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Four Steps To Mastering The Art Of Selfless Self-Promotion

Eugene is the Founder of The Litvak Team @ Compass — one of the top producing and largest teams at Compass.

I’ve had the privilege of working with one of the best marketers in the country for several years now. What I’ve learned in that time from them has been invaluable in reprioritizing and optimizing my marketing efforts. I think the mistake that many entrepreneurs make when it comes to marketing is thinking they have to constantly tell the world how great they are — loudly — with the perfect logo and most amazing design scheme.

The reality is, the more you take the emphasis off yourself and put it on your customer, the more you build connections and reap long-term benefits. Think about your target audience. Get to know who they are, what matters to them and how you can help improve their lives. That information serves not only as the very foundation of your marketing but also as the core of your entire business philosophy. Of course, your unique strengths and passions differentiate you in the marketplace, and great design gets you noticed. But knowing your clients and adding value must always be the central messaging.

Here’s what I’ve learned about effective, client-centered marketing through the years.

Know your customer and practice radical connection.

Really understanding your customers is critical, whether you’re selling houses or building an app. To add value, you must first know your clients’ needs, aspirations and struggles. I recommend that new real estate professionals relentlessly prioritize the creation of their customer list. In that process, you should strive to learn three things that each prospect cares about. This isn’t meaningless data mining and checking a box in your CRM. Understanding what makes people tick is how you build genuine relationships in any context, not just business.

When I say practice radical connection, I mean to tap into your customer knowledge and reach out to clients. These actions are not just for a specific sale outcome but should contain a sincere interest in their lives and how you can add value. For example, I recently heard of an agent who sent a short message about NYC gyms reopening to the clients he knows to be fitness-oriented. He garnered some of the best response rates — and appointment requests — of any campaign he’d done. Why? Because he knew his clients, understood their pain points and provided value.

Know your desired outcome and reverse-engineer the rest.

A common mistake newer entrepreneurs make in marketing is conceptualizing a campaign first, instead of working from the outcome backward. Say, for example, you want to send out an introduction postcard to a new service area. Great, but what are the results you’re seeking? If your objective is to brand yourself as a neighborhood expert, a postcard could be an excellent first step. However, if your goal is lead generation — adding new prospects to your overall sales pipeline — a postcard without a specific call to action isn’t going to be successful, no matter how beautifully designed. Instead, begin every marketing concept with your ideal result, and make sure the entire campaign — design, medium, message and timing — is geared toward delivering on that result.

In the same vein, resist the urge to become obsessed with the minutiae of your branding. Of course, great aesthetics create consistency and allow your brand to be recognized in the field, but they only work in service of the value you provide. People don’t do business with you because of your fantastic logo or color scheme. They do business with you because you care about their needs.

Know the data and be willing to pivot.

Speaking of results, it may seem obvious, but be careful of spending time, money and effort on something that isn’t working. It’s tempting to fall in love with a campaign or concept, but hard to fall out of love when it isn’t bearing fruit. If your plan to become the most famous realtor on Facebook isn’t resulting in leads and contacts, what’s the point? The key to keeping your overall marketing efforts effective and optimized is to know the data — impressions, click-throughs, downloads, calls received, appointments scheduled, products sold, etc. You must also be ruthless in pivoting and recalibrating when something isn’t working.

Know your strengths and hire experts for everything else.

This is a big one for me. I believe that knowing your skills as well as your weakness is the key to greatness. Earlier in my career, I admit it was challenging to relinquish control. But what I’ve repeatedly learned is that using experts — photographers, designers, stagers and so on — is integral to leveraging your talents and growing your business. To find trusted experts, tap into your network or reach out to those whose materials you admire.

Know the value of consistency and hit a lot of singles.

When it comes to marketing, people often get fixated on hitting it out of the park with the biggest, splashiest campaign of all time. But remember the lesson we all learned from Moneyball — it’s about hitting a lot of singles and doubles, over and over again. Get on base. Get in the game. You don’t need to become the Instagram king of New York realtors or the most well-known baker in all of San Francisco. You need to build a loyal client base who recognizes your ability to connect and deliver value.

Above all, look for the joy and fun in the creative process of building and marketing your brand. Talk to people. Build relationships. Focus on them. Everything else will follow.


Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?


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