In an earlier article we looked at branding: what it is and some of the advantages to branding yourself as a specialist. In this article, we offer some suggestions on how to pick a specialty and use it to enhance your brand and be your best.
Self-exploration is the place to start. There are a few questions you will need to answer that should help you focus your efforts.
What types of problems do you love to solve? What problems are you really good at solving?
Think about it. Are there certain types of challenges that you excel at tackling because the solutions just come naturally? Being your best means finding a specialty that you are passionate about and understand.
In order to be your best as a specialist, you need to deliver value to your clients – either helping them solve problems or save them time, money or worry.
How do you solve those problems?
You need to have a plan and you must be able to show your clients that you have a method or a proven process. Of course, it helps to have a track record, so you can cite examples. Thinking back to point number one, when you know the problems that you can tackle successfully, it is easier to demonstrate your capabilities for solving them.
What do you want to do next with your skill sets?
Looking ahead is important in picking a specialty that fills a (hopefully growing) need in the market.
There are other points you can consider as you try to answer these questions, especially number three.
Look for a niche. Try to solve a specific, but not uncommon, problem. In your day-to-day experience, are there challenging situations that crop up frequently? Have you mastered workable solutions to these issues?
- Self-employed, commission, tips or other unconfirmed income
- Bad credit, bankruptcy
Be alert to new challenges that are starting to present themselves more regularly. There have been several recent changes to mortgage and real estate rules, which present new opportunities for you to provide solutions.
- New, first-time buyer challenges
- Income properties, 2nd-3rd properties or properties that are not occupied by the owner
- Foreign buyers
- Partnerships: there is a growing number of people who are teaming up with others to purchase real estate
- Divorce, re-marriage or some other form of family “reorganization”
Are there challenges you have personally experienced that you are now an “expert” at solving?
Once you discover what problems you can solve – that you love to solve – be aware of opportunities to add “specialty designations” to your qualifications.
A growing number of real estate agents, for example, have taken to branding themselves “divorce specialists.” Some are using their own life experience, but others are taking online courses (out of the U.S.) that offer certificates in the specialty.
For mortgage brokers there are home-grown opportunities. Canada Mortgage Professionals offers dozens of online courses and upgrades that can give you the professional recognition to add a specialty to your brand.