60 Minutes – Thanks For The Wake Up Call

by Jeff Turner on May 16, 2007

Lesley Stahl just might have provided the spark to help rescue an industry from the self-delusional, suicidal clutches of itself.

60 minutes imageHere’s why all of that was invaluable to you.

Lesley Stahl came closer to describing what too many people believe and fear and hate about the real estate business than most REALTORS® are willing to admit.

It’s not important that those beliefs are not true.

What’s important is that many people believe they are true. Those beliefs are their current reality. They are true for so many people because too few REALTORS® have communicated effectively and changed those perceptions. They are true because enough people have had bad experiences with REALTORS® that have led them to those conclusions, those beliefs. And people love to generalize, to take one bad experience and attribute it to all REALTORS®, all the time.

But in those perceived truths lies your opportunity.
You can step away from defensiveness and evasiveness and define, in a new and fresh and positive way, what is your service, your value and the kind of results and return on investment your clients can expect when they deal with you. You have the chance to change your presentation, your image – to define yourself in a more appealing and compelling way.

Many of you are already doing this. If you’re doing it effectively I would guess that your business is doing well. You are not feeling threatened by the Redfins of the world. You are well positioned to successfully co-exist with any business model that charges less for doing less.

If you’re not doing it and are feeling vulnerable, here’s the opportunity and the need that I see. First, stop whining about the unfairness of it all. Next, frame the issues so you can address them. Here’s my take:

  • Too many people believe that they are paying Neiman Marcus prices for Wal Mart service. That’s what gives Lesley’s Stahl’s story so much juice. Your job is to dispel that notion. You can do that by crafting your message about what you provide and the results – tangible and intangible – that you achieve for your clients. Your efforts and hard work don’t mean squat. It’s all about results. And if you’re not a good writer, hire someone who is.
  • Define, in writing, the differences between your service (and the results) and the services of the Redfins of the world. Don’t let the Redfins do it for you. Take charge of delivering the comparison.
  • Understand the new reality – you live in two worlds: The over age 45 world, populated by people who live in largely traditional ways; and the 45 and under world who live in today’s world of technology. Unless you only want to do business with people over 45 you’d better step into the technology world in a compelling way. Use the Internet in your marketing and communication effectively, dramatically, engagingly. Start now. Learn what to do – and do it. If you are going to be a full-service Realtor you must be full service to both worlds.

For the rest of you, I believe you’re running out of time.

New business models that drastically lower the price and provide less service won’t destroy the traditional real estate business or put professionals who offer full service at full prices out of business. They will, however, replace most REALTORS® who charge full prices and provide marginal value.

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