Business strategy must equal technology strategy.
Technology has become the backbone for success connecting Agents in The Cloud.
82% of real estate jobs are at risk of extinction with digital disruption by 2035.
All of these are worthy titles for this article. Personally I like the hard hitting one about how 82% of jobs becoming extinct. But they are all related. They are based on the fast changes sweeping our society because of technology advances and mobile device adoption.
It is staggering how fast the pace of change in technology and technology adoption is in Australia. Did you know that the adoption rate of smart phones of the 18 to 35s is 90%! By 2018 it is expected that almost everyone will have one in Australia.
The future of real estate is also something that will be very different. Agents will be working from their homes, offices or even coffee shops while having real-time access to transaction and marketing teams. These teams will be “in the clouds” a term that I find to be amusing but definitely a great marketing slogan.
In the clouds – well really what they are saying is that there will be a team somewhere. Perhaps they are in a warehouse in Lithgow or Bathurst where labour costs are much cheaper than Surry Hills. But most importantly they will be connected to those agents via the clouds.
The world has gone mobile and all roads lead to “ROAM”. This will be the last generation that ever discusses broadband as a topic. – Elite Agent
You see the idea of agents being in a location and servicing a postcode could also change. Lets face it with big data being so readily available and cheap, location is less and less important and big data, systems and analystics or research will be far more important.
With my subscription to CoreLogicRP Data I can pull an enormous amount of information together with a click of a button and a few pages in Excel. My CMA’s now are rich in information and relative comparisons.
Sure I have access to recent sales. Who doesn’t? But I also have access to data that the professionals use to value multi-million dollar buildings. I’m talking cash-flows, vacancy rates, supply and demand statistics and demographic shifts. I can also look up the shifts in the population within a postcode to stylize my sales approach, I can review NAPLAN scores to identify areas that have high performance schools and google maps will tell me almost anything about a location and what it is near.
You see the consumer also has access to this information and will continue to evolve and seek richer information.
“The fastest growing group on Facebook is the over 50’s. The Fastest growing group on Uber is over 45’s. Fastest growing group on Airbnb, again over 50. If you think it’s just going to be one certain group (for example the millennials) who are more open-minded about adoption, that is absolutely not the case.” says publication Elite Agent in their latest panel discussion.
Lets take a look at other industries.
Airlines are now very much self-service. You go to the airport. To avoid crowds you go and see a screen rather than a line up and manually check your luggage. In doing so you disclose all your nasties and make your way through security that is moving towards an automated scanning process.
There are still a bunch of heavy looking dudes standing around to make you feel nervous and the occasional beagle sniffing around to keep us on the straight and narrow.
If you travel Virgin, Richard Branson in his vision has now unbundled the services you can purchase. For example movies are now via an app which, if you are smart, you would have downloaded at home on your wifi.
You see this trend of urbanization and globalisation at the same time has meant that the middle-man is seriously at risk. Self serve or service with some sort of consult is the way of the future. People want to exercise their right and choose what they want and from whom.
“Consumers only come from one of two places. It’s either ‘Planet Story’ or ‘Planet Price’. If you’re from Planet Story, you’ll buy based on a story and you want the full service. If you’re from Planet Price, you simply want to get the lowest possible price to get access to a service” says Elite Agent in their latest panel discussion.
The question I would ask – are agents maximising their efficiency by using the best technology available today and providing quality services to both home sellers and home-buyers?
Are agents providing their sellers with rich data to help them make informed decisions? Do consumers they feel that their agents are focused on their special needs, and do they feel valued and heard?
Are agents providing buyers with the sort of information and services that make them feel engaged and trusting?
All of these factors are part of the reason the real estate industry has a bit of an image problem. According to a Morgan Gallop poll 84% of people trust doctors.
That same poll indicated that only 9% of people liked and trusted real estate agents.
This is not something I am proud of as a real estate agent, nor should it be something you are proud of. But I don’t think we can blame ourselves entirely.
Much has to do with our habits, our franchise business models, our remuneration structures and the low proportion of GCI we get to take home.
In some respect many agents are being treated just like machines that do not have a family and can therefore afford to work 6 or 7 days a week and not have a life. They are asked/pushed to sell 5-7 properties for “the man” each month which they end up giving away 50% of their CGI to.
Technology use or adoption by agents is also quite poor from my observations.
All of these factors point to the fact that most agents don’t have much time to spend with their sellers, let alone buyers. They are too busy getting their volumes up and making ends meet.
Here is a list of the jobs that will gone by 2035. Importantly many of these are transactional jobs like book keeping, administration and general assistants.
Essentially the cooky cutter model will die as the consumer wants services akin to consulting. This implies that the agent needs to adapt and free up time to provide such services. In order to do this they need to shed transactional and administrative burdens via technology innovation or outsource to technology/admin partners.