Remember “show and tell?” Think back to when you were just a child in grade school. It’s your first day of class after summer break. Your new teacher asks you to present to the class about something exciting you’ve done over your vacation later that week during “show-and-tell.”
Maybe you went to Disney World, so you bring to class pictures and objects from Epcot Center and the 3 favorite countries you visited. Then you explain what the objects represent and what you liked best about each of your favorite countries. Pretty cool and engaging, right? Now, think about this…what if all you did was the “telling” part. Would the impact on your classmates and teacher have been as great? Of course not. Your story would have been nowhere near as dynamic and likely would have bored them.
It’s too bad that this very simple but very important childhood lesson on the art of engaging your audience has been lost in adulthood as we strive to build our personal and corporate brands.
Let me explain…
Think about your company, whether you’re a mortgage company, title company, appraisal firm, LOS provider or what have you…what claims of greatness do you make on your website and in other sales materials? What evidence do you “show” your audience to support these claims?
If you take a look at a handful of randomly selected companies in the mortgage industry, here are some common claims of distinction they share…
- nationally accredited mortgage advisors
- fast, personal service
- exceptional service
- among the fastest growing mortgage companies
- reliable service
- friendly experts
- loan officers are responsive
- customer service is our priority
- remarkable customer service
- industry leading turn-around time
- unmatched innovation
- excellent rates
These are all really nice things to say. In fact, they are so nice that several sound similar and variations of these statements are used just about everywhere. So what level of importance does your audience assign to ANY of these? Probably not much if you can’t show them how your dedication to “service,” for example, is better than someone else’s dedication to service.
By themselves, these statements provide the “tell” without the “show.” If you simply add in the “show” to prove what you’re saying is true, think of what a different experience it would be for your online visitors! Now you would be giving them a reason to actually contact you over someone else, halting their search, pulling them in to learn more.
One of the central tenets of conveying your corporate brand is showing proof that what you say is based in reality, not just a copy point. In the process of developing your brand and coming up with the characteristics that define you, it’s certainly legitimate to say you have “unmatched innovation” or that you have “exceptional service.” But, if you’re going to hang your hat on such statements, then show some proof that they are actually true. This is how your brand is developed. If you don’t have anything to show right now, then you need to determine if this is a characteristic that exists now or is aspirational. If it exists now, then it’s up to you to collect the evidence to tout. If it’s aspirational, then a plan to move in that direction should be established and followed with benchmarks along the way so it becomes reality.
For example, if you tout “unmatched innovation,” could you link to an article in Mortgage Technology, an interview appearing in one of the primary mortgage industry trade publications that backs this up or an award? If you can, that’s great!
Similarly, If you tout “exceptional service” as a benefit to doing business with you, then you might consider providing video testimonials speaking to this from both referrers and applicants. Otherwise it’s just another “ho-hum” if there’s nothing to back it up.
Here are several ways you can back up your statements:
- Video testimonials
- Pictures with voice over
- Slide show
- Written testimonials
- Case studies
- Descriptive landing page(s)
Can you think of any others? If so, please share!
The bottom line is simply that making unfounded statements or claims of greatness is quite commonplace especially among mortgage lenders. Why? Many offer the exact same products and “new” products don’t stay new for long. Therefore you have to appeal to your audience beyond the product level to differentiate yourself. This is why your “show” is so important.
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