What is it that successful businesses do that their lesser-competition doesn’t? Is luck simply on their side, or is there a special trick we’re not all privy to that makes them cultivate a loyal following and promised dollars time and time again? What makes Apple bigger than all other computer companies, Chipotle hotter than other fast food venues, and Radio Shack just a memory in hundreds of empty stores across the country?
Communication. And this communication trick doesn’t just apply to the big guys at Apple. It applies to any brand, any industry, and any service.
Simon Senek discusses the Golden Circle Concept in his latest TED talk. The idea is that the most influential people and companies, from the Wright Brothers, to Martin Luther King Jr., to Apple, all share one secret. The way they communicate. They inspire others because they convey their message from the inside-out, not from the outside-in. They start with what they personally believe and end with what they’re selling. They make you care about their philosophy before they try to get you on board. Instinctively, organizations communicate from the outside-in, but Senek suggests changing the order of communication to:
Why You Do it –> How you do it –> What you do.
Senek’s idea got us thinking. Why shouldn’t real estate follow the same philosophy? Realtors are brands just as much as Apple is a brand, as much as Crayola is a brand, and realtors can inspire and change the industry in the same way the Wright Brother’s changed flight. What if we borrowed Senek’s philosophy and geared it towards realtors? What if real estate agents started selling from the inside-out too? What would that change? What would that cause? Where would that take us?
We call it The YOU® Brand and it’s specifically for realtors. The philosophy is inspired by Senek’s Golden Circle, but the concept applies specifically to the individual realtor. Oftentimes, realtors don’t look at themselves as a brand. They show and sell properties without thinking of including their personal philosophy in their approach at all. Not only should realtors include a bit of themselves, they should make the “YOU®” their starting point.
Let’s break it down.
The YOU® Brand consists of three components: Why, How, and What.
- Why you do it? What do you believe? What motivates you as a realtor? What sets you apart from other realtors out there? Why are you in real estate?
- How you do it? How do you perform? How do you do your job? Themed open houses, freshly baked cookies, scented candles… whatever your style may be. This includes everything involved in your entire “branded” experience.
- What do you do? You sell real estate.
Everyone does #3. Realtors in the YOU® Brand include #1 and #2, in sequential order, setting them apart from the competition. Who wants to be the same as everyone else? If Apple was like everyone else, they wouldn’t be the phenomenon they are today.
Senek uses them as an example in his TED talk. He explains that if Apple was like all the competition out there, there sales pitch would be, “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?” This is boring and uninspired, yet it’s how the majority of people attempt to make a sale. A poor real estate pitch, in this case, would be telling potential clients, “We have the best realtors in town. We always find our customers exactly what home they’re looking for. Let us find you one.” This isn’t doing anything new or anything that the potential clients aren’t getting from everyone else.
Apple takes a different approach and starts with “we believe.” Senek describes Apple’s successful pitch as something like, “We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The approach here is totally different and all they did was change the order in which they communicated. People aren’t sold by hearing what you do, they choose you as their realtor when they understand why, day in and day out, you do what you do.
The YOU® Brand works because consumers purchase the why, not the what. Express why you do what you do, and consumers will be all the more willing to jump on board with you.
Take Senek’s example of MP3 players. He explains that Apple’s focus on “the why” makes consumers perfectly at ease buying not only computers from them, but also MP3 players, phones, or whatever else they come out with next. Apple, at its core, is a computer company, but take other computer companies, like Dell, and their approach is totally different. Dell makes computers. Dell makes computers well. But when Dell transitioned into the MP3 player business, no one bought them. They were functional, well-designed products, but no one bought them. Why? Because consumers didn’t know what Dell believed. They only knew that Dell sold items they might want. Consumers weren’t sold on Dell’s “why philosophy.”
Every real estate company has properties and homes available to people in need of them. Your goal shouldn’t be to do business with all of those people. Instead, aim for the people who believe what you believe, who share common motivations. Why? Because those people will be the ones to champion for you. They’ll be your most loyal customers. They’ll bring new ones through the door.
To motivate and inspire potential clients, you need to speak from the inside-out. You just do. And before you start playing devil’s advocate and arguing the other side, know that this is rooted in science. It’s biologically proven.
The part of your brain responsible for decision making consists of two regions: the neocortex and the limbic systems. Sensory perception, conscious thought and language all involve the neocortex. It is the “What you do” and “How you do it” area of communication.
According to Dartmouth, the limbic system is responsible for arousal, motivation, reinforcing behaviors and decision making– basically all our feelings including loyalty. So when we speak from the outside-in, we spark behavior and action. Feelings and action are closely linked in the brain. Starting with feelings encourages more action than the “what” and the “how” do.
Decision based communication is inside-out communication.
And decision-based communication is what motivates people. Following The YOU® Brand, a realtor might position their brand with something like, “I am a proud Aggie and I believe in building and maintaining the values and culture that make the Bryan-College State area great. I do that by helping families find a perfect home for their needs. Are you in need of a new home?”
Right away, this statement brands the realtor as someone compassionate and involved in the community with a desire to help families looking to move to the Bryan-College Station area. They’re not just another realtor, they’re also a purveyor and protector of Aggie-culture. Someone living in the area just like you plan to. Someone you can trust.
Build A Rock Solid Base
This form of communication promotes more than a fan-base, it promotes a following. It breeds loyalty. Communicate this way and you’ll develop early adopters. These are the people who were first inspired by what gets you out of bed every morning. They become your vocal-champions. They’re the ones that wait in line for the new iPhone so they can have it before anyone else. This early fan base is key. It helps you grow your brand, establish your reputation and maintain business.
Your actions affirm your beliefs. Your beliefs motivate behavior. Follow The YOU® Brand philosophy and you’ll be leading the pack. Start with “why” and make your beliefs clear. Your use of The YOU® Brand will inspire both buyers and sellers to choose you to be their realtor. They’ll also bring their optimism and belief in you. Belief that you are who they need, that their experience will be a positive one, and that the work will result in the perfect home. Do that and word of mouth will spread, firmly planting you among the leading realtors in the area, where your business and livelihood can flourish.
All by just changing the way you communicate.