Communicating the Right Way Helps You Stand Apart From the Competition

October 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I recently spoke with about 50 real estate agents at Worden and Green, a Century 21 brokerage in Hillsborough, about making oneself stand out. It’s the problem we all have: How do we make ourselves different from the zillions of others in the same business we’re in.

The presentation and discussion led up to five points I suggested they take home:

  • Self-reflection and self-direction are necessary: Creating your brand and differentiating yourself from your competition isn’t something that just happens.  If someone asks why they should do business with you instead of a competitor, you can’t just say, “I’m better.” In fact, what you stand for – your brand – has to be something you decide after a lot of thought about who you are, why you do what you do, what you’re best at, who impacts your success, and what you want people to know about you and think about you. Once you know all that, the actions you must take to build and defend that reputation become more obvious.

 

  • Know thy customer: I can always tell when somebody has thought their communications and marketing plans through because they can tell me in great detail who their customer is. Too many Realtors tell me, “People buying or selling homes,” and too many builders tell me, “People buying a new home.” You have to narrow your target and know as much about your customer as possible. You need to know basic demographics. How do they get information?  Whose advice do they follow?  The more you know, the better you can communicate with them.  Your own credibility as an expert improves because you communicate with stakeholders — be they customers, regulators, other Realtors or anyone else who can help you succeed —  in a form and channel that is readily understood and accepted.

 

  • Consider your message very carefully. When I counsel organizations or individual businesspeople, we spend a lot of time on the message. That includes the wording and the delivery. After all, you can have the most exciting ad around, the best quote in a news article, the pithiest blog entry or the greatest elevator speech, but if it’s not delivered in a way that’s meaningful to your customer, it won’t be heard. And if the message isn’t delivered in words and tone that resonate, your message won’t be heard. And, finally, if you haven’t thought about your message and you say something that misses the mark, you’ve blow your opportunity because your message won’t be heard. So consider what you want to say to your customers very carefully.

 

  • Communicate the way your customers want to communicate and make sure you know if you’ve been heard. If I get you a great placement in a central Pennsylvania newspaper, but your customers are in New Jersey, it really doesn’t matter, does it?  This is part of knowing your customer: How do they like to get information? That’s how you need to deliver it. You may love to do Facebook and, of course, it’s very cool to be on social media. But if you’re dealing with a group that doesn’t use it, you’re not going to be successful. Equally important is to make sure you’re heard, no matter what medium you use.  If nobody is responding to your call to action, you’re not being heard.  You have to figure out why and change it. Is your medium? Is it your message? Once you figure it out, you’ll get better results.

 

  • Engage, engage, engage. Social media is about engagement, not just blasting one-way messages out to the Internet. You need to ask questions and get people to reply to your messaging. For instance, I’d like to know what you think of this blog entry. What do you do to know your customer and to make sure you’re being heard. Even if you’re using traditional media, whether it’s a news release or speaking to a group, there are ways to generate a response.

In today’s world, though, you need more than a simple response. You need to be creating conversations. No matter how you communicate, it needs to be an ongoing thing. And you need to listen and respond and adjust your communications and marketing activities. That’s engaging your audience.  It’s having a conversation. That builds relationships and trust.

And that generates sales.

See the original PowerPoint deck here.

 

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