I believe in guardian angels. Without one, I don’t know how I negotiated the two-hour drive home from a speaking engagement the other day.
I don’t remember one inch of road. My thoughts were wrapped around the profound realizations that occur when you step outside your own world and visit another.
A good question
I raised some questions during my speech: Who blogs? Who’s on Facebook? Who has an RSS reader? Who reads Inman News? Who’s paperless? Who creates videos of their listings?
Not a hand was raised.
Clearly, many things we “in the know” take for granted have eluded the real estate rank and file. There was a nearly unanimous desire to learn more — and, at some point, adopt — these media and tools, but for whatever reason they had not become imperative. It occurred to me that I am either crazy, or most of the people in my audience were headed for deeper trouble.
While packing up my things and preparing to leave, one agent approached and asked me what I would do if I were an agent. It was a great question. It forced me to grapple with the true relevance of all the things I talk and write about in an intellectually honest way.
This is what I was thinking about during the drive home.
If I were an agent, I would:
- Be great. Being good doesn’t work for me. Lots of people are good. I’d start by finding the Lee Strasberg of business coaches. The best there is. Someone who gets in my head and works the cells that lay dormant.
- Be curious. Remaining isolated inside my own agent bubble won’t lead to greatness. I’d tap into things that matter to my clients, who will be spending five figures for my services. Subscriptions to Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur and Business 2.0 would complement REALTOR Magazine. Blog posts from Guy Kawasaki. Joel Burslem, Inman News, Mashable, TechCrunch and others would be piped into my RSS reader so I’m on top of the rapidly changing business environment both inside and outside my industry.
- Have a come-to-Jesus conversation with my Web site vendor. If 80 percent of my customers are online, I’d rethink my Web strategy, starting with my cheap Web site. My vendor and I would chat about iPhone (Safari) compatibility, about Google mapping and about clients personalizing my Web site. We’d discuss widgets, a blog, user-generated capabilities. If the conversation results in “no, we can’t do that,” I’d find someone who can. Or, on second thought, I’d just pay TypePad $14.95 per month and DIY.
- Be professional. Along these same lines, this picture (at right) would never appear on my Web site. Ever.
- Blog: I’d build one for every neighborhood I farm. I’d be the guy who knows where everything is, who everyone is and how to make it all come together. I’d devote an hour a day. Where would I find that hour?
- Be paperless: One piece of paper costs pennies. That expense skyrockets the second I drive that paper across town to a client or waste time shoving it through a fax machine. With one tablet PC, signature software and a good transaction management system, I get my life back.
- Direct. I’d capture every square inch of my neighborhood — the one I’ve been littering with postcards for 20 years — on video. Every park, store, hiking trail, school and home I walk through. I’d place this catalogue online so that everyone I’ve told I’m an expert can see for themselves.
- Attend conferences. Not the ones where the great takeaway is a little foam house or handful of Hershey’s Kisses. I mean places like Real Estate Connect where I can absorb a year’s worth of great ideas in three days.
- Choose wisely: To be great, people must surround themselves with greatness. My criteria for choosing a broker would have little to do with my split. Nothing is free. I’d give up more to be aligned with a leader. A visionary. I’d align with a company with a highly trafficked site and polished brand I’d be proud to co-brand with. They’d have a stable of other great agents, and great tools I can use. What good is a great split when I’d have to spend most of my piece purchasing technology from 20 different vendors?
- Focus. Office Max has a sale on white boards. I’d get two. One contains a list of everything I want in life. The other board has the list of everything single thing I need to do to achieve it.
Call me Crazy
Some live in the here and now — others, in the past. A few project forward. I believe that the ascension to greatness requires a marriage of all three.
I don’t think I’m crazy talking about innovation to folks who are slow to adapt. And I don’t know whether those in the room who were unable to raise their hands are doomed. I just know what I would do. I’d make this list the cornerstone of my business. And I’d succeed.