In today’s business market, where you’re not only competing with other agents but with clients using the Internet to sell directly, you can’t rely on what used to work for you ten – or even five – years ago. To continue to succeed, offer compelling experiences to your clients so you stand out from the crowd and offer something they can’t do themselves.
Creating experiences starts with putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes (whether it’s a vendor, potential buyer, landlord or tenant), considering their most pressing question, and then giving them a solution.
If everybody else is doing the same thing, you have to really blow their socks off with your solutions. But fortunately, most of your competitors aren’t even coming close. So you don’t have to do a lot to really stand out.
Here are five questions people might be asking when dealing with you, and one example of how you could address each of them.
1. Immediacy: “How can I get this now?”
People are more impatient than ever before, and expect to get instant answers to everything. What can you do to give people more immediate access to what they want?
Example (for buyers): Include a QR code on every non-electronic piece of material you create: For Sale signs outside a property, the listings in your agency window, flyers in letter-box drops, and so on. Here’s an example from a Helsinki real estate agency (photo by netwalkerz_net on Flickr):
The QR code means somebody can whip out their phone, scan the code and go directly to the property’s full listing (or a video walkthrough, for example) on your Web site.
2. Personalisation: “How does this apply to ME?”
We’re all suffering from information overload, and we ignore most of it – because it’s irrelevant, generic, and not relevant to us. But if you can provide people with something truly personal, it becomes a welcome gift, not an annoying intrusion.
Example (for landlords): The landlords on your rent roll are property investors, and they all want to know how their properties are performing in the market. You have access to that information – for example, recent sales in their suburb and neighbouring suburbs. It doesn’t take much effort to search the CoreLogic (RP Data) database for this information, and send it to your landlords, say, every three months. You don’t have to do a separate report for every landlord, of course, because many of them are clustered in the same area.
3. Information: “Where can I find this?”
Even though the Internet has given people access to more information than ever before, it doesn’t mean they can find the best information for their specific needs. Tenants want to know local information, vendors want to know how buyers buy in their area, landlords want to know exactly what they need to insure, and so on. How can you provide the information they want (even if it seems so basic to you)?
Example (for tenants): Make tenants feel welcome by giving them valuable information about their local facilities and services. This can be as simple as giving them a list of useful telephone numbers, or creating a customised Google Map with your recommendations, or even organising a book fo gift vouchers from local retailers.
4. Choice: “What are my options?”
Just because somebody has access to information doesn’t mean they want to be completely independent. If you only offer one level of service, it becomes “take it or leave it” for your clients. How can you offer a suite of services at different levels, so you can cater for different kinds of clients?
Example (for landlords): One of my property managers offers full-service property management (just like everybody else), but also offers a “tenant finding” service for landlords who are happy to do the ongoing management themselves. On the sales side, you might even offer a service to help people who want to list and sell their properties direct! That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re putting yourself out of business; it just means you’re offering a service to clients who would otherwise never use you at all.
5. Education: “How do I do this?”
Selling property is your job, and you probably take for granted everything you know about the process. Most vendors buy and sell property rarely (let’s say on average every 8-10 years), and there’s so much you know that they would love to know (even if it seems obvious to you). How can you share some of your knowledge to make their experience smoother, easier and less stressful?
Example (for vendors, buyers, landlords, anybody!): Create short “how to” videos addressing common things people need to know – for example:
- For vendors: How to prepare your home for a Home Open
- For landlords: How to make life easy for tenants
- For tenants: How to prepare your home for an inspection
Which of these ideas could YOU use?
I have given you just a few examples here, and deliberately chosen those that don’t need a lot of time, money or technology to do. Which of these could you add to your business now? And if none of them seem right for you exactly as I described them, how could you adapt them to make them work for you?