The real estate industry needs to change to serve consumers the way they want and expect to be served, according to Stefan Swanepoel, a noted real estate expert who annually publishes Swanepoel Trends Report.
Swanepoel said REALTORS® need an “extreme makeover” when it comes to image. “Fifty percent of consumers don’t understand the difference between agents, REALTORS® and brokers,” he said. “We’re the least trusted professional in surveys conducted. Consumers also believe REALTORS® have one of the highest overpaid jobs in the country.” And while Swanepoel said REALTORS®’ income may not be the highest, it’s the perception of many consumers.
REALTORS® should reconsider putting their faces on billboards, buses and benches because it doesn’t portray a professional image, Swanepoel said.
“Change your mindset and do more with less by leveraging your strengths,” he said. “Don’t let the negative attitude get you down,” Swanepoel added.
Swanepoel suggested that REALTORS® improve their skills by earning a designation. “Less than one percent of all REALTORS® hold the ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) designation, which NAR says is the most popular.”
Mastering technology is another way to make a positive change. “Technology is a powerful tool and other companies are using it to their advantage,” he said. He added that social media is an important part of technology. He said he began using social media about 18 months ago and he now attributes 25 percent of his business from social media. “Traditional marketing is dead. Only 14 percent of consumers said they trust advertising,” he added.
Swanepoel said REALTORS® should think like a consumer when they create their communications. “Think content. What does the consumer want?” he said. “How do you make it different and more unique than someone else? And consider other methods of communication like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, podcasts and video. There are one billion consumers using social media. There’s a new trend in town and we’ve never seen any trend grow at this rate before,” he added.
“If you’re only using a blog it’s like only using a violin in an orchestra. You’re the conductor and social media is your orchestra. They all work well together.”
“Buying or selling a home can be an extremely emotional and stressful time,” said Joshua McKnight, president of the Tri-County Suburban Realtors®. “When things become too emotional, our ability to make good decisions gets clouded. Having an experienced professional that can negotiate on your behalf will help to protect and maximize the equity in your home.”