“If the public has access to all of the information, how long before we’re no longer needed?”
This month the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sales data for sold listings could be made public and Zillow was in and courting relationships with brokerages and real estate boards seemingly the next day. Across the frozen white north a great cry went up from Realtors® from coast to coast to coast (Canadians are very proud of having three coasts). “If the public has access to all of the information, how long before we’re no longer needed?”. “Why do I pay such high dues if Joe Q. Public can get the same information as me for free?”. To the south, Americans laughed at the Canadian concern over publicly accessible sales data, which has been the way of the industry in the US for years. They laughed at that concern, and the way that Canadians pronounce the word “about”, obviously.
Yet still, a very regular online conversation topic amongst Realtors®, both in the US and in Canada is “What extra value do you give your clients?”, or “Why do your clients choose you?”, or “Are you afraid of being replaced by an app?”. Realtors® regularly complain about sellers’ choices to sell themselves (FSBOs), and run down business models that don’t treat real estate in the same way that it has been historically treated.
“What extra value do you give your clients?”
When I practiced real estate, I only ever practiced via the historically proven, full service, full commission model, but I understood that there were buyers and sellers who would choose another model. I understood that those who would choose that other model without so much as interviewing me simply weren’t my clients and there likely wasn’t going to be much I was going to be able to do to get them to become my clients. I had some great scripts and objection handlers if other business models or FSBO came up in a listing appointment, but if I (or someone like me) wasn’t even being called to come in the door, I acknowledged that those sellers were not prospective clients.
…the real estate services market is saturated
If your real estate board cut 90% of its membership tomorrow, I guarantee that the remaining full service/full commission members would not show any concern over members with alternative business models. So contrary to the saying – that there’s enough business for everyone, there is not. Those who are fond of saying that there is enough business for everyone tend to be the ones who are doing a great job of doing enough business themselves. I had a colleague at my last brokerage who was fond of saying that he “works hard to deserve an unfair share of the market”. I really liked that because in addition to reflecting reality, it showed an honesty in an industry that often is less than that to its members.
In any given week in any given year, a Realtor® in North America can find a seminar, workshop, conference, training event, or expo where the predominant topics of conversation will be centered around doing more business and attracting more sales. Thousands will show up and listen to the speaker and/or buy the products that promise more business. But how, if the market is already saturated, will all of those thousands of Realtor® consumers actually increase the amount of business that they’re doing when the same product and approach is being sold week in and week out? They can’t. The presenters and the vendors know that, and quite frankly the vast majority of the consumers know it too. It has become common for speakers at real estate events to even tell their audience that they are comfortable sharing all of their secrets because they know that 98% of the audience will never follow through on what the speaker is giving away.
The answer is customer service
So what does any of this have to do with deserving your unfair share of your market, or with the Canadian Supreme Court or with articulating why your customers choose you? The answer is customer service. The real estate buying and selling public isn’t looking for data when choosing their Realtor®. They’re not looking for gimmicks or the right closing gift. They’re looking for value, and in the full service/full commission world, that means excellent customer service. It means an agent who never gives the impression that the client is taken for granted or a nuisance (no matter how many homes the buyer wants to see). It means a consistency in the service that the agent provides on good days and bad. It means a lack of commission breath: be willing to tell a client or prospective client not to buy a home or not to sell their home if you know that that is the right advice. It means having your clients and prospects feel cared for and responded to in a timely and professional manner, without feeling resentment toward them for the schedule that they choose to contact you on. It means using tools and systems to provide a level of care that your own mother would be proud of. (Or, if your mother is not the demanding type, that my mother would be proud of).
…provide a level of care that your own mother would be proud of
Embrace the idea of working hard to deserve your unfair share of your local market and leave the worry of what data a consumer can access or whether an Amazon Echo is a good closing gift behind. Tristan Assist can help with customer service, response time, and consistency. Try us free for a month and see how we can help you move your business forward.
If you would like a thirty minute consult with our Founder and CEO, Dave Fletcher, former top 1% producing agent for Keller Williams, send us a note and write “Customer Service” in the message box.