I had the pleasure of attending my first Biznik Marketing Masterminds group the other day. Wow, was it refreshing to have other business owners say it like it is – or at least how they think it is! I am very appreciative of the group, and found the responses to my question, especially the critical ones, to be very helpful.
I asked the group for help with how to introduce a new disclosure product to the real estate market here in the Northwest. I have created an incredible (in my opinion) natural and environmental hazard disclosure report, primarily targeted to participants in a real estate transaction. It was designed to quickly show buyers any natural and environmental hazards surrounding a property they were purchasing. It also gives tips on how to mitigate any hazards that were found, so they can protect their family and their investment. For sellers, it is intended to help them with completing the Form 17 and protecting them from future lawsuits, frivolous or not. Agents that use the reports can be seen as providing an added benefit for their client, while also providing a little “CYA” for themselves.
The comment from a participant of the Mastermind’s meeting that stands out most in my mind is “it sounds like my product is a solution, looking for a problem.” That was immediately followed up with “And I don’t have a problem”. Another attendee retorted “You don’t think you have a problem”.
This exchange, along with others in that session, made clear to me that I have a perception problem. Or better yet, a presentation problem. First of all, they didn’t get what my offering was. So, I need to work on my elevator pitch. Second, real estate deals in Washington have happened for eons without my product, so why should they bother with it now? Agents, my primary target market, don’t see the value in what my company offers. So how do I get that message across to them? How do I bring a concept that’s new to Washington, but definitely not new to real estate, here to the Northwest? That’s the question I am seeking the answer to.
Thankfully, the group asked me to clarify what exactly I provided. (I’m so thankful for the rare opportunity to pitch again. Usually you get one try and if you blow it, opportunity lost!) So I explained in a little more detail what Northwest Disclosures actually provides. Someone piped up “So, it’s kind of like a Carfax for houses?” Well, yeah, sort of. We share known facts affecting the house in order to help with the buying decision. I guess that’s what Carfax does too, except for cars obviously. With that simple association, I had nods of understanding from the group.
Then my main objector mentioned above, said she bought a house many years ago when a home inspection was unheard of. It cost her dearly the very next year! She suffered major water damage that could have been caught with an inspection, but instead she was a victim of “buyers beware” and was out of luck – and a ton of money. Her point was that things change, they evolve. What once was uncommon practice is now run of the mill stuff. People almost never buy a house without an inspection anymore. She agreed that perhaps my offering could fall into the same category. The market just doesn’t understand the benefit of a hazard disclosure, yet.
One more thing they asked while obviously bracing for some outrageous amount was “how much does it cost?” I replied “$149” and I immediately felt the room relax. The nugget I gleaned from this is because the price is not on my marketing piece, people feared that it was too expensive. It was an automatic assumption and it’s costing me opportunities! It seemed everyone in the room agreed that the peace of mind my report provides is EASILY worth $149, and I should be telling people the price upfront. Duly noted! I’m working on fixing that pronto.
So, what’s the point of this story? Well, a couple of things really.
1) I would love to know your perception of my product. What’s your honest reaction, whether you’re an agent of not.
2) With a free membership to Biznik, I got to attend a Marketing Mastermind meeting that might have saved my business. There really are some amazing, and free, resources out there.
3) We’re offering our custom reports free for 90 days, just so people will give it a try. Would you be willing to do a no-obligation tryout? If not, why not?
Your replies would really help this small business out.