What’s Your Big Real Estate Idea?

I harp a lot on the idea of every Realtor® I work with developing a well defined USP, or unique sales position. You can really call it whatever you want, but the point is that in order to grow your business more quickly, with less effort, there needs to be something about your business that makes you stand out – especially on the internet.

What is it about how your business works or what you offer that makes you the only logical choice for your clients? I am not talking about a tagline, or a catchy slogan. Your “big idea” is much, much deeper than that (and much bigger) because it forms the foundation for your entire real estate business.

The most successful businesses I know are based on ONE simple big idea. Some way they view the world or something they offer to the market that fills a need like no one else.

The Dominos franchise finally took off when they created their “big idea” of hot pizza in 30 minutes or less.

Would you think that the idea of delivering a pizza in 30 minutes (with no mention of how it would look or taste) was big enough to build into a multi million dollar venture?

Well it was, and then some.

Now I know you might be wondering why I spend so much of my time trying to focus so much of your attention on developing this?

Why does almost every newsletter, blog post or product I create somehow incorporate the idea of a USP (hint… it might just be MY “big idea”) and how to use it to market your business more effectively with technology?

Most Realtors® I work with think that SEO or web marketing are their number one challenges.

I would agree that they are challenging, but I think that developing your “big idea” or USP is much, much more challenging than that.

It’s also far more lucrative, because once you have it, it will permeate every single thing you do in your business.

I’m sure I scare some clients who come to me for the nuts and bolts knowledge about how to market their businesses with technology. What they want is to sit down and get to work on the busy work, without going through the important stuff first.

In fact, I view the lack of a “big idea” as the number one problem that is keeping most Realtors® running like hamsters in a wheel on the internet. Without it, you are forced to try to make up for it by DOING more than your competition in order to be successful. More SEO, more blogging, more article writing, more tracking, more pay-per-click ads, more of everything.

You have to make up in volume what you lack in content. And that gets expensive and very, very tiring. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

Who wants to do business online if all it means is never being able to stop DOING all of this “stuff?”

Without a well defined “big idea,” or USP, I think you are setting yourself up for failure on the internet.

You can see it on most real estate websites out there. Just pick one, get it up on your screen and ask yourself, “What is the big idea that this website is trying to convey to me? What is the compelling reason that I should do business with this person?”

You probably won’t find answers to either of those questions.

And that means that you have a HUGE opportunity to take a giant leap out in front of your competition by getting your big idea, or USP in place and building the rest of your business on top of it.

So how do you get YOUR big idea?

Coming up with your idea isn’t as simple as picking up an extra gallon of milk at the super market. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s probably not something you can come up with during a power brainstorming session.

Your big idea is something you let come up from within you.

It needs to be:

1. a really good idea

2. something that you are passionate about

3. something that is compelling to the market

Let’s take these one by one:

A REALLY GOOD IDEA
==================

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are a doctor, trained at Harvard and dripping with years and years of experience… And over those years you’ve come to the conclusion that, despite the advances in modern medicine, you believe the facts tell the story that the best and healthiest way to live is to develop a completely natural lifestyle when it comes to food, exercise and helping your body heal itself.

Your big idea could be this: “I’m a Harvard trained MD. I know my stuff. And I think most of it is wrong because it works against the natural way your body is designed to work. And here is my solution for living longer and being healthier without modern medicine.”

SOMETHING YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT
==================================

I am sure you’ve all read books about the legends of the sales industry that, despite their odd walk, bad clothes and terrible hair, rose to the top of their profession simply because they were passionate about what they were doing.

Passion is something that your market can sense. By creating your “big idea” based on something you are passionate about, you will be tapping into an infinite source of energy and inspiration that will always be accessible to you.

COMPELLING TO THE MARKET
==================================

Let’s face it, it’s hard to be successful selling something that people don’t want. Just being different isn’t enough. But if you’ve been in the real estate business for any amount of time, you probably have a good idea of what your market really wants (even if they aren’t saying it). When you are developing your “big idea,” or USP, make sure you always remember the “court of last resort.” It’s your market. They are the only ones that get a vote.

Here are some questions to jumpstart your thinking and help you get started developing your own “big idea.”

