If you’re not aiming to be the cheapest agent, you must compete on value. And the only thing that can create value is customer experience.
The low cost of your locale’s cheapest agent might appeal to some potential customers, but being affordable doesn’t always equate to the best value.
If you’re an agent who prides themselves on providing value for their clients, rather than just being the cheapest option – you need to find authentic ways to demonstrate you worth.
There are three types of customer you need to get close to. Existing customers of your firm – they know you, love you and chose you for a reason.
Competitors’ customers – they chose the competitor for a reason and have valuable insights into the way you present that turned them away.
And, thirdly, non-consumers – people who haven’t yet used real estate services but still have valuable perceptions around who they would choose and why.
The industry is so transactional in its nature that rarely does it stop for just a few moments to get close to these three customer types to understand what the customers find valuable.
How do you drive up value in the consumer’s mind?
Answer: Get more jobs done.
What’s the job the customer needs to get done? If you think it’s to get the house sold, you’re wrong. It’s one of the jobs, but there’s far more to a successful transaction.
They want to be sold, have successfully purchased, be moved and getting on with life post the transactions. The more you can help to alleviate the things they will go through in the transaction, the more valuable you become.
Most of what we do is forgettable, but there are moments that become remarkable. Like the moment when the agent turns up a day after you’ve bought or sold to organise the mail redirection, provides quotes from suppliers like a removalist and organises the disconnection and connection of essential services.
It’s the moment when the customer realises they had unmet, unidentified and unsatisfied needs that were just met and exceeded.
While it seems simple, often agents only do these things if they notice their competitor is doing them. When you have a deep understanding of the customer, then you can serve.
Designing the customer journey is about identiﬁed low points (pain, anxiety and stress), then placing a high point (moments of joy, wonder and amazement) right next to them. The closer the high is to the low, the less likely the consumer is to remember the low. Think price reduction, then 24 hours later there’s a buyer appointment, and the buyer makes an offer.
Whenever you have to call a client and you’re putting it off or hesitating because there’s a real chance you’re about to deliver a low, what can you do in the following 24 hours to engineer a high?
When you understand the customer journey, you can design the low and high points.
Disneyland places an approximate wait time on all its rides. Then, when you get to the head of the line, you turn
to your partner and say, ‘Wow, that was pretty quick’.
You’ve just experienced an engineered customer experience. It’s the moment when the customer realises they had unmet, unidentified and unsatisfied needs that were just met and exceeded. Those moments become remarkable, and those satisfied customers bring you your next customers.
Demonstrate your understanding of different situations
You may be faced with a potential customer who is the executor of a will. What are the jobs the executor needs to get done and how can you demonstrate value? Here are some questions to ask:
- Have you been an executor before?
- Do all the beneficiaries get along?
- You’ve already got a full-time job, and now you’ve been given another one. How do you feel about the role and the sale?
- Do any of the family members want to buy the property?
- How much transparency is required in the sales process?
- Does the property hold sentimental value?
- If so, and the property is ripe for redevelopment, how do you feel about selling the property to a developer?
What’s the job the customer needs to get done? If you think it’s to get the house sold, you’re wrong.
Your role as an agent of value is to take the pressure and the stress off the client. You can help if required to negotiate with the beneficiaries, provide a transparent sales process and discuss proceedings with family members.
At that moment in the transaction, the customer says, ‘Wow, you get me and my situation more than I get me and my situation!’ That’s called situational awareness.
The problem is we’re heading into the same situations almost as though it’s the first time we’ve ever experienced them. We have low situational awareness and rarely train our teams around customer service standards.
Use unique language to position yourself as different
Every agent talks about styling when they should be talking about the benefit.
One buyer is going to walk through five homes this weekend. That buyer is going to decide to buy one of those homes. The home that feels easy to live in and looks as though they don’t have to do anything to is the one they’ll buy. Your job as the agent is to make that happen. That’s why you have a team of people around you – painters, furniture people and so on – to achieve those two buyer values, to negotiate that one buyer up and get the buyer’s decision in favour of the seller’s home.
The agent who makes it the easiest, the one who demonstrates true empathy for the situation, who can show how many of the jobs they get done that the customer didn’t even know they had to do to navigate a successful move, is the one who wins.
There’s only one answer to achieve thriving business success: drop being competitor-obsessed and be customer-obsessed.