your talents, etc., etc., etc.

And I’m sorry to tell you, no one is interested!

People are generally interested in one thing – themselves. They have needs, concerns, and problems that they are constantly seeking to solve. It’s likely that you can help them with some of those needs, but they’ll never listen until you show them you really understand and care about them.

In person, ask questions. Let the other person answer. Really listen. Then, with the information you learn, you can suggest how you might be able to help.

In your marketing, ask questions that the prospect can answer in their heads. Then move forward with what you have to say. It helps the reader stay engaged and really get your message.

Learn to Listen Well

Excellent listening can help you be very persuasive. In the book Just Listen, author Mark Goulston points out that listening can help you get through to absolutely anyone.

He talks about the emotional barriers that keep people from hearing our message, and how listening can help. When you listen well, the other person doesn’t just feel heard; they feel “felt.” They feel you truly understand them and their situation. Then, and only then, will they be willing to truly hear you.

In addition, when you listen well, you’ll learn things you didn’t know before. I’m talking about the year the French Revolution started, I’m talking about the assumptions we all make about people. We assume that because someone is a certain age or looks a certain way, they have specific feelings, needs, and personality.

But we’re wrong.

We’ll never know it if we don’t listen. Instead, we’ll go charging in loudly offering a solution to a problem they don’t even have, and then wonder why we can’t get business.

The bottom line is simple. If you want to have a positive impact on anyone, from your circle of influence to complete strangers, you must talk with them, not at them. 

Does your marketing ask questions or just make assumptions? If it’s time for an update, we’re here to help. Check out our extensive selection of real estate marketing materials today!

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