How do you build a marketing strategy that can have real estate agents hunting for your services? Realtors® are bombarded everyday with a continuous stream of marketing messages from loan officers. They cope with this information-overload by ignoring most of them. So how do you stand out in an over-communicated environment? You’ll change the dynamics of your marketing when you understand the importance of positioning. Positioning is a communication tool to reach agents in a crowded marketplace.
Positioning means, you position your services in the prospect’s mind.
A position is a place, a place in the mind of the prospect – a perceptual location. When you market your services, you’re competing for this space. If your position is similar in nature to your competitor’s, you’re competing in an overcrowded place in the prospect’s mind.
Take a moment and consider your current position. Look at your communication pieces, which is commonly how agents position your services in their mind, if it’s their primary exposure to your business. Your website, flyers, postcards, newsletters, brochures, advertisements, and business card are often the first communication an agent comes across regarding your services. What position are you communicating?
Not sure? Visit your competitor’s website, if you switched your company logo with their company logo, how much difference would there actually be in the content or message? For most mortgage companies the answer is simple…very little.
Positioning means, a simple and singular message.
To improve your position, you need to narrow your focus. A position that seeks to be everything to everyone will end up being nothing to everyone. For example, does your messages appeal with the promises’ of loans closing on time, rendering superior service, high approval rates, etc.? This position doesn’t work. First, it’s competing with too many others; secondly, it isn’t simple and doesn’t focus on a single thing.
Look at examples in other service industries to understand the power of a narrow focus. When Federal Express began, they focused on a single position, a position that hadn’t been dominated by other shippers yet. They communicated a single position through every medium – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This intense focus helped them build a brand identity that associated them with being the best at overnight shipping. And when people had packages that had to be delivered overnight and they weren’t going to risk their decision - they chose Federal Express.
Southwest Airlines is another example. Their position of the “low-fare, no frills airline,” helped them dominate and achieve prosperity in one of the toughest and most competitive service industries. They went as far as linking the image of peanuts to their brand identity to associate with the position of low cost. This connected successfully with budget conscious travelers.
Positioning means, setting yourself apart from competitors.
Since most loan officers have positioned themselves identical, realtors see them as all the same. Mortgage services are indistinguishable. So how do you separate yourself?
The more similar the mortgage services, the more important the details. When realtors have to select a loan officer, they look for differences upon which to base their decision. This means the more identical mortgage services are, the more important each difference becomes. For you to separate yourself, accentuate the trivial.
For years, Domino’s never stressed quality, price or value. Instead they relentlessly promoted, “Delivered in 30 minutes, or it’s on us.” Over the time of this campaign, they owned the position of speed. Consumers’ perceived Domino’s as fast and reliable.
Find a niche that is unoccupied in the realtor’s mind and fill it first. There are numerous opportunities to specialize your services and occupy niches.
You can position around unique products:
Jumbo Loan expert
Interest Only Specialist
You can position around trivial details of processes:
Loans closed 5 days ahead of COE
Loan approvals within an hour or less
Daily file update alerts for realtors
You can position around gender, ethnicity, or geography:
Specialized in exclusively serving single professionals
Specialized in exclusively serving the Hispanic community
Specialized in exclusively serving Town & Country Ranch
Positioning is your competitive strategy for getting noticed. It is an outward expression of how you want to be perceived. It allows you to create a place for your services in an Agent’s mind, where the competition isn’t.
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