Today in Mastermind we talked about a series of events that, like a chain reaction, happen when you do everything you can to ensure the right conclusion. Here’s what I mean….do you remember back in high school chemistry we were asked to mix two chemicals together and then document the reaction? Often the students had different conclusions. Why? Because of the variables involved. Was it the measurement of the ingredients, the temperature of the flame or the length of time the chemicals were mixed?
In many ways, the outcome of your first interaction with a buyer or a seller, depends on the steps you take next. As with many agents I know, the first listing is often a friend or relative. This is a great way to get your career off and running, but, for ultimate success, you need to remove all chance and stick to the tasks that work. That means coming out strong. Prepare and stage the house to perfection, get a pre-home inspection, take care of any repairs, order virtual tours and professional pictures, tell the neighbours, hold an agent and public open house, etc, etc. the list is extensive and, quiet frankly, labour intensive and expensive, but at the end of the day you know that you didn’t leave anything out. I bring this up for one reason. You don’t leave any stone unturned because a perfect execution will lead to more interaction and more deals.
Today we talked about the real estate chain reaction and had some interesting examples of it. We heard from one agent who put an ad in the paper for a small house in a relatively unheard of neighbourhood. In a time when newspaper ads hold little value to a young demographic, it seems like a colossal waste of money, but a strange thing happened. The agent got a call from an interested buyer because their parents, who were helping with the purchase, had seen the ad. Bingo. Connection made.
Here is another one. An agent is out-door knocking. He just happens to meet someone interested in selling. Within a week the property goes on the market and sells successfully. The owners were so thrilled they used that agent to sell the mother’s house. That one sells quickly too. The agent then starts canvassing the neighbourhood to let everyone know that he sold it but to also ask if they know of any other people on the street are thinking of selling. Someone mentions the vacant house down the street. The agent writes a hand written note and leaves it at the house. The following week he has that one listed too. And so the real estate chain reaction begins.
I know to here are a hundred similar stories out there, and for each one there are ten others that end with one single transaction and plenty of lost opportunity because the agent didn’t do EVERYTHING, to ensure the chance of future business. You might even suggest that the agents just got lucky. Have you ever heard the saying “the harder I work, the luckier I get”?
There is another benefit of putting every ounce of effort into your listings. Your clients will know the lengths you went to and will recommend you to other people. So, get your business off on the right foot today. Agents fail because they go into the listing with the attitude that the house will sell itself. That might be true, but then what?
In a market where you are competing with 40,000 other agents, commission is no longer the competitive advantage. For ultimate longevity you need to go above the bare minimum of service. Not only will you sell the property but it will cause a chain reaction of events that will help grow your business and guarantee a fruitful career.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.
Technology talk used to be the dominant topic of conversation at real estate conferences over the last few years but these days there has been a noticeable shift to discussions on brands and brand building. I think we are talking about brands more because our industry has become so fractured that it is tougher and more expensive for agents to succeed.
Consider this, in the early days of real estate sales, agents worked for a neighbourhood brokerage who fielded calls and handed out leads. Upon successful completion of a transaction, the brokerage would keep a substantial portion of the earned commission. In return, the brokerage office was responsible for advertising listings and managing day-to-day operations. When independent contractor status came out agents assumed more responsibility for the sales function thus opening the doors for new brokerage models. Now take a look at what is happening now.
In Toronto we are closing in on 40,000 agents who are all competing for a piece of the 90,000 sales that happen each year. The sharp increase in the number of agents in our market has caused significant shifts in the real estate industry. The first is a downward pressure on commissions, and the second is the rise in popularity of the “discount brokerage”, a model that relies on fees rather than commissions. Both of these shifts have benefited the consumer in some way but have also put pressure on the traditional real estate brokerage model.
Now agents are faced with a new dilemma. Their competitive advantage is no longer their ability to offer lower commissions. They need to create a lot more value for the consumer. That may come in the form of neighborhood videos, access to a research department, market and/or neighbourhood reports, rich demographic information, media coverage, websites with killer SEO, and, least we not forget… training. For the average new agent coming into the business with nothing more than a few hundred dollars in their pocket and a dream, it is next to impossible to shoulder the costs of these tools. For the savvy brokerage, it is clear that an opportunity exists to share their offerings and create a new competitive advantage with their agents …at a cost.
For further clarification and a hint of what is to come, it is worthwhile to look south for additional trends. Following a catastrophic real estate collapse, the US market is finally returning to health. But something happened along the way. The primary objective to staying in business moved from saving money to creating an experience for the client. Several companies that operated VOWs in the past are now embracing bricks and mortar models. Others are moving away from the fee based systems and returning to traditional brokerage business models. Take a look at these great videos from Go Realty in North Carolina or Red Oak Realty in California. They are creating an experience for the consumer who may have come to the realization that buying and selling real estate doesn’t work in a virtual environment.
This is not to say that a virtual office or fee-based brokerage can’t succeed. I am all in favour of consumer choice but from where I sit it is clear that the full-service real estate model is about to make a giant come back.
As the old expression goes…what comes around goes around. Years ago independent contractor status destroyed the big brand but just like the circle of life, the independent contractor status is bringing the concept of brand back.
The opinion expressed here are the opinions of Mark Mclean and don’t represent the opinions of Bosley Real Estate.