Serving is the new selling

How are you really helping the consumer?

This post by Greg Harrelson, real estate broker-owner with Century 21 The Harrelson Group in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was originally posted on ActiveRain.

The real estate industry is changing faster than we know. We can keep our eyes on the new technologies that are coming out, but the changes in consumer habits are what will influence our industry the most.

We will see enhanced ways to shoot video, more efficient ways to process paperwork, and cheaper ways to brand ourselves. We see the same changes occurring year after year. But, the game changer is how the consumer attitude matures without the industry taking notice.

Let me share a few changes that are occurring right now. If we do not pay attention, we will lose the game of real estate big time!

Consumer changes:

1) Consumers do NOT want to be sold! The days of “cheesy sales talk” to get someone to sign a contract are over. Consumers demand that they be given enough information to determine whether they want to buy.

Instead of you using strategy to sell them, they are using information to decide if they want to buy what you have to offer. Are you an “information real estate agent”?

2) Consumers have a shorter attention span. Real estate agents need to pay attention to this. The consumer is looking for quick and precise information. They do not want you to make them read a book to figure out what you are saying. A quick explanation over a two-minute YouTube video is all they need.

Keep your letters simple and to the point. Invite them to get additional information if they desire, but do not force it down their throat. Remember, the consumer is in control now.

3) Consumers control the mute button. Visualize yourself watching TV right now. How close is the remote from your hand? Most of the time the remote stays in your hand the whole time. Why? It’s because you want the power to choose what you see and hear. If a commercial comes on and starts selling something you are not interested in, then you change the channel or hit the mute button. Real estate agents keep talking, and consumers continue to hit the mute button or change the channel.

Have you ever had someone unsubscribe from your newsletter? Guess what, they changed the channel or hit the mute button so they would not have see things they were not interested in.

Email marketing seems to be the area hardest hit with this consumer habit shift. Consumers have the power to tune you out, and they seem to be using that power often.

The leading real estate agents are those who understand that selling is dead and serving is alive.

Listen, I know that I am a salesman. I am not in denial of that fact, yet I also believe we have to focus on the consumer. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to them that you are “in it for them to win it.”

I suggest all real estate agents conduct an annual checkup on their selling strategies. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How am I helping the consumer?
  • What information am I providing the consumer?
  • Did I choose what I am sharing with the consumer or did the consumer tell me what they want?
  • How often am I talking to the consumer?
  • What tools will I use to deliver a better message?
  • Who will help me develop the message?

These are just random questions that I asked myself while reinventing the way I sell real estate. I hope this information will inspire you to make the proper changes in your business. Do not underestimate the power of the consumer’s mute button. Once they tune you out, it is nearly impossible to get their attention again.

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