Taking a bigger slice of the pie

September/October 2016 edition

The more you can do for your client and the more you’re involved in every part of the transaction, the more valuable you become.

By Tim McKibbin

The traditional suite of services provided by agents is under attack. There’s a lot of money in real estate and people are designing electronic solutions to do all or part of the agent’s job. So how do we stop them muscling in on our turf?

Agents are in a unique position to extend and deepen their involvement at all stages of the real estate transaction. Every time you do something additional, you’re adding value and cementing yourself as central to the real estate transaction.

Educating ourselves

An important part of what we do is sharing our knowledge with our clients. These days, consumers have access to so much information. It’s freely available. Part of our value as agents comes from being able to turn that information into a consumable product. To do this, we need additional knowledge and that knowledge comes from educating ourselves.

Consumers are sophisticated and we need to respond to this by demonstrating our expertise and sharing our specialised knowledge to help guide them at all stages of the transaction. This means we have to not only enhance our traditional entry-level and ongoing education standards, but also extend our range of knowledge to those other areas that impact the property.

We need to provide an additional service in the form of advice. Architecture, building styles, planning laws, development opportunities and more. These are all areas where we have the chance to turn advice into a marketable asset. We don’t have to be experts in all of these areas, but we do need to have a working knowledge and a network of providers to assist the client. It’s about so much more than simply putting the property on the market. It’s about taking a ‘deep dive’ into all the opportunities that come with the property.

Extending our reach

Put simply: we need to stand on other people’s turf before they come and stand on ours. The old adage that ‘attack is the best form of defence’ rings true. Rather than sitting back and defending our limited turf, we need to make the first move.

But how do we do this? We need to make ourselves integral to every part of the real estate transaction. Helping a client organise the connection of essential services and insurance prior to moving into a property. Advising the Australian Electoral Commission of a change of address. Liaising with government to ensure a tenant’s contact details are up to date with all the relevant agencies. Assisting a purchaser to secure finance. These are just some of the ways an agent can offer a higher level of service – and the list is really endless.

We need to look at every single aspect of the consumer journey and say to ourselves: “What opportunity is there to add value and improve the consumer experience?” If we do this, at least in the medium term, we’ll provide ourselves with some level of protection from potential disruptors. But if we sit back and continue just doing things the way we’ve always done them, we’ll be picked off.

By acting as a facilitator and having an additional suite of services in place, we cement ourselves in the transaction. We add value. We take the hassle out of mundane tasks. We truly become the trusted advisor. And we take a bigger slice of the real estate pie.