With Redfin’s new IPO and recent news of Keller Williams announcing a $1 Billion tech fund, you could be wondering what is the future for tech savvy real estate agents? You’d be right to have concern if you’ve been following the popular tech advice for the last 15 years. If you’re renting leads and platforms from zillow, cinc, and boomtown then sure, your world is going to change in the next few years. These platforms are great and they disrupted the online ppc (SEM) game, but they are not game changers for real estate long term.
First let’s examine what Redfin is doing. They are trying to reduce the “mundane” of real estate. From the experience I’ve seen so far from Redfin they are doing some very innovative things and at the same time they are realizing there’s something missing. Even stating in their recent Inman post, “there’s no replacement for a 10pm phone call about a transaction.” (I could easily go on why that call should never happen but I won’t).
Some are calling them the Amazon of real estate but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They are getting into mortgages, this is something that EVERY brokerage should be doing. In many cases a mortgage company can make 7%+ on each transaction, meanwhile real estate commission averages for an agent have been steady at 2.8% for that last 20 years. You can easily see that if Redfin can at least lend on half of their own deals they will finally be profitable.
What about Keller Williams? On the other end of the spectrum you have the country’s largest brokerage trying to combat this news. It’ll be interesting to see what they will do. They’ve had 20 years to distrupt the real estate industry and they’ve manage to flip the broker model (really recycle it) and so mission accomplished there. However, KW’s weakness has always been technology, whether it was poorly planned partnerships with website providers or half-finished document soluttions, KW continues to fail… in the eyes of the tech world.
The Sad News… KW is a tech leader relative to real estate. Comparing KW to Redfin and other startups is like comparing AOL to Google. That’s how far off the tech is. However, if you were to ask about Remax or Coldwell Banker you’d find that’s like talking about Myspace. Complete universes apart in what they do.
With their current leadership (strong in personal leadership, weak in technology) I don’t see how they are going to bridge the gap, but $1 Billion is a great start.
What About The Real Estate Agent?
In this changing world, what should an agent do? There’s a “shiny nickel” salesman that will call you every day if you’re a real estate agent so it’s tough. Personal referral real estate will continue as it always has. Before MLS’ there were personal relationships and pocket listings and those relationships will still be here long after KW closes it’s last office. Any agent wanting to stay relevant in the next decade is going to have to double down on personal relationships.
What’s actually being disrupted is online lead generation.
Luckily for tech savvy agents, there’s hope! Agents that want to remain relevant from 2017 on, are going to have to be market experts but not in secret. They need to take a page out of a recent post by Gary Vaynerchuk.
There is ZERO excuse not to be creating content around your brand, your product, your service or your business. If you don’t have something to say, document it. It’s the advice I give to my entire community. Create a podcast, start a blog, do a Q&A show. All of it works.Gary Vaynerchuk
Get passionate about something. That’s actually why I transitioned out of residential real estate. I wasn’t passionate about 80% of the business. I’m with Redfin, let’s remove this drudgery. In the coming weeks I’ll be talking about how you can as a real estate agent amplify your voice, but the key is to do this where your clients are. If you want to go after blogging, I posted the keys to SEO and picking a niche previously and you should read that. However you don’t have to be an SEO genius for this to work.
Go out and buy Tribes, by Seth Godin and start building your real estate tribe… that’s how you can survive. There’s not a single company out there that is going to do something to protect you. If you want to protect your business you have to get a gardener mentality. If you nurture your crops (your family, friends and past clients) then you’ll continue to eat great fruit, but if you’re chasing leads, you’re going to miss it.
Please understand what I’m saying here. The sky is not falling but an “IDX website” is not the key to what is looming ahead. Being an outspoken leader about your expertise in real estate and helping your Tribe is. So yes, learn SEO, but not for “homes for sale” learn SEO so you can optimize your voice and be found.
As I work with small business owners and thought leaders in doing SEO and Digital Marketing work I am learning a great many leadership lessons.
