Create a Competitive Advantage in Real Estate

The most boring thing I have ever done in my life is to do a SWOT analysis on myself (that is, identify my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). At least, when I did it years ago for the first time I just couldn’t see the value of it. Back then it was said that you should better yourself by taking your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

But what if you are weak in a particular area because you hate doing it?

Life should be fun! It should not be all about doing what you hate and then making yourself a better person. I think it will drive me in the opposite direction. What about making a better life by doing the things you like to do most? Doesn’t that make more sense?

This, according to me, is where your Competitive Edge lies. What are you prepared to do consistently, capable of doing consistently and most of all have the drive to do consistently that will get you to become the best estate agent you can possibly be.

Have you ever wondered how you can get a competitive edge and even an unfair advantage over your competitors? I know I wanted that all the time but I had no idea how to get it. Can I get an advantage by working harder than anyone else? Yes, of course, you can! The question is, for how long can you keep it up? In other words is it sustainable? Probably not…

But what exactly is a competitive advantage, and how can you make the most of it?

By definition, a Competitive Advantage is a condition or circumstance that puts an individual or company in a favourable or superior position. And look, this has been happening for 1000s of years. In the early days of humankind, having a thumb gave humans a competitive advantage over animals. Now it’s a lot more complicated than that.

As a Real Estate Agent things could also go favourably if you have a low-cost advantage, but that means that you will work even harder and longer hours to get the same income, or maybe you can sell properties much faster consistently, or it can be through something like technology that will help you to get marketing done on autopilot, whereby you don’t even think about marketing your brand and your listings, it happens automatically.

Now truthfully, this is not something that I can help you with just yet, but this system I am going to show you is getting close to it though.

For me, it came as a surprise when I realised that teaching is in my blood and although I hated teaching school children I love teaching agents how to use Social Media to become the Celebrity Agent in their towns. I also love trying out new technology that helps me get some of my tasks automated. I also love writing and that particular set of skills helped me to get an unfair advantage when it come to building a team of great agents around me.

You need to think of and learn to get the technologies available to you, to work for you. All you then need to do is to get comfortable and creative with your tech and stack them in such a way that it will automate some of your tasks so you have more time to spend with your clients.

As a Real Estate Agent your job is not to sell properties…

it is finding a way to generate more leads consistently so you never run out of leads. You then have the luxury to work with clients that are more in line with your belief system. If you have a stack of clients to work with, you can pick the best for yourself and hand over (or sell) the others to your colleagues. Imagine their surprise?

That is where the strive for sustainable competitive advantage comes in. Having a competitive advantage sounds great and all but it’s just not real life. The market changes, the way we do marketing changes, our industry changes all the time, demand changes! Covid and the POPI Act are great examples of things that will create change in any industry and we have absolutely no control over it.

Rita McGrath is a professor at Columbia School of Business in New York and one of the world’s leading experts on strategy, but McGrath hit us with this. Competitive advantage is temporary, and not sustainable. To me, that means that if you have something like a certain skill set and technology that will give you a competitive advantage then you must get it to work for you as soon as possible so you get the most out of it because at some or other point others around you will also start to implement it and then it will not be as effective anymore.

By then you must already be ahead of the competition and have something else putting you in a position where you again get an unfair advantage. While you are riding the wave you should get the most out of it since you will most probably have a hard time, later on, keeping the advantage going.

So how can you ride the wave for longer? Do what Kanye West does. No one is creating music the way he does it because there is only one of him. That is what you must also do. Figure out how to become the best YOU, you can be. That is all there is to it. Stack your particular skill set in such a way that you can bring a unique YOU to the market. It also means that you do not have to be better at anything anymore which will give you some breathing space, but it means that you will now have to sit and figure out how you can be different.

Most agents in Real Estate are being taught to do exactly what other successful agents are doing and by doing that the new agents should get the same results the successful ones do, right?

No, it can never work that way! The successful agent already figured out how to be unique. That is why they are where they are today. You must bring your own personality to the market, only then will you be successful. Clients do not buy a property through an agency, they work with an agent they know, like and trust.

You must do things that will attract clients to you that will be the best fit for you in your business. They must learn to know you first, then they will find that they like you because you do and say things they like and only after that will they start to trust you. It is a system you just can not ignore or sidestep!

So, who are you and what can you bring to the market? What are the specific skills that will help you in your endeavour to become the Celebrity Agent in your town?

The key to really hone in on your personal competitive advantage is finding your favourite “shit sandwich”. This colourful concept was coined by American author Mark Manson, in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. So, this whole idea hinges on the fact that everything in our lives sucks, some of the time. Even if you land your dream career, some parts are bound to be dreadful.

The thought that if you do what you love nothing feels like work, is just a load of nonsense. Everything comes with some kind of struggle or sacrifice, but the ones that you can endure is where you discover your personal “shit sandwich”, which is where you will discover your competitive and unfair advantage.

So what aspects of our industry are you able to tolerate better than anyone else?

Are you brilliant at Cold Calling and is totally unaffected by rejection, because that’s a major advantage for any Real Estate Agent? Although, with the POPI Act in full swing it will not bring you far anymore…

Are you able to stay up all night long creating videos you can use in your Social Media Marketing? That specific skill will give you an edge over other agents as they probably don’t even know where to start and don’t have the guts to learn new skills.

Are you a writer in disguise and you write the most engaging property descriptions then you are probably able to do other types of writing as well and maybe that will put you in a position where you can teach other agents your skills by creating a course that you can sell on the side.

If you want to be THE Celebrity Agent in your town and can create a Social Media Marketing Campaign that can run indefinitely you are most definitely on the right track. The problem with that is that it doesn’t come naturally for most people and there is a steep learning curve involved but if you can do the training needed and implement what you have learned immediately it will put you on a path that will get you to Celebrity Status faster than anyone else who did not do the training needed or did not implement anything learned.

None of the above will happen automatically, but when you uniquely stack your specific skills in your favour then you will get further in your career than most. It is far better and much easier to focus on what you want to do rather than what you can’t do. Doing the things that others won’t do is easily the strongest place to start cultivating your personal competitive advantage.

But there is one more piece to this disorganised puzzle, which is that YOU are the only YOU. And that’s an advantage too. There’s no other person on this planet who thinks and acts just like you do. Look at it this way. What’s the competitive advantage of Kanye West?

So, what is it about you that makes you stand out from your competitors?

What is the most useful way for you to be yourself? The more skills you learn and stack, the more knowledge you expose yourself to will all lead you to a place of deeply understanding yourself, who you are, what you’re passionate about. Figure out what your hidden talents are. What kind of “shit sandwiches” do you like the most or can endure for longer without too much discomfort?

We don’t find our passions through thinking we find our passions through doing, so, go do some stuff. Do this training and get better at Social Media than anyone else in your area. We call it Trial by Fire. Find more compatible skills you have and stack them around yourself. The more you’ll be able to flesh out the idea of YOU, the better and easier your life will become.

Through this process, you become more and more unique than ever before, which means you get to ride that wave a lot longer than those around you. No one can compete with you at being YOU. I am in the process of creating a Social Media Marketing Course specifically for Real Estate where I’ll teach you how to learn skills on your own, allowing you to stack the advantages you have and be even more unique than you already are.

They say you must stand out from the crowd and the easiest way to do it is to make YOU a better YOU because you will learn how to stack your unique skills around you which will give you an Unfair and Competitive Advantage.