Real estate agents, you’ve got it tough. Many markets are crowded with agents and all of them offer exactly the same service at exactly the same price. Every agent seems to use calendars and bus benches to advertise.
If every agent is saying exactly the same thing, how do you differentiate? How do you position yourself as THE agent to call when someone wants to list?
This week, we’re looking at the different ways that Realtors try to attract attention from their prospects. All of these ideas will be familiar to you — in fact, you might even use some of them — but I’ll show you why these common real estate practices might be keeping you from success.
The marketing idea that can hurt a Realtor’s business:
“GET YOUR FREE HOME VALUATION”
The idea: Agents market their ability to get an accurate estimate of a home’s value so that people can list with them.
My opinion: I get a ton of these letters in the mail all the time and they all proclaim “I may be surprised to discover what my home is worth”. All of them offer a free, no-obligation home valuation. Because there are so many agents offering this service, it’s no longer a compelling differentiation. Add to that the feeling that consumers have when they know that contacting a real estate agent puts them on a list. And that means annual calendars and notepads, telephone calls every 6 months, and a personalized letter.
People don’t want to be sold anything and they’ll go out of their way to avoid a salesperson. (Note: a real estate agent is more than a salesperson, but not in the consumer’s mind). For a while, free “on the web” home valuations were good — and it’s a service that all agents should offer — but it’s not a differentiator anymore. And, if people want to know what their home is worth, they gossip with their neighbors about what other people nearby are selling their homes for. I have 4 people in my neighborhood selling their homes and I know basically what those homes are selling for and that gives me an idea of what my home is worth. It’s not the most accurate because I have a corner lot and more trees and a double garage and they don’t. But it’s close enough for me… and I would guess that “close enough” for most people probably means within 10%-20% of the home’s value. And, let’s face it.
There are 2 kinds of home value seekers out there: the curious (like me, who just gossips with the neighbors) and those about to list… and the second group knows that they can just talk to any agent. Therefore, advertising that you offer free home valuations isn’t helpful. Offer it, include it in your list of services, but don’t make it a primary differentiator.