Winning Through Expertise and Science Beyond Customer Experience

Real estate’s next wave is clearly swelling into how to grow in the consumer first real estate world. I run a team in Phoenix Scottsdale and iBuying has been here for 4 years and has found a comfortable place in our ecosphere at under 7% of the marketplace, it’s clear Rob Hahn is going to pay for a bunch of fancy dinners as iBuying’s roar has a larger impact than its bite, so let’s look at how to win for the other 93% of the consumers moving beyond the Digitization of the Industry. Let us first examine the focus most real estate people, who refer to the key to winning more clients in real estate is providing the best Customer Experience (CE) or best Customer Service (CS) and then present the new focus within CE and CS not yet emphasized, then we can talk about what will characterize the next wave. Using an analogy to clarify, we are going to compare selling real estate to attending a sporting event, both trying to attract clients through a great experience. I want to evaluate the CE at the time honored event of attending a baseball game, as these stadium experiences far past the other major sporting events.

Attending a baseball game at the professional level, there is significantly more to serve the consumer than just the quality of the players executing, similar to the transaction & escrow, but also there is a lot of non player involved time due to the pace of the game so there are lots of opportunities to improve the CE just like in real estate. Let’s take a look at Petco park in San Diego, what is considered to be the “best ballpark in baseball” (according to Fox5 in SD) and having visited last year that is hard to argue.

The CE at Petco park is defined by the quality of the food choices offered by the vendors. The quality & quantity of craft beers and soft drinks, but once in your seat, you have entertainment of the players warming up in between innings for enthusiasts, but beyond the actual game, for every else the CE includes the fireworks, Swinging Friar mascot on the jumboTron, the mustard, ketchup, and relish race between innings, 50/50 raffle, the spot lights of fans on the jumbotron, America’s finest whizzing by in near billion dollar aircraft and the national anthem being belted out by a local star to highlight the extent they go to provide a top level customer experience.

So as a real estate agent, what does our comparative CE look like, maybe we wash our fancy porsche Cayenne or rent a limo, we show up 10 minutes early to turn on the lights, we even serve delights and champagne at the high end to attract the agents and we hand show the house as the seller representation to explain every detail and our listings is a must have. When clients come to the office, we have a dedicated parking spot for them, we send them cupcakes on their birthday, we go to all lengths throughout the deal to outshine our competition, even bring toys to entertain kids at closing, while have already vetted the closing docs before their arrival and we should if we want more referrals, the levels of the best CE has been written on Inman for years, but today we define what is next wave to winning in real estate, and that is Expertise and Discipline, the knowledge of what is best for the Client & beyond!

Expertise and discipline in baseball for the offensive side is a professional batter hitting over .400, a feat last past by Ted Williams in 1941. He defined hitting excellence, his onbase base % was almost .500 and very rarely would he swing at balls outside the strike zone, for the delight of those watching. For defense, Pitchers, its defined by ERA(earned run avg) the elite give up under 1.7 runs/9 innings most recently done by the likes of Zach Greinke, Nolan Ryan, Doc Gooden and Jason Degrom. Expertise & discipline in real estate is harder to define but Customer Satisfaction surveys performed by Zillow is a step in the right direction to tell us if the client is happy with our service. My point is this, if Nolan Ryan & Doc Gooden were going to face Ted Williams and Babe Ruth along with the other elite sluggers. They wouldn’t need to serve beer or have races in between innings to fill the stadium. Now it’s time for real estate evolution to put an emphasis on Expertise and Discipline.

Homesnap was squeezed by the industry when they posted home selling stats years ago leading them to remove them, if the wanted realtor clients but doesn’t the consumer deserve to see how many homes we sell and what we sell them for, our true expertise? Or the percentage we listed vs sold in the past 12 months? How about broker’s sending reviews to everyone we sold houses in the past 12 months, and using them to help the agents provide a better client experience. It’s coming because the consumer always wins!

