(ed: note that this pertains to those markets where the sales cycle has slowed and the inventory is 'up')
Perhaps the most common commentary on the market that I am getting these days, whether online (websites, blogs, emails), print (newspapers, editorials, magazines, interviews), or in person (consultations, coaching sessions, training classes, or just business lunch); is that Inventory is UP and Buyers are DOWN.
- There is a lack of 'urgency' in the market
- Buyers cannot get qualified to purchase 'like they used to be able to'
- Pricing has been damaged by the increase in foreclosures
- The holidays have taken real estate out of the focus in my market
Here's the point: This business of Real Estate is one of cycling markets. Up, down, and everywhere in between. National trends, regional and local 'micro' markets, and neighborhood whims will absolutely affect our ability to succeed as real estate agents and brokers on a daily basis.
So rather than simply commenting on how our current marketing approach is being proven ineffective on the street, successful and professional agents are adept at taking full advantage of *whatever* situation presents itself and 'riding' the market cycles, to their business advantage.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Ok, - so the question becomes: "What does this mean exactly and how does it pertain to my business today?"
If inventory is HIGH, then let's look at some key points pertinent to that situation:
- More agents have property listings, and more of them, than the market will absorb (given the state / ability / number of buyers)
- The typical agent/broker has more properties to MARKET than they do to SELL
- Marketing expense(s) can rise higher with no valid guarantee of return (marketing length/sales cycle is increasing)
- Sellers are looking to agents/brokers to more aggressively market their homes in the belief that if they 'do more' they'll reach the buyers that are able/willing to move forward
The key point here is that WE HAVE INVENTORY. In fact, just about any agent today can 'take a listing' - even if they haven't had success with sellers in previous market conditions.
By using this current market to your advantage, you can leverage that inventory as essentially 'free' marketing to assist you in Growing your Business, Building your Brand (personal or Brokerage), and Attracting more Customers (buyers, sellers, and investors).
The key to marketing is messaging - and that messaging is either something you create yourself, or something that your product/service (that which you market) creates in the 'mind' or view of your customer. In your case, that is Real Estate / Real Property.
When you have an inventory of property listings, think about this: what is the messaging that is created? The consumer is not inept - they understand that the market has slowed - it's broadcast to them repeatedly by the national and local media (foreclosure fallout, etc.). The fact that you have 'x' number of properties in your local market, neighborhood, price range, etc. says what to the consumer? It says you're the EXPERT. It says you are the Specialist. It says you are the Professional Agent (Broker) that knows the market (neighborhood, price range, etc.).
Remember what the TOP Agent in your local market place does: they MARKET the fact that they are 'Joe Blow, the Condo King of Kalamazoo', or 'Sally Subdivision - the #1 Agent in XYZ Heights'. As professional REALTORS, many of us get worried that high inventory=an inability to 'sell' homes. Remember - the consumer is not an agent, they are just desperately seeking guidance -- GIVE it to them!
Get it OUT of your head that having inventory means you can't sell properties, it's simply not true. Maintaining this as part of your belief system will hurt your business - your clients and potential clients will sense this and stay away from you.
Move confidently forward as the 'expert' and know that your inventory simply means you are securing market share over your competitors - After all, if there are any given number of potential buyers / investors interested in your market, then having the inventory to show them makes you the clear winner.
Now, onto the marketing side of things. While it can be true that carrying higher inventory can mean an increased marketing expense, there is a solution that the Top Marketers use every day (and I'll share it with you here). Again, remember that the consumer (read: seller this time) knows the market has slowed, so you want to take advantage of that in your messaging. Tell your sellers that buyers are more scarce and it is taking longer to sell today in their market/price range. Be specific, tell them everything, don't sugar-coat it thinking you're helping them or keeping them happy. Show them the stats, compare them to previous quarter, year, etc.
Once you've laid the 'cards on the table' you'll be well positioned to let them know that you have 'adjusted' your marketing plan accordingly. Here are some salient points to focus on that will keep marketing costs low and keep sellers' faith in you and hopes high:
- We have increased on online presence to reach a larger number of potential buyers and investors (since there are less buyers able to close due to the changes in lending, etc.)
- We are shifting to a tiered-approach with our print and electronic media marketing (meaning that you won't be paying for high-priced print ads to reach the 'few' buyers in the short-term, since the listing will be on the market for a longer duration.
- We are leveraging the advertising to bring in multiple offers (for example, we now see agents/brokers leveraging the 'free' or less expensive online marketing until the first offer(s) come in, and then adding weekend print advertising to bring in more contracts)
- We are able to attract more buyers due to our current inventory of fine homes (in ______) and will find work to find the perfect buyer for your fine home (property).
You can see the shift in the mindset here - leverage your inventory as your marketing ASSET. In fact, did you realize that by having more properties listed your Agent Name, Contact Information, Brokerage, Email Address, Phone Number and Key Messaging are exposed exponentially greater than with a single listing? Use this to your advantage! Search Engines, Property Search Sites (Like MyREALTY.com), Listing Services, etc. all spend Millions of dollars to market your properties - and YOUR CONTACT INFO - at least the good ones do. Use this to your advantage today!
Change your Mindset.
Leverage the increased Marketing you get with increased inventory.
Communicate Clearly and Truthfully with your Sellers.
Run your real estate race up the hills and down through the valleys - and if you need any help, please remember to let me know what I can do to help YOU grow your business!!
Best to You!
Tim Mancuso - Director Global Sales, MyREALTY.com
Home of the GLS - the Global Listing Service (which, by the way is a great FREE way to market your properties, your contact information, your business, - and your story.)
Register now (free): http://www.3FreeZips.com