-How do you view the real estate business in a way that is different than any other Realtor®?
-What is the most important thing you could be telling your clients right now?
-What is the biggest unsolved challenge your clients have right now? How can you provide a solution that is quicker, cheaper or measurably superior in some way?

Now I have to warn you, there is a problem with committing to a big idea. That problem is that you can only have one. And by committing to it, you will turn off some people. Some of your market simply won’t like your idea.

That means you cannot be all things to all people. There is no effective way to do that.

Dominos probably didn’t do such a good job of attracting the gourmet pizza crowd. Excellent tasting gourmet pizza was not on Dominos list of priorities. They didn’t even promise their pizza would taste good.

They promised it would be hot and at your door in 30 minutes or it would be free.

The upside is that you will begin attracting more of your market that does want to do business with you because on some level, they like the idea you are conveying.

And nothing is set in stone. People change. Businesses change. Big ideas change. Just start with something. That will put you ahead of most of your competition.

The real challenge is coming up with ways to effectively communicate your “big idea” so that it is crystal clear to your market.

So start thinking… Get to work on the foundation of your business… your big idea is in you somewhere.

10 Secrets of a Great Real Estate Blog

Blogs are certainly a trendy marketing tool for a lot of industries, but it seems to be white hot for Realtors and real estate brokerages. Unfortunately, most of them are haphazard attempts to simply have one. This approach could actually do more damage than good–it will be part of your brand.

So, if you are going to have a blog–do it right.

Be Real (Hopefully That’s Interesting)

One of the cardinal rules of blogging is to be real. The early origins of blogging were about capturing spontaneous musings. Preserve this.

You can be professional, yet still reveal your personality and passions. A blog presents you an informal realm to draw in people like you and form deeper relationships. Imagine getting a call from a prospective customer just because you both like to scuba dive.

Make It Local, Hyper Local

Real estate is a local business. Customers want to know you are their neighbor and your interests are aligned. Customers want assurances that you know the real estate market and the local community.

Share your community service, local involvement, and insights on the community. A blog is a great place to talk about your visit to talk to the planning commission on the new bike path, or helping the Elementary School raise funds for a new playground, or that your daughter just made All-State in soccer.

Fill It With Pictures

When people are looking for a home or a Realtor they want to make sure they are in a “good neighborhood.” Nothing makes this story come alive like pictures.

Give your readers an idea of what your represent. The community your serve:

  • The homes
  • The schools
  • The library
  • The recreation
  • The people
  • The events

Your pictures should sell the community and you as its representative.

Explain Current Trends

Buying or selling a home can be confusing. Real estate buying and selling is typically a unique or at least rare financial transaction. Many of your readers will be unfamiliar with the current state of the market. Use simple language to bring them up to speed.

Your blog can be an informal tool to track and simplify real estate trends. It can also allow you to explain how national trends and media coverage affects your community.

Educate and Foreshadow

Begin educating your client before they ever engage you. No one likes to feel ignorant or surprised. The more simple information you provide and clear expectations you set the better your results–more inquiries and smoother transactions.

Real estate blogs should be about engagement, relationship building, and comfort.

Answer Questions

More than likely your blog readers are there because they have questions. Make them feel like you are open to engagement. Ask for opinions. Encourage comments. Respond to all questions.

Seed the discussion if you have to, but get people talking on your blog.

Don’t Forget Your Contact Info

Comments aren’t the only way to get your readers talking to you. Make sure you have lots of alternatives for people to engage you in ways they are most comfortable–telephone, email, IM, Twitter.

If engaged–be responsive.

Suggest Mortgage Lenders

Realtors guard referrals like currency and rightly so. However, more than ever mortgage brokers understand Internet leads and Web traffic. Show your customers that you have viable options for them to finance their new home.

These suggestions, references, and links also demonstrate transparency. Readers will have a higher level of comfort that you will offer them choices, not commission steered recommendations.

Showcase Your Network

Remember there are often two side to every real estate transaction. Blogrolls and links to mortgage lenders offers financing solutions. Likewise, linking to other Realtors may help your clients find representation for their counterpart purchase or sale in another market.

