Recently Mark and I were asked to be a part of a panel of top producers on how we operate our business. The funny thing was, many of my colleagues asked me why I would ever do such a thing. “Why would you give away your secrets, and help people who are competing with you?”. Mark and I would reply, “There is more than enough business for everyone and so if we can help people, and in turn help the industry then that makes us happy.
After I had that same type of dialogue with 5 of my colleagues I started thinking that this is the problem in the real estate industry. This is also why people don’t think of real estate agents in a good manner, most of the time. When you get your real estate license you have people come out of the woodwork offering their services and subscriptions, promising you more leads, and more sales. It is nauseating. What they don’t tell you is that for $1000 a month with a twelve-month locked in contract they are going to tell you to door knock, and call your sphere of influence. That’s it. They will also hold you accountable, because most people who are attracted to real estate are not very disciplined people. Not all, just most. Being a good agent isn’t about how much money you spend on coaches or advertising. It is about relationships and providing the best possible service to your clients.
The other day, Mark was showing clients homes in South Corona. They were at a home and Mark called me to see if I was close by and if I could come see it with them. I had just finished my showings, so I drove right over. Upon arriving at the home, there is a real estate sign in the yard. A hideous sign, full of gimmicks and selling the agents, not the home. There was a large button on the sign with a “push here” message. So, I hit the button, thinking it was going to be about the home. What I heard was a thirty second elevator speech about why the person listening should use the agents.
Then on the sign it states “If we represent you buying or selling a home we will give you a free cruise”. I have a feeling it might be the $100 booze cruise, but it is a gimmick. It is what we stand firmly against. Inside the home I noticed a flyer on the counter top and picked it up to review it. I was again amazed that it had a biography for the real estate agents, in fact over 50% of the flyer was nothing more than marketing for the agents and not the home. I took a flyer with me and decided it would be a good example to show people what we keep talking about, self-serving gimmicky agents. They don’t do well for their clients, and a full service, well-educated agent will beat them every time in sales price, days on market, and overall service with clients who are happy. There is no comparison.
Later that day we had a listing appointments, and I explained our plan and how we differentiate from other agents and detailed exactly how we would market their homes. I gave our marketing examples and pulled out the flyer from the home we had been at earlier that day. I explained the difference between gimmicks and really marketing the home. I showed an example of a brochure we do for our listings, where the only thing about us is our email address and phone number, everything else is about the listing. The client looked at it and I saw the husband and the wife exchange glances. The wife explain that they had actually listed their home with the agents on the example flyer we had brought to them. The wife went on to explain how they fired the agents after it was clear that they did not care about them as clients at all. They just wanted a quick sale.
So, going back to the panel that we were a part of at the beginning of my story. We went to that meeting well prepared. We brought examples, and shared detailed information. At first, I thought we would be boo’d out of the building. Some of the questions were the typical agent processes.
“The Stevenson Team, can you share with me how you door knock a neighborhood and any tips you can share?” The moderator asked.
“We don’t door knock any neighborhoods” we answered.
“What about cold calling. What services do you use?” The moderator asked us, obviously assuming that we cold call, heck it is an industry standard.
“We don’t cold call anyone” we answered. I heard a gasp from the crowd when we relayed that information.
“What about expired listings, how do you target expired listings?” The moderator at this point was getting a little frustrated with us.
“We don’t go after expired listings” we answered. I then took over the questioning by leading the moderator.
“Let me explain what we do. We are not in the real estate business, we are in the relationship business. We care about our clients and take care of them before, during and after the sale. We know our market intricately. We understand what the client needs and help direct them on what is best for them. We care, and we make sure that it shows through every step of our relationship. They know when they use us they are going to have a great experience. We are in it together.”
The moderator nodded as we were saying this information. Then he asked, “The going referral rate is averaging 10% and our top producers are at 20%, what is your referral rate?”
“94%” we answered. “We are a referral business.”
If a client is looking to buy a property we aggressively pursue what they want both on and off the market. If they are selling a home, we spend a ton of resources and time to make sure we sell it for top dollar and reduce their stress. It is this philosophy that has made us successful in our business.
The funny thing is at the end of the panel, we shared a ton of information. We showed examples, and we answered questions being totally transparent, and the agents were lined up to ask us more. They liked the ideas we presented and realized that there could be a better way if someone just showed them how to do it. I left with hope that the industry could change little by little, if we all just stepped up and showed them the path.
We actually helped write a book about our philosophy of selling real estate called the “Value-Driven Approach to Selling Real Estate”, in this book we laid out how we sell our homes for top dollar and in record time. We also go through some of the most common gimmicks we see on a day to day basis in the industry. The old saying goes, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is” and that is spot on in real estate. Our hope is that people become better educated in the industry and outside of the industry of the pitfalls of using an agent that uses gimmicks and looks at clients as a number and not real people. The reality is, if clients won’t use them they will be forced to change or will need to move on to another career.
We would love to share a copy of our book with you and get your feedback. Just visit www.book4freehelp4charity.com and we will get your complimentary copy right out to you .We would also love your feedback! Did we get our message across?