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Branding lesson learned from the rise and fall of Redfin’s Scouting Reports

The short life of Redfin Scouting Reports

What is it that you do to make your real estate business unique? What makes the phone ring, and what do people come to you for? With the recent launch and closing of the Redfin scouting report, these questions will soon become much more important to your success. We will probably see another report showing off an agent’s statistics across the country, where consumers can see if you are really the “top producer” in your area, instead of taking your word for it off of the monthly post card. A specific added value may be the solution that will not only help you survive but thrive in a quickly changing real estate climate.

How would you answer this question?

What do you do? I see a lot of agent profiles on different sites, with an area for listing specialties. In these spaces you are likely to see first time buyers, sellers, short sales, commercial, investors, or 1031 exchanges in a geographical area about the size of an average European country! At this point, it would appear that the agent is the Google of real estate that can do anything. I have been guilty of this in the past, also trying to see what sticks. The problem is that everyone lists everything which will cause you to get lost in the crowd of other Google agents. If your stats became public today what would people know you actually do?

Business focus is important. Sometimes the best way to stand out is to just choose your angle and stick with it. When people see your sign instead of seeing “Real Estate agent” in their mind, they should see “the short-sale person” or “the person who puts on the first time buyer seminar in town.” A niche can be much more memorable and standout more than “agent name,” your neighborhood expert (in every neighborhood across 4 counties).

The answer: stand out and niche

When focusing your business, you can also be much more competitive, even as a new agent. If an agent has been around for 20 years and you have been around for three weeks, competing as a neighborhood expert just won’t work. Maybe you can offer something special that nobody else can easily compete with or brand the same way as you do. Maybe offer a digital transaction. A transaction so transparent and simple, the consumer will not find a better experience with anyone else. With digital signatures and tech savvy computer skills, you can make the buying or selling process as easy as getting a Redbox movie. This would be a crowd pleaser with the younger generation who usually don’t own filing cabinets but probably have a few computers.

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With the year coming to an end, it is the perfect time to start enhancing your business plan and branding yourself to really show people what you do. The further publication of agent stats is not far away. I believe this is good for the industry as a whole, and does not mean that you will have a harder time competing. If anything, it will help you compete, because if you do well with your specialty it will only show as a positive number on your stats which will in turn only get you more business.

Written By

Ryan Schattner is a real estate broker associate with RE/MAX Gold in California, specializing in investment properties. He is also the creator of the Escrow Coordinator PLUS real estate business platform. His writing focuses on increasing productivity and efficiency through the use of technology, and planning.

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