I was listening to a Dan Kennedy (marketing genius) interview recently, and he was talking about various “Shock and Awe” type of marketing packages that he’s seen different types of businesses use to coddle their customers. He also told of how he had been to a local home show looking for a whole house generator, and there were six different companies with a similar product, all with brochures that were pretty much interchangeable except for the company name. He expressed the fact that no one asked him for his contact info to follow up with him, and here he was a “ready and willing” buyer.
In many ways, it was a lost opportunity for those companies, because they didn’t show up or reach out to their customer enough.
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So, how are you showing up to your customers?
Whether you’re an investor, rehabber, realtor, lender, or any other type of vendor related to anything real estate, how are you showing up? What differentiates you from all the other Yahoos that do what you do?
Maybe it’s the delivery of your service or product that can set you apart, whether it’s the way you present your services/product (for example, a nice portfolio with testimonials), or the fact that you follow through with the promise of your services/product. Or, maybe it’s a follow-up package that leaves the customer feeling appreciated and helps to build a longer-term business relationship
For example, some realtors may have nice listing packages. Or, maybe they also build community. When I was an active realtor, all I sold was investment property, so I catered to my audience. I started a monthly investor group (Real Estate Investor Networking Group – RING).
Rehabbers may stand out based on other qualities, such as quality of work, reasonable pricing, experience level, and reliability. There’s a lot that can be said for a rehabber who shows up, has a system for renovating, and if he/she warranties the work, he/she will come back to fix something without being chased.
I’ve also realized that one of the most important aspects is speed. How fast do you do what you say you will, including the response time it takes to correct something?
Dan also went on to say that if there’s nothing to differentiate you, the only thing left is “price.” If you really want to stand out above your completion, you have to do it, not just say it.
When I first started in notes, there was a note seller I was dealing with, who just never delivered. He talked a good game, but he just never did what he said he was going to do. Overall, it wasn’t a good experience, and it didn’t leave me inclined to do business with that note seller in the future.
So, for example, there are thousands of realtors or We Buy Houses people, but if you’re in that business, what are you doing that’s different? How memorable is the experience of working with you? Oftentimes, how you made other people feel may be more memorable than what you did or what you said.
Creating that experience and really differentiating yourself may require you to get creative, even with the smaller details.
Differentiating Yourself – Three Types of Ice
In Philadelphia, where I’m from, there’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of bars, especially downtown. So, how can any of these really stand above the rest? Well, there is a speakeasy-esque type of place, in a basement level establishment, that makes you feel special, as if you’re actually going back in time to the Prohibition: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company.
This place has taken cocktails and libations to a whole new level, to the point where they actually have three different types of ice. Yes, you read that correctly. After all, having the correct type of ice is critical for creating the ultimate drinking experience, especially since different types of ice melt at different rates. Clear cubes melt more slowly, shaved ice melts quickly (for sweeter drinks), and big rock ice that’s hand carved from a larger block has just the right melting speed for some of your classic cocktails (like an Old-Fashioned).
So, maybe you’re thinking that if a place puts in that much thought just on ice, going there is probably an experience to remember. And, it is.
Sometimes it really is the smallest of details that can impact someone’s experience, and that’s why attention to detail is so important.
Are you utilizing customer feedback?
I have no idea where The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company got the idea for three different types of ice. But, it really shows how the smallest of details can impact someone’s experience. If you don’t know which details of your business to improve, maybe the best resource for ideas is the feedback of your audience.
After listening to Dan’s interview, I started to take inventory of some of the things that we do at my note company that help us differentiate ourselves. I thought of how our fund investors can redeem shares at any time to buy available notes, the types of warranties we offer, and the fact that we have in-house collateral, meaning that we won’t sell a note without having all of the necessary documents. But, I also realized that we developed most of these processes as a result of feedback we received from our audience.
For example, our performing note warranty, which protects the note buyer’s investment principal, was something that we started after receiving feedback from two pretty serious real estate investors.
At that time, equity was falling in the market, so notes were going from equity-backed to non-equity. My partners and I were teaching a Saturday class on notes, and at the end of the one day workshop, two well-respected investors spoke up. They said that they wouldn’t buy notes because if the notes were to go non-performing, they wouldn’t have time to work them. This concern spread among the rest of the attendees, and we didn’t sell anything that day. We realized that we needed to make some kind of change. So that Tuesday at our Manager’s meeting, my partners and I sat down and we decided that we needed to change our warranty if we expected to sell these non-equity notes. It turned out to be one of the smartest things we’ve ever done for our business.
We learned the power of feedback that day, and moving forward, we’re always looking for ways to improve for our investors and note buyers.
So, if you’re not sure exactly what to improve or focus on in order to differentiate yourself or your business, reaching out to your audience and finding solutions to their concerns may be your best bet.
If you’ve adopted most of these concepts already, what’s your “Shock and Awe” package? How are you showing up and creating a positive experience for your customer? I would love to hear others are differentiating themselves from the rest of the marketplace!