Being a Competitive Real Estate Agent in 2022
Being a competitive real estate agent in 2022 is a tough job.. Home prices are indeed at record highs, and that means larger commissions. But with few homes on the market, the yearly takehome for many is not what they envisioned.
In February of this year, Zillow came out with a report showing that housing inventory had fallen for the fifth consecutive month. In addition, inventory was down 25% year-over-year and down 48% from February 2020. If this were not enough, the number of Realtors, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), has increased every year for the past decade. In 2021 there were, according to the NAR, 1.56 million Realtors in the United States. In addition, many real estate agents are not realtors, so the figure of active real estate agents may well be over 3 million.
It all goes back to supply and demand
There were 729,000 total homes for sale in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. in February of this year. Simple math will tell you that about ½ of all realtors had no listings, and many real estate agents had no sales.
Indeed, some real estate agents only work commercial real estate, some only work rentals, some just vacation homes, etc. There are areas of the country, however, where competition is severe. On Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, a tourist mecca, 1 out of every 30 residents has a real estate license. https://www.bostonreb.com/how-many-boston-real-estate-agents-are-too-many/
What is a Real Estate agent to do?
Ask yourself these questions.
- Can a person sell real estate they own without a real estate license?
- Can a person sell real estate they own without a real estate broker?
- Can a person sell real estate they own without a real estate agent?
The answer to every one of these is, “Yes, they can.”
One more question.
If you as a real estate agent are not providing significant value to a client, why do they need you?
I have written about the need to provide value to your clients; see this ZipperAgent blog post. Your most competitive advantage over other real estate agents and platforms is the value you bring to a real estate transaction.
Let’s analyze some of that competition and see where you stand out and where the value you provide might need some tweaking.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Several platforms use AI to help real estate agents determine if a potential customer might face a significant life event that could turn them into a customer. For example, if a couple purchased a multi-bedroom home 30 years ago, has had offspring, and the youngest child has moved out, they might be candidates to downsize their home.
REX, short for Real Estate Exchange, is a tech startup. Based out of Los Angeles, CA, the company uses an algorithm that looks at over one hundred data points to target potential buyers. Those potential buyers become targets of social media advertisements. Buyers are enticed by lower commissions than are typically offered by real estate agents. Considering that the median sales price of a home in Los Angeles County is $800,000, the saving for a buyer could easily exceed $20,000.00. REX operates only in certain areas, but they will probably be expanding.
Most people still find their real estate agent through referrals or having worked with them in the past(https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics). Some companies are trying to change this dynamic. Upnest.com is a company that goes a step further and compares the rates and services of agents in an area. MyAgentFinder.com, HomeLight.com, and AgentPronto.com are just three companies that provide consumers with a ranking of real estate agents in their local market.
Get a CRM
To be competitive in the Real Estate market, you first need to get your own house in order. Please make no mistake about it. You compete against well-organized agents and even AI platforms that can sort information neatly, provide individualized content for targeted consumers, and consistently deliver value over long periods. To be competitive, you must be organized and have your S*&T TOGETHER. Get and use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, such as ZipperAgent. You will not compete effectively against AI utilizing a notebook or index cards. An average index card has ten lines on it. Think of these as ten data points. AI is analyzing hundreds of data points. The 10 data points on an index card just won’t cut it in our technology-driven age
A good CRM will not only get all your contacts organized. The right one will do much more. It will assist you in staying top-of-mind with customers, clients, vendors, and others. It can send out an e-mail or text messages automatically to contacts. With some, you can even send out video messages to your contacts. A CRM can remind you of important events. It can organize your data into different segments, perfect for running personalized or individualized market campaigns.
For example, let’s say that you have five clients looking for a home in a particular zip code. Two of these clients are looking for a three-bedroom house, one is looking for a two-bedroom home, one is looking for a one-bedroom home, and one only wants a condo with one or two bedrooms. You become aware of a coming soon listing in that zip code at a sales meeting. The listing is a two-bedroom home with a yard. Personalized marketing could be sent to all of these clients, letting them know about this property. Individualized marketing would send the information only to the client interested in the one-bedroom home, not the one interested in the condo. Who doesn’t like individualized attention?
