By Dave Robison
Marilyn Wilson with the WAV Group has been visiting brokerages and state associations with data that her company compiled about our industry. While attending one of her recent presentations, I snapped a quick photo with my phone of one of her graphs.
She said there are two different types of companies listed on the graph. The companies with the massive revenues are companies that the public loves. The companies with the lower revenues on the graph are companies that could be viewed as a commodity. One broker yelled out during Wilson’s presentation, “That’s why we are all not profitable! No wonder why we are having a hard time, we are all the bottom companies.”
Wilson explained that the brands people love have the most revenue, and as a result, the most room for profit, while other companies will fight to be profitable. The room was filled with “a-ha moments.” She then stated that the WAV Group conducted a survey in the Houston area where they asked members of the public to “name the first company you think of when you hear ‘real estate.'” Can you guess what company ranked No. 1? Wilson claims the same company was named more than 90 percent of the time when the question was asked. The public said, “Zillow.” Wow! When people hear real estate, that is the first thing that comes to their mind? She proved her point that our industry doesn’t have a brand that people love.
Here’s an example: What comes to your mind when I say, “Nordstrom?” Most people will say, “Awesome customer service,” and, “You can return anything to them.” What comes to mind when I say, “Starbucks?” Most people will say, “Amazing coffee.” What comes to the consumers’ mind when we say any real estate brokerage name? Most people don’t have anything that comes to mind. They go blank. She says the majority of brokerages lack a “brand promise,” meaning, there is no minimum level of service guarantee to the consumer and brokerages will hire newly licensed agents and very experienced agents all under the same umbrella.
Want to be loved? Want to attract consumers you haven’t even met to come to your brand? Do you want to be top of mind when someone is asked Marilyn’s survey question? The companies that are loved all have a brand promise. The consumer knows what to expect when they go to that certain company that they love. In our industry, the level of service or experiences will differ due to brokerages not offering a guaranteed level of service. Wilson did offer a couple hints to attain this. After surveying the public, she found that the consumer wanted two main things. First, someone who specializes in their neighborhood. Second, they want responsive service.
I think what she is saying may be partially right. From what I’ve observed, the majority of real estate agents have a self-made independent career, not a profitable business. Agents and brokerages are the companies on the bottom of the graph. Back in August, I blogged about transforming your career into a business. If your business has a brand promise and people are coming to you, not because you are related to them, but because your brand offers something to people you don’t know, you will have a business. And if you brand promise is something people love, you can expect your revenues to soar.
Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is broker/owner of UtahDave.com Neighborhood Experts.