One of the races that I enjoy watching the most in the Olympics is the relay race. A whole series of people working toward a common goal with admittedly varied skills, competing to win.
Not as a single athlete, but as a team of athletes.
In real estate, I think that we might have lost sight of that type of synergy. The kind of collaborative effort that leverages the skills and expertise of many to win the race and ultimately bring home the medal — not for the industry — but the consumer.
In the business, no one force is truly capable of doing everything well. And, no one has enough resources to take on the challenge of fulfilling what the consumer wants, needs and expects to get the job done — and done well.
Recently, I flew home from Utah, and I thought of this analogy.
The airplane I was on was made by Boeing. But in reality, the airplane was only assembled by Boeing. In other words, Boeing owned the result. But hundreds of suppliers collaborated by applying an agreed upon set of specifications to ultimately create what we know as the Boeing 737-800.
The engines are manufactured by General Electric, the landing gear by Western Gear, the cockpit instrumentation by someone else, and so on. The point here is that no one source is capable of creating the airplane all on its own.
Let’s compare that to the real estate transaction.
If we take the transaction apart, we also have many parts that need to be assembled to produce the end product we sell to consumers. And that product has always been an incredible consumer real estate experience.
To make this happen, we collaborate with appraisers, inspectors, closing companies, title companies, media companies, website vendors, portals and the like.
It takes a lot of resources to fulfill the consumer’s long-standing demand for getting their home sold in the least amount of time — for the most money — with the least amount of hassle. In fact, it takes an army of resources to make that happen.
When I dig into the reality of providing this finished product, I am continually surprised at how difficult we make this process. As an industry, we have great difficulty coordinating all of these resources into a great consumer experience.
It seems we fear, fight and argue with almost anyone who shows up to contribute value to the transaction.
Admittedly, Boeing could make its own jet engines, but it would rather allow the customers to chose the engine they desire as long as it meets their product specifications.
But in this industry we commonly fear those who contribute to the transaction and then our solution is to build our own engines.
The value we bring to the table for the consumer is one of assuring that we apply “best of class resources to assemble” their transaction.
Our industry today is the entity that is most relied upon to assemble the transaction to deliver a seamlessly integrated experience that best serves the consumer — not to power and control the transaction to deliver an experience that best serves the industry’s interests.
In the Olympics, if any one member of the team drops the baton during the race, the race is over for that team. There is no picking it up and going on — race over.
My advice to you today is always think like the consumer that you are.
As a consumer, do you want to see your listing advertised on Zillow Group and realtor.com? You bet. So bury your complaints and gripes about the media companies, their portals and their advertising models — and just do it.
Do you want electronic documents wonderfully organized in a transaction management platform? Absolutely. So get out there, secure a solution and advertise it widely as a competitive advantage.
Do you want full transparency of every detail that might impact the value of the property? Of course. So provide that information now, whether it’s good or bad.
And do you want to be kept updated about the market value of your property, even if it is not on the market now? Sure. So keep me informed, and you never know, I might even do some business with you in the future.
Today’s consumer has been patiently awaiting the professionally assembled transaction that results in an incredible consumer experience. And for the most part, they are still waiting.
The only difference between what they are doing now — which is waiting — and what they will certainly do in the future is up to you.
In an industry that loves to hate nearly everything that offers value, I suggest you think like Boeing.
Before someone new enters the business to deliver what you aren’t, create your own transactional specifications designed to provide an incredible consumer experience.
Then make this experience well-known to the consumer in your market, assemble the team to address that well-coordinated transaction, and you will most certainly be the local winner the relay race of real estate.
Your future success is only up to you.
Kenneth Jenny is an expert in the residential real estate brokerage industry and real estate marketing.