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Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for "a place for their life to happen."

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.”

To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms.

That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month.

“A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.”

As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said.

One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said.

The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said.

Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”

‘This is Our Moment. Own it.’

“Are you ready to own it with me?”  asked Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® and the sixth woman to become president of the National Association of REALTORS® in the past 110 years. “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.”

Mendenhall was sworn into office by her father Richard Mendenhall, who was 2001 NAR president. “There is nothing more powerful in this journey than sharing it with others,” she said addressing thousands of REALTORS® at the Inaugural gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

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Mendenhall ended her inaugural festivities with a group rendition of “REALTORS® Own It”—the vibrant tune that she co-wrote for her presidency. The song evokes the pride and power embodied in dedicated real estate pros who strive each day to meet the complex needs of their clients and keep the industry strong.

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Your New Real Estate Motto: ‘Helping Beats Selling’

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Marketing Expert Kelly McDonald offers indispensable advice for connecting with prospects and clients.

Think of the U.S. as a “salad bowl”—rather than a “melting pot”—that integrates many different cultures as you develop marketing strategies to reach a diverse set of prospects and clients. Marketing expert and author Kelly McDonald offered attendees a range of tips to foster strong and meaningful connections in her Monday session, “How to Market and Sell to People Not Like You,” at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

  • Be relevant in your marketing. “Identify what people want, and give it to them,” McDonald said. You may have lots of information about the features and attributes of a property to share with buyers, but that matters much less than keying in on “why it benefits them. You have to be able to make sure people understand ‘why I should care’ about what you’re telling them.”
  • Adapt to the needs of your clients and prospects. People need you to understand and relieve their pain, but you need to know what the pain points are,” McDonald said. She cited an example of an auto glass repair company that set up an introduction system so that customers knew which technician would be coming to their home. They sent along a photo in advance, so clients knew who to look out for. “This addressed the strong need women have for a sense of security and great personal service, she said.
  • Keep your communications short. Your clients and customers don’t have enough time in their lives as it is, so present information “in bite-sized portions,” she said. Use white space between paragraphs and bullet points to increase the chance people will read what you send them. “Whenever possible, shorten your voicemail and emails, and use pictures and graphics to make your points.”
  • Cultivate your ‘pilot fish.’ It’s important to know what you’re doing wrong, but you may not learn what that is until you ask someone with whom you’ve done business. “People won’t tell you if you don’t ask them,” she said. “And don’t be afraid of acknowledging the problems. You can’t fix them if you don’t know about them.”
  • Foster a culture of empathy when hiring. “It’s more important to hire the right person than the right resume,” McDonald said. “Don’t be afraid to recruit from new ponds” because you can always get them up to speed on the tasks and skills needed for the job. “Awesome people are awesome no matter where they are working.”
  • Don’t be defensive when you’re wrong. If something is going haywire with a transaction, people only want to hear five words from you: “We’ll take care of it.” The blame game is never productive, so “stop offering excuses when things go wrong. People want to know how you’re going to take care of problems, so unless they ask for a lot of details about how something went amiss, don’t go there,” she said.

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