Communication is changing. As a species we’re very focused on increasing the speed and breadth of our communications.
Pony express, telegraph, snail mail, email, smart phones, blogs, social sites…
As media changes one often replaces or re-prioritizes another. Social media has even impacted the way we watch (and now interact) with the evening news. People want to communicate and interact with Realtors differently today, too.
I’m feeling contemplative today so…
How do you shift your business when media changes? How can you foresee the changes?
What does an industry do when radical change is upon them?
May 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm
I guess I don’t see radical change in the industry, perhaps just how communication has changed. People typically remain the same, with the same basic needs. We don’t wish to be a number, we aren’t interested in words, as much as we are in deeds and we like to know that we can trust those who say they will help us.
I may be naive in this regard. I think this industry will continue to evolve in the tools we use to communicate; but no the fundamentals of human interaction.
Maybe I misunderstood your question?
May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm
@matt: absolutely correct in that the fundamentals of human interaction are pretty much constant. the radical change lies in how we’re choosing to apply those fundamentals.
perhaps the better question is “how do you shift your business when your consumers leave behind old media and choose to interact through new media?” (and by “new media” i don’t necessarily mean social media)
individuals can shift with the market far more quickly, they’re a smaller and faster ship. an industry on the other hand is pretty much at the tail end.
there’s no right answer here… like i said, i’m just pondering out loud and looking at how in tune an agent may or may not be with consumer interests.
i started thinking about this because of the “Oprah’s here. And that’s the end of Twitter.” style comments that have popped up in social media. that gripe may not be relevant to agents (it’s actually a good thing, IMO). but, considering the loss of so many newspapers and print media (which were a real estate advertising staple for ages) it’s important to keep an eye on how media changes the way we choose to communicate … and the importance of being there.
May 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm
Ok, I’m right there with you.
Swanepoel’s report in 2008 said that the majority of brokers were concerned about serving consumers that were more educated.
Agents needs to get out of the mindset of being the gateway to MLS and lockboxes and beef up on relevant and current knowledge. It is challenging… It means that agents have to adapt to making order of chaos with a world of information overload.
My concern is that with all the emphasis on social media, that we are going to not necessarily see the “next big thing” in the early stages.
There is some point in most agents careers when they stop pursuing new information… I just hope that I don’t fall into that trap.
May 4, 2009 at 8:53 pm
The question applies to all industries- how do you prepare, how do you cope when what you knew worked well no longer holds true. I think there’s value in being an early adopter, but the learning curve and risk is much higher- the safe ground is not being on the cutting edge but to teeter just behind while the cutters expend capital and energy on what works.
That’s the SAFE way. We all know I am personally more of a risk taker, but that’s my personality; I think most businesses should avoid the cutting edge and stand in line just behind the cutters.
But when radical change comes to fruition, companies first and foremost must be observant of the changes- the biggest trap is to ignore change. It’s hard, most companies don’t like change but it’s real and executives must be aware of the changes to best choose what direction to steer the ship.
May 4, 2009 at 9:12 pm
@matt: i think you’re solid and won’t have any problem staying away from that trap.
@lani: gosh, you sound, like, smart and all 😉 and yeah, cutting edge isn’t where companies should be. in fact, it’s a dangerous place for them. it is important that the cutting edge be monitored because the other danger companies fall into is resting change. let’s face it, companies basically exist to maintain their status quo – change threatens that. but by resisting change, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant.
May 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm
If you are Advertising Age watching your relevance go down the tubes, you blame the Pope.
May 5, 2009 at 7:06 am
“What does an industry do when radical change is upon them?”
Ideally, we’ll heed Kipling’s words:
“If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. . . . The world will be yours and everything in it…”
Good points made. Hopefully, we can use the rarest of tools, “good judgement”. Finding what’s useful & valuable vs. what’s “noise”.
What makes me more effective, and makes it easier to achieve my objective (revenue?, relationships?, transparency?).
Yes, how flexible & adaptive are you?
In another discussion Eric, Blackwell, SEO guru extraordinaire, commented on his Broker/Owner’s willingness to put the mission ahead of profit, and in doing so, taking risks that leverage 2.0 capabilities, that is leading his company to greater success and mission effectiveness. Taking smart risks, and the adaptive behavior that accompanies it, takes leadership, plain and simple.
May 7, 2009 at 10:40 am
Mark, It’s important to change your way of thinking along with the consumer, but it’s also important to do what works for YOU. Evaluate your business model and see what area brings in the most leads. If most of your business comes from a strong referral basis from your family and friends, then that’s what you should focus on, not necessarily all of the new SM outlets that everyone is jumping on board with. If your business model supports mostly internet leads, then ramping up your internet presence (with the help of SM) then that’s what you need to focus on. It’s all relevant based on each agent’s individual business models.
Consecutively, once you have that client in hand (regardless of where they came from) how you communicate with them is also going to vary from client to client. I have clients who prefer text messages or Facebook posts, and some who don’t even own a computer. Don’t be afraid to ask your client what their preferred method of communication is. You may be surprised.
Remember, it’s all about customer satisfaction, so adjust as needed along the way at each’s client’s discretion.