How many of you want to burn up your competition? I do not mean literally! Don't you want to be the best? If you don't, you should probably consider another profession or become accustomed to mediocracy since we are in one of the most competitive industries. For those of you who want to be the best, have you truly considered who best is in your area and what they are doing to be the best?
In order to be the best, you need to understand your competition as well as your environment. You will need to know their strengths and weaknesses. Then you will need to know your own strengths and weaknesses, then compare them to your competition. Where do you excel? Where do you fall short? All of this is the beginning of what companies and their management personnel call a SWOT Analysis.
SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT is basicalli a scan or review of a company's/person's internal and external environment. A SWOT Analysis can be a useful tool for examining your own skills, career preferences, and career opportunities. Doing a personal SWOT analysis involves taking a long, hard look at what your individual strengths and weaknesses are and then assessing the opportunities and threats of your environment (competition).
Strengths- your capabilities and the resources available to you
- Branding of yourself
- Your reputation with clients and customers
- Advantages from proprietary knowledge
- Location of your business
- Any aspect of you or your business that adds value to your service
Weaknesses- Lacking in knowledge, experience, training, etc. can be considered weaknesses.
- Lack of prospecting program
- Lack of designation
- Lack of community involvement
- Undifferentiated services
- Poor reputation with the public
Opportunities- an analysis of your external environment may reveal opportunities for profit, market share growth, etc.
- Joining a more reputable brokerage
- Choosing a niche that is not currently being served
- Incorporating new technologies
- Utilizing training/designations being offered by company, local board, or state association
Threats- abything that could harm you from a business or financial standpoint
- New brokerage opening up in your area
- Discount brokerages
- Competition incorporates new technology not available to you
- Transer Tax
- Law suit against you for unethical behavior/business
The SWOT analysis is a tool to help you gain a competitive advantage over your competition and position you and your business to be the agent/company of choice by customers.
Here are some rules to follow when doing a SWOT Analysis:
- Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses
- The SWOT analysis should distinguish between where your are today and where you want to be in the future
- Be specific
- SWOT should always be used in comparison of your competition;"Am I better than or worse than my competition?"
- The SWOT Analysis should be simple. Avoid getting too complicated with it.
- The is completely subjective! Two people will usually come up with different results. Once again, be realistic and honest with yourself.
A SWOT analysis is also very effective when used with Porter's Five-Forces Analysis. I suggest taking an intro marketing class or management class at your local community college or university. Community colleges' tuition is usually cheaper with good results from the class. I attended an University so I am sure I overpaid for some of my intro classes!
Anyway, I hope this has helped you so you can position yourself to be The Top Agent. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Try to research the answers as best you can so you will be armed with the best information.
- Who is your competition?
- What is your competition known for?
- What do they have to offer?
- What is your company known for?
- What do you have to offer?
- How does your marketing compare with your competition?
- How do you as an agent, portray yourself compared to your competition?
- Through the eyes of a customer/client, how does your service stack up to your expectations?
Good Luck in 2008 and I hope you achieve everything you set out to do!