People ask me all the time what factors go into choosing the right real estate agent when you’re looking to sell your home. There certainly isn’t one correct answer to that question, because there are a combination of factors that make someone a good fit to work with you, and the main one is usually whether or not you like the person and feel like they will work hard for you. But beyond that, I think the thing that people most commonly associate with success in the real estate industry is strong sales skills. Well, in this post, I’m going to tell you why a strong or pushy salesman might not always be the best person to get the job done.
Selling a Home in the New Economy
In the old economy, before the turn of the century, before the tech boom, and before the internet created the savviest generation of consumers to ever exist, selling a home really did require some “selling.” Realtors had to convince other agents and buyers to come visit their listings and then convince these folks that their listing was the right fit for the buyer, and better than anything else currently on the market. Now, with websites like Zillow making photos and information about homes for sale widely available to the public, most consumers can tell pretty quickly whether a home could be a good fit for them. And they can then compare that home to many others that are available on the market in the span of a few seconds. This makes today’s homebuyers smarter, savvier, and more empowered to make good decisions than ever before. And when a buyer is informed and empowered, the last thing in the world they want is a salesman trying to talk them into buying a home. Especially if it’s one they aren’t so sure about.
Think about this: when was the last time a salesman approached you at a store, or anywhere else for that matter, and asked “can I help you find something?” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your immediate response was something like, “no thank you, I’m just looking.” Because even if you were planning on buying something, you didn’t want someone to push you into a split-second purchase that you may later regret. Even when you’re looking to buy your next car, do you really want that salesperson following you around the lot trying to upsell you into a bigger vehicle or push you into their latest financing deal that you can only get if you buy RIGHT NOW? No. In the new economy, no one wants anything to be sold to them. So why then would selling be an important skill for an agent who is going to list your house?
It wouldn’t. The skill that is most important to the modern home selling process is marketing.
Appealing to the Right People
When you’re trying to sell your home, you want to make it look as appealing as possible to the widest number of people possible. That way you expand your potential audience of buyers and captivate them with the right information to get them to pay your home a visit. All of that sounds a lot more like marketing than sales to me! The days of set-it-and-forget-it marketing in the real estate industry are long gone, and if you don’t have a real estate agent on your side who is prepared for the new marketing challenges of selling a home, than you may find your listing sitting on the market longer than you expected, or missing out on those bidding wars you keep hearing about.
In 2018 and beyond, the right agent for you will be prepared to do a heck of a lot more than just plant a sign in the ground and wait for the buyers to show up. Good agents understand that marketing a property includes professional photography, at least a little bit of staging (sometimes more depending on the home), getting the word out on social media, spending some money on advertising, and painting the right picture of the home that will bring in buyers by the busload. If an agent isn’t willing to provide all that service and expertise for you, than they probably aren’t a good fit to help you sell your home.
So naturally, your next thought might be, “why do so many good salespeople become successful agents then?” Some sales people are good at sales because they just put tons of energy and commitment into everything they do. These folks would be good at any job they set their mind to, and so they find themselves as high achievers among agents. Others are successful because they use those sales skills to persuade more people to hire them. This, however, is what can create a bad name for real estate agents, because some agents are very good at selling you on why you should choose them as your agent, but then when it comes to actually selling your house, they don’t back up their promises. This leaves clients feeling duped and deceived.
How Can You Be So Sure of This?
Before becoming a real estate agent, I spent years mastering the marketing industry, and along the way, I played many roles, including that of salesman. What I learned from that experience is that the best salesmen are actually just great marketers. They don’t focus on the selling part, but rather they try to make their products as compelling as possible to the right audiences, and then they connect with those audiences and get the word out about their product. This tweet has always been one of my favorite ideals regarding the sales and marketing fields.
Best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2015
If you truly want to sell a home, it’s not about forcing your home on people, it’s about finding the people who are ready, willing, and able to make the purchase, and then driving those people to action. So back to the original question – how can you find the right real estate agent for you? Find the best marketer. Interview some agents, chat with them about what they do to help their clients sell homes, and pick the one who you think will work hard, brings the right skills, and hopefully will be someone you get along with. If you can find that person, you’ll more than likely end up getting everything you want out of the transaction and coming back to that agent again next time you need help.
If you’re looking to sell your home in Raleigh or the Triangle area, I hope you’ll consider giving me a call. I know what it takes to get top dollar for your home, and I’ll work hard every day for you to assure that you find yourself completely satisfied with the process. Click here to learn more about me and how I can help.