Oftentimes when I ask a Realtor how they plan on differentiating themselves from their competition and do more business I usually get one of two answers: 1) I’ll offer better service, or 2) I’ll do it for less.
One answer is pretty vague, the other is cheating your own pocketbook. Instead, start thinking about these 4 winning strategies…
1. Have great systems
Systems are awesome. They’re what made McDonald’s a global powerhouse and are a defining factor in how valuable a business really is. See, systems allow you to efficiently execute your tasks.
Your system starts with some type of input followed by step A, step B, step C and so on. As near-automatic as you can make it, all efficient-like.
Savvy Realtors invest in creating systems. Systems for lead-gen, for nurturing leads, for staying in contact, etc. A Realtor with systems will beat their competition.
What systems do you view as essential?
2. Generate more word-of-mouth
As you know, long-term success is built upon the satisfaction of your clients and that’s why savvy Realtors focus on delighting clients. They’re driven by service because success is more than a numbers game, it’s a game of evangelists. The Realtor with the most evangelists wins.
Anyone can satisfy a client, but can you delight them?
What have you done or heard of a Realtor doing that delighted a client?
3. Do a better job of being found
Location, location, location – isn’t that the mantra? This isn’t so much about having a website or good SEO. It’s more about being everywhere that your audience is. Familiarity builds trust and trust drives business.
If your audience hangs out there, then so should you and your content.
What’s your best way of getting found by your audience?
4. Continuously optimize client experience
This is a bit different than providing great service, it’s about being metrics driven. Pay attention to the kinks and bottlenecks that most certainly exist in your business (they’re in every business). Where are folks falling out of your sales funnel? What areas do they express the most concern, confusion or frustration?
Over time and incrementally your client experience will be unparalleled because every concern and need will be managed beforehand. And this, of course, will help generate more word-of-mouth.
What areas would suggest a Realtor look at first for kinks or bottlenecks?
You want to beat your competition or own more of your market? Start focusing on these 4 strategies and you will.
July 13, 2009 at 11:19 am
@MarkEckenrode, I’m not a Realtor, but I’ll opine anyhow:
1. Systems: an effective CRM system is crucial to any brokerage. Some brokerages have CRM in place but fail to be authentic with engagement which is critical online AND off. Thank you notes should be hand written no matter how crappy handwriting is (unless you’re not in the South then I think it matters less).
2. Delight: Benn sent a box of high end chocolates from a local chocolatier as a part of a move-in gift to his clients. Why did this go over so well? Because the client was pregnant and talked over and over about how she was dying for these chocolates but wouldn’t indulge. They’ve since bought and sold 6 properties in the last 3 years through Benn.
3. Being found: Twitter, bar none. Focusing effort on connecting with locals and then getting offline to go to Tweetups and parties can put you exactly where you need to be.
4. Optimize: I think Realtors should look to their post-closing questionnaires are critical and can reveal much about the process, especially if it’s a third party service with responses going to the broker. Following up and adjusting according to service surveys can continually streamline the process.
July 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm
Exactly and this jewel, “Familiarity builds trust and trust drives business.” is the DNA North Star for you 4 Spot ON points.
July 13, 2009 at 9:07 pm
@laniar: swell contribution. excellent, in fact. thanks. your mention of CRM reminded me of when a corp i worked at and how folks used the CRM to print up stock form letters for client offline follow-up. where’s the CR (client relationship) in that?
@ken brand: glad you liked that one 😉
July 14, 2009 at 7:37 am
1. Garbage in, Garbage out. If you do not have a top-notch database (i.e. Top Producer) to manage your leads and clients, you do not have a database.
2. Not much to add to what Lani said here – we have a pecan company in nearby Thomson – you can special order several varieties. Adds local flavor and everyone loves them.
3. SEO + the old fashioned Sphere of Influence. Keep in touch with them in any way you can. Make RELEVANT and funny posts on FB – be the market expert and economist of choice for your area.
4. Manage your lead generation. If one thing brings in the most leads/clients, do more of it. If you sent out 200 letters and got nothing out of it – change the letter. Treat your Core Advocates – those who refer business to you – better than you treat anyone else.
Navy Chief, Navy Pride
July 14, 2009 at 12:44 pm
Hi, Mark, good post! I enjoyed reading Lani and Joe’s responses as well. I agree with everything said! I personally use Outlook for my contact management and follow up. With a primarily web-based business, follow up is of utmost importance! It’s crucial to have a very good CRM in place — and actually use it!! Using it is the key. I can’t tell you how many agents i know who have TP or something similar and don’t use it all all.
One of the agents in my office has an artist sketch a picture of the home they are selling or buying and scroll their names on it as well. She frames them as her closing gifts and gets tons of compliments. Like Benn did, I think closing gifts are about knowing your clients and knowing what they will REALLY like.
Being found…for me it’s also SEO / websites and my sphere / past clients. Those are the 2 angles that bring me the most business so that’s where I focus my energies.
Lastly, I think EVERY transaction has a lesson to be learned. Look back on your transaction and see what you could improve upon for the next time round. I think communication is one of the biggest areas for Realtors to examine. I find that if you are constantly communicating with your clients — whether it be good news or bad news — at least they know you are ALWAYS thinking abou them.
July 17, 2009 at 9:52 am
I could not function or have a life without systems. Life happens but systems don’t change and keep us on track for what and how we do our business.
October 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm
Stimulating and prudtive content. Well Done! I just need to do it . . . . this afternoon./