Making a name for yourself, growing your business, getting ahead, COMPETING in a challenging market – for some of you, all of that’s going to take doing some things DIFFERENTLY this year. Take it from somebody who’s been around the block in this business we call sales though – with the RIGHT set of “keys” – you can out-smart, out-perform and win over your competitors in ANY market. I’ve seen it – time and time and time again. 1. Know what you’re up against. In every professional sport, and every major corporation, Know the Facts: 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. There are a few questions that agents will have to answer in order for them to achieve market-share dominance. For example:
- Who are your top-ten competitors?
- If you lose a listing, to whom do you lose it in most instances?
- How many agents do each of your primary competitors have?
- What is their average experience level?
- What is their annual per person production?
- What is the average number of listings in each office?
- 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 for you 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. 2. Have the Weaponry: To "out-gun" your competition, you’ll need the tools to do the job. From blackberry to laptop, to contact-management systems and marketing tools you need the essentials, and a few extras to meet the needs of today’s informed consumer. Throughout history all of the great armies of the world got to be the best because they had the right weapons 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. These days, those tools also include social media and technology tools such as websites, blogs, social networks and more in an ever-changing world. Be sure you’re staying online and up to date so that you always appear top-of-mind when area buyers and sellers are searching for their next agent. 3. Skill: 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. 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. I often illustrate this by telling “the lumberjack story” to my students. Picture this: A long-time champion lumberjack finds himself pitted against a small, frail competitor in the championship log-splitting contest. Confident that he will beat this new upstart, the champ jokes around with both his friends and onlookers, paying little attention to the pile of logs at hand. The frail competitor is the "Steady-Eddie" who focuses on chopping away. However, oddly enough, every hour he takes a ten-minute break and goes off by himself. The champ finds this astounding and believes the little guy to be a fool. "How can he possibly even challenge me if he is not even going to keep at it?" To everyone's amazement, however, when the four-hour contest drew to a close, the champion had logs before him still to be split, while the challenger had successfully split his entire pile. When asked by the defeated champ how he did it and where he went every hour for ten minutes, the new champ said, "Oh, that's simple. While you were boasting and goofing-off, I was off sharpening my axe!" Agents must sharpen their axes every day. 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! Have a great second quarter!