Thanks to the internet, anyone can access more real estate information online than ever before – for better and for worse. But there’s a difference between repeating what you see online (and who knows how reliable that source may be!), and synthesizing multiple statistics to create an accurate picture of your local market or client segment.
“Being the market expert differentiates us from the consumer,” says Joe Delia, a KW agent from the Detroit metro area. “That’s where we step in as fiduciary on their behalf as we’re able to take that data, digest it, and put together a plan as a result. Whereas, if you’re just a generalist, you don’t know how to do that. You just speak in generalities and don’t necessarily give them the highest level of fiduciary responsibility.”
Knowing your market and conveying authority goes a long way toward wowing clients.
“Everybody knows the market is doing really well throughout the country,” says Todd Hudson, a KW agent based in Maui. “But, if you can say, ‘In the last month or two, we’ve actually been continuously taking off more inventory than we’re putting on,’ that’s a big stat that tells you we’re still in a seller’s market. Being able to fully articulate that to a client – it does put you on that pedestal.”
Along with KW Master Faculty member Pam O’Bryant, Delia and Hudson share what being a local expert means to them as well as five tips for using that knowledge to earn sellers’ trust.
Know Your Market
As Delia and Hudson alluded to above, offering expertise isn’t painting a broad picture. It’s using the right numbers to paint a very specific picture of a specific area or local market segment. Think you know your market? If so, you should be able to prove it – on demand.
“Knowing your market means when you bump into somebody, whether it’s at a family event or on the streets or anywhere, and when they ask you how real estate is, you can quote with actual statistics,” Delia says. “You don’t say, ‘It’s hot.’ You say, ‘These markets are down by 50%. We’re averaging 14 days on market.’”
Instead of waiting for opportunities to show your market know-how to come up organically, here are five actionable tips for demonstrating your knowledge to sellers.
Five Ways to Communicate Your Market Expertise to Sellers
1) Do your research.
Since knowing your market provides content for your lead generation, make sure to include it in your daily lead generation routine so it gets done. And, before you head off to research, know which stats provide the clearest depiction of your market. “Absorption rate is a big one,” Delia says. “How fast are houses coming and going, and how much inventory is there? That’s really a great barometer on how hot the market is. Days on market is another. So looking at those two things for a particular neighborhood is where we can beat the big aggregates on a hyperlocal level.”
2) Tailor your knowledge to the segment.
Remember that different statistics mean different things for different segments. For example, fewer days on market for houses priced under $300,000 doesn’t equate to fewer days for luxury division listings, a lesson Delia learned the hard way. “For background, two years ago, luxury was really slow, but everything else was really hot,” Delia says. “So, if you go on a luxury listing and tell them the market’s hot, you’re not telling the truth, right? So you’ve got to look at the individual segments for whatever you’re marketing to or whomever you’re having a conversation with.”
3) Build long-term relationships.
Consistent communication positions you top of mind as the best go-to source for local market info, but sometimes you have to cold call to get those relationships rolling; a strategy that works for Hudson now that he knows the types of calls that yield results. “What we try not to do is make the phone call, ‘Hey, do you want to sell your house?’” Hudson says. “It’s more legitimate. ‘Do you know what’s going on in the market? Have you talked to your neighbors? Have any expressed interest in selling? No? How about you?’ Then we keep notes of how those conversations went. Then just carrying on that conversation really makes a world of difference. If they had to go to the doctor the week before, we call them and say, ‘Hey, how did that doctor visit go?’”
Related reading: Eight Practices For Strengthening Client Bonds in a Shift
4) Listen to the seller.
Everyone has their own communication styles and goals. It’s your job as an agent to figure out, first, what the seller really wants, and second, their preferred communication style. For the latter, some people will want to geek out over numbers with you, and others will want only the broadest strokes. As far as goals go, they can be wide-ranging. “Everyone’s motivation isn’t necessarily maximizing sale price,” Delia says. For example, some sellers may prioritize cash offers, extended leasebacks, or certain closing timelines over getting top dollar.
5) Set expectations from the get-go and as you go.
The goal is always to have a client for life after the transaction ends, so keep communication about market changes clear and ongoing throughout the sale. “I always set the expectation at the listing appointment as to how I’m going to handle that by saying, ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to tell you exactly what’s happening on the market and pay close attention to what’s pending and what’s going active,’” Delia says. “Real estate is very fluid. One comp can change things considerably. You can’t be afraid of calling them and letting them know the truth.”