Servicing the 'Connected' Consumer
The real estate professionals and companies that survive the major changes taking place in this industry are those that can quantify what they do and how they earn their money, those who can create a “compelling argument” and “value proposition” for the consumer.
One method of doing this is to look at what consumers, not real estate consumers, but all consumers are looking for today as they shop for products and services. These items can be referred to as "Consumer Demands" and when you look at what you do, how you do it, and how you market it, bring as many of these driving forces to bear as possible:
Speed -- Think of fast food. The quicker you can take care of the administrative aspects of a purchase or sale, the more valuable you are to the consumer.
Convenience -- Think of Seven Eleven stores. Also, remember that people will often pay a premium for convenience. What do you do for the convenience and comfort of your clients?
Choice -- The more alternatives initially, the more consumers like it, but then they narrow it down. Don’t we all enjoy choice, from ice cream (31 Flavors) to Coffee (Starbucks)? What can you do to give your client more alternatives?
Value-added -- People like to get MORE than they pay for, this is value added. Real estate professionals provide value-added services every day, but few take the time to reinforce it to their clients. Have you ever cleaned or painted a house for a client after a sale? Helped them move something or something like that, an extra, that WASN'T in the listing agreement but you did it anyway? That's "Value Added."
Discounts -- If it is convenient enough, you will use a coupon. Lots of people look for discounts in everything they do. This doesn't mean you should offer discounts, but you must be aware that for many this is a "driving force" so play to your strengths in your marketing.
Quality -- Are you willing to pay more for quality? Many people are willing to pay a premium price for the quality.
Service -- Think of Nordstroms, which prides itself on its service.
Information -- This is the age of information! Consumers won't come with a toaster or a microwave without first buying a copy of "Consumer's Guide," let alone a piece of real estate. Make it quick (speed) and convenient for your clients to access to lots of (choice) information.
Deliver the above at every available opportunity and your clients will not only love you, but they will also send you more business.
(Saul Klein is CEO of Real Estate Electronic Publishing Company, home of RealTown.)