- What motivates the target group of prospects that you're after?
- What factors are most important to them?
Do they want a quick sale or top dollar? Are they after best value or most attentive service or least hassle? How do you find out what prospects want?
Well, it’s simple. You ask them
. Failing to understand and address your customers’ needs is one of the biggest marketing mistakes real estate agents make. Rather than assuming or guessing you know the answers, you should be asking your prospects directly by researching their needs. This doesn’t have to be a complicated or time consuming task, and there are lots of ways to get this information, but make sure you know the answers to these questions. With this knowledge, you can develop unique consumer programs to address these needs and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Set Yourself Apart by Giving Your Prospects What They Want in a Unique and Innovative Way
To truly set yourself apart from your competitors in a meaningful and memorable way, you need to develop a powerful USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Your USP addresses a very important prospect issue - it answers the question: "Why should I do business with you?" You must have a spectacular answer to this question.
If someone asked you what made you different from all the other real estate agents in your marketplace - in other words, why they should choose you
to buy or sell a home versus all other options - what would you say to them?
- Could you give them a compelling and convincing answer in 60 seconds or less?
- Would what you say elicit a response from them of: “Wow, how do you do that?”
Chances are your answer to both these questions is no, because the fact of the matter is most real estate agents don’t know what a USP is let alone have one. Sometimes, even if an agent has a USP that they communicate in one-on-one situations (such as a listing presentation), they don’t communicate it effectively to the masses in their marketing efforts. And yet, if you don’t promote a compelling USP, you’re not setting yourself apart from all of the other Realtors in your marketplace.
Your USP tells the world who you are and what you do. It articulates clearly and concisely what benefit a prospect will derive from doing business with you instead of your competitors. You should be able to articulate your USP clearly in 60 seconds or less. Astonishingly, most realtors couldn't begin to clearly explain their USP at all, and if you can't articulate it, it's highly unlikely that your customers and prospects will be able to understand it.
When it comes right down to it, most real estate agents don't have a USP at all. When I review the ads of most realtors, I invariably come across the same problems:
- There is no unique selling proposition, or
- There is a wandering statement that most frequently focuses on vague self-promoting generalities such as:
- we're #1
- we give the best service
- we care about our customers
- we work really hard
- we have the lowest prices
- we're the biggest -- the best (and so on)
This is what I call “Self Promotional Advertising
”. The fact is, every
company says the same old things and somehow
expects them to be compelling . . .
These same vague, broad promises are empty, meaningless, unsubstantiated, unbelievable and completely lacking in credibility.
Yet still, everyone
says them. Would you really expect anyone to claim that they give the worst
service or offer the worst
In direct contrast to this, your USP must be benefit-driven. It must be meaningful, relevant and valuable
to your prospects. Without these ingredients, your message will most likely fall on deaf ears. It won't be seen or heard. It will wind up getting "zapped" just like the thousands of other messages the average person is exposed to every single week.
What’s in it For Me?
The way to get prospects to pay attention and raise their hand for more information is to understand that the radio station that’s playing in their head is WIFM (What’s in it for Me). If you fill your ads with meaningful and relevant benefits that answer this question, your ad WILL get read, and prospects WILL contact you. Understanding this, you will see why an effective ad must be written from the prospect's standpoint, NOT the agent's, so when you write an ad, INSTEAD of asking yourself:
“What can I tell them about ME?”
. . . you SHOULD be asking:
"What can I offer prospects that THEY want or need?"
What Makes You Different?
Your USP is quite basically the essence of your entire business concept; that unique advantage that distinguishes your business from all your competitors
Here are some famous USPs from other industries to give you a sense of what I’m talking about:
"When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight" (Fedex)
“Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free.” (Domino’s Pizza)
The issues and questions you must address to determine what your unique advantage is are as follows:
3 Key USP Platforms
- Determine what your customers want
- Find out which of these needs you can fill
- Find a way to clearly state to your customers that you are the source to fill those needs - this is your USP
Your USP tells your prospects clearly, concisely and specifically what benefits they will derive by working with you that they couldn’t get anywhere else. I’ve developed a number of highly successful USPs which I group under three main platforms:
• Unique Service USPs
• Performance Guarantee USPs
• Statistical USPs
Let me explain what each of these platforms accomplishes. As I’ve discussed, image advertising fails to address real customer needs, focusing instead on the agent paying for the ad. Regardless of which platform my USP rests on, in every case I tell the prospect how they will benefit:
Unique Service USP
. . . Shows prospects how your unique and innovative consumer programs will make buying or selling a home easier, faster or more fun, and get them superior results. These are unique services not offered by your competitors.
