When asked what McDonalds sells, most people would say ‘burgers’ or ‘fast food’, but the real commodity that they sell is Time. People want it just how they expect it but they want it Now.
When a real estate agent is asked what they sell, most couldn’t give a decisive answer. Things like ‘houses and property’, ‘negotiation’, ‘good service’ are common themes but the real commodity that a real estate agent sells, when you break it down to it’s very core, is Trust.
From that standpoint, from an industry wide viewpoint real estate agents traditionally have scored very poorly. A recent survey of ‘professions you can trust’ rated agents above politicians but below prostitutes. Ultimately though, most people want and need to trust an agent to sell their (in most cases) largest asset.
The vast majority of agents have been very poor at building relationships with owners in their area before the time comes to sell and so therefore most owners have only a very short time to assess the agent they will choose to sell their home. This is where recommendation and reputation comes into play.
More and more people are researching online to assess the reputation of an agent, not only checking what properties they are selling and have sold but what other people say about them. In the same way people check customer ratings of hotels and restaurants, they are now checking the ratings of agents. Sites like www.ratethatagent.com.au and www.yelp.com will play an increasingly greater role in choosing an agent. Where in the past, agents could sometimes get away with providing poor service and ‘churn and burn’ clients because there was always plenty more business out there from the marketplace, now there are becoming less and less places to hide.
A real estate agent’s reputation is becoming increasingly visible and will continue to do so at an exponential rate as consumers embrace technology.
I imagine many agents will be trembling in fear of being exposed for the very ordinary service they regularly provide but those agents who pride themselves on providing exemplary service eagerly await the greater exposure of what they do. Regular feedback from City of Belmont owners confirms the move to online reputation search in choosing an agent is well underway. As Ross Dawson, global business futurist & strategy advisor and keynote speaker at the Ray White Wealth Conference at the Gold Coast today said in relation to visibility of reputation – ‘if you’re going to be naked, you might as well be buff’
Media contact: Andrew Huggins – Ray White Urban Springs 0413 231 303