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Agent of the future: Death by fear

By Shannan Whitney
16 November 2016 | 1 minute read
Shannan Whitney

Robots taking over our jobs? Online websites threatening to replace agents? Is the Uber of the property game imminent? The brave new era of real estate is here and fear could be killing us. 

In our agent of the future series, we explore some of the major issues confronting modern real estate agents.

Fear is killing us. It’s the reason we dread disruptions in the real estate industry. Our imaginations drive us back towards old habits and defence modes. Instead of embracing change and offering a more consumer-centric service, we perpetually theorise our doom.


The thing we defend the most? Our personal network and data.

Our closed shop
We keep watch over our networks and customer databases like precious treasure. Deep within spreadsheets, in language few can decipher, we bury client information. Access is for individuals only.

We help people connect with property when it benefits us. In an industry where people loathe obstacles, our fear of losing control is impassable for consumers.

Today’s customers are missing out because agents guard their clients. Consumers take note – agents stop others from working with you out of fear they won’t be the one to transact with you, and someone else will.

Sharing your data/networks = losing your livelihood. That’s the mentality behind this fear. It’s an outdated real estate model, inciting a race to the bottom along with declining commission fees. It’s archaic.

Money and control holds us back
Fear of losing control stops sales agents from embracing a system that rewards team performance, while the current real estate model doesn’t align with network-sharing concepts.

Money from consumers’ pockets keeps agents in their role. Should they fork out for one agent? Or should they pay for a high-performing, highly mobile team?

As it stands, Agent X will sell a $3 million terrace. And next week, Agent Y will list a new $3 million terrace. They claim to have ‘buyers waiting’. But with no incentive to open these contacts up to each other, Agent Y starts the tired old selling process again, in the hamster wheel every time.

That’s the limitation we impose on ourselves when we prefer individual reward to team reward. We need to reinvent the wheel.

Power of a team
If everyone has an incentive to share, we quickly remove those obstacles. The collaborative real estate network of the future will sell with new speed and efficiency.

A collective approach to sales would reduce the effort expended on deals with fewer days on market, higher auction clearance rates and fewer opportunities slipping through the cracks. Imagine higher sales volume, happy consumers, good reputations, more repeat customers and a better consistency of experience.

Potential for a new numbers game
High-volume agents could benefit from the multiplying effect of a collective approach. Their potential to handle a higher volume of buyers would be multiplied. They’d meet more qualified buyers and apply their skills and expertise to a targeted audience, at scale.

Say, they meet 200 buyers a week. Ten are relevant to a particular property. Just two or three might be ready to buy that week.

Now think about how many buyers are qualified by everyone in your office? It could be five times more or even 10 times more. Imagine you could access all of those buyers. What would that mean for you and your customers?

The future is unwritten
Agents will still be the ones who build relationships, know people’s stories and share in their journey. But for the sake of the consumer and the advancement of our industry, the days of ‘my client versus your client’ are coming to an end.

It’s a long journey, but it’s where the agents of the future need to imagine themselves. The alternative is our industry stays immobile and sluggish, buried with our contact books, deep beneath our fears.

You can bet the biggest competitor in three years time doesn’t exist yet. The taxi industry didn’t see Uber coming until it was too late. Whatever the new real estate model is, consumer needs will come ahead of personal agendas, guaranteed.

Agent of the future: Death by fear
shannan whitney
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Shannan Whitney

Shannan Whitney

Shannan Whitney is the CEO of BresicWhitney. 

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