"It only takes one thing" to distinguish yourself

Real Estate Agent with ReMax Realtec Group

"it just takes one thing to distinguish yourself from the crowd." The truth is, it can be something EVERYONE else has, but if you are the only one talking about it...then it is your ONE THING.

From time to time I like to visit Whole Foods, cruise the buffet and graze the offerings in search of lunch. The entree varies, but one selection is consistent. The beverage of choice is Moroccan Mint Green Tea made by Honest Tea.

Honest Tea, what a great name. The back story is the creator of Honest Tea become aware that the teas provided to the American consumer, prior to 1998, was actually the fragments and crumbs discarded after the leaf tea is created. It was, in essence, the sausage and hamburger of the tea economy. Making tea from actual tea leaves, the presumption of the consumer, led to the transparency that created the brand Honest Tea.

Where it is grown, how it is made, the sweetening process and added flavoring are all disclosed in the sunshine of transparency, an effort to provide a product that lives up to the brand, an honest product.

To amplify the basis of their concept, they present a real 'feel good' message that is ingenious in linking them to what everyone believes is true about themselves.....HONESTY.

So the national Honesty Experiment is launched; an incredibly clever marketing strategy under the umbrella message "How HONEST are AMERICANS?"

There are lessons a real estate professional can leverage from the observations related to Honest Tea.

1. Identify a problem that needs a solution.
An alternative to sugar sweetened drinks. (it is a shame Honest Tea was purchased by Coca-Cola)
Replacing 'sausage tea' with the real thing.

2. Create the solution
Honest Tea made from real tea leaves, pure natural product and no sugar sweeteners.

3. Broadcast the solution aligned with the consumer's desire and value.

What do you think is the problem facing your preferred customer?
The meaningful answer requires the business owner to truly define their customer. Some definitions could be the PREFERRED customer is:

  • looking to buy a condominium in a 55+ community, with a big water view, for less than $250,000 or
  • the 1st time buyer moving from an apartment to a townhouse, needing assistance with a $100,000 price point or
  • the middle-manager seeking a 3 to 5 year investment in non-conforming real estate in which they intend to live. 

Each customer group has incredibly unique problems for which your solutions must align. Your business plan has defined your business focus and expected outcomes. Combined, your preferred customer and customer needs analysis provide clarity regarding how to package your solutions in a manner effective for your preferred customer base.

For convenience, the middle example of the 1st time buyer will be used. Your business plan identified 1st time buyer activity to be profitable and the presence of inventory and buyers. Now, it must be made clear what are the PROBLEMS this population recognizes that must be overcome.

(Note: the consumer with six cases of COKE in the refrigerator will not be inspired by the solution that sounds like a 'sugerfree' product, by Honest Tea. Your solution must align with the problem they recognize.) 

How do you solve the puzzle? What are the problems a 1st time buyer faces? They could be:

  1. Can I afford to move?
  2. Do I have the money to buy?
  3. Is the house I like even out there?
  4. I am afraid that something may happen in my future leading to financial calamity.
  5. How will my offer be competitive in a cash market?
  6. How can I avoid a bidding environment?
  7. I am afraid of what I don't know.
    (You can add your own to finish off the top ten 1st time buyer problems)

Pick just one problem for which you have:

  • A clear solution
  • A differentiating solution
  • A proprietary solution
  • A vertical or horizontal solution (requires affiliates or partners)

For convenience, lets choose #3, from the first list, as the problem, inventory, and a differentiation solution.

The one solution will be to create/have the inventory that meets the buyer needs.

"The home a 1st time buyer needs is not on the market yet, but you will find it!"

Solution: FIND IT

NOTE: As you can see this solution is not limited to the 1st time buyer segment but can be leveraged to address the problem you know the First Time Buyer really has.


Some years ago iPhone introduce the iPhone C.
The phone can do a gazillion things, but the ads were only about color.

The Lincoln ad sells prestige...one thing.

Verizon sells speed of connection, their one thing

Sprint, unlimited data, that's one thing.

