How to stay relevant in a changing market
With the market continuing to evolve at a rapid pace and adaptability being one of the key traits of a successful modern agent, we’re providing some educated (and mildly opinionated) ideas on what you need to do to stay ahead of your competition.
Become your market’s best educator.
Information really is everything and your clients want to know more than they ever have before. They want to be empowered with the same knowledge you have and they’ll find it out for themselves if you’re not the one giving it to them.
The common saying is “knowledge is power” but I’d go a step further and say “the delivery of knowledge is power”. Action is power. If a potential client takes action and find out everything they need to know about the current market on their own (even if it’s by calling you or another agent), they have the power. If you’re the one consistently and respectfully delivering information to your market, you will be the agent that gets a call when their time comes to move.
Be a teacher.
Become your market’s best questioner.
I talk so much about the power of asking great questions that there’s every chance you’ll skip this paragraph and move onto the next thinking you know what I’m about to say.
And you’d be right. Questions really matter. It’s as simple as that.
Asking any old question is easy. Think “what’s your budget?” or “why are you moving?”. But asking people great questions is hard. Actually, no. Let’s rephrase that - asking people great questions is a skill. It requires patience. And thought. And care. But that’s probably why they’re so useful.
Unsure of what a great question is? Think of an easy question and the easy answer they usually come with. Now think of a question you could follow that answer with. Think of the context you could provide with that question and maybe even think of another level of question deeper.
Suddenly “why are you moving?” becomes “We have a lot of similar conversations with the people we talk to everyday, so I can actually understand how to help you, tell me everything you can about why it’s important to move now?”
Every conversation is an opportunity to ask great questions. Don’t miss them.
Become your market’s best video marketer.
Video isn’t the future anymore. It’s the now. Stop being proud you offer professional photography and start talking about the video you’ll be getting commissioned for the sale.
Walk your sellers through the shots you’ll be asking for and why they’re the ones that are going to help get the best buyers through the door.
Get a set up for your car, so while you’re driving between appointments you can record a short video with a tip about selling for a premium price, or a 2 minute market update.
The technology to reach thousands of people through video is already in your pocket.
Ten minutes on YouTube (or Wistia in this instance) and you’re going to be learned enough to give it a go. Anything less than instant action and you’re probably falling short in other areas of your business too.
As a good friend of the blog would say, JFDI.
Become your market’s best negotiator.
I’ve always found it really strange that the first title anyone gets when they’re first introduced to estate agency is “Negotiator”.
I can remember my first day on the job and negotiating was literally the last thing I could do well. I couldn’t even take requirements down right.
If you have designs on continuing to be a successful estate agent, it is not possible to emphasise enough the importance of being an outstanding negotiator.
The skills you can bring to your clients table in terms of the difference in price you can achieve vs any one of your competitors is the only reason you will be chosen over them (unless you're instructing your Mum's home).
We spoke about being the best marketer above, but your world class marketing will mean nothing if you don’t have the nous, experience, self-belief and skill to back it up with equally as strong negotiating.
Negotiating does not come naturally to anyone. If someone says it does, they’re proficient at arguing, not negotiating.
Learn and practice with your colleagues every day. Make sure you make mistakes and learn from them together, so your clients (and your bank balance) don’t suffer through them when it counts.
Become your market’s biggest fan.
How many people have been an agent in one area for 30 years and yet you wouldn’t find them singing about their community to save their lives.
Connection is a huge part of success. Your clients want to feel a connection to you before they give you that fateful instruction call. And the way to work that connection is to have a strong one with your local community and market.
This doesn’t mean sponsoring every school fete or sports team (both good ideas, mind you), but it does mean publicly showing your love and appreciation for where you work.
Record a video of you walking down your favourite street, research and highlight community initiatives, interview local teachers or people who’ve lived there their whole lives.
Human interest stories continue to get airtime on the nightly news, and they should be getting airtime in your marketing too.
Bringing it all together...
What’s written above isn’t the be and end-all to what could make an outstanding agent today and into the future, but it’s here to offer a few places to start.
The industry is changing and will continue to do so. Your clients expect more from you than ever before. They want to know you and know your business before you know them.
Make it easy for them to find you, know you, like you and trust you and sincerely, the rest will take care of itself.