By Holland Cooke
She was the agent I enjoyed working with most over three decades I was an active real estate investor. We remain good friends, and her technique informs the work I do coaching agents – and attorneys and financial advisors and other professionals – who host ask-the-expert radio shows.
Understand the difference between “advertising” and “marketing”
Achievers like Connie do. Do you? Erroneously, these terms are often used interchangeably.
— Advertising asks shoppers to pick your product off a crowded shelf.
— Marketing makes them want to.
High-volume agents typically allocate 30% of net income to marketing, which produces leads. Lower-volume agents spend as much, or more, on advertising, which produces fewer leads. If you’re handing out mouse pads in the era of iPad, you’re late.
And you’re bucking human nature: Every…single…day, we are bombarded by SO many advertising pitches, that we lean-back-from commercials. But we lean-into storytelling, when the story hits home. One of the few things that can keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories is the on-air attorney untangling the caller’s dilemma when it is REAL relatable.
“Can you recommend a plumber?”
The caller isn’t Connie’s client…yet. The stranger got her name from someone else Connie had helped. Reputation. Word-of-mouth. “Got a pen?” she asks. “I’m going to give you his cell number. And let me know if he can’t help you and I’ll recommend someone else who’s helped me lately.” THAT is marketing GOLD. Instant relationship.
As is the attorney whose weekend call-in show offers that “the lawyer is in, the meter is off.” One that I coached offers words-to-live-by: “If you want someone to think you can help them, help them.”
Expensive syndicated TV spots – or hokey locally produced ads – and look-alike billboards – all blur-together in a wall of noise. As do agents’ radio copy that “If I can’t sell your house, I’LL buy it!” and attorneys hedging that “If we don’t win, you don’t pay.”
Yes, advertise. But rather than squandering that airtime touting yourself, do a commercial disguised as an informative feature, snack-size how-to guidance. And offer more-about-that in a free download checklist or podcast or other asset on your memorable domain name website. Or “Ask me!” by calling your memorable phone number. Tell ‘em, rather than just trying to sell ‘em, and you’ll sell more of ‘em.
Big-spending competitors look alike. You can sound different.
It’s the oldest, most-proven concept in marketing: Free samples, of your expertise and comforting counsel. Your trusted voice can differentiate you. Done right, these shows have callers asking, “May I call you at the office on Monday?” even before the host invites them to. BUT…
In too many cases, that weekend show is a well-kept secret, under-promoted by the station, and only available in real-time…UNLESS…the radio show is just one element of a coordinated interactive multi-platform strategy, which harvests and addresses your prospects’ relatable concerns via podcast, social media, email, those commercials I describe above, and a voicemail tactic SO obvious that few spot the opportunity.
Lots of work? You bet! An organized production routine is key. Find a producer – a Robin to your Batman – who can keep that conveyor belt humming, and he or she is every bit the hero as Connie’s plumber.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke