Your Unique Value Proposition
Most real estate practices flounder in a difficult market environment and rarely achieve their potential because they are so focused on the amount of business they are attracting rather than the kind of business they can attract. Let’s face it, the key to building any business is leverage. That is, getting to the point when other people are working for your benefit. Think of some of the best realtors in the city or in your office. Chances are they have build their business on a referral base and that referral base started somewhere. It started through an employer group, a civic organization, a profession or other niche. Now it may have expanded far beyond that group today, but the foundation of their success was built upon a targeted group that agent was able to serve in a way that was unique to all of the other professionals he or she was competing with.
I want you to think about the last time you met someone at an event who pitched you on what they did. Did they talk for 15 minutes about how great they were or how great their product is? Did they say, I am a Dentist? “Continuous attention span”, or the amount of time a human can focus on an object without any lapse at all, is very brief and may be as short as 8 seconds. This is what we want to talk about today. With a limited attention span, how do we grab the listeners attention and how do we get them to ask us more questions and get their minds filling with potential clients for you?
Building Your Unique Value Proposition
- Select a target market, or niche – Who, specifically do you serve? Now, most agents will think of this as a real estate market segment such as first time homebuyers, or luxury homes, but I want you to expand your horizons and look beyond the transaction and look at the client. I would argue that you can make a pretty good living if you become the go-to real estate expert for Teachers in Tomball, or all the orthodontists with practices inside the loop; or think about the possibilities of targeting CPA’s in the Conroe and The Woodlands, this would generate not only direct clients but an ongoing flow of referrals. Your target market can center around vocation (employment), avocation (hobby), or other characteristics. Be careful when selecting your target market, that it is a group that you have experience or a background in working with, perhaps through previous work experience, family, friends, or represents your own area of interest. Also think about who you most like to work with. Who do you want in your real estate practice five years from now?
- What are Their Greatest Concerns – Understanding their unique challenges and their concerns regarding real estate. Listen to people in this market segment regarding what is important to them, what keeps them up at night and what common concerns bind them together. If my target market is accountants in the galleria area, I would want to have a feel for tax issues related to real estate, both for owner occupants and investment real estate. I would also want to know what the trends are in their industry. Teachers in Houston ISD have a starting salary of $44,027. You might also know that new teachers probably don’t have a lot of down payment resources, like to live close to their schools to limit their commute time, and often have a lot of student loans to repay, so their debt ratios might be a little high. Tax Accountants are looking for ways to minimize their clients’ tax bills and stay on top of changes to the tax laws.
- How Specifically Do You Solve Their Problem - Think about your ability to resolve the primary problem of that target group. How are you going to improve their life? Look for both short and long-term opportunities and be sure to provide items of value. For my accounting target group, I might write a report on rental real estate using rental trend data, sales price data, and review some of the benefits of investment real estate. I would address proposals on the extension of the first time homebuyer tax credit. If you are not that familiar with tax laws, maybe hire a freelance writer to do it for you and perhaps sit down and review it with a close friend or family member to review it. If I were focused on Teachers in HISD, I would want to be in touch with hiring plans for the school district and plans for new schools, I would not only want to know the market for first time homebuyers, I would want to know about the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program that will allow them to gross up their income because they will receive an annual credit equal to 30% of their interest paid each year they own that home, and the Good Neighbor Next Door and other special first time homebuyer programs. I would introduce myself to personnel at their credit unions and see if there are ways to develop referral relationships. I might want to become certified as a Texas Affordable Housing Specialist to become more familiar with some of these down payment assistance and mortgage financing programs.
Now, put your UVP together by combining your responses to item 3, then item 1, then item 2. Now you have a unique value proposition.
Here are some examples:
Example 1: I am a real estate professional that specializes in working with teachers who are seeking to build wealth through homeownership, and have concerns about affordability or down payment resources.
Example 2: My real estate practice is focused on using investment real estate to real estate investments to assist successful business owners and professionals minimize taxes and provide long-term investment returns.
Your UVP should try to describe everything you do, you should have a pitch book for this purpose. The UVP starts the conversation by presenting a uniquely valuable benefit statement. Your UVP should be a work in progress until it is compelling. If it is compelling, your clients will inevitably ask you more specifics about what you do. They will also be more likely to think of candidates for your services.
Some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Look at other companies outside of your industry and see how other successful companies are positioning themselves. Amazon.com has “low price, wide selction, with added convenience anytime, anywhere”. Domino’s “Fresh, hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or less”.
- Your Unique Value Proposition should be the underlying foundation of your real estate practice, not something that you have cobbled together in an effort to describe the various constituencies you have served over the years.
- Don’t try to appeal to everybody; an effective UVP should appeal to one very specific group of people.
- Avoid language that is too general, an effective UVP should speak to a specific group of people about a specific solution or benefit.
- Don’t worry about leaving business on the table, the UVP is designed to focus your business on a clearly defined target group of highly desirable clients.
What is the compelling expertise that will compel a buyer or seller to utilize or refer you?