In case you haven’t noticed, being a real estate agent is one of the most competitive career choices you can make.
It seems everyone knows half a dozen real estate agents – or more.
So the question becomes, “Why should a homeowner hire you to list and sell their home over any other agent?”
It seems like a perfectly reasonable question.
Yet very few agents seem to give it any thought.
I’ve asked that same question to thousands of agents and none has ever provided an answer – let alone a good answer.
And if you cannot differentiate your services from those of the next agent, you’ll have a very difficult time getting homeowners to hire you.
The answer those homeowners are looking for when they ask that question is your value proposition.
In this article, I will share with you;
- How to create a value proposition for your business.
- How to use your value proposition to make your lead generation more effective.
- How to use it to increase your conversion rates of leads to signed listings.
Ready? Let’s get started. . .
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is simply your promise of future benefits.
It states how the homeowner will benefit, in the future, by hiring you today.
It communicates how you, and your services, are different in a way that matters to homeowners.
When I’ve asked agents why I should use them over any other agent, I often get answers like “I’ll work hard.”
The problem with that is everyone says the same thing. Every agent say’s they’ll work hard.
That’s not a value proposition. And it certainly isn’t very unique.
Think about this for a moment. Assume you need a new washing machine to clean your clothes.
You’re in Sears or Best Buy, staring at dozens of shiny new washing machines – more confused than ever.
A salesperson appears and asks if they can answer any questions and you inquire about a certain machine.
The salesperson responds with “Oh, that machine works hard!”
Your immediate thought is, “No kidding, I kind of expected it to. It is, after all, a washing machine.”
Did the salesperson help you see the benefit of that particular machine?
Are you any closer to making a decision?
Now, what if the salesperson had simply responded with, “That’s the newest machine from LG. It will get your clothes cleaner and use less energy than any comparably-priced model.”
Now we’re talking!
You can now clearly see the benefits of this particular machine – cleaner clothes and lower operating costs.
Your value proposition;
- Explains how your services solve the homeowners’ problems or improves their situation
- Delivers specific benefits
- Tells the homeowner why they should hire you and not the other agents
A well-written value proposition will answer the following questions that your target audience has about you and your services;
- What service are you offering?
- What is the end benefit of using you or your service?
- Who is the ideal client for this service?
- What makes your service unique?
Creating a value proposition
To create an effective value proposition, you must first have a keen understanding of your target audience.
When thinking about what makes your business unique, consider the diagram below;
The blue circle represents the services, or results, that homeowners in your chosen niche want from an agent.
The yellow circle represents everything that your competition offers.
The green circle represents the services, or results, that you offer.
In the area marked “A“, you are offering the same services as your competition, so there’s nothing unique that homeowners want to be found here.
The area marked “B” represents everything you offer – but that the homeowner has no interest in because it falls outside of the blue circle. To spend time and money on these services, or to achieve these results, is being wasteful.
The area marked “C” is where the magic happens.
It represents the services, or results, that homeowners in your chosen niche market want, but only you provide.
Therein lies your advantage in the marketplace.
Determine what those services, results, are and build your business to deliver them better than any other agent in your market and you will find success.
To create your value proposition, follow these steps;
Step 1: Write your headline
Your headline should be written in a single, attention-grabbing sentence that states the end benefit of using your services.
My own value proposition headline was, “You’ll achieve market-beating results when selling your Northwest Buckhead home, or I’ll sell it for free.”
This lets the reader know that I focus on sellers of homes in the Northwest area of Buckhead, a community in Atlanta.
The end benefit is that they will either achieve better results from hiring me versus the typical agent, or they won’t have to pay a listing-side commission.
This headline was created as a direct result of homeowners telling me, through a survey, that the most important issue in their minds was achieving better than average results.
It also positioned my services in a unique manner because the agents I competed with couldn’t offer to sell a clients home for free as their broker wouldn’t agree to waiving their fee for less than average results.
Step 2: Provide more details
Include a brief sub-headline, comprised of 2-3 sentences, that offers a specific explanation of what you do, for whom, and why it is helpful.
Again, using my value proposition as an example, the sub-head would become, “My services are designed to help homeowners in Northwest Buckhead sell quickly and for the highest possible price. If you don’t achieve market-beating results when you list your home with me, I’ll sell your home for free.”
Step 3: List the key benefits
Include 2-3 key benefits expressed in bullet points. These are designed to communicate the benefit of using your services even if the reader doesn’t read the entire body of text. These can also be pulled from your value proposition for use in advertising to communicate the benefits your target audience receives.
To continue the example of my own value proposition, the key benefits might become;
- Proven results
- Guaranteed Sale
Step 4: Elevate your value proposition
Now is the time to really drive home the value that homeowners will receive by hiring you over the competition.
You will offer terms, or services, that your competition doesn’t offer – or doesn’t deliver on consistently.
Again, these must be terms or services that your target audience has told you they are interested in.
I tended to side with overkill, so I offered the following;
Assistance coordinating bids for repairs
I chose, however, to focus only on the guaranteed sale as the key benefit as the other items were instrumental in achieving the guaranteed sale.
Step 5: Putting it all together
Now that you have the components of your value proposition, let’s pull the pieces together.
You’ll achieve market-beating results when selling your Northwest Buckhead home, or I’ll sell it for free.
My services are designed to help homeowners in Northwest Buckhead sell quickly and for the highest possible price. If you don’t achieve market-beating results when you list your home with me, I’ll sell your home for free.
