The business environment is getting more competitive every day. New companies and new concepts are being born daily. There is always someone trying to do it better and cheaper than what has been done previously.

There is more competition in today’s global economy than every before. Do you remember when the US Postal Service was the only way to send documents? Now that age-old institution has to compete with delivery services such as Fed-EX, Airborne, UPS, as well as fax machines and the Internet with e-mail. Competition is everywhere and in every business segment.

The real estate business is no different. The new companies and the remaking of the old ones challenge us. There are two key questions that must be answered if we are going to thrive, not just survive, in the future.

1. How do we make our business (ourselves) the obvious choice for the consumer?

2. How can we be different than the other competitive choices, so we can better attract customers?

These two questions are at the center of success in attracting new prospects and clients to your business.

Many companies and Agents have taken the discount route to answer these questions. Still others are adopting a fee-for-service model. Both of these philosophies are trying to attract consumers solely based on the cost of the service. I believe that this tactic is a losing proposition for the Agent, the company, the real estate community at large, as well as the consumer. Cheaper is not always better…better is better. For some reason, we are fixated on the commission we charge. We often have tunnel vision as to how to compete. Because we lost a listing to a lower fee broker, we assume that we must lower our fee to compete.

We have been working diligently with all our coaching clients specifically on their sales skills, presentation skills, qualifying skills, and objection handling. We have scripted, rehearsed, practiced, and role-played with them to increase their levels of skills. Here is what we found, after studying their commission structure and fees. Most have actually raised their fees because of their confidence and delivery in their sales and objection handling skills. They have consistently received the highest commissions in their respective marketplaces. Many have even added a processing fee, between $295 and $495, to all their transactions. This processing fee has further increased their profit on each transaction.

The key in all this is the skills that you possess – the ability to handle the commission objection or the statement that another Agent will do it for less. Your sales skills will make you the obvious choice for the consumer. We all should have reasons that the consumer should select us. However, you must stop and ask yourself these three questions:

• Are your reasons well thought out?
• Are they well laid out in scripts that you know cold?
• Are you able to convey them with power and conviction?

If you can’t answer “yes” to all these questions, you have work to do!

Step 1: List all your competitive advantages. They could be your company, your service commitment, or your statistics (listings to sales, days on market, or average list to sale price). Write down as much as possible.

Step 2: Look at the list from the customer’s perspective. What do they really care about, besides lower commission? What would really set you apart in their eyes? Pick the five key services you think they want. If you are struggling, go back to a dozen past clients. Call them, and ask them why they selected you over the other Agents. You now have the consumer’s perspective.

Step 3: Select five competitive advantages and script a response to them. Your ability to drive these five points home can mean the difference between a powerful listing presentation and a weak one, and could well determine if you get the contract signed that night or have to wait a week. Be prepared to say to the customer what is most important.

We then need to analyze the next question: How can we be different to attract new customers? First, you must know your business and spend your time there. We often do activities at work that don’t bring a large return. I coached a lady who did thirty-five open houses in one year and made $9,000 from all that work. Once she redistributed her time to calling her past clients, her production skyrocketed. She added over $50,000 to her gross commissions earned, in less than six months. It was a matter of understanding where her revenue was coming from and investing her time there. Why invest your time in activities that generate little income?

Another technique to attract more customers is expansion of your leads by using call capture, or IVR systems, to expand the number of leads you receive. You can expand the number of leads you get daily and weekly by 50 to 100%, by using call capture technology. There are numerous companies out there that provide this service. In my opinion, the most user friendly, with the best marketing minds behind the system, is Pro-quest Technology ( They have mastered the use and implementation of this product and made it easy. As Agents, the ability to generate more leads allows us to be highly selective with the people we work with. Being selective leads to more revenue. Take the time to implement your call capture system today.

Take some time this week to reflect upon (and answer) these key questions. You are running a multi-million dollar sales company. Make sure you invest the time in planning your own course to a successful career.

Author's Bio: 

Dirk Zeller is a sought out speaker, celebrated author and CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 350,000 Agents worldwide each year through live events, online training, self-study programs, and newsletters. The Real Estate community has embraced and praised his six best-selling books; Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies®, The Champion Real Estate Agent, The Champion Real Estate Team, Telephone Sales for Dummies®, Successful Time Management for Dummies®, and over 300 articles in print. To learn more regarding this article, please visit