Many companies in the mortgage industry define their “claim to fame” in fairly generic terms. Excellent service, fast closings, cutting-edge technology, putting customers first, lower costs, product mix and the like are fairly common answers.
So this begs the question…don’t any of your competitors offer the same? How do you, or they, prove any of these claims to be true…or is this all just standard language that resides in the “About Us” section of websites? And if it is, what do you really have that justifies YOUR existence? What is it that will take your company to the next level, make you wildly successful and drive higher returns on your marketing investment?
Uncovering your true claim or claims to fame provides the basis for your USP’s, or Unique
Selling Points. Surprisingly, some companies don’t even mention their USP’s on their website or selling materials, but they still manage to exist. Or, they are mentioned but in such a generic way that they’re meaningless because they’re unverifiable. You may have better service than your competitors, better technology, faster closings, etc. If you do, then create and share the evidence so prospects can see there’s something that truly sets you apart from the competition.
Make your claims verifiable. You must give prospects a reason to choose you…or at least include you in their consideration set. Also, it’s always good to reinforce your current clients decisions to do business with you…and even refer others!
Being able to back up your claim(s) to fame…or claim(s) of distinction…is at the core of developing a brand. We define a brand as a claim of distinction backed up by the evidence of performance.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with your true distinctive qualities…that’s understandable. Most companies, like most people, lack awareness of their extraordinary capabilities and differentiators. So, how do you get the answers you’re looking for?
Conduct a Brand Insight Assessment
Fortunately, the answers are close by. As an established company, or even as a start-up, you have access to current and past customers and even your own employees, all of whom can provide the insight you need to get to the next level. Getting this insight is done by what’s called a Brand Insight Assessment (BIA). What they tell you will likely surprise you in some instances and simply confirm your beliefs in others. A BIA can be a survey, research study, one-on-one telephone interviews or a combination of all three. Simply establish your intelligence goals and then develop a questionnaire that is simple, quick and unbiased.
For employees, consider an anonymous format to eliminate any possible reservations they may have or risk they may associate with providing honest answers to you queries. For clients and past clients, you may need to leverage a combination of methods to get the answers you’re looking for, and enough feedback, to ensure statistical relevance.
So, why should you do this? After all, you’re the CEO and you should know why people do business with you, right? Let me share a quick statistic with you…90% (approximately) of drivers self-identify as being above average in driving skill. This is an impossibility due to confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and correspondence bias which collectively mean that we see the world as we want to see it, not the way it really is. So, if you think you’re part of that 90%, stick one of those bumper stickers on the back bumper of your hard-earned Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar or whatever you use to fly from one appointment to the next that asks “How’s my driving?” with your cell number at the bottom and see what happens! Now I’m kidding of course, but you see my point.
The factors that make your mortgage company tick go beyond you, the CEO, and extend to every touch point you have with your audience. These touch points include many more than most imagine as there are primary and secondary. Primary touch points include you, your sales people or mortgage loan originators, your receptionist…anyone who has direct contact with your audience. Secondary touch points include the people in your company that work “behind the scenes” and drive the overall experience people have when they work with you. These people may include your IT department, processors, HR and much more. All of your people come to work to (hopefully) do their best in their roles to deliver an exceptional product and experience.
Another aspect to defining your claim(s) of distinction involves some serious introspection. Asking yourself questions like why you started your company to begin with is an important one. It’s designed to uncover your passion for what you do that extends well beyond the
ability to make a good living. This is a uniqueness that can only belong to you and can be weaved into your history and mission statement, creating a story that people can connect with. How about your people? What is it about them or why or how you hired them that helps drive your company and adds to your uniqueness? What’s your vision? Nobody else can have the same target for their company as you.
These questions are a good starting point. Other “spinoff” questions will naturally come up as a result that will make you dig deep and develop a deeper understanding of why you exist, what makes you different and where you wish to take your company.
The insights you gain about your own company by going through these exercises may well surprise you. These insights needs to be leveraged to develop your “claim(s) to fame.” They can be leveraged internally and externally through how you conduct yourselves on a daily basis and all communication activities to take you to the next level.