In real estate, the conventional wisdom has long held that agents can build and maintain a thriving business with little more than some phone calls, emails and open houses. And while that strategy certainly has merit, it does not create a complete picture. The old adage about spending money to make money rarely resonates in this business. Most agents don’t want to spend money on advertising, unless they absolutely have to. As the owner of a real estate video production company and a marketing consultant, (and a former agent) I am of the strong and educated opinion that videos are now an essential component of any real estate listing. Many agents, however, don’t see it that way. One of the most common comments I get from agents is that, although they love our videos and understand their value, most of their listings “just don’t deserve” that level of marketing. I hear it all the time. But they’re missing the point, and it will cost them money in the long term. It’s not about marketing their listing. It’s about marketing themselves.
“But it’s only a $250k listing!”
Ok, but that’s still a $4-7k commission, depending on your commission and office splits. That’s not worth investing $500 to make your client feel like they got their money’s worth? Shouldn’t you do everything you can to make sure they get the highest and best possible offer in the shortest amount of time?
“The house is just kind of ‘meh,’ but I’ll definitely use you guys when I get a really cool listing.”
Well you still need to market it, don’t you? Every listing needs to be promoted actively and accurately, regardless of how it looks. After all, people are almost always gonna come see it, before buying, so they’re gonna find out what it really looks like, eventually. If you try to hide the fact that the house is boring, ugly, or in some other way flawed, you’re gonna end up wasting a lot of your time, your clients’ time, other agents’ time, and their clients’ time, with fruitless showings that may well have been prevented if you’d offered up a more accurate portrayal, online. This means you’ll have more time to do what you really need to be doing, which is signing new contracts. Good marketing saves you time, and time is money.
Another thing to consider is the fact that most people are proud of their homes, and expect it to be treated with respect. How would you feel if your agent decided your house wasn’t cool enough or valuable enough to deserve their best marketing? You’d probably be pretty resentful, I’d imagine, and you probably wouldn’t recommend that agent to your friends and family.
“The market is so hot, it’ll sell in a few days, no matter what.”
The laziness, cheapness and shortsightedness implied in that statement is, quite frankly, shameful. Did you discount your commission because of that? No? Well then don’t you think your clients deserve to get the very best for their money? If it’s so easy to get the house sold, the sellers are going to wonder what, exactly, they’re paying you for. Every agent with more than 5 minutes in the business is exhausted by so often being asked to explain their value and justify their commission. The average sale price of a U.S. home is hovering around $230k, so you’re looking at making at least a few thousand dollars. Spending a few hundred bucks on professional marketing comes out to a small fraction of your commission, and will go a long way toward making your clients feel like their money was well spent. It will also go a long way toward diminishing the general public’s perception that agents are overcompensated for what they do. Sure, you can take the time to break down the process for them, explaining how you can save or make them money by negotiating the best terms on the sale price, inspection, etc. You can explain to them that brokerage splits and business expenses and taxes are exorbitant. You can explain how the business is structured in such a way that you only get paid by a small percentage of the people you represent, because not every buyer buys, and not every home sells. And you’ll probably still have to do all that, but at least you’ll be able to maintain the moral and professional high ground if you can honestly say you made use of every available weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Videos are going to make you more money
At the end of the day, the absolute most important thing on any agent’s mind should be creating a happy and satisfied client. The best marketing any business can have is positive word of mouth, especially in the age of Yelp!, Google and Zillow reviews, which have become incredibly powerful marketing tools, in and of themselves. All other marketing efforts are, essentially, predicated on that principle. A happy client (or the glowing review they left you) has the very real potential to send you business for years, to come. Easy business. The kind where people call you having already more-or-less decided to work with you, simply by virtue of trusting the recommendation given them by their friend or family member or sincere online reviewer. It is impossible to understate the value of creating a legacy of happy clients, so why not do everything you can to impress them, while you have the chance?
There is just something about a video. Sellers are invariably wowed by them. They proudly show them off to their friends and post them on Facebook. Videos get far more shares and clicks than traditional listing posts. Some estimates suggest that listings with videos get upwards of 4-times the clicks. Videos also go a long way toward elevating the rank of your website in search engine results. Only about 1 in 20 agents is currently using video, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of sellers say they want to hire agents that do, which creates a genuine opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. So, what you end up with are clients that feel like their money was well spent and their listing in the right hands, who will enthusiastically spread the word about their kick-ass agent that went the extra mile. You get increased organic website traffic and social media attention, which means more future business. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you did the right thing by your client, which makes it easy to justify your fee at your next listing appointment. You also get the opportunity to outshine your competitors in future listing presentations by showing off your portfolio of past videos, which are almost certain to win you those listings. That’s quite a list of benefits for what amounts to an investment of pennies on the dollar out of your revenue. How can you not afford to use video?