Keep Your Have To To Yourself
There’s a lot of “have to” being thrown around these days. And I’m not even including the “we have to do something” mantra that’s been coming down from Capitol Hill for the last week.
The real estate industry “has to” change. Percentage-based commission structures “have to” change. Static websites “have to” evolve into blogs to remain meaningful as marketing and lead generation tools. Wait — that was 2008 — my mistake. Let me adjust my calendar.
All of these “have to” scenarios have one thing in common – they’re being promoted by those who sincerely hope the status quo changes to make their own particular way of doing business viable. And personally, I just don’t get it.
If I had a unique way of doing business, was the only one doing it and was wildly successful, why exactly would I want everyone else to become just like me? Wouldn’t it make far more sense to enjoy the niche that I’ve created and reap the benefits while everyone else works the same slag heap?
But that isn’t what’s happening. Instead, these niche businesses are crying out for the masses to change the way their business is done. And to what end? Is it just possible that it’s because without massive change, the niche model isn’t going to survive?
I realize I’m making a blanket generalization but almost every discussion of the real estate industry is based on just such a blanket generalization, ignoring the reality that we’re a bunch of independent contractors working in whatever method we deem fit.
Pay As You Go? Not So Sure
Let me tell you a story …
Last week I showed homes to a buyer for two days ahead of a long-planned vacation with my family. After about seven or eight houses on the second day, he looks at me and tells me that I’ve shown him all that he needs to see.
And then he promptly turns around and goes to look at more homes with another agent (and again the next day, even though I had buyers agents standing by), never once having mentioned that he’s going to be working with someone else.
If my business operated on a pay-as-you-go type of system, where buyers paid for the time I spend with them regardless of they purchase a home, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. I still would be compensated for the time that I spent. Instead, unless he decides to purchase a home through me instead of the other agent, I’ll end up with nothing.
So why don’t I go to a pay-as-you-go system? Because it’s not viable. Or at least I don’t believe it to be. Do you think the type of individual who changes agents like he or she is changing their underwear is going to pay me an hourly rate to show them homes? Or are they going to forget about me all together and go to the agent who doesn’t charge a thing and works solely on a contingency basis?
My opinion – a pay-as-you-go system wouldn’t work as long as there’s a “free” alternative available to the public. (And I know it’s not truly free – hi, Jim D. and Ardell – but it appears free at the beginning.)
I could scream from the mountaintops that the entire industry needs to change the way they do business because my way is so much better, but evidence from the free market indicates otherwise.
And that’s the big problem with “have to”. If something truly “has to” change, it changes. Everyone except for a certain governor from Alaska calls this evolution. But if it’s not changing, then “have to” just was another case of “needs to for my own sake.”