Before beginning in earnest, let me take a shot of addressing what surely will be the first comments made concerning disintermediation. Have there been instances of this happening in other industries? Sure — the ‘go to’ is almost always travel agents. I maintain the average person still uses travel agents when arranging anything more involved than visiting Grandma or a business trip. How many of us will arrange a two week tour of Europe on our own? Not me. You?
The point remains — any industry requiring real expertise and which must produce results of real value to their customers/clients, will not — cannot — be replaced by the mere act of clicking. The concept is absurd on its face.
Of course, the jury is out on whether or not I’m in the minority or majority. Opinions are just that. Certainly my opinion isn’t taken from Divine Inspiration. Empirical evidence drives me to my conclusions here. The marketplace has decided, at least so far, the experienced agent producing consistently excellent results by way of superior expertise is the dominate choice of buyers and sellers of real estate.
Russ Shaw and I must be the last remains of the species long thought to be extinct — Trirealasaurus Rex. Apparently we just don’t get it, and are on our way out. Everyone’s eatin’ our lunch, or soon will be. Techno-Geeks who could study what Russell does for a year and still not know what he’s forgotten, insist their way, (whatever the hell that is — they argue among themselves) will eliminate him just like the meteor crashing into earth wiped out dinosaurs.
Last time I checked, he’s not feeling very threatened.
Every time I read something telling me how I’m on the verge of extinction, I consciously avoid going into Dad’s default mode, which was to extend his favorite finger in the direction of the offender. I’d rather learn what the smartest guys in the room have to teach. They’ve taught me how to apply their Geekinology to my Old School ways. I’ve been walking that talk now for quite awhile, coming up on two years. I blog, have a website, am fairly computer literate (kinda sorta), and employ as much technology as my brain can assimilate. This includes marketing, both Old School and 2.0.
It’s the intelligent combining of the tried and true with the new and improved that has produced for me. I’ve yet to meet a commissioned real estate agent who makes seven figures yearly exclusively from traveling the 2.0 Geekinology Freeway. Yet those same geeks deserve our utmost respect and rapt attention, ‘cuz they’re showin’ us new tools, many of which actually produce results. What we now are learning is that the machine still needs a human operator.
Disintermediation in real estate is a great conversation generator, but not much else.
I’ve been hearing for over three decades how the discount broker was gonna rule the real estate world. We’re all still waiting. And yes, in the spirit of transparency (another overrated and much abused concept), I’m about to roll out a new business model here in San Diego which will in effect lump me with the discount guys. I won’t be disintermidiating anybody.
Even with my new approach, investors will choose to hire me for two basic reasons — Results and Expertise. And yes, my experience is a significant factor, as it should be. It’s the same reason Phoenix home owners choose Russ over the myriad other agents on their list. They went to him in the good times, and they’re still choosing him now, in the worst of times. The first three reasons folks list their homes with agents like Russ is: 1. He’ll sell their home. 2. He’ll sell their home. 3. He’ll sell their home.
Not only does he sell it, but more quickly than his competition. Go figure.
Results and Expertise will not be disintermediated.
Segue to what works.
Isn’t real estate brokerage like every other business since the concept of commerce hit mankind thousands of years ago? The more things change the more they stay the same.
MLS books no longer exist, they’re online. 50 years ago real estate brokers charged 5-7% to sell a property. Go to any city and tell me that’s changed. It hasn’t, and it won’t any time in the near future. Will niches rise up and take a share of the market, charging less than 5-7%? You bet. They won’t disintermediate anyone. The changes in our business have been mind boggling. You and I could make a long list of incredible differences between now and even 10 years ago.
Yet, the agent still goes to the house, makes a presentation, whips out the contract, and lists the home. It still calls for a 5-7% commission way more times than not. And for the record? The seller would have to move up two rungs on the ‘I care’ ladder to even be apathetic about whether their agent double-ends his home or not.
He wants to see results.
I’ll speak for myself now.
Whenever possible I incorporate new concepts into my company’s operation. As mentioned above, I’m trashing how I used to charge, at least on the listing side. Ironically it means my San Diego clients won’t pay 5-7% commission. But it’ll be for a wholly different reason than you think. They only get to pay a discount commission on the listing side when they’ve agreed beforehand to become an investment client, exchanging tax deferred under my guidance, out of California.
They’ll be going for results their current agent just can’t deliver because they don’t have the expertise to produce the kind of results my firm can, and does. In the end, they won’t hire me ‘cuz of the reduced listing side fee. They’ll hire me ‘cuz they’ll retire sooner and with more income.
Now someone tell me who is gonna disintermediate that?
Who is gonna disintermediate Russ?
For folks to believe Russ and I will be replaced by the new real estate Geekinology, they’ll have to buy into the concept that home owners and investors will decide en masse to forgo factoring in expertise and results in their decision making equation.
Not frickin’ likely.Related posts: