July is my down month this year. I do not have a single course scheduled for the entire month. I’m using the time to gear up for a busy fall, contemplate the relevancy of my business and make appropriate alterations on my path. As markets change across this land of ours, many agents have expressed the desire for classes that are centered to the knowledge and skills needed to compete. The big question is; what does that mean exactly? What skills are essential for success in the next year? If a surfer is not in front of a wave, they are not surfing. They’re just sitting. As agents and course providers, we have to know what is coming and be ready to catch the wave.
So here is my five piece contribution to how to best prepare agents for the close of 2013 and the beginning of the new year.
Five Ways to Stay in Front of the Wave.
1) Listing classes. If it is a sellers market, agents must be able to get listings. Listings control market share and honestly, listings control buyers. And when there is a shortage of them, listings become competitive. Several things become imperative: a) Agents must be able to find people that want to sell and be able to give them a compelling reason to do so now rather than later, b) agents must have a handle on their market and a grasp of where it is going in the next 3, 6, or 12 months, c) agents must be able to deliver effective customized presentations.
2) Negotiating skills. When markets become increasingly competitive, an agents ability to negotiate on behalf of their buyers and sellers (and for themselves) becomes very important. Buyers need to negotiate to survive and agents will be pressed on their fee more than ever. Confident negotiators find themselves to be up to the task.
3) Market Expertise. In times of greatest change, comes the greatest confusion. As news about the low inventory, higher prices and overall market changes hits the media, consumers will begin to be unable to sort the truth from the hype. This is where a trusted, savvy agent fills the gap. The more an agent knows the market, the better they are able to help their buyers and sellers make pivotal decisions. Knowing the market makes it easier to price for sellers and supervise better offers for buyers.
4) Ability to Get Business. Two things are key in getting business. First, it is time for agents to focus on making their sphere of influence a solid form of business. Too often ignored, the best buyers and sellers are the ones that already know, like and trust their agent. Time to get serious reminding them that you are their Realtor. Second, it will very soon be time for the For Sale By Owners to come out of hiding. As agents make selling look easier and easier, more and more people will think they can do it themselves. The best agents have a FSBO system or plan and should be ready to bring it out.
5) Technology. An agents ability to stay on top of their business has become amazingly simpler with today’s tools for mobility and efficiency. As consumers become more mobile, agents must keep up. Being able to communicate, manage, present, and market on the go can create a definite point of difference for any smart agent. Equally important is the agents understanding of what consumers need/want in 2013, 14 and beyond. One word here: VIDEO! In the United States each person consumes an average of 19 hours of video every month. according to an infographic by Invodo. Sixty percent of that video time is spent watching product videos, and 52 percent of consumers report “watching a video makes them more confident in their purchase decisions.” Any ideas yet? Shooting the home tour, which may have been the first thing that popped into your head, is just scratching the surface. Informational videos are needed by consumers now more than ever. And while the video train left the station LONG ago, there were/are so few Realtors on board that opportunities abound.
So much of what we have always done is not in sync with today’s market. It is easy to get caught up, eduacationally-speaking, in one of two approaches and neither are effective today. We either do what we’ve always done or we chase the shiny new thing. At the core of every changing market is a wave of knowledge, skills and insight that are relevant and needed. Time to catch the wave.
Let me know if I can help. Until the next time…