Most Realtors who are paying attention have been quietly freaking out about the state of the market this year. From bubble fears to inventory crises, to the rise of Zillow & Ibuyers, many Real estate pundits have sounded more like doomsday preppers than level headed market experts.
The worst part is that even though the hyperbole level is off the charts (thanks to clickbait heavy business models for many sites), their is a grain of truth to their end times predictions.
Yes, Sand Hill Road and vulture capitalists have been pumping billions into real estate tech, and yes, Zillow is starting to look more and more like ma bell.
Yes, tax cuts are inflating some sectors of the housing market and (potentially) crushing others.
Yes, millennials have been somewhat dubious about this whole homeownership thing for years now…
It’s enough to make a Realtor want to go to law school…
Don’t. The market for lawyers is actually getting disrupted and the debt to income ratio hardly makes sense unless you get into a tier one law school.
Instead, smart Realtors are changing their mindsets, lead gen, and marketing strategies so they can thrive in ANY market. Here’s three ways to do just that.
1. Offer 7 Star Service in a 3 Star Industry
When I first started working as an agent in Manhattan, too many of my clients sang my praises after one email:
“Finally, a real estate agent who can write in complete sentences!”
Can you imagine any other multi billion industry with this bad of a reputation? It seemed like all I needed to do was to not lie and treat my clients like human beings and they would stick to me like glue… was it really this easy?
To make a long sad story short, yes. Yes it is that easy. Most Realtors suck at their jobs. That means just being competent already puts you in the upper percentile of your competition.
Of course in a crummy or cut throat market being merely competent won’t cut the mustard. After all, most of the bad agents will have given up, and that means you’re competing with the big boys.
One of the best ways to keep your head above water in this case is to go above and beyond the service even the good and great agents offer.
This is what Inman’s Innovator of the Year award winner jay O’brien discovered early enough in his career to start getting referral clients on day one. In fact, his 7 star service plan worked so well, he started a business called Client Giant to help other Realtors offer amazing service for their clients.
Check out our interview with Jay below to learn more about his mindset and service strategy.
2. Make Sure Your Lead Gen Math Works Well Enough to Scale
Here’s the beautiful thing about math; it’s either right, or it’s wrong. There is no in between.
While this might sound kind of silly and obvious, it’s really the core of every sound business decision ever made. At some point the math needs to work out.
In most cases, the math favors the bold. This is why Zillow can gobble up dozens of startups and Compass seems to buy brokerages like we buy chewing gum…
The math works.
If you’re facing a challenging market, in order to make the math work you might need to start thinking big. That means higher ad spends, higher marketing budgets, more (and better) open houses, and more straight up buying leads.
Yup. In this industry you can cut out the middleman and get leads at the beginning of their search by just buying them.
Your lead nurturing game needs to be on point for sure, but other than that, there will be a simple mathematical formula in your neighborhood that will work for buying leads. With enough money and enough agents with the right lead nurturing skills, you can corner pretty much any market.
That’s why some brokerages like California’s Kendrick Realty spend upward of $155,000 per month on buying leads.
Want to see how (and why) the math worked out for Kendrick? Check out our in-depth interview with Kendrick’s Luke Monroe here.
3. Don’t Compete With the Internet
Since the days of having an informational advantage over your clients is long gone, if you want to truly offer value for people, you need to be able to interpret information in ways that help.
Even if you spend big on lead generation, and have amazing lead nurturing skills, you’re not likely to close many deals if you can’t parse and interpret local data.
In fact, some might even argue that this is what people actually hire you for. They already have reams of data from sites like Zillow and HouseCanary, but literally betting the house on what they think that data says is something else entirely.
Steve Baird, president and CEO of storied Chicago luxury brokerage Baird & Warner argues that these skills give agents the edge over so called “disruptive” technology.
If you have a minute (okay, 1:40) check out Steve’s video below explaining why technology will never replace Realtors:
This is why out of all the skills you hone, analyzing data should be near the top. What does it mean when inventory starts to creep up? What local factors are unique confounding variables that can have a huge impact on seemingly solid numbers?
Make it your business not only to know, but work on ways to explain what you know quickly and convincingly. After all, they might not have a chance to find out your advice was on the money until years down the road.
Over to You
What do you think are the core skills or strategies that allow agents to thrive in any market?