stan cropped webWhile on a short cruise last month I was thinking of a topic for As I see it from my desk.

Writer’s block again!  Then we were invited to the captain’s meet and greet in the auditorium.  He spoke about how cruising has changed in recent years and is much better…and bigger.

When his ship, the Majesty of the Seas, was launched in 1992 it was the largest of its class at 24,000 tons. Along with its sister ship, they were a sight to behold.

Now the newest ship that has been produced, The Oasis and its sister ship are double that size. It’s one of the reasons why the Panama Canal is digging a wider canal alongside the present channel, so that the new cruise ships and tankers can travel from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico and on to other ports of call. The Panama Canal has the vision to make the major changes that will generate huge profits and accommodate the shipbuilders of the world.

It got me to thinking about the changes we’ve seen in our business that cause us to “widen” our thinking of how to do business.

QR codes, Twitter, Google, Facebook, webinars and online mandatory credit courses…that’s just a few things that we would never have dreamed of a few short years ago.  When I was talking to some of our colleagues about the industry and how they should be adapting to the changes, I heard some startling responses.  Many resist the changes but are still doing a fair business, but how much more would they do if they could adapt to just some of the changes?

I see youngsters coming into the business that are so tech savvy that it boggles my mind. They use Facebook, as an example, not only to touch base with friends and family but to promote themselves and their listings or their “wants and needs” with prospective buyers.

It’s true that direct mail, advertising, bench signs, billboards and the like are still proven marketing tools. But when I see the results that other new agents are getting from some of the newest technologies, I am truly impressed.

My wish for all of you is to embrace the new technology. Love it or lose out to others who will eventually capture a lion’s share of the marketplace, and along with it, some of yours as well.

Are you ready to make some changes in your real estate career? Or are you still struggling with the changes?

If you are, there’s always help available at your office, online or from the many courses available from your local board or independent providers.

Change while you can, or the new agents coming into the industry will bypass you before you know it.  I said this in 2001 and am repeating it now. Embrace it lovingly and keep up with the modern systems your brokerage provides for you.

Good luck as we enter the exciting spring market.

Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at [email protected].  Stan is now celebrating his 43rd year as an active real estate professional.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I am open to and have embraced a moderate amount of tech tools, ie facebook, email mktg., web page, some blogging etc. But what constantly bothers me is the ROI- return on investment of time. I have yet to see anyone “show me the money” or at least the stats. All I ever see are generalities about facebook is “so important” !!! Admittedly I have sold one house as a result of connecting with a past associate. That resulted in another deal who then gave me one referral, and that person also gave me one referral. None of the 4 deals had a buyer or seller on facebook. It was all person to person. Let’s see some real stats on using twitter, FB, or blogging !

    • To all who have taken the time to comment. The recent column is only a reflection of what we see in our Brokerages that have evolved over the years. Especially over the last 5 years! when most of us came to the office with a briefcase full of material and documents, we can now store on a Tablet or an IPhone, ( tm) !
      Sure, I see the opposite of what I’ve observed, but either process will work for any of us.
      The choices and the management of same, belongs to the individual Agent.
      Yes, I agree that Social Media is not the end all and be all for prospecting. But listen to what you’ve said. Sold 2 properties and it cost you only the time!
      my opinions are put down in “ink” only at times to attract controversy and other such stuff as we writers ( ahem! ~”writers?”) are wont to do!
      Again, really enjoy the banter that comes from the columns.
      I think the best one was on Commission Cutters~~ some time back last year or so!! check the archives!

      • Yes that one drew over 45 responses! some were “cutting” me to the bone! most agreed. We are enterng the realm of the “wild West,'” in our business. We will soon see “facilitarorr Brokeragees ” as is happening inthe USA.

        One wry respnse was “hweree can he get the e commisssion cutterw and what colours and sizes do they come in?” You cansee my equally wry anser to that query.!!

  2. 40 years in the business..yes I carry my smart phone and am on facebook etc. But I am writing a 200 page book on succeeding in real estate.
    Page 1. See the people
    Page 2. See the people
    Page 3. See the people
    Pages 4 through 200…….yup. See the people.
    You may argue social media gets you in front of the people. Nope. It may result in some calling/texting but in 40 years I can count on one finger how many have made an offer without seeing me the people,in person.

  3. Brian. I agree that technology does not replace the old fashioned ways of prospecting. Not at all. Just that we have to face facts that the industry has changed dramatically.
    We have to recognize that and still adhere to being in front of people every day.
    Respectfully yours, Stan Albert
    ps well thought out response. You should write for REM~

    • Hi Stan:

      Thanks for your reply.

      I fully realize and accept that the real estate industry has changed damatically. Change is the only constant, it seems, going forward. Oxymoron aside, I often wonder what the future holds regarding the remorseless technologically driven march toward eliminating human interaction completely from many of today’s interactive economic pursuits.

      One wonders where the tipping point resides regarding the scenario whereby less people will be needed to produce outcomes/services/products, where less people will have jobs of intrinsic value, not to mention economic value, that will pay enough for one to actually be able to afford the technologically produced outcomes/services/products.

