Whose "target" are you? I mean in marketing terms.
"Targets" are specific groups of consumers with key common characteristics which lead to common, and often predictable, spending potential and buying habits. "Targeting" is the main push in marketing, advertising, and promotion. Businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals are intent on spending their dollars to gain the attention of consumers who are the best match for specific products and services, and real estate is no different.
While real estate developers, mortgage lenders, and real estate professionals are chasing you, why not chase them?
If they have gone to the trouble of researching what individuals like you and families like yours want, why not take advantage of what they have learned to discover more about your own spending habits? Depending on what product or service you consider:
You may find advantages by following the pack and buying when and what the masses buy, or
You may benefit from being contrarian and buying during a "slow time" or jumping on the next hot trend while others are still hooked on the current one. This might mean shopping for real estate and mortgages "out of season" so you have the salespeople's full attention, or searching out unusual condominium units or houses with great traffic flow and more close-able rooms than open-concept in anticipation of rising heating costs.
Obviously, there's a lot to successfully targeting consumers, so there is a lot for consumers to unravel in understanding the target group they fit in from each company's and professional's point of view. Targeting is not a secret. It's out in the open and should be obvious to targets who pay attention. For instance, when you sort through email real-estate promotions or snail mail just-listed brochures, aren't there some you read and many you don't. Why? What "hot buttons" did you react to?
- What "pain" did you relate to? Did a question like, "Are you searching for a dream home on a nightmare budget?" catch your eye because you can't find anything suitable among the properties that you can afford?
- Did your "passion" for a particular school district catch your attention because your children come first? Or, were you attracted to descriptions of a home with heritage features because you have a passionate interest in antiques?
Start small and simple by asking the real estate professional you have chosen to list your home or to help you buy a condominium who their preferred target buyer or seller is and why. Don't be surprised if they're surprised at your interest since most buyers and sellers don't ask questions like this.
- Some real estate professionals trumpet their target niche in advertisements by announcing a "specialization" in a type of buyer ("first time" or "empty nest"), a location, or type of property like waterfront condominiums.
- Some real estate professionals and brokerages "farm" a location and become the "go to" local experts on that area or condominium complex for buyers and sellers.
- Other real estate professionals concentrate on ethnic groups they understand well, or on people with a shared love of pets or common concerns about environmental issues with solutions like green construction.
- Some do not deliberately concentrate on a target group and work with "everybody" - every buyer or seller that they meet or are referred to. A proportion of these professionals may eventually realize they have naturally selected for a type of buyer or a listing area, but they do not always launch a marketing campaign to draw more preferred consumers to them.
- Others keep working hard to accommodate a wide range of buyer and seller interests in the best way they can.
In reading that list, you can see that if you have a special location in mind, seeking out experienced real estate professionals who concentrate on this area may help you find what you want. Professionals who specialize in specific types of purchasers like first-time buyers should have greater knowledge of government programs, lending opportunities, and ways to cut purchasing costs while increasing buying returns.
Work with a professional who does not target any group you fall in and you may not have their full attention or a complete picture of all your options.
When you first meet a buyer or seller agent, ask them about their past listings or buyers to see if there is a match with your interests. If your needs fall within their expertise and experience, you'll benefit greatly.
If you make a strong personal connection, but your real estate needs will take the professional out of their area of expertise, the learning curve may be expensive for all of you. Real estate professionals who work with specific target groups or locations will refer potential buyers or sellers to colleagues who consider you as their preferred target.
"Whose Target Am I?" is a great question to ask yourself when shopping for a home, a mortgage, or anything else.
- When you connect with salespeople who consider you their preferred target, you should receive the best they have to offer, so you can make confident buying or selling decisions.
- When you're not on-target for goods or services, you may get less than the best, or pay more in the process.
Don't expect to be told when you are not the best match for a product or service. "Consumer beware" and "consumer be aware" means it is up to you to make the best decision when shopping for professionals who will help you shop for the home and financing you desire.