Real estate agents need to redefine their value proposition in today’s market. Here are seven things they can do to revamp the way they approach business.

Joe Rand

“We are no longer the gatekeepers of information for the sellers,” said Joseph Rand, managing partner and general counsel of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty.

“The problem is there are too many agents who haven’t really internalized that yet.”

Rand pleaded with audience members at Inman Connect New York 2019 to step up their game and evolve their strategies for today’s consumer.

Simply put, agents need to redefine their value proposition in today’s market.

Here are seven things he said agents need to do to revamp the way they approach business.

1. Stop talking about distribution

Change the way you talk about marketing; it’s no longer about distribution.

How many agents still tout to sellers all the places they’ll market a home? Distribution is no longer a differentiator, it’s basically handled for you; search is a commodity, according to Rand.

For today’s agent, the key is narrow targeted marketing. Find out why the seller bought the home in the first place, and target buyers who are looking for those same things in a home, he said.

2. Stop telling sellers their price

Modernize your approach to collaborative pricing.

“We’re still talking about pricing all wrong,” Rand said. We ask consumers to trust us, but they don’t trust us, he said. Your job, in pricing, isn’t telling sellers the price — it’s collaborating with them to find the right number.

He suggested this approach: Start with the unsolds (don’t call them actives) in order to get sellers to see the reality. Show the competition. Given this information, ask sellers where they want to price the home, and then let them decide. It’s their call. It’s their home.

And stop running away from the automated valuation models (AVMs), Rand said. It’s one data point among many just like an appraisal. Use AVMs to inform the sellers’ point of view, he said.

3. Stop acting like staging is an add-on

Incorporate staging as a service. We should be doing staging for all of our listings, but we don’t, Rand said. In most markets, very few homes are deep cleaned, much less staged.

Why don’t we stage? We have in our heads that staging is like decorating, and it’s not, Rand said. It’s detailing. We don’t have to hire this out.

“We’re being disrupted because we’re not adding value,” Rand said.

4. Stop being secretive about your work

Emphasize transaction management as a differentiation.

“When you’re selling a home it’s miserable,” Rand said. He pointed out that you can’t live like a normal person.

“I actually think it should be a requirement that you move every five years so that you have empathy for your clients,” he said.

To ensure sellers know exactly how hard you’re working for them, let them know all the things you’re doing. Show your work, he said.

5. Stop giving listing presentations

Change listing presentations into listening consultations.

Agents have been taught to use scripts forever, but the problem is that scripts only work if both sides have the script. When a seller goes off book, it throws everything off, Rand said.

“It’s a consultation, not a presentation. It’s not a show,” he said. You should take time to get to know your seller, listen to their needs and wants, and then offer to help sell their home, he added.

6. Stop annoying people

No one cares about your new listing unless they’re actually in the market to buy. Act like you’ve taken a listing before — it’s your job, Rand said. And send people marketing that’s interesting to them.

7. Stop failing to add value

Take a service-oriented approach to lead generation, Rand said.

If someone invites you to their home, show up with something, he added. Offer the value. Bring something to the table. Do a comparative market analysis (CMA) for a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO). It’s that simple.

Email Dani Vanderboegh

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