Just Maybe, you’re only seeing the tip of the Iceberg
When you’re good at something, I think you naturally make it look easy. That is how it should be to be honest. I’ve read several times and several places that it takes 10,000 hours of study and intense practice to develop mastery. When you consider the average 40 hour work week, you’re racking up 2,080 hours per year into developing mastery in your career. And, that’s not counting weekends and extended hours. The point being, at that pace, it’s going to take you approximately 4-5 years to develop mastery in your profession; that’s if you’re being intentional about it. If you’re not being intentional, it will take you considerably longer and you most likely will never develop mastery.
People flock to the real estate industry with grandiose visions of success. There is approximately 3,500 – 4,000 real estate agents in Fresno and Clovis and we get calls all the time from people wanting to pick our brains about getting licensed to sell real estate. They’ve probably observed someone along the way who has developed mastery and think to themselves, “This is easy money. I can drive people around in my car. Show them a few houses, write an offer and get paid!” Who wouldn’t want this for themselves, right? The unfortunate reality is, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Of those 3,500 – 4,000 real estate agents, only about 500 of them consistently are top producers. The average real estate agent sells between 4-6 homes per year and struggles financially until they are forced to the realization that this is an extremely hard profession and they have to leave the industry and look for a full-time job, typically in financial ruin at that point.
That Looks Easy Right?
On the flip side, some home owners observe successful agents and think, “We don’t need a real estate agent, this is easy. What exactly do they do anyway for that commission, let’s For Sale By Owner (FSBO).” What they don’t realize is they can only see a fraction of what we do. It’s like the picture of the iceberg where 66% is below water and you only see a small portion of it above the surface. We now live in the digital age and to be successful in real estate, you have to be not only marketing savvy but tech savvy.
To be successful in real estate, you have to be not only marketing savvy but tech savvy
Rest assured, to be tech savvy in today’s fast paced online world, that two thirds of the iceberg that you don’t see is where the lion share of the action is occurring, tucked neatly away and out of sight.
Linda is currently going through Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. In his book, Complete Guide to Money, Dave writes: “Unless you’re a seasoned pro at selling houses, I firmly believe that a quality real estate agent is worth more than they’d cost you when it comes time to sell. For Sale By Owner, or FSBO, says something to a buyer. It says that you aren’t paying commission to an agent, so you’ll probably be more flexible on price. In fact, a study from the National Association of Realtors found that the median home price for sellers who use a real estate agent is 16 percent higher than homes sold directly by an owner.
A study from the National Association of Realtors found that the median home price for sellers who use an agent is 16 percent higher than homes sold directly by an owner
Besides the money, a good agent can walk you through all the paperwork and details that most people don’t understand. This is their job, and they sell dozens of homes a year as opposed to the average family, who will sell only a few times in their lifetime. But not every agent is a winner. It’s like any other business; about 20 percent of agents do 80 percent of the work. The good ones in your area will be fairly obvious.”
Last week, Linda and I went out on a listing appointment. The seller had read Linda’s client reviews on her Zillow profile and reached out to meet with us. They were however very up front that they would be interviewing multiple agents and would not be paying a full commission. Their comment, “In this market, anyone could sell our house.” The sad fact is that with such mediocrity in our industry, this perception is largely correct. Most agents follow the 3 Old P’s of real estate. 1.) They put a sign Post in your front yard. 2.) They Put it in the MLS. 3.) They Pray that it sells. They have no further marketing plans than this when you press them. They have no strategic initiatives and don’t know how to effectively market a home. In this situation, the market does in fact, end up selling their house but the agent has offered no value and most likely, caused the seller money in lost profit that was never realized. All because they lacked competency in their craft. They never consulted with the client on how to maximize profit or demonstrated the key indicators on how to accomplish this. If you ask them for their Documented-Approach or ask them what their Google strategy is, they will most likely give you a deer in the headlights stare. From July 1st of 2016 to December 31st 2016, the average real estate agent in Fresno/Clovis, produced an astounding 88% of list price for their selling clients.
