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  • Writer's pictureChristy Murdock

What the latest YouTube drama can teach you about value-based selling

I love watching content on YouTube. As someone who won't watch a TV show until all of the episodes have aired, my preferred way of viewing anything is by binging it from beginning to end.

In addition, because I frequently turn on the television for background noise while I'm working, I can put on a YouTube playlist and let it run all day without having to choose something new or respond to an "Are you still watching?" pop-up.

One of my favorite channels is Watcher, a channel that centers on mysteries and true crime and features the guys who used to host Buzzfeed's Unsolved shows, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej. They went out on their own with fellow Buzzfeeder Steven Lim and started their YouTube channel in January 2020.

For the past week or two, they've been teasing some big changes, including new performers, new shows and an announcement set to drop on Friday, April 19. As it turns out, the Watcher crew has decided to leave YouTube and start their own streaming service, Watcher TV.

As someone who has been consuming their content for years, I was excited to be part of the group beta-testing the new streaming service and immediately went to their channel to sign up for a subscription.

To me, it was a smart move on their behalf and a good evolution of the channel. In their announcement, they justified the change as a way to go ad-free while maintaining the high level of production values that they bring to their shows and even expand their ability to do bigger and better projects.

The comments, however, on both their YouTube channel and on their Instagram have been brutal. At the time I'm writing this, there are more than 55,000 comments on the video announcing the change, and the vast majority range from furious to grief-stricken. Many refer to a "global economic crisis," and say that $6 per month is far too much to expect anyone to pay for their content.

Obviously, people have different budgets and different budgetary priorities. There have certainly been times in my life when I would have had to think twice about paying for a new streaming service, and I still regularly reevaluate my subscriptions and other recurring expenses to see what I'm using and what I can do without.

What I found crazy, however, was the idea that the creators who make all of this really entertaining, smart, fun content that millions of subscribers supposedly love are in some way obligated to continue to provide that content for whatever sum YouTube and its advertisers are willing to give them. Many prominent YouTubers have talked openly about the difficulty of working with the platform and the way many of YouTube's policies have impacted their income over the past year. Going independent seems to me a smart way for Watcher to take control of its intellectual property and its revenue.

So what does all this have to do with you?

Because we've spent so much time talking about value propositions and expressing your value to buyers, I was fascinated by the two sides of this little YouTube drama.

On one side, the frustrated consumers who have been used to receiving a really high-level product for free. On the other side, the professionals who want to grow their business and take care of themselves and their families.

Many real estate agents find themselves in just this position now. After years spent telling buyers that buyer agent service comes at no cost to them, trying to have conversations about compensation may feel uncomfortable. There will even, unfortunately, be buyers who will be downright offended that you want to talk about how you're going to get paid.

The difficult reality is that some of those people will never be convinced that they should part with their money. Some of them will be so focused on their own needs that they will be unable to have a rational conversation about the way your compensation will be handled. They'll end up either not buying at all or allowing the listing agent to handle both sides of the transaction.

For the rest, however, you need to be prepared to have a rational conversation and explain what you're bringing to the table. That's where value-based selling comes in.

What is value-based selling?

Value-based selling is a sales approach where the focus is on understanding the unique needs and priorities of the customer and demonstrating how a product or service can provide significant value to address those needs. Instead of solely emphasizing features and price, value-based selling highlights the specific benefits and outcomes that the customer will experience by choosing a particular solution.

Value-based selling involves actively listening to the customer, identifying their pain points, and effectively communicating how the offering can solve their problems and deliver tangible value.

The educational component of value-based selling can start well before you meet with a potential client.

  • Create content for your blog, podcast or YouTube channel that educates consumers about the homebuying process, about your market, and about market conditions.

  • Host webinars and workshops that give potential clients an opportunity to get to know you as you inform them about things that matter to them.

  • Convey the real-world impact you've had on clients with client case studies and testimonials that build authority and credibility.

  • Integrate value-added services like staging consultations or professional referral services to take some of the weight off of your potential clients.

  • Offer complimentary consultation and advisory services to help buyers get buyer-ready and sellers get market-ready.

Here are 7 steps to implementing a value-based selling approach for real estate

  1. Make sure that you are as informed as possible so that you can answer questions and provide information. Take classes regularly and stay informed on your local market and the broader economy. Talk to mentors and colleagues, join a mastermind or hire a coach to help you stay at the top of your game.

  2. Take time to listen instead of jumping into a sales pitch. Examine your website, marketing collateral, and your buyer and seller consultation materials and find out whether they're focused on you-you-you or on what you can do for the client.

  3. Create a breakdown of the value you provide. Gather statistics and show how your service is different from that of your colleagues. Do your listings have fewer days on market? Do your buyers win out in multiple-offer scenarios? Do you have highly specialized experience that allows you to serve clients more effectively?

  4. Focus on education instead of selling. Make it your job to ensure that your clients feel informed and confident throughout their transactions. Help them make smart decisions by giving them options and information upfront. Ask questions and listen actively to ensure that they're understanding the information you provide.

  5. When working with buyers in particular, provide guidance every step of the way. Connect them with lenders, inspectors, and other professionals who also make it a point to prioritize education and information.

  6. Stay connected and communicative so that your clients think of you as their trusted ally. This includes continuing to provide informative and helpful content and insights after the sale, such as homeowner tax breaks, design trends, and maintenance schedules.

  7. Think of every interaction as an opportunity to add value. Even a quick phone call or text allows you to provide information and answer questions.

Just like the fellows at Watcher, you deserve to be well-compensated for the service you provide. Give your clients the opportunity to see what they're paying for by providing an irresistible amount of value during every step of the real estate journey.

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