Times are changing and the skillsets you posses (and more importantly convey) are going to be your bridge from surviving 2023 to thriving in 2024 as we move through the 2023-2024 era of inflation, recession, bank failures, the interest rates rollercoaster and a billion dollar+ NAR lawsuit that will be ultimately be challenging if not changing how you get paid-at least as a selling agent.
We are salespeople and we should be proud of that. Nothing happens economically in this world until a sale happens. We move money, create jobs, resolve problems, serve people, and connect needs & wants with solutions and improvements. Done well, we're in one of the noblest professions on Earth! But, times are changing in our industry, so we need to work with perception, very often over reality, so...
You need to be more than just a great salesperson, you need to be an expert and be able to communicate this as well as demonstrate it. I have believed this long before I opened my real estate business; this belief dates back to when I opened Nelson Entertainment back in the 1980's. Initially we did all events, but eventually I realized the most lucrative and fun events where the wedding industry. So we turned our training, our marketing and our focus on weddings and by the early 1990's became one of the most successful wedding entertainment companies in The SF Bay Area and eventually San Diego too.
I've always been a salesman, since I was about 17 years old across 5 businesses/careers, but once I started working with people's biggest moments: first their weddings and then (by 1999 as a REALTOR®) buying or selling their homes, I knew I needed to install that same "wedding expert"-confidence in my real estate clients as I did my brides & grooms. I did this through marketing my competence (expertise/skills) and character (care/community) to open the door to getting interviewed. Then I delivered a different kind of listing or buyer-service presentation than they were used to, because it was born of the wedding industry, not real estate.
I believe we need to meet people on two levels: emotionally and practically. There are clients that hire us because we fulfill an emotional need (tell me a story) and those that we fulfill a pragmatic need (show me the money). Some lead with their heart (how do you make me feel?), others their brain (give me the facts: the data and the numbers), and for many it's a combinations of the two or very often a couple where one is the thinker and the other is the feeler and you need to satisfy both. How?
Without getting into NLP, because it's not rocket science, I'll share what basics I cover to be seen as the expert in my niches which are: Veterans/Active Duty Military, Second Home Buyers, Investors and Coastal Property owners. I'll address both
Emotional connections include I relate I'm from a military family and maybe share a story of victory with a recent VA buyer or seller. I share how I am a second home owner and the story of how I helped my Dad become one in Palm Desert. With investors they are not quite as emotional, but some are still human so I may just share a story of a great find or deal I secured through a unique method like Instant Inventory or even one of my own investment victories. With my Coastal Property owners, I position myself as their neighbor for 20 years, usually connecting emotionally on favorite beaches, restaurants, golf courses or hiking trails.
Cerebral connections include how I share the strategies I incorporate to be successful and competitive with a VA loan and my Military Discounts. With Second home owners I talk use of equity, Vacation Rental statistics, and there where and the why of prime San Diego locations to own second homes. With investors it's all about ROI, After Repair Values, Cap Rates, 1031 Exchanges, ADU's, etc. With my coastal property sellers, I share comparables, seasonal stats, market trends, home enhancement tips, location amenities and school districts that increase value.
My final tip is to focus your marketing on each group you serve. The days of recipes, sports schedules and "fall back, spring ahead" are over! Know your audience and how to connect with them through your specific (USP) Unique Selling Proposition that connects with their specific needs and wants. A USP is not "I'm a hard worker, I've got 25 years experience, I sell 200 Homes per year". Because many agents can claim that exact same thing; (even it untrue).
Unique means it's hard or uncommon for other competitors to offer it too.
USP examples are things like specific rebates you offer, donations you make, unique additional skills or unexpected extras you offer that matter to who you serve.
I know one agent that donates 10% of every closing to specific charities that have meaning on a large scale to that community. I know another that offers a weekend stay at a hotel for your first big open house weekend so you don't have to deal with the intrusion.
Some agents offer moving trucks after close and I have my very specific rebates and charity programs that connect me with a lot of the industries/professions that I like to serve. The point is your target clients need to connect with it, value it and want to support it or take advantage of it enough to hire you over the others.
IT Works! My USP got me a listing today in fact; I was competing with a more established agent in my Mission Bay Park neighborhood, but she assumed her reputation proceeded her and presented as such. I assumed my prospect needed a compelling reason to hire me instead of her, so I gave him a USP that he really connected with and I was hired! It's time to be seen as the expert, not a salesperson.