There’s been a long-standing catch phrase in our industry that real estate agents need to “list to last”. That is, if an agent didn’t focus on listings, they wouldn’t last in the industry for very long.
Many Realtors® are challenging that idea now, especially with internet marketing increasing exposure for both listing agents and buyer’s agents. With great online marketing in an internet-savvy market, a buyer’s agent can certainly be successful. But my contention is they can’t be as successful as a well-positioned listing agent. Here’s why.
Buyers Take More Time
This is a simple reality. It takes a lot of time to show buyers around. I read an article by a buyer’s agent who said he maximized efficiency by showing most information through email and online, limiting in-person showings, and turning down buyers who seemed too needy.
Well, that’s a great gig if you can get it, and he’s obviously an established agent in a large market to be able to lay those boundaries. But the simple truth is, many clients aren’t internet savvy. Many listings don’t have great online pictures or a video walkthrough. And many clients need to really see and feel a space in person before they can make a decision. So, as a buyer’s agent, spending time on the road is a reality.
As a listing agent, on the other hand, you have a certain amount of work up front but then the work is mainly from the office. You communicate with potential buyers over the phone, and market the property online or with an open house or two. You can give high-quality service to many more listings at one time than you can buyers. Thus, a successful listing agent has better earning potential than a successful buyer’s agent.
Listings Generate More Business
We all love referrals, and a happy buyer can certainly send some your way. However, when you list a home, you have a lot more opportunity for visibility than a buyer’s agent. The sign in the yard is a big deal. The sign is a visual that puts your name and smiling face in front of others, both buyers and sellers, every day. Besides that, your name is in the real estate section of the newspaper, online, and more.
It’s very popular to say that traditional marketing techniques don’t matter in the age of the internet, but it’s simply not true. The opposite of “out of sight, out of mind” is “in sight, in mind,” and that’s exactly what a listing sign, newspaper picture, just-listed postcard, and more do for you.
Buyer’s agents may argue that you can more cheaply advertise online, and that online marketing is the great equalizer. The problem is, online advertising is also much more crowded. Standing out online is much harder than standing out through a yard sign, postcard, or newspaper real estate spread. Your return on investment as a listing agent is simply higher.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Buyer’s Agents!
I’m not trying to say it’s wrong to want to be a buyer’s agent. Many Realtors® I know love the experience of finding a buyer’s dream home, and hate dealing with sellers and their unrealistic (at times) expectations. I get that. But realize that you’re making a trade-off. You’re happier and enjoy your work more, and you’re lowering your earning potential. That’s a valid choice!
However, if your goal is to maximize your income and your time efficiency, you’ll find that listings are essential to your business. You can give great service to more listings at one time than you can buyers, and your marketing opportunities are much greater. You’ll find that through listings, you’ll reach not only new listings but buyers as well. You may find you want to partner with a buyer’s agent so you can give great, targeted service to both groups.
Being a listing agent takes a similar, but slightly different, set of skills than being a buyer’s agent. The presentations are different, the hustle is different, and many times the personalities required are slightly different. However, the old adage of our industry is still true – if you want to be the most successful you can be, you still must “list to last”.
Do you think Realtors® need to “list to last”? Why or why not? Share in the comments!