In Part I of this blog post which you can read about here, we reviewed what an iBuyer was, how they operate, and what type of seller would want to utilize their services. When agents learn about iBuyers for the first time they have a tendency to think, “How can I compete with this?” After all, these companies can hand sellers a proceeds check in as little as two weeks with no hassle.
The emergence of iBuyers has actually provided agents with a great opportunity to evolve and strengthen their businesses. Here are six strategies for agents to not only beat iBuyers, but grow their business:
- Nurture your database and sphere of influence – If you don’t have one; start one. If you do have one; start taking it more seriously. Agents need to start fishing for the consumer further upstream before they hit the national portals because once they latch onto a site like Zillow.com, it may be too late. Touch your database on a continuous basis and differentiate yourself by offering better service, more personalized care and a stronger one-on-one relationship. If they know, like and trust you, you’re more likely to earn their business.
- Spend some time determining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – What sets you apart from other agents and iBuyers? If you can’t answer that question, you need to spend some time figuring it out. What service(s) do you offer that others don’t? What makes you special? If you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to creating a USP. But you’re not done yet. You need to continuously communicate it to your database and sphere of influence (see #1).
- Embrace technology and utilize it to your advantage – Stop making the excuse that you don’t have time to learn a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Find the time. Automate your systems so that you can contact more people in less time. Find ways to use technology so that existing clients have more control and visibility over transactions. The more clients know what is going on in a transaction, the less fear and uncertainty they will experience.
- Hop on the bandwagon with iBuyers – Don’t act like they are the enemy. Take the time to learn how their models work so that you can be ready to explain the points of difference between your service and theirs. Oh by the way, many iBuyers utilize agents when reselling the homes that they purchase. Some will even pay referral fees to an agent’s brokerage for recommendations. The more you know about how iBuyers operate, they more you will be able to compete and even profit.
- Market hyper-locally – The big iBuyer players need to advertise on a national scale. They’re throwing a large net into the ocean trying to catch a few fish. Agents on the other hand, have an advantage because they don’t have to try and attract clients outside of their market area which is usually geographically confined. If you haven’t learned how to advertise on Facebook, Google or Instagram; start now. These platforms allow you to target market at a very reasonable cost.
- Become an expert at navigating the complex transaction – The one thing I can say for sure is that the real estate transaction isn’t getting any easier. The agreement of sale continues to grow in length; more and more addendums are added to the PAR standard library of forms every year; and governmental regulatory disclosures seem to increase with each passing decade. Your clients are looking for certainty and security. Take the time and become a student of the transaction so you can guide clients through the storm that is a real estate transaction.
iBuyers may not appear on our doorstep tomorrow, but when they do, prepare now to arm yourself and be ready. There has never been a better time to up your game.