I can’t really figure out what’s going on with the real estate agent community right now. The reactions to Realtor.com’s Agent Match are trending fast and furious across the web and some great points were made on last night’s Watercooler. For the record, I’m not leaning one direction or the other, just being reasonable.
I’ve been around this industry quite a while now and I completely understand the thoughts coming from both sides of the argument. I agree some adjustments should be made in order to present a true picture of ALL business. I also, personally, help coach and train brand new agents and can see where their production being published might hinder their ability to land a customer against someone more productive. (But, of course, it will only be those customers actually looking at and trusting this tool from Realtor.com.) I coach said agents on customer service, reputation, customer relationship management, negotiations, contracts, ethics and several other areas. I believe if they are great students that can convey what they’ve learned to potential customers, they have a hell of a chance of winning over customers regardless of their numbers. You see, part of success at sales has always been and always will be confidence in yourself.
Realtor.com has created and is testing consumer reaction to a tool. Just an FYI—consumers have a million tools they can use to research agents ahead of time. I wonder if the opposing side has checked lately. Are they as passionate about not being tagged in ‘crazy night out’ photos as they are about hiding their production? Are they equally upset about the reviews on Zillow, Yelp, Angie’s list, etc? And yes, I also understand the current numbers are being pulled from data found on the listing side.
But it’s NAR–how could they do this to us?
Let’s cool off a little and take a step back and really look at this from a mile-high view. At some point, is it possible a popular real estate website will get a hold of this data and publish it? Of course. Who would you rather have in charge? NAR or someone else? Could it possibly be NAR is trying to protect real estate agents by being the first to organize and publish this data?
Is it possible Realtor.com will find this tool isn’t useful for consumers and completely pull the plug on it? Yes. That’s why it’s being TESTED.
Do consumers solely rely on one tool to help make a decision? Not just no, but hell no.
Will this consumer tool trump your reputation as a fantastic agent in the industry? No.
Will your real estate friends and co-workers be sitting in the back room looking at how many houses you sold last year? Sure. We do that now anyway—this tool will just make it easier.
Will this consumer tool take away all the education you’ve had, all the knowledge you’ve gained, all the contacts you’ve made? Umm, that’s a no.
As you can see, I have 101 points I could make about this. But really, my point is this: give them a break! The lashing they’ve taken over this is out of hand. If you’re upset and you don’t like it, fine. Answer the questions they keep asking, “What data would YOU want to see for this tool? How would you change it?” There’s nothing wrong with letting them know you don’t like it and why, but stop and think before you do. Use your professionalism and negotiation skills. Present issues alongside solutions. Check into the advisory board and see if you think it’s a good panel of your peers representing you.
As long as real estate’s been around, there’s been consumer tools we haven’t liked. In small towns, a consumer tool could be that guy working at the bank whose car you hit on that icy morning 5 years ago that hasn’t liked you since. Totally out of your control, but I bet you’re still able to grow and thrive in spite of it.
Be attentive to developments and provide feedback as compelled, but don’t thrash about like this is the end of the world. It’s just not professional and this is a relationship business where your reputation matters.