Ask!—It's a Verb, not a Mystery
Part II

By Debra K. Traverso

Copyright 2007 by Debra Traverso, OneCall
All rights reserved in all media.

The content of this article may be forwarded in full without special permission provided it is used for nonprofit purposes and full attribution and copyright notice are given. For all other purposes, contact Debra Traverso at

You didn’t get into real estate so you could work like a dog. In fact, you probably made the decision because you wanted to build a profitable and predictable business that enables you to enjoy a life of your own. Mobile Manager helps you on both counts, making your work and your life a lot more like the one in your dreams.

In the previous article, I identified five situations when you should ask for what you want. In short, if you wanna' get, you gotta' ask.

In that article, asking involved two key factors: (1) using in-person verbal messages, and (2) asking for concrete results—for the job, referrals, testimonials, feedback, etc. However, there are times when you must deal with questions without employing either of these tactics.

When You Can't Be There In Person
First, let me address in-person, verbal messages. One-on-one communication is always ideal, but you can't be everywhere, all the time. That's why you use marketing materials, business cards, ads, etc. These carefully designed pieces market for you in your absence, making prospects aware of what you do and how you do it. Unfortunately, you can't have a verbal exchange in an ad or on a business card which means you can't ask questions or receive valuable answers either. As a result, marketing pieces—although necessary and worthwhile—tend to be one-dimensional and self-serving.

So, does this mean that with marketing materials you lose the opportunity to ascertain what prospects' needs are? Well, not necessarily. Whether you realize it or not, each time you distribute information, make a presentation, and place an ad, you have the opportunity to answer one universal question that every prospect harbors in their minds, whether or not they verbalize it. And that question is, "Why should I do business with you as opposed to your competition?"

As such, your marketing material should give prospects the answer to that question. Further, the key to answering effectively is to make sure your message is different from every other REALTORS®?' messages. A generalist message implies just another service, meaning you'll just blend into a vast sea of REALTORS®?. A distinctive message, on the other hand, implies a distinctive service—just the impression a service should make. After hearing a distinctive message, prospects will understand why they should do business with you.

From Abstract Thought to Concrete Results (Or, Oodles of Options)
The other key component of last month's article involved pointed, concrete requests. There are times, however, when it's smart to ask for abstract results too, such as asking your customers to merely think about their situations or about what you have to offer.

However, it probably wouldn't work to say, "Would you just think about giving me your business?" OR, "Would you spend tonight thinking about what a terrific REALTOR I could be for you, then call me in the morning?"

Yeah, right—Rather than think about working with you, they'll think about how they can avoid running into you again.

Asking questions that prompt prospects to think involves asking rhetorical questions—you know, those comments you pose as a question but which actually require no response. These types of questions have question marks at the end for grammatical purposes, but the need to respond is ignored for practical purposes.

What you do is ask well-honed questions that require no answer, that are designed purely to make prospects think, and which make prospects feel smart because the manner in which you ask makes them feel as though they know what you're talking about. (Remember, prospects always want to feel smart in dealing with you.) For example, you could ask your listeners if they are familiar with the key annoyances or problems addressed by your business, then explain that your business eliminates or solves them:

"You know how some homes just sit on the market because they never get the advertising they should? Well I give all my clients an 8-step marketing package that gives their house maximum exposure. As a result, the houses that I list sell, on the average, within 15 days."


"Ever notice that entrepreneurs have a harder time buying a home? Well, I help small business owners such as yourself find the perfect home. I know that it's hard to get credit when you can't show a long-established income. So what I've done is build my service with the assistance of a multitude of finance specialists who work with me on creative financing."

Finally, my favorite:

"Don't you hate business cards with a lot of numbers? You never know which number to dial because you don't know where the person will be. Well, I have a Mobile Manager number where you can phone and fax me anytime, anywhere without having to guess my whereabouts. What I do is simply forward that one number to wherever I am. If I can't answer live, the service will still tell me immediately that you've called. This way, I can be available for you."

Bottom line: Questions such as these tend to make listeners think, "Yes, I know what she's talking about. That is a problem. I've experienced it. But she's solved it. She must do her work well/know her industry. She can help me avoid this problem in the future."

Imagine that—You get the answers you want to a question you never really asked. Everybody wins.

Copyright 2007 by Debra Traverso, OneCall
All rights reserved in all media.

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