Let me ask you a simple question: Why should anyone use you as their agent? Go ahead, take a minute to think that through. What do you bring to the table that 1,000 other agents don’t bring? A key to the lock box? Access to the MLS? Are you kidding?!
OK. Then let me ask you this question: Who’s the best agent in your market? If the answer is not you, then I need to ask you this: If you’re not the best agent, then why don’t you simply refer all your business to that best agent? Wouldn’t that be in the best interest of your client? Remember your agency responsibilities? Ouch!
These are tough questions. Why I am asking them? Because before you can even begin to start down the path toward success, you must be the best agent for those clients you work with. If you’re not, then you have nothing to offer, in my humble opinion. Before you begin, you need two things: a unique selling proposition and expertise.
First, you need a Unique Selling Proposition. What is a Unique Selling Proposition or USP? Coined by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company (a large national advertising agency), the term Unique Selling Proposition is now used in other fields to refer to that aspect of any person or thing that differentiates it from its competitors — the one reason any person or thing needs to be bought or is better than its competitors.
Frankly, that’s where you need to start. If you don’t have a Unique Selling Proposition then you’re dead in the water. You lack the one compelling reason anyone should give you their business in the fist place. Your USP is ground zero for your real estate practice. No USP, no success.
So what is yours? Think about your background. Your affinity groups? Do you have expertise prior to coming to real estate that you can use to the benefit of your customers? Were you a builder? If so, you might want to specialize in new construction sales. Are you an accountant by trade? Maybe 1031 exchanges is your niche. Have you lived in a condo or two and have lots of experience in condos and town homes? That might be a specialty.
Your Unique Selling Proposition should be an area that differentiates you from your competitors. It could be anything. REOs or foreclosure properties? Golf properties? Horse properties? Maybe you could specialize in empty nest move downs. Divorce real estate? I know an agent who does nothing but manufactured housing — no kidding! And he does very well, because he is the market expert when it comes to manufactured homes.
Next, you must become the expert. Whatever you choose to be your Unique Selling Proposition, you need to find something that you will be passionate about. Something that you either already have a lot of knowledge about, or that you will commit to learning everything there is to learn about. You owe it to yourself and to your clients to be the best at what you do.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson is credited with originating this famous saying: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Or, in the words of Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” It is important to become truly an expert at what you seek to do. Anything less cheats you and those you work for.
What that means really depends on your Unique Selling Proposition, but at a minimum, you should become an expert on the general topic real estate in your market. You should know your market’s Average Sale Price, and the Average List Price. Those two numbers will help you understand the List-to-Sale Ratio or the Average Markdown. You should also know the Average Days on Market (DOM) and the Absorption Rate for your market.
I recommend that you know the statistical probability for selling a home at various time intervals (like 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.) in your market. This is important in guiding your seller and buyer clients, as well as managing client expectations. You should know which companies in your market have the biggest market share, and you should know which agents are the top selling agents, and which agents have which specialties.
I realize that for most agents, I may as well have said you need to learn to walk on water, but that’s simply not true. It’s actually easy to become an expert in your market. The truth is that there is not a single thing that I just mentioned that you couldn’t learn in a day or two of focused study. Are you willing to become an expert? Nobody ever said that learning was easy.