This past month – no, the past two months, I feel like I've gone back to school. I have learned so much I feel like I am 28 again, when we started Toop&Toop.
There is something weird happening here. Toop&Toop celebrated our 30th year in business in May, yet I have had more training, more coaching, more in-field product testing and more learning than I've had for the past five years.
Right now, as I write this article, I am attending the Real Estate Best Practice Conference in Sanctuary Cove. Sure, me and my daughter Genevieve, who helps run the company, are keynote speakers on “The Changing Face of Real Estate”, but sitting through today's sessions has been such a wonderful experience. Hearing speaker after speaker share their knowledge is uplifting and motivating. Chatting to real estate icons from around Australasia is a privilege. There sure are some impressive people in our profession.
We think we are so clever with all the things we are doing in South Australia and, yes, we are up there: but it has been humbling to mix with the best of the best and hear their stories. No hype, no spin, just down-to-earth and real.
What's noticeably changed is the profile of the best of the best. Nice, straightforward, intelligent individuals who are humble, appreciative and compassionate. In the early days for me, and those high performers of the time, we all seemed so arrogant, egotistical and, as an industry, were trained to exaggerate (a nice way of saying we had little respect for the truth). We were trained to make dummy bids at auctions and trained to be seamlessly deceptive, and actually took pride in being the best at deception. Vendors joined in and, with the benefit of hindsight, it was a pretty ordinary way to behave as an industry. We even won industry awards for being good at it. How things have changed – thank goodness.
Community was not in the vocabulary. None of the industry talked about or took time to worry about community issues in those early days of the 1980s.
I am sure plenty of older agents will disagree, but that was my experience. Some still think it was the “good ol’ days”, but today's top-performer profile is changing fast.
Nice, honest, high-integrity, community minded, humble, intelligent, educated, considerate and genuine now best describe today's real estate rock stars. The best are trained continually, well-resourced and backed, many have degrees and are passionate about improving the lives of people moving house. The new, sustainable superstars understand that it is not about the money, it is about helping the community. These people trust that the money will follow if they do their job brilliantly.
I can think of exceptions, but I seriously doubt those money-focused, self-centred operators will still be around by 2020.
What does all this mean for consumers? I predict that the service levels they have been experiencing from their local real estate agent are about to be blown out of the water.
I see the next generation of agents completely redefining service levels and that both buying and selling, or investing and renting property, will be entirely different and better. I can see Gen Y agents making our Baby Boomer era look like amateurs when it comes to the experience and emotions of moving home.
Our Baby Boomer era will learn from younger generations, as I am doing at the moment. The younger agents will, however, also be forced to adopt the great things that we older agents do better (like picking up the telephone) and I am confident they know this. The stars are already adopting our best-practice communication skills of old, and with enthusiasm.
Some of the most impressive people I've ever met have been those over the past two months. Some of my most profound learning has been over the past two months and I have experienced some of the most exciting thinking over the past two months.
Real estate is changing enormously. You can look forward to seeing some massive changes for the better, with new capabilities by year's end at Toop&Toop. I can hardly contain my excitement for our clients.