The real estate market is more competitive than ever before. There are many changes and keeping up with all of them can be exhausting. The most dramatic changes have to do with the consumer, they have changed their real estate tune and we better start listening.
The consumer wants service, service, service. Not the kind of service where you simply return their calls, do what you say and provide a smooth transaction, NO, they want service with a twist. They are demanding value for their money spent and a clear knowledge that who they are hiring is "the expert." They want high-end marketing materials, four color glossy multi-page flyers and they expect extensive internet marketing. Most importantly they want your expertise and you need to learn how to deliver what they want.
Then there is the issue of so called, "commission cutting wars." Consumers are beginning to ask for a reduction in their commission because they have heard it is just the thing to do. Real estate agents are getting bombarded and in order to thrive you need to be able to show your value. Commission cutting objections are rarely about the money and most often about perceived value. If you can't articulate how you are different and offer more value than your competition there is a greater chance you will be asked to cut your commission? Today's client wants more, expects more and demands more. If you are trying to impress even the fussiest of today's demanding clientele, learn how to implement some of the ideas below to make you stand out from the sea of competitors.
Here are 6 ways to thrive in today's highly competitive market.
Market to your "Bulls Eye"
Never underestimate the value of your database. Your database is your goldmine and it will become increasingly important to you in this highly competitive market. "Going, going, almost gone" is the past trend of trying to market to everyone whether or not you know them. Today the most successful agents are targeting their database "bulls eye" by cultivating a high quality list of people that they have either met in person or have had a conversation with. Agents are beginning to realize that the closer they are to the "bulls eye" by marketing to and keeping in touch with people they know, rather than going after strangers, the higher quality their leads are and the more return they have on their "database investment."
Become a "Specialist" and choose a niche market
Today's clients are good at doing their own research but want the opinion and feedback of an expert. They want to work with a specialist and definitely want to know that they are getting all of the information they require to make a good real estate decision. They respect real estate agents that have specialized in a particular niche of the market. What agents need to know is that agents that have specialized are doing extremely well. Agents often fear that if they specialize they will appear to be turning away "general" business. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is room out there in this highly competitive market for agents who want to specialize.
Keep in contact with your database "monthly"
How much contact is too much or not enough? Today's busy consumers have a need for high quality, relevant real estate information. They want to know you are there in case they need you but they don't want to EVER feel that the reason you are contacting them is to get a referral. They want regular monthly contact that is relevant to them. They welcome good real estate information and ignore silly mailers that give them advice about things where you are not the expert.
Develop a special menu of services that you offer that your competition doesn't
It is critical in this competitive market to offer something that your competition doesn't. Market and package your services in a way that present you as being different from everyone else. For example: If you have a special talent for helping people get started investing in real estate then make sure you let everyone know. Show them the advantages of working with someone who has spent the extra time learning the intricacies of investment real estate. If you love working with seniors or baby boomers or newly married couples, put together a package of services that match the needs of the group you are targeting. Never be afraid to do what everyone else isn't doing!
Take your marketing to the next level
Clients are able to easily access unlimited information from the internet. That is why it is even more important than ever before to carefully critique your marketing materials. Look at what you have to offer and honestly ask yourself if your services are clearly stated in your marketing. How are you presented to the real estate world? Are you proud of your marketing materials or do they sit in a drawer somewhere or are they locked away in a file on your computer? If your marketing is not where it should be then make this the year to revamp your marketing look and your marketing message.
Offer custom communication and custom marketing plans
Not everyone communicates the same way. Even though you may think everyone loves those emails that you are sending you may be making a big mistake. If you are not asking EVERYONE how they prefer to be communicated with you are missing out on a very powerful way to connect with your clients. If you are at a listing presentation and presenting to a couple, it is imperative that you ask each of them what their communication preference is. Chances are that one of them will welcome your update calls while the other prefers you to email or send them their updates in writing. You never know until you ask.
The key to thriving in today's highly competitive market is to appeal to today's demanding client. Never be afraid to stand out or to stand up and let your clients know just how different you are.