By now, I'm sure you are aware of the many options available for you to use in lieu of a traditional listing. There are iBuyers, institutions, REIT's and many other tech options out there that agents are aggregating and presenting as possible options to their clients—or at least the smart ones are.
The best of the best in the country today have all shifted their model to provide customers with a more transparent side-by-side comparison of their options upfront, before the customer commits to selling. Likewise, as buyers and sellers demand transparency, agents are shifting their strategies.
The reality is that iBuyers are better marketers than we REALTORs, and they have more money. They are using this advantage to speak to our clients about their unique value proposition. If we want to remain credible, we can't hide from this discussion anymore. The best agents in the U.S. have identified that their clients are now looking at multiple options. To stay on top, they must be the person that delivers all options in advance.
Opendoor can't get an offer from Offerpad, and Zillow can't get an offer from Opendoor. This information gap leaves the door open to agents who are ready to shift, allowing them to fill the role of the ultimate aggregator.
Real Estate agents can gather all of these options for our customers. And that, my friends, is the power. Not only can we list the house traditionally as we have for years, but we essentially become the Travelocity of real estate. You may not know it yet, but it's time for your business to evolve.
In basically every consumer transaction, we are given options before deciding. We walk into a grocery store and are faced with a wall of cereal. We visit Amazon, type in "paper towels," and are shown every brand and size of paper towel in their database. As consumers, we can compare our options side by side instantly. Our consumer brains have been trained to expect control.
When consumers are met with a decision that doesn't offer access to all information and choices, we become confused and less trusting because we know there must be other options. CXL, a leading marketing training firm, found that “83% of U.S. consumers go online to research their buying decisions before meeting with a salesperson.” This trend toward online research and "comparison shopping" extends to all product categories, even real estate. It's what's sparking our inevitable business evolution.
So how can we, as real estate agents, play like Amazon or Travelocity? How can we give our clients this experience without consuming too much brainpower and create a seamless and repeatable process for you and your team?
The solution to working with demanding buyers and sellers who want instant information is to be the source of information.
If you want to gather all possible avenues for your clients, there are only two options:
iRealEstatePro.com offers a tool for its members called “Donna.” The Donna tool is like having your own set of virtual assistants who are trained in iBuyer submission. You submit your listing to the Donna tool once, and Donna submits it to all the available iBuyer/tech options in your market on your behalf.
Donna is not an offer aggregator. Instead, the tool is a "submission admin tool." It saves you time and money. You choose which offers you want to receive, and Donna does the rest.
With the information in hand, the next step is to position yourself as a neutral authority and trusted advisor. We've already established that people research and prefer learning about all options before making a purchase decision. Your role is to claim your position. You have the tools needed to go deeper than your client might be willing to do on their own and the ability to provide more value.
Most consumers perform a surface-level comparison of options, but with the right education, you can help them understand the key pros and cons of all iBuyers and help them understand how iBuyer programs work.
CXL's market research has found that one of the keys to positioning yourself as the ultimate authority is to "compare yourself with the competition before they do." In real estate terms, this means comparing your traditional service to iBuying services upfront before your clients do, and trust me when I say—they will.
Gathering the options is one thing; presenting them to your client is another. This process can be a mess for some agents, yet it is critical for our industry's future. The presentation is the piece that we must master.
Remember, this is now your listing presentation, so take some time on this! It's your moment to shine in front of your clients and stand out from the clutter of information available to them.
The ultimate goal of your presentation is to compare each option available to your client. The ideal format is a simple side-by-side chart that breaks down costs, fees, and allows for a true net to net comparison.
At iReal Estate Pro, we like to call this a "net sheet." Whether you are using our net sheet presentation tool, found inside our system, or your own version, the key is getting the costs and fees down to apples to apples. Here is an example of the net sheet we like to use.
Amazon proved to us that humans like having options, they like to be in control, and they like transparency. The world of real estate is being disrupted—that is no longer a question. The good agents aren't experiencing this disruption. They are adapting and changing based on consumer demand. You, as an agent, are sitting in a powerful place if positioned properly. My mindset coach often reminds me of this mantra, "Any set of circumstances can be leveraged for individual or collective gain; if viewed masterfully." You have the tools. What's your view?