Have we as real estate agents lost sight of who or what we are? If this question strikes you as odd, then ask yourself this: “Who does my business model serve?”
Your immediate response is likely going to be “my clients.” To which I would then ask you, “Are you sure, and how do you quantify that claim?”
We have forever measured success in the real estate sales industry by keeping score. Who has sold the most homes and made the most money? What does either of those scores have to do with the consumer?
The short answer is nothing at all. From a consumer-centric approach, success would be measured by quantifying measures that impact the result we deliver to our clients. These metrics would include fewest days on market, highest sale-price-to-ask-price ratio, highest sell-to-list ratio and fewest price reductions.
Show me the agent who dominates in those categories, and I’ll introduce you to an “authentic, consumer-centric real estate adviser” — an agent with a durable competitive advantage over his or her competition.
So how does one become an authentic, consumer-centric real estate adviser? Well, it all starts from within where all significant change begins.
For me, it was as simple as acknowledging that my business model served me more than it did my clients, and I wanted to change that. Yes, of course, I had to go deeper in my process and understanding of myself and what controls my belief patterns, but being ready to expand my awareness was the catalyst.
When this paradigm shift was introduced to me in 2009, I had already sold almost 2,000 homes in 16 years, and for a few of those years I averaged 300 sales. Needless to say, I considered myself one of the “rock stars” of our industry — as most agents who churn those kinds of numbers do.
How empty I felt when I realized that how I measured success was strictly about me and not what I had done for my clients. I had always focused on getting them the best results, but had I delivered? My first concern was to get the property sold because that was the “result.” Wasn’t it?
Once we begin to understand just how much of an impact we as agents have on the final sale price of our listings, everything about the home-selling process moves into high definition. Terms like “Well, let’s try this” or “Let’s see what happens” or “All we can do is try” and, of course, “We can always reduce later” will leave your vocabulary forever.
Placating and amicably agreeing with our clients about virtually everything is not the modus operandi of the authentic, consumer-centric real estate adviser.
In fact, there is nothing genuine about agreeing with your client just because they own the home in question; nor is there anything honest about having the owner of the home dictate the selling process.
Not long ago I watched a real estate coaching video online. The coach explained the five core principles they believed Realtors should have to ensure their success.
No. 1 was be authentic. OK, I thought, this person is speaking my language. Then No. 3 was “underpromise so that you can overdeliver.” What? Be authentic and then mislead — not very congruent I thought.
The coach went on to explain the thought process with No. 3 was that clients would be so impressed that you falsely overproduced as a result of purposely underpromising that they would want to tell everyone about how great you are, and they’d refer you tons of business. Yikes!
It is neither authentic nor honest to lead your homeowner into a train wreck simply because they own the home. Sadly, this is a common mentality among agents because most agents lack belief in themselves and their home-selling skills, which typically lack the proven systems and strategies to position the agent as an expert. If the agent doesn’t believe they have the necessary expertise, they will be hard pressed to stand up and say listen to me.
An authentic agent will be called upon to safeguard the homeowner from themselves when the time calls for it — that’s just the nature of the business.
According to sales data and statistics, sellers are given too much leeway in terms of the influence they wield over the transaction process. The root cause of this problem is that typically the agent’s primary intention is to secure the listing first, and then worry about the outcome later.
The Catch-22 with this approach is that it leaves the agent exposed to having to change their story to the seller about why their home is not selling at a later date.