I am thankful for my competitors. Other land brokerages in my state, and more specifically in west Alabama, are a blessing to me. You are probably saying to yourself, “He is dumb as dirt.”, but here are a few reasons why I am grateful for my competition.
1) Competition drives innovation- There is a finite amount of land. Within my geographical area there is even a smaller amount of land that is for sale. This means that I have to constantly compete with other brokers for a relatively small number of potential listings. The possibility of me not getting that listing forces me to come up with new ways to earn that business. In essence, I have to get better at what I do if I want to stay in business. Without that drive, brokers get stale and “stuck in the ruts” to put it in terms land-folks relate to.
In 1971, a new real estate firm, ERA, was founded on the idea of using cutting-edge technology to sell more houses. Jim Jackson, ERA’s founder, embraced the facsimile machine as a way to send information about properties in different areas to prospective buyers. ERA stands for Electronic Realty Associates, and shows what they were about. This innovation pioneered a new way of doing business that revolutionized home buying for people relocating across the country.
Customers are the beneficiaries of these innovations. Internet listing sites, MLS’s, drone videos, virtual tours, social media sites, and QR codes on advertisements are just a few of the ways customers are reaping the benefits of our competition.
2) Competition improves customer service- In a competitive real estate market, buyers and sellers have options about whom they want to work with. This means brokers better be giving personal attention to their customers and clients, or someone else will. Every real estate agent is guilty of not returning a phone call promptly, and occasionally, not at all. Agents who habitually do not return calls or emails do not earn “top producer” trophies at the annual office Christmas party.
A few weeks ago a landowner called and left me a message about a property he wanted to sell. I returned his call 5 hours later, after I finished showings. His response was, “I already spoke to another agent, and he seems to be eager to work with us.” It took me several days to work my way back into the picture of listing their land, but this illustrates my point. We have to constantly be improving customer service. The time to do business is when someone is ready to do business.
3) Competition Creates Camaraderie- By and large land brokers are an enjoyable group of people to be around. In my area, most everyone hunts or fishes and enjoys spending time in the outdoors. I try to take every opportunity to attend meetings where I will spend time with other land professionals. Sitting around with gregarious people with an endless repertoire of stories to share with the group is very enjoyable. It also helps my clients when the time comes to negotiate with a person who is working with one of these of these other agents who I know and have a relationship with. It takes some of the adversarial positions out of the way and helps get more deals done.
This camaraderie only deepens within your company. Your team starts to embrace a collective vision, and it becomes an “Us versus them” mentality that strengthens that important bond. Everyone who works for your company needs to buy into the fact that you are the best agents for the job, and you are ready to get out there and prove it. Your teamwork is strengthened, bottom lines for individuals and the company improve, and your whole organization gets better when you unite against a common “foe”. Conquering the competition becomes a collective vision that makes your team better.
Those are a few of the reasons why I am grateful there are other land brokers in my area. Lastly, it is because I am extremely competitive and take it to heart when I lose a business opportunity. I had bumper stickers of a personal motto printed up for every agent in my company, and they are plastered on the side of my Polaris Ranger as a reminder for me: “If you aren’t listing, you are losing.” It reminds me that if I am not listing a piece of property to sell, some other agent is. This friendly competition helps me keep a laser focus on my job at hand, and for that I am truly grateful.
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