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Creating a “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition) is one of the most important first steps you can do to increase sales from your list.  The video below is very important to completing this first step.

Examples of great USPs

A great USP is one that makes your prospects go “Wow!  How do you do that?” and gets them to call you first.  Taking time to select the most powerful USP possible will generate the most listing opportunities for you long term.

1. “I pay handymen and painters to prepare your home … at NO COST to you”

Key to success:  this is a powerful USP because it offers to solve a problem for your seller — getting the home ready to sell and paying for it.  The specific details of the USP and the amounts you pay do not matter very much.  The key to this USP’s success is it creates a great value perception and curiosity and gets sellers to contact you first.

Suggested details for this USP:  (1) you have a budget on how much you spend based on the listing price.  A suggested budget might be:  $500 up to $350,000 listing price; $1,000 above $350,000 and up to $600,000; $1,500 above $600,000 listing price, (2) the budget can be used for any costs related to selling the home — from landscaping, painting, sheet rocking, updating fixtures, etc, and (3) you can choose to pay these costs up front (generally works best for getting a listing) or you can pay the costs at closing by reimbursing the seller for expenses or simply reducing your commission by your budgeted amount.

Likely cost per listing: your cost per listing will be whatever amount you establish for the budget.  Rather than looking at it as a “cost”, you should look at it as a marketing investment that gets you listings you may never have had.

How effective is this USP?  One of our clients had been using the “Your home sold in ___ days or I pay you $___!” USP (shown below) for several years.  Then he tested this “I pay for a handyman” USP.  This USP was so successful he changed all of his marketing to it.  It helped him penetrate new farms with higher priced homes and was part of his success in quickly become the #1 selling agent in those areas.

2. “Your home SOLD in ___ days or I pay YOU $___”

Key to success:  the “Sold” portion should be FASTER than homeowners expect.  The amount you’ll “pay” should be enough, in comparison to your commission, to make the seller “sit up and take notice.”  For example, if the seller is in a $300,000 home and expects homes to sell (go off market) within 1 month, then saying “Your home SOLD in 90 days or I pay you $100” doesn’t work — it’s not exciting.  To make it exciting, say “Your home SOLD in 8 days or I pay you $1,500.”  That will get more attention.  Note:  you can just as easily say “Your home Under Contract in 8 days or I pay you $1,500.”

How much you should offer to “pay” on the guarantee:  Taking the example above “Your home SOLD in 8 days or I pay you $1,500”, we recommend enough dollar value to make the homeowner pay attention.  In the case of a $300,000 home where you’ll earn $9,000 in seller commissions at 3%, $1,500 would be a great amount — that’s about 17% of the commission).  If the average home in your list is $500,000 we would recommend offering to “pay” at least $2,500.  The higher the amount you offer to pay, the more attention you’ll get from a potential seller and more likely you’ll get a call.

Suggested details for this USP: follow these three guidelines when you negotiate with the seller and protect yourself from having to “pay” for a missed guarantee —  (1) you and the sellers must agree on what you believe the sales price needs to be to sell it in the guaranteed time frame, (2) if you don’t have it under contract in the specified period of time, then if the sellers feel you haven’t done everything you could have done to get it under contract and wants you to pay them, the sellers must request you pay them, and (3) you only pay once you sell the house.

Likely cost per listing: requiring the sellers to say you didn’t do your best and to request you pay them means most sellers will never ask you to pay them.  If you do your job well and service them well, they will appreciate your effort.  One client who uses this approach shares that only about 1 out of every 60 to 80 sellers request payment on the guarantee.

How effective is this USP?  One of our clients who was using this USP decided to remove it from his marketing pieces.  INSTANTLY he went from getting 2 new listings a month to 1 new listing a month.  When he realized that, he immediately put it back on!

3. “My 21 Step Marketing Plan sells homes for more money”

Key to success: this is kind of a “catch all” USP.  It’s generic and offers some curiosity.  This is certainly our third pick out of these USPs, and is recommended for the agent who is uncomfortable with one of the USPs above.

Suggested details for this USP: what are your 21 steps?  Most agents have more than 21 steps in marketing a home. Everything you do or direct a homeowner to do in preparing a home to sell is a step. For example, declutter, paint, make repairs, replaced burned out light bulbs, landscape, stage, photograph, etc