When Anthony Askowitz took over as the broker in charge of his company, he’d been pushed by life and career circumstances into the choice — as the top-producing agent in the company, he reasoned that “a broker could come in who I didn’t get along with and could change my entire business.” Instead, he had to deal with the repercussions of the top agent (himself) becoming occupied with other responsibilities, but the experience not only taught him what to do, it also shed light on a lot of things he would have done differently in retrospect.
Askowitz will be participating in a panel discussion about what brokers wish they could tell their agents at Inman Connect New York, January 29 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. He talked to us about client needs, how to stay competitive in a market like Miami and more.
Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?
Real estate has always been and will continue to be cyclical. There will be companies that will come in and companies that will go out. So I have seen the rise and the fall of a lot of discount brokerages over my 29-year experience; I have seen the emergence of some phenomenal companies come in and take up a huge amount of market share. I think every market is independent and I think the consumer still wants — and as long as the consumer wants this — quality, there will be a need for quality agents. If the consumer want a discount, you have to give it to them.
Some consumers are going to want a Rolex, some will want a Timex; they both tell time. The decision is ultimately, you have to give the consumer what they want, not necessarily what is better for you. If the consumer wants a discount brokerage, you have to give that to them. If they want full service, you have to give that to them. It’s ebbing and flowing with what the consumer needs are in your specific market.
I’m coming from Miami, and I can tell you a million-dollar home seller may want to save money, but in a market where things aren’t selling as quickly they may tend to go the route of full service and a name-brand agent who can close the sale. The turnstile to that in Miami is a $300,000 home — you don’t need anyone right now. You can throw up a sign and it’s sold. So it’s understanding your marketplace; if you’re around long enough, the market’s going to come back to you. Eventually that $300,000 home may not sell in three days and they’ll once again have a need.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry right now?
Something like team-building. One of the faults I experienced was jumping into taking over an office, which takes over all the headaches, responsibilities, expenses. By building a team and letting someone else deal with all the behind-the-scenes and the monthly account balancing and all of that, you build a team within. That to me right now is the hot item. Three, four, 10 agents under your umbrella — obviously you have to be able to support them, but even an agent who does two or three transactions a year under that model is a win for the team leader. That’s an untapped market.
To stay competitive, agents, brokers and companies need to execute quickly. What do you feel are key areas where quick execution can vastly improve the customer experience?
Point of contact right at the beginning. If you call my cell phone, I will respond to you if I can’t answer — it’ll say “sorry I’m in an appointment” and there’s an attachment, a video of me talking to you. It’s face-to-face, it gives an immediate contact. You need that. It’s still a consumer-based market; you don’t respond to someone immediately and they’ll go to the next person. It’s an expectation with millennials, if you don’t respond right away they are moving on, and if it’s through email or text messaging or whatever, you have to be on it.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?
It’s great — I have decided after 29 years to partner up with another associate who happens to be speaking right after me at Inman, Vachi Udolkin. He’s a great guy, he’s 27 years old, and between the two of us — I have more real estate experience where he has the tech use and all of that going for him. We’re going to partner up, be a team and grow our business via team building and marketing. His whole slate of what he’s put together is pretty incredible.
Dig deeper into how to fail smarter and discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.
Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.