I don’t know whether you have ever tried to write a song, but when I was younger and tried I couldn’t help just regurgitating a tune that already existed.
Many people have been asked what the real estate office of the future may look like. It’s quite a challenge to answer, as the most difficult part is to separate yourself from what you already know – not unlike my song-writing attempts. But let’s try anyway.
Let’s start by putting the customer at the centre of everything we do, identifying ‘the customer’ as everyone who owns a home or enquires about a home in the area in which you operate.
The office of the future will be about more than listing and selling. It may be around utilities, how to enhance the value of their home through renovating or landscaping, how to secure a better home loan, better home insurance, or even down to what new technology might power the home. Could it be that we provide a full lifestyle service?
Then the way that we communicate to these people will change. Content will become king; the old chestnut of the agent shaking hands with a client in front of a signboard will not cut it. In-depth, relevant communication about their investment, about their lifestyle, about their community will be at the forefront; content that is edgy and engaging, and will keep the consumers in our channels longer.
The challenge will be how we deliver real value back to communities that are starting to question the service we offer.
The role of the agent, more than likely, will have to change. We have complex digital channels rushing into our world – portals, mobile phones, websites, social media – and there will be an expectation of speed, efficiency and the way we respond. I can see a day when it is unlikely that an individual agent will be able to manage these channels in a way that meets customer expectation.
Understanding leads and prospecting is obviously one of the most sought-after training programs. However, our research shows that most agents have enough leads to last them a lifetime. How we handle our leads, how we manage our inbound leads and the ongoing lead maturation, will be owned and controlled by the offices of the future. Will that be owned by individuals or will there be a way to outsource lead generation in a way we have never thought of before?
I certainly haven’t got a crystal ball that allows me to look into what the future may hold. Unlike many in our industry, all the usurpers that now present themselves, from Purplebricks to the lead generators, are only identifying the shortfalls in our current processes.
I don’t believe that anything will replace a great relationship and ongoing true value. The challenge will be the tools we use to develop those relationships, and how we deliver and display real value back to communities that are starting to question the service we offer as an industry. The future will belong to those members of our real estate community who seek to find the answers to all their customer needs.