Mastering Phone Interviews

So, you’ve scored your first interview with a reporter. Woohoo! I know that feeling. It’s exhilarating the first minute; the next is filled with panic. Don’t worry. It’s time to get serious and start preparing.

  • Do your homework. Check out the reporter. What beat do they cover? What’s their style? What companies have they covered in your industry?
  • Nail down the key messages you want to get across. Put together your talking points. What are your three main points and supporting facts?
  • Consider all questions you may be asked. What’s the worst-case scenario question? Make sure to do a mock interview with a teammate to help you get comfortable.
  • Stand up during the interview. It sounds odd, and people walking by might chuckle, but it helps you get focused. You’re less likely to go off on a tangent in this power stance.
  • Nix distractions. Shut down your computer and turn off your phone. The less distractions, the easier it is to deliver a clear, concise message. Speaking of phones, use a landline instead of your cell phone if possible.
  • Don’t market yourself through the interview. Journalists despise this, and being overly promotional may ruin your chances of getting interview No. 2.
  • If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Be frank and tell the reporter you’ll get back to them with the information.
  • Remember, there is no such thing as “off the record.” End of story.
  • Post-interview, feel free to thank the journalist via email. But don’t send them gifts. They’re not allowed to accept them, and they’ll just wind up in a closet somewhere.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be prepared for a knock-out interview. Go get ‘em!

Incorporating Your Vision into Your Marketing

When creating your company’s brand, you’ll need a vision statement. Some people get this confused with a marketing position statement. To explain, your marketing is external; your vision is an internal message.

Your vision statement works as your game plan. It lets your employees know where you are headed. In the vision statement, highlight what direction you plan take the company in—its future. When everybody is on the same page, it’s much easier to move the company forward.

For instance, at Real Living we started with what I call essence words. We chose three, and I recommend you do the same. We’re all about family, innovation and results. So, we incorporated those three words into our vision statement: To become the nation’s leading entrepreneurial, agent-centric, consumer-focused network of real estate professionals built on family, innovation and results.

From our initial planning meetings to today, our vision statement allows us to share our vision with everyone, and sharing our vision with consumers was done through our marketing plan.

Creating a vision statement takes time. Don’t get frustrated. Just take the time to sit down and really think about what you want your company to be in the future. Focus your thoughts. Try creating a brand board and filling out at Real You chart to help find the heart of your company.

Share your brand boards with us!

Benefit from Networking Events

With limitless networking opportunities, it is important to understand how to benefit from them. Whether it’s online, at a volunteer meeting or at a formal networking event, here are a few important tips to remember.

  • It is critical to network with different people— people who you don’t work with, who are at different experience levels and have different backgrounds. This will help give you diverse perspectives.
  • You have to approach them; don’t expect anyone to come to you. If approaching someone you don’t know is difficult, try practicing. Write it out, talk to a mirror, video tape yourself—whatever works for you. Remember, people respond best to authentic conversation. Have your elevator pitch ready, but genuinely mention your business in conversation.
  • Follow the basic rule of conversation: Give and take. Ask open-ended questions and truly listen. People will remember those who take the time to care. You should be focused on building relationships, not the number of hands you shake.

A simple, genuine conversation between you and a stranger could open many opportunities. Just look at it as building a relationship, not building your business.

For more tips, check out this article on ways to maximize networking opportunities.

When the brand gets in the way of the message

I want to say this upfront: I LOVE the YWCA and everything it stands for. The mission statement, emblazoned proudly in persimmon, is empowering women, eliminating racism. I’m honored to serve on the board of my city’s YWCA, and champion the organization’s causes whenever I can. So, in the story I will tell you today, don’t think I’m disparaging the Y in any way, I am simply relating a cautionary branding tale.

To read more about this branding dilemma, check out my eBrandMarketing post.

A Lesson from

I’ll admit it. I’m a big fan of and I’m married and the mom of four. The reason I’m a fan is the marketing genius and lessons we all can learn from the site and its approach. Launched in 2000, the site is the #1 trusted relationship destination on the website, and has kept that position even in the face of a lot of competition. Why? Check out my eBrandMarketing post.

The Power of the Purse in Real Estate

Real Living has been marketing to women for 7 years now! In fact, Real Living was the first women-focused brand in real estate. Why market to women?

• Women make or influence 91% of all home buying decisions.
• Women guide 94% of all home-furnishing purchases.
• Two-thirds of real estate agents are women.
• 78% of engaged women say that while they already have furniture, they’ll replace most or all of it when they marry.

This being said, I presented at the national Marketing to Women (M2W) conference in May about the tremendous purchasing power women hold in this country, but more specifically in real estate. It was a great learning experience! The M2W conference attracts brands from across the country that understand the influence women have as consumers.

M2W asked Real Living to put together a video highlighting more great statistics on the purchasing power of women. It’s now featured on the M2W site. Click here to view the video!

Have you seen one of the best blogs for marketing to women?

I’m excited to share with you that I have recently become a contributing columnist to eBrandMarketing—the No. 1 blog on marketing to women—published by Glam Media, which reaches 77 million unique visitors. You’ll hear from the foremost authorities on women, like Fara Warner, author of Power of the Purse.

My column, called (you guessed it!) Real You, spotlights what women are looking for in a brand experience. I share my thoughts about how companies can do a better job connecting with us through emotional branding, authenticity and understanding women’s purchasing power.

Check out one of the most read blogs on eBrandMarketing: Real You: “Ladies” you can ride, look pretty, but you cannot drive, and come back every Friday for a new Real You column!

In today’s 24/7 world, women make over 80% of all consumer purchases across every product category

In fact, there’s a whole conference designed to inform marketers on various topics concerning the female consumer. The fourth annual The Marketing to Women Conference will be held May 8-9 at the Chicago Cultural Center, and I’m so excited to be attending this year. I’ll be speaking along with some of the most well-known experts in women’s marketing, like author Marti Barletta and the founding publisher of PINK magazine, Genevieve Bos.

In my presentation, Home is Where the Purse is, I’ll be explaining the immense buying power women have around the real estate transaction. Women are buying during life stages, so there's a huge opportunity to reach them during these moments. Marriage, the birth of a child, a growing family--these are opportune times to market to women. Since women also increase spending by 200 percent in the first year of home ownership, savvy marketers can capitalize on these life transitions. Today's woman is buying more than just a home; she's buying a lifestyle.

Savvy Marketers Share Their Secrets

I just joined a great group of columnists-turned-bloggers that discuss strategies for reaching your target market. The blog-pub, published by Glam Media, is called eBrandMarketing, and it launched late last year. The articles focus on a variety of marketing topics, and I will be adding to the marketing-to-women voice.

Check out my first post: You gotta love eHarmony – even if you’re not in the market for love.

Speaking of the facts

I spoke tonight at the National Association of Realtors Mid-Year conference in Washington, DC. The panel's topic was: Creating a consumer facing business. Other panelists included Allan Dalton of, Marty Frame of Fidelity, Justin McCarthy of Google, and other really important folks, well, important to the real estate industry.

My particular question was: tell us about women as consumers. Talk about that niche.

Now, of course, that was a softball question from my friend, Ed Krafchow, president of a big real estate company in California. He knows I've been building a consumer-centric brand with women as the primary target audience for 6 years.

So I said: Ed, women comprise more than 1/2 the population of the U.S, control 79 percent of all consumer purchases, and make or direct 91 percent of all home buying decisions. Seems to me, female consumers aren't a "niche" or minority group that needs to be dealt with.

Ed agreed!