“I know I should be doing so … but I am not.” Do you know how many times I have heard that?

Too many!

It’s the basic broker excuse. Here are a few others:

  • “My agents won’t adopt that, so why bother.” This one usually involves a CRM or post-close marketing.
  • “That’s a nice-to-have, not a have-to-have.” I hear this one when talking with agents about a real social media strategy or electronic signatures.
  • “I will wait for my competitor to try … then we will see.” Why not be the first to implement tech fees to offset investments or incorporate agent reviews into your website?

And what’s the result?

Brokers who “get it” are taking agents and market share from brokers who don’t, and agents who “get it” have to figure it out for themselves or start their own businesses. (As a side note to prove my point, I have always wondered why I see more agents at Inman’s Real Estate Connect events than I do brokers. If you ask me, it should be the other way around.)

Could it be that the same agents whom brokers are afraid to alienate are the ones who are out in the market trying to figure things out on their own?

Proactive brokerages have a distinct advantage in a new environment that is driven by consumers who are used to an Apple kind of experience. The problem is that most brokerages choose to do nothing or to react to the changing consumer environment, rather than proactively take progressive and necessary steps to modernize their business and address the needs of today’s consumer.

And it’s costing brokers money … just ask Trulia and Zillow.

So many things in our industry are done as a result of pure emotion, fear of change or ego, rather than as a result of an objective business analysis and return on investment (ROI) expectation. Furthermore, even if brokers have their minds in the right place, too many times the agents dictate the final outcome, or they move forward and don’t require whatever solution they have just acquired to be mandatory.

“Well, Jose, agents are independent contractors, you know,” I am told.

There are challenges in any business, and I realize the independent contractor relationship between broker and agent is tricky. That said, I still think that excuse is little more than a crutch for people running real estate companies. There is a big difference between not making a decision because of fear or ego and acknowledging those issues, building consensus, collecting and analyzing metrics, and establishing accountability so that everyone is on the same page.

The problem is that day-to-day business gets in the way and nobody sticks to their plan; things fall by the wayside and we’re back at the beginning of this post.

If you are serious about reinventing your business, I would suggest the following steps:

  • Identify something you want to change.
  • Understand the opportunity cost of not making that change.
  • Determine the potential ROI for making that change.
  • Get your senior leadership on board with the need for that change.
  • Have them help you get your agents on board with that change.
  • Put in place the metrics to hold you people accountable; and

Jose Perez is the founder of PCMS Consulting.

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