We do Professional Photography. We use all the major portals to advertise your property. We have the perfect blend of traditional values mixed with new technology. We give a personal service. We can sell your property for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.
Any of this sound familiar?
Look on any estate agents’ website and you will more than likely find these ‘unique’ selling points. But if everyone is saying them the only thing that really ends up being unique in the eyes of the seller is your fee. This is the reason that the only true thing that the seller focuses on after telling them all about your great service is your fee. Whilst it is frustrating for the agent, from the seller’s point of view they have heard it all before. There is nothing different in what you are saying and so therefore it is a straight up price comparison. But how could we go about removing ourselves from that straight up comparison?
For a good example of this we should look at some of the most commoditised industries to first see if it is even possible.
Hamburgers. You can’t get much more commoditised than some mince in a bun but somehow whilst it is possible to buy a double cheeseburger from McDonalds for less that it costs to park the car, Five Guys are still able to sell a double cheeseburger for £8 and do it very successfully.
Cars. The number of different makes and models of car that can be bought is mind blowing on top of this there are all the old makes and models of car that are still available on the 2nd hand market. It is now estimated that there are just under 1.5 billion cars in the world. So, what makes people choose? Why are they not all the same? How is it possible to sell one car for 10 times more than another?
I won’t continue to list out all of the analogies, but you get the idea, the same logic can be applied to phone, computers, trainers the list goes on.
This thinking can help us shift our mindset from the common misconception that it is difficult to stand out in estate agency, as if we are a unique industry that are the only ones that suffer from this problem. It is not an industry problem it is just a general business problem and when you solve it, you have a great business.
So how do you solve it?
The key is to know that you will no longer be able to let people know that you can sell properties for anyone and everyone. You need to have something specific that you do for someone specific that wants it. Going back to my examples above there will be plenty of people that would never even consider paying Five Guys £8 for a burger, but Five Guys don’t mind that, and they still make a great profit. If they were to cave in on their beliefs and start to reduce the price and the quality, they would lose the very people they currently serve.
So, who do you serve and what do you give them that they would be happy to pay the extra for? Or alternatively what do you not give them that they would be happy to miss out on to make a saving?
I have worked with 100’s of companies, most of them in Estate Agency and whenever I ask this question it always draws a blank, followed by “Well, we give a more personal service”. But what does that mean? You must be able to quantify these things for them to matter. You can’t just summarise it and expect the customer to fill in the gaps. It is your duty to create a specific service and then explain it well enough to the customers that they can clearly see why they would use you if they were interested in that sort of service.
One great example of this that I came across recently is a company called Brickworks. In their opinion Estate Agent boards don’t help sell or let properties but they are incredibly bad for the environment and as such they will never use them. They also will never cold call people as this also goes against their beliefs.
You may well be reading this thinking well they are wrong, but that is ok. The point is not to agree or copy them. The point is that there will be some people who agree with them and will use them because of it. They have created their stance and now they can look for their followers.
The worst place to be is just stuck in the middle of the road, waiting to get run over. Pick a side and stick to it and get comfortable with the fact that you are not for everyone but for the ones who want what you offer, you will never have to drop your fees again.