Buying and selling property is as old as time, but the industry has progressed and changed enormously over the last couple of years, meaning estate agents are now faced with several new challenges.
Firstly, when the Real Estate Industry began there was no internet, meaning that if you listed a property it was yours and yours alone to sell, but now everyone has access to the same information, thus competition both online and on the ground is stronger than ever before.
In addition the process of choosing an agent has changed somewhat, prospects can now look to websites, social pages and portals to examine whether said agent has the qualities they’re looking for before even meeting them.
Therefore with estate agents having to operate in such a cut-throat and competitive environment (even more so than before), it’s increasingly important for them to stand out and figure out new ways to provide prospects with the best possible value.
A Social Study
In order to discover where agents might already be reinventing themselves in order to stand out we took to social groups and communities to ask agents “What do you do differently?”
We didn’t know what to expect in terms of response, the question is quite broad and therefore we knew we were likely to get very different accounts. However what we didn’t expect to encounter was such a diverse group of extraordinary people pushing boundaries and doing incredible things to make themselves and their business seen and heard.
Here are those inspiring agents and their stories:
Jesse James – Ray White, Redland Bay
First up is the real cowboy of real estate Jesse James.
Jesse is truly one of a kind; I say that because he is the first real estate agent I have ever come across who wears a cowboy hat and boots and once a year rides an actual, living bull!
In an interview with Propertyshowrooms.com Redland Bay Australia’s wildest real estate agent talks us through how playing up to a character and making people smile can leave a lasting impression, how community events can create serious pulling power and how videos can make all the difference:
“I very rarely wear a suit, I encourage sellers to use video to promote their properties and when they do, to help their property virility and my profile I wear a cowboy hat, boots and jeans.
The idea came to me after someone early in my career asked where my horse and guns were (as Jesse James was an outlaw in the western years in the USA). Therefore I decided to use it to my advantage and because everyone I met presumed I knew how to ride a horse or ride in a rodeo I thought lets create an experience for the people so they don’t forget the agent they’ve met by way of video, community event, or the cowboy hat.”
When asked why he does it Jesse said, “Because it works for me. It also works as an ‘ice breaker’ when I introduce myself as Jesse James, everyone has a good laugh and I’m happy to put a smile on people’s faces.”
In addition to creating stunning videos whilst sporting his iconic western attire Jesse also uses his name to create events designed to give back to the community and raise money for the local charity “The Cage Youth Foundation”, the most popular of which is the Grass Roots Bull Ride.
“I do the events because it’s a great opportunity to give something back and also because I love bull riding so I found a way to combine the two and in doing so create the biggest standalone bull ride in Australia in less than 3 years.”
During this event Jesse rides a bull for 8 seconds, bets are made and funds are donated to charity, but it’s about more than that, “The Grass Roots event is about being proud of; who you are, where you live, where you’re heading and helping everyone on your way up the ladder. That’s why 42 local businesses are the event sponsors and everything including all food and drink is supplied by Redland Bay businesses, making it a full on community event designed to bring people to our area.”
“Our community supports it every year by coming in the thousands, in a suburb with only 4,500 dwellings we get an average crowd of 2,100 people each year.”
When asked what the best outcome or reaction has been to his approach Jesse said:
“There isn't just one, if we talk about the videos, it's been the fact that people recognise me in the street locally and that some got over a thousand views in less than eight hours.
If you talk about our major event, it's the fact that I now get to speak on stage to our real estate industry about becoming famous in your community with speakers like Eric Thomas world number one motivational speaker and John McGrath iconic in the real estate industry in Australia. Our community event has also now attracted international competition who wants us to get involved with the USA and Canada for a world competition. One reaction I got while speaking in Melbourne Australia was people covering their eyes in fear of what may happen to me while riding the bull. Another was crying by the way my film makers Platinum HD TV, edited a film for me and my son to appear together at the end.”
As a final word Jesse also gave us his advice for agents thinking of trying something new to stand out:
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself, don't pretend to be anyone else, don't be afraid to take a risk or pay the price for the risk taken but keep doing what you're doing and you'll get the same result. Standup standout and stand proud you deserve it, if you haven't already earned it. Be humble, respectful and remember to help everyone, no matter how good or bad you think you are.”
