I walk in the door after a long day of shooting, editing, phone calls etc at Hub Media Company to an interesting email. It was from Active Rain. Normally I tune out the automated emails I receive but this one caught my attention. the title – “Are REALTORS headed Out The Side Door?”.
The article was about how technology, specifically tech startups like Open Door and most recently Side Door are replacing the real estate agent (at least that’s how the author saw it anyway). He went on to (and I am summarizing here) state technology has eliminated the buyers agent with consumers now going to third party aggregators or portals as they are commonly known like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor dot com instead of the real estate agent.
His tone in the article appeared to be one of fear.
“For those doubters – please take a look at what SideDoor is on the verge of accomplishing. Below are the two most recent SideDoor promotional videos. And even though we understand all the much-needed service we provide in a real estate transaction – the videos sure do a good job telling would-be sellers differently. More importantly – we are in big trouble if they figure out the secret sauce and make it doable for them.”
I’m reading the article and the comments of other agents obviously shaken by this new development thinking, where have you been? Technology has been eliminating the real estate agent, the travel agent, the local record store, video rental store and so much more for some time. But in my mind, this is nothing savvy real estate agents should worry about, in fact, they should embrace it. Why? Less competition.
Now before you think I am projecting the end of the real estate agent, I’m not. Far from it actually. In fact, these developments, which have been happening for a long time are something you should embrace and learn from. Here’s why.
Technology can’t replace you. Well, it can’t eliminate the savvy real estate agents anyway. It can however do away rather efficiently with the real estate agents that sit on the sidelines and attempt to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. But I’m betting most of the agents reading this would want that – again, less competition. How many real estate agents are there in Maricopa County?
Technology CAN replace the real estate agent that merely opens a door or writes a contract, we’ve seen that. BUT it can’t do away with the real estate professionals that make themselves valuable, or rather INVALUABLE to the consumer. So how do you do that? Well, if you are one of the agents that merely opens doors or writes contracts, your days are numbered. Technology will replace you. Sorry. But if you are a real estate agent that has a niche, Luxury Properties in Paradise Valley or Scottsdale, First Time Home Buyers, Veterans, Golf Course Properties, Second Homes, HUD Homes, Ocotillo, DC Ranch, Augusta Ranch, Silverleaf, Sun Lakes, Vistancia etc the consumer will not only pay for your expertise, but seek you out. Look at the Amy Jones’, the Walt Danley’s, the Brandon Howe’s, the BJ Katz’, the Frank Aazami’s, Jason Mitchell’s, Andrew Bloom’s, Lisa Roberts, Wendy Walker’s, Bill Ryan’s, Kenny Klaus’, Becky Kolb’s, Nate Martinez’s, Jennifer Wehner’s, George Laughton’s, Tim Cusick’s, Scott Grigg’s etc – they all focus on a geographic area or specific niche and own it. Remember, less than 20% of the agents do over 90% of the business. That’s not an accident.
But this means you need to have a niche. I see so many real estate agents trying to be all things to everyone and ending up being nothing to no one. The most successful companies do one thing and do it damn well. Look at Apple. How many smart phones do they make? ONE. How many does Samsung make? Over 60! And yet Apple leads the smartphone market. Why? Because you either fit in their box or you don’t. Apple can put all of its resources into making one product better – for the consumer. You and Me.
Take Apple’s example and work on developing a niche. And OWN it. Learn as much as you can about Niches you want to serve and leverage it. Make videos about it, blog posts like this one about it, talk about it on social media, email, direct mail, PPC, etc and make your brand synonymous with it. Take classes, learn from the top real estate agents, improve your value proposition and Unique Selling Proposition to the consumer, make yourself indispensable to the point no one would EVER consider not working with you when buying home in DC Ranch, Sun Lakes, Chandler, Paradise Valley (because it would COST them dearly) and you won’t have to worry about technology replacing you. Oh and if your wondering – now you know why we don’t do pictures. Focusing on video only, allows us to put all of our resources into better cameras, better lenses, better aerial platforms, gimbals, a bigger studio, other markets – better everything. Which translates into a better product for our clients – you.