My friend Eric Stegemann, whom many of you already know as a frikkin’ brilliant dude who runs Tribus, posted something on Facebook today and in our banter, got my thinking going.
Here’s his post:
And obviously, you can see my comments too.
I thought the similarities between car dealers and how they feel about automotive third party websites (like TrueCar) and real estate brokerages and how they feel about real estate third party websites (like Zillow) were superficial at best, because of vast differences in the business model of car dealerships and real estate brokerages.
But that got me wondering… what would it look like if real estate brokerages actually functioned like a car dealership did?
Without question, the big topics coming out of NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings were about RPR-AMP, Upstream, and the future of the MLS. I’ve already written a few posts about them, and expect to write more in the future. But lost in all of that was a big rebrand and relaunch by Move of Realtor.com. For what it’s worth, I really like the new logo and the rebrand. As Ryan O’Hara says in the Inman article:
“Everything’s about real — real knowledge, real data, real insight,” said Move CEO Ryan O’Hara.
We shall see whether Move can live up to that brand promise, given that it does not control the one million plus local touchpoints of their Realtor brand, many of whom are only distantly acquainted with concepts like “real knowledge” and “real insight”.
But this post isn’t about the rebrand. It’s about the ideas that appear in Realtor.com’s Open Letter to the Industry that was distributed at the MLS sessions. Here’s a PDF of the letter, courtesy of BayEast. The three bullet points are:
Respecting the economic interests of the industry by not commingling FSBO listings with brokerage firm listings;
Not displaying value estimates on “for-sale” properties because the local real estate professional is the best person to determine the value of a listed property; and
Displaying the online reputation of brokers and agents in a way that both meets consumers’ needs to find the “right” professional while also being done in a fair way for the industry.
I wonder if these goals are even achievable. Can this balance between consumer interests and the industry’s interests really be struck?
I have a feeling we’re going to be talking about a whole variety of things that went down at NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo (aka, “Midyear”) this year for months and years to come. It’s been a great week, but rough on the sleep schedule, so these are not exactly deeply-thought-out opinions here. It’s more of a “flash impression” of where my head’s at right now, while I hurtle through the air at 350MPH.
The answer to me, and to many real estate veterans, is obvious. A strategy that directly focuses on producing more transactions, while providing more value to the client, is far more rewarding, both financially and professionally.
“Offer generation,” the strategy of systematically and scalably converting clients into transaction offers, is the direct result of this realization. It will benefit the industry to have the same thought leadership, financial investment and technological innovation garnered by lead gen to be redirected to “offer gen.” We need to focus more on generating offers and less on generating leads.
I couldn’t agree with Andrew more on the concept and the philosophy behind this “OfferGen Movement”. But I thought I’d write this to point out the obvious truth about OfferGen, and make a suggestion or two (that will go ignored by the Powers That Be, of course).
Judging by the stats, it appears that few people actually took the time to listen to my most recent podcast, featuring Brian Balduf of VHT Studios. We discussed a number of issues surrounding copyright of photographs and liability that arises from misuse, which… yeah, I understand those are sleeping aids for most people. Nonetheless, I wanted to write this brief (I hope?) post because the issue is important and one that MLSs and brokerages need to get ahead of right now, rather than waiting for a lawsuit to land on their desks.
If you do have the time, I’d recommend going and listening to the full podcast. Brian’s perspective is invaluable here. But, let me give you the bottom line here.