As of 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® had a membership roster of almost one and a half million people. Odds are, wherever you are there are plenty of other agents competing for the same clients and listings. So how can you ensure that your service and personality stands out so you can generate leads more effectively and make a great impression on those you work with? Here are seven ways to differentiate your service so that you can outrun the competition in your area.
1. Narrow your niche
Often we try to be all things to all people, meaning that we end up blending in with a host of generalists in the local market. Instead, stand out by creating a focus for your business. Perhaps you love working with first-time homebuyers. Maybe you know every builder in town, making you a great resource for those interested in new home construction. You might be the farm and land expert for your region.
Play up the specific sectors of the market where your expertise shines, and make that your unique value proposition (UVP). This allows you to be the only choice for a smaller number of potential clients as well as a recognized authority for plenty of other individuals who appreciate your expertise and admire your reputation.
2. Change up your marketing strategy
Take a look at your website, signage, business card, and other marketing collateral. Does it look just like everyone else? Is your color scheme and headshot completely generic? Does anything about your marketing present you as somehow different from every other agent in your area? If not, it’s time for you to create a new way of expressing your brand and communicating your value.
Maybe you want to go all-in with a brand makeover. Maybe you need to focus on dominating a particular social media platform. Perhaps you want to begin creating content like blog posts, videos, or podcasts. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it is authentic and truly communicates your value to potential clients in your area.
3. Optimize your service
Have you been doing business-as-usual, taking care of your obligations without really putting in the extra time and effort that would differentiate you from your competitors? If so, it’s time to look for ways to add value to the service you provide so that your clients aren’t just satisfied—they’re thrilled.
Add relocation services, a call-back guarantee, or on-the-fly virtual consultations. Walk your clients through the transaction with personalized video messages or implement round-the-clock support services to ensure that no question ever goes unanswered. By making your service better than the other guy’s, you give people a reason to choose you.
4. Upgrade your offer
What can you add to your basic offer to make it more appealing to clients in your area? Professional photography and copywriting? Videography or drone tours? Detailed floorplans or virtual tours? A staging consultation or moving supplies? Find ways to make your service more meaningful, more useful, and ultimately, more profitable for your clients.
Look around at what the other agents in your area are doing right, and what they’re doing wrong. What luxury service can you provide for clients with lower-priced listings? What enhanced marketing technique are agents doing in other areas that you can implement in your own? Remember, while you might spend a little more on each listing through enhanced services, you’ll make it up when you land more listings overall.
5. Enhance your expertise
If you have a higher degree of expertise and authority, you’re sure to make an impression both in your marketing efforts and in your face-to-face listing and buyer consultations. Explore certifications, designations, and other industry memberships that allow you to market yourself as a true expert in your field.
Consider the way enhanced expertise can help you develop a niche. Perhaps your market needs a seniors real estate specialist or an expert in sustainability and green real estate. Maybe enhanced instruction in pricing or negotiations will help separate you from the rest of the pack. Pursue additional learning opportunities, and then share them through your social media, bio, and content creation to spread the word.
6. Adapt quickly to change
Sometimes when you are in the trenches it is hard to see where the market is going, both locally and in the broader economy. It’s important for you to stay informed about trends in the industry so that you can change with the market before your competitors do.
Last March, folks who were preparing for business-as-usual got a huge shock when COVID-19 shutdowns interrupted the traditional spring selling season. Those who were adept at video marketing, virtual tours, and online transaction management got the jump on others in their areas by providing alternative ways to keep sales moving forward. Stay abreast of the latest strategies of conducting business so that you’re always ready to act when the opportunity arises.
7. Serve your community
Ultimately, you are a service provider grounded in a particular geographic area. Be part of the community you serve by providing assistance where needed. Sponsor a little league team, a drive for the local food pantry, or a cleanup in one of the neighborhoods in your market. Build homes in low-income communities or serve on the board of directors of an organization that you truly believe in.
Enlist the help of clients and colleagues in your charitable endeavors to connect them to each other and to you. Share your efforts on social media and in your marketing materials so that everyone sees that when it comes to caring for your neighbors, you back up your words with positive action.