Andrew Wetzel's Musings

May 26, 2017

The Internet is NOT the Enemy: Adapt to Survive and Thrive

Filed under: Uncategorized — awetzel @ 4:17 PM

We are well past the “point of no return”, meaning that the “gatekeeper” model/ mentality I walked into in 1996 is gone forever. We owned and controlled the information/ data and thought that would never end! Those were the days. The Internet has clearly inserted itself between agents and consumers(“disintermediation”) and we made that happen. Now we have to fight for relevance in order to remain the “primary conduit” for consumers.

From a purely marketing stand point, Real Estate dinosaurs are doomed and all of us have to find a better way to compete for eyeballs and ears in our market places. However, while we focus on competing “above ground” to attract consumers, I respectfully suggest that we focus on something more basic: service delivery. Real Estate is NOT retail but I am not sure that people really embrace the difference: “buy it now” does not work for most Real Estate consumers and our sites do not offer a “shopping cart”. We need to better explain to the consumer what we do, why we do it and then DO IT. Our collective reputations are the sum of all of our actions, good or bad. Of course many will not care as long as we perform.

I have spent over 20 years in and on the business as an agent, serving as a dispute resolution mediator and in all levels of professional standards. I continue to be amazed by how many agents (some in large reputable firms “known” for their training???) simply do NOT understand our paperwork or display even the most basic understanding of promoting/ protecting the interests of their client (this should NOT be limited to REALTORS). Poor communication is often at the heart of misunderstandings.

Too many agents and consumers reduce OUR job to the lowest level of “sales” (one size fits all; it’s all about the money). While I am not sure that we will ever solve this dilemma (most discussions about culling the herd miss my point), I suggest that we try to appeal to consumers on a more basic, human level in the hopes of having them understand and embrace the importance of our basic responsibilities. Providing a list of houses to see or comparables to evaluate is important but we do so much more than that! Everyone can access data but we provide knowledge (interpretation of the data) and insight (application of the knowledge). Glitz and technology are great and will always succeed to some extent but, until the average consumer better understands our job and gains more trust in us, they will be captivated by the shiny object (third party portals) and we will continue to face an uphill battle that so many brokers and agents will not win.

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