Why does the public think of real estate agents as salespeople? Why does the industry think of itself that way?
I suppose it is because we imagine that real estate agents sell houses in the same way that car dealers sell cars. In contrast, we don’t think of lawyers or doctors or accountants as salespeople. Why?
When it comes right down to it, isn’t every business a “sales” business? Trial lawyers need plaintiffs. Oncologists need cancer victims. Accountants need confused taxpayers (no trouble finding those).
Nothing happens in any business until someone is convinced to buy whatever that business is selling, be it a product or a service.
The real distinction comes when the sale is made. In a product business, the sale is the culmination of a process. You buy. You leave. You’re done.
In contrast, the sale is the beginning of a relationship in a service business. The trial lawyer files the case. The oncologist wheels you into surgery. The account starts finding deductions.
Now when I really stopped to think about it, years ago I realized that good real estate agents know that they are more than salespeople. They don’t sell houses, per se. Homebuilders sell houses! Homebuilders sell houses just like car dealers sell cars.
In contrast, real estate agents provide a service — more like the accountant and the lawyer. The process of buying and selling a house is complicated and most consumers need help. Agents are the people that have the specialized expertise. They can guide buyers and sellers through the maze of pricing, staging, marketing, financing, negotiating, inspecting and all the other aspects of a real estate transaction.
A real estate agent “sells” people on using her services and that is when the relationship begins. And if she is any good, she then becomes a consultant, helping people make good decisions about acquiring and disposing of their real estate. That is what the client really needs.
Of course, she does end up “selling” houses because some clients need to dispose of properties they own. However, she ends up helping other clients acquire property. In either case, her goal is helping people make great decisions about their real estate holdings and not to just make a “sale”. This builds a long term relationship of repeat and referral business rather than just creating a single transaction.
This is our focus at Colorado Home Realty. We are constantly rethinking the real estate business. Part of that rethinking is to shift from a sales mentality to a consulting mentality – from being in a product/sales business to being in a service/consulting business.
One of my strategies for success is to be more than a salesperson — to truly be your trusted real estate adviser for all your real estate needs.
Courtesy of Mike Cooke of Colorado Home Realty (c)