"There's no need to fear, Underdog is here." I remember that tag line from the Underdog cartoon show.
It's often said, Americans have a spot for the underdog. Well, that's probably true, sometimes.
I remember thinking when I first became a Realtor, "Will anyone let me help them with their real estate needs? In looking at some of the local real estate publications, some Brokers and Realtors had page after page of listings.How could a new guy, an underdog so to speak, hope to be successful against such competitive forces?
That was one of the questions I asked myself throughout the course work preparing for the state real estate exam. Some of the marketing course work warned that prospective clients may ask questions like "How many listings do you have, or how many houses have you sold this year, etc." As a new guy the answer wass zip, zero, or nada. Hardly the kind of number to inspire confidence, right? Did sellers want to have an underdog in their corner, marketing their home for the best possible price?
The answer was, probably not. So what was my answer. I had no listings, but I wasn't an underdog. I had a marketing plan that was very detailed and showed how I could market their home and provide consistent feedback on what was going on in the marketplace. I gave a commitment to be available should the client have questions during the time their house was on the market.
What I had found was some of the agents with several listings had too much activity to provide the level of personal contact that some clients needed. By being responsive, and having a good plan, an apparent underdog could turn a potential negative into a positive. Show up and deliver.
The subject of this post came to me last night as I was watching the last few minutes of the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. If you know anything about sports and the NFL, you either love the Cowboys or hate them. There is no middle ground. It's a franchise that has been living off some slick marketing beginning in the 1970's when someone called them "America's Team." They had a long string of success in the '70s and '80s with a number of consecutive trips to the playoffs and a few Super Bowl appearances and wins. They followed that up in the '90s with three more Super Bowl wins. But since then, not much success. Pretty much everybody is an underdog when it comes to playing the Cowboys, especially in their new over $1B stadium in Arlington. The Cowboy-haters always pull for the underdog playing the Cowboys.
In baseball, the New York Yankees have been the dominant team over the years. Most teams facing them have been labeled underdogs. The Boston Red Sox have given them a run for the money a few times over the recent years. But more often than not, teams facing the Yankees in the playoffs and the World Series have been deemed to be the underdogs because the Yankees pay top dollar for talent and sometimes top dollar for low performance. Most teams facing them have lower payrolls and less marketing clout than do the Yankees. Teams are celebrated as underdogs who were able to dethrone the mighty Yankees.
Several teams have cycled through as being dominant in basketball. From the Celtics, to the Lakers, and the Bulls during the Jordan years. Maybe because it is a younger sport than either football, or baseball, the underdog label does not seem to be as associated with many teams going up against the usual champs. (Maybe the New York Knicks are an exception.)
It's up to the underdog to out play, out score, and out work the dominant or perceived dominant team. No pity points are awarded to the underdog.
Real Estate Underdogs
So, I've figured out that the number of transactions, or listings one has can be an indicator of success, but beginning with the low number does not make one an underdog. While some may feel sorry for an underdog, its up to the underdog to find a way to win. Nobody is going to roll over and give points or a transaction.
National and regional brokers may have some advantages that local brokers lack. But local brokers have some advantages that larger lack too. Same with agents. I know that agents who have been in the business for a number of years have a much larger number of contacts than do newer agents. So they may have a larger number of clients but there are still clients to be handled if the underdogs are willing to do the work. No pity points are awarded in real estate.