Have a Consistent Web Presence
More people are finding the home they want to buy on the internet. If you do not have a strong internet presence, you are missing the boat. That presence also has to be consistent. A recent ZipperAgent blog talked bout how important consistency is to your brand. Consistency is about delivering value every time you connect with a contact. Think of it this way. Every time you go to McDonald’s, you expect that you can order a BigMac when people come to your website; what do they expect? What value do you provide with every phone call, with every mailing?
That consistent web presence also applies to social media. If you publish a weekly blog, do it on the same day every week. If your brand uses LATO font in your e-mail, use it everywhere. If your logo has a blue background, it should be blue on your website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. You get the idea.
Be a Resource for your Clients
Above I touched on providing value to your clients. What are some of the things people value? Things that reduce effort, help them avoid hassles, reduce costs, and save them time. That reduces the risk that provides connections, to name a few. Imagine that you can recommend a landscaping company to a client. One you know and have done business with before. What have you done? You have been a resource for your clients and provided them with value. You reduced their effort because they did not need to go out and search for a landscaper. You reduced the hassle of calling or e-mailing several different companies. You saved them time. You reduced their risk because you referred a company you knew would do a good job. Imagine that you had spoken to the landscaper and arranged that every referral you sent his way would get a 5% discount on services. Now you have saved the client money, another value.
Let’s take this a step further. Write about this in a blog that you post on your website. Now you are providing value to your clients and the wider community. You have freely given potential clients, future leads, and people, in general, a valuable service. The more you do this, the more valuable you become as a trusted resource. What you want is to be a trusted resource in the community. After all, people do business with people they know, like, and trust.
People also feel obligated to do things for people that do something for them. It goes like this. You told me where to find a great plumber when I needed one, told me about that beautiful bike trail and informed me about the real estate market. Over the years, I have come to know you, like you, and trust what you say. Now that it is time to sell my home, I want you to be my real estate agent. I admit that this may be oversimplified, but I hope you understand.
Provide Excellent Service
You should start under-promising and over-delivering if you want to provide excellent service. You promise a couple that you will inform them of any new listings in a zip code where they are interested in purchasing a home. It would be best to tell them what homes have sold, what they sold for, what listings expired, and perhaps even tell them what is happening in adjacent zip codes.
Another way of providing excellent service is simply telling people what you have done. People don’t know what you do unless you tell them. Most sellers would probably say that their listing agent signed an agreement with them, put up a for sale sign, held an open house, and presented an offer to them. Suppose you told them what you had done after signing the listing agreement.:
- Created a print ad
- Created an Internet ad
- You coordinated showings of their home with “X” number of agents.
- You returned “X” number of phone calls regarding their home.
- You installed a lockbox.
- Set up a for sale sign
- You prepared a mailing and contact list specific to their home.
- You generated mail-merge letters to the contact list.
- You ordered “Just Listed” postcards.
- You prepared and printed flyers and feedback forms for their property.
- You constantly monitored MLS listings of comparables to ensure their property was competitive.
- You prepared a property marketing brochure.
- You arranged for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers.
- You uploaded their listing to company and agent Internet sites.
- You mailed “Just Listed” postcards to all neighborhood residents.
- You advised the Network Referral Program of listings.
- You submitted ads to your agency’s participating Internet real estate sites.
- You conveyed price improvements promptly to all Internet groups.
- You reprinted and resupplied brochures promptly as needed.
- You sent feedback e-mails to buyers’ agents after showings.
Most of these things are things that every agent does when they have a listing, but sellers are unaware of these things unless you tell them that you did them. Imagine that the seller you are working with is talking with a friend who is also thinking about selling their home. Your client tells them that since signing the listing agreement with you that you implemented a 20-point marketing strategy. Do you think the seller’s friend would be interested in talking to you? I’ll bet they would. A famous quote from John W. Gardner states, “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. “source: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_w_gardner_132801.
Be Good at Follow-Up
“If you are going to be good at only one thing, be good at follow-up. When you get an internet lead, follow up with that lead as soon as possible, within 5 minutes. The evidence is overwhelming that over 75% work with the first agent that contacts them, at least among buyers.
- Always provide value to your clients and customers in every communication
- Get organized with a CRM
- Be consistent in your online presence
- Be a resource
- Provide excellent service
- Be good at follow-up