Sharran Srivatsaa is the president at Teles Properties. In addition to striving to build the most advanced agent service platform in the industry, Srivatsaa’s focus includes Teles’ corporate growth strategy, client advisory and firmwide operations. He is also a sought-after speaker and a respected thought-leadership resource for top publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times where he is often quoted.
Srivatsaa will be speaking at Inman Connect San Francisco. We asked him three questions about his real estate philosophy — see what he had to say:
1. What’s something about the real estate industry you believe that others don’t?
As leaders, I believe that we have a tremendous opportunity to impact our industry today. In some form or fashion, I believe the real estate industry needs to be taken apart and put back together.
We are witnessing a complete fragmentation and destruction of value across the board. Consumers are having an uninspiring experience compared to other financial transactions; brokers are being boxed into just providing liability insurance and a copy machine; teams are forming quickly — but the vast majority are struggling to attain profitability because team leaders who have been successful agents are now forced to acquire a business owner’s skill set while on the job — and agents are in the thick of it all and have to keep up with the changes in the consumer psychology, contracts and regulations, vendor relationships, technology updates and brokerage relationships while getting sold a new idea everyday.
Meanwhile, real estate technology startups are trying hard to plug holes and create value in this fractured ecosystem, all while there is significant compression and challenge to the status quo in real estate (commissions) fees across the board. There needs to be a massive inside-out transformation in the industry’s functional model as a whole, and while someone is going to “win” and someone is going to “lose,” it cannot happen unless there is an integrated solution.
We are living in transformative times, and I am excited for what we can come together and do to revamp our ecosystem for future generations.
2. What’s on your radar for 2016 as a sleeper opportunity for agents/brokers/companies in the RE space?
The traditional marketing efforts of “being where the eyeballs are” are either dead or on life support, reflected by how expensive it is both from the execution perspective (say a production of a print ad) and the tracking associated ROI of that marketing spend.
Online targeting and retargeting technology now allows us to follow the eyeballs that we are interested in, to take advantage of context-based, platform-agnostic selling. Why should the marketer care where the click-thrus are coming from, as long as they are the right click-thrus at the right price. There is going to be a mad rush to use the targeted ad products of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google paid search and other Web retargeting platforms, and it would be a great idea for marketers to start learning to use these tools effectively now while the cost of entry is still extremely low compared to the various traditional, low-ROI platforms out there.
3. What’s the one issue that everyone in the real estate industry should be paying attention to in the coming year?
The access to data and overall information has created a new breed of consumer — an educated, sophisticated, confident and value-demanding consumer. While consumers have to realize that they can’t do it all and the Realtor plays an integral role in the real estate transaction … the Realtor needs to step up and realize that putting a home on the MLS and holding an open house is a commoditized service that will continue to compress fees.
I believe that when the Realtor community starts to redefine and rearticulate its value-add to the transaction, consumers will step up and pay more, because what they are getting from the Realtor is not on the Internet … it’s more personal, it’s more complex and it is solution-oriented. In the absence of value, it will always come down to price. The Realtor community is presented with the opportunity to redefine its value to the consumer, and the consumer is willing to step up and pay for a new breed of adviser.
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