The word we keep hearing in the marketplace is the “disrupters”. What are they, who are they, and are they here to stay? My prediction is yes. Disrupters by their definition are an event or an organization that disrupts the flow of business as it has always been done. They shake up the marketplace, and in some cases, change entire industries. A few disrupters that we have all seen in recent years are Uber, Airbnb, and YouTube. They broke the rules, gained momentum, got sued, won, and almost overnight three major industries were forever changed.
Now we are seeing even more disrupters in the real estate industry. Players who are not playing by the “rules” that we have established. Mega-startups are presenting our best agents with huge checks which is not playing by the rules. Companies are mad, and some are fighting back. But we have seen that in the past, so it’s not entirely new. They are offering virtual platforms, but that’s not new. Discount brokerages are popping up, but that’s not new either. So what’s causing all the commotion? I think it’s a lot of things all happening at the same time, but the real disrupters to our industry are technology and dollars — millions in private funding for the new start-ups.
Technology is being funded and fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars this year, and that is something that we have NOT seen in the past. That is the true disrupter. Why? Because we can’t stop technology from changing the face of our industry or changing the way that business will be done as we move forward. This is a change that is causing many Brokers to reinvent themselves and how they will do business in the future, while others will fight, kick, scream and refuse to budge from their position, for now. What is different about this change is that the consumer is being educated about the new tools, the new technology, the new apps, the new transparency and the new way to buy and sell homes. This is impacting our industry at a grass roots level, which is the consumer.
Yes, there are many disrupters hitting many of you at the same time. For now, the major markets are the targets, and those Brokers are feeling it. It’s not just incentives for agents, but it’s incentives for consumers. New toys that the consumer can use to buy and sell, and that’s why I think Brokers and agents need to pay attention and up their game.
I receive calls weekly from Brokers and clients who are nervous and looking for direction. Many of them are letting the fear of change create chaos in the companies. Change is a given — how you respond to it will make all the difference!
What’s the solution? Whether you are a Broker or an agent, there are three ways to keep those disrupters from disrupting your business.
#1: Build the relationships. We are an emotion-based industry, filled with emotional agents, emotional buyers, and emotional sellers. Most people want to have that REALTOR that they trust at their side, and most agents want that Broker that they can see and talk to. As a Broker, what are you doing to build and maintain the relationships with your agents, your greatest asset? Most of them just want to know that they are appreciated and cared for. It’s also time to train your agents to build that trust and relationship with their clients and customers. Remind them to stay positioned with their weekly emails, which are a great tool to keep positioned for referrals and repeat business.
#2: Set yourself, your agents and your company apart with specialization. Be the expert in your geographic area, or your area of expertise or a niche. Those who set themselves apart have always survived the ups and downs of real estate and typically are the Brokers and agents at the top.
#3: Learn how to compete on value. People will always pay more for a product if you can show and prove value. I see this as the number one area that Brokers and agents should give special attention to. What is the value for each of your tools and services and can you PROVE the value?
The combination of relationship, specialization, and proving value is the solution. I think much of the fear right now from Brokers is due to the fact that this is feels overwhelming. With so many changes — it can feel difficult to keep up.
Farmers insurance has a great commercial with J.K. Simmons who says, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” I’ve seen all the disruptors of our industry for the past 40 years. I know a thing of two because I’ve seen a thing or two and survived it. We’ll get through these changes together!
If you are battling the Disruptors in your market, or just want help recruiting the best agents, based ON VALUE, let us help you navigate through uncertain times and come out on top!
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