Real Estate Agents Stop Preaching To The Choir, Start Convincing Clients!

By
Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

Realtors Time is Running OutCharlie Dresen's recent post, "What Do Realtors and Bookstore People Have in Common?" inspired me to write this. I'm not a real estate agent, but I've been a client of many agents while buying and selling 8 homes in 4 cities.

I believe real estate agents today are in much the same position travel agents were about 15 years ago.

Back then, if you wanted to book anything but a very routine trip, a travel agent was your "go to source" for:

  • information about the destination
  • insider tips on what to see and do there
  • advice on where to stay, which hotels had the best location, etc.
  • advice on how best to get there
  • better pricing (sometimes)

That all changed once travelers could start accessing most of this information online themselves! It also changed when mega sites could be used to find/book the best rates and air/hotel/car packages.

Some people continue to use their travel agents because they have built a relationship with them over time and trust their advice.

Most of these travelers also probably don't care about saving a few bucks, they'd rather save time and have the best travel experience by having a trusted source plan and book their trip according to their known preferences.

New/younger travelers, who have never used a travel agent before, naturally turn to the online travel sites to book their trips and I doubt many of them even consider what special insights an experienced travel agent might provide (unless they're going to an especially exotic or off-the-beaten path location).

While I've said that I think the real estate industry is where the travel industry was 15 years ago, it doesn't mean you have that long to adapt. Technological advances are made at exponential rates, yet I see very few experienced agents keeping up with where your industry is headed.

First-time home buyers make up the bulk of the market and they don't have the same bias towards relying on a real estate agent for information. They are more comfortable with technology than most of you are, especially judging from the posts I see here in Active Rain and the marketing I see out there in the "real" world.

In defence of the real estate agent's current position, Charlie Dresen says, "You can trust an agent to work for you and rely on them to give you all the information you need to make the right decision." Since he wrote his post for fellow real estate agents, I would argue that he's preaching to the choir.

While it might be true when you're dealing with the right agent, real estate agents need to realize that many potential customers don't trust real estate agents to have their best interests at heart. In the past they've viewed them as a "necessary evil" if they wanted to buy/sell a home, but that is rapidly becoming no longer the case.

There are lots of bad apples tainting the barrel and you need to rise above that to maintain your importance in a world where much of what you do has been replaced by technology.

If I were a real estate agent today, I'd make sure my offline and online marketing, blogging, videos and community involvement demonstrated and  supported the "trusted source" position.

Because of stumbling on Charlie's blog post I went to his homepage on Active Rain and watched his YouTube video. Let me say that if I were moving to Steamboat Springs CO, he'd be the first (and likely only) agent I'd contact! In under 4 minutes he convinced me that he is the "go to source" for:

  • information about Steamboat Springs
  • insider tips on what to do there and what a life there would be like
  • advice on the best locations, what types of homes to look for, what to expect at different price ranges, etc.
  • advice on schools and activities
  • what the "smart buys" would be
  • how to present my home when it was time to sell in Steamboat Springs
  • using the latest technology to help me both when it's time to buy and time to sell

Now I never heard of Charlie or Steamboat Springs until 30 minutes ago. Imagine if I had already been looking to move there or was already a resident wanting to sell my home! Such is the power of effective marketing, embracing technology and not being afraid to invest in your own business to get the right message out there.

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva

 

 

 

 

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc.

An entrepreneur and marketer for 25 years, Debra Gould has been featured in countless books, magazines and newspapers for her marketing, staging and business expertise. Prior to becoming a professional home stager in 2002, Debra bought, staged and sold 7 of her own homes. In 2005 she  developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love. There are over 4,000 Staging Diva students across the United States, Canada, and 20 other countries. Debra's latest venture, Sell What You Know teaches entrepreneurs, real estate agents and coaches how to leverage what they already know into a passive income stream.

 

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Rainmaker
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debra, great advice to the "choir". I would tend to agree it is never the less easier said then done!

Nov 27, 2011 08:30 AM #1
Rainer
344,596
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Wow Debra - Thanks so much for this post. It is so true about realtors not always being trustworthy. Unfortunately, some realtors seem to have their own interest in mind. But, that's the industry and I can only do what I do, one client at a time. Great post and I'm glad to inspire.

Nov 27, 2011 09:45 AM #2
Rainer
344,596
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Debra - I just had to make one more comment. To me, fighting the "realtor reputation" is like swimming up a river. And "preaching to the choir" that realtors matter of we're worth our commission here in ActiveRain is not the best forum. 

Client testimnials and really giving yourself to the public is what's needed today. I need to do more. Thanks - I'll keep it going. 

Nov 27, 2011 10:03 AM #3
Rainmaker
401,486
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Thanks for sharing your feedback Endre and Charlie! I kinda held my breath as I went to look for comments, knowing I'll probably get slammed by some for voicing this opinion :)

Nov 27, 2011 02:35 PM #4
Rainer
84,750
Kathy Strader
Memorial Staged Homes - Houston, TX
ASP

Hi Debra, I recently responded to a post where I pointed out that buyers and sellers do not trust their agents.  It is very obvious when an agent gives the client a price range suggestion on their house and the seller prices way above range, they do not trust the advice of their agent.  I've also heard a lot of people complain that their agent doesn't do anything except post the listing on the MLS. 

Most of the agents I know work really hard and do a really great job for their clients.  I'd like to see agents have a much better reputation and I believe that starts with educating the general public on exactly what it is they do.  If agents overcome the negative perception people have, the entire industry wins!

 

Nov 28, 2011 05:31 AM #5
Rainmaker
401,486
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Kathy, I agree everyone would win if buyers and sellers could justifiably trust real estate agents.

One of the barriers to that I think is how real estate agents are compensated. Whenever you work with someone on 100% commission (agent or otherwise), it's hard to trust that there isn't some inherent bias in their advice or behavior.  This means agents have to overcompensate for that from the get go, to overcome those doubts.

Nov 28, 2011 05:01 PM #6
Rainer
42,873
Team Randy & Jenny Thomas
Team Thomas Realtors - Springfield, MO

Kathy hits the nail on the head in her reponse, "I'd like to see agents have a much better reputation and I believe that starts with educating the general public on exactly what it is they do.  If agents overcome the negative perception people have, the entire industry wins!"

It's not a battle..it's a war that can be won, giving the right messages to the public...on the local level and the national level.

Great post...

Nov 29, 2011 03:13 PM #7
Rainmaker
528,588
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

Debra,

Big positive click on the suggest button. It often helps us to hear from someone who has a slightly detached point of view. I subscribed to your blog and will be checking out Charlie’s blog. Thanks.

Nov 30, 2011 06:09 AM #8
Rainmaker
401,486
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Thanks for your comments and David I appreciate the "suggest"! Since I'm not a Realtor but have considerable experience in the industry I do hope my different prespective is helpful.

 

 

Dec 04, 2011 01:51 PM #9
Rainer
482,918
Chandler Real Estate Liz Harris, MBA
Liz Harris Realty - Chandler, AZ
#ChandlerRealEstateAgent

I know that raising the bar in the industry is imperative. I do my best to continually educate myself!

Apr 06, 2014 02:20 PM #10
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Debra Gould

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