It’s the circle of life—or the circle of your life so to speak—that influences how successful you are in real estate. Your life touches others and in return you have the opportunity to influence others in their decision-making process You might not know it but what you say and do in all parts of your community have a great impact on consumer opinion and values when it comes to purchasing real estate and using the services of a REALTOR® in their next transaction.

To showcase this, the National Association of REALTORS® brought its Surround Sound training program to Illinois in two workshops held in Springfield and Downers Grove last week to educate local REALTOR® association elected leaders and executives about incorporating powerful community messaging. The training was led by Liz Giovaniello, director of the NAR Surround Sound program; Judith Ostronic, vice president of Direct Impact, a national public affairs firm; and Bill Zucker, managing director and Midwest market leader for Burson-Marsteller.

The Surround Sound concept is based on an approach called “community marketing.” It’s based on a political model that says the best way to reach local audiences is through trusted sources in the community. That means local REALTORS® driving home key messages through every community channel.

Surround Sound uses role-playing exercises to demonstrate how to hit home with potent messages to counter any false reports about the real estate market. With the tax credit gone, consumers are looking for that optimistic go-ahead signal telling them now is still a good time to buy and sell.

The program’s two-punch effect couples with the NAR Public Awareness Campaign advertising campaign that is currently running nationwide. Once you paint the picture, you prove your message.

Here are a few basic rules to build Surround Sound messaging in your community.

  1. Become a trusted source in “community marketing.” Never rely on one source to get your message out. Engage in multiple methods. A well-organized Surround Sound campaign reaches a variety of local audiences such as news media outlets (including talk radio and print media), local business and professional organizations, community and faith-based organizations, promotional events, digital media including social media tools such as blogging.
  2. Get out there and tell the real estate story. Add urgency to your message. Support your story with key messages and real life examples. Do it not only with numbers and stats but instances that add human element to your story. The story you tell and the messages used must be meaningful, credible and persuasive to the main audience. How did you help someone buy or sell a home recently?
  3. Know your audience well—what they believe, what they know and what will influence their thinking—to hone in on messages that will work.
  4. Anticipate the kinds of questions you are going to be asked and prepare some factual, informative answers ahead of time. This goes not only with news media interviews but also with community marketing opportunities.
  5. Get engaged in social media. Not only is it a tool for you to hear what other people are saying, but a way to get engaged through your comments. Sign up for alerts to follow. If you are going to comment on a post make sure to identify yourself. Don’t take on a different persona online than you are in real life. Create your own tweets and blog posts to become an influential news source in your area.
  6. Wear your REALTOR® pin when out in your community. Always be a trusted source with credible information to deliver to a broad audience.

Learn more about using Surround Sound materials and download messaging and talking points to use in your community at