Perhaps you are servicing the real estate industry in some way as a real estate agent, loan officer or closing agent. Or perhaps you are servicing consumers who purchase homes as a financial planner, insurance agent, accountant or tax preparer. In either case, you are in a unique position to advise people on the most important financial decision they make in a lifetime. We don’t want to minimize other financial transactions, however, purchasing a few thousand dollars worth of stocks or bonds is just not in the same category of importance as purchasing a $400,000 home that will be an investment and shelter for one’s family. The same is true for a house that is to be rented and becomes the "cornerstone" of your investment portfolio.
Because the purchase is so important and because there is such a myriad of people involved in the process, when you are serving this industry, positive differentiation becomes a major issue to be overcome. What we mean here is that it seems that just about every other person is a real estate agent or one of the other professionals we just mentioned. If you are going to be successful in the long-run, you must differentiate yourself from these other providers.
In this case, the problem becomes the solution. There are so many in this industry that are part-time, not focused and not serious about their jobs that the opening becomes very wide for you to step up and differentiate yourself by becoming an expert. There is no stronger method of positive differentiation than making yourself stand out from the crowd as an expert in the midst of those who are deficient with regard to their knowledge and ability to help clients with important decisions.
Positive differentiation represents one advantage of becoming an expert. There are other advantages as well. For one thing, competition in this industry sometimes makes the services we deliver seem like common commodities. If it looks like we are all selling the same thing because we are all offering the same thing–the prospect will be focused on the only thing that is different–the price. When you highlight instead the fact that you are an expert delivering expert advice, the focus moves away from price. It is an undeniable fact that people will pay more for dealing with an expert. When we have a complex legal or medical issue, we are much more likely to seek out an expert rather than go on-line and try a “cut-rate do-it-yourself” alternative. Remember, in this industry we are advising people with regard to their single most important financial transaction.
When we become an expert, we also change the sales process as well as the focus. When we sell from a perspective of there being no discernable difference between us and the competition, we constantly will be trying to convince prospects that they should be doing business with us and not this competition. When you are an expert, you can now occupy a different position within the process. People seek out and desire to do business with experts.
Think about it–why should we be convincing people to do business with us instead of having people seek us out and approach us? The first model is the equivalent of twisting arms. If you feel you are twisting arms on a regular basis, you will soon get exhausted and burned out. That is why being an expert represents a much more effective long-term business model. It is easier to sustain because it takes more preparation but less energy within the sales process.
Expertise represents the better long-term business model also because the secret to building a successful long-term business is the creation of a referral base. Long-term, you will need to get off the treadmill and build up a foundation of success. Well, people are more likely to refer their friends, family and business associates to experts rather than ordinary sales people. Why bother to refer people to those they do not particularly respect and admire?
Finally, the most important factor with regard to your long-term success and expertise will come from within. When you have a well-founded belief that you can serve your prospects better than others and not just because of your enthusiasm and charm, you will have the confidence to sell. It is this confidence that will be key in overcoming such obstacles to sales success such as call reluctance. Bottom line is, when you are more confident, you will be more effective. Why wouldn’t you want to become an expert?