5 Ways To Stand Out In A World Of “Same-As” Investors
I love real estate investing: there’s so much opportunity for anyone who applies themselves, and there are so many ways to serve and help people.
But there are downsides, too: one of the biggest is that nearly every investor in town positions themselves in the same way.
Drive down a busy street you’re bound to see nearly identical bandit signs proclaiming “we buy houses for cash.” And it’s a similar story when you search online: “We buy houses fast in XYZ town” is the headline of many websites. Open a mailbox of an absentee owner and you’ll see a batch of nearly-identical postcards.
It makes sense why it’s become like this: these are words and phrases that communicate a lot of information to motivated sellers as they drive by signs or search online. Problem is: as an investor, it’s hard for YOU to stand out and get noticed when every other investor seems to be exactly the same as you.
When every option is the same, motivated sellers don’t know what to do; so they choose randomly and they may even pit one investor against another.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it. The solution is straightforward, it’s simple to implement, and it can make a HUGE difference to the number and quality of deals that you close, and the speed that you close them.
(And be sure to keep reading to the end to find out why many investors will read this but only a few will actually do it.)
The Simple Solution To Standing Out From the Crowd
Quite simply, you need to narrow your focus and specialize. You need to slightly adjust your branding and marketing to communicate an area of expertise.
1. When people see you as the expert, you stand out against many others who don’t appear to share your level of expertise
2. When people see you as the expert, you create a magnetic approach that attracts prospects to you
3. When people see you as the expert, it becomes easier for others to refer people to you
4. When people see you as the expert, you build a deeper level of trust before you even speak to the prospect, which helps to close your deals
Imagine two investors who each reach out to the same motivated seller. The motivated seller is a military veteran who has fallen on hard times and needs a simple easy way to get out of his property. One investor shows up in front of the seller with marketing that says “we buy houses fast” while the other investor shows up in front of the seller with marketing that says “we are veterans who specialize in helping veterans exit problem homes and get their lives back on track, and we have a 7-step system that we follow to put your problem home behind you in 30 days or less.”
… in that scenario, which one would likely win the deal? Odds are in the favor of the second investor who is a veteran helping other veterans.
Now let’s talk about how YOU can specialize. There are several ways that you can specialize. Here are some suggestions; select one or more from the below and combine to create your unique positioning.
· Specialize in a specific kind of DEAL. Many investors do this to some degree already without realizing it or capitalizing on it. You might already only do pre-foreclosure or probate deals, so you are already specializing in a way. But there are other specializations, and investors who tend to work more generically across the board may consider specializing in things like: divorce homes, houses owned by multiple investors, houses owned by burned-out landlords, etc.
· Specialize in WHO you market to (such as the veteran in the above example). It might be by demographic or occupation. With one investor that I worked with, we identified his specialization based on who his best clients were: moms whose freeloading children lived in her second home. Another investor I worked with specialized in aging homeowners who were ready to retire and wanted to cash out of the home they’d owned since 1962 and didn’t want to have to remove the wood paneling in the basement.
· Specialize in who YOU are. I mentioned this above in the example where the veteran real estate investor served other veteran real estate investors. Or maybe you are a teacher, chef, or minister who invests on the side. These unique approaches may be just enough to help you stand out (although they can also be gimmicky if you’re not careful).
· Specialize in WHAT you buy. Maybe you buy very specific houses—like houses built before 1960, mobile homes, condos, hoarder houses, fire houses, “handyman specials,” etc. The great thing about his specialization is that it is often much easier for you to make an accurate all-cash offer because you have so much familiarity with the type of house you’re looking at, and, it makes it easier for you move quickly with your crew to fix up the house to rent it or flip it. (For example, if you specialize in hoarder homes, you know you probably need a clean-up crew and bin rental company on speed-dial, and a mold remediation right after that.
· Specialize in your PROCESS. In my opinion, this is the simplest and quickest way for investors to specialize, yet few do it. All you do is write out the step-by-step process that you normally follow to acquire a house and then brand it as your process. Give it a catchy name, a certain number of steps, and make it easy for sellers to follow. So, if you go from “we buys houses with cash” to “we buy houses with cash, using our Proprietary 6-step Rapid-House-Buying Process(TM)” then you’re already head and shoulders above your local competition. It could include a number of steps, the speed that you can deliver, or some special technique or network that others don’t have.
There are other ways to specialize but those are a great starting point to pick and choose to create your unique brand in your local marketplace.
Why Many Investors Will NOT Do This
Many investors will read this far but never implement. (I hear their excuses all the time!) The reason they give is: they believe that narrowing your market with a unique specialization will reduce the number of motivated sellers that you get in front of.
And to that I say: “YES!”
Yes, it absolutely will reduce the number of motivated sellers you get in front of. But here’s the thing: while most investors drop tens of thousands of postcards and approach investing like a “numbers game,” investors who strategically specialize spend more money but on more highly-targeted marketing and talk to fewer motivated sellers but close more deals from those sellers. On balance, they spend the same or less on marketing and do more deals.
But every time I suggest this approach, investor debate with themselves (and me) about whether they should broaden their search and get in front of more motivated sellers. That’s a massive effort in an overcrowded ocean.
I like the highly targeted approach… and so do the investors who implement this strategy.