In today’s cluttered real estate marketing environment, consumers are trained to tune out messages that don’t seem to address their real and unfulfilled wants and needs. In other words, if your message doesn’t clearly deliver a solution to exactly what your prospect is looking for – if it doesn’t slot into an open position in your prospect’s mind – then your efforts and dollars and time will go down the marketing drain.
Why Positioning is Important
Positioning is the marketing art of knowing what available space or position you and your offering fill in the market and then getting that message to exactly the people who want what you’re offering.
By first figuring out the position your offering fills you can easily figure who you want to talk, what you want to say, and what marketing vehicles – from advertising to direct mail to online to personal calls – you should use to reach the people you’re targeting.
For example, say that you’re offering a lower-priced home in a neighborhood that primarily attracts first-time buyers. Your product position is lower end. With that knowledge, you’d hardly want to craft a message geared to the interests and motivations of high-income buyers. Nor would you want to deliver your message using media channels that lower-income prospects don’t read, tune into, or sign onto.
Understanding your product position can make the difference between reaching your prospect or not, between motivating interest and action or not, and between making a sale or not.
Real Estate Marketing Tip:
By knowing your product position and the nature of your likely buyer you’re in a better position to select the right media vehicles to carry your message to your market. Consider the following generalities in your planning:
- If you’re marketing a lower-end home in your marketplace, many of your prospects may not be technologically savvy. With limited resources, they probably haven’t invested in computers or included Internet connections in their monthly budgets. Therefore, you probably won’t want to weight your marketing efforts toward online ads that your prospects may never encounter. You’d be better off placing ads in penny-saver or nickel-ad publications that are readily available for free pick-up.
- If you’re marketing a home in the mid-price range, you can be fairly confident that your prospects will be searching for properties online. Studies show that 80% to 90% of middle-income home shoppers have Internet access and that most make the Internet their home-shopping starting point. To reach this audience, an effective Internet strategy marketing strategy is essential.
- If you’re marketing a high-priced home, one-to-one communications may be the most effective tactic. Especially with one-of-a-kind, top-priced properties you might find that mailing a high-quality brochure to carefully selected prospects nets the greatest success. Likely buyers for a property in this market position are likely too busy to spend hours on the Internet or poring through print ads. That’s why they can afford a higher- end home!
Positioning the Property You’re Selling
In real estate, price is the cornerstone of positioning. In my experience, 85% of your marketing strategy is set during the listing presentation when you and the seller agree on the right price and therefore the right market position for their home.
The Importance of Setting the Right Price
Once you’ve worked with a seller to agree upon the right listing price, your marketing strategy unfolds naturally following these steps:
- Create a description of the home’s likely buyer.
- List the home’s benefits and the reasons why likely buyers won’t want to let the home go to anyone else.
- Select media channels or communications approaches that a1re most apt to get your marketing message in front of your target audience of likely buyers.
Using Positioning to Your Competitive Sales Advantage
Real Estate Marketing Tip:
Take time to look inside some of the other homes that compete for the same product position as your listing in terms of price and location. See how their features and benefits compare. Especially when handling ad and sign calls this comparative information will be valuable in two ways:
- By expressing with certainty your listing’s benefits compared to those of other available properties you’ll convince callers that they must see and consider the home.
- By offering information on other homes in addition to the one you’ve listed you’ll increase the odds of converting callers into buyer clients by establishing yourself as a skilled agent and valuable home-buying resource.
The Danger of Overpricing
If you give into a seller’s desire to set an unreasonably high listing price, your marketing task will be vastly more difficult because with an overpriced home:
- You’ll be forced to market to the wrong audience. In order to reach buyers who can afford the price the seller is asking you’ll be talking to people seeking a higher-level home than the property you’re offering.
- Your product will lose in competitive comparisons. It won’t take long for buyers to realize that the home you’re offering is inferior to others they can buy with the same amount of money.
When you list an overpriced property you have only two hopes for success. You can hope that the marketplace will heat up dramatically and lead to escalating prices that bring your listing price into line, or you can hope that your seller will agree to a rapid price reduction.
Contrary to the opinions of consumers and a good many agents, not all agents offer the same or even similar services. It’s safe to say that all agents work to bring real estate transactions to successful closings, but from there the differences in approach, style, and effectiveness vary wildly.
As the owner of a real estate business you must help prospects and clients realize the unique and beneficial position you hold in the marketplace. People need to know clearly why they should hire you. Chapter 14 is full of information that will help you define and claim your market position. As you communicate your position through your marketing efforts, remember these three points:
- Tell and remind people that you are in the real estate business. Once your business achieves a high level of success, people will contact you based on your reputation. As a newer agent, however, you must notify everyone you know that you are in real estate sales, and then you must keep notifying them at regular intervals.
- Say and prove that you’re good at what you do. In a service business where all choices cost basically the same amount of money, as is the case in real estate sales, agents must differentiate themselves based on the expertise and service quality they provide. Client success stories, presentation of statistical advantages, results of satisfaction surveys, and glowing testimonials will break you free from the crowd.
- Remind consumers that their choice of agent matters. Agents need to band together to get this message into the minds of real estate buyers and sellers. As an industry, we haven’t convinced clients that the right agent makes a difference in terms of down payment, sales price, purchase price, net equity at closing, ease of transaction, level of satisfaction, after-sale service, and countless other benefits. Make it your job to convey to the public that not only does the right agent make a difference, but that you’re the best agent to make a difference in their deal.