Too many of us seem to think that just by being in the commercial real estate investment business, we will somehow get customers and tenants. You know, that if we just “hang around enough” we should start getting some business, especially from friends or family. Many times we do not stop to think of everything that is involved in having people commit to doing business with us.
“So, why should I do business with you??”
Unfortunately most real estate investors do not have an answer to this. You need a compelling answer to this question for a number of reasons, probably mostly so you will not be seen or treated as a commodity, i.e., just another landlord, or property owner.
Let me put it to you this way. If you do not have a unique selling proposition (USP) and do not market this USP effectively, you will be earning only a fraction of the money you could be.
I will talk more about differentiating yourself later but suffice it to say that you have to have a compelling reason for people to do business with you -it almost has to be magnetic. It has to be compelling, different and full of benefits to your target market. Think of it this way, once someone hears it, it has to immediately communicate your value to a prospective tenant so convincingly that they will see how they can be so much better off (usually time-wise, hassle-wise and financially) than any other choice.
Before you think you may have this licked I need to tell you that it is not easy. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes here…
A good USP is not “we have been in business for over 50 years.” or “We have great service.” or “Our quality is better than any other in the industry.” or “We’ve been in business since 1902.” or lastly, “We’re #1”.
You may be all of these in your market BUT no one cares and to depend on these slogans as your main USP is almost as bad as not having a USP at all. Why? Two reasons -#1. Everyone else says all of these things too. People are tired of hearing “quality of service” and “been in business since the dawn of time” or “I've sold more than anyone else.” These kind of USP's have no competitive edge only because they are the kind that are old and used so often by everyone that the prospect does not find any value in it and more than likely does not care either.
Remember that people are very skeptical and driven by what they want not what is important to you.
Which brings me to the #2 reason why this kind of USP will not work:
Not only is there no differentiation but there is no way of competing with all of the other 30,000 messages or so your prospect or client will be exposed to during the next few days.
Think about this, how many ads do you see a day via newspaper, billboards, TV, email, voicemail solicitations, cold calls, etc,.? Your USP needs to be so good that it stands above this noise as well. This is a huge challenge because your prospect and client, for the most part does not have real estate at the center of their lives like you and I would have. Most of your prospects and tenants that deal with you are not focused on real estate like you and I, after all they have a life. A life full of problems, frustrations and other things that keep them occupied. Consequently, that places that much more importance on our Unique Selling Proposition.
So, as you can see, this is not a one hour exercise that you can get away with putting a little effort into it. It takes time and work to get a good one or good ones. Remember, you can have more than one USP and most probably should
For example, here are a couple of mine for my apartment business:
- How Our Tenants Make Money When They Move Out And Buy A House or Condo!
- How Smart People Save Time and Money Finding Renter Friendly Apartments and Homes For Lease
So, what’s the key?
Coming up with a unique USP and consistently communicating it to your target audience or target market, no less than once per month.
Consistent communication is mandatory for this to have the best effect on your bottom line and market share. I will be talking about methods of communication in later articles, but suffice to say now that it does you not good to have a great USP and then not communicate it to your target market enough.
Here is the nice thing about this.
Most other commercial investors will not do this, will not go through this exercise because they will either be “too busy” or not have enough time.
Just by doing this step of creating a good USP and consistently communicating this to your target market you will have a huge competitive advantage over your competition.