Giving Consumers What They Want
Speed, Convenience, Choice, it's what consumers today want.
The real estate professionals and companies that survive the major changes taking place in this industry are those that can quantify what they do and how they earn their money. You must be able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Real Estate is a "Me Too" business and what you do to list and sell real estate is probably the same as what all other REALTORS across the country do.
So, if you want to avoid declining commissions in a "Me Too" business, you must be able to differentiate in another way. In a "Me Too" business, you cannot differentiate based on the "Big Things" because everyone does the big things! So you must do many little things your competition does not do. In e-PRO we stress, "It's the little things that make a difference."
Look at what consumers, not just real estate consumers, but all consumers are looking for today as they shop for products and services. These items are referred to as "Consumer Demands." When you look at what you do, how you do it, and how you market it, bring as many of these driving forces
to bear as possible:
- Speed: Think of fast food and 24 film developing. The quicker you can take care of the administrative aspects of a purchase or sale, the more valuable you are.
- Convenience: Think of Seven Eleven stores. Also, remember that people will often pay a premium for convenience. What do you do for the convenience and comfort of your clients?
- Choice: The more alternatives initially, the more consumers like it, but then they narrow it down. Don't we all enjoy choice, from ice cream at 31 Flavors to Coffee at Starbucks. What can you do to give your client more alternatives?
- Value-Added: People like to get MORE than they pay for, this is value added. Real Estate Professionals provide value-added services every day, but few take the time to re-enforce it to their clients. Have you ever cleaned or painted a house for a client after a sale? Or have you helped a client move something heavy? These are extras, that weren't in the listing agreement, but you did it anyway? That's "Value Added"
- Discounts: If it is convenient enough, you will use a coupon. Lots of people look for discounts in everything they do. Perhaps you can offer discounts, but you must be aware that for many, this is a "driving force" so play to your strengths in your marketing. Discounting is a legitimate way to compete and so if you do not want to compete by discounting, you must offer consumers something else of value.
- Quality: Are you willing to pay more for quality? Many people are. What does quality mean in the real estate business? Maybe from a buyer's perspective, it would be buying the home for less and from the seller's perspective, selling the house for more.
- Service: Think of Nordstrom's which prides itself on its service. Most REALTORS say they provide service without defining it.
- Information: This is the age of information! Consumers won't buy a toaster or a microwave without first going to Google or Yelp, let alone a piece of real estate. Make it quick (speed) and convenient for your clients to access to lots of (choice) information. Information can become knowledge and knowledge rightly applied is a differentiator.
Deliver the above at every available opportunity and your clients will not only love you, but they will also send you more business.