In order to do effective SEO, I need to know what my client’s ultimate goals are. I need to have a big picture vision of what they really want long term. SEO is a long term play and although it’s constantly changing what you do matters in 30-60-90 day increments. If the client lacks clarity it’s my job to help them get clarity around their own goals. What’s surprising is that so many entrepreneurs lack clarity around a specific vision. This does explain why so few have websites that perform well. In fact, one leadership blog says, Clarity is the antidote to fear. It’s this lack of clarity and fear of the unknown that I think paralyzes entrepreneurs.
A website is a reflection of the vision of the leader of the organization’s online strategy.
In fact, the best projects for me are the ones where the leaders have a clarity around their purpose. It reminds me of “Start with Why.” When organizations know why they exist they are better able to articulate the what and the how. For an SEO, it helps create content that engages, attracts and influences others around the brand vs a “sales” letter. Whether it’s on-page optimization or simply doing Local SEO, we’re creating content (in different forms).
Great content leads people to make decisions, not simply buy.
Collaboration and Engagement
It’s not just the content that needs to engage, it’s the SEO. Ultimately, for me to be the most effective I need to understand as much as possible the team dynamic I’m working with. Nothing frustrates me more than doing a lot of work only to have to go back and redo it because there was a lack of communication. For the team, there’s nothing more frustrating to be working on a project and realize what you are doing is hindering them. So much of SEO overlaps into other disciplines.
A good SEO is someone who might have a little programming background and a little design background. While they have to have a deep understanding of SEO, often “jack of all trades” make good SEO. Because of this ability to be able to communicate with teams with different specialties and hence personalities, they need to take a leadership role. This does not mean they need to take over, rarely is an SEO in an organizational position that would allow that. They need to be, what John Maxwell calls, a 360 degree leader. That means they are taking initiative and leading in communication and serving the team, not necessarily telling people what to do.
Integrity & Responsibility
That brings me to one aspect of leadership that I wasn’t ready for. Responsibility. As a content marketer, I craft content that CAN influence. It’s important as an industry that we take responsibility for what content we create. The methods we can use to help a website are so well documented there’s even niche’s inside of niches. For example, there are websites devoted to nearly illegal SEO activities called “Black Hat.” When you dissect these activities most of them could be ‘white hat’ under the right circumstance. Which is why I put these two together. As SEOs, we must take responsibility for the success of the online strategy of an organization and perform our jobs with integrity. Lest you think only slimy “black hatters” do bad SEO, check out JCPenny
I believe this because, we are stronger together and when we’re united under a common vision that there’s nothing we cannot do.
The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!Genesis 11:6
You may look at the world around you and see that this is not the case anymore. This is why I believe business can change the world. Businesses have the one thing that is missing from our social endeavors, unity resources. Now some businesses catch this better than others, while others vision may only monetary. A friend of mine has a statement about businesses that goes like this, “A business has one purpose, profit.” I can agree in part because clearly a business that does not turn a profit will not last very long. That view in my opinion is short sighted at best and (word that sounds bad here) at worst.
What I’m talking about is a Mission Driven business.
Instead of a rant about social justice followed by a Pollyanna view of a world where rainbows and unicorns thrive, let’s take a look at what’s currently possible, and where there is huge potential. Every single case here is either real world happening right now or could. Also, in every single case moving toward a mission driven business (vs profit driven) would likely elevate profits, enhance what they are already doing and increase brand awareness. This isn’t a call to spend money, this is a call to be intentional with the power of unity behind a vision.
In my home town of Atlanta there’s a few of the businesses that already have the recipe for a mission driven business. Coca-Cola is one such company. Are they mission driven? No not yet, maybe someone will read this and they’ll “get it.” However, Coca-Cola Company has all the ingredients for this particular recipe (see what I did there?). Let’s take a look at these ingredients:
When you look at a company you really need to see if they have a written mission and vision…
Let’s stop and pause. Right now, there’s nothing about Coke’s marketing to me that says anything about these three. I bet you didn’t even know they had these three things written down. If they call me I’ll tell them, “Hey, delete the bottom two” – Refresh the world… That just gets me excited. Unfortunately, for the average Coke employee there’s nothing refreshing about what they are doing. I won’t go into their product but it’s just a business, a profitable business. Let’s keep going.
