A lot of times I'll get asked by new agents what they can do to stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive industry. Let's face it, we all pretty much have access to the same tools -- the internet, MLS, financing options from mortgage brokers -- so what sets you apart from the agent up the street?
Great question, and we're going to cover a couple of my favorites.
Easy Way #1 -- Develop a professional looking website: The great thing about the internet is how much "bigger" it can make your business look. I remember when I was first starting out on the speaking circuit, one of the first questions event planners asked was, "Do you have a website?" And I always loved that, because not only did I have a website, but I had one that was particularly good at making me look like the top notch professional they would want to hire -- even though I'd only been in the business a few months.
You see, part of the challenge of being a new agent is trying to get new business when you're just starting out. If given a choice, most prospects would rather work with your more experienced competition when listing their home, rather than newer person who's still "learning the ropes."
And while that makes sense from their perspective, it puts new agents in a "chicken or the egg" type situation: You can't get new clients unless you have the "experience," but how can you get the experience if you don't have new clients?
That's why a top notch, professional looking website is so important.
Your business can look "bigger," look more established, look like you've been doing this for years … even when you haven't.
WARNING: That does not mean misrepresenting yourself in any shape, form or fashion. If someone asks a direct question on how long you've been in business, you need to respond with a truthful answer.
However, by having a professional looking website (i.e., not something your friend or cousin put together), then that question won't even come up. Because it'll just "look like" you've been around for awhile, you'll be well on your way towards standing out from the competition.
Easy Way #2 -- Develop a "Brag Page": This is something I recommend to my clients all the time, and it's an absolute gem for standing out from the crowd.
Here's how it works.
Get yourself a piece of paper, position it lengthwise on the table, and draw a line right down the middle, separating it into two columns.
On the left side draw a box that goes about a 1/3 of the way down. This is where you'll insert your picture.
Underneath your picture, start putting together 2-3 paragraphs that tell prospects a little bit about yourself and your business. Think of it as a "mini bio" that helps prospects get to know you.
And don't worry if you don't feel like you have any big "accomplishments" to put down. Just go with what you've done.
As an example, if you've worked for XYZ Corporation for 10 years prior to becoming an agent, then put that in there. If you're a "proud mother of three" and have a family and kids, then put that in there too. All we want is a few sentences that gives perspective clients a feel as to who you are.
Now on the right side, here's what you need to write in the upper right hand corner of the page: "What I do." I'd like to see that bolded and underlined too.
This is where you put your Unique Selling Proposition. I've mentioned this concept in previous articles, but for those of you who might have missed it, a USP simply tells people what you do, in a manner that gets them to ask how you do it.
As an example, you might put, "I help 1st time homebuyers find the home of their dreams." What do you do? Help 1st time homebuyers. How do you do it? That's what they'll want to know.
Your USP needs to go in the upper right hand corner of the page.
Underneath that I'd like to see a quick testimonial from a satisfied client. If you don't have that right now, then see if you can get something from a colleague or friend that talks about your passion and commitment to excellence.
After that, you can throw in some professional accreditations you have and/or civic organizations you're a member of (e.g., Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club etc.) and you'll be good to go.
Oh, and one more thing. At the very bottom of the page, still in the right hand column, put down "Areas of Specialization." (Bold and underlined.)
But in the meantime, what you have now is an official "Brag Page" that quickly and easily tells prospects who you are and what you're all about.
A Brag Page is perfect to use on your website (under the "About Us" section), during a listing presentation (when you're physically in the prospects home) and even as a follow up item to a direct mail campaign.
Now again, notice how we didn't make anything up about your past accomplishments. We didn't say that you've been in the business for 20 years or that you're the "#1 Agent in town."
But by having a top notch website and slick color document outlining your accomplishments (I'd recommend creating your Brag Page in a PowerPoint document), you've increased your credibility in the minds of your prospects -- effectively separating yourself from your more seasoned competition.
So give this a try, and see if you don't find yourself getting more business and closing more listings from everyone you meet.