I’ve had a bit to say of late about how our industry is changing.
Technology has brought forward new ways of doing business. In addition, there’s a power shift away from agencies and towards agents as, increasingly, buyers and sellers identify with individuals rather than organisations.
But as we know — with greater power comes greater responsibility.
In this new world of sales, there’s even more onus on the agent to perform. Their mantra will become “thrive or perish”, because an ongoing ability to earn an income will sit squarely upon their shoulders.
Because successful real estate agencies of the future will shift their focus towards supporting the agents operating within their platform, the agents themselves will need to step up and bring in new listings.
This, of course, begs the question: In a crowded local market space full of agents all competing for the same business, how do you cut through and stand out?
In the past, if you manned the office and stuck to your roster, you’d pick up new business automatically, because sellers were attracted to the big-brand agency office.
Nowadays, the agent has become the brand, so they must market themselves as much as their listings.
And there are ways to boost your profile and create an advantage when it comes to competing for business.
1 – Identify your specialities
As a sales agent with many years of experience, I grew to learn that while being a “jack of all trades” was no way to win consistent business in real estate, you must still be across the fundamentals driving demand and supply.
I believe to succeed, you need to become a hyper-specialist in your profession. The sort of individual who knows real estate inside and out.
You must understand what’s driving sellers to select certain properties, and the ways vendors are enhancing their holdings to accentuate the positives and maximise their price.
The second element of specialisation is more focus.
The best agents I know concentrate on the three elements — location, property type and price point — and ensure their brand is aligned with their chosen market sector.
For example, a few years back I decided that I wanted to specialise only in Paddington, Qld, only in houses and only in sales above $1 million.
I worked tirelessly to become known as the guy you went to if you wanted to sell a property within these criteria.
I was happy to leave units and town houses to others. I was fine referring away “renovation opportunities” priced under $1 million.
I could quote all of the most recent sales (better still because I sold most of them), market movements in the area and hot local info straight off the top of my head.
I was also well aware of changes around local businesses and service that might influence demand, such as new cafés and restaurants or extended trading hours for retail.
I kept well aware of changes in infrastructure too — parkland renovations or major developments that might affect a street or zone.
Being a specialist establishes a foundation for selling your brand to the right owners.
2 – Consistent look
You may have heard you should never judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to building a brand, presentation is everything.
Now, I’m definitely not saying a pinstripe suit and tie should be mandatory for all agents. Far from it. But I do believe if you select a certain style, it should become your recognised uniform of success.
You might deal with owners who are more comfortable with a casual but efficient approach. An open-necked shirt and blazer will fit the bill. Some even align with a sharp jean-and-polo look.
But here’s the main thing: Always look the part (not like you just woke up in a park after a big night) AND be seen often.
Wear it all with pride not just in promotional advertising photos, but also around the suburb when catching up for business meetings.
Next up: Be professional and approachable in personality as well.
You must be accessible to the community. On hand to address questions about the market. Knowledgeable and quick to respond.
And, again, this shouldn’t shut down outside normal business hours. Many listings are won over a casual conversation at the local football match or during a school fete, because people feel at ease with you and trust your knowledge and experience.
Be genuine and be yourself certainly, but also be recognisable as “that guy”, so when people see you, they see your brand.
3 – Consistent message
Finally, make sure you stay on brand with what you say about yourself and your market.
Live up to your own hype. Promote your responsiveness, professionalism and experience by doing what you say and saying what you do. Over-promising and under-delivering never won friends or business.
In addition, if you have an opinion on your chosen market and are openly discussing it with anyone who seeks it, be consistent in your opinions.
Reputations can be ruined by simply contradicting yourself to suit your audience.
In short, understand your brand, always be “on” and your profile will build.
By Dan Argent, UrbanX CEO