There are a gazillion real estate agents out there. Well, not quite. But you get the picture. There’s no shortage of competition trying to take the bread off of your table.
To compete, win, and get real estate clients before our competitors do, we must stand out. And be great at what we do. And evolve with changing strategies and tactics that work in the modern world.
The one constant is that real estate is a relationship business. There must be a significant level of trust between you and your client before they’ll fully hire you to represent them.
The thing that changes though is how we develop that trust. If you’re lucky enough to meet with your client/prospect in person a few times, you’re in a pretty good position for someone to get to know, like, and trust you. And then hire you.
But meeting someone in person isn’t the typical situation. More often, we’re getting leads online or getting a referral somehow. It’s these situations where we really need to prove ourselves just to get to that step where we can hopefully meet in person.
So how do we real estate agents “sell” in a world where no one seems to want to buy us?
Know This First
The first thing to consider is that our modern culture has changed in the way that we buy things. So, we cannot continue to try and sell in an out-dated way.
We must change how we sell so that we can change how prospects see us (actually, I don’t like the word “prospect” so I’m just going to use the word “people” from here on out). We must change their understanding of what we do.
In my experience, both buyers and sellers have done a ton of research by the time I get to them (at least the serious ones do, anyway). That’s partially because data is EVERYWHERE and partially because the general consumer is smart enough to at least make an effort to find the stats and data that they believe is relevant to their cause.
Because of this, data is no longer what we have to offer a home buyer or seller.
Data is now a commodity. Having it does not separate us from anyone. It doesn’t even separate us from a dumb computer algorithm any longer (think: Zestimate).
However, what we do have to offer – and what separates us from our various forms of competition – is information. Data is the coal and what we as agents can do is squeeze it in just the right manner so that it becomes diamond.
And diamonds are worth lots more than coal.
It’s information that people want, yet they generally don’t know how to get it from the raw data. It’s these insights that we agents have that make us special.
I mentioned earlier that we don’t buy in the same way we used to just a few years ago. You’d agree that, as compared to 3 or 5 or certainly 10 years ago, you research major purchases much more than you used to, right? Don’t you know a lot more about the car you want to buy? Heck, don’t you now even research that $30 knick-knack on Amazon before you take out your credit card?
Home buyers and sellers do the same. They want to know more about buying and selling a home so that they don’t get screwed some way or another.
This leaves us a great opportunity to be there for them before they even know they need help. We do this by building authority in our local market.
There’s lots of ways to do this. Some are as simple as building up your reviews on Yelp or any of the major home search portals.
Or maybe you’ve got a blog where you write about local market stats in your town/area.
Maybe you promote free ebooks on buying/selling or other types of checklists or toolkits to help educate and empower your future customers.
However you do it, your goal is to be in front of people and show them that you know what you’re talking about. Be the expert in your area. Build authority and people will feel easier about asking you for help.
Authority helps show you know what you’re talking about.
But being useful is when this authoritative knowledge can be applied to someone’s specific situation to help them.
Usefulness is really what we’re after here. This is what our clients really want from us. Actually, this is what they need from us.
If we’re not useful, then there’s no need for us to exist. There is no need for someone to hire us. They might as well just go back to trying to figure things out on the internet by themselves. Or, worse, hire someone else who’s proved that they can be useful.
Being useful to someone may or may not include real estate-related items. Maybe usefulness is simply giving someone a phone number for a vendor that they would have had to find on their own. Or maybe it’s a 30-page CMA for someone who thinks they already have all the info they need.
Whatever the task at hand is, help someone out. Be there with a purpose and provide the information that makes you worth someone’s time.
“Hurry, time is running out!”
“But wait, if you order now…”
I’m not sure about you, but I really don’t like fake urgency. I understand the concept of pressure to get a person to decide on something, but I think most people can see through the thinly-veiled methods to get them to sign on the dotted line.
That’s why I believe in total transparency. I want people to know that I’m genuine in what I say and what I do. I could have made more money in this business by now, but some deals I let go because they weren’t the right choice for that particular client.
I think if you demonstrate an intention to save someone from a bad decision in the short term, you’ll gain more in the long-term by the trust you’ve built.
The New Way
People buy differently.
So, we must sell differently.
If you can combine authority, usefulness, and transparency with a marketing plan that works for you, you won’t have to worry about not having enough clients.