Embracing change, technology and the evolution of our industry is the key to succeeding and remaining relevant as an agent. Do this consistently, and you will emerge as a leader in your marketplace.

Are you resisting and fighting the changes and evolution that our industry is going through? If so, it’s time to take a step back, reflect and pivot into the new norm of the real estate business.

Don’t fight this shift; embrace it instead. Let’s take a look at some of today’s disruptors — plus some ways to adapt and creatively implement changes into your business.

1. iBuyers

These are the tacky traffic-light and corner signs we see everywhere, the handwritten (photocopied) notes and flyers appearing in every mailbox and the pop-up ads offering to buy your home for cash with no commissions.

Solution: Offer an iBuyer option as part of your listing presentation. Of course, you would be willing to purchase their home at a reduced price. However, show the benefits of marketing to a vast audience, the multiple offers you can get and the bidding wars. Show your success.

If you are going to offer the iBuyer wholesale option, ensure that you, your brokerage or a team of investors are ready to back you. Remember: When you offer the same options, it becomes a complementing service as oppose to the seller making a choice between you and an iBuyer agency.

2. For sale by owner (FSBO)

For as long as Realtors have existed, we have had to deal with sellers who feel they can get the same results without the fees and professional advice. Over and over, we’ve had to prove our value. 

Solution: Provide a solid marketing plan along with examples of your professional ads, social media following, testimonials and strategies that prove you can net them more — even after commissions — by creating a multiple-offer or an auction environment.

Provide comfort to the sellers by letting them know that you will do everything you can to get them top results. Tell them if they are not satisfied with the final offer, they are under no obligation to accept it. No cost, no obligation creates trust. 

3. Social media

As agents, we are spending less now on marketing than ever before. People are not getting their news or information from traditional platforms like print newspapers, television and radio.

At first, social media was largely viewed as entertainment. News flash! Now, it’s arguably the prime source of news. Fake or not, this is where engagement occurs. Embrace it, and use it.

Solution: Just as we cultivate our database and build it, your followers are also a part of your database. It’s not simply a place to turn to for entertaining videos and pictures of cute puppies.

Putting together social media ads, targeting your audience, and promoting your listings and services is so crucial. It’s important to engage with your audience daily — even more so than sending out a newsletter every few months. They need to see you. 

4. Virtual showings

Given the current circumstances, there is a huge surge of virtual companies that offer virtual showings as a solution, which some might think eliminates the need for a real estate agent to be involved.

Solution: Add this to your service to buyers and sellers. Offer a personalized virtual tour of each of your listings, explaining the features as if they were right there with you.

Add to this the option and ability to do a physical, in-person viewing. Don’t dismiss virtual walkthroughs as useless or unnecessary. Offering alternative viewing methods will broaden your audience and open you to a larger market.

5. E-signatures

That face-to-face engagement and handshake at signing has been an integral part of our business. Many of us resist the use of this technology as it removes us from a very important interaction and the ability to engage.

Oftentimes, being in someone’s presence, observing their expressions and body language helps determine our approach. We also need to be able to express ourselves and ensure that we are being understood.

Solution: During the process of an e-signature, hop on a video call ( Zoom, Teams. Cisco, WhatsApp or Facetime) so that you are able to express yourself and the signer feels your presence.

You will be able to read the situation and discuss it instead of losing its essence in a text or email. The added bonus to this is the ability to record the conversation (with permission). Having a record — whether it’s written or recorded — is very important in instances where witnesses are absent.

6. Everything is virtual

As we all know, remote working, emails, texts and videos have replaced human interaction — which is what our industry is all about. 

Solution: Embrace the virtual world, but don’t replace the basics that made you successful. What a pleasant surprise it is when you see a handwritten envelope with a handwritten note in your mailbox. Get into the habit of sending at least five of these out to your database each day.

Make a phone call to a past client just to say hello. Drop off some treats without an occasion with a thank-you note. In a world where everything is virtual, this gesture will be remembered and surely posted on social media where you will get virtual benefits.

Embracing change, technology and the evolution of our industry is the key to succeeding and remaining relevant. Do this consistently, and you will be the leader in your marketplace.

Faisal Susiwala is a broker at RE/MAX Twin City Faisal Susiwala Realty in Ontario, Canada. Connect with him on Instagram or Facebook.

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