Have you noticed all the “less expensive” options coming out the wood works in the real estate industry? As if this business wasn’t hard enough, we now have to compete against price too! I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand when a buyer or seller asks me to take a discount simply because they saw a Red Fin commercial.
When you bring TRUE value, these less expensive options are no longer competition.
My goal of this post is to show you exactly how to compete against the “less expensive” options. And YES… to compete you must be willing to learn something new to differentiate your brand because an MLS listing and a sign in the yard is no longer a marketing plan.
Realtors have more competition than any other time in our industry’s history. The question is: why is all of this competition sprouting up and how do traditional real estate agents compete against it?
I was on the phone the other day with a broker from Salt Lake City and she was describing what’s going on in her market. Apparently, there is new FSBO company that is taking their market by storm. Although this company is a FSBO flat fee type of service, they are providing sellers with a more advanced marketing plan than a traditional agent does. They are winning by providing better value and/or service along with a discount!
This scenario has also happened in other industries as well. Take a look at Uber! They have created a better service that also saves people money. Uber took the taxi cab industry head on by offering a less expensive fare that picks you up vs. having to call and flag a ride down. It’s more convenient and less expensive than your traditional taxi service.
Is The Same Thing Happening Right Now In The Real Estate Industry?
The market sees a lack of value present within the real estate industry and people have been calling it for years! In August of 2015 Inman News wrote an article citing the largest threats to the real estate industry.
- Low Quality Agents
- A Poor Consumer Real Estate Experience
- Entry Into the Industry by Non-Industry Companies
What Does This Mean?
It means consumers don’t think Realtors are worth their weight and therefore the market was ripe for alternative options. This, in my opinion, has allowed “less expensive” options to infiltrate the market place. When there is a lack of value, the only other option to revolutionize is price.
Learning how to compete against the “competition” is very simple, but you must find out their strengths and weaknesses first. You can then “position” your brand to do what they cannot. This is how I would suggest developing your value proposition.
I want to share with you what I believe are the proper ways to position your brand to both buyers and sellers going forward.
Buyers no longer need real estate agents to find out about properties for sale as much as they need them to confirm wise investment decisions. It was for this very reason that I pulled IDX from my site. Most agents thought I was crazy, but I begged to differ. How am I going to compete against Zillow or Red Fin? Do I really think people will use my website to search for homes over those giants?
Most times not….
So I started creating content that buyers search for. The one thing none of the “online” competition can offer is local area expertise and investment advice. The “less” expensive options do not have the local knowledge that I do. Therefore, how can they confirm wise investment decisions? My website is an encyclopedia of the “how to’s” of real estate. I promote my expertise because I know my competition cannot. I also know the value of my expertise far outweighs the 1-1.5% rebate savings offered by a Red Fin type of brokerage. The challenge is educating the public on that which I overcame through creating very good content.
I know the staff or agents working for the “less expensive” options do not have the expertise or experience I do because if they did, they would have built their own brand vs. working for one.
Secondly, is that I became an expert of the facilitation of real estate transactions. I’m talking about creating a red carpet consumer experience. So I built systems and processes around my business that are meant to get the job done, but also improve their experience. I turned customer service into a marketing and lead generation strategy. I call this having effective Transactional Marketing Systems in place.
How Did I Reposition?
My overall brand “positioning” is no different than what a financial advisor does for people looking to invest in a savings or retirement account. I am an advisor on the investment aspect of real estate. When I get asked about the Red Fin’s of the world I combat it with the following;
“I don’t care what you buy, I care about the investment aspect of it. When you do well on that, you are more likely to refer me your friends and family”
” Sure you can use a rebate broker that will credit you 1% of the purchase price, but this is really the question. 1% amounts to roughly $3,000 on a $300,000 purchase. The only reason I have a job still is because my clients make investments out of their home. Are you really saving money? In this case, $3,000 on one of the largest financial decisions in your lifetime is peanuts. The truth is you are either not being advised at all or if you are it’s by someone who doesn’t know the market like I do. So would you rather save $3,000 or really make an investment out of this purchase and make alot more down the road?
Sellers don’t want to hire a Realtor, they want to hire a marketer. The sell side is pretty simple. Quit being your traditional Realtor and start being a marketer.
It’s obvious as to what sellers want from their agent. They want us to expose their property to hundreds of buyers so we can sell their home for more money much faster and make it a hassle free process. If you listing marketing plan is simply an MLS listing, sign in the yard, a few flyers, and an open house, you most likely need to improve on your process.
Think about it…
If you were selling your house and you are given two options which would you decide?
An agent who does the status quo or a company that does the status quo and saves you 1-2.5% of the sales price?
If we want to compete against Zillow or rebate/flat fee brokerages you must have a value add that they don’t. It’s for this reason sharpening your marketing skills to adapt more processes that better market the property are essential.
Are you doing Facebook ads for your listings?
Are you doing video for your listings?
In addition to adapting more advanced marketing strategies to increase a property’s exposure, what is your strategy? Marketing any product or service is no different than marketing a property for sale. You must first determine who the ideal buyer avatar is for that house and ten craft your marketing to speak to that ideal audience. A home selling strategy IS NOT WAITING FOR A BUYER to come around eventually. Its how you proactively adjust to your current offering!
In real estate marketing we call this positioning. I highly suggest reading this article as it can replace every seller script you ever had. Once you start talking like a marketer, your conversions will go up and eventually you will begin attracting business.
There is a paradigm shift within the real estate industry. Are you going to adapt or die?