Real Estate Customer Experience Series Part 2: Why Homie Is Killing It Out There
Part 2: Why Homie Is Killing It Out There
Homie is making a killing in Utah. They have some super slick ad campaigns going on right now like "Don't commit the sin of commission." That is amazing, I'm really impressed with that one. They were voted "Best Disruptive Tech" by UtahBusiness.com and were given the People's Choice Award at the Silicon Slopes Summit in 2017. If you are a Realtor in Utah and are not worried about Homie, you should be. Homie will continue to "disrupt" the way we buy and sell houses just like Uber and Lyft are killing the taxi service all around the country. However, there is still plenty you can do as a Realtor, so don't hang up your cape quite yet. We are going to fight fire with fire.
Let's take a look at why Homie is so attractive to buyers and sellers. Aside from the $1000 flat rate it costs to sell a home using Homie, they have an entire library of client testimonials on their website. If you haven't watched every single one of these videos, you need to. You need to know what people love about Homie if you are going to compete with them. People are saying how easy it is to use, how they are responsive and helpful, and how they get their home sold in a matter of days.
On the opposite end of that, the same people are saying how they've heard horror stories from their friends about their experiences with an agent. That agents take a long time to respond to emails, that they aren't helpful, and that they just roll over on the first offer they get because they are desperate to sell a house. These are all things you need to know about how people perceive real estate agents. Homie does everything that people think real estate agents do at a fraction of the cost (they can even post on the MLS now). So why should someone hire an agent in this day and age?
But let's not lose our cool, I am on your side. I think Realtors represent a useful and valuable tool that makes buying and selling a home easier and faster. But long gone are the days where you can justify 3% commission to fill out some paperwork, put a listing on the MLS, and make some phone calls. It is unfortunate that the overwhelming majority of Realtors are just doing the bare minimum. Homie recognized this and decided to make a boat load of money off the bad perceptions of the industry.
So when it comes to deciding on whether or not to hire out a service there are ONLY 2 reasons why someone doesn't hire you. It doesn't matter if you are a Realtor, a photographer, or a landscape company.
Number 1: They can't afford you.
You can't do anything about number 1 so let's move on.
Proving value is the key to getting someone's business. As a Realtor, you need to prove to them you are valuable enough and will do more things for them than the next guy. Since most people think all an agent does is fill out some paperwork and take generic cell phone pictures, you'll need to make sure you clearly identify all the other known values you provide. And if you don't know what else you do other than fill out some paperwork and wait for the phone to ring, I have some great ideas for you in just a few minutes.
First off, one of the common elements in most of the videos about selling a home through Homie is they bring in a professional photographer. With so many terrible listing photos online, this is a huge draw for sellers. I honestly don't know how the home selling industry has tolerated the use of crooked, blurry cell phone photos to sell something that costs more than a Ferarri. Since Homie is using a professional photographer for each of their listings, you might want to consider providing that same level of service.
Next up, many people praised Homie for how easy it was to go through the home buying process and how quickly a representative was to respond to their questions. They probably have someone manning the phones 24 hours a day. This is great for them, but bad news for you since you probably don't want to be taking phone calls at 11pm. However, being clear about your dedication to your client's questions and needs is summarily important. Being available within reason is fine as long as you are not only giving them good answers to their questions but also anticipating questions and preemptively giving them the information.
Now let's talk about things you can be doing to provide value to your clients. Rule number 1 is that real estate is about building and maintaining relationships. There are dozens of opportunities to work directly with your clients to establish yourself as someone who cares about them as clients, not just about the commission check you get from them. Do you think Homie is interested in developing deep relationships with their clients? At their price point, I really doubt it. Homie is just one step above FSBO; they still leave all the hard work and heavy lifting to the home owner. And because this is a perception that most people have with real estate agents, (that they won't help out with the hard work,) the choice to list with Homie is easy to make.
The BEST WAY to build relationships with anyone is to experience something difficult with them. Why do you think military units stay so tightly knit even decades after the war is over? Because they went through hell together. What difficult things can you participate in during the sale or purchase of a home? Let's brainstorm.
When we were getting our home ready to be sold, we knew we had to paint everything, finish the basement, and remodel the bathroom. Many owners looking to sell their home will be doing similar things. What is stopping you from helping paint, or hang drywall, or tear out an old shower? What about helping to pack up boxes and move stuff in or out of storage? Or Helping with the landscaping, planting flowers, fixing broker sprinkler pipes, or laying down new wood chips? Or how about helping clean up to get ready for an open house or a showing?
As we just mentioned, helping to pack up things and getting ready to move. Packing is everyone's least favorite chore. I definitely hate it. I wanted to hire a moving company to do it all for me but I was given 3 different quotes ranging from $1,400 to $1,600. I can't afford that so I have to do it myself. But many hands make light work and a buyer knowing his agent was there in the trenches would go very far in making lasting relationships and really give that wow factor.
