Somethings will just NEVER go out of style. The need for a great doctor, a great lawyer, a skilled and honest mechanic, a great meal at a fine restaurant, and the one thing that all of those have in common that defines them… GREAT SERVICE! Whether it was 100 years ago or yesterday, people will willingly and happily pay a premium for great service. With that said, they will just as willingly and happily discount the absence of or even the perception of the absence of great service. The one thing about great service is that the ONLY person who could decide if the service being provided is truly great is the person receiving it. And this is where the breakdown begins and ends and exactly why great service has become something many talk about but rarely actually deliver. For this reason, some customers have just decided that it’s easier to find someone who will be cheaper vs spending so much time searching for truly great service. Conversely there are many “service” providers who have decided that it’s easier to just reduce their fees than to pursue actually delivering great service. This is as simple as supply and demand. There is a demand for cheap and there are those who are happy to meet that demand. But common sense dictates that there is a demand for premium service and the existence of those who will meet that demand as well.
I’ve dedicated my career to delivering world class service. Whether as an Air Traffic Controller responsible for providing safe travels to aircraft where less than world class service can be deadly, or as a real estate professional tasked with representing home sellers and buyers in the largest transaction of their lives. An almost obsessive dedication to delivering extraordinary service has been at the core of my success. While so many are focused on how much money they’re making or winning awards, I’ve simply focused on delivering great service to those I serve. As a result, I’ve not had to spend as much time justifying my value to people. No, I’m not bragging. I’ve just found that as professionals, we all have the opportunity to choose how we conduct ourselves in our businesses. If we constantly strive to be the best at our profession, seek knowledge, improve, and relentlessly focus on delivering incredible service to our customers, then we will be paid accordingly. If we constantly look for shortcuts, let our egos get in the way, meet our customers expectations rather than exceed them, spend little time working on improving our knowledge, and make excuses, then once again, we will be paid accordingly.
So, the first thing you need to decide is whether you are going to be the BEST or the SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE or just the CHEAPEST. If you decide to be the BEST in your profession, then you’re going to have to really work hard at it. This means that you are focusing on going above and beyond ALL the time, not some of the time, ALL of the time. I put together a list of some of the ways that you can stand out as a real estate agent in today’s market and literally blow your clients away in comparison to what they’ll get from the average agent out there.
-Stop or at least dramatically reduce the amount of texting and emails and start actually calling people or meeting face to face with your clients more.
-As a listing agent, require that buyers agents present their offers in person to your sellers with you there of course. In multiple offer situations, have them all show up at the same time and show your seller what a great negotiator you are.
-Physically BE at every inspection, appraisal, and walk thru appointment. While other agents are “too busy” or “too important” to be there, you raise the bar and be there. Selling or buying a home is very stressful and scary for many, and your presence shows that you are there for them and representing their best interests.
-Answer or respond to ALL availability calls from buyers agents. These calls allow you the opportunity to SELL the home to the agent and provide them with solid positive talking points with their buyers while setting up expectations and instilling confidence in your professionalism as a listing agent.
-Communicate often, answer your phone, and respond to messages fast.
-ALWAYS remain calm and professional regardless of the co-op agent/client behavior.
-Demand and deliver the highest quality in every aspect of the marketing of the home. No detail is too small. No shortcuts.
-ALWAYS check lock box showings and call showing agents prior to countering or accepting an offer to ensure no other offers are coming in. Do this to encourage more offers too.
-As a listing agent, recognize that your job is not just to sell the home, but to sell the home for top dollar. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is with multiple offers. So encourage ALL offers. Contingencies, low offers, etc.
-Whenever possible, be at every showing as the listing agent. Don’t depend on a buyers agent to adequately “sell” your listing and all of it’s benefits and features.
-Become an expert at articulating your value and your company’s value. Don’t “wing it” on listing presentations. The clients deserve to know what they are paying for so tell them.
-Always go out of your way to help your sellers find their next home. Whether referring out of the area, or helping find a rental, you need to be part of this solution for them.
-Ask lots of questions to get to know and fully understand your clients situation and primary goals and objectives. Don’t try to guess at this. Talk less and listen more.
-Be CONFIDENT but not ARROGANT. Even the slightest perception of arrogance can be deadly.
