Standing out when there are so many others in the same profession is not easy. That’s why it’s crucial to find your unique advantage. Guest author John Rasiej outlines 5 steps to defining your unique advantage and making your mark.
With the number of realtors in the U.S. surpassing 1,000,000 (NAR) and further swelled by the number of real estate agents, most people are acquainted with at least one, if not several, real estate professionals. While referrals will always be a good source of prospects, most realtors realize it takes more than waiting for referrals to have a healthy business. They undertake strategies such as networking groups, business card exchanges and trade shows in hopes of standing out in a sea of realtors. But, standing out when there are so many others in the same profession is not easy. That’s why it’s crucial to find your unique advantage. Guest author John Rasiej outlines 5 steps to defining your unique advantage and making your mark.
The challenge for any business in standing out is the perception by consumers that they are all fairly similar. Many professionals fall into a trap of sounding like everyone else. It seems safer to say a lot of the same buzzwords or a cute tag-line, cite a lot of the same advantages and claim we’re better at them. Yet, to many prospects, it all sounds repetitive and unremarkable, and it leaves them wondering why to choose this particular provider over the others.
What this means is that many realtors are lost in a sea of sameness. They are in the same pool looking among many of the same prospects and hoping they will get a lucky break. That leads to more hours spent trying to land prospects, added frustration, lost opportunities and less income.
That’s why it’s crucial for a realtor to demonstrably stand out to achieve greater success. To do so becomes a matter of creating and conveying a clear impression of a unique advantage that would attract people looking for a difference-maker.
When asked what makes them special, many realtors will default to citing “great customer service” as the thing that sets them apart. As logical as that may seem, the words become meaningless when prospects hear them. The phrase ends up being dismissed for a number of reasons:
- If everyone claims to offer it then every realtor is staking the same ground. With this claim bandied about by everyone, it loses any element of standing out from the others.
- People will claim it whether it’s true or not. We are all aware when dealing with some businesses that such claims often turn out to be less than true. So after such a claim, it’s understandable that prospects would be skeptical and wonder, “How can I be sure?” or “Are you really any different?”
- Today’s consumer expects good customer service, at a minimum, from any business, whether a discount store, a high-end merchandiser or a service professional, so citing it is seen as what would be expected anyway.
- The phrase becomes subjective in terms of what each prospect considers great. To some it may be how quickly the phone is answered and promptness at appointments, others might feel it’s in only showing them the type of house in which the buyer has expressed interest, while others might feel it is having coffee and donuts in the car when the realtor picks them up to look at homes.
So if citing great customer service won’t get a realtor more visibility, how does one go about it? The answer lies into creating and conveying a clear, compelling advantage that stands out from others. Prospects will respond when they understand why doing business with a particular realtor is intrinsically better for them.
5 Steps to Defining Your Unique Advantage:
1. Understand the compelling story behind you and your business. What made you interested in homes? What made you interested in helping families? What made you interested in neighborhoods, in community, in financial security? People want someone on their side with whom they feel a connection and like to know that there’s a deeper committed purpose for you.
2. Develop a clear focus on who and what you are and who and what you are not. It’s self-defeating if you try to be all things to all people in hopes of appealing to everyone. If you have an expertise and understanding of the needs of families looking for homes right after the birth of their first child, focus on that and don’t bog down your message by also talking about helping people downsize. Rather than losing potential clients, you will gain more by becoming known and more fluent in the needs of the people you’re most naturally able to help.
3. Use inventiveness to develop some aspect of your business that’s unlike others. At some points in the process, realtors have to do many of the same tasks such as getting contracts signed, arranging inspections and so on. Yet, there can be many opportunities throughout the process that allow for something more personalized or outside the norm.
4. Look at interactions at every customer contact point and develop a buzzworthy customer experience—the kind that your customers would post to Facebook, tell their friends and remember for the next time. Ascertain what it would take to ensure this kind of experience every time.
5. Find ways to communicate that difference in ways that help ideal prospects understand the tangible benefit to them in working with you.
Best Practice: Take a look from an outsider’s perspective at the message when you talk about your business. Is it different than what another realtor could say? Even if you have a tag-line that gets smiles, is it saying anything different than what another realtor could? If your honest look leaves you sensing that other realtors could be saying the same things, make a commitment to develop an inherent difference in some aspects of your customer experience. Gain a better understanding of your ideal clients and what they appreciate, and then take steps to make those results happen for them.