How to Stand Out From Your Competition

stand out from the crowd

Image by bosela via

You hear a lot about having a “unique selling proposition,” or something that makes you different from all the other software developers, web designers, and online marketers in the world.

Easy to say, but how do you actually stand out from your competition? What can you say or do that will make you different (and memorable)? And what if you’re just starting your business?

No experience, no awards, no problem

My mom is about to start a new career in real estate.  We looked at the other agents’ bios and they all listed years of experience, awards won, and commitments to personal service.

For mom, highlighting years of experience won’t work  — because she doesn’t have any. She hasn’t won any awards or set any sales records either.

A commitment to personal service is fine, but it’s so overused that it’s virtually meaningless.  Who advertises a lack of commitment to their clients? Nobody.

Stand out from the competition

So, after talking to her about her problem, I decided to take a completely different approach. There was one thing all the other bios had in common. and it was offered a great way for my mom to stand out.  They were all self-centered. The bios focused on the real estate agent, instead of focusing on the buyer or seller.  So, I decided to turn that around.

Instead of emphasizing her credentials and prizes, I wrote her a bio that talked directly to her potential clients and focused on their needs (rather than hers).

It’s got a section for buyers, and one for sellers: directing people to the information that’s relevant for them.

Tell stories

Accolades, number of properties sold, or sales records are great, but what most buyers (or sellers) want to know isn’t what you did for other people.  They want to know how you can help them.

So, that’s what her bio does. It doesn’t list facts and figures, it tells stories instead.

The buyers section starts by saying that the first thing she’ll do is ask you what you need.  The last thing she’ll do is to cook dinner for you and deliver it the day you move in.

Her background emphasizes the memorable things she’s done, like being commodore of the yacht club, running a catering business, and teaching knitting at a women’s prison.

Think she’ll stand out?  Will she be worth talking about? It’s not only more interesting, it’s a better story.  At least, I think so (I am, of course, totally objective).

Real Estate Marketing Mistakes

Know how they run those ads before the movies? The ones for local businesses? Haircuts, casual restaurants, real estate agents and so on?

Given half a chance, most people seem to ignore those ads in favor of keeping their noses in their phones, or munching on popcorn and snacks.

Captive audience, bad message

There was one the other day that stuck in my head, but for the wrong reasons. It promised XYZ Real Estate was a “cutting edge” company, a leader in real estate since _____ with innovative solutions.

I’m not in the market for a house (don’t have the $4,000,000 it takes to buy one around here), but if I were, this company would not be at the top of my list.

They’re trying to build themselves up, rather than tell me how they can help me.

No differentiation. No niche. And no message that matters to a client. They’ve spent a lot of money on a marketing mistake that likely won’t get them many sales (or even phone calls inquiring about their services).

A better marketing idea

Why not skip the useless gobbledygook and offer something that does matter.

For instance, how about help getting a loan. Or a list of 10 things I need to know before I buy a house. That wouldn’t fit in a movie ad, but a phone number to call would.

Or, what about an offer of relocation assistance (what’s in my new neighborhood, getting kids enrolled in school, local grocery stores). Another tactic could be specializing in townhouses or condos or large families needing a home (space is at a premium in New York).

Any of these strategies would have made this real estate agent really stand out. And get more clients too.

What do you think?

Do you pay any attention to those ads? Do you like them? Hate them? Do you want some popcorn? 😉