Consistently Inconsistent: Mark McLeod

Real estate remains a fascinating and mysterious industry even though it’s still the only one in the world that actually knows where its customers live. But our knowledge is often wasted through our inconsistent response to potential clients, as Mark McLeod explains.

I like to compare real estate to golf, as the ball itself remains motionless on impact. You would think that it would make it easier, but no.

As technology comes more into play, sometimes getting back to the raw essence of how this industry operates in its purest and simplest form can help an agent perform.

The one thing that I do know is that inconsistency is the consistency. If you break down every step of the real estate process and there is an acknowledgment around the fact that we are going to be inconsistent, then we may approach the critical tasks of what we do with a far different lens.

Market research shows there is a lack of consistency with the way that we respond to digital leads. A survey we conducted right across the industry a couple of years ago showed that just over half of people who come to open inspections are never contacted again afterwards. I’ve shared these results with you in the past.

Just over half the people who come to open inspections are never contacted again.

Similarly, we know that when someone sells a home they often never hear from the agent who sold it ever again.

The reasons why agents would not understand the value of these functions are:

  1. They don’t fully understand the importance of these functions inside the real estate business.
  2. They are incapable of structuring their business in a way to deal with them.
  3. They don’t believe that these tasks are important, or they are simply stupid.

If you wrote down your 10 most important tasks and looked at them through the lens of ‘I am going to be inconsistent with these’, what would you do differently today?

Would you source technology to assist? Would you outsource tasks to teams?

Or even virtual assistants? If you looked at it through a different lens, how differently would you shape your business today?

I am often asked what is the key to success in our business and I always respond with ‘consistency’.

At the latest Inman technology conference in San Francisco, I saw a myriad of new platforms, disrupters and people who are building tools to enhance the real estate process. Nearly all the new tools are directed at taking advantage of inconsistencies in our industry.

The majority of these inconsistencies revolved around how we respond to digital inquiry.

Let’s look at a typical scenario: a potential vendor searches on a portal or website and makes a passive digital enquiry. They might be put on one of your EDMs which leaves a trail of analytics; perhaps they enquire of you specifically for more information on one of your listings, potentially turn up for an OFI, followed by a request for an appraisal and then a listing presentation.

The new entrants to our industry look at these steps with different eyes. You may believe the most important part of that process is the appraisal and listing presentation. But our new opposition will weigh the digital footprint and create an understanding of the customer using technology to highlight that person as a potential customer long before our traditional methods.

The fact is our customer is revealing themselves earlier. I have said it many times before: customers reveal themselves digitally long before they reveal themselves physically.

Technology isn’t about a mobile phone or an app or a tool to sign someone in at an OFI. It’s the way we enhance our capabilities to identify customers earlier in the process, which enables us to provide a greater deal of service for a longer period of time. This all ensures we build a deeper relationship which will create the ease of transaction further down the track. Many offices have been built on the fact that everything is consistent with these people, but ultimately we have created an industry where inconsistency is the consistency.

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Mark McLeod

Mark McLeod is the Ray White Group's Chief Strategy Officer for Real Estate. He works alongside agents and businesses across Australia, helping them reach their ultimate potential to achieve success.