Disruption is the buzzword of the media at the moment.
What will be the Uber of the real estate industry? Will it be one of the companies like Purple Bricks, Buy My Place, Open Agent or an online auction site; or will it be some new technology like virtual reality allowing buyers to ‘virtually walk through a property’ without ever having visited it? Will it be the new Crowdfunding sites that are popping up to enable people with less money to enter the market or groups of people to invest together easily? Will it be a new concept not even devised yet?
There are many changes that are starting to take place but, as an agent living in this day and age, should you be afraid that the real estate industry could be totally turned on its head?
Articles and podcasts bombard us about ‘disruption to the real estate industry’ day in and day out, so it’s no wonder many agents feel fear and have a feeling of anxiety about what the future holds for them and the industry as a whole – it’s almost as bad as the media on terrorism! Anxiety then takes over from perspective and rationality.
Disruption is just another word for innovation (although not all innovation is disruptive); and this has been happening since the beginning of time. Think about the town crier to newspapers; typewriters to computers; horse & cart to car; petrol cars to electric cars; and now even driverless cars. The emergence of the Internet and the effect that has had on everything from the way we get our news to how we carry out our research, marketing and connecting to other people, has probably been the biggest change in our lifetime. Then there is the ‘sharing economy’. Uber has made such a huge impact on the taxi industry that we refer to things now as ‘the Uber’ of this or that. Airbnb, also under the banner of the ‘sharing economy’, has also had an enormous effect on the hotel industry.
However, do we still have taxis? Do we still have hotels? Of course we do. And was the change to the ‘sharing economy’ a bad thing? Let’s face it, although many of the taxi companies may not agree, there are still taxis everywhere and perhaps now some of these taxi companies will finally realise they need to lift their game. The ability to rate the Uber driver on all aspects of the service will hopefully result in the taxis also offering better service, cleaner cars, functional apps that connect us with the drivers, geo mapping and perhaps, better pricing.
Real estate agents do not, as an industry, have a good reputation. People complain about real estate agents and the service, or lack of service, they offer so of course the disruptors out there are trying to find a better solution. Real Estate Agent commissions are high and if the service is substandard, is it any wonder the industry is ripe for disruption?
But does that mean that the job of the real estate agent is soon to be over? Without having a crystal ball, I would say not. Disruption doesn’t mean that everything will change in an instant.
So what should you be doing when you read all these ‘disruption’ articles? Feel afraid or ignore them? The answer is no to both these but this is what you should be doing:
- Stay abreast of the new technologies and ideas emerging. Putting your head in the sand is never a good idea or you will be left behind. But keep it all in perspective. Some changes will take a long time to come into effect and some will never take off. Others that can complement what you are offering should be embraced. The real estate dinosaurs will become extinct, so keep up.
- Change is going to happen so being afraid is not going to help. Instead focus on how you can embrace change to help you become more efficient and more effective at your job.
- We have written many blog posts on being a leader, better customer service, connecting authentically. If you aren’t outstanding in everything you do and offer to your clients, then maybe you are one of the agents who deserve to be disrupted. It’s time to review your business and how you conduct it.
- Social media is here to stay and you need to have a good strategy. Gone are the days where you can just post and hope you hit your mark.
- Plan. What if commissions are reduced? How will that affect your business? What other services or products can you offer? How can you add value to what you are doing? How can you increase the volume of listings? Be creative and proactive.
People resist change because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain. Disruption or innovation or change or whatever you want to call it, will not stop. But there is no need to be afraid.
Life is like underwear, change is good!
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