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Competitive Differentiation: What Really Works

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RISMEDIA, September 13, 2010—While all real estate companies claim to be “different than the rest,” to consumers, most real estate companies seem about the same. What’s more, today’s consumer is wiser and more demanding than ever. Armed with market information and tech savvy, consumers expect more from the brokerage and sales associates they choose to do business with. To truly stand out from the competition, leading firms need the right strategies and resources…and a thorough understanding of what matters to today’s consumers.

In this month’s RREIN Roundtable, we ask Rei Mesa and Charlie Bengel, Jr., two leading brokers from RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network (RREIN) for their views on competitive differentiation—why it matters and how to get it.

Participants:
Rei Mesa
, President & CEO,
Prudential Florida Realty, Prudential Real Estate Services
Sunrise, Florida

Charlie Bengel, Jr., Chief Executive Officer,
RE/MAX Allegiance
Burke, Virginia

Real Estate magazine: Why is competitive differentiation—both for your firm and its individual agents—more important than ever in today’s market?
Rei Mesa: Consumers can readily identify exceptional service. Service defines our business. We must align our services with the customer’s needs and wants in order to understand and deliver truly exceptional, surprising service in all areas of the real estate transaction from initial consultation to financing, home inspection, home warranty, and closing services. When you have an opportunity to make things right for the consumer during any part of the transaction, you must take action quickly. Being associated with the Prudential brand automatically raises expectations for service levels from the consumer standpoint. We must elevate ourselves to provide an outstanding real estate-services’ experience to the consumer. You never know who is going to show up at your door so always be at your best.

Charlie Bengel, Jr.: From a company standpoint, with the leveling of the playing field caused by franchisors, MLSs and Realtor associations rolling out more services, it has become more important than ever for RE/MAX Allegiance to continue to innovate. We believe the main differentiator for our individual associates is their experience, education and production.

RE: What are some of the most successful strategies you’ve employed to differentiate your firm both to consumers and potential new recruits?

CB: We’ve continued to move into new and modern space in some markets and have a capital improvement plan in place for current offices. We allow our associates 24-hour access to multiple offices with one key fob. We’ve continued to have hundreds of in-house education opportunities, including an in-house company convention, and have added many social events as well. Additionally, we recently completely replaced our technology, including our consumer website, our associates’ websites and company intranet.
RM:
Surround yourself with great talent in every position and great partners, such as in our case, Prudential Real Estate & Relocation Services, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, First American Title & Home Warranty, AmeriSpec Home Inspection, and RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network and RREIN Networks®. Also, consistency is key—delivering the same message, as well as communicating best practices throughout the company, is vital to our continued success.

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