By Marc Gould
When buyers are looking to hire an agent, what tops their list of criteria? According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, not surprisingly, the answer is ‘honesty and integrity.’ And with statistics showing that over half of all business comes from either referrals or previous experience, good brokers know that professionalism is the key to growing their business. But how do you demonstrate and market your professionalism? How do you communicate your value proposition? Here are some ideas:
- Follow your brand. Whether you’re an office of one or 500, you have a brand. The No. 1 role of a brand is to communicate your company’s values in a way that differentiates it from the competition. If you haven’t looked at your materials in a while, it might be time for a review. Ask yourself these questions: Are your materials conveying who you are as a broker, as a firm, as an organization? Have new opportunities presented themselves that might make a rebranding effort worthwhile? Review your business plan to make sure it’s speaking the same language as your brand.
- Make sure your office is following you. You’ve spent significant time and money developing, testing and advertising your brand. Make sure your agents are taking advantage of that work by using the brokerage branding on their business cards, signs and other materials. Confirm that your office understands your brand strategy and uses the tools you provide to help convey that message.
- Maintain a personal touch while leveraging technology. Customers want to be able to reach their agent, understand the transaction and know where they are in the process with ease. Take advantage of technology, whether it’s e-signature tools or the latest CRM software to help your agents provide state-of-the-art service. And make sure the human touch is there with follow-up phone calls or texts, customer satisfaction surveys and face-to-face interaction.
- Communicate your value in your own way. Not everyone has to have a blog; not everyone has to tweet. If your real strength lies elsewhere, trying to fake it isn’t going to help you communicate your value. Understand that what you’re selling is knowledge, service and the value you and your firm bring to the deal over and above what the competition can provide. If that’s best presented through cold-calling, community involvement, or more traditional marketing channels, then don’t shy away from the tried and true.
- Encourage lifelong learning through professional development such as designations and certifications. By committing to continued study, you and your agents are demonstrating a desire to provide a better class of service to clients. And the results bear this out: Surveys consistently show that agents with designations and certifications have higher incomes than those without. A great place to start is the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation. Not only will the training enhance the skills and knowledge of your office, an ABR® designation comes with membership to REBAC that provides specialized marketing tools and continuing education resources to leverage your skills down the road.
Professionalism is essential for growing your business. Understand yourself and what you’re good at, create a plan, work hard and be consistently customer-focused. Soon enough, you’ll be on the path to follow your colleagues in the REBAC Hall of Fame.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.
For more information, visit www.REBAC.net.