Use Apple’s Strategy To Sell More Homes In Less Time

By Stan Barron, REALTOR® and Contributing Editor - Posted on
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But first, some background on the company… Apple is on a long winning streak that started with the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad.  Apple’s stock is so richly valued the small company is now worth more than Dell and Hewlett-Packard combined. When the company is praised for its marketing, it is usually for offering innovative, cutting-edge products.  Apple is often tagged with the desirable label of “first mover” status, meaning it gets new technologies on the market before the competition does. But closer examination proves otherwise… For example, iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market — not by a long shot.  Audio Highway sold the first MP3 player called Listen Up which won a national award at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1997.  Apple’s iPod hit the market in October, 2001.  Nokia was selling smart phones for years before anyone ever heard of an iPhone.  Tablet-sized PCs hit the market a few years ago with lackluster sales, but it wasn’t until Apple’s iPad that millions were sold. My point is, Apple’s reputation for being on the cutting-edge is not actually supported by the facts. But what is more overlooked is…

Apple’s Ability To Create Effective Advertising

Granted, the company’s engineers come up with beautifully-designed and easy-to-use products — which is a marketing function in its own right — but, pay attention to what takes place in their television commercials.  What unfolds in their TV ads is simple and “old school”. The strategy for the iPhone and iPad are the same — just a straightforward DEMONSTRATION of what the product does for the consumer.  Do they use exotic locations, celebrities or sexy models?  Not at all.  Watch some of the current iPad commercials.  They are filmed as if you are holding the device, and you see books…movies you can select…and another sequence shows a typing keypad, etc. For the iPhone, Apple used the same technique, and you simply saw a person holding the iPhone in his hand while he did things like bring up a compass or get a restaurant review.  Another ad showed two users bumping their phones together to exchange contact information. Advertising agencies typically don’t like this kind of work because it is not creative, but in many cases a simple communication of benefits results in more effective selling. The iPhone killer was supposed to be the new Droid — a joint venture between Google and Verizon.  I have seen the TV spot for the Droid that rates much higher for the “cool” factor with impressive special effects, but will it overtake the iPhone in sales?  I wouldn’t count on it.

Brush Up On Marketing Basics To Understand Apple’s Advertising Strategy

Before you create any advertising, you should ask yourself if you offer a product or service.  Products are the easiest of those two because they are tangible.  Selling a service in an intangible. Just as the Apple examples prove that demonstrating benefits is highly effective, there is an similar method for selling a service that as powerful… you demonstrate the benefit of the service by way of telling an interesting story. One sterling example comes to mind — the “give-you-goose-bumps” radio commercials for OnStar.  The best in this series begins with what sounds like a 9-1-1 call.  A little girl — with trembling voice — says the car has crashed.  Next you hear the calming, voice of the female OnStar Operator.  The little girl says her mom is hurt and not awake.  The Operator says she is sending help and, she tells the little girl she will stay on the line with her until help arrives.  As that conversation fades out, the announcers come on to make a pitch for OnStar. What do Apple and OnStar have in common?  Nothing.  One is a product, the other a service.  Good advertising is not about products or services…it means you understand human behavior.  Good advertising is also NOT about manipulating consumers.  It’s about tapping into our human desires and motivating action through a compelling demonstration of benefits.

How Does This Apply To Selling Homes?

So why not use these professional strategies on the ultimate consumer purchase — a house?   Unfortunately, what most sellers get is a typical flyer that lists the number of bedrooms, baths and living areas along with the agent’s photo.   But where is the demonstration or storytelling in that?   Providing “dry” statistics about a house makes it seem similar to others on the market, and good advertising should make the product stand out, not blend in. Note the first listing promotion (on the LEFT)— a classic story ad.  The headline makes you wonder who is getting a dream job in this economy?  The ad generated urgency because it suggested a good price was offered as a result of the owner’s buyout and promotion.

 

You can click the image to see it in a larger format, but you only have to read the headline to get the point — use a story ad that engages the reader and motivates them to respond.

RESULT: This ad satisfied the main litmus test — it produced multiple offers in less than three weeks in a neighborhood in which every other “for sale” house is still sitting on the market — some for over a year.

The next listing promotion (on the RIGHT) shows the same process Apple uses — a simple, clear communication of a unique benefit.  Can you spot the key element?  You would imagine that to sell a house, the ad must be about the house, right?  Not at all — this house was very similar to all the others on the market. What made it different was the yard and view (no other competing house offered this kind of lot).  The photo of the yard, and headline, forcefully demonstrated what other “for sale” listings could not match.  The seller received four offers — unusual in this area.

How Do You Improve Your Advertising To Attract Ready-To-Act Buyers?

Serious, ready-to-act homebuyers do not want to talk to a salesman — which is one reason I don’t stick my personal photo on my advertising — it has nothing to do with what is being sold. Here’s a simple process you can use to create an effective ad… one that sells your listings in half the time:

STEP 1: Identify a unique benefit that no other listing in the area can match…

STEP 2: Think of the best way to demonstrate what this benefit will DO for the buyer…

STEP 3: Dramatize this strongest benefit through an interesting story in your listing promotions…

Using this process, you’ll create better advertising (no matter the home or where you advertise),  you’ll get more attention, and attract the right target audience — a buyer who’s motivated to sign a contract.

Remember: Selling a home is not a real estate function — it is a marketing function.  If ten people find out about your home that is fine, but if twenty people discover it because you have better marketing than your competition, you have just doubled your chances for success. If you want to learn more about my unique methods for selling listings faster then click here to watch a free video presentation. 

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3 thoughts on “Use Apple’s Strategy To Sell More Homes In Less Time”

  1. I am interested in learning how you write story type ads, but your links to get more information and watch the video go nowhere!

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