The next huge wave, I believe will be the evolution of Real Estate expertise & discipline at every phase of real estate. I am not talking about expertise in knocking on doors, cold calling as those are realtor benefits, I am referring to becoming expert home finders, being able to identify who in a neighborhood wants to move but is not listed to match up for a potential buyer who wants that neighborhood, a task that only being accomplish by the few. Realtors will evolve in to fixup experts in understanding return on investment and have contractors to perform. Yes, this is time consuming and will challenge the part time aspect of our heritage but let’s be honest with ourselves, Realtors have been selling houses for 100 years, why are we not House Experts, our product? After 500 inspections, we can see they wrapped the room with designer furniture and now it feels too small impacting value, or the AC on its last leg but the real expertise is know if its more profitable for seller to replace before listing or provide a credit during inspection in an HGTV world? This requires constant visitation to understand the impact between prices ranges and neighborhood and builders is why, but we are afraid to advise obviously as the average agent sells 5 houses a year, simply too much risk when you have 1000’s of them in your brokerage. Why can we not articulate that we understand prices better than the Zestimate, for goodness sake we actually visit the homes, don’t we. That the Zestimate is an average and we as professionals understand the functional obsolescence (FO) that keeps the house from reaching that valuation or sometimes lack of FO in which it then sells for more. Let’s stop using PPSF to define what houses are worth because that points out that the consumer knows as much if not more than us, assuming our potential seller has been in some of the neighborhood open houses. Expertise developed through repetition is the major advantage we have as the consumer still needs us to let them in.

It’s hard because the industry has been built on a model that encourages equality and opportunity for all, proven as the agent count continues to explode in relation to # of national home sales. Unfortunately, equality is lowering the bar to the point at putting our existence at risk, it’s time to join the wave that is rising to excellence!

I host a podcast with my business partner Phil called, the solution a real estate podcast, putting the consumer first in Real Estate, if you feel as passionate about rising with the next real estate, we would enjoy the discussion as we are launching season 3!

How to Raise Your Average Sales Price

Everybody has an organic price range that the are successful in. This is dictated by your lifestyle and the people you’re connected to. No matter the price range you start at, if you’re a smart agent, you’d like to raise your average sales price 10-20% a year. That means your incomes rises, as long as you’re able to charge the same commission rate.

I grew up in a small town in a low to middle income neighborhood. The first step I did to rise my average sales range was get an education. Getting an education helped me learn how to talk and to figure out topics people in the higher income brackets like to talk about. I also learned how to talk about finances because buying a home is a big financial investment. Changing the way you talk allows you to go upstream easier.

HOST OPEN HOUSES

So, how do you go from selling a $200k home to a $500k home? Typically I would start by using the associative method development process. The most effective way is start hosting open houses in a price you feel comfortable in. Hosting open houses will give you the opportunity to meet people who are looking to buy or sell in other price ranges. For example, you may meet parents looking to help buy a first home for their kids at a lower price, while they are looking to buy a home for themselves at a higher price. Or you may meet someone wanting to downsize, but need to sell their high priced home.

Learn about neighborhoods. Pick a neighborhood that is 20% higher that you are currently selling. Then go out to that neighborhood, preview the homes, study the MLS data, then sit open houses there. This is not a big jump, but the conversations will change and the buyers may be different.

BECOME A LOCAL AREA EXPERT

Working with out-of-state people is another way to move up. Realtors who have the most knowledge about a certain neighborhood have a greater chance of winning with an out-of-state buyer. Out-of-state buyers don’t necessarily care what price range their realtor typically works in, they want to work with a local area expert.

Agent Training

Become a Listings Pro

When I speak around the country or around my town, every time I ask the audience if they want listing leads, everyone vigorously raises their hands. I won’t be able to cover all of my tips for becoming a Listing Pro in this short blog, but I would like to introduce a couple key components.

MARKETING

A challenge for many in the real estate industry is marketing. I cover marketing under “How to Become a Listings Pro” because this is our chance to change and put the consumer first. Good listing marketing is the difference to becoming a listings pro.

