I just wrapped up an amazing interview with April Sunshine Hawkins, a StoryBrand consultant who hosted a workshop with our 7 Figure Altitude mastermind group. This was a REALLY interesting discussion. And we spent almost an HOUR digging into how to use empathy and storytelling to connect with distressed sellers in your market (I don’t know if ANYONE is really doing this effectively yet.)
April was an entrepreneur doing websites and social media for business owners and she didn’t quite know how to write copy that powerfully represented her clients. She stumbled on a company called StoryBrand that taught a marketing framework that blew her away. She became trained in the method and now teaches workshops that equip entrepreneurs to use this method to tell their story. She is co-host of ‘The Marketing Made Simple’ podcast.
What is StoryBrand?
StoryBrand is a method that helps business owners hone in on how to create messages that help their customers survive and thrive. As a business owner, your messages need to help your customers not only make it through the day, but also improve their lives. This framework is a starting place because it allows you to put yourself in the position of your customer, ask yourself ‘what is it they want?’ and relate it to the service you offer.
So, how does this translate to Real Estate?
When I think about our customer avatars, we are looking at distressed homeowners or a distressed property. We are real estate pawn shop owners. People have their pain points and it is our job to provide quick, easy solutions for those pain points. Our customers have equity they are willing to trade for ease and speed.
The StoryBrand Method:
Step #1: Define What the Customer Wants.
I am going to use my own real estate business as an example.
What does my customer want? Ease and Speed. When you are making quick deals and making them through a wholesaling company and not through a real estate agent, you have underlying problems you need to solve quickly with the least amount of stress.
This translates into marketing because you begin your story by defining the customer problem and putting it out into the world so your potential client immediately identifies with it and wants to lean in and see how you might provide a solution.
Step #2: Talk About the Problem Your Customer is Experiencing.
Now that you know what your customer wants, what is holding them back from getting it? That "problem" they're facing is Identify the problem they're facing that's keeping them from reaching what they want. Solving this problem will form the core of your marketing message.
Step #3: Introduce Yourself as the Guide.
Next you introduce yourself as the Guide. The customer is the Hero. You as the hero’s guide show empathy first and then add your authority or experience. The Guide role deeply resonates with me because I was a customer first. I’ve walked in the shoes of my customers and still do. I joined the 7 Figure Flipping mastermind first as a customer, and my company grew dramatically as a result. Now I feel I actually know what my customers need before they do. I have discovered that most of our customers have problems they don’t know they have, and our job is to help uncover and solve those problems.
Step #4: Present A Plan.
Next we help our customers come up with a plan to solve these problems and outline the process. If you get too detailed with your plan description, it becomes difficult to navigate. So keep your marketing message simple. Draw your customer into a story they can easily relate to so they continue to pay attention to what you offer.
Step #5: Call to Action.
Next you provide a call to action. Make it clear and Simple because too many options result in less opt-ins. Ask for one thing and ask for it repeatedly and you will see a high conversion rate. Be thoughtful about the call to action as it relates to your customer's journey.
Step #6: Paint a Picture of What Failure Looks Like if it Continues to be Part of the Prospect's Life.
If your customer doesn't solve their problem (by relying on you as the guide, following the plan, and taking action), their problem won't be solved... which means they will continue to encounter failure and won't get the thing they want (from step #1). What does this failure look like specifically? Make sure your customer understands what's at stake.
Step #7: Paint a Picture of What Success Looks Like if it Becomes Part of Their Life.
Success is the feeling of freedom that comes with not having a difficult and stressful process to solve your problem. Again, I am going to bring this back to an example of my business.
We had a woman who wanted to sell quickly to move near her mother who was dying of cancer. She didn’t have the downpayment money for a new place and her old house was full of antiques and things she didn’t want just anyone to touch. We were able to close on a house near her mother providing her with the down payment, and sell her old home in the same week while helping her move all her stuff. This is what "success" looked like for her.
If you are new to real estate, you may be asking yourself, how can I represent myself as a Guide?
When you are newer in a business, you crank up the empathy piece more than the authority piece because you have less experience. You focus on ‘the reason I got into this is to help people with these specific problems because I get it, and this is my story of how I got through it.’
You can also lean on the reputation of the group/community that is supporting you. For example, if you are a new real estate investor that is a part of our Mastermind, you can be honest about this to your advantage. ‘Hey you are not just getting me, you are getting the benefit of this incredibly successful community I am a part of.’ I call this ‘borrowed authority’ but it works! Lean on your mentors and allow them to guide you as you begin to guide.
Trust is built in the small moments. You draw your customers into the story, lay out the plan and then build their confidence in you along the way by following through on your plan.
The truth is no matter how unconfident you feel, you do have to portray confidence as you cast the vision and continue to talk about where you are going. Show them that you have enough authority to get things done as you envision them. As their guide you are the strongest and the most committed because you have already done the hero's journey and succeeded, that is why you believe in it.
If you truly believe in what you are selling, you will sell it.