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To be great, just don’t be sh*t

By Dan Argent
24 May 2021 | 1 minute read
Dan Argent

We are in a market where agents complain about a lack of listings. Buyers are competing to make offers on a limited number of available properties. This means the struggle is not selling, but rather getting the stock in the first place — and you are competing directly with every agent in your area to secure those vendors.

In reality, a big part of beating your competition is quite simple.

You see, I have a basic, seven-word mantra. Some may not find it pretty, but it’s won me literally millions of dollars in revenue over the course of my real estate career.


“To be great, just don’t be shit.”

The significance of this saying was brought home recently during a conversation I had with a friend looking to sell his property but struggling to select an agent. He had a home worth around $1.5 million and had identified three agents he thought would be a good fit. These were all experts in their area with solid reputations for selling success.

Here are four golden rules my mate’s experience revealed on beating the competition:

Lesson 1: Stand out

My friend met each of the agents to discuss their selling proposals. He walked away from those meetings dumfounded by one particular thing: all the agents had exactly the same pitch.

They all provided a similar market appraisal on the property, the same marketing and advertising plans, and only a small difference in the commission proposals. There was no standout differential between them — he may as well have flipped a coin.

So, if you’re going to compete, you can’t be vanilla. Literally all one of them had to do at this early stage of the process was be different from the others, and my mate would have signed up.

Always ask the client if they’ve discussed the listing with other agents, and what their thoughts were on a marketing strategy — and make it your mission to pitch something opposite to the others.

Lesson 2: Cutting commission doesn’t work

We chatted a bit further about the pros and cons of each of the agents, and my mate confirmed an industry truth I’ve always believed: cutting your commission is ineffective in winning good clients.

My friend said the real-dollar difference between the highest and lowest commission pitches was about $3,000. When you’re talking about a $1.5 million property deal, $3,000 is really just a rounding error.

On the whole, discounting your commission won’t win you more business, because sellers will pay a premium for excellent service.

Those agents who cut commissions as a marketing tool are telling me two things:

A – They’re lousy negotiators. It’s a lazy move offering to drop your price to win business — and lazy is certainly not what I want from my selling agent.

B – You’re suggesting your service is not as valuable as that of the other agents. Clients are happy to pay a little extra for the right agent offering the right service.

Lesson 3: Automation is killing our industry

To try and break the impasse on my friend’s selection process, I suggested he road-test the agents.

He asked one of his associates to send each of the agents an enquiry via realestate.com.au about one of their current listings, with a contact phone number included in the message.

The results were telling.

Two of the agents sent an automated reply, but neither picked up the phone and called the enquiring buyer.

The third was different. Within an hour of the message being sent, the agent phoned our “secret buyer” and offered to show them through the listing the very next day.

No surprises for guessing it was this third agent that got my friend’s property to sell.

Lesson three is stop relying on automation to manage your relationships.

We’re not selling cheeseburgers at a fast-food joint. We are selling homes worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars and buyers looking to spend this amount deserve more than a generic response to their enquiries.

People do not want to deal with robots. Pick up the phone and provide customer service.

Lesson 4: Being great isn’t hard

In short, you don’t have to do much more than be a decent service provider to really stand out in the crowd.

Remember, you are always being tested. You never know who you are truly coming into contact with and how or why they are judging you, so be an optimal service provider at all times. Make sure everyone you deal with knows, through actions (not just words), that you’re the best person for the job.

So, if you want to win more business and beat the competition, take my advice: to be great, just don’t be shit. It will be better for you and for our industry as a whole.

Dan Argent is the CEO of UrbanX.

To be great, just don’t be sh*t
Dan Argent 2 reb
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