You're Not Just an Agent Anymore
By Mark Koestner
Remember the good old days?
Listing agents sold homes at open houses. Buyer’s agents merely had to get someone their car
and show them a few homes. Appraisals came through. A 700 credit score was gold. There were
so few distressed sales, and transactions were closed in 30 days.
If you've been an agent for longer than five or six years, you probably remember. Those were
the days when agents were agents. Today, agents are not simply agents.
They're counselors. They're financial advisers and educators. They're often therapists,
renovation experts, credit repair experts and foreclosure specialists. At various times, they're
hand-holders, friends, shoulders to cry on, the bad guy at whom someone can vent. And they
still have to show homes and write deals.
The real estate agent of today must wear many hats. No deal is as easy as it was, say, six years
ago, and if agents want sales to go through, then they must provide all sorts of counsel, advice
and caregiving for their clients. It's just that simple.
This was a great quote from a recent New Jersey Star Ledger article on the role of real estate
agents in the post-bubble housing arena:
“It used to be a tell-and-sell attitude versus the listening and educating and guiding that we do
today,” said Roberta Baldwin, an agent-owner of the Keller Williams NJ Metro Group in
Montclair. “Most of my time is spent fielding phone calls and also calling other people and
making sure they’re okay — emotionally okay — and making sure their financial situation is
holding. It’s very, very different.”
If you've sold homes lately, you can probably identify. The question is: If agents' roles have
changed, shouldn't their marketing and client communication change, too?
If an agent's role these days entails educating and even nurturing, shouldn't his or her
communication to clients and prospects also include these things? One of the basic principles of
marketing is message to market match, and if today's market dictates that an agent is more
than a mere salesperson, then an agent's marketing message must match.
We've all been programmed to sell, sell, sell. But with the media out there telling our clients
and prospects "Don't buy, don't buy, don't buy," that sell, sell, sell approach is, well, a tougher
sell. Instead, we should be educating, informing, providing optimism and offering help. We
have to convey the message that we're able and willing to wear different hats -- that's what the
market requires these days.
Conveying that message might mean tweaking your communications a bit and could include:
Adding extra outbound phone calls, both in the lead-conversion and sales processes
Using social media to provide useful information, links to resources
More consistent/frequent email marketing
Changing the content or format of your newsletter
Posting more often, more personally, and more informatively on your blog
That might not sound all that fun to you, but you know what else isn't fun? Finding another
profession. The agents who are still surviving this tough game are the ones who have changed
with it. The ones stuck in those good old days aren't selling homes. Which will you be?