Are you the type of agent who runs open houses to market yourself rather than selling the home? Do you think Zillow is the enemy? Do you have no clue what people are going to see when they Google your name? You might be a traditionalist.
And you are going to struggle with the challenges in an industry teeming with iBuyers and aggregators, says Jeff Sibbach and Phil Sexton, team leaders of Realty One Group’s Sibbach Team, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
They have come up with a two-pronged approach that both benefits consumers and agents and helps agents improve. It all starts with the launch of their consumer-facing website, AgentMetrix.com, given its public launch on May 23.
At the center of the website is a questionnaire that agents will answer upon request of sellers. When a consumer reaches out, AgentMetrix will send a questionnaire that the agent will answer. The results will then be viewable to seller leads via the website, and it will help grab the attention of future leads.
“It’ll be like a combination of Yelp meets Zestimate,” Sibbach said.
Here’s where the second prong comes in: The agents who don’t do well in the questionnaire will be offered the training to improve and change their mindset.
Realty One Group’s no. 1 team (with 40 agents and 20 staff), with a sales volume last year of $175 million (on pace for $225 million this year) has been doing this for six years. It’s working for them, and they’re ready to spread the love.
How the surveys work
The launch event, to be held at the Scottsdale Hilton, will be focused on “fighting commission compression” and will showcase the launch of AgentMetrix.com, which asks buyers and sellers if they know how good their agents are.
It encourages them to send their agent a questionnaire, a performance analysis drawn up by Sibbach and Sexton, that will help consumers understand if their agent is acting in their own interests or putting the client’s needs first, Sibbach said. It will ask for agents’ top five marketing techniques, for instance.
What seller wouldn’t want to know their agents’ approach to marketing, argues Sibbach. “If you are a seller about to hire an agent for $60,000, would you like to see what they do to sell houses, we think the consumer is going to like to know,” he said.
How are the team leaders going to get consumers on board with the idea? Sibbach and Sexton’s team website, Sibbach.com attracts 300,000 annual visitors and manages a marketing budget of $800,000 a year for the team — they say they know how to reach consumers just fine.
When agents have room to grow
If the questionnaire finds the agent lacking in their approach to marketing homes and doing the business, Sibbach and Sexton have a training program ready for agents to go through to bring them up to standard in what they call the “new world,” and it will have a Consumer Advisory Agent (CAA) certification.
Their “Jeff and Phil Originals”” program will be focused on driving the agent evolution.
“We will be offering training to help change agents’ mindset, skillset and marketing in the new world,” Sibbach said.
And while the certification test will be free, the training to be done under the Jeff and Phil Originals banner will be paid. The team leaders currently offer training on 250 to 350 Realtor activities. They will offer recorded web tutorials and Facebook Live and in-person training accompanying printed materials to those wishing to sign up.
“The sum of this is we are helping the consumer weed through all of the ‘BS’ while helping agents get up to speed with the consumer in 2018,” he added.
Agents spend 90 percent of their time trying to grow their business rather than thinking of how to sell houses for more money, he argues.
“They are not out studying houses as they should be — top agents have been in less than 100 houses in a year. You should be averaging 500,” Sibbach said. (He has been in 17,000 houses in his career and in over 5,000 with clients.)
Often what agents have been taught tends to be more “self-serving” than consumer advocacy, Sexton said. What Sibbach and Sexton will teach in the certification will be methods that help the client, not just help the agent’s business.
Their training will help Realtors bring the consumer back and show them that they are offering things of value, Sibbach said.
He and Sexton read Inman’s Parker Principles with interest, which they say clearly defines that the industry thinks it is headed down the wrong path.
“We know this is the path the industry should be heading down, and we have a history to demonstrate its success, Sibbach said.
The Arizona team leaders said they want to see action as well as talk.
“Blockbuster, Borders, Barnes & Noble and taxicab drivers all missed this too. We are already using the tools of the new world, and we are willing to share our content to revitalize the industry and fight against commission compression,” Sibbach said.