The Realities of Being "Revolutionized"


In life, there are many lists that you may strive to one day be on. Some are those that are compiled in business and others involve your most important personal achievements.

Being on a list signals that you have accomplished something special, you are different than others, that you are better, or that you are on the leading edge.

I recently received a Google Alert set to pick-up the word Zillow when it appears in the news. And here is the article that I was copied on and that Zillow linked to.

As I read the article, I was concerned. Concerned that of the entire installed residential real estate industry not one company was on this short list of those that are "revolutionizing real estate.” Not one installed traditional brokerage company, not one franchise, not one team of agents, in fact not one entity that today has presence in the nearly 5.2 million transactions that are being closed each year.

This was very shocking and this caused me to pause. I thought of taxi cabs, railroads, travel agencies, Gillette razors and so many other categories of business and businesses that have been "revolutionized out of business.” Why does this have to be? Why aren’t the names of my progressive friend’s brokerage companies on the list? Or any list associated with evolved change?

What is going on here? Or better yet, what isn’t going on here?

When I hear of what Compass, eXP, KW, RealtyOne Group and others are doing in our industry now and that they are claiming “revolutionizes” the brokerage business, I genuinely think not. Moving players of the traditional game of real estate from company to company is certainly NOT a revolution of anything that truly matters. On the other hand, moving the consumer for the traditional brokerage to a new model of brokerage IS absolutely revolutionary. The companies that are doing that are making fundamental changes to what the traditional brokers and their agents are doing now. And that is dramatically different.

And even the ultra powerful Zillow has realized this need for change and has launched an iBuyer business to allow their company to evolve along with other true industry revolutionaries.

Remember when it was feared that Zillow would become a broker and to recruit agents and start listing homes? Well fear not, because it is more clear than ever that the very last thing in the world Zillow wants to be is a traditional real estate broker moving agents form your company the theirs. To be clear, they have NO interest in trying to harbor and manage a nationwide brokerage of independent contractors that are incapable of standardizing a transaction. But Zillow has NEVER wandered from assuring a better consumer experience and that remains true to this day.

If you follow that logic, then what is keeping your brokerage company from doing the same? From being on one of these revolutionary lists?

While we as an industry are busy creating a hedge of Zillow’s ad model with a failed project called the Broker Public Portal, Zillow is creating a hedge on the traditional real estate transaction for the consumer with its Zillow Offer.

Which is a smarter use of time and effort? You decide.

Those companies that are listed here by Geekwire move forward now. As big as they are, the are willing to cast aside old models for new models. They are also focused on aggressively revolutionizing the real estate transaction and they are passionate about change and the consumer’s adoption of that change. They are in fact not - and will never be agent-centric - they are not concerned in anyway about dwindling commissions in assuring that the buyer broker is compensated, or if the MLS lives or dies.

So how do you as a broker acknowledge this change and refocus your business now? That is the real question that in so many ways reasons unanswered in this business but needs to be answered to assure that you have a valued role in the future of this business.

If you’re not discussing this topic in every executive committee meeting at your company, I think there is no more important agenda item than this one now. Do you agree? The core question here is why is your company’s name not on one of these lists and how do you and your key people get it there quickly? Make sense? Submitted for thought and what it is worth.

Have a great weekend!