The ability to keep a close eye on the horizon and a finger on the pulse of market and economic trends is no longer a “sometimes” skill needed by industry professionals; rather, it is now a necessary tool of the trade.
Our team of trainers and I have been fielding hundreds of questions from sales associates seeking to circumvent the tough market syndrome that seems to overwhelm so many agents. They’re tapping into the knowledge and resources all around them in an effort to uncover the NOW strategies needed to stay inspired, motivated and ahead of the competition.
When it comes to trend-watching and overcoming challenges, our friend and industry leader Bill Barrett is the man in charge. I recently turned to him to get his insight and ideas on maximizing momentum in a changing market. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
Q: I have always admired your ability to accurately read and communicate market trends to your audiences. What do you feel is the most significant trend in our market today?
A: Like you and your team, I hear that question a lot. I would say the single biggest item that agents need to focus on today is getting their listings priced correctly. And the single biggest challenge is that the market is still going down.
This is a very unusual time in our economy. Real estate is a leading industry today, instead of a following. In other words, in the past, interest rates have gone up, unemployment goes up and corporate rates go down. Now, interest rates are good, unemployment is down and corporate rates are fine—but the real estate market in many pockets of the country has plummeted. Why? I think what we are finding is that prices went very high—too high, in fact—and now we are seeing a dramatic “normalizing” of the market.
Q: What does all of that mean to agents on the street?
A: Well, I think there is a real problem right now in the industry, psychologically. There are so many articles out there talking about how the market is down, bubbles bursting, etc., and I believe it may continue to decrease and may be that way for a year or so. That is why it is more important than ever for agents to stress to their sellers the importance of pricing their homes correctly. Otherwise, they run the risk of missing target buyers altogether.
Q: I remember a charting tool you suggest your Superstars use to help communicate this point effectively with sellers. Can you share that?
A: Sure! I tell my students and audience participants to develop a 5-Year Chart for their market area. Down the left side, I suggest writing:
• 5 Years
• 4 Years
• 3 Years
• 2 Years
• 1 Year
• 6 Months
Then I have them make the following column headings across the top and write in the statistics for each time period above:
• Average sales price
• Average days on the market
• Amount of inventory
• List-to-sell ratio
Now, instead of “selling and telling,” agents are better able to “educate and inform.” Then the real estate agent becomes the messenger.
We need to educate sellers on the fact that real estate is still a local event and that not all “national trends” are applicable to their particular area. For example, look at the Portland and Seattle areas, which are currently seeing 8% to 12% increases. Develop your local stats chart, and become both an advocate and an educator for consumers in your area.
Q: What would you tell agents and brokers who find themselves getting drawn in by all of the fear factors and bad market speak so prevalent right now?
A: You know, it still comes down to that Pygmalion effect. Whatever you believe to be true will be true. If you go into a listing presentation with the whole “It’s a bad market” speech and a defeatist attitude, your sellers will pick up on that and not see the confidence they need to list their home with you.
Superstars go into every presentation prepared, centered and confident that they are there to educate and inform the consumer with the specifics of how they will best market their home, provide top-notch service and solutions and get the listing sold in the shortest period of time.
Q: How would you say prospecting is different in the past six months to a year?
A: Inexperience leads many agents who have lost income or felt the pinch of the market decline to immediately cut back on marketing, such as sending Just Listed/Just Sold cards or placing ads in home guides. I always tell agents they have to invest at least 15% of their projected earnings back into marketing themselves and their listed properties.
Consumers are looking for expert advice to better understand what they are hearing in the media. Agents can stay in the game by choosing smart marketing such as the Just Listed/Just Sold cards your company offers with MLSmailings.com. They also need to put systems in place to consistently stay in touch with their sphere of influence each month. They might just be surprised at how many of those customers have real questions about how the market affects their situation.
Thanks, Bill, for your time and ideas on addressing the trends and tackling the issues that today’s agents are watching.
Find more tips, techniques and strategies for navigating through our changing market at www.billbarrett.com. There you will find FREE downloads as well as valuable products and information about Bill Barrett’s ever-popular seminars.
Learn how to automate your Just Listed/Just Sold marketing in the fastest and most cost-efficient manner at www.mlsmailings.com; enter Priority Code JULIE to waive the initial sign-up fee!
You also are invited to visit www.prospectsplus.com to download our FREE BusinessBASE™. This proven system for staying in touch with your sphere of influence is guaranteed to earn you SIX ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONS in the next 12 months if you commit to following the step-by-step plan. While you are on our site, sign up for our FREE monthly Master Marketing Newsletter™ or Master Marketing Schedule™. More than 60,000 agents across the nation rely on these timely tools to stay forward of the competition in today’s ever-changing market.
As always, we are here to help, and we look forward to bringing you more expert advice from industry icons with articles just like this one.
Bill shares his experience and advice on how to win in real estate with more than 100 audiences every year. He is the founder of the annual Bill Barrett Superstar Workshop™, where for the past 18 years agents who sell more than 100 homes a year get together to share success strategies. Bill delivers exceptional messages to both sales and management professionals around the world. He can be reached at 800.432.1977 or at www.billbarrett.com.
Julie is Director of Corporate and Convention Marketing for ProspectsPLUS! and has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the real estate industry. This published author, poet and mother of three continuously provides fresh ideas, products and tools for the talented ProspectsPLUS! sales and training team and its incredible network of valued clients. Call 800.287.5710 today to find out how a ProspectsPLUS! Account Executive can teach your sales team to skyrocket production with a free, results-achieving Master Marketing Meeting™! You’re also invited to learn from our tips, techniques and proven marketing tools at www.prospectsplus.com.