There is a classic McGraw-Hill advertisement from the 1950s that shows a scowling businessman. The ad (shortened for space) says: “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. … I don’t know your company’s customers … reputation. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”
Underlying this ad is the often under-articulated question: “Why should I trust you with such an important transaction?” Rarely does this question get asked explicitly, but it is the core of all relationships with brokers.
Brokers must be able to powerfully and clearly articulate a value proposition, unique to them, that is compelling. If they cannot capture attention and business, they need to redefine themselves.
There are five essential questions that must be answered:
1. Who is the firm?
2. Who are you?
3. What do you do?
4. How do you do it?
5. Who do you do it for?
These are the critical questions that help to build credibility. I would like to discuss each one, because explicitly answering these questions will increase your business.
Who is the firm? Your firm enhances or detracts from your credibility. Some of the key points to shed light on about your firm are its reputation, focus and niche, size, experience and expertise, and quality of brokers. For example, Eastern Consolidated prides itself on being a diverse organization whose brokers, by speaking 14 different languages, are able to do more benchmark deals every year than any other firm. This has enabled us to become known as the firm that ensures our clients never leave a dollar on the table.
Who are you? Experienced brokers have an advantage with this question, because they possess track records that they can point to. Newer brokers can rely more on the firm and its experienced brokers and should also express their ability to work longer and harder than anyone else.
What do you do? The answer to this allows brokers to discuss their business. Brokers should discuss the types of deals that they work on (property types, locations and size). This provides the opportunity to brag about successes and differentiate themselves. It also allows brokers to connect with the aspirations of buyers and sellers. Finally, it is important to stay focused on the bottom line: how you help people maximize their returns.
How do you do it? This provides brokers the opportunity to lay out, in an ordered manner, the process that they use to secure the sale of properties. Experience teaches that the clearer this can be stated the better. For example, “I will use a three-step process to secure the highest price for your property. Step one: We will analyze and position it for its highest and best use. Next, we will identify a list of prospective buyers and proactively contact them. Finally, we will manage the negotiating process.”
Who do you do it for? People like social proof. While I think we learned they don’t help us play like Mike, Air Jordans still dominate the high-top market precisely for this reason. Buyers and sellers want to know that you represent key market players. Sharing names and discussing relationships should be done discretely and always with respect for the right for confidentiality. Buyers and sellers want to know who you know and, most importantly, who trusts you.
These tips will help you craft a compelling value proposition and enhance your business.