Take the Quiz: What Type of Seller Are You?
A Brand for Every Target Market:
Have you ever noticed how almost every company has more than one brand name for the same product? Walking into different stores, you may think that Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy are very different companies, but in reality they are 3 parts of one larger corporation. This is true among many industries; such as Lincoln/Ford, Loblaws/Superstore/No Frills, CIBC/Presidents Choice, or Rogers/Fido. There may be an arms-length legal division, but they are multiple concepts from one parent company. Why do corporations do this? These large corporations know that the better they target sub-sections of the market, through the right message and values, the more market share they can obtain. The 2-3 categories usually fall into place like this:
Customer #1: The Premium Service Client, who values prestige & experience more than price
Customer #2: The True Quality Client, who wants the best possible quality for a fair price
Customer #3: The Price Conscious Client, who is willing to accept lesser quality to obtain the lowest possible price
These consumer profiles all have different philosophies, values, needs, wants, and expectations. Depending on the demographics of an area, the company decides what brand will be most successful for a location.
How Does This Relate to Real Estate?
The challenge in real estate, is that most agents want to be as general as possible, hoping to cast a wide net to catch any client they can find. I liken it to Sears, which has been struggling for survival for over a decade. In the effort to please everyone, they didn’t connect with anyone. Business 101 failure. Coupled with this, every new real estate agent was taught to NEVER EVER talk about price. I mean NEVER. That is probably because commissions used to be 7-8%. Houses used to cost a lot less, but so was cost of living, so it’s still relative. For a service that costs this much money, the underlying strategy is a Customer #1 approach; you don’t talk about fees until last, because prestige is more important than price. But the truth is, only a small percentage of the market fits into that Customer #1 category. This evasive tactic has created much customer frustration over the years, because these customers weren’t getting the information they wanted about value or price, but instead only heard prestigious claims about who’s the best. This also explains the explosion of the low fee companies who blazed into the industry 10 years ago, because FINALLY, someone was successfully communicating the right information to the right target audience.
Which Customer Are You?
I learned a long time ago that I can’t change anyone’s mind, especially when you don’t know me, so this article is not to sway you one way or the other. And there’s no right or wrong answer, all 3 profiles are valid positions. Satisfaction is as simple as this: did the outcome meet your expectations? And happiness is when the outcome exceeded expectations. If you know what type of Customer you are, and you chose a real estate professional who clearly demonstrates that they provide these services, you have the best chance of being satisfied. And no, no matter what agents put on billboards, (because they are trying to appeal to absolutely everyone) you can’t get the best service for the lowest price. Services cost money to provide, and so the old sayings are always true; “you get what you pay for” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. So here’s a few questions to answer as honestly as you can, to determine if prestige, quality or price is the most important factor to you.
1) Are you hiring a Real Estate Agent to be your:
A) Facilitator – I don’t expect much complication in my home sale and just need someone to do the paperwork and negotiate the sale.
B) Advisor – I want to hire a good agent who I know I can trust, and get sound advice from. There’s lots of decisions to make and I want an expert on my side guiding my options.
C) Manager – I don’t want to be involved in the day to day details or to be hand held; I want an expert who will work on my behalf under the parameters I’ve set.
2) How much money do you think is a reasonable amount to invest in preparing your home for sale?
A) Maybe a couple hundred dollars, but really, the house is what it is at this point
B) I couldn’t spend more that a couple thousand dollars, preferably less, but if I was advised on how to maximize this investment to get a higher sales price, I would certainly consider it
C) I know rentals or upgrades can cost $5000+. But that’s still less than 0.5% of the value of my home. It’s worth it to get the highest possible sales price.
3) Do you think agents are overpaid?
A) YES! Who else gets a $10,000 paycheque!?!?!?!? It’s absurd.
B) I think some are overpaid for what you get, but some do a great job and deserve to be paid reasonably for their work.
C) Successful businesses make good money, that’s the point of having a business. ROI is the key, not a service fee.
4) How do you handle decision making when you are stressed?
A) Stressed? Me? Nothing ruffles my feathers. Decision making is easy for me, regardless of the situation.
B) I start to double guess myself because everyone has an opinion. I need a professional to filter all the noise and give me the advice that will keep me focused on my goals.
C) I pay them to be stressed for me. They see the issues, they find the solutions, they present them to me. Done.
5) How important do you think it is to present your home in a way that makes buyers fall in love with your home?
A) No house is perfect and if a buyer wanted perfect, they should be buying a brand new home. I can decorate my house well enough and its clean. That should be good enough for a buyer.
B) I would love to know how to make buyers love my home. I need advice on how to make it as big, bright and modern as possible – on a limited budget of course.
C) Its critical. It’s all about buying into a lifestyle, and a buyer wants to be proud of their new home and show it off to their friends.
So how did you score on this über scientific test? I’m sure you noticed that if you got mostly A’s, then you are more like Customer #3, B’s is Customer #2, and C’s is Customer #1. Again, there is no right or wrong position, and the clearer you can be with your thoughts and values, the better a match you will make with a realtor who can meet your needs. Once an agent truly knows what you care about most, the good ones will do an infinitely better job at tailoring their services to you and focusing on your goals.
Who is My Target Market?
So it’s my turn to be open and clear about the type of client I work with most. If you take some time to read my website and blog posts, I’m sure you will guess correctly that The Village Guru & The True Quality Client (Customer #2) go together like peas and carrots. My clients are smart, critical, respect professionals, and like to look at facts and stats to make logical decisions. They want a fair price but know that effective marketing is value added service. I’m not the cheapest price, nor the most expensive. The Village Guru is obsessed with giving more value, a better quality experience and a higher sales price, all for a fair fee. If you answered mostly B’s, you are my kind of client, and I would love for you to take the time to research me and learn more about me.
If you were mostly A’s, but you DO care about home staging and preparation, this is the foundation of my marketing strategy for all homes. My stager charges me $3000 per listings, which includes a consultation, a room by room report, follow up meeting and a full staging installation of her props, art and accessories for your home. If you are torn between price and staging, it’s worth at least calling me to see if we can come to an arrangement. If it’s price or nothing, The Village Guru system and expertise is likely not for you.
If you were mostly C’s, I’ll let you know I’ve got my eye on you. I can’t lie, if you look at my portfolio, you’ll see that I work 80% with mid-level homes – detached, semis and towns. My services are perfectly suited for the upscale home market, but it’s a tight network to break into and with 3 small kids, every spare minute is spent with them right now. I’ll sway you, sooner or later, and it’ll be the best decision you ever made.
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