Daniel Hayes - Hayeswinckle AGENT, Geelong
Daniel is a force to be reckoned with, he’s been breaking records since his first twelve months in the real estate industry; when he became the number one sales consultant in Victoria, Australia selling a record 82 of his own listings, something previously unheard of. Now seven years on with his own office he continues to break records having sold over 1,000 properties in the business’s first three months.
We spoke with Daniel about what makes his business different to understand what the driving factor behind such high results is;
“Outrageous marketing is what separates us from the competition, we stand out with bright colours and witty humor because we believe that real estate doesn’t have to be boring!”
This Hayeswinckle AGENT advert says it all:
“Our logo is a hot pink colour to stand out against the sea of same old same old and we try to have fun with our marketing, because ultimately I believe real estate marketing IS a fun job and I want that to come across. If punters can look at an ad of ours and have a little chuckle I think that gives us an edge.”
When asked where this idea to inject a spark of humor and entertainment into his real estate marketing efforts Daniel told us;
“I was just bored to death with traditional real estate and thought if I’m going to have my name on the door I want it to stand out, I want it to be different, I want it to be a reflection of me.”
“I’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds in the past going to real estate marketing experts who were just safe and boring, and I just don’t think it works. My methods have proven that there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a little outrageous or being different in real estate.”
Daniel’s advice for agents who are thinking of trying of how they might do something a little different to stand out is this:
“In order to be different you have to have the fundamentals in place first. It’s good to be different, but if you don’t give world class service, if you aren’t a great agent, if you don’t have your vendors interests at heart, if you’re not about achieving the highest price and you try to be creative and try to be quirky, you simply end up looking like an idiot.”
Andrew Kyriacou – Urban Residential, South Australia
Andrew is truly original in his property marketing approach; he creates listing videos that follow an entertaining theme or narrative, making them hugely fun to watch as well as very hard to forget.
The majority of Andrew’s videos follow a humorous storyline, which when you think about it makes perfect sense for advertising real estate. Why? Because buying a home is an emotionally charged decision and Andrew’s playful style of communication encourages prospects to build a positive emotional connection with a property listing prior to viewing it.
In an interview Andrew told us a little more about what he does and why he does it;
“My property videos are pretty unique. Not all agents do videos for their listings and the ones that do them are very prim and proper, I guess you could say professional. My videos are very different; I like to have fun with them! I have done everything from singing to dancing and even dressing up in my videos while explaining the benefits of a home.”
Andrew’s videos have become somewhat of an internet sensation, captivating large audiences in a very short period of time and driving huge amounts of traffic to the company Youtube channel. He says, “These “infotainment” styles of videos go viral and gain enormous amounts of exposure, one video got up to 50,000 views while another reached 30,000.”
We asked Andrew where it all began; “I went to a seminar, one of Glenn Twiddles seminars, he encourages people to do things differently and inspired me to do videos and dare to be different. Therefore I decided to go for making outrageous videos.”
Andrew believes it’s important to stand out, but also grow and change with the times;
“As the market has slowly changed, I have changed my marketing strategies and tactics, to implement what is necessary today, as opposed to using outdated techniques that simply don’t work within the current economic climate. If we do what others do, we’ll be lost in the crowd. If we do things differently we stand out and receive lots of attention. This works well for my business and of course the client’s house. It is not unusual for me to sell homes quicker and for excellent money, and the video aspect is certainly an important piece to the puzzle to help ‘sell the sizzle’.”
Despite the success of his videos, Andrew says he’s received mixed feedback;
“I think the more popular and known something becomes the more negative feedback you tend to get. I noticed however that a lot of the negative feedback I was getting was from competitors. The important thing for me is that all my clients love it, it makes the whole process fun rather than daunting and it works.”
We asked Andrew what the best outcome has been for him, he told us;
“I sold one property in less than 30 days for $30,000 above their expectation. I have many case studies that show similar results but this one stood out because I copped a lot of negative feedback from competitors. As a result, I have been interviewed on ABC radio, been on national TV and on the news several times.”
What do all of these agents have in common? Aside from all being Australian coincidently, they each focus on providing a client with something they can’t find online or can’t do themselves.
Creating a positive experience, or an innovative approach might seem like a good laugh, and it probably is but putting on an international event, coming up with witty advertising and creating engaging videos, also takes a huge amount of hard work, thought and preparation.
The question is, does putting in that hard work to stand out and be different really count? For these guys it certainly has and the proof is in the incredible results they have each achieved.
What do you think? Is it important to stand out from the competition? And what do you think is the best way to do so? Let us know in the comments below!