Getting on the Market’s Shopping List

In the extremely competitive real estate market the key is to be the consultant on top of the prospective vendors shopping list – or better still the only person on their shopping list.

Without a dominate position in the mind of the prospective vendor you run the risk of your appraisal and presentation being one where you compete for the listing on the vendors terms.

Yes without a unique relationship or proposition you will be ranked against the competition on the following basis:

• What price are you promising me?
• What fees will you charge me?
• What marketing am I getting and who is paying for it?

If the above three factors are the keys to your presentation then you naturally run the risk of being eliminated because someone else is liked better than you, or they out-bid you on price or discounted their fee or marketing.

So why not set about creating a presence in the market place based on strong relationships and an ever-increasing network, where you are seen as the competent and professional realtor? So rather than trying to build your business based on the people you find, why not turn this around and grow your business with people who find you.
Sound different?

It is, but consider the difference between a referral and a preferral.
The preferral is a referral where you are already the preferred consultant because of the quality of the referral and you are the only one invited in to make a proposal. This type of business is taken under your terms and rarely will they ask for a discount. So if your sales business is based on competing for new clients take a look at the following pointers and see if there are some new tactics you could introduce to create a flow of preferrals for you.

Initially you would have set up a contacts database of all the people who know you. On a regular basis you are reminding them that you are still in real estate and how well you are doing. Do this at least monthly! This is a simple marketing strategy followed up by at least 10 phone calls a day to that database to ask for any referral business.

But let’s now take a client view and see if there is another approach that might work even better where you are the only consultant called in to handle the business:

So how might people choose consultants?

1. The most comfortable way to locate a new consultant for a lot of people is by Word of mouth. If a colleague or friend can endorse someone for them they can be encouraged to select because it saves time and reduces any risk.
Yes a recommendation from one buyer to another is the number one referral strategy you need to try and create.
Apart from simply doing a great job, following up later, handing them spare business cards etc, the number one strategy here is to simply ask for leads from everyone you do business with:
“What other people do you know that might need some real estate help? Do you mind if I use you name as a reference when I call them? ”

2. A great reputation is the next strategy.
Different from 1 above as the person selecting you may not have got your name from a past client of yours. The strategy here is to be famous or dominant in the market with all the marketing tools at your disposal. This means you have to regularly publish Newsletters and pass on information of value related to real estate. This strategy is not as powerful as 1 above as it may only serve to get you in the door. You will still have to perform.

3 Load their files with bits about you.
Don’t hold back from continually sending out material about you and what you do. Not just the newsletters above, but continually send out letters, property catalogues, postcards, calendars, etc and look to add more and more useful information about the market , property values and trends and produce these with such quality and credibility that they are kept. When they need a consultant they can simply pull you out of their filing cabinet. So repetitive mailings that continually update people, on you and the market will get you on the shopping list first.

4 Be part of your local professional network.
From the outside looking in, the people you are seen to associate with may tell me a little about you and your abilities. Coupled with that, the other members of the network can also be clients in the first sense or referring contacts in the second sense. So take steps to be part of both the local real estate institute and then part of a professional association in your community. Look at your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, BNI, Business Assoc., Retailers Assoc., Property Investors Assoc., etc

5 Only promote property with large advertisements.
It’s pretty clear from client surveys that the consultants promoting property with larger advertisements are more competent and better at finding buyers.
Consultants who attempt to build their profile, reputation and referral business with small adverts are simply making it harder for themselves to grow their listing base as other agents present a perception of greater skill and panache, and therefore more buyers. If you were selling your house which one would you choose?

There are a lot more prospecting methods than these listed here, but all too often we get caught up in the detail of a specific prospecting task and run the risk of looking at the big picture. It may be that you are focusing on a specific suburb or group of people, or databasing intensely to your own personal network, and it is paying you dividends. Now add the above 4 strategies to the mix and watch your business fly. By relying on the geographic and database strategies you may well be earning opportunities to make a submission, but the more you do of the 4 above the more you will get to make a submission without competition.


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