So it’s taken me 43 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in print advertising, direct marketing, brand awareness campaigns and now social media to finally realize that I have seemingly had it wrong all these years. For those ‘Type A’ personalities out there like me, you know how hard it is to admit you’re wrong! My staff, employees and agents will snicker while reading this, but I am ready to admit that recently, I’ve “had it all wrong”. However, since learning the real meaning behind this magic little word and how it applies to your business (and personal life!), I have never felt more invigorated or inspired about everything we do as a company and I’m sure the same is now true of my staff.
So what is it that I have been doing wrong for so long? What has got me so inspired that I need to spread the good word to everyone and anyone who will listen? It’s “WHY”. Yes you heard right. It’s the Why. Only three letters but a profound word when it comes to business and more importantly, becoming inspiring in your business.
Some of you know that I am the CEO of both a real estate and software company and despite a successful career as a selling agent, I see now that in my final years of being an active seller, my marketing message was “off”. There was a day when I had no preconceived ideas about what the real estate industry had to offer. I was what most would call a “keener”; an agent with a belief, desire and passion and those feelings allowed me to prosper. However somewhere along the way, that belief in our industry and within myself seemed to slowly fade. As years went on, I would sometimes get lost in doing what was right for me, as opposed to how I was when I first got into the industry where I focused all of my attention on making sure I did the right thing for everyone involved. At the same time, I also developed a misconception of how the consumer viewed me and our profession. How could a great, hard working agent “lose his touch”?
I see now that it was simple: my mentality and therefore my message became too much about what I do and how I do it and had nothing to do about why I did it. Why did I choose to sell real estate? Why did I choose such a risky business where the risk vs. reward could be enough to scare away the most talented entrepreneur? Why did I have an abundance of passion for this business? The same thing holds true today for my software company as we have embarked in a marketing campaign to promote RealtySites PLUS.
The “why” is the reason we do what we do. “What” we do and “how” we do it should not be in the forefront of our marketing;
rather why we do what we do. This may sound overrated or profound but we all need to take a closer look at our messages that we are communicating to our clients, customers or contacts and determine if we are stressing the wrong points.
It’s interesting how we as consumers have been preconditioned to follow the status quo. We tend to market our products and services like everyone else does, and those who don’t are seen as the risk takers. Let me share with you what I feel many of us could improve upon in our businesses and what I did in order to turn the tables around and revitalize that passion that I have for our industry.
The consumer connects with people and (purchase) products that communicate a clear belief of why they do what they do, and if the consumer shares those same beliefs, it’s more likely that there will be an instant connection. Simply put…people do not buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Does a consumer choose a Real Estate professional because he/she sold 100 homes last year? Because he/she owns a Smartphone, IPAD, and uses state of the art technology? Or does a consumer mainly hire you due to a feeling of trust, or “word of mouth” input that you are a very friendly, admirable professional who you can completely rely on?
Here is a common marketing message an agent (ahem, me) might have used to promote his or her service.
“I am a top producing agent who is in the top 5% nationally. I represent buyers who are looking for upscale homes in Toronto (What you do). I carefully examine your needs and wants, and arrange all viewings. I am very detail oriented, so I will provide detailed information, and provide an array of comparables for the properties you want to see” (How you will do it).
In the next example, I incorporated my “Why”:
“I believe in doing the right thing by people. I believe in putting others needs before my own- in my personal life, and in business. I thrive off of others happiness. My satisfaction comes from helping people organize their lives. The real estate industry allows me to experience these joys every single day. I help people find their dream home, and I live my dream while doing it. Together, we will succeed”.
Do you think this message is different? More effective? You can decide but I hope that you feel the second message is a more compelling proposition, and one that even provokes some emotion.
Despite the high’s and low’s, I believe that our industry is one of the most exciting industries to be in today and if we all as professionals can delve deep and discover our “why” and
communicate that message to the consumer, we will have a lot more “believers”.