Are You Selling To Your Competitors

by Victor Lund on June 14, 2016

CommunicationsCompanies across the real estate spectrum who are selling to their competitors are having fantastic results. The process of expanding your communication strategy to include competitors is found to drive more new business than ever imagined.

In the old days, companies locked down their communications plans to hide from sharing information with their competitors. Today, the overwhelming trend is to occupy more share of voice to position your company as a market leader. WAV Group consulting works with Associations of REALTORS®, Multiple Listing Service Providers (MLS), and technology firms to implement these programs through WAV Group Communications. Below are some examples, some of which are customer examples, others which are not.

Association of REALTORS® Example

San Diego Association of REALTORS® has a vision to unite all Associations in San Diego County under one Association. They do a number of things that aggregates the other Associations, but the impact has been to profoundly draw more agents to join their Association. SDAR is not a client, but we watch their strategies carefully

  1. They email their newsletter to non-Association members to keep them informed about the services they offer.
  2. They open small service centers in competitions territories to provide local Association services.
  3. They invite county wide Association members to their events and conventions.
  4. They provide new member incentives.
  5. Use your Public Relations to introduce your value in the marketplace through local TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines, etc.

Many of these strategies seem unsavory, but if you are competitions for Board of Choice and your Board of Directors tells you to grow – then this is what you need to do. Today, SDAR has about half of the Association members in their county.

Multiple Listing Example

The California Association of REALTORS® provides MLS services through California Regional MLS (CRMLS). It has grown to over 80,000 subscribers and is the largest MLS in America.

  1. Leverage the relationship with the California Association of REALTORS® to communicate CRMLs offerings to all State Association members.
  2. Lobby directors of competitive MLSs to inform them of the offering
  3. Get involved in RESO, Council of MLS, and speak at national conferences
  4. Leverage Public Relations to develop your MLS brand in local media and real estate business media.

California Regional MLS has compelling and competitive offerings. From humble beginnings with 40,000 subscribers, they have evolved to double their size. There are about 200,000 to 250,000 possible members at CAR, so they have plenty of room to grow.

Technology Firm Example

Technology firms often do a better job that most Associations or MLSs at communicating with Non-Clients. But there is plenty of room for improvement in this area. Here are a few strategies for broad communication that we see as effective.

  1. Add potential customers to your customer list communications or create a separate newsletter content channel for them. The focus should be on thought leadership and case studies that tell customer success stories and strategy execution.
  2. Invite potential customers to your user group meetings.
  3. Have regular webinars that are not product demos, but focused around strategy and execution.
  4. Attend and sponsor conferences. I heard from one of the portals that they sponsor and/or attend more than 450 events a year.
  5. Leverage Public Relations to tell news stories about your customer successes and send them not only to leading business journals like RE Technology, Inman News, RIS Media, but go deeper into blog sites, state and local Association magazines, and other corners of the publishing industry that are looking for content.

Real Estate Brokerage Example

There is nothing that irritates your competitors more than seeing your communications in the market place. This is a particularly good for agent recruiting and retention. These communications are not only focused to consumers, but also through industry trades. A great example of this is BHHS Fox and Roach, one of the largest brokerages in America.

  1. Social Media Advertising
  2. Billboard Advertising
  3. Print Advertising in Newspaper and Magazine
  4. Case studies submitted to RE Technology, Inman News, RIS Media
  5. Participation in conferences
  6. Newsletters to non-company agents
  7. Involvement in MLS, Association Boards of Directors, Real Estate Standards
  8. Political involvement
  9. Charitable involvement
  10. City, County Development involvement

In summary, firms that focus inward with their communications are missing a lot of opportunities to claim their share of the larger community conversation that impacts the reputation and opportunities in the marketplace that can make a difference in overall business development. There are two key reasons why. The first is that a firm may not have a well developed strategy with deliverables to address the opportunity. The second is that they may not have staff resources to fulfill the time and materials commitment. WAV Group helps with both of these. Take some time to reflect on your outward communications to see if there are ways that you can improve.

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