Four SHIFTS to Make to Create a Competitive Edge

Dec 24, 2013

Advice for the Successful Year from Floyd Wickman An Interview by Julie Escobar

For all the real estate pros who are eager to maximize this year, and fill it with more opportunity and possibilities than we’ve seen in a long time in our industry, I tapped our good friend and industry icon Floyd Wickman for his take on some top shifts agents can make to increase their competitive edge.  Here’s his sage advice:

SHIFT #1:  Know Your Competition.  If you think about the major sports leagues; baseball, football, hockey, and then think about the most successful teams, you’ll find that they have one thing in common. In order to be successful they view and review videos of their games and those of their competitors. They look for strengths and weaknesses so they'll know how to defend and compete effectively. It's the same in the real estate business. You have to know what you're up against in order to outpace the competition. Here are a few questions that agents will have to answer in order for them to achieve market-share dominance:

  1. Who are your top-ten competitors?
  2. If you lose a listing, to whom do you lose it in most instances?
  3. How many agents do each of your primary competitors have?
  4. What is their average experience level?
  5. What is their annual per person production?
  6. What is the average number of listings in each office?
  7. What is their list-to-sell ratio and list-to-sale time-frame?

There are other questions that agents could ask, and it may be a great exercise BEFORE January for you and your team to take some time and write out all the questions that would help you to know precisely what qualities buyers and sellers are looking for and to understand how you stack up against your competition.

SHIFT #2:  Fill Your Tool Chest with the BEST.   Throughout history all of the great competitors – from armies, to corporations, to world leaders-- all got to be the best because they had the essential tools (and even a few extra) needed to do the job better than their opponents. Real estate agents today must have the right tools to battle the highly-skilled competitors they meet much in the same way. In our training programs, we teach agents to have everything they need to control their time, budget, and client meetings.  Objection handling techniques, visuals, stats, dialogues, powerful presentations are some of the tools we help them master and use effectively.  We often recommend your organization, for the marketing tools that make all the difference, such as Just Listed/Just Sold postcardsdoor hangersfree reportssphere of influence tools and more.  And of course, these days, agents need to ensure they have social media resources at their fingertips – is a great tool we’ve found that helps agents save time and effort.  Take a look at your ‘tool chest’ at least once a quarter to make sure you have everything you need, lose what doesn’t work, and add new timely tools as they come to market that help streamline and automate your processes.  Anything you can use that keeps you focused on prospecting, presenting and closing and can systemize the rest—is a valuable asset to your bottom line.

SHIFT #3:  NEVER Stop Learning New Skills: In the more than forty years I've been in this business as an agent, manager and trainer, I've never seen an era where the necessity for high-sales skills was greater. In our 24/7 world, with the accessibility to communication and information as strong as it is, sellers and buyers are savvier than ever before and have more questions and concerns than ever before. We have to overcome more commission objections, "We want to shop around" objections, pricing, length of the listing, etc. The art of persuasion is in demand and critical in the field if you want to compete successfully. The real proof of this is seen in our training classes. We find that the average experience level of the students is almost four years, whereas, not so long ago, it was two years. It seems clear to me that being able to close the transaction is the difference between thriving and merely surviving in the business.

SHIFT #5:  LOSE What Doesn't Work:  Too often we hang on to old patterns, old habits, old mindsets and old routines simply because that's 'the way it has always been done.'  Our world is moving WAY TOO FAST for that.  Before the first of the year take a good, long look at your daily, weekly and monthly activities.  Write them all down.  What can you lose? What's costing you time, energy, money that isn't bringing you a return personally or professionally?  Time to get of them.  Are there people in your life that drag you down?  Fuel the negative?  Cause you more grief and chaos than joy or help?  Then, give yourself permission to take yourself OUT of those relationship equations. Life's too short to hang around those kind of people.  "Clean house" before the first of the year -- you'll find yourself with a whole lot more momentum and a great running start to January if you do.

SHIFT #4:  Develop a Competitive Attitude: Attitude is everything. It takes a certain mental toughness to be willing to convey to a prospect that you are the best person/company for the job. This mental toughness, added to the facts, tools and skills discussed above, add up to an enthusiastic response to the question, "Why are you the best?" It's like you are saying, "You know Mr. and Mrs. Seller, there are 1,000 agents in our area. However, for what you want, need and are trying to accomplish, you really only have a choice of three: good, better and best. You see, we are all good. After all, you have to at least be licensed. Some are better than others. But for what you're trying to accomplish – that is to get the most amount of money for your home, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of inconvenience, it seems to me that there is only one best agent, and what a coincidence that we should be together at this moment."

There are many ways to answer the question, "Why are you the best?" Here are just a few:

  • "I'm the best because I am new in real estate and I'm not bogged down like those top producers."
  • "I'm the best because my office is right on the corner. Where do you think the buyers are coming TO?"
  • "I'm the best because my office is clear over on the other side of town. Where do you think the buyers are coming FROM?

You need the mental toughness to be able to enthusiastically convey to the seller this message.

"Mr. and Mrs. Seller, if you were going to fly coast-to-coast and you had the choice of flying first class or coach, both at the same price, which would you choose?"   Seller: "First class, of course."  Agent: "I expected as much. May I ask why?"  Seller: "Because I get more for my money and a more comfortable journey."  Agent: "If you knew you could get more for your money and a more comfortable journey by choosing me over someone who might be considered coach, I'd be the obvious choice, wouldn't you agree?"

My advice to you is to become a competitor. Stay nice--but be a competitor. Put people first-- but be a competitor. Care about what they care about--but be a competitor. Never verbally knock the competition--but be a competitor.


Well, you get the idea. Good luck and remember we’re here if you need us!

Thanks Floyd Wickman, for always giving us a solid foundation to help agents drive more production, fuel their branding, build their bottom line and COMPETE in our fast-paced world!  If you would like to learn more about Floyd’s training programs for real estate agents, visit:

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you systemize, strategize, and even automate your real estate marketing, visit us online at, or download our new online Master Marketing Schedule to stay on top of the latest and greatest tools we have available (and the creative content that helps you stay competitive as well!  Here’s to an amazing new year!  

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