Are consumers looking for faster, better, cheaper or are they looking for better with great experience and value for money?
I was catching up for a coffee with a very successful real estate friend of mine last week when the conversation - as expected- turned to real estate and fees. How do we maintain our fees in a tight market when our competitors are constantly dropping their pants?
Now for the purpose of this story and to protect identities, let’s name my friend, Bill.
Bill mentioned how he recently bought a new home and was looking for a fridge. He did his research on the internet and local paper prior to going to the shops. In his own words “after looking at so many providers and fridges it got blurred and confusing."
As Bill wanted to get the best product on the market, at the best possible price, he firstly set about going to each shop and meeting the sales person who sold him the benefits of the fridge and provided him with a price.
The experience was described as here is the fridge, this is what it does, this is the price, and here is my card with my details.
Now Bill was going into these shops with only one thing in mind, how much could he crunch the price because the product and service were all the same to him. So Harvey Norman, The Good Guys - they were all the same.
Consumers today are all about getting a bargain, getting the best deal and we will research on the internet, ask our friends and have a strategy in mind before we engage with the provider. Like Bill, the providers at the point of research all look the same.
However based on my own experience, my colleagues, friends and general research; most of us would be prepared to pay more for better levels of service. This part of the transaction is dependent on human interaction, where we are able to connect, gain trust, set ourselves apart, be understanding and empathetic.
As agents, we are faced with a client who, like Bill, have researched agents on the internet, face book and friends, is focused on crunching our fees to the same as the other agent we need to make sure we have shown them value and provide them with service that is memorable.
If their response is I want your level of service and I like you, but I only want to pay the lower price, THEY DON’T SEE YOUR VALUE. If we look the same as all the others, we will be competing at the price they value you at and often it is much lower than the price we put on ourselves.
Mostly, you will need to do a deal, we all want win/win but we don't have to drop our price down as low as our competitors.
And remember, sometimes it is better to walk away.
I remember walking through markets in India where you are expected to bargain, however amongst the best bargain price shops were those who had a fixed price, they did not bargain. Their product was the same however their service and the shopping experience was different and people were prepared to pay for it.
So what happened to Bill, well he was off to Harvey Norman this weekend to buy the fridge - why from them... They weren't the cheapest; they had provided him with the best level of service compared to the other providers – so it was better service and experience at a slightly higher price but still value for money.
If you're reading this “Bill”, it’s always great having coffee with you and thank you for the inspiration for this blog.