Just recently I was asked to do a talk for my good friend and co-author of our best-selling book in Singapore titled Get Rich Now: 15 Strategies from a Self-made Millionaire, Dr Dennis Wee. (Dr Wee is one of Singapore’s most celebrated entrepreneurs. Despite not having completed his high school education, he managed to start and build up his own real estate company, Dennis Wee Group, to become of Singapore’s leading real estate companies generating S$3.8 billion worth of sales in 2006.)
He wanted me to share some marketing secrets with his real estate agents and I was more than happy to do so because I believe there’s so much more that agents can do to position, brand and market their services. Sadly, most agents, whether in real estate or financial services (insurance) or any other industries, tend to see themselves just as a salesperson. This perception of themselves is limiting their growth and income!
By thinking that they are just salespeople, they don’t see the possibilities of growing their careers into full-fledge businesses. There are so much more benefits for someone to think big and build a big business, compared to just existing, and making a living. Donald Trump said: “If you’re going to be thinking, you might as well think big.” But that’s another topic for another session.
Here, I’m going to show you some detailed examples of how an agent can differentiate himself using some simple positioning and branding strategies that I have used with other clients to great success.
Many people perceive that being an agent in any industry is like being a salesperson. Someone who is always competing with all the other thousands of salespeople in the industry. To a certain extend it is correct. Those other agents are also looking for the same deals that you are. It is a matter of who gets the deal first. So they are relentlessly going out there to cold prospect.
Now, I am not a fan of cold prospecting. To me, cold prospecting is like bashing your head against the wall, hoping it will crumble before you start bleeding… most people just end up being very disappointed. Why do you think new agents don’t last long? I strongly suspect it’s because they realized that their heads can’t go against the wall.
But there are ways to turn the table around. In my talks I like to ask the audience: Would you prefer to work hard and look for prospects, OR would you prefer to let your prospects seek you out?
The answer is obvious.
But more than just having less work and an easier time, there are deeper psychological advantages to being able to let your prospects seek you out instead of you cold prospecting them. Simply said, when you seek someone out, you will be open to the person’s ideas, advice, expertise. That is the reason you seek him/her out in the first place–to get expert advice. There won’t be the wall of resistance you’ve grown accustomed to when you cold prospect. In fact, now it’s them who are jumping over hoops to seek you out in your domain. Man, it’s always exciting to talk about this!
Believe me, it’s a whole new paradigm. Imagine you becoming a celebrity overnight and people are just doing everything they can to get in touch with you. Think of stars of reality shows like Survivor and American Idol… It is that powerful!
So how can you achieve that?
Let’s look at a typical scenario:
You have probably have opened your letter box day after day only to find it stuffed with piles of flyers from various real estate agents. Just take a closer look. You will realize that all of them claim to be the “specialist” in the area. Now if everyone is a specialist, then does it matter who you call? Absolutely NOT!
“But I’m different from the rest. I have more experience, quality, etc…” you protest.
Let me be upfront. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is. If the prospects don’t recognize that straight away, you are just like everybody else. No matter how different you think you really are.
Repeat after me: If you are like every-body else, you are a no-body.
Remember: It’s all about their perception, not yours.
So instead of being just another area specialist, be different. So far I’ve not come across any agent who positions him/herself as the specialist to serve “first-time home buyers”. Do you think that is powerful? Absolutely!
First-time home buyers are inexperienced. They don’t know what to expect, what the whole buying process is going to be like, how long will it take, what possible hiccups might occur, etc. They are in a place where they don’t know what they don’t know. Do you think they have different needs/concerns compared to those who have bought a house before? Of course! If you are able to gain their trust, do you think they will look for someone else?
The point is this: you have the information that first-time buyers are looking for (in fact all real estate agents should know these information). But by letting them know that you are the expert who can guide them through the whole process safely, will in itself, earn you a closed deal.
You might need to make some minor changes in the way you do things, such as explaining the buying process more thoroughly, going through the nitty gritty details that you won’t normally need to with experienced buyers, etc. But all these will help to cement your positioning and branding as the expert to serve first-time buyers. And once your branding gets out, you will be busy with so many referrals for other first-time buyers. Is the first-time buyers market huge enough for you?
Once you have established your branding, it is easy to market your services. You can easily get the publicity that once used to be impossible for you. If the media wants to get an opinion on what first-time buyers think about a new housing policy, who do they look for? They will interview the expert (you). And after appearing in the media, you will have gained even more credibility. Can you see how this will snowball into your profits?
It all starts with creating a powerful positioning, branding and marketing strategy that is suitable for you.
What other positioning can differentiate you? How about:
o The property investments expert (investors love to work with those who understand their investing needs, someone who is not just another agent); or
o Divorce cases specialist (they definitely have different needs as compared to the usual buyers); or
o Downgraders or upgraders; or
o Serve only those looking for luxurious, high-end houses worth $XX amount and above (your service must of course reflect that); and
o Many more!
As you can see, it is critical to create a powerful positioning to get your prospects to start looking specifically for you. I assure you I’m not an expert of the real estate industry. But I’m an expert in positioning, branding and marketing. These same principles can be applied in other industries, such as the financial services industry, perfectly well.
So start positioning yourself today!
by Sant Qiu