Why VPA is A Positive Point of Difference

Tristan Rowland of Place Estate Agents explains why effective marketing will not only help you sell your current listings, but attract new ones.

In recent times, Vendor Paid Advertising (VPA) has gone from being a tool that helps both an owner and an agent achieve a superior result, to what now seems for many weaker agents a point of difference – mainly discounting or offering to pay for the advertising altogether. For good agents, this is your time to shine. Your competitors are practically handing over listings to you. You just need to help your potential vendors realise it.

One of the main reasons I work for Place is how much the brand prides itself on the quality of our marketing, whether it is our comic strip style pictorial ads, the fact that our online ads make almost twice as much as our competitors’ or simply the fact that our marketing is so sharp it attracts both buyers and potential vendors alike.

Marketing is a symbiotic relationship. Many agencies will go with the ‘point of difference’ that they will try and save a vendor money by putting forward a small marketing campaign (let’s say $490). Some will say it is the agent’s responsibility and try to win business on this basis. It is imperative you help owners realise this is how the agent is trying to win business: by cutting corners, offering to give up their own money and – most scarily – taking away the decision process from the vendor.

I often ask vendors when I put a more expensive marketing campaign forward (let’s say $3,500), “Did the other agent tell you this was an option and recommend the smaller campaign over it?” Ninety-eight per cent of the time the answer will be, “No they didn’t even tell us about this”. My response, and the honest-to-God truth, is as follows:

“Mr Vendor, there are two types of agents who don’t tell you about this type of marketing and inform you of all the options: 1. An agent so inexperienced in the industry they simply don’t know any better, and 2. An agent who does know, but in fear of losing your business has withheld this information and blatantly lied to you that the plan they have put forward is the most effective, instead of asking for the right tools and informing you of the complete picture – scary stuff, no matter what the reason.” This will defeat most budget agents every time and is completely true. You have to ask the owner, “If this agent is afraid they can’t justify $3,500 to you in helping you get a great price, how are they going to justify an extra $50,000 to a buyer? If anything they have shown they won’t even go and ask the buyer for it, as the buyer will be five times as hard to convince!” To this day I have never had an owner disagree with this theory.

Effective marketing will not only help you sell your current listings, but attract new ones. A great example of this is a property I recently sold in Ashgrove (QLD). I put forward a marketing budget of $2,000 more than another agent who already had a listing in the street. I won the business  as my owner saw the value in it and I achieved a price $50,000 higher than the other agent had recommended to the vendor! The flow-on from this was great as another owner who was listed with the same agent noticed I sold my listing in six days whereas they had been on the market with no result for three months. They couldn’t understand why their property hadn’t sold –thankfully I could. I informed them they had been incorrectly marketed – for starters there was no mention of the potential for city views! So what did I do? I got a pole camera with my photographer and we took a shot of the view, remarketed the property and sold it in one day for $50,000 more than they had been previously offered. This result has generated me 11 listings!

Marketing is a little like Santa Claus. If you don’t believe in it, it won’t work for you! The fact of the matter is that an agent who can sell VPA well and believes in it will often defeat four agents who all go in with cheap campaigns. I find that if I am up against three or four agents they all offer the same basic marketing – so where is the point of difference? I would rather offer more expensive marketing but a better result. Often owners will say “It’s a lot more expensive to list with you guys,” to which I reply, “It’s more expensive to buy with us too!”

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