Hear It Direct - The value of local expertise
March 20, 2013
Click link below for responses within the video:
- Are there resources we [real estate professionals] can provide that will impact your decision when choosing an agent or brokerage?
- Do consumers want data or a local expert that can provide a human analysis of the data?
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“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” - Henry Ford
Communication is the key to any relationship. If the purpose of a service provider is to serve the needs of the customer, would you agree the said provider should inquire and assess each customer's experience with the service provided? This is essentially the great promise of Hear it Direct, a series of Real Estate Consumer Conferences held in different local markets throughout the US. The format goes something like this: 1 day / 3 moderated panels (a buyers, sellers and Gen-Y) / 15 consumers (5 per panel). Each panel is followed by a separate panel of industry experts with whom's purpose is to dissect and provide analysis on what's been discussed in the prior session.
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending my first Hear it Direct show. Not even 15 minutes into the first panel and I began to experience a definitive disconnect between agent and customer. A few consumer quotes (paraphrased) from the show:
- "I call the agent on the sign because I can get an appointment faster than if I call my own agent." [Audience GASPS!]
- “It took the agent over five hours to call me back.” [GASP!]
- “Social media means nothing to me.” [GASP!]
- “I don't care about how many awards the agent has won.” [GASP!]
- “I could not connect the marketing presentation/promise to the foot traffic (interest) in our property” [GASP!]
- “My one experience with the agent completely ruined my perception of the [franchise's] brand.” [you got it…GASP!].
Not surprised at all
Funny thing, I was not all that surprised by what the customers had to say. Why? Well, the majority of my real estate conversations are in fact with friends who are your customers. Aside from the launch of Zillow and Trulia, they don't see much difference in the way property is marketed online. They're frustrated looking at the same listing photos mixed up to look like videos. They're not interested in being Facebook friends or liking local real estate agents and brokerages. They're not searching for a place to call home via Pinterest or YouTube. And yes 6+ years later, they're still asking me why video had not been entirely embraced by the real estate industry. Now I know the industry has its answers, but all your consumers (clients) care about are the results. [Gasp!]
I am also the customer.
My wife and I are looking in / around New Jersey and (aside from a few videos by Sue Adler) have been largely unimpressed with the pool of resources offered by the real estate community. Compounding my frustration--you might imagine--is my position as the co-founder of a company trying to help the industry solve its communication problem through video. So at Hear it Direct, I posed the following question to the industry experts and I'll ask the same here, “If real estate professionals really are THE 'local experts', why is it that all five consumers on the panel mentioned nothing of their agents value in providing quality local information during the buying process? Two of the panelists even specifically sited Wikipedia!! as their go to source for local community info. Is this all our industry has to offer?”
Of course the answer is an emphatic NO! The real estate industry is in the pole position to be the purveyor of UNIQUE local content. Any qualified agent could be the local sherpa, concierge or guide for the communities they represent. Todd Carpenter put it best this week when he wrote, “Agents have a far higher value proposition in being the shepherd that can guide a consumer through the transaction. They hold domain knowledge about the neighborhood and local market that a portal simply can’t match.” Todd's comments echo the sentiment expressed by the panelists at Hear It Direct. Consumers expect a real estate professional to be a transparent trustworthy local expert who listens to their needs while guiding them along the path to success during one of the most expensive purchase decision of their lifetime. I think Mr. Ford would agree, -- boom or bust -- the brokerages and brands who devote themselves to that cause should indeed not have to worry about profits.
You can learn more about Hear It Direct here >
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