Proven results. Guaranteed Sale.
Offering Northwest Buckhead’s only Guaranteed Home Sale Program
Components of a strong value proposition
Perhaps the best explanation of the components that make up a value proposition that I have found comes from Mike Schultz of Rain Sales Training in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Mike explains in his blog that there are three components of a strong value proposition; resonate, differentiate and substantiate – and each of these must be present to have a compelling reason for potential clients to choose you over the competition.
In the case of homeowners, your services must resonate with them. The homeowner needs to feel that your services are something they truly need and that they must act quickly to get.
If your value proposition fails to resonate with your target audience, they are left to feel that they don’t need your services.
Next, you must differentiate your services from the other agents competing for listings in your chosen niche market.
If you fail to communicate that your services, or results, are superior to those of the competition, homeowners believe that your services are easily replaced or substituted, with those of another agent.
As such, your services are viewed as a commodity.
As we all know, commodities are traded on price. When homeowners don’t perceive that you offer anything unique that differentiates your services from other agents, they seek to get your services at the lowest price.
As an agent, you’ll hear this objection voiced by potential clients as a request for you to lower your commission to secure the listing.
Last, you must be able to substantiate that your services deliver the results you claim.
If you are unable to substantiate your results, either through the use of statistics that compare the results your clients achieve versus the market averages or through testimonials, potential clients may feel that hiring you is too risky.
They simply won’t believe your claims.
Using your value proposition to improve lead generation
Much of the real estate lead generation I see leaves me feeling sort of “meh”.
It’s very generic, often ho-hum, and typically fails to provide a compelling reason why I would want to call the agent over his or her competition.
I think that is indicative of agents being afraid to narrow their focus for fear of missing out on “opportunities”, but it is also because they lack a value proposition.
As such, the ads are designed to appeal to everyone. And when that happens, you most often appeal to no one.
Once you have a value proposition that reflects what the homeowners in your target audience desire, your next step is to communicate that value consistently.
Let them know you understand their goals, their pain points and that you have the solution they’ve been looking for.
It’s easy to want to focus on the bright shiny objects that are lead generation, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, landing pages, web sites, email – you name it – without first thinking about the message they intend to communicate with these platforms.
Keep in mind, all of these tools do is to make sharing your message more efficient.
And they’ll share a bad message just as efficiently as they’ll share a strong, compelling message.
Take your typical real estate website, for example.
Oftentimes it looks something like the one below.
Do you see a clear reason to do business with an agent from this firm?
No, you do not. The site includes everything but the kitchen sink in hopes that a visitor will find something they like, yet it misses the opportunity to tell visitors how the firm, or its agents, can help.
Now take a look at the site below.
It’s much easier to see who the agents help (Shady Grove homeowners) and how they help them (achieve market-beating results) and it provides social proof to substantiate their claim (over 700 homeowners).
It includes the key benefits; Sell faster, sell for more and avoid stress.
You have less than a minute to convince visitors to your website that you offer the information they need, or the services they desire, before they decide to look elsewhere.
By placing your value proposition above the fold – where visitors can read it without having to scroll down – you let them know who you serve and what unique benefits you provide.
When you have a solid value proposition, and you communicate it consistently with your target audience, you will see a significant improvement in your ability to generate leads.
You do not have to use your entire value proposition for it to be effective.
Simply using your headline, or one or two of your key benefits, is enough to get the attention of your target audience.
Have you ever read or heard an ad and thought, “They sound like they know me!” because the ad spoke to the very goal you were trying to reach – or the exact problem you were trying to overcome?
That’s because the company running the ad identified the exact wants and needs of their target audiences and created an ad to hit those hot buttons.
And just as likely, there were people who saw or heard the same ad who thought, “This has nothing to do with me.”
That’s because those people aren’t in the advertisers target audience. It gets back to having a niche market focus, knowing your customer and speaking to your customer in terms they understand and that will cause them to respond.
By incorporating your value proposition into your postcard campaigns, your Facebook ads – anywhere your target audience is likely to find you – you will send a compelling message that you understand them and that your services provide the results they are looking for.
Using your value proposition to convert more leads to clients
Just as your value proposition should be communicated in your advertising for leads, it should also be present in your pre-listing presentation.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of homeowners are interviewing only two agents before making a hiring decision.
As such, all of your lead generation advertising should be designed to do one thing; get your pre-listing presentation into the hands of the prospect so they can see how you are able to help them.
To the extent you can do this before the homeowner interviews any other agents, you will see your conversions of leads to signed listings increase dramatically.
You may have read comments in the past where I mention that I never gave an in-person listing presentation.
I relied, instead, on the use of a pre-listing presentation.
By sending your presentation to potential clients in advance of your in-person meeting, you have the opportunity to present your value proposition, track record and testimonials as well as your proven plan for getting the home sold.
When you arrive for the in-person meeting, your credibility has already been established, making it much easier to convert the lead to a signed, salable listing.
With so much competition for the attention of your target audience – not just from agents, but from every business, politician or cause that wants their attention – you have a limited amount of time to communicate how you are able to help them.
By following the steps in this article, you can create a value proposition that communicates how you are different from the other agents in your market and enables homeowners to see the benefits of hiring you.
Only then will you be able to provide a clear, concise answer the next time someone asks, “Why should I hire you to list my home over any other agent?”