-Have EMPATHY. Put yourself mentally in their situation so you can understand what they are going through better and genuinely CARE.
-“100/0” —Accept 100% responsibility and make ZERO excuses during the entire transaction. Never blame others.
-Be an expert on the market. Knowledge is power and your clients expect you to have it. They would almost always prefer facts over opinions.
These just a few things that you can do to stand out in today’s market place. While some of them may not be very convenient and could be difficult to accomplish, the alternative is compromising your service and standards. And as I eluded to earlier, this is a slippery slope and a one way ticket to mediocrity.
In closing, just focus on your customers more than anything else. They will appreciate your extreme attention and they will never question what you charge. Be the BEST, believe you are the BEST, and be able to articulate WHY you are the BEST in extreme detail. And remember, if you’re ever asked to discount your fee, then always respond with this common sense question “Are you looking for the Cheapest, or the Best? Because there’s a huge difference that I’d love to sit down and explain to you.”
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What if you were unknowingly lying by omission to your clients every time you went on a listing appointment? Well, if your not paying Realtor.com, Homes.com, and others to be the ONLY agent being offered on your listings, then you may be lying by omission. I realize this could come off a little harsh, but it’s true, when you list a sellers home, it’s reasonable to believe that THEY believe and assume that when they sign a listing contract with you that YOU will be fielding all incoming buyer inquiries from the most common and trafficked websites like Homes.com and Realtor.com, among others. My point of contention is that any agent who is not ensuring that they are the ONLY agent being offered on the major websites for THEIR OWN LISTINGS, has a responsibility to TELL their perspective listing client that up to 4 different agents will be offered on their listing and that there is a 1 in 4 chance that they will get the call/inquiry from a buyer searching these sites.
Think of it this way…allowing up to 3-4 agents names and contact information to be offered on your listing is almost as absurd as allowing 3-4 different agents/company’s For Sale Signs to be placed in front of your listing. With nearly 90% of buyers beginning their search online, these calls are the modern day sign call.
While some sellers may not care, and some won’t realize the impact, it’s more likely that they do and will. Let’s deal with reality here. So it begs the question; Would they still list with you if they were told this information before signing? Maybe, or maybe not… But I believe they should be able to make an informed choice.
The reasoning is pretty simple and based in undeniable logic… Who’s the best person to field the incoming inquiries on a listing? A randomly selected agent who purchased some geographic area to get buyer leads or THE LISTING AGENT? Some would argue that a buyer shouldn’t work with the listing agent and should seek out individual buyer representation. And that’s not a bad argument or point in some cases and worthy of a healthy debate. But to make that argument the assumption/accusation must me made that the listing agent (who is legally allowed to represent both buyer and seller in California) won’t provide adequate representation. I’ve found that the vast majority of Realtors are good and honest people who work to create a win win scenario when representing both buyer and seller. So this leaves us to acknowledge the undeniable logic that the LISTING AGENT is generally the single best person and most interested person in ensuring that every buyer inquiry is responded to quickly and with solid information about the details and availability of the property.
So now one more question has to be asked…. Why wouldn’t EVERY listing agent pay the fees to ensure they are the ONLY agent being offered on THEIR listings on major websites? Here’s the answer: IT’S EXPENSIVE. For an agent listing between 25-50 homes per year, the cost could exceed $12,000! For agents doing less, the cost still is significant. So what we see is very many agents and companies just don’t do it.
FINALLY, I can’t go without mentioning this of course. At Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, our sales associates ALL have the ability to accomplish this for free with the MAXIMUM program! Because of our size and belief in this program, we have made every effort to make this affordable for the benefit of both our Realtors and their clients. When one of our great agents are on a listing presentation it simply
goes without saying that the seller can be assured that online buyer inquiries will be handled quickly and professionally.
In closing, I want to commend you if you are one of those agents with Coldwell Banker or any other firm, who have made the decision make the investment in ensuring that your sellers expectations are met and that the buyers are only being presented with ONE choice and in my opinion the BEST choice of who to call for information on your listings.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts and be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!
If you are a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales associate, then thank you for being part of our amazing customer focused company! If you are not and are interested in learning more about possibly affiliating with us, then send me and email at Brad.Pearson@camoves.com, or give me a call at (714)782-2723
I’m here to help you grow your business!
