Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Agency of the future...how does it look?


So much has changed, yet nothing has changed. You could be forgiven for thinking all of the rhetoric about traditional real estate agents becoming extinct as mere sensationalism; after all, this has been talked about for decades.

When the insurance industry restructured 25 years ago I remember we were talking about all this back then. Finance Advisors were fat cats and suddenly everything changed. I remember selling a lot of the houses owned by AMP when they restructured their business in the late ‘80s. Then there was the travel industry, the stock brokers, more recently finance brokers and today it is the retail industry’s turn.

Nothing has structurally changed in real estate for the 36 years I have been in it.

Why?  Some say “because it never will!” After all, houses ARE such a big ticket item... such rare transaction events involving so much money and emotion. Real estate is the ultimate “people business”. Real estate will forever continue to require skilled negotiators, marketers, and professional advisers; selling a property is such a big deal.
Are you kidding me? With the advent of iPads, Smart Phones, Smart TVs and information literally on tap, PLUS...add in the roll out of broadband across the nation, making all communication including video equivalent to real time…if this doesn’t change the rules, I will eat my hat.

I am confident we are experiencing the calm before the storm.

Last Thursday Gen Toop, Debbie Copley and I represented Toop&Toop at the national real estate awards in Canberra. YES...we won a massive gong, the National Communication Award (Best Marketing)… but the point is that new real estate technologies are springing up everywhere.

For example, while we launched Toop3D WORLD FIRST marketing to our industry’s “bestof the best” in Canberra, another group won the Innovation Award (we are a Hall of Famed out of that category).  It was industry software similar to our Toop&Toop VirtualAgent2 (Va2)- a smart selling system utilised in the field on iPads.

Another development was with REIV and REISA - where agency agreements and forms (within a month or so) will be signed direct on iPads! Client management is becoming incredibly easy with communication being a tap of the finger and fully automated. But these industry innovations are nothing compared to what the big guys are up to.

Organisations like RP Data, REA (realestate.com.au), Google, Facebook, Domain, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank to name just a few, are changing real estate agents’ lives right now in 2013, whether we like it or not. If we don’t adapt, they will simply run straight over the top of us like Coles, Woolies and service stations have done to the corner store.

Seriously, the time is so near where the scales will tip and an entirely new real estate landscape will wipe out traditional operators who refuse to evolve, adapt and embrace these new amazing capabilities.

Your demands as consumers will become so unrealistic for traditional agents to deliver.

How long? Wholesale change five years. Radical operational changes by the end of 2013 - they are occurring right now. Thankfully Toop&Toop’s latest innovations are rolling out at full steam after years of development. Va(2) is just cranking up in the field...but we have had to turbo charge the pace of development since it’s all moving so fast. We have three developers and four digital image staff full time in this space, that’s seven full-time staff...that’s how serious we are. We are about two years ahead of the rest of the nation, but we will need to incorporate a number of features from these other developers to stay well ahead of the pack on every front. Very exciting.

Fully networked sales (and soon rental) teams all interconnected in real time; high traffic video content online, and now 3D; ownership of online and traditional marketing “real estate”; massive business and social networks. Toop&Toop are currently in great shape.

So the time is near. Traditional operators are either in complete denial, or complete panic.

The consumer is king...they always win!

Regards,
Anthony Toop


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