I recently did a #ThoughtfulThursday post that touched on a hot topic. Over 5,000 video views, 57 comments and 165 likes. Now I’m not a “omg looks how many views” kinda gal, but I was surprised what traction this video received. Clearly something people felt strongly about. This particular discussion on LinkedIn focused on an alternative business model within our industry that questions the value of “traditional” agents (I’m talking about the good, professional ones). The discussion was very good ... both for and against ... and proved it was possible to have an intelligent conversation. To gain a more transparent understanding of the somewhat secretive business model, I openly invited representatives of companies that employ this alternative business model to join in the discussion and give them an opportunity to talk about their business model and the value they provide the consumer. Unfortunately, instead of joining the discussion, my broker received a formal notice to have the post removed as it allegedly contained false information and disparaging remarks. I complied.
But this got me thinking, the purpose
behind WAC’d is to provide consumers with a transparent view of the real estate
market. As real estate professionals, we have, in a lot of cases, been
painted with a derogatory brush because of the general lack of understanding
and transparency in our industry. In looking at social media feeds, much
of the commentary is on the bad conduct and very little on the good (as much a
function of social media is an easy platform to safely ‘point out‘ the bad as
much as overall discontent). The elimination of debate and discussion
about alternative business models just compounds that lack of trust and
transparency in the eye of the consumer.
So where do we go from
here? As a full proponent of the ‘traditional’ model, I can clearly
communicate the value and benefits of ‘my’ approach, what value I bring to the
table and provide a clear understanding to my clients of how the model, my
approach and my expertise can provide the results that meet their
objectives. I list it in incredible detail, with performance guarantees,
in all of my listing presentations. I have scoured the internet looking
to see how the alternative model works and get clear understanding of how it
works, what features and services are included, but to no real avail – it’s a
bit confounding and confusing. During the period that the discussion was
available and ‘live’, no one was able to provide any detail as to how it works
and what is included. I was also interested in understanding how
agents/customer service for these alternative model businesses get paid. I
have heard a number of different models, from salary to flat fee per home but
have been able to source out very little information. The impression that
I am left with comes through rumor and hearsay, but no one has stepped up
to explain the model.
Lastly, where is the industry response to these disruptors? I know we are all independent contractors, but we have really big real estate names behind us. Haven’t seen any formal or informal response by any of the big guys. Why not?
In the end, I think I get it. The disruptors have an interest in taking their shots at the establishment and will put effort into it. Those shots either work, or not. For the establishment, the alternative business model has not had any significant effect, therefore ignore it and it might go away. If not, then they will deal with it. Much like the situation I am in. I am interested in understanding this more, but how much effort do I put into this and in the end, am I going to be converted to the alternative model? Probably not.
Nonetheless, I am really busy providing outstanding service to my client base, who appreciate my transparent model, my expertise and all the things I do to make sure that their most important investment is handled properly and with the professionalism that is deserved. Not to say that agents from alternative model brokerages don’t do this as well, I just don’t know, they haven’t joined the discussion.