As nearly all businesses are forced to pivot quickly in order to meet consumer expectations amid the Coronavirus pandemic, a glimpse into the land brokerage industry — which has been evolving rapidly due to technological advancements and changing consumer behavior—is extremely relevant today.
Technology’s Disruption of the Land Brokerage Industry, and the Coronavirus Pandemic Acting as a Catalyst
Prior to COVID-19, technology was already making a noticeable impact on both our businesses and personal lives. Technology has forever changed communication, shopping, banking, education, entertainment, and, recently even how we visit with our doctors. But we didn’t fully understand how suddenly the beneﬁts of technology would shift from being a convenience to an absolute necessity.
Most of the world came to a screeching halt a few months ago. Meanwhile, the innovative, forward-thinking businesses have proven they don't need to stop their dribble to pivot; they’re going straight to the hoop for the score. Those effectively wielding technology are dominating the marketplace, whether we like it or not.
Before the pandemic, it had been predicted that 40% of both blue- and white-collar jobs would be lost to technology over the next 15 years. Since the onset of COVID-19 and the shutdown of our economy, it’s become clear that loss of American jobs to technology will occur more rapidly than originally predicted. And the real estate sector is no exception.
Long before Coronavirus had become a household name, massive disruption had been going on in the residential real estate sector. Companies effectively leveraging technology, data, google rankings, artiﬁcial intelligence, and social media were covering ground faster than Murder Hornets. That’s why we must learn from these residential companies.
They are changing the industry’s message with marketing slogans such as “Real Estate, Made Simple” and “Finally, the Way Real Estate Should Be.” Some of these businesses are demonstrating how the residential real estate industry has been ripe for disruption.
On a related note, businesses in general are seeing consumers demand more transparency. Consumers expect relevant, accurate, free-of-charge data to be at their ﬁngertips to assist them with their decision-making process. If businesses are unable to meet their expectations, they’re on to the next vendor.
"...86% of real estate agents will be replaced by robots over the next 20 years."
A recent Oxford University study predicted that 86% of real estate agents will be replaced by robots over the next 20 years. This statistic could be scary, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The real question is, will you be part of the 86% pushed aside, or will you be part of the elite 14% who are taking the time to learn how to stand out, stay relevant, and remain valuable? If real estate professionals can better serve clients by providing exactly what they need on a personal, emotional, and technological level, while saving them time and money, we become invaluable.
As real estate brokers, our path ahead may not be as easy as it has been in the past, but it’s important to seek opportunity in every challenge; do not sit victim to the changing circumstances. Be coachable and seek mentoring from others who can provide valuable tools and insight into changes and updates in the land brokerage industry.
As consumers take the lead in communicating what they want from land brokers, it’s important to go above and beyond to protect our brands and reputations, at all costs. Take caution: enabled by tools like Yelp, Google, and Facebook reviews, the service industry is being placed under a microscope more than ever before. Consumers will have access to how well or insufﬁciently we’ve performed, and they’ll base their buying decision on that information, and for many of them, that information alone.
The Bottom Line
There is no way to slow the pace of technology. We must embrace the impact it’s making in every industry, especially in new ways of connecting and presenting valuable information to our consumers in the land brokerage industry.
They are the ultimate shot caller, deciding who wins and who loses. Only those companies that can reach and provide the best consumer experience will win. Participation trophies in the land brokerage business are a relic of the past.
This article was originally published in the REALTORS® Land Institute Summer 2020 Terra Firma Magazine.
About the author: Aaron Graham, ALC, is Partner and Chief Innovation Ofﬁcer with National Land Realty. He’s a licensed real estate broker in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. Since he entered the real estate business after retiring from a successful NFL career, he’s brokered over $300,000,000 of land transactions throughout the Midwest.