The Evolving Role of the Real Estate Agent
Before the rise of the internet, real estate agents completely dominated access to available listings. They held the magic information, the Multiple Listing Service, leaving the average person in the dark. Those who wanted to rent or buy a home had to enlist the services of a real estate professional that held the key to unlocking all the information on the housing market. Then came along the internet with a few websites and tools for the average Joe and the scenario changed, because it put the power of listings in the hands of any one with internet access. True, it took some time to get people comfortable using these tools, but now there is no question that they are frequently used. This means that real estate agents must provide more than just access to the MLS, they have to provide added value, and additional services. It’s no longer about having great real estate listings; it’s about selling the lifestyle and the additional benefits of working with a real estate agent. Absolute musts for successful real estate professionals:
Lifestyle Marketing - Forget the old days of pushing listings. This is all about elevating the lifestyle for the buyer. Effective advertising entails more than just showcasing a nice home.
Professional Marketing - Looking the part is necessary to increasing business. Marketing is more important than ever and it plays a critical role in getting hired. This doesn’t mean real estate agents must become marketing experts; in fact they should not try. Instead, they should hire the experts. Fostering a partnership between a real estate marketing firm and a real estate agent is a must.
Concierge Style Services - Real estate agents must go beyond the scope of merely knowing enough about the homes they are showcasing, they must act as educators, knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics, I. e. - being very familiar with the neighborhood, decorating styles, etc. Additionally, they should be able to provide and fulfill the needs of their buyers and sellers, even when these might not be directly related to the sale of the home.
Create a Brand - Creating a brand is a no brainer when it comes to real estate, but doing it well is what separates outstanding agents from the mediocre agents. The agent’s brand must be marketed consistently on all media and should bring with it a promise of service, knowledge and success. If the brand does not give that perception, it is time for a rebrand. As a seller, it is easy to take the commission money and hire a marketing firm instead. If real estate professionals wish to avoid this scenario, they have to provide added-value in the form of brand recognition, an existing network, an active marketing campaign, and expert knowledge. A good real estate professional is ALWAYS worth the investment.