We hear it all the time: the agent is becoming obsolete. Consumers are skeptical of commission fees and often complain that agents get a hefty paycheck for little work. And then there’s the barrage of third-party websites leading people to believe that real estate is a DIY industry. Where’s the value for consumers in having an agent?

  • People trust brands such as Nike and Apple because both companies consistently demonstrate value.
  • The consumer's perception is the consumer's reality, so keep in touch and provide updates on even the smallest progressions.
  • Know what you do better than your competition and be ready to articulate it at will.

We hear it all the time: the agent is becoming obsolete. Consumers are skeptical of commission fees and often complain that agents get a hefty paycheck for little work. And then there’s the barrage of third-party websites leading people to believe that real estate is a DIY industry. Where’s the value for consumers in having an agent?

Just reading the paragraph above, you’ve probably come up with several arguments to defend your hard work. You know the time and money you invest in your clients. And no website can negotiate contracts or be a voice of reason.

But if you have to defend your value, it’s too late. Instead of debating your worth, be proactive and upfront about the valuable services that you offer.

What is value?

Why are consumers likely to pay more for brands such as Apple or Nike? It’s all about perception. The most popular brands don’t wait until you discover them to show you their value. Nike and Apple make it a priority to stand out from the crowd — and so should you.

Let’s be honest, when consumers are faced with choosing a real estate agent, most agents look the same. The consumer’s perception is the consumer’s reality. And that is why it’s increasingly important for agents to articulate their worth. You should be able to answer the question, “What makes me different from every other agent?”

Here’s an example: one of the biggest value props an agent can provide is communication. If your clients don’t know what you are doing, they will assume you are doing nothing.

It’s imperative that you update clients on the big, exciting things, but it’s just as vital to let them know all the mundane tasks that you are doing throughout the process.

Again, the consumer’s perception is the consumer’s reality. Communication is a way that agents can provide a personal touch for arguably the biggest and most emotional purchase a consumer will make.

An exercise to determine your value

Here’s an exercise to help you figure out your value:

  1. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. At the top of one column write “buyer.” At the top of the other column write “seller.”
  2. List all the things that you do for buyers and all the things that you do for sellers. You should have no less than 20 items in each column. Include everything from listing the property to sending status updates. You can write the same thing on both sides if it applies to both the buyer and the seller. Think about the general things you do and then think about the extra things that you do. List them all.
  3. From your list, highlight the top three things in each column that make you stand out. Choose the items that you do well and are passionate about. You should feel confident in these three items.
  4. Now, take those items and write why you are good at them. Do you have special training? Do you have a lot of practice? Do you have natural talent? Is it a priority? Don’t be shy. This is an opportunity to give yourself some props.

Great. Now you know what sets you apart from the crowd. The next step is to memorize your values and practice talking about them. Create your unique value proposition — it should roll off the tongue and always be part of your conversation.

You have to be comfortable conversing about the value you provide. Grab a co-worker or a friend and practice talking it through. If you want to learn more about selling your business to a potential client, I made a follow-up video on articulating value.

This exercise should give you a better understanding of your worth. Value isn’t a tool; it’s a trait, and it’s important that you demonstrate that through exceptional service.

When you are face-to-face with potential clients, you will win their business if you clearly understand and share your value.

Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.

Email Tyler Smith.

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