In a Tough Market, Is Your Business Unique Enough to Stand Out?

There has been a lot of talk about the plummeting real estate market and yet one business has found a way to be successful in the midst of it.

VIP Realty in Dallas started two years ago in a highly competitive marketplace.

The challenge was: How do you stand out when you’re one of many in a competitive field?

The way VIP Realty did it is by creating a business model with a unique selling proposition. By doing something different … not following the crowd.

Richard Soto, the founder, started with the premise that most homes on the market are now available for viewing on the Internet. A variety of sites, including real estate’s MLS (multiple listing service), are now available online, giving you all the pertinent facts, 360 degree videos and a variety of pictures.

Richard’s idea for success stems from the fact that by using the Internet, home buyers are doing a lot of the legwork that used to be managed by agents.

Rather than focusing on helping with the legwork, he has implemented two creative programs that assume that recognize the fact that consumers are already doing their own house hunting online:

(1) A cash back rebate program for home buyers. The website explains it like this:

A vast majority of buyers are doing their own house searching online these days. The MLS system is widely available on literally thousands of Internet sites. So, if you as a buyer are doing all the searching, why not get paid for it? As a VIP Realty client you’ll receive a Real Estate Cash Rebate when buying in Dallas/Fort Worth or anywhere in Texas.

Essentially, it’s a way to get buyers interested in working with VIP. If someone uses VIP Realty exclusively to buy a home – they’ll get a rebate up to 1.5% of the home’s purchase price.

(2) A 0% commission program in which sellers, who find their own buyer, benefit from the expertise of an agency throughout the entire process without the high commission payout. Home owners pay a flat fee up front and potentially save thousands in commissions at the time of the sale.

Sellers who find their own buyers benefit from the expertise of an agency throughout the entire process without the high commission payout. Home owners pay a flat fee up front and potentially save thousands in commissions at the time of the sale.
In a competitive marketplace, VIP has found a way to stand out from the competition thus enabling them to grow while others struggle.

As you look at your business and your competitors, in what way can you differentiate yourself in a manner that MEANS something to the consumer? Are you challenging traditional ways of doing things and making your business stand out with a unique selling proposition? Share your story in the comments.


13 Reactions
  1. B Smith @ Wealth and Wisdom

    Good post. I find it amazing that businesses try to succeed by acting like everyone else. One key to success is to identify a customer need and fill it. By finding your own unique product and service you set yourself apart. It becomes your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This becomes the foundation of your sales and marketing efforts and allows you to break away from the dreaded price and delivery trap!

  2. That was some innovative thinking put to use. This is an interesting topic because I tend to think that being unique, at anything or in any way, is always a good thing. It will be remembered and also talked about – that unique quality. It will help to create word-of-mouth and also set your business apart from others. It’s even better to try and create something unique surrounding a niche. That really sets you apart. Playing follow the leader in anything, even business, just really isn’t a tactic that will ever help you BECOME the leader.

  3. Deborah,

    That 0% commission is a great selling point and a great perk for a home buyer.

    As a home buyer, the thought lingering my head is the amount I’m going to pay for a commission.


  4. Thanks for the shout out Deborah!

    At first many of our agents and mostly our competitors were saying that we were out of our minds. It would never work, it wasn’t cost effective etc etc. However, in the last year and a half we’ve grown by 500% and better yet have tripled our income with half the work. You gotta love it! 🙂

    Since we’ve implemented our new USPs we’ve sold two affiliate franchises and opened an office in Houston and San Antonio. I hope the competition keeps on doing the same old thing.

  5. Martin Lindeskog

    Richard Soto,

    I went to a meeting at Acta financial advisor some weeks ago.
    They showed us the opportunity for buying real estates in certain areas in USA, e.g. NY and FL.

    In Europe, I think that Turkey could be an interesting market in the near future. I have information on a place called Alanya if someone is interested.

    Where in Dallas are you located? I went to a meeting with financial trader Victor Sperandeo on Crescent Road in 1996.

  6. Both points are a great incentive to do business with VIP either if you are buying or selling. It would be nice to get a cash rebate when you purchase a home. Their website is nicely put together and most importantly, the home pictures are good quality. I searched online to find my current home, but the pictures were not nearly as clear as VIP’s.

  7. @ Martin

    We are located in North Dallas, with several small satellite offices throughout the DFW area.

    @ Amanda

    Thank you for the great complement. We’ve worked very hard on our website, especially in regards to SEO. I’d say about 85% of our business is a direct result of the Internet.

  8. Deborah Chaddock Brown

    Richard, I love that you said the competitors thought you were out of your mind! Crazy! What is it they say “crazy like a fox!” Congrats on your success. D

  9. Rpost and ichard well done and I wait to see who is the first to copy your idea in Australia.

    Deborah, good your article brings up an important point for us in small business to know before we launch our small business. An USP or as I call it it “your key point of difference” that is relevant to your key customers is a key to success. Before we launched our product we analyzed our direct and indirect competitors and researched potential key customers to see if our concept was viable. It is so much easier to market your business and products when you know the problems or needs of your customers that are not being met by competitors.

    I should also mention that this is an ongoing process.

  10. Martin Lindeskog


    OK. Maybe we could meet on my next trip to America. I enjoyed my visit to Texas in 1996. I spent two weeks in Houston. Which state has the hardest real estate competition?

  11. Absolutely Martin. Houston is OK, but I think you’d like Dallas or Austin better.

    In the US the hardest hit markets are California, Florida and Arizona.

  12. What about the flat fee mls model? How do you think it compares to full service, 0 % and so on.

  13. To offer the consumer something special and unique in order to succeed is not a suprising news for me. I think any successful entepreneur has its own way for development. But the key task is to realize the consumer’s needs and desires and then supply it with the much wanted service, product, etc.