INDUSTRY INSIGHTS Teams are the Future of Real Estate Go further, faster while delivering a better experience for your clients Vija Williams, Head of Industry, PLACE
have the revenue to have advertising and lead contracts, so they are in a better position to grow their business. There’s also an expense economy of scale that happens as they grow. As the consumer’s expectations grow, so does competition to get their listings. You have to be a good agent to get multiple listings a year. Teams and top agents are winning more and more in this arena. They have access to more marketing, training, coaching, and presentation materials than a typical solo agent. As their business grows so does their market share and customer acquisition. THE PROBLEM Most real estate teams are founded by highly successful real estate brokers. They begin to see success, then hire agents and staff to help support that. Many of them have never run large businesses before this. In many cases, they are scaling faster and larger than they have the resources and skills for, and they are often doing it alone in their respective markets. Things break. Things get reiterated. People get hired. People leave. All of this is fine and to be expected. The days of going it alone, however, are (thankfully) long gone. This is why we are seeing teams grow larger – because they have the resources they need to grow into large businesses. WHAT TEAMS SHOULD DO TO THRIVE Teams need to focus on the consumer experience while also experiencing growth. Chris Stuart, president of PLACE, talks about the “loyalty gap.” This occurs during that seven to 10-year period of time in between sales. Teams need to do a better job staying in front of the homeowner so they come back to them. Most buyers and sellers liked their agent, but at the time that they were ready to buy or sell again, they just weren’t there. As teams spend more and more on customer acquisition, they need to keep that customer for multiple transactions. This means focusing on their experience with their home sale, and also during their tenure as a homeowner, adding value to the full lifecycle of homeownership.
I look back to the start of my real estate career in 2002 and there wasn’t this concept that you could press a button and expect to see a house in an hour. It was a manual process back then. The client picked up the phone and called their agent; the agent called the seller or listing agent to make a showing appointment (usually with a minimum one-hour notice); then the agent and client viewed the home. It certainly wasn’t one press of a button, and it was almost always the primary agent showing the home. Consumer expectations have changed since then. Heck, the actual consumer has changed. They want speed, and they are showing us this loud and clear through their actions. Today’s real estate consumer has high expectations for call response time, property access, integrated core services, and home management resources throughout their homeownership. Meeting these expectations requires a team of professionals. It is increasingly difficult to meet these increasing demands as a solo agent. New studies I’m seeing are saying a two-minute response time is necessary to capture somebody while they’re still on their phone or a website to convert a lead into an appointment. 120 seconds! That means somebody needs to be ready to follow up on leads full time. Consumers expect to see a property within an hour. That means agents need to be on-call to show them a house 24/7. Marketing a listing now includes sophisticated pay-per-click, social media boosting, and digital photography and video that are well beyond the scope of the paper flyers we cranked out in the early 2000s, thinking we were great real estate marketers. HOW TEAMS ARE EVOLVING What we are now seeing is the evolution of large real estate teams. A team’s customer service and deliverables increase with size. There is more support, more administrative staff, more agents, and more specialists to better serve the consumer. When teams are large and sell more units, they
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