One of the things you will often hear from the marketing gurus out there is the constant talk about ‘value’. The concept is that you can’t just be spewing product information and pushing your message out to the masses. People have become resistant to this kind of marketing. You need to provide ‘value’ is the phrase that we always hear and discuss. While I completely, emphatically and 100% agree, providing value is not always as easy as it may sound.
Often times customers don’t understand or recognize the need for the ‘value’ of your product or service. As a mortgage broker the value that we provide to consumers is substantial and includes:
- Educating them on product options
- Tailoring a product to their specific needs
- Shopping the market for the best interest rate
- Reviewing their mortgage needs on a regular basis
- Help identify strategies to pay down their mortgage faster
- Providing a high level of service to their clients
- Keeping them informed throughout the process
- Becoming an extension of their sales process
- Providing options for their clients
- Building fences around their clients
A logical thought pattern then would be to provide value by offering these services for free or unsolicited. Unfortunately many consumers or referral sources are going to see an ulterior motive in these tactics. It is therefore easy for your value to get lost in the mix.
So how do we provide ‘value’ and gain the opportunity to build a relationship with a potential customer or referral source? I have run into a couple of scenarios lately that I thought demonstrated a few out of the box ways of providing value.
The first example happened to me in a sort of unexpected way. As mortgage brokers one of the prime referral sources for my team is REALTORS®. As I dove into the world that is Twitter it made sense for me to connect with other industry members as well as REALTORS®. Obviously if I started tweeting rates and service offerings to the REALTORS® I was following (were following me), I would very quickly become ‘unfollowed’ and largely ignored. So how could I provide value without it becoming a blatant solicitation? Well, oddly enough the opportunity hit me while I was away on vacation and up late with a bout of insomnia.
One of the REALTORS® I follow posted a tweet about a run time he posted that he was not entirely happy about. I tweeted back that it was quite respectable and mentioned that I needed to ‘get back into it’. He replied immediately with a ‘Are you a runner?’. The conversation went on and I explained how I was an on and off runner and had done the Edmonton Marathon back in 2003. I asked if he had a race planned and when he indicated that he was new to running and was training for a race in September in my area. Well, I needed a race to train for (don’t run otherwise) so I went online on my iPhone and registered for the same race. I tweeted that to him and he replied with something to the effect of “Wow, I like it. Got time for coffee next week. Need to know about winter running”.
Bang! I’m in. My value to him was in my experience running. It had nothing to do with my profession or business, but it opened the door and allowed me to create a new relationship. Now notice in this case he was the one to initiate the meeting. How do you think the scenario would have played out had I tweeted him something like “I can give your clients stellar rates. Want to meet for a coffee?”. Yeah, that meeting likely would not have taken place.
It is important to understand that value doesn’t always look like what you think it might. Find other ways to provide value to your customers and referral sources. After all, the point of providing value is to make a connection and forge a relationship. It doesn’t always have to happen in your primary line of business.
I have a few other examples of similar scenarios that I will save for future posts.