To distinguish yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional you must be able to instantly articulate how you stand out from your competition You must be able to answer the question: What is your “VA” (Value Added).
Most of what used to differentiate you, such as integrity, competence and local market knowledge is simply not enough. These attributes have become the commodities of the trade in the same way MLS search, via IDX, has become a commodity on any broker or agent website.
For purveyors of luxury goods and services the #1 challenge is commoditization. Sooner or later, without offering a strong Value Added service, you will have to resort to competing just based on price. Look what is happening in retail!
An increasingly large numbers consumers are doing their shopping research at retail stores but do not actually buy there. Instead, they comparison shop for the best prices online (sometimes right in the store with their smart phones). At sites such as Amazon, they can purchase the same product for less in one click and also get free 2-day shipping. Or, perhaps, the consumer discovers that the same item is on sale at a competing store just a few blocks away.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
During a recent business trip to the East Coast we were able to spend some time checking out the specialty shops and boutiques in Georgetown, Washington D.C.. There, we discovered the Keith Lipert Gallery who specializes in contemporary, affordable fashion jewelry and decorative art. Lipert travels the fashion and cultural capitals of the world to find distinctive pieces that are often crafted by small family-owned businesses. His clientele is both sophisticated and international, people who not only appreciate his adroitness at discovering unique hidden treasures, but also appreciate his extraordinary personalized service.
As customers peruse the displays of fashion jewelry, Lipert will approach them with an item that he feels would suit them and insists they try it on with his assistance. There is no pressure here. He just wants to make your shopping experience extraordinary, like it used to be in Europe and still is in some cases. It allows him to engage his customers in a dialogue that does well beyond self-service.
This “back to the future” customer service approach plus his offering of unique items that cannot be found elsewhere is his VA. What is yours?
To read what is your value added, Part 1, click here.
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