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2008-05-13 04:18:48

How Well Do Family and Friends Market for You?

You don’t have to work in real estate very long to realize that it’s not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle too. 

So, you probably long ago indoctrinated family and friends into your new and crazy schedule.

But, how well have you trained them as to what you do and how you do it?

If family and friends can’t articulate clearly to others what it is you do, then you need to sit down with them and make it easier. Everybody in your everyday circle should be able to easily and comfortably explain what it is you do and how you do it differently.

Sometimes an endorsement like that, even if it’s from a family member, can work the same wonder that a third-party endorsement can.

Remember the old saying, “The average American thinks he isn’t.” It’s human nature to think that we are better than we are.  Perhaps we think our messages are better than they are too. Assume your family and friends aren’t doing you justice when they talk about you. It will force you to improve.

Test My Theory

Today, right now, with minimal discussion, ask your loved ones to explain to you what it is THEY think you do. Then, tomorrow ask some friends. Listen closely to what they say, while resisting the urge to coach. The answers may surprise you.

If you’re not happy with what you hear, or if they’ve left out the meatiest information, or if you don’t think they vocalize a good endorsement, then it’s time to start training them in how to talk about you. And remember, you’re not looking for the standard “My mom sells real estate.” What you’re looking for is how you do it differently or uniquely. Does your family deliver any tidbits that demonstrate you are different and unique? If not, it’s time to start training them.

Can an endorsement from family really help? You bet! Let me share my own personal example.

As many of you know, my company sells a unified messaging service. Once, when my son was still in elementary school, he began feeling poorly midway through the day. The task of calling me to pick him up, was relegated to the school secretary. Apparently she harrumphed a loud grunt, and informed my son that it might take a while to reach me because I had listed only one phone number on the emergency contact card.

“Oh no,” my proud son corrected and, in a commercial-like response, he explained, “My mom has a Mobile Manager number so you can reach her anywhere, anytime. She just forwards that number to any phone, wherever she is. She gets faxes on that number too.”

I know this story to be true because, when I arrived to get him, I had more conversation with the school staff about my one magical convenient number than I did about my poor son.  Mostly, the staff wanted to know how they could get every parent to subscribe to such a number. In short, the testimony coming “out of the mouth of babes” was convincing enough that I retrieved both my son and a few new orders that day.

Bottom line: The people in the circle of your everyday can be your best, most cost-effective advertising. Take advantage of it!

(Debra Traverso is the author of hundreds of articles and five books, published in eight languages, a speaker, marketing consultant for Fortune 50 companies, regular lecturer at Harvard University, and vice president of OneCall. She can be reached through

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