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Peanut Butter and Promises

It was a cold and rainy day. I was grocery shopping, which is one of my least favourite things to do. And suddenly, there it was... the brand of peanut butter that I love the most in all the world. (Insert angels singing sound here.) After nearly 15 years of living in Canada, my preferred brand had finally made it over the border. Giggling with excitement, I Instagrammed the occasion (obviously), and immediately put a jar in my cart. I never once looked back at the other brand that I had previously been using.

Over the past several months, I have been teaching several classes for brand new Realtors. One of the exercises we do is learning to articulate value. I usually start by asking someone to sit at my kitchen table and tell me, why should I hire you? Typically their response starts with a blank stare. With a little prompting, I get a few tentative responses... "I am the best..." "I work with the best brand..." "I have a great work ethic..." "I can get them the most money in the least amount of time..."

And so on.

Here's the problem with those statements, friends. They all start with the same word. I. As the customer, I need to understand how you are going to help me. I don't need to know what you think of yourself. I need to know why I need your services. If your value statement is more about you than it is about me, you don't have a why statement, you have an I statement.

I was thinking about this exercise yesterday as I was spreading peanut butter on a bagel. I looked at the jar and it occurred to me that I choose this brand, without fail, for the same reasons I was trying to explain in that classroom. Because I know I am going to get the same, consistent, awesome experience, every time I purchase it. I want to know that there won't be any surprises. Nothing will change since the last time I bought it. I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll like it. I already know that I will.

We spend a ton of time in this industry talking about ourselves. We spend a ton of money and effort to tell people that we are number one, or that we are the best. The reality is that the customer only cares about one thing. What will the experience of buying or selling be like for them?

How do I suggest you answer the question, the next time you are asked, why should I hire you? Start the answer with you.

"You will find that this buying or selling adventure isn't predictable. You will find that things will come up that are tough or unexpected or unpleasant. It may not be seamless or painless. But my job is to help you through each one of those steps, so you can relax and know that your home and your family are in good hands. You are going to ask a lot of questions, and it's my job to find the answers. You are going to get frustrated at times, and it's my job to listen and help find resolutions. There may be surprises and delays, but my job is to make this as smooth a transaction as it can be. We can't predict exactly how this is going to to go, but you can be sure that I'll be there for you every step of the way."

When this is what you are known for, you'll spend a lot less time telling people how great you are, and a lot more time showing them why.

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