This is a touchy subject in the real estate world, but nevertheless, we’re going to address it…
You can find a wealth of opportunity by mining your competitors’ clients. Are you curious why? Because it is not uncommon that your prospects are unhappy with their current provider. If you can show your prospects a better and simpler future, with less chaos and drama, you’ll be able to pick off new clients.
Just be careful to avoid “going behind the sign” and violating real estate laws.
Some agents have success by building a relationship with a prospective client and then asking for just a small piece of business – perhaps a property they don’t currently have listed with anyone.
You can say something like this: “I know I can provide a lot of value to you. I’d like to suggest we give me just one building, just one small piece of business, and I’ll demonstrate the value you should expect in a listing. At the same time, you spread your risk by having more than one company working on your properties.”
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be in the fight for the long haul. If you walk away immediately upon hearing that a prospective client already has a relationship with one of your competitors, you’re giving up too quickly. Perhaps you could start a nurturing campaign in which you send compelling, value-laden emails to the prospect thus building a relationship slowly over time. You could periodically send them valuable bits of information or advice that show you are both thinking about them and coming up with unsolicited value. That will make you look good vis-à-vis their current provider who is likely taking the client for granted and no longer going above and beyond the call of duty.
One thing I like to do with prospects who aren’t willing to make a change, is to turn the tables on them and lower the barrier to entry down the road. I might say something like, “I completely respect your desire to stay with someone who is meeting your needs, I’d do the same. I like to stay on the cutting-edge side of the industry, so I’m always busy looking at trends and issues that might impact clients, as there’s nothing worse than the client being surprised. As these insights arise, I’ll be sure you’re aware so you can make sure your agent is taking good care of you.”
Plant Hurdles! Determine one or more things that you do better than any of your competitors. Then, when you’re trying to build a relationship with one of your competitor’s clients, set a hurdle. In your conversations with that client, say something like this: “Whoever provides you with this service should always do ‘X.’” Of course, “X” is the thing you do well that you know other companies/agents can’t/don’t do.
There are a number of techniques you can try to get new business, but there’s one technique I don’t recommend: discounting your commission. That’s the easy way out, and it’s a short-term way of thinking. Some people think they’ll win over a new client by giving them a drastic discount. It might work, but know this – once you give a discount, the client might always expect that price. Plus, if you discount too much, you may end up losing money.
A willingness to discount may make your ability and effectiveness as a CRE broker appear to be of diminished value. If you want a good client for a long period of time, you need to earn them the old-fashioned way by providing value as opposed to the easy-but-temporary way – discounting.
One of the easiest ways to respond to a discount request is to respond like this: “Our commission percentage is consistent with the value I bring to clients like you, and it’s competitive in the marketplace, so I don’t discount it.”