      Will computers argue and debate with one another herein on REMonline some day? Will they need to give their real serial numbers, or will they be able to manufacture bogus numbers before engaging in technospeak?

      Thank you for your endorsement regarding your notion that I should write for REM, but… I think I already do! I think that some wish I didn’t, that, like a computer, I would freeze up, or crash.

      Best regards,

      Brian Martindale… unplugged.

  4. Hi Stan:

    I respect the fact that you have devoted yourself to 43 years of service within the real estate industry, not as a comfortable salaried bureaucrat, but as a risk-taking practitioner tied to the “you get back what you put in” mode of business practice, and thus, I will not try to undermine your stated beliefs regarding the benefits of technology at large. My concern is this: Who, ultimately, does the new technology actually benefit?

    All of the technological advancements available to Realtors are designed to do one thing, and one thing only, being, to speed things up. Speed is the holy grail of everything these days. Speed of service is seen as the replacement for old fashioned quality of service. Most every new Realtor, along with many quasi-veterans, are buying into to this modern way of trying to out-compete their competitors for a larger share of the finite pie.

    The truth of the matter is that ‘everyone’ absolutely ‘cannot’ increase his/her share of the limited pie when everyone is utilizing the same technological tools. The self-levelling principle inevitably kicks in over time and all returns to as it was intially. Therefore, the only ‘real’ variable that always has, currently does, and always will exist within the personalities of ORE, is personal quality of service, as ideally practiced by individuals with high moral standards, high R.E related experiential standards (prior to entering the real estate sweep stakes), high educational standards (prior to entering the real estate sweepstakes) and a high standard of a sense of community responsibility. One cannot speed these traits up with technology.

    Case in point:

    Just because a newly licensed carpenter, after having served his/her five year term of apprenticeship, goes out an buys all of the latest high speed power tools to be used to quickly cut, plane, rasp, sand, drill, fair, countersink etc. does not a master carpenter make. It just makes him/her fast. Attention to detail and a love for what he/she produces as the end result is what makes a master carpenter. The pursuit of wealth via large numbers of wooden widgets produced within a compressed time frame has nothing to do with bing a master carpenter. It has much to do with becoming a financially wealthier assembly line producer of wooden, and ultimately, plastic widgets.

    In your “QR codes…” paragraph, you end with “Many resist the changes but are still doing a fair business, but how much more could they do if they could adapt to just some of the changes?” Therein lies the crux of the matter. Not all are in the Real Estate transaction business to be world beaters, to rush through life pursuing every last dollar out there by hook or by crook, constantly trying to keep up with the newest and better ways to self-promote in an effort to out compete everyone else for a larger piece of the finite pie. These folks choose not to engage in the rat race; they choose not to be rats.

    Were I a consumer looking for a Realtor to assist me with the largest financial transaction of my life, especially if I were a thinking consumer, I would look for a high quality Realtor, one with an acknowledged track record, one with experience, one with the patience to take hs/her time with my particular excentricities, one with both eyes and ears open to my words and non verbal communications etc., vs one who is constantly texting, pushing buttons, flipping screens on a computer and spending more time dreaming up slick marketing logos and phrases to be quickly uploaded on the net as the case may be instead of actually interfacing with ME. I would want an old fashioned person, and not a new age fast talking technocrat, to help guide me through the maze of pitfalls that inevitably will present themselves going forward.

    Sometimes bigger, faster, louder, more colourful and more instantly-in- your-face stuff is nothing more than information overload masquerading as the rescuing cavalry, when rescue is not needed at all.

    ORE in Canada does not need 100,000 latest tech-savvy marketing wizards promoting themselves to naive Canadians, of which 70% will STILL fail in the marketplace (remember the finite pie?).

    ORE needs a fraction of that number (30,000 to 40,000 ‘tops’, depending on activity) of “old fashioned” Realtors who know how to balance technology with “old fashioned” ways and means of conductiong themselves in a professional manner: i.e., face-to-face vs screen-to-screen; ‘up front’ vs techno talk communication, in an effort to establish genuine rapport between people vs between smart phones.

    I’ll take the hand-made piece of art, crafted via an old fashioned master carpenter over the new power tool jockey’s punched-out plastic (but looks like wood) widget when I want a quality product, any day.

    The speed demon purchasers can have the speed merchant Realtors, at least before the otherwise unqualified speedos exercise their 70% chance of cutting out altogether.

    Brian the dinosaur

    P.S.: Dinosaurs were the most successful species ‘ever’ to inhabit the earth (over 150,000,000 years worth, un challenged) until brought down by a cataclysmic event brought on from outer space, which wiped out virtually all animal, fish and bird life. ‘We’ have prevailed for only a fraction of the dinos’ time. The dinos were quite happy just being dinos, and not trying to out do every other dino by killing and trying to eat more than they could deal with at any given time. The greedy gene had not yet presented itself.

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