Cadillac...Be Bold....a one thing message for the discriminating buyer.

Hyundai .... sure, they have leg room.

Volkswagen, high performance diesel motoring (oops)

Jack Daniels...the devils cut .... nothing about the Bourbon.

Other 'one thing' solution messages could be about convenience, service, real people, empowerment and recently, the one thing is tied to social cause, health or research fund raising initiatives.

Creating a marketing message, a branding message, that aligns with a fabricated, perceived or real need is the catalyst to success in a branding initiative. For those in the real estate business, the same alignment can be created in the marketing vision.

Instead of attempting to communicate "I can do it all" to everyone with real estate on their mind, focus the preferred customer in your 'One Thing' and wrap your message around that one thing.

Let us create together a 'one thing' that does not, to the best of my knowledge. exist at this time.

Your ONE THING is created by collaboration with like minded entrepreneurs to create an inventory of real estate not yet ready for public presentation. Your 'ONE THING' is knowledge of and access to, an invisible or hard to find inventory.

What is the benefit, result, solution or outcome a buyer or seller could enjoy through access to invisible inventory ONE THING offer?

  1. Privilege
  2. Private
  3. Non-competitive
  4. Silent
  5. Easy
  6. Convenient
  7. Choice

Certainly little effort would be needed to create the Faster, Easier, Cheaper, Better solutions for which people are willing to pay, that will draw those with real estate on their mind into a well presented program.

The 'ONE THING' this example presents creates privilege and exclusivity, both a premium booster.

In all the examples shared regarding major companies and their 'One Thing' messages, each one has a long list of attributes, however, those business owners and managers understood the principles of cognitive overload as described in my blog titled Horror Vacui - "I can't have NOTHING!"  There is elegant, sophisticated, effective simplicity in a ONE THING message.

Keep is simple.... focus like a laser, to make your message about your ONE THING.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
REMAX Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL





Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 12/18/2015 11:34 PM
  2. Carol Williams 04/25/2016 08:43 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
marketing strategies
annette lawrence

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David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

Honest Tea is just one more example of a quality product doing well in the market. I’ll have to try it.

Dec 16, 2015 07:07 AM #1
Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

Hello Annette, this blog should win a feature but probably want. I see ones that have no business being featured but that is my opinion. Sorry for the rant, I love this blog and makes the reader stop and think of a solution that fits their model.

Your quote is my favorite: "Each customer group has incredibly unique problems for which your solutions must align". Love the analogy and thanks to "Honest Tea".

Dec 16, 2015 07:45 AM #2
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I find it astonishing that you got all that out of one bottle of Honest T. Probably lots of bottles of Honest T over a period of time. I love the way you wrapped it around and created a message about it. Fabulous!

Dec 18, 2015 11:39 AM #3
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Very insightful post about a topic - marketing - that I have always found challenging - was not my area of expertise when in Corporate America.  I concur with Bob Ratliff, Broker Associate - REALTOR® CRS, GRI ~ 512-587-5689 that this was worthy of a feature star - but - very happy to re-blog as the next best thing.  Thank You Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041 for this gem of a post!

Dec 18, 2015 11:34 PM #4
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

A very Merry Christmas to you too Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041 

Dec 19, 2015 11:24 PM #5
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This was a thought-stimulating post. I still feel "new" in terms of the real estate industry and as such have been supporting everything that has presented itself to me - buyers, sellers, renters, landlords. I've helped first time and repeat buyers/sellers, and have not been focused at all (except on getting to closings/lease signings). To start on the process of defining my "one thing", I need to start by defining my preferred customer(s) and take it from there.

Thanks for the interesting post.

Dec 21, 2015 05:48 AM #6
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Annette. I think your analogy is apt with this. It is about the focus I think.

Apr 25, 2016 11:06 PM #7
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Annette - what a great blog. It speaks to finding your niche.  I have bookmarked this and thanks to Carol Williams for re blogging.

Apr 26, 2016 12:08 AM #8
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Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041

Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ
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