It is very important that you let your clients know you are eager and willing to help out. Don't put the ball in their court by making passive statements like "If you need any help, let me know!" Of course they need help. Instead, say something like, "What day are you going to be painting so I know when to come over to help?" Or, "You are planning on moving this weekend, right? Tell me when you'll be getting started so I know when to be here." These kinds of statements let clients know you want to help and aren't doing it just to check off a box.
Another way to build relationships is to go above and beyond in the kind of service typically provided. When your client puts in an offer on a house, how about going door to door to meet the neighbors, not to try to get a new client, but rather to ask them insider information about the neighborhood and the city. You could ask questions about where the best parks are, where are the nearest churches, and what they like about the neighborhood. You could ask them about that BBQ place you saw driving in and if it's any good. Find out insider information about the new town your clients will be living in because they probably know very little about it. An example of this is a grocery store in Kaysville called Bowman's that has incredible donuts. They are half price after 7pm every day. All my neighbors knew that but I didn't learn about until the week I moved out. I missed out on 2 years of half priced donuts! When you have gathered all this info, you could put together a welcome home packet for your clients that includes all the key elements of the town and maybe even a gift card to that BBQ you've heard such great things about.
The beautiful thing about this is you can scale it to future clients. Let's say you have one client moving to Kaysville and you go door knocking to meet the neighbors and learn about the city. You put all that information in a spreadsheet or wherever and then you already have it ready for your next client who moves to Kaysville. Now, you just have to knock on a few more doors and talk to your previous clients (with whom you've developed this awesome relationship) to get some updated information. Spend a few hours doing it once and then only a fraction of that is needed to maintain it.
I see an opportunity for Realtors to be chaperones for their clients. To help them in their preparations to sell, buy, move, and settle in. I know a lot of agents out there are thinking "I'm not gonna help my clients paint their house. That's not my job." And that's great. You know who else isn't helping their clients paint? Homie. And they charge a lot less to sell a home. There are dozens upon dozens of opportunities to do things for your clients that discount brokers aren't doing. Just think to yourself, "What is Homie not doing that I could be doing?" And honestly, "What are other agents not doing that I could be doing?" Are you buying drinks for everyone on moving day? Are you renting the U-Haul truck? Are you mopping kitchen floors and vacuuming carpets? I'll tell you who ISN'T doing all that: Homie. But if all you have to offer is paperwork, cell phone photos, phone calls, and Internet listings... Homie is going to win every single time.
I believe that Realtors should be experts in their field. They should provide the best services, the best advice, the best experience, and the most professionalism. Realtors should be the end-all-be-all when it comes to selling or buying a home. There should be no comparison. People should be using Homie only because they can't afford a Realtor, not because they get exactly what a Realtor does for a fraction of the price. Let's compare Mercedes and Ford. At the end of the day, a vehicle takes you from point A to point B. But the experience you get in a Mercedes is a hundred times better (I used to own one and it was incredible). The reason people don't buy Mercedes is because they can't afford it. But if Ford offered the exact same comfort, look, and feel as a Mercedes but at Ford prices, no one would buy a Mercedes!
Fight Fire with Fire
Now on to THE MOST IMPORTANT part of all this. You have to be building up social proof. Homie's testimonial page is full of videos of happy clients. They have THIRTY SIX client testimonial videos in total on their youtube channel! That is 1 per month since they opened their doors in 2014. Why are agents not doing this? It blows my mind. If you want to show potential clients how awesome you are as an agent, let them learn about it from your other highly satisfied clients. That way when someone visits your website or your Facebook page they will see all the warm and smiling faces of your happy clients. Production quality is important when it comes to video interviews (don't shoot this on your cell phone) but you are in luck because Agynt Studio offers client testimonial video services. Give me a call or use the form below to find out more.
Next up is your website. Looooooooooong gone are the days when people are actually going to a Realtor's website to look up listings. Does this phrase sound familiar, "I have access to ALL listings in Utah so you don't need to look anywhere else!"? Almost every agent is using the same line on their website. How can you possibly expect to compete with the likes or Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com? Those sites are a thousand times better for searching homes than the super basic 1990's era IDX portal offered on most agent websites. Instead, how about creating a website that talks about YOU and the amazing things you do for your clients? If this is a relationship business, why are you immediately building walls between you and your potential clients before they've even met you? Create a website that tells your story. Include several (yes, several) of your client testimonial videos. This is the social proof we talked about. You are also in luck here because Agynt Studio offers landing page and single page website services to help tell your story.
The entire way we think about buying and selling homes is rapidly changing. More and more and companies like Homie will be moving in now that they've seen just how successful a business model like Homie can be. I would estimate a 25% reduction of licensed real estate agents by 2020 because they simply cannot compete with companies like Homie. If you love your career as a real estate agent, figure out what makes you different from discount brokers and let everyone know. I'm in your corner. I want all my Realtor friends to be successful and have the best services to offer their clients. So let's strengthen your armor so you can withstand the blows from the competition.
Keywords: marketing, real estate agent, real estate competition, real estate customer experience, salt lake city real estate photographer
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