Differentiate or Die: How to Stay Alive in Today's Market
By Richard Elkman, MIRM, Group Two Advertising
To stay alive during this very different housing downturn ― different because it has nothing to do with high interest rates or high unemployment — you need to dramatically cut overhead and land positions while increasing operational efficiencies.
The next most important step to take is to "differentiate" your company and product from the competition.
To achieve this, you must zero in on what makes your company special and focus everyone's attention — consumers' and employees' — on that distinction.
Because we are in a "buyer's market," builders are focusing on "discounts and deals," but they are not telling the limited numbers of home buyers what the real difference is between their company and the competition.
In addition, relying on discounts and deals puts small and mid-size builders at a disadvantage. They do not have the financial resources of the national or large regional home builders who can afford to sell homes at cost or below.
Positioning Is the Key
What builders have to do in this market ― and beyond ― is branding or “positioning.”
Look how these companies have used “positioning” to stand out from their competition, and how familiar that positioning is to you. Nike says, “Just Do It.” Greyhound recommends that travelers “Leave the Driving to Us.” Burger King tells customers to “Have It Your Way.” And BMW calls its cars, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Many BMW owners agree.
To position your company, first follow these five steps to evaluate your company and position. Be sure to be brutally honest.
1. What "position" do you own?
2. What "position" do you want to own?
3. What is your strategy to achieve the desired "position?”
4. Do you have the resources to achieve your strategy and goals?
5. Do you match your "position?”
Once you have thoroughly and honestly evaluated your positioning, commit your resources to strengthen your positioning.
Positioning is not the "magic bullet" for success, but it just may help you stay in business until your market improves. You don't have to outspend the competition — you just have to outsmart them.
Richard Elkman, MIRM, is president of Group Two Advertising, one of the country’s largest real estate marketing companies. He regularly appears as a moderator or speaker at the International Builders’ Show and major housing conventions. He is a past president of the Institute of Residential Marketing and publishes the free, bi-monthly marketing and advertising e-newsletter, Challenges & Solutions. For more information, e-mail Elkman, or call him at 215-561-2200.
Get the Marketing Edge With IRM
Meet the current market’s sales and marketing challenges with Institute of Residential Marketing (IRM) classes.
Courses include “The Challenge of New Home Sales Management,” “Understanding Housing Markets and Consumers,” “Marketing Strategies, Plans and Budgets” and more. The courses are part of the credits needed to earn the MIRM designation, the top-level achievement for professionals in new home marketing.
Find upcoming IRM classes by clicking here.
Survive Changing Markets
Bill Webb, MIRM, shows you how in “Sweet Success in New Home Sales,” available through BuilderBooks.com.
This book provides powerful techniques for selling more homes and making more money in leaner times. "Sweet Success in New Home Sales" lays out the proven approaches for crafting and delivering sales excellence.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.