So, it happens a lot… Probably the single most often asked question when I’m rolling out a new product or business growth strategy… “If I do this one new big thing, how much new business should I expect from it?” Along the same lines, this is just another twist on the same question “What does Mrs. TopAgent do to be so successful?” hoping that there’s one magical secret strategy that she’s discovered. Many of you know that my initial response to that question is “She works her &%$ off!” because it would take hours and hours to breakdown all of the things she does in a day, week, month, year, which by the way is why ongoing COACHING is so important too (Visit: https://bradpearsonsblog.com/2016/04/08/youre-paying-for-a-good-coach-whether-you-have-one-or-not/ ).
Whether I’m talking about implementing an Expired Listing strategy, Social Media marketing, or a new product like our $20,000 Giveaway campaign, too often, agents get overly focused on the single tool or strategy and begin to dig, question, and even investigate other past results, to determine whether they should do it and whether it will work for them. The BIG problem with this thinking is that they aren’t focused on the bigger picture when it comes to growing a successful business. There is almost NEVER a single thing, strategy, or tool that has lead to any agent experiencing massive life changing success. A good example is a website. We all know that we absolutely MUST have one to be in the Real Estate business, yet I’ve NEVER met an agent who’s entire success can be attributed to a website, heck, I’ve never met one who can share with me any “direct” significantly measurable results from one. Yes, someone reading this will think, “I got a listing from my website once”, and again, that is missing the entire point and I would argue that something else you did, lead them to the website that actually lead to getting the lead. But without a solid over arching online strategy with print, networking, direct prospecting, testimonials, self promotion, open houses, door knocking, cold calling, notes, follow up, and good presentation skills, then the website would almost be worthless.
The point I want to drive home in this post is that all we need to do is look at other super successful businesses and how they were built and grew in massive name recognition, reputation, and overall success. THEY ALL HAVE A SERIOUS UBIQUITOUS APPROACH TO MARKETING TO THEIR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. Take a business like McDonalds as an easy example. They’ve taken a very simple and focused business objective and continuously drive it out to the public so it reaches us from every direction. From billboards, TV, radio, bus benches, direct mail, strategic product or ad placement, newspaper, magazines/print media, social media, internet, etc. etc. etc. they are literally OMNIPRESENT in our lives. We couldn’t avoid McDonalds if we tried. Whether you eat there or not is not the question, but EVERYONE knows about them and knows what they’re business is all about.
From a Realtor’s perspective, all we need to do is to continuously strive to be omnipresent in our farm areas, communities, and online. We need to continuously ask ourselves if what we are doing is reaching our prospective customers in enough ways to where they cannot avoid us and will think of us when they decide to buy or sell a home. So if you’re a master telemarketer, if that is all you do, you will burn yourself out from calling if you don’t have a solid strategy to grow your business organically from your past clients, local community, referral sources, online image, social media, direct mail/print, expireds, FSBO’s, etc. etc. Recognizing that all of these strategies, and any other strategies you decide to implement must OVERLAP with your other activities, IS the SECRET SAUCE to building a massively successful business! This is also why geographical farming works so well when everything an agent does is focused in a relatively small geographical area. Becoming ubiquitous is much easier when you pick 500 homes and 4 or 5 different strategies to get in front of them regularly! This is also why there are agents out there who have been mailing (and nothing else) for a year and have gotten nothing and are frustrated and discouraged. It takes much much more than that one thing.
Now, once you’ve figured all of this out and implemented a multi-faceted approach that supports all other activities and overlaps in an omnipresent way, then you MUST master one more thing…
You’ve built the machine, the machine is delivering leads, now the leads need to me followed up on and nurtured until they result in a contract! You must have a great CRM program. (At Coldwell Banker we provide a powerful one for free that covers online, print, mail, and pre-built/branded campaigns with email/text reminders so you can make your calls on schedule!).
In closing, I offer my support and guidance after spending over 20 years in this great business and over 17 in leadership and business coaching, so don’t hesitate to post a comment, ask a question, or just reach out to schedule a meeting to discuss how you can grow your business and even find out why so many great agents have chosen Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and if you should consider the change too. Call, text, or email at 714-782-2723 or Brad.Pearson@camoves.com
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