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Are Marketing or Sales Skills More Important for Agents?

July 13 2015

hz marketing sales skills importanceIn my days in the B2B software world, our larger "enterprise" transactions were from about $250k to $2M dollars, with an average deal about $500k. In order to have deals like this, we had to have a marketing team to build awareness, position our product, generate leads, and qualify those leads. We also had to have a sales team to demo the product, provide quotes, negotiate on price, terms, conditions, as well as understand the final set of issues to close a deal.

Now in our new start-up with HomeZada, we are serving the needs of both consumers and real estate agents. I realized that in a B2C world, the largest single transaction most consumers undertake in their life is buying a home. Most of these transactions are also in the $200k to $1M range for homes, so this is pretty darn close to an enterprise software sale.

As I recall my own previous interactions with Realtors when buying and selling homes and our own research understanding the profession of real estate agents, I thought to myself, "Do Realtors need both marketing and sales skills to be effective? Can an individual agent have the skills to do both?"

From my experiences in meeting countless sales and marketing people in my B2B career, it is very rare to find individuals who are great in both disciplines. I think that to sell a home, you need to have great marketing and sales skills, and thus a single agent cannot be great at both. A transformation is happening in the real estate profession where "super agents" who think they can do it all themselves are realizing that building a team of 3 to 10 people with specific marketing, sales, buyer representation and even finance skills provides better service to clients and increases their overall sales goals.

Great sales skills are still required to sell a home as someone needs to provide trusted advice over conflicting information and guide people through the process. One needs to understand the local market dynamics of neighborhoods, the competing homes on the market, price negotiations, incentives, conditions of the offer, resolving problems, and working to a close with a myriad of other players involved like inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, insurance, title, and home warranty.

The discipline of marketing has and continues to radically change. Digital marketing skills have become technical, diverse, and specialized as a result of the internet and prevalent consumer use of the internet to research homes for sale. Your listing needs to be in multiple locations as different people have different favorite platforms to find neighborhoods and homes. You need to know about SEO strategies, PPC (pay per click) marketing, social networks, content marketing and video marketing. Your digital marketing needs to engage, nurture, and qualify leads and you need to engage people before and after they visit your listing.

Consumers are demanding more information online which is evident in many other industries, like travel, automobiles, and shopping. In real estate, people want more photos, more details of the features of the home, more documents and more data about homes they are researching. People do not want to waste their time visiting homes that don't meet their objectives, thus they want more information online before they visit.

This level of real estate digital marketing means either the broker needs to provide this, or individuals on agent teams need to develop these digital marketing skills. Pairing these digital marketing skills with experienced consultative sales skills is what is required to sell and buy houses in today's online, digital and mobile world. A home is still the largest transaction a consumer will go through, and great digital marketing and sales skills together in a team are required to get the job done.

To view the original article, visit the author's LinkedIn profile.