Elite AgentOPINION

If It Ain’t Broken… Break It!

In today’s fast-paced business world, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is probably one of the worst philosophies you can hold if you want to stay in business says Fiona Blayney.

Why do so many businesses continue to hold on to the ways of the past? I hear agents complaining about challenges like recruitment, retention, fee maximisation, increases in expenditure and risk management. Customer needs are on the increase, employees want more from their employer and there’s a shortage of experienced practitioners… the list goes on and I have to stop somewhere.

Team these demands with the needs of the consumer evolving at a rate which is so fast that it proves difficult for the industry to keep up. If you reflect on other markets, like banking and finance, telcos, travel and hospitality – these sectors have risen to the challenge of change. New offers have arisen in other verticals, with insurance being offered by supermarkets, budget flights have provided access to travel for all, bundles for phones, home, business, internet and pay TV are coming at us at all-time low rates.

Has the real estate industry repsonded? Are we listening to the consumer who wants options? Or are we swimming in the same ocean as our esteemed colleagues, offering the same service albeit with a few bells and whistles?

Why is there not the Tiger Air of property management, a bundling of property management and sale for an investor? I’ll tell you why: because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

My favourite words are ‘why’ and ‘how’. Why do we do it that way? How could we do it? What would happen if…? It can be very confronting to consider for a moment that the way you are doing something is actually not sustainable five years from now, even though it’s working today.

Are you going to be the trailblazer or the person following the blaze? In any industry the trailblazer is continuously questioning what they do every day, looking for ways to do things smarter, faster and with greater return. The trailblazer doesn’t look inside their industry at what others are doing to replicate; they are looking outside the industry for ideas and concepts to apply to theirs.

The trailblazer seeks to understand the consumer in their market; they identify that their needs do not remain stagnant but evolve in line with economics, social and otherwise, and they seek to remain relevant and in demand.

A trailblazer can see a market need before the consumer even knows the need exists. I didn’t know I needed a fitbit, an iPad, or even a mobile phone before it was presented to me. A trailblazer hears consumers shouting ‘What a great idea!’ in their wake.

A trailblazer will enter our industry and disrupt it like never before. I wonder if you will be watching and condemning their actions, quietly wishing it was you? Or will you be surprised that it happened at all?

I’m at the front of the trail – that’s my job – and from here Blind Freddy can see what will happen. There is so much that can be broken about our industry and I’m excited to see how it unfolds. Are you?

If I have managed to scare you today, dig deep and turn that fear into excitement. With change comes opportunity, and the great thing about 2015 and beyond is that opportunity is endless. It’s time to sure up what you are doing and start thinking about what is possible, start thinking about what is needed.

Of course not everyone will follow the path to reconstruction. A stream of businesses will remain and continue offering their existing service, and you may be in that group. But mark my words: something new is coming. Let’s just hope it’s not more ‘Google glasses,’ I’m glad that one got shelved!

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Fiona Blayney

Fiona Blayney is the founder and director of Real+, an industry first Property Management learning platform. For more info visit realplusonline.com.au.