Selling the Dream. 1965 and Today. - Bruce Turkel

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My father was an innovative and very successful real estate developer. The Miami Herald called my dad “The Father of Florida Condominiums.” That was because he built the first residential condo in the United States – and the first office condo in the world.

As a kid growing up on Miami Beach, I used to walk from my elementary school to my dad’s construction projects. Sometimes he would walk me through the job site and show me where the elevators were going, how the stairs would be installed, and how the apartments were laid out.

He’d also tell me about the construction business: How you made your money not when you sold your building but when you bought the property…

How the key to building a great building and still make money was to compromise on everything except design and architecture…

And why he always wanted to sell his condo apartments as early as possible in the project’s lifespan.

Even as a kid, I thought I understood the reason for selling the project early. I figured it was to get as much money as you could as quickly as possible. But my dad had a different rationale. Quite simply, he said he always preferred to “sell the dream.”

As my dad explained it, his best opportunity to sell an apartment for the highest price was to walk his potential buyer through a construction site and show them where they’d live, how close they’d be to shopping, tennis courts, and the beach. He’d show them where they’d park and where their grandchildren would sleep when they stayed over.

But once the apartment was complete, the conversations would become more prosaic. One couple wanted harvest gold shag carpeting. The next buyer hated gold. One couple wanted a tile kitchen. The next wanted butcher block. Some people insisted on bathtubs. Other people only wanted showers because they couldn’t step over the bathtub rim.

So what’s an easier sell? Painting the picture of where the new buyers are going to tuck in their adorable grandchildren? Or debating the value proposition of Corian versus Formica countertops?

When put in those simple terms, the advantages of selling the dream become clear.

Regardless of who the customer was and what they wanted, it was always easier to sell the dream. Because no matter how good it was, reality never quite measured up to their fantasies.

Now think about your brand strategy during the ongoing Coronavirus Crisis. Are you promoting the intellectual, metrics-based advantages of your brand? Or have you figured out how to sell the dream?

It seems to me that that is especially important when facts are in question and people everywhere are searching for security and certainty.

Want some examples to figure out where you stand? Microsoft sells computing; Apple sells the dream. Checkers sells fast food; McDonald’s sells the dream. Sears used to sell durable clothing and household items; Target still sells the dream.

Selling the dream means you can concentrate your brand messaging on the things that make people feel good. And feel good about themselves. It means you can build a resilient message that will survive trends, fads, and even crises. And it usually means you can charge – and get – a higher price for your products and services. Just like Apple, McDonald’s, Target… and my father.

Thanks, Dad.

If you want to discover more about how to learn to sell the dream, just click HERE.

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