The average real estate agent in Fresno/Clovis, produced an astounding 88% of list price for their selling clients
Linda and I check these numbers bi-annually as we post them on our website (www.greenfinrealty.com/sell). Needless to say, we were shocked when we pulled those numbers recently as they are so abysmal.
The vast majority of our business is word of mouth so we rarely compete against other agents for business. The few times we have, we’ve always won, but, it’s not the way we like to do business as we’re relationship based and relationship driven. However, it’s good to keep your skills sharp so we decided to go out and meet with this potential client.
When we walked in, several agent cards were proudly displayed on the kitchen counter. The gentlemen was a software engineer so we connected instantly as network engineering is my background. We had a lively discussion about search engine optimization (SEO) and it’s importance with selling his property. Our discussion moved forward to the proper way to name and embed metadata into listing pictures so Google views them as high quality content and ranks the property as high as possible in their search engine. Since 90% of buyers will first see the property online, we talked about the importance of having a featured property page (example: www.30818Powell.com) to drive online web traffic to and how to embed a re-targeting pixel into the HTML code of the website so paid advertising will follow prospective clients around the web. An example of this would be when you search for something on Amazon and then you keep seeing that product pop up in ads wherever you go. We do this as standard practice with the advertising and marketing for our clients homes. We talked about how we’ve achieved first page Google results for our listing clients featured property pages. We talked about the criticality of professional photography, videography and scientific staging to differentiate the property in an age where agents feel it is okay to use their iPhones to take client listing pictures. We talked about the importance of creating, as much as possible, a new-home/model-home feel and experience for his prospective buyers and just how to accomplish that. How to make an emotional connection with buyers and get their decision making out of their heads and into their hearts, where all full-price offers originate. We talked about predicting all potential objections a buyer might have and solving those concerns well before they ever even arise. We talked about how we utilize paid advertising to strategically target the correct buyer demographic by income, buying habits and whether they’re likely to move based on their online behaviors. We then talked about our Documented-Approach and I handed him a copy of our Book. When we left, a new agent was waiting in the wings for her appointment. Linda and I waved at her and wished her luck as we got in the car and headed off to enjoy the waning hours of that late afternoon Good Friday. In truth, 98% of the time, our client appointments are much different because we’ve been referred and our reputation has proceeded us. It’s why we don’t typically have to compete for business. This gentlemen however did not know us. He did not know our process or, our results for that matter.
You see, it’s taken years of work, reading, study, experimenting, re-engineering and sometimes starting over to develop our now successful workflow. It’s taken years to learn how to rank on the first page of Google. However, I had to first teach myself website design. I had to learn the proper SEO metrics for real estate. I became an active student of marketing and writing compelling advertising copy that invokes an emotional response through the use of proper trigger words. I had to learn about re-targeting pixel’s and how and when to use them. I’ve studied new home builders and their tactics for eliciting powerful emotional responses in people. I asked myself, how that could be re-created in an existing home or if it even could be re-created? The results; over the past 2 years, we’ve sold right at 100 homes here in the valley and we’re averaging 101% of list price for our selling clients.
Over the past 2 years, we’ve sold right at 100 homes here in the valley and we’re averaging 101% of list price for our selling clients
We spend hundreds and sometimes, thousands of dollars marketing our clients homes and our results are something we are deeply proud of. We are deadly serious about it and it’s why we put the kind of hours into our business that this process demands.
For the agents that just operate off the Old 3 P’s of real estate; well, when the market normalizes, they’ll be left with the fact that they’ve spent no time developing mastery or even proficiency in their craft and they will undoubtedly have to find a new career. For Linda and I, it will be business as usual as our clients get our A game each and every time, regardless of the state of the market. That has no bearing on our path forward.
Back to that listing appointment on Good Friday; will we get that business? I’d assume yes we will based on our track record and how the meeting went. However, there are other very good agents out there that would be equally deserving of getting the job. Either way, those situations are needed to keep our skills razor sharp and ready to go. We’ll be ready to go for the next one as each of these experiences chips away the rough edges and makes us better versions of ourselves.
All the best,