Old school marketing is mailing postcards of the listing to the neighborhood and calling that marketing, but that is not how buyers are shopping. It’s possible a neighbor will receive the postcard and want to move within the neighborhood or it’s possible a renter will see the postcard and want to buy, but it is not the best place to be marketing a listing. Advertising in magazines is also an example poor old school real estate marketing. Old school marketing is more about marketing the listing agent, not the property for sale.

New school marketing aims to generates more traffic to the listing. Overall, I generate 3-5x more traffic to a listing than the average agent. I help people present their house like its their wedding day. Then I use direct to consumer advertising – that is advertising to where the people are watching. This includes advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SELL

Another key component is to be able to identify people who own a house and want to move. People are staying in their homes longer, it used to be an average of 5 years, now it’s 10 years. Many people open up the discuss of moving about 3-4 yrs before they move. It is up to you to identify where they are in the moving process.

I think one of the best strategies to find seller leads is to hold an Open House, because the people who come in are indicating they are thinking about moving – your follow up process is the key, along with your web presence. You need to have a strong Google presence – this is a very underestimated factor.

I’ve been talking about this for the past 5+ years, and over this time, I still see a lack of strong websites. If you’re going to become an elite listing agent then your website needs to exude one thing – that your are a local area expert.

Learn more how to become a listings pro with Agent Truth!

Listing Strategies

Don’t Get Stuck Talking to Clients Too Long

Too many people think that selling is talking with their mouth, but the reality is this can waste a lot of time when you are not able to get your point across.

STOP WASTING TIME

I often hear agents say they work really long hours. Too often they are working long hours because they are not effecient with their time. I know they are not being effecient with their time when they tell me they are spending a hour or more on the phone talking to a client about a specific issue without making any progress.

USE PICTURES

This is when showing the client a picture is more effective than telling them. Share with your client a screenshot of a webpage backing up your point. When sharing a photo from a website, do not use your own website, its important to use a 3rd party website to make the point more factual to your client.

Learn more with Agent Truth how to use pictures to get past “stuck points” with your clients.

Agent Training

Stay in Your Lane

When starting in real estate, it can be hard to to identify the best path for you. Your best path in real estate is to work with people you connect with. Think about where you grew up and where you live now, this is your “lane” on the path to being successful in real estate. Your “lane” is where you will easily be able to connect and build relationships with the most people.

One of the most common ways to build your real estate business is through open houses and networking. The best way to network is to have things in common with those people. Unfortunately, too often, new real estate agents want to work in high-end neighborhoods that are outside of their familiarity. Your goal of a new agent should be to get to 200 transactions as fast as you can and this will happen faster if you “stay in your lane”.
Agent Training

CMA Mania

Why do I call this CMA Mania? Because I am looking to the evolution of the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis.) Frankly, there is too many elaborate CMAs being used by realtors today. Elaborate CMAs were necessary up until the early 2000s before Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com existed. Today, the consumer has access to all of these sites to easily learn how many homes in their neighborhood have sold and for how much. So, it’s really no longer necessary for realtors to spend their time providing the consumer with all of the traditional CMA information.

USE DIFFERENT CMAs

CMA Mania is the idea that you are going to send different CMAs at different times, these CMAs are not going to always include house information. For example, after you host an open house, send all visitors a CMA that is a glorified information packet about you as a realtor. Then use different CMA before having an appointment with a potential client, most of this CMA is marketing documents on how you can help them sell their house faster for top dollar.

KEEP YOUR CMAs SIMPLE

Agents frequently get confused about CMAs, because they are often taught by their brokerages that CMAs need to be more elaborate than they need to be. I personally like CMAs to be in a simple form and not just a list to show comparative sales. I prefer to focus more on sharing marketing information that I will use to sell the house, instead of dozen pages of neighborhood comps.

Listing Strategies

House Pricing Strategy

Pricing a house can be difficult because too often agents feel pressured to list the house at a price the sellers want. Yet, the best agent for the seller is an agent who tells the seller what the house will actually sell at. Over the last 500 houses I have sold, my listing price has been within 2% of the sales price 98% of the time.

