Who are You Changing For? You, or Your Customer?

If we agree that happy customers are a necessity for long-term business success, shouldn’t long term planning be based around that directive?

artchange1I recently attended REBarCamp in Philadelphia. Okay, so it wasn’t really that recent, but I’ve had some thoughts stirring since I’ve left.  I attended a session there titled “The Future Brokerage.” The topic centered on old vs. new vs. newer real estate brokerage models. The discussion was well facilitated by moderators Joseph Ferrara of the Sellsius Real Estate Blog, and another gentleman I, unfortunately, cannot recall.

The audience was mostly real estate agents, all with different opinions about what was the better model… the traditional in-house agent with commission splits or the no-office-monthly-fee-100%-commission version. The moderators and the audience discussed each of these arrangements in detail and hybrids of the programs.

Never having worked in a general brokerage environment, the conversation dynamic was interesting, but one noticeable component stood out to me. All of the conversation centered around what the agents and brokers preferred. I listened to agents describe why they were uncomfortable with desk fees. I listened to brokers complain about how none of the agents took advantage of their office support. ALL of the conversation about the better model revolved around how it affected agents and brokers.

I was a complete spectator for the session – just sitting back and taking in the conversation. Afterwards, as I was reflecting on the topic, I wondered why no one discussed which model produced a better experience for buyers and sellers. It seems the largest complaint from the real estate community today has been that fact that they’re just not enough buyers and sellers. Wouldn’t an agency model that produced a better buying or selling experience attract a larger market share of buyers and sellers? Wouldn’t an agency that attracted more buyers and sellers attract more/better agents?

The session offered some valuable insights into the relationship between agents and brokers, and employee atmosphere is certainly a big component of a successful business. However, I think the primary focus of the group was misplaced. I don’t think you can make any business decision without considering that decision’s impact on the customer. I certainly don’t think you can design a new business model without it either. What say you?

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil


Dennis has spent over 19 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.

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