Whether you’re B2B, B2C, or employee-focused, your communications play a major role in making meaningful connections with your target audiences.
Speaking your audience’s language is an important step that makes a lasting impression and keeps people engaged. So how do you understand what will resonate best and turn it into effective and inspiring messaging?
In this edition of our “Getting It Done Right” series, we share insights and inspiration from a visionary real estate industry leader.
An interview with Bill Scavone, President of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates.
Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. is a top real estate franchisor that provides a clearly defined business model for operating, managing, and marketing a real estate brokerage, along with industry-leading technology, marketing tools, and coaching.
As President, Bill Scavone is responsible for developing and implementing business strategies to grow the Weichert® franchise presence nationally.
What are some strategies you use to gain insight into your audience’s wants, needs, goals, and behaviors?
My audience is really franchise owners and associates. So I read up on a lot of what’s happening in the industry. I consume a lot of information through podcasts, news outlets, and the social channels of our colleagues and constituents. I look across the industry, not just within my own company.
I also talk to and engage with people in informal settings. You can learn a lot from a casual conversation.
I listen to what they have to say and then I can fine-tune my communications to my direct audiences.
As a franchisor, we create an extensive survey for our owners. It covers every aspect of our offering, their business, the industry. It gives us a lot of great insights and we’re really transparent about the results, even if they’re negative.
We also have different advisory boards and councils in about 26 different broker-owner regions that meet throughout the year for training and conversations about what they want and need.
How do you use those insights to shape your communications?
I take everything I hear and put it in my own words. I use their language and emotional sentiment to form my own perspective and shape the message I want to get across.
How do you know if your messaging is hitting its mark?
The main benchmark is the scores we get back from the survey. For example, people will make a comment that they wish we would provide them with a certain tool. Many times we actually have that tool but they don’t know it, so we know they’re not hearing us.
Our team on the ground also provides feedback. If they’re not seeing our messaging being used by broker-owners and agents, then we know it’s not resonating.
And of course, results—the reports we get back from our tools, the growth we see in the business.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when communicating with outside audiences?
People being present. I find that a lot of people are not present. They’re on their phones, they’re checked out, not listening, multitasking. The challenge is really getting their attention and making sure they’re listening.
For prospects, you have the added challenge of an audience that might not even be open to hearing what you have to say. There are misconceptions and often an unwillingness to listen. It can be doubly hard to get through to someone with that mindset, but we still try because we believe what we have to offer could make a difference in their business.
But for both, the question is the same: How do you capture their attention? The expectation for everything now is that it has to be quick.
How have you addressed that challenge?
We ask, “What is the message and how do we refine it to get to the point?”
You can’t take your time telling your story. You have to go in with something that’s honest, open, quick, and clear.
And we make an effort to be really visual. When something looks nice, people will pay attention. We aim for strong visuals plus messaging that grabs their attention and is short, sweet, and to the point.
Can you share your top three tips for creating effective, inspiring communications that resonate with your audiences?
- Start with something inspirational. Think about what will make your audience smile, what will make them think.
- Keep it authentic. People tell me they like communicating with me because I seem real, relatable, not corporate. Be vulnerable. Let people connect with your experiences.
- Pull in real-world stories. Relate your comms back to what you know and what your audience might know so they can clearly see the value of what you’re saying.
And a bonus tip for when you’re in person: Use your body language and your tone of voice. Listen to what people have to say so you know what will resonate with them.
How do you make sure your internal resources are leveraging the comms you create to tell a consistent and meaningful story, regardless of who’s telling it?
Get those resources involved in formulating the message in the first place. When they’re included, they understand it and they’re ready to use it.
When you connect with them early on, you can make sure they get it and are bought into it so they become champions of that message and take it out into the field.
Because if they believe in it, they’ll use it.