References and discussions with other real estate professionals also endorses your reputation and credibility in the industry. Building a strong mortgage and realtor network will drive you customers.

Do Not Talk to Your Peers!

Although building a good professional network is valuable do not waste you blog juice on them. There are lots of professional organizations, forums, and communities. Your blog should be about your customers. They are wandering around in the dangerous world of cyberspace looking for answers, give them a safe and happy home.

Personal Branding For Real Estate Agents – Your Passion is the X Factor

Luxury real estate marketing is a high stakes game. But, the rules of the game have changed almost overnight. The internet has caused a titanic shift that has leveled the competitive playing field. It has challenged even the most seasoned professionals to clearly articulate their unique promise of value -how they are sharply distinct from their closest competitors.

There has never been a more challenging time in the history of the real estate profession given the confluence of this disruptive technology and the upside down economy. The time to confront the brutal facts that your old success formulas are just not cutting it like they used to is here and now!

That is what we admire so much about Microsoft in recent times. In our previous post entitled, “Narrow Your Niche” we referred to Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing. They faced the tough facts that with all their money and all their might they could not take on the behemoth, Google, by matching them feature for feature. The brand name itself is that thoroughly ingrained in the minds of internet users worldwide.

Microsoft truly understood what we refer to as the “ultimate ultimatum of modern business”: STAND OUT OR BOW OUT! TM In our strategic branding practice we prescribe the same medicine to luxury real estate marketing professionals.

So, here is your prescription:

1. KEEP THE FAITH. Hold fast to your fundamental vision of your success, but not to the particulars. That is the only way you can allow new answers, new solutions, new combinations, new people and new success formulas into your life, and into your practice
2. FACE FACTS. Parts of your old formula are just not working any more. Be willing to reinvent yourself, be receptive to new ideas
3. ASK YOURSELF what you can do better than any of your closest competitors.
4. SELECT an uncontested market niche that can also be highly profitable
5. CREATE a new brand identity or refresh your existing brand so that it is synonymous with your selected niche in the minds of your target market
6. BE SURE to select a niche about which you can be absolutely passionate

Microsoft apparently has done steps 1-5. But, are they truly passionate about their new focus on Shopping, Travel, Health and Local Search? Without passion they might as well bow out now. If you want to see passion in action, just walk into an Apple store. Their passion is contagious and so is their brand.

The Apple store in New York City on Fifth Avenue clearly illustrates their brand’s unique promise of value: ingenuity and fun. They are drawing attention to a basement store in a highrise with a glass cube entrance on the sidewalk, housing a cylindrical glass elevator and a spiral staircase. What a brand statement!

Luxury Real Estate Marketing – It Takes Passion to Blog Consistently

BLOGGERS’ MISCONCEPTION: I CAN COMPETE WITH PASSIONLESS AND SELF PROMOTING POSTS

As luxury real estate marketing professional who blogs, it is your passion about your subject that engages and uplifts your audience. When you are truly passionate about your subject YOU are an original because no one else possesses your particular viewpoint on your subject. That is why finding your own “voice” is the first step in becoming a blogger. You must first identify what you are most passionate about and eager to write about.

Do not blog until you discover your passion! Otherwise, you are just adding to the white noise that is comprised of boring blogs.

It takes passion to consistently tap your resources for new material. It takes passion to be persistent in producing posts on a regular basis. If your content is uninspired or purely self-promoting your results will not inspire you, let alone your audience. And, like many luxury real estate marketing professionals, you will soon abandon your blog.

It is the “subscribe” button and the “share” button on blogs that makes the blog such an amazing marketing tool. These features make it easy for your audience to follow you, to participate in your journalistic journey and also tell their friends about you, which can lead to increased business.

Subscriptions build your audience. Think of subscribing to a magazine. Your subscribers are telling you that they like your brand of content. That is why it is so important for you to have a consistent authentic voice.

Building an audience is what makes your blog a media. There is fierce competition for attention out there. Your audience expects a certain brand, your brand of content, each and every time you publish a post. By staying consistent on your brand signal when you blog, and delivering on your unique promise of value, each and every time, your blog can help you achieve top of mind within your marketplace, especially if it is focused on a particular niche.