Establishing Yourself as the Professional
In the real estate industry it is so important to stand out from the competition because it seems like everyone knows an agent, is an agent, or wants to be an agent. Cousins, uncles, neighbors, relatives twice removed. We all want to stand out from the competition as “the ONE to hire”. So how do you do that? How do you create value in the services you offer?
There was an agent I met, years ago, she was a HUNGRY new agent. You know what I’m talking about…she would do literally ANYTHING her clients wanted her to just to get the listing and to sell their house. She would pull weeds, clean, vacuum, wash windows, bake cookies, paint, “stage” bringing things from her own house…you name it, she did it. I know what some of you are saying, “What’s wrong with that?” or “I do that with all my listings” or how about “there is no way I would do those things”. It’s true, there is nothing wrong with any one of these things that she would do for her clients. Absolutely nothing except this. After months of doing all these things, the seller “fired” her, can you guess why? He felt she was too busy doing these other things and not marketing his house effectively. He hired another agent. Guess what she just became in the client’s eyes? A house cleaner, a painter, a landscaper, a “stager”…not an AGENT. There is nothing wrong with any of those industries at all except this was not what she was hired to do. She was hired to market and sell his property as an AGENT. The desire to do whatever it takes was highly admirable but poorly executed.
In any industry it’s important to establish professional boundaries. How do you want to be seen in the eyes of your client’s? What happens if their house doesn’t sell, how will you be viewed then? You have to think about this things because nothing is stronger than a referral from a happy client. So, how do you do that?
1. Create a team of professionals you refer and/or recommend. Align yourself with professionals in every field you think your sellers may need. I always suggest at least two in each area because sometimes there are scheduling conflicts.
You want professionals who:
• Back you up. You need to feel confident that if your seller asks them a real estate related question, they don’t refer them to a “friend” or try to answer the question themselves. YOU are the expert here.
• Have credentials in their field, if available.
• Have insurance. This is so important and shows the level of professionalism.
• Are good with clients i.e. you wouldn’t be embarrassed by appearance, behavior, language, etc. This can only reflect on you.
• Offer value-added services, “special pricing”, consults and/or will work within budget constraints for your clients. I don’t suggest you pay for these services 100% unless you have a higher commission or contract in place to absorb costs. It’s important for the seller to have “skin in the game”.
• Interview them. Hand pick those you feel have the same professional values and goals.
2. Introduce your team from the VERY BEGINNING. This is a HUGE value added service for your sellers to know you have a “Team of Professionals” that will be working with them to get their house sold. Now you look like the “HERO”, let your sellers know, “While my team is working on getting your house looking it’s best, I’ll be working on getting ready to market and sell your house as soon as it’s ready.”
3. Now that you have your team who is backing you up, it’s important for you to back them up too. Any questions or needs relating to any of their fields, direct to the professional associated with it. DO NOT DO THE WORK YOURSELF. You want the seller to feel confident in what they are doing as well as what you are doing too. Professional boundaries are KEY.
4. The TEAM approach solidifies the relationship with the seller, their commitment (we can’t do this without it), and confidence in your services leading to a rock solid referral in the future. Aren’t two heads better than one? What about 3 or 4 or 5?
Remember: Just because you can do something (paint, pull weeds, etc.) doesn’t mean you should. Establishing professional boundaries does not cost you any more than doing it yourself except now you will have a lot more time to focus on selling their property. The seller, by hiring professionals, will actually save money in the long run because their house will be show ready, will make a better first impression, and will sell faster saving them money in mortgage payments, utilities, etc.
BEST OF ALL, this will save/make you, as their agent, more money too. How? Less time on the market means less time and money marketing, far fewer (if no) price reductions, more time for more listings.
My favorite thing of all, local professionals in our community will make money doing what they enjoy and you will have additional referrals from them in turn helping the local economy.
Crazy to believe that by working with like-minded professionals, everybody wins. The seller makes more money in less time on their house, you as the agent make more money faster by saving precious time on the market and not losing commissions from price reductions, and local professionals and business owners make money in their field. WIN-WIN-WIN.
Here at Centre Staging we have a team of professionals (landscapers, painters, cleaners, etc.) all ready for you. We can work with yours or provide referrals when we come up with an action plan for your sellers. Call 406-219-8304 today for more information or to schedule a “meet and greet”.