Getting a clear understanding of what a “Unique Value Proposition” is can be very helpful, but pinning yours down can be quite the task.
Typically, an advertising agency is the best route to get such work done. In reality though, most REALTORS® may not have, or wish to commit, the resources to undertake such an exercise.
This article is a relatively simple step by step guide to help you pin down an advertising promise that makes your brand stand out–a genuine and effective benefit oriented promise.
In the first article of this series, we described the term “Unique Value Proposition” as your market edge. Technically, that it is a sentence or paragraph that captures and describes the unique benefit your solution offers to a target audience and that ideally addresses an opportunity or pain point they face. The ultimate value proposition will not elaborate on the pain but rather focus entirely on the benefit you bring to the table. People buy benefits, not problems.
Step #1 – Identify a group of 10 – 20 people willing to give you unbiased, genuine feedback. Current and former clients are what you need (not friends or family members). Give this audience a good incentive to provide you with their genuine and real feedback. Gift cards or a drawing to win an iPad or camera may do the trick.
Let them know that:
- You need their input for an important branding exercise for your business
- That their candid and genuine input is crucial
- That there are no right or wrong answers. That all answers are critical to the exercise, and that what think may be bad input can be the best input they have, and the other way around.
Step #2 – Create a list of one or two word attributes that describe a great REALTOR® or their services. Then email, fax, or drop off the forms to just half of your research group and ask them to rank the attributes.
Here is an example:
Please rank, in order, the most important attributes you look for in a REALTOR®.
Note that you should not include more than ten attributes. Following are some suggestions but by no means use those. You know best what should go on the list. Just make sure the suggested attributes are not biased or self-serving. You want a solid, true exercise you can learn from and use to effectively reposition your business.
2) Neighborhood knowledge
3) Efficiency and productivity
4) Speed of service/responsiveness
5) Negotiation skills
6) Etc. etc. etc.
7) Other. Please add here:
Step #3 – Ask the audience, in the same document, to write your name next to any three of the attributes they believe you genuinely represent.
Once you’ve collected and analyzed the responses, you will have a list that highlights the attributes your market values most in a REALTOR®, and, from this first group, which of the top ranked attributes they think you represent. You may be surprised by the findings, but this is what the exercise is all about.
Armed with a clean sheet and new information, hand the the top attributes ranked by the first group, from most important to least important, to the second half of your research audience and ask them to put your name next to three of any of the descriptors. The objective is to further validate the findings that came out of the first group exercise.
While there will still be more work to do following the discovery phase, you will have reached a point where your advertising and messaging can begin to tackle criteria you know will hit a cord in your marketplace and that genuinely position you as a stand out advisor.
Use the findings intelligently to craft highly focused advertising and listing presentations. And, do NOT do what most marketers do. Resist the temptation to change things after a few months have passed.
Consistency, over time, is what creates equity and association around a brand. Repeat your message until home owners and prospective buyers in your area start to automatically suggest your name when asked for a REALTOR® who is ‘responsive’ or ‘is a very strong negotiator.’
The fun part is knowing that as you build towards this kind of strategic awareness, many of your competitors will be spinning their wheels trying to be everything to everyone.
As a final note, being associated with a #3 ranked attribute and playing up on that association in your positioning is far more powerful than trying to associate yourself with the #1 attribute that you are not that strong in. Effective market positioning is all about a relevant promise you can deliver on better than anyone else. Not about promising something everyone else can deliver on, or worse, that others can deliver on better than you.