Performance Guarantee USP
- How to Receive Advance Notice by Email of ALL Hot New Listings that Match Your Homebuying Criteria, including Bank Foreclosures and other Distress Sales.
- How to Buy a Home With a Super Low Downpayment
- View 6 Homes in One Afternoon With My Sunday Tour of Homes
. . . Shows prospects how you go far beyond empty boasts and promises. You set yourself apart from your competition by making yourself accountable for the powerful guarantees you give to your clients
- Your Home Sold in Under 120 Days or I Buy It
- Move Up to Any One of My Listings and I’ll Buy Your Home for Cash
- Your Home Sold in Under 60 Days or I’ll Sell it for FREE
- Your Home Sold in Under 60 Days or I’ll Pay You $1,000 Cash
- Your Home Sold for 100% of Your Asking Price or I’ll Pay You the Difference
- $5,000 Savings on Your Home Purchase Guaranteed or I’ll Pay You $1,000
. . . Shows prospects specific proof (comparing your statistics versus MLS averages) that your system will sell their home faster and for more money
- Your Home Will Sell for an Average $3,000 More (with graphs to back this up - your results vs. the Real Estate Board)
- Your Home Sold in 1/3 Less Time (with graphs to back this up - your results vs. the Real Estate Board)
- Your Home is 2.68 Times MORE Likely to Sell (again, demonstrate this with graphs based on Real Estate Board statistics)
It is the Performance Guarantee USPs that are most “shocking”. They elicit the strongest emotions and reactions from prospects: “How can s/he do that?” they ask. Test which of these Performance USPs works best for you and then “own” it - put it on everything. These USPs will not only elicit strong response on the part of your prospects, they’ll also be daunting to other agents in your marketplace. Even though any one of these USPs is easy and non-risky to execute (anyone could run them easily in their market), they will seem risky to other agents who won’t even try to duplicate your strong claim.
I ran the Unique Service USPs and Statistical USPs to give backbone, substance and credibility to my “jaw dropping” Performance Guarantee USPs.
With my Unique Service USPs, I showed prospects exactly how I was able to make, and be accountable for, my superior performance guarantees. I showcased the details and benefits of my innovative consumer programs that were founded on real customer research and developed to address real customer needs.
With my Statistical USPs, I showed them real and verifiable results that proved not only how I was able to put my money where my mouth is (with my Performance Guarantee USPs), but I was also able to give them multiple specific case studies of my superior system in action.
I did this in two ways: via statistics and via testimonials. The statistics gave very specific proof about what kind of service and results they could expect from me. One of the biggest mistakes I see most agents make is that their claims are completely void of any kind of proof. Most advertisers (realtors included) make claims, but very few back up any of these claims with proof.
Testimonials offer proof. Testimonials very powerfully put your USP in the mouths of other buyers or sellers who are just like them: Real Results from Real People. I ran a new testimonial every week. You should do the same.
6 Criteria Your USP Must Incorporate
Here are some general rules of thumb to keep in mind when creating your USP:
- Be Unique . . . Offer something that is truly different
- Be Specific . . . It’s always better to be very precise and specific. The more precise and exact a statement is, the more believable it becomes. People generally won’t challenge - or even doubt - precise numbers because they assume that this precision was calculated by some kind of reliable mathematical or statistical method. Instead of saying that your homes sell for 2% more than the real estate board average, say they sell for 2.36% more.
- Be Relevant . . . This means that you have to offer a benefit that means something to your prospect. You have to connect with them at some deeply felt level.
- Be Believable . . . Don’t offer something that is so hard to swallow that you fail to be taken seriously.
- Be Focused . . . Don’t try to be all things to all people. But equally, don’t target your message to too small a group (you have to be able to earn a sustainable income), and don’t forget to keep your eye on the future (your USP may have to evolve with changes in the market).
- Be Concise . . . You do NOT want a paragraph of copy. Instead, you want a single - easy to understand - thought. You must articulate — in a few words — the precise advantage you have over your competition.
is known within the Real Estate industry as Real Estate’s Millionaire-Agent-Maker. The top agent for RE/MAX Worldwide for several years, Craig not only sold over $1 Billion of real estate himself in his 20+ year career, but he's also coached more agents to millionaire status than any other trainer. By openly sharing his step-by-step approach, Craig teaches agents not only how to dramatically increase their results, but also how to vastly improve their quality of life. To request a free business consultation that will show you how Craig’s system can transform your real estate business into a highly lucrative enterprise where you earn millions without high lifestyle costs, visit:
Before you can begin to market effectively to your prospects, you need to ask yourself some important questions: