Change – What is it good for?

Absolutely everything!  As opposed to the actual lyrics of the song “War” , a counterculture-era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969, which ended with “absolutely nothing!”

I believe it was also included in a song performed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  So you might be wondering what this is about.  A quote by the well-known philosopher Socrates says it best: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

As Realtors, that is what we need to do on a constant basis.  The same goes for Brokerages and their leadership teams.  This is where true leadership is really tested; for it’s ability to come up with a vision for the future.  How is the business going to be conducted in 12, 24, 60 months?  Can technology be integrated to assist us in establishing, maintaining and building relationships with clients? Can brokerage firms incorporate technology, support systems and other new tools to support their agents and help them lead more productive fulfilling lives or will it be more of the same – keep “dumping” new technology in front of them to be able to say; “see what value we bring to the table every day”???

This is the challenge and it is a daunting one for brand new Realtors as they navigate the various offerings of some excellent brands who do offer some great tools and marketing resources.

During the second annual Chestnut Park Symposium, I was privileged enough to moderate a panel of some of our most experienced Realtors who generously offered all kinds of valuable information and feedback with respect to how they run their business as well as tips and success habits.  One consistent theme throughout the session as they responded to various questions, was the ability to adapt to change; be it the market, technology, the customer or any other event that stood in the way of success.

The article in this link offers 7 reasons embracing change can be a good thing – it’s worth looking at from a “glass half full” perspective!  Hope you enjoy it.

Your “Positioning Statement”

I have written on this topic before.  A positioning statement is also referred to as your “unique selling proposition” (USP). Probably one of the more difficult things for a Realtor to identify.

In a recent research assignment for an MBA class, I reviewed the overall marketing systems and tools including the idea of the USP.  Below is an excerpt from my paper:

(Beckwith, 1997) offers an excellent exercise to assist with this process – Creating Your Positioning Statement (p. 113). This approach takes the individual or service provider through a series of questions to help determine how they wish to be perceived.  The questions are as follows: (p. 113)

Who: Who are you?

What: What business are you in?

For whom: What people do you serve?

What need: What are the special needs of the people you serve?

Against who: With whom are you competing?  (Tip; not just other Realtors but your customer as well!)

What’s different: What makes you different from those competitors?

So: What’s the benefit? What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?

Once the Realtor has understood their unique selling proposition, they can really begin to focus on the group, community or neighborhood as well as their own personal sphere with a much clearer marketing message and campaign.

The section above is from the book Selling the Invisible which I have recommended in past posts.  It is well worth reading. Beckwith, H. (1997). Selling The Invisible. New York: Business Plus.


Multiple Offers & Professionalism

I had the opportunity to get some further first-hand insight into how my fellow colleagues are doing when it comes to their level of knowledge, understanding of rules and overall professionalism as a result of overseeing offer presentations.

As a policy, our firm prefers to have management step in to represent its clients when one of our own sales people has their own offer presenting a potential conflict.

On one such occasion  a listing generated lots of interest as they do in the Central Toronto Core which resulted in multiple offers including one buyer who elected to ask our listing sales person to represent them.  As a result, yours truly stepped in to represent the Sellers and guide them through the process.  The instructions on the listing were clear as was the process which was relayed to all participating sales people as required under REBBA 2002.

The first two presentations were professionally done.  The paperwork was correct and the sales people were very thorough.  Unfortunately the next five were a complete disaster and quite frankly an embarrassment to our industry.  The sales people had missed clauses “pay the balance….”, a rather important one.  Information was wrong.  They could not explain or answer basic questions and had not included important schedules that were attached to the listing to disclose important information to prospective buyers.

It was clear, notwithstanding that these sales people were from reputable brands, that there was a complete lack of knowledge and understanding about the business.  The question then becomes, why?  Several of my colleagues and I have had numerous discussions as have had many others in organized real estate as to the quality of realtor education both during the licensing phase and the post license phase, i.e. continuing education. RECO recently announced that the licensing program will be taken over in 2020 by Humber College.  A move to refresh and rehabilitate, we hope, a program that currently only seems interested in driving volume through its doors without regard for quality.

The finger can also be pointed at the Brokerage industry itself.  There is no mandate for brokerages to have to train and monitor the professionalism of their sales people other than the Code of Ethics and laws as found in REBBA 2002.  Again, the focus appears to be one of volume – i.e., collect as many licenses as possible.  Hopefully some of them will make some money and the brokerage will too.

Of course, it’s not this simple and black and white, but if the Registrar and some of his staff were to sit in on some of these offer presentations, I think they would quickly realize that all is not well with the Ontario Real Estate profession! Obtaining a license is easy and cheap.  It appears that that is how a lot of Realtors are conducting their practice as well.