With the battle for new business getting fiercer for real estate agents every day, there are only two main ways to boost your profitability. Either you focus on outperforming your competition, or you turn your sights to the customer. However, choose wisely, as one of those two is footing the bill at the end of the sale.
Real estate is an industry obsessed with how competition is performing. If someone tries a new tactic, we sit still and wait to see if it works. If it does, hundreds of agents will be using the same technique within days. It’s just the way it works.
But in 2018, with so many agents causing disruption to the status quo and reducing value propositions, a lot of us are left complaining about stiff competition. The introduction of lead generation websites, online agencies offering rock-bottom fees and higher splits have left us confused, concerned, and out of pocket.
However, all of this is nothing more than a distraction, because it focuses on the present customer, with banks even entering the market to offer them the “real market value” of their properties. The old favourite “free assessment and appraisal” lead magnet is done and dusted.
So, how can you come out on top?
You need to learn to put your customers at the centre of everything you do. This is known as customer-centric design and involves you identifying what sticks, where there’s friction, what doesn’t work at all – then you focus on delivering the best service, proving your value to the customer.
You need to understand that the vast majority of customers aren’t concerned about your precise price point. They’re concerned about value. You need to prove to them that your service will demonstrate value above and beyond that of your competition, especially if their fees are lower.
If you’ve started working in the last 5 years on the East Coast of Australia, you’re not going to know much about GFC conditions. And whilst we’re definitely not heading in that direction, we’re certainly remoulding what great agents have to do to win business.
Are you working on your digital presence?
At face value, everyone in the digital space is equal, and this is becoming vastly more true with the mainstream adoption of marketing strategies. And that’s exactly why the agents that take the time to make the calls, visits and face-to-face appointments are going to come out on top. They’ll win, because they’re the ones building relationships with their target audience. Not via an online persona that all-too-easily blends in with their competition – they’re doing it in person.
Your target customers are time poor. They live in a fast-paced online world where everything happens at the click of the button. So, you could focus on the free bottle of champagne you’re giving to your customers, or you could add more value by giving them a building and pest report, or sending a cleaner round to help them get ready for their Saturday morning open house.
The most successful agencies in this business don’t focus on the competitor – they focus on the customer. As a result, if you’re following the tactics and techniques of others, be careful who you’re trying to replicate. You could well be following them into lower fees, reduced profitability and loss of business.