When we polled our agent Community about future industry developments or trends, the idea of “ala carte” pricing was by far the most popular concept. While it’s uncertain who invented this pricing model, Duffy Realty has certainly owned it within the Atlanta market for the last two decades.
The overall idea behind ala carte pricing is to establish a “value” for an agent’s time. To the consumer, it doesn’t seem like the agent does much for their commission. In an effort to create both accountability and transparency the ala carte menu approach lays it all the line for all to see.
Below is an overview of common “menu” items.
Photography–Given today’s smart phones this service is often taken for granted. “Anyone can point a phone”. Turns out, they can’t. Learn photography. The basics of lighting and object framing are pretty simple and easy to grasp. This is an area where an agent can clearly, and visibly, separate themselves from the herd.
Virtual Tours – Drone Photography—Terrific upsells to your photography product. These add-ons require time and technology. Huge profit potential in learning these technologies and how to implement them quickly. The good news; both virtual tours and drones have come so far in the last 18 months they’ve become almost child-proof.
Lock Box—Yep, free money.
Inspection Consultation—This is a huge differentiator and the potential core of what the future real estate agent will look like. Home inspections are stress creators for both buyers and sellers. Agents getting involved at the inspection level eases those concerns. Next month we are dedicating a blog to this topic.
Asking to be Paid to Attend Closings—This is a bad idea. For agents, Closings can be a huge waste of time. Nevertheless, Closings are a wonderful opportunity. People are happy and excited at Closings. Positive waves flow from the chocolate bowl on every closing table. It is a great time to be with your clients. Be there with them, it’s fun and, more importantly, it’s memorable. Hell, go with a gift!
Directional Signs/Flyer Boxes—Relics from the pre-GPS era. Presumably paid for in 1997 dollars.
House Flyers—While these items no longer have any practical value, there is no denying some homeowners go crazy over seeing their home on a fancy printed flyer. Think of it as a keepsake. A very niche item.
Upfront Payment–This is a must. In theory this gets the home “listed”. But where? I have seen upfront listing fees apply only to an agent’s website. If the client wants to be listed on an actual MLS, it’s another X in upsell charges. This grammatical bait n’ switch screams of “used car sales”. Don’t do it. Just be honest and leave the verbal gymnastics to those peddling franchises.
Silly Braggadocio—While you may be the best thing since sliced bread, telling people about it is off-putting. The same goes for wild, unsubstantiated claims that can never be verified. Duffy Realty may have “cracked the code to win in multiple bid situations”, but no one actually believes those types of statements. Its hollow marketing BS only meant to look good on a webpage.
Consumers also don’t want to hear about your proprietary methodology that only you know. Why do agents feel the need to suddenly act like a tipster at the race track. There is nothing secret going on. You are not parting the seas.
Secret Inventory—I am not sure that advertising a “secret inventory” is even legal? I also don’t see any benefit for making such a statement. Too much exposure. Why are you keeping things “secret”? Is there something wrong with these homes? Are these homes just for “special people”? Agents should NEVER promote secret inventories. Even if they actually know some homes not yet on the market, its not worth cheapening their message over it. Besides, if you are advertising “secret inventories”, then just how secret are they?
We have only touched on the surface of what an ala carte approach could look like. Everyone should know there is so much more that can be added to these menus. I encourage everyone to study the approaches of the companies we have mentioned. And remember, new players in this area are appearing daily. Watch how fast this market segment grows over the next 10 months.
Our next blog will discuss Agent “next steps” for moving forward.