By Adrian Knowles, CEO of Growth at Harcourts Australia
The risk of having all your eggs in the one basket is that If you drop it, all the eggs will break. It’s no different in real estate.
Agents routinely put all their eggs in one basket with the listing presentation. Following roughly 1-4 hours of extensive research (read: trawling Pricefinder) and preparation (crossing your finger there aren’t any typos) and wrestling with the office printer which is running low on toner, agents endeavour to deliver a smooth two-hour presentation to a potential vendor.
After relaying data and comparable sales in the local market - which every other agent is also doing for that owner; providing insights into marketing options - which barely differ from the competition; and providing social proof that they are a top notch seller - the case for which is often spurious at best, agents anticipate whether or not they will be chosen. Many leave on a high feeling the presentation went swimmingly and couldn’t possibly be outperformed. They leave a copy of their presentation; and walk out with their hope in their hands and their eggs in the one basket.
The problem with banking on those two hours is that almost every other agent is following the same strategy. We all walk in in the same sought of outfit, presenting the same sort of ideas with varying levels of composure and confidence. And when we’re all on the same level like that, the only way to stand out from the pack is to low ball: drop your fees or marketing costs.
Let me lay some truth on you: no one is that good at listing presentations to justify making it the pinnacle platform upon which success or failure in listing a property is determined. Yet, so many do it.
If you’re honest with yourself, your listing presentation isn’t so remarkably different or perfect that you can justify ignoring all the other client touchpoints. So, where else should your time be invested to differentiate yourself from the competition? Here are my three philosophies.
Give before you get
Communicating with your clients extends beyond your follow up process after a listing presentation. Proactive marketing outreach - both profile marketing here your face features on a billboard or a DL, and prospecting marketing where you genuinely inform your database about the factors influencing the market around them with a view to having two-way communication - is paramount to keep your services top of mind, irrespective of whether you are chosen as the listing agent or not.
That prospecting two-way communication is the only way to discover when a homeowner who was not in real estate mode now is.
You must nurture your leads well before they need you by being a credible source of intelligence on market factors: buyer demographics, construction, infrastructure, values, volumes et al. These people may not need you tomorrow, next month or next year but they may present a referral opportunity and a direct opportunity down the track and you don’t want to miss out on any revenue potential.
Email campaigns (quarterly at least), educational videos and an active social media presence are the modern basics you should employ to stay in touch with your clients and differentiate from your competitors.
Rather than a blast email about your ‘latest listings’, discuss the market pertinent to the people on the database, create a community by providing insights that are worth discussing around the dinner table, make it short, sharp because everyone is time poor and don’t forget to make communications sound just like you are having a chat.
Fixing your follow up
After any communication you send whether it's a letter, an email or a DM on Facebook, if you don’t follow it up you have fudged the opportunity. Even after a flawless presentation, some agents can spend days waiting with their fingers crossed hoping they get the call back. This is a colossal waste of profitable time for your business. The solution is simple - fix and perfect your follow up.
The follow up phone call and email, accompanied with a mix of scheduled and disciplined touchpoints is the key to a winning strategy.
Here’s what should you include in your phone call:
- Thank them for their time before you start
- Include any additional information you didn’t share in the presentation or communication
- Anticipate new questions and answer them before they have the chance to ask
- Prompt them with other questions you’ve received from homeowners
- Ask them if they have any questions
- Discover a reason to follow up during the call and schedule it.
Fixing your follow up will fix your business, I promise.
Australians tend to have a love/hate relationship with agents, and selecting the right one can be a tremendous decision. Being memorable is next to impossible in a listing presentation with a vendor who has called in three of your competitors. Interestingly on paper, all real estate agents are somewhat the same and each listing presentation a vendor sees are relatively carbon copies. Therefore, it cannot be the only tool in your toolbox.
In both your prospecting marketing, and your follow up you have the potential to stand out, and this is the ideal environment to be authentic and show your human side. Again, that two-way communication is the only way to discover when a homeowner who was not in real estate mode now is.
I’m no marketing mogul, but they say having an authentic brand is crucial to succeeding in business today. There’s no better way to be authentically you than to have an action one-on-one conversation.
Profile marketing, you know the ubiquitous blast emails of listings, the DL drops and the billboards are not authentic marketing. They matter, but they don’t work on their own. These days, if potential clients only perceive you as overly salesly, boring and homogenous, I guarantee you won’t win the listing.
Being authentic makes you memorable, valuable and accessible. Neither an email (on its own), nor a listing presentation can do that without the voice-to-voice or face-to-face touch points in between.
Whether it's all your eggs in a basket or one tool in the toolbox, the answer is the same. A slam dunk listing presentation won’t win you the vendor. Implementing the right structure in your business, with disciplined scheduled touchpoints - and a bit of personality, will.