Every 3-4 days I will spend $30-$40 dollars on something I need. I’ll make this purchase without ever speaking to a sales consultant, I do not know the owner of the company I am buying from and I will pass by several other companies offering the same product for basically the same price. I am sure you have already figured out I am talking about buying gasoline.
As agents we should pay particular attention to our spending habits and why we choose the companies and services that we use daily. They can provide insight into the mind of a potential customer, because we are also potential customers and as such we think like a customer thinks. So what is there to be learned from where we purchase our gas?
I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually walked into the gas station’s building over the past year. I am sure that inside the station there will be a smiling sales person behind the cash register offering a warm greeting, maybe even a manager watching over the comings and goings, making sure shelves are stocked. I am usually in a hurry and have no need for a huge soda pop in a cup or a pack of gum. I’ll buy the station’s gas even without the warm and fuzzy greeting or any direct selling of their product. Why?
There are 3 reasons that I can think of for buying gas at a particular station without ever going in to speak with a sales associate.
- I have a need.
- They are are able to handle my need.
I have a need
I have a need for gas, so a purchase is going to follow. From the customer viewpoint, the need comes first and starts the purchase process rolling. Buyers and sellers of real estate have a need as well.
- Seller needs to relocate.
- Buyer needs to stop renting and buy a home.
- Seller needs to short sell their home.
- Buyer needs to use FHA or VA financing.
- Seller needs to purchase another home after selling theirs.
- Buyer needs to purchase a home in a specific area.
They are able to handle my need
I know that the gas station can fill my need. How do I know? I can see that they have gas pumps. I see other people buying gas ahead of me. They have a big sign advertising that they are a gas station and have a variety of grades of gas to sell.
Do customers know that you can fill their real estate needs? Do you make sure your marketing and prospecting efforts carefully outline what you offer that fills the needs of others?
- Do you promote yourself as a relocation specialist?
- What have you done this year that clearly identifies you as an agent that can assist first time homebuyers?
- Do you make sure your market knows that you have the education and qualifications to assist sellers with the short sale process?
- Who knows that you can help a buyer obtain a FHA or VA loan?
- Buying a home while selling one is more complex; does your customer base know you to be a knowledgeable real estate professional?
- Are you the area/city/town expert?
If we are to learn from the gas station, the customer would need to know all about us even without or before meeting us. How is that possible?
Word of mouth, marketing and prospecting that accentuates your services.
Your current and previous customers are walking billboards. Your family and friends are your radio and TV spots, reaching into hundreds if not thousands of households with a message about you. Word of mouth will let people know that you can fill their needs before they ever meet you.
Does your marketing and prospecting accentuate what the customer is really concerned about, their needs? Is your message clear, for instance, that you are a relocation specialist and do you offer examples of how that benefits them. Do they know you understand the fears and concerns with buying a home for the first time and are able to guide new home buyers successfully through the process? Remember your goal is to introduce your skills to the customer and let them know what you can do for them before getting face to face.
I pass by several gas stations on my way to the one I most commonly use because of the convenience of using this station. I know where to find the station, they are easy to find, easy to use, and are able to provide me what I need when I need it. If not, I search for the next “known” gas station I need.
Can potential customers say the same thing about you? Do you have enough for-sale signs out in the neighborhood that make it easy for a new customer to find you? There is a phrase, “you list to last” and the reason I find this to be true is because listings result in new customers calling the phone number(s) on the for-sale signs. Are you online? Do you take advantage of social media sites leaving online directional signs to you? Can the potential buyer or seller conveniently locate you anytime of the day or night from their home or office? Do you answer the phone? This is a biggie. Are you always letting calls go to voicemail putting all of the work on the caller to either leave a message or move on to a more convenient agent? If we are to pattern ourselves after a service such as a gas station, we need to be around every corner, open for business and ready to serve the needs of our customers.
We can learn from our everyday purchases
There is a lot for us to learn from our own buying and spending habits. Analyzing why we purchase from one store or vendor over another will help us reach more of the customers we seek. Start making mental or written notes as to why you shop a certain store or read one direct mail piece over another and then incorporate what motivates you into your own real estate business.
Photo Credit by the Italian voice