AGGRESSIVE, PASSIVE AND NON-COMPETITIVE

I like to use three prices when pricing a house; a low, medium and high price that I call Aggressive, Passive and Non-Competitive. I believe if the house is listed with the Aggressive price, the house will get multiple offers and sell the first weekend. The Aggressive number is usually below or right at the current comps. Next is the Passive price. I like to set the Passive price 3-5% above the current comps, this is usually the top end of the range for the neighborhood. The Non-Competitive price is the highest price. When giving sellers this price I always preface it by letting them know that we can list the house at this price, but there will not be as much traffic through the house and even though the house may sell at this price, I don’t think it will.

NEVER USE PRICE-PER-SQUARE-FOOT

My pricing strategy never includes price-per-square-foot, because I think neighborhoods sell in a range. I think price-per-square-foot is a derivative value that is wrong 30% of the time. Agents who only use price-per-square foot to determine the listing price often lack experience and knowledge. Agent Truth training classes are here to give you that knowledge to become a real estate expert.

Listing Strategies

Google ME

Many people may think that Google ME is the same as People Believe the Internet (PBTI), but PBTI is more about understanding your entire web presence. Google ME is the process of specifically working on most important things that show up when you’re Googled. This includes having a Google business page and YouTube videos. Google ME will also help you understanding the ranking of sites and helping make sure your website ranks on top. Once you understand the rankings, you will be able to build your website out to demonstrate all of the things that you want to say about your business. For example, you may want to say what neighborhoods you sell homes in by posting YouTube videos on your website of yourself in those neighborhoods.

5-REVIEWS

Usually I rank people on five different scales; new, needs improvement, good, great, and spectacular. The key to reaching the highest level is making sure that your website shows up first, that you have a Google business page and that you have reviews. It is important to have 5-star reviews on Google, Facebook, Zillow and Realtor.com.

BE UNFORGETTABLE

It is critical to make all of this impactful and unforgettable when you are Googled to make the most out of your business.

Agent Training

2nd Annual Agent Truth Solution Event

The Solution EventOn Wednesday, May 15th, realtors from around the valley came to the Must See Real Estate Event Of the Year – the 2nd Annual Agent Truth Solution Event! The 2019 event was held at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley – Scottsdale with over 300 attendees.

The Solution Event-PhilGuest speaker Tina Tamboer of the Cromford Report addressed the current real estate market. Then Jeff Sibbach and Phil Sexton took the stage and entertained the crowd with a game of “The Sales Price is Wrong”. Afterwards, Jeff and Phil shared the Top 5 Trends they have taken away from their 94 episodes interviewing top agents from across the country on The Solution podcast.

Were you unable to attend the event and want to learn more? Are you ready to learn about our Ultimate Real Estate Agent Makeover? Call us at 480-531-1285 or text SOLUTION to 99888.

Top Ten Takeaways From Internet Presence Class – Agent Truth

Thank you for all that attended our Internet Presence Class!


As promised here are our Top Ten Takeaways;

  1. Your website should rank 1st for your name.
  2. Google Business Profile should appear on the right-hand side of the page – business.google.com
  3. Complete Zillow Profile
  4. Links and activity are how you rank higher.
    1. What website do you want to rank highest? Link all other profiles to it.
      1. Update it the most.
    2. What website do you want to rank second? Link other sites to it and update it the second most.
  5. Consistent Messaging and Profiles
    1. don’t be a leasing specialist on zillow, a vacant land specialist on facebook, and a foreclosure specialist on twitter (different pictures are ok)
  6. Understand value of Google Ranking – big websites with existing credibility will rise to the top faster
  7. It counts less when its below the fold, unless its eye catching like a video, (Audience gets distracted).
  8. Reviews get you Stars. Stars are seen better than words.
    1. Facebook, Google, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Yelp
  9. Marketing – remember people look at EYES
    1. You want your photo to show up or video
  10. Video, Video, Video – re-purpose your content on multiple sites

Are you interested in being notified when the Internet Presence Class is an available video for purchase?

FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO BE NOTIFIED!