“Why should we hire you instead of another real estate agent?” Do you fear this question? If so, you probably have not identified your unique value proposition (UVP). Some people call it the unique selling proposition (they say toe-may-toe; I say toe-mah-toe).
Regardless of what you call it, your unique proposition is what makes you different. It is why someone should hire you and not someone else. Based on my experience, it is hard for many of us to confidently state what we do differently — which is pretty scary, considering that we need to convince people of our value in order to earn new business. But each one of us has several qualities that makes us exceptional at what we do. We just need to discover them.
I have come up with a simple exercise to help you identify your UVP in fewer than 20 minutes. Grab a pen and piece of paper. Write down a list of answers to these questions. Just write. Don’t edit. It’s OK if you repeat yourself. Give yourself three minutes for each question.
1. What are the skills for which you are known? Your friends, family and colleagues probably call you for help or advice with these projects. Maybe you are handy with technology. Perhaps you are a creative problem-solver. It could be that you have a great eye for design.
2. What are your favorite parts of this business? This is what you spend time doing because you enjoy it — not because you are struggling with it. Maybe you love the marketing element of the job. Perhaps you enjoy collaborating with other people. Or maybe you have fun tinkering with market numbers and statistics.
3. What are your past career accomplishments? Whatever you did before this career is likely reflected in your way of helping clients. Former financial advisers or accountants have a facility for numbers and an understanding of a property as an asset. Former customer service people understand the importance of listening and addressing concerns. Former teachers spend time educating their clients to help them in their decision-making processes.
4. What are your personal interests? Whether you like taking photographs, walking around your neighborhood or watching home improvement shows, there may be a relevant interest there.
Take a look at the list you just wrote. I bet your answers represent a benefit (or several) for your clients.
Now let’s reduce this list to something usable. Here is how we do it in fewer than 10 minutes:
1. Select the three skills or interests on your list that are the most relevant to your business. (It’s OK if there are fewer than three.)
2. Write one concise sentence for each skill, communicating how it benefits your clients. Here’s an example: “My love of architecture helps me to sell your home more quickly because I can identify and market the stylistic qualities that attract buyers.”
3. Be sure the benefit is something that matters to your clients. Clients are most often concerned about saving (or yielding) the most money, completing the sale quickly and alleviating stress in the process. The goal is to tie your skill, experience or interest back to one of those concerns.
You should now have a better idea of what makes you unique — and you should feel more comfortable about answering the dreaded question, “Why should we hire you and not another real estate agent?”
Use your unique value proposition in your listing presentations, bio, social media posts, marketing pieces — heck, shout it from the mountaintops! Once you have these differentiators committed to memory, you will be more successful at winning new business.
Colleen Barry is the director of productivity for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston/Cambridge.