Gone are the days when real estate agents possessed all the knowledge and power when it came to informing buyers. Now the Internet along with a number of emerging technologies has changed the way many industries operate, and real estate is no exception.
In 2015 estate agents are faced with many challenges, buyers can research geographical areas and real estate markets by simply asking Google. This is leading many to question whether a real estate agent is necessary when buying a new home or investment property.
However, estate agents, my advice is don’t get caught up in the “is real estate dead” debate, instead focus on EVOLVING and bettering your services. Yes the industry is changing, but that doesn’t mean you have to be left behind, it just means you must adapt and change with it.
Where to start?
Below I've listed some key areas to take note of in order to get started:
Change your approach to marketing
Real estate marketing has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, in the past it was all about numerically listing a properties features, i.e. 2 beds, 2 baths, 1 living room, boring right? But now with the introduction of new technology there’s so much more you can do!
Marketing and advertising trends are now moving away from lists and towards experience; otherwise known as experiential marketing. This style of promotion focuses on lifestyle and promoting the feeling you experience when making a particular purchase.
This is what agents should be focusing on; tailor your marketing efforts so that clients can really RELATE to the properties you’re promoting.
Put the customer first online and offline
Personalise your services to provide an unforgettable customer experience from beginning to end. Don’t limit your services to just the transaction; offer additional advice and really go the extra mile when it comes to helping a customer to choose and buy a home.
Most importantly, make sure this is evident not just in the way you treat clients face-to-face, but in what they read and see on your website and social channels.
This is important because it's likely that your potential clients will also be looking at other agents too, in order to amplify their reach and help them find potential properties. That means you need to stand out in a sea of other agents, and if a client finds you to be personable, helpful, knowledgeable, approachable etc before they've even met you, you're already winning.
Why not try asking happy customers for testimonials that reflect your efforts and add them to your website and social channels? That way prospects in search of an agent will immediately have reason to choose you.
Establish and promote an engaging brand
Buying a home is an emotional experience and clients need to feel that they can trust — a solid brand will do just that. Your brand should speak volumes about what you do, from services, to knowledge and your ability for success. And be consistent; this way you can ensure your clients and prospects will recognize you at that crucial time they decide to buy or sell.
Why not try making your entire real estate team brand ambassadors? This way you can amplify your brand’s message by encouraging the entire office to post about the business’s success stories on social networks.
Become an industry expert
When you provide a wealth of content online, you become a greater asset to your client. Did you know that 80 percent of people prefer content to advertisement? That means your target audience of clients and prospects are looking for content, and they want to know that you are the go-to person to guide them through the process.
Provide comment on current industry affairs in your local newspaper, write opinion pieces and promote them on LinkedIn, enter debates at conferences and trade shows, the more knowledge and insight you can offer the more exposure you will get. This will increase your chances of gaining the attention, trust and respect from more clients and prospects.
Showcase your valuable knowledge
In the past agents have had a tendency to keep what they know close, safeguarding themselves and their company from the competition. However nowadays, buyers are searching for that value before they even choose an agent, and therefore you need to tell people why they should choose you over others from day one! That’s where offering your audience your local knowledge can help.
Your knowledge and experience on the real estate industry and the lifestyle available in your given area is critical to a buyer. They look to you as their guide not only for finding and selecting a home, but also for the area. They’re reliant on you to give them insight into everything there is to know about the area where they are focusing their search. There are still some things the internet can’t tell them, but you can, so you should!
Why not try creating guides to buying in your area that you can distribute to clients, include information about amenities, events, local businesses and the community as a whole to really show off your region.
If you haven’t already done so, now is a crucial time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy. Take a step back and ask yourself; is what I'm doing right now really working? Are my clients looking for something more or something different? What can I do to make sure I stand out from the competition?
The bottom line is this; the industry is changing and standing still is not an option, agents need to move forward and adapt in order to succeed in this new digital era.
Have you made any recent changes to your real estate business in line with the points above? We'd love to hear about them, let us know in the comments below!