The evolution of our industry is clearly about putting the customer, and the experience of the customer, at the centre of our universe. But that’s not all it will take to future-proof your business, says Mark McLeod.
A s I have said and written many times, the question remains: who is our customer? Most agents believe their customer is their current vendor and/or buyer. Some extend further and say ‘all the people in my database’.
In my opinion, everyone who owns a home in our communities is our customer. Many agents take a myopic view of how they influence their customers. My belief is that to be effective in the future we have to build what I refer to as an ecosystem. What do I mean by that? An ecosystem is when we provide services that work together to give the customer a full real estate experience.
Many agents look down on letterbox drops. In isolation, letterbox drops probably don’t allow you to influence your community. But when part of a larger ecosystem it would more than likely play a role.
The experiences that we give at our open for inspections, how we respond to digital enquiries, the experience we give someone we have placed in our databases, how we interact with the schools in our community and the social activities that our communities are built on are all part of the ecosystem.
The development of these ecosystems effectively allows our customers to be fully immersed in the environment we create. If we look at the lead generation houses – there are too many to mention now – they want to pick out one part of the ecosystem, such as picking the agent.
They try to do this without providing any real experience, and you could argue that the people who head to those usurpers have never been involved in anyone’s ecosystem – in fact, the contrary.
They’ve gone to an open and never got a call back; they enquired digitally but never got a response, or it took an age to receive a response.
Everything we do now is forming our ecosystem. It underpins how people select their agents, which is now 24 hours a day via a digital interview.
I have always hated the word ‘prospecting’ because it sounds like something that sits outside our daily business. You are either prospecting or you’re not. When you enter into the mindset of an ecosystem, each part is playing a role in developing your brand and nurturing and establishing new clients.
There needs to be a new mindset of our industry in order to navigate the future.
I will leave you with one thought that should change the way you act. If we never got paid from a client on the first transaction – if we only received payment on the second transaction – how different would our businesses look and how different would our ecosystems be?
Understand the future is about the experience we give our customers, not how many listings we win each day.