“Congrats on the anniversary! Hope you’re doing well.”
When it’s someone’s work anniversary on LinkedIn, you can click a button to send them a message. The message pre-populates the text above. All you have to do is click the send button, and LinkedIn sends your message.
On my recent work anniversary here at Top Left Creative, my inbox looked like this:
The messages were all exactly the same! Nobody took the time to change the pre-populated text and differentiate themselves. (Although I did get one “hope all is well”.)
Now, I love that people even took a few seconds to press the button and wish me well. However, seeing all those messages that looked exactly the same is parallel to something I’ve been noticing a lot.
Many mortgage companies have the same unique selling proposition! And a unique selling proposition that’s the same as all your competitors is, well, not unique!
What is a Unique Selling Proposition for Mortgage or Real Estate?
Entrepreneur.com defines a unique selling proposition as “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” (My emphasis added.)
Put into simple terms, a USP is what makes you different or sets you apart from all other mortgage or real estate professionals out there. It’s what gets a potential client to pause, un-gloss their eyes, and actually hear what you have to say.
Think about it from consumers’ standpoint. They’re getting hit every day with ads from potential mortgage and real estate companies. And they’ve become numb to them because they’re all the same! In an industry where it’s so important to stand out, so many are doing exactly what everyone else is doing.
Is Your Current USP Really Different?
Companies often tout that their USP is their service, honesty, or communication skills. Or that they have the latest technologies, the best rates, or the most unique products.
Guess what? All clients expect you to offer great service, be honest, and communicate regularly. And with rare exception, you have standard technologies, similar rates, and the same products.
You’re basically telling them that what makes you different is that you do the minimum required. Or you’re trying to hype up something that’s just not that different.
For the rest of this article, you’ll want this worksheet so you can follow along.
Scattergories: Mortgage Edition
Here’s a quick game for you. We’re going to play Scattergories: Mortgage/Real Estate Edition. For those of you who don’t know, Scattergories is a game where you’re given a letter of the alphabet and a card with 12 categories on it.
You have three minutes to think of something in each category that starts with the letter you’re given. At the end of the three minutes, you compare your words with everyone else’s, and any duplicates get crossed off.
Open up the worksheet you just downloaded. Write down everything you think makes your business different or unique. (No, they don’t have to all start with the same letter.)
Now I want you to pull up the websites of five of your colleagues or competitors (however you view them). Read through the pages of their websites. If you find any of the items listed on your paper also listed on their websites, you have to cross them off.
If you’re left with anything, this might be the closest thing you have to a true unique selling proposition for mortgage or real estate. If you have nothing left on your list, it’s time to get serious about finding something that sets you apart.
Find Your Unique Selling Proposition for Mortgage or Real Estate
It’s likely that your list is now empty. Even if it’s not, this next exercise will be a good way to further develop any ideas you have left. In order to find what your USP is, it’s important to ask the following questions. Be sure to the answers down in your worksheet.
- What do we want our market to know us for?
- What types of clients do we want to serve?
- What is one thing we do better than anyone else that we can also prove?
- What is an underserved market in our area?
- Is there anything in our processes or procedures that makes us unique?
- Do we have a compelling story?
Maybe you want to go after the VA loan market. Maybe you want to serve clients with a high net worth. Maybe you can guarantee a 10-day underwriting turnaround. Maybe it’s something entirely different.
Right now, the goal is to simply throw some ideas down on paper. Get creative, think strategically, and let the ideas fly.
There’s one thing that’s important to remember. Your unique selling proposition is something that benefits your borrower—not you. They must see it as something that’s truly unique and different. If you don’t have any idea who your audience is—or you don’t know what they want or need—you may want to take a step back. Start by figuring out who it is you’re trying to target. Check out steps one and two of this article.
But I’ll Pigeonhole Myself!
Having a USP doesn’t mean that you can only serve the market defined by your USP.
Most professionals known for carrying a certain loan product or helping a certain type of borrower still do all available loans. They just choose to target some of their marketing toward a specific audience.
Don’t believe the MYTH that if you focus on a specific type of niche or target market that you’ll turn away everyone else and your business will suffer.
That’s a bunch of B.S.
The professionals who choose to niche down and focus on a specific market end up with more business than they know what to do with.
Why? Because when you do so, you make the pool of competition smaller and smaller. Then you’re the only logical choice left.
Anyone can do a home improvement loan, but you FOCUS on them, and you’ve done 25 this year. If I want a home improvement loan, why would I choose someone else???
Develop Your Unique Selling Proposition for Mortgage or Real Estate
Once you’ve brainstormed ideas for a USP, it’s time to pick one and develop it. We need to take this one idea and hone in on the exact points that make your USP truly, well, unique! Here are some things you should research and write down about your chosen unique selling proposition for mortgage or real estate:
- In what exact way are you different than your direct competitors?
- How can you quantify this difference? What is the average compared to you?
- Who is your USP for? Describe the type of person who would be perfect for your unique service.
- Who is it not for?
- What processes do you need to put in place to guarantee your USP going forward?
This step will take some work. Take your time to do your research. If it’s quantitative, actually calculate your numbers. If it’s more qualitative data, think of the best way to present it.
Examples of a Unique Selling Proposition
Your USP could be that you do more of something. Prove it. It could be that you do something better. Prove it. It could be that you offer something that’s not available anywhere else. Explain how it’s special. Here are some examples of things you might come up with:
- We save our clients an average of $350/month on their Portland refinance—more than our top 3 competitors.
- We have the most experience out of any other VA mortgage company—over 160 years of combined experience.
- With over 85 in-depth articles about using home improvement loans to buy a house, we are the ultimate home improvement loan experts.
- We guarantee we will approve your loan in 10 days or fewer.
- We help more first-time home buyers than any other real estate company. Over 65% of our clients are first-time home buyers.
- Get a mortgage quote on our website in 60 minutes or less.
- We have the only home loan on the market that offers a 5% down payment for self-employed individuals.
Each of these examples touts a great USP. And each one also quantifies it in a way that helps prove that it’s not just puffery. Anyone can say they’re “the best” or “number one,” but few people can prove it with factual data.
Use Your Unique Selling Proposition for Mortgage or Real Estate
By now, you should have a much clearer idea of what your unique selling proposition for your mortgage or real estate business is. But what’s the point of having one if you don’t use it, right? Here are some ideas of where you should infuse your USP into what you’re doing.
You’re already getting testimonials from your clients and referral partners. This is good. Testimonials are the most influential factor in someone choosing to hire a service professional.
Step those up a notch by making sure your clients are mentioning your USP. If you close loans in 10 days or less, the testimonial should include, “They closed my home loan in 9 days. It was amazing!”
When I land on your website, the first thing I should see is your USP right there in front of me. Your website should be completely focused on your USP. It should be the main driving force behind why someone would land on your site and why they would choose to reach out and contact you.
Go through the checklist in the worksheet and make sure you have addressed all the items listed on your website.
Your content marketing should focus equally on two things: your USP and your target audience. There are likely only so many articles you can write about a USP like “we have more experience than any other VA lender.”
However, there are a multitude of articles you can write about the VA home loan process. (I should know; we have a client doing this.)
What’s cool is that all those amazing articles and social media posts all about VA loans and veterans only help solidify your USP!
Find your unique selling proposition for mortgage or real estate. Use it. Make a commitment to go all in and stand by your decision. Don’t be someone who lets their fear get the best of them.
I hope this blog post and worksheet helped you get a better grasp on what makes you unique. It’s so important that you stand out because it’s a great way to build a thriving mortgage or real estate business.