Agent Matching – Dressing Up an Idea as a Benefit That Isn’t!
It’s happening again. Big business is getting into the world of real estate with a “helpful” tool for buyers and sellers. There’s another new website out there that is matching buyers and sellers with the “right” agent for them. Guess what they’re basing this “perfect match” on. Yep. You guessed it. They’re basing it on sales data. Does that sound a bit one sided to you? It does to me. It also happens to be one of my pet peeves when big business dresses up an idea as a benefit when it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking top agents. What I’m knocking is the idea that top selling agents get an automatic thumbs up that they’re a perfect match for clients, without looking at their skill set or the kind of service you can expect from them. When did quantity trump quality? I mean to say, when did you last buy a car from the top selling dealership in town just because they sell the most cars? Or chosen your GP based on how many patients he’s got on his books? You’ll want to know about the reputation of the people you work with. The number of sales is just one of the parameters you’ll use to make a decision whether you’re talking about someone to buy or sell a house with, or a car or any purchase where SERVICE is a big part of the equation.
The 80/20 Rule and Why Selling Power is NOT a Good Basis for Choosing an Agent
There are any number of reasons why selling power alone is not a good basis for choosing an agent. Let’s just start by looking at the numbers. You know how much I like my stats! Real estate is another perfect example of the 80/20 rule. 20% of the agents get about 80% of the business in any given real estate market. This is an average so I’m sure it fluctuates a little depending on where you are, but like most stats, it is a very good “ballpark number” and illustrates the point very well that real estate is top heavy. Does that mean the other 80% of the agents in any given market suck? No, of course it doesn’t. I work in the Iowa City market and know there are plenty of hard working agents who make a good living selling real estate without making it into the top ten list. None of these agents will show up on that list of agents you get when you go to that website looking for the perfect match. You’ll miss out on that other 80% of the real estate agents out there, one of whom might really be the perfect match for you. Instead you’ll have the choice from a very small group of real estate professionals that may or may not have the right skills or the right personality to work well with you and do the job you want them to do.
Choosing the Right Agent to Fit Your Needs & Expectations
What will you miss out on you ask? Let’s look at types of agents now. Just like the buyers and sellers we represent, agents come in different shapes and sizes and we all have different skill sets. Many agents choose to leave their options wide open. These are the generalists. Then we have the specialists who typically concentrate their efforts in a niche in the real estate market. They might be luxury home specialists, or condominium specialists, or they specialize in helping first time home buyers or perhaps baby boomers or empty nesters who are downsizing. Buyers and sellers aren’t all the same, neither are real estate agents. Some of us are tech savvy and incorporate the Internet in every facet of our business. Others like face to face contact and work with clients who have no time for technology and want their agent to stop by with personal updates. I could go on, but I won’t as I think I’ve made my point already – Agents are as diverse as the clients they represent. If you want help downsizing your home and need a lot of support during the process, you’ll want to work with an agent who appreciates that fact and works with what you want. It won’t help you much to know they’ve sold a lot of houses if you don’t know if they will give you the attention you deserve and will be there for you every step of the way throughout the home buying or selling process.
Real Estate is a Service Industry – With the Emphasis on SERVICE
What’s the biggest thing that bugs me about the idea of real estate agents being judged purely on the number of homes they sell? That’s easy. It completely leaves out the personality of an agent and how they work with clients. Specifically it completely misses the point when it comes to addressing what kind of service they offer. Real estate is a service industry. If you don’t get treated the way you expect in a real estate transaction you’ll be pretty unhappy at the end it. Buying or selling a house isn’t supposed to be like a trip to the dentist. You’re not supposed to say, “thank goodness that’s over” at the the end of it. Buying or selling real estate is usually very personal. Buyers and sellers don’t think of homes as commodities in a real estate transaction. They’re people with emotions dealing with a major financial transaction. Doesn’t it make sense they’d want to work with someone who empathizes with them, can offer good sound advice to help them and is generally there for them during the home buying or selling process? How will they know they will be getting that when the data that chooses their “perfect match” on this website is based entirely on the number of homes an agent sold?
The concept of choosing an agent completely on sales data is flawed. Of course you want your agent to have a good track record of selling homes and they’d better have good negotiating skills too! You also want them to have other skills that are in line with what you want, your personality and expectations in a real estate transaction. Your job as a buyer or seller is to figure out what’s important for you and then choose your agent based on that. Leaving out the personal aspects of a real estate transaction and merely going on sales data might work out, but there’s a much bigger chance that it won’t!