Does your positioning need to change?
Everything is different: the market, real estate’s perceived value and customer confidence. Based on this new reality, you’ve probably changed your marketing efforts, perhaps you’ve incorporated some niche marketing efforts . But have you thought about your positioning?
The recent boom years had many people jumping on the agent bandwagon. As a result, veterans probably added awards/designations, years of experience and/or number of homes sold to business cards, flyers and other marketing communication pieces to create a position of expertise and experience.
Does the F word matter?
Would a potential buyer would want to know how many of the homes an agent sold in the recent boom years have gone into foreclosure. How do you prove your competency in a skeptical environment? What is the most effective position these days? The short answer is I don’t know. I haven’t conducted any surveys. But I did reach out to a few folks I’ve met via Twitter from different areas of the RE industry who were kind enough to give me their thoughts on the matter. (Twitter names included, though you probably follow them)
Pearls of wisdom
Ginger Wilcox (@GingerW) – a top producing Broker Associate at Alain Pinel, a San Francisco Bay Area luxury real estate firm commented “For me personally, my positioning has not changed. I don’t think my clients have ever really cared if I am #1 in my office or in my cubicle, or on my block. My clients have always wanted to know that I have the knowledge and expertise to sell their home. They don’t want me to TELL them this, talk is cheap–they want me to show them. When I meet with potential sellers, I talk very little about me. If I am sitting down in front of them, they already know enough about me to feel comfortable interviewing me. At that point, it is no longer about me- it is about the client and their needs. Instead of focusing on my accomplishments, I talk about what is happening in the market, with concrete statistics to back it up. I show them my marketing plan, with samples of how I have marketed homes online. Sellers want to know they are getting the maximum exposure possible. The best way to demonstrate this is not to tell them, it is to show them.”
Rob Hahn (@RobHahn) – VP of Marketing at Onboard Informatics, a data and technology provider to the real estate industry (his Notorious Rob Blog is awesome) made some provocative statements from a savvy consumer point of view: “Designations are meaningless, as unfortunately are Brands. Volume is more or less meaningless – unless they are somehow guaranteeing performance … If I were selling my house today, what I would care about over everything else is performance over baseline – the standard lift over control. Mutual funds measure themselves vs. the S&P 500. I want the selling agent who can say, ‘My track record is 10% over the baseline CMA.’ Or ‘My DOM is 5 days less than average DOM’ and back it up with stats. If buying, I want the reverse: ‘My buyers save 11% on average over the baseline CMA.’ ”
In answer to my positioning against foreclosures, Rob commented: “I don’t know that I would care what % of homes sold by the agent went into foreclosure. How much of that do I attribute to the agent vs. the folks who bought a place they couldn’t afford?”
Louis Cammarosano (@LCammarosa) – General Manager, HomeGain shared with me insights from a Buyer/Seller survey his company published last year. “We sent the survey to 14,000 of our AgentEvaluator home buyers and sellers broken into two customer groups: those who bought or sold a home using a HomeGain real estate agent, and those who failed to select one of our agents. The biggest takeaways were clients wanted a fast response to their inquiry, and one that is based on the their individual needs. By personalizing the proposal, an agent is able to prove relevant experience as it pertains to the client’s needs. That makes sense. If an agent meets or exceeds expectations in the proposal phase, they are setting the tone for the transaction. In fact, the most critical factor in their decision to not select a HomeGain agent was the lack of a personalized proposal. Based on that information, I would say an agent’s position is something that should be demonstrated, and not just a catchy tag line. And, further polling of consumers showed that experience was considered more important than commission rate.” Louis did say to bear in mind participants in this survey plan to use the services of a realtor, so it can be assumed they value a realtor’s services more perhaps than the generic internet user.
What’s your position?
Have you made any changes to address the concerns in this market?