Providing Value: It's About the Customer
It’s time for brokers to ask themselves hard questions about the skill sets and qualities their salespeople bring to the table. Make sure those traits benefit your client base if you want to provide true value.
November 7, 2014
Creating and communicating value is more than just a cliché. In fact, when properly incorporated into an overall business strategy, the creation and communication of value will actually result in higher profits, more sales, and loyal clientele. Most important, the client will also benefit from more savings (buyers) or profit (sellers) and will receive a higher level of customer service.
Remember, there must be a greater benefit to the client who decides to work with your brokerage over another to truly be valuable in the client’s eyes. Consumers are typically willing to pay more for a product or service if there is value or quality associated with it, so developing these attributes and being able to communicate them will effectively increase your bottom line.
Let’s step back a minute and clarify the meaning of value: Value, for our purposes, is the intangible assets of a brokerage and its salespeople: skills, niche market, unique service, and other attributes that can create monetary benefits for clients, agents, and the brokerage. It’s a true win-win-win situation.
Here are three steps for creating and communicating value at your brokerage:
Step 1: Create value with the right salespeople.
This may sound a bit obvious, but agents must actually have or be able to provide some value. Simply having a real estate license alone is not valuable enough in the eyes of a prudent consumer. It could be years of experience, a niche market specialization, work ethic, a unique service or product offering, or a combination of skills. The monetary value should be a result of the intangibles your salespeople offer. So consider the core values you want your brokerage to provide its clients when recruiting salespeople. For example, clients will benefit monetarily because of a certain skill set, such as having an expert in negotiation tactics.
Step 2: Identify your clientele.
Targeting a specific client base is key. In general, consumers can be lumped into two categories: those looking for the cheapest product or service and those who want a high-quality product or service. Consumers looking for the cheapest product or service typically only care about cost, so be careful not to waste time marketing to these people. The second category is the audience to target with your value proposition.
Step 3: Communicate value by showing benefits to the client.
This is always the most difficult part and where most brokers get stuck. The best way to explain this step is to answer the following question: “Why is it in the client’s best interest to hire someone from my firm for the job?” This is where your value proposition comes in. You and your agents much be able to answer this question and handle potential objections. Clients do not want to be sold, especially when buying or selling such an expensive and emotional asset, so they must be confident that their best interests are the priority in the transaction. Take the time to develop your message and its delivery. This step is a very introspective process that should almost be uncomfortable and address fundamental questions like:
- Would I hire myself or my salespeople?
- Why shouldn’t the client hire someone from my brokerage?
- Are there things my competitors do better that would lose me a client?
- Am I worth the money I am charging or will be making from this transaction?
The creation and communication of value applies to brokers and agents alike. Brokerages must be able to create a value for agents and then be able to communicate that message. Likewise, agents must be able to do the same for their clients. It’s a top-down approach and, when implemented as part of the culture and business structure, it benefits the client, agent, and brokerage.