Last week I was a speaker at the Minnesota Residential Real Estate conference. I talked about the Internet and communicating across generations. It was a kind of high level over view of web 2.0 and how to leverage it to win business. When I was finished I went out into the lobby, where I was introduced to people and people were waiting with questions.
The questions were the same ones people always ask. How long does it take to do all of this? (two hours a day) Do you use pay per click? (never but maybe I should) Where can I learn more about this? (I teach a class or can point you to some resources on the Internet, email me for links) How did you learn all of this? (I am about 300 years old in Internet time and kind of evolved with it, or some times I say “magic”)
Then there are the people that kind of linger. They often don’t look happy. They ask a different type of question, or maybe it is just that they ask with a different tone. . . like, “I suppose you spend all day in your office writing blog posts” or “Do you really believe that a web presence is better than door knocking?” They are some what aggressive and even hostile. I don’t take it personally, being a Realtor has taught me not to take anything personally.
When I answer their questions, they argue with me. It is like they are trying to talk me out of it. If I am not careful I could get sucked into a heated debate about the value of the Internet for Realtors. To me there is no question and nothing to debate. To get business we all need to be on the Internet because that is where the buyers and seller are in droves.
Where am I going with this? Follow me for a second into the twilight zone. A couple of days ago a realtor that I have a lot of respect for was preaching the value of open houses. I started arguing with her. My tone was almost identical to those who get me in a corner or surround me in a crowded lobby. I wanted to argue with her.
I wanted to argue because I hate doing open houses and so I stopped doing them about a year ago. I don’t see the value in them for me or for my clients. I believe that for some agents they do have value and would not discourage them if it is working. If I thought that to be successful in this business I would have to do open houses I am thinking I would consider quitting.
Back to the Internet. The way I feel about open houses is how some agents feel about technology. They are afraid of the Internet because they don’t understand it and don’t feel that they have the skills needed to exploit it. They get angry because the idea of having to use the internet and computer technology in general is threatening to them. They are afraid they will not be able to do it, just like I would be very afraid if my lively hood depended upon my ability to hold successful open houses.
In the long run no agent can afford to ignore what is happening and what has happened in our industry. We all need to grow, learn, and adapt if we want to be successful. An angry rebellion against the machine isn’t going to work. Some agents are also rebelling against the idea of listing foreclosures or working with short sales, or writing offers on foreclosures. It isn’t the kind of business that I gravitate toward either but if I want to serve my clients sometimes I need to work with bank owned property and I do.