(blah, blah) this is where it breaks down. You can read it for yourself.
If I had to pinpoint where Coca-Cola lost it, it’s in their vision. Their entire Mission page reads like a textbook leadership manual but there’s no heart. Outside Refresh the world, it lacks the real clarity needed to change the world.
What if we helped them a tad. If I had to keep the “P” motif, I’d say.
People – Our people are our secret ingredients. They refresh and energize each other and create a rejuvenating environment in which to accomplish our Mission.
I could do this to each one. However, I don’t think you want to read it, and frankly without knowing why Portfolio is in there or why is Productivity separate from People, I can’t really offer any insight.
The rest of this page needs a redo as well.
So what’s the point?
Coca-Cola’s New Business As A Mission as Defined by Joshua
Mission: To refresh the world..
Vision:To quench the world’s thirst.
Statement: Imagine a world where the beverage companies end world thirst. Every Coca-Cola product sold at retailers serves not only to excite the taste buds of those drinking but also provides drinking water to those that do not have access. Together Coca-Cola’s secret ingredient (it’s employees) and non-profit organizations (like Charity:Water) work hand in hand in creating new innovative ways to solve this World problem while innovating new flavors and refreshment for retail partners.
Is this far-fetched… uh, no. You can read it here, but Coca-Cola already does this. So why does the above excite you and I so much more than what they have. They’ve kept these things separate. It’s only through raising awareness of what they do at the Coca-Cola foundation that they’ll actually tie these together. Coca-Cola Foundation is doing some GREAT things worldwide. If they could simply UNIFY their entire company under this mission, they could end a World Problem.
What do you think? Am I pushing Coke too hard on this? Are they doing a great job and don’t deserve my critique? Are they on the cusp of something even greater? Would you like to see more of these kind of posts?
If you’ve read any Christian leadership books you’ve likely encountered several definitions for this term before. In all my research I found that Servant Leadership was referred to often, yet the definitions and expositions never resonated with me. Examples of CEOs cleaning up spills in the conference room or upside down pyramids might make a leader appear more authentic or that they care it – rarely captures what a true servant leader is.
As it turns out this surprisingly simple yet incredibly difficult “trait” was written about so long ago it’s almost silly that there’s very few who get it. (more…)
The short answer is of course yes, people teach others when they haven’t fully mastered it yet. In fact, the road to mastery is often found in teaching, oddly enough. It’s only through teaching that people will put themselves in another’s shoes to see the entire picture of the subject being taught. If leadership is influence and influence has to do with relationships, then having clarity is more important then just being Passionate, Interested and Talented. However, when combined with the sweet spot, Leadership can take people to new heights. John Maxwell is a great example. A talented, passionate and interested leader was made better when he dived into teaching leadership and actually leading others through leadership.
I recently took a class on Luxury Home Marketing and they spent a great deal covering the clientele that purchases luxury homes (in Atlanta that’s anything over $500K).
What struck me was the interesting facts that was reminiscent of a Dave Ramsey episode or “The Millionaire Next Door.”
The Average Millionaire falls has the following
Has a Household income of roughly $145,000
Saves around 20%
Married for most of their adult life to the same spouse
Has 2 children.
After learning this, it hit me. We should all have a millionaire mindset. Sure we might not be able to have that kind of income but we can strive to save 20%, stay married and have or adopt children. When you look at God’s plan for most of our lives, these 3 characteristics are very Godly, they represent being good stewards and the relationship with your spouse and children teach you so much about God’s love for us and our relationship that, hey! Now I want everyone to act like a Millionaire.