Who’s Industry Is It?
There are a number of challenges facing our the industry and chief among those is the inability to shed our archaic and self-oriented practices. Countless times and in countless platforms I’ve heard practitioners refer to the real estate industry as “our business”. The career maybe yours, but the business is that of the consumer. The focus still seems to be by industry leaders, to keep the MLS books under the duty desk at the office and demand the consumer meet us on our terms. Far too few individuals have seen the writing on the wall – be client focused.
Your Time is Now
I’ve been watching the financial talk shows and hearing more and more consumers calling with questions, only to referred back to their financial consultants. So, all those “babies” (referencing teh e-trade commercials) who have been buying stock online are now trying to figure out how to handle their financial portfolio during this time of financial upheaval. Now that the world is a mess everyone is looking to their stockbroker and financial adviser’s. This should be the same sentiment for Real Estate Agents. However, now when consumers need a good agent to help them in a distressed market, agents are running away from REO, Foreclosure and Short-Sales. There is a ton of whining about how “hard” the job is. Really??? I mean, isn’t that they point? Shouldn’t an agent have the training and skill-set to help the consumer in their time of need?
Almost anyone can get a real estate license, put a sign in the yard and a listing in MLS. The consumer doesn’t need you for that. They need you for the times when things aren’t easy. It’s not about you – too many agents get upset at the consumer’s lack of loyalty, exaggerated expectations and desire for transparency.
What’s Your Focus?
Too many agents are setting their sites on surviving the marketing, instead of working in it. There is a number of people yelling for less competition. I would recommend that agents start using that energy to increase their customer service abilities and being prepared for the clients that are out there. Time and again we’ve seen those agents, who have turned their focus toward learning about their clients needs and turned away from concerns about other failing agents, dominate their markets.
The industry needs to make some hard decisions and move toward change. The elimination of conflicting agency relationships, the increase of educational requirements, the implication of required agent mentoring programs and things we haven’t yet thought of; are all eminent changes. The largest obstacle for many is the ability to combine the emerging requirement of technological prowess with the customer service that was lost long ago in almost all other industries. The next largest, is the fear of industry leaders, to make these necessary changes. However, an agent or Broker can make these decision without industry regulation. An agent can choose to exclusively represent one client in a transaction; a Broker can choose to not allow a rookie agent to represent a client without a senior agent assisting. It just takes a small group to show that these changes can have positive effects – from there, it’ll be hard to argue the validity of the changes that many of us wish to see.