Real estate is a competitive and, at times, merciless industry. Every day, at every agency, every agent is competing for appointments, listings and ultimately sales. It’s a world where the highs can be dizzying, the lows desperately depressing and the difference between success and failure can be fickle.
Climbing to the top of the ladder takes courage, hard work and resilience. Staying there can take even more work.
The cycle of supply and demand means the more agents there are competing for listings, the smaller the chunk of pie they’re fighting for. A recent survey I conducted with my clients revealed 17 per cent felt dealing with competitors was the biggest challenge facing their business. In a battle for listings, agents usually compete in three main areas: price, marketing and fees. In the absence of differentiation, sellers will always shop on agent and marketing fees and my clients said they often face competitors who are undercutting.
“Business is great and the market is excellent but unfortunately this is allowing many agents to cut fees,” one agent said. “They are not necessarily small offices with unprofessional agents, I am seeing my strongest competitors doing it too.” So how do you stay ahead of your competition and do it in a honourable way?
Regardless of the fee you charge you want sellers to want you as their agent. This means to become the leading agent in your market you need to stand out. The key is to focus on the customer, their needs and meeting those needs as effectively and efficiently as possible. If you focus on your competition you never win.
Rather than trying to take out your competition, work on yourself, your skills and strive to be a role model. Work your database and back up your promises with third-party endorsements. When you focus on the customer you create more word of mouth recommendations more often. If you’re a new agent trying to climb the ladder it’s vitally important that you study the market you want to overtake.
You need to know every new listing, every sale and become an absolute specialist when it comes to pricing. As you move towards the top of the ladder it’s important to generate and convert lots of leads. Make more and more calls to get in more doors and use your past clients as a great source for getting new face-to-face appointments. Once you’ve reached the top of the hill and are the leading agent in your market you have to work hard to stay there.
The key to success in this regard is to monitor the market, continually prospect and never become complacent.
5 Top Tips for becoming the leading agents in your market
1) Know the size of the pie.
You need to make sure you’re working in a big enough market. Markets change over time and you need to ensure there’s enough turnover to meet your desired income.
2) Know the market.
You need to be able to counteract your competition so make sure you know every listing, every sale and are an expert on price. Good quality market knowledge allows you to separate yourself from the pack.
3) Know why you pitch differently to your competition.
You need to stand out from the crowd. Focus on the customer, their needs and desires and show how you can meet them faster, better and cheaper. Cheaper doesn’t mean cutting your fee or marketing, it’s about the speed of sale. The faster you sell a property the less of a discount it usually sells for.
4) List it well, sell it well.
Don’t rush a property to market if you haven’t finalised price, presentation and marketing. People buy a perceived lifestyle and will pay more for a property when it is complete, rather than one they have to renovate.
5) Know when to build a team.
Know when the time is right to employ an assistant so you can focus on what really counts. Choose people that aspire to really be something, have a strong family business background, who are hungry to learn and who can be coached.