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20 June 2008

Back to Basics— NOT REALLY!

Posted by Wendy Forsythe

I’ve been hearing many people give agents advice that in order to prosper in today’s real estate market you need to get “back to basics.” Honestly, every time I hear this phrase the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

It’s not that I don’t absolutely believe that there are fundamentals that every agent needs to focus on in order to be successful. I do. However, I think to define these fundamentals as “basics” is misleading. There is nothing basic about our business. Those that are successful are so because they have adapted to the market, to consumers expectations and have worked hard at doing the right things along the way. The tasks they fill their days with today are different then they were 5 years, 10 years or 15 years ago.

The issue I have with “back to basics” is the time frame. What basics, in what market, in what year should you get back to? If you go back to the basics of 2004 you are likely not going to last long in 2008. Should you go back to the basics of 2000, or how about 1995 basics? My point is that the business has changed and how agents attract, retain and meet clients expectations has changed with it.

When I started selling real estate in the early 1990’s we didn’t have websites and our MLS system was a three ring binder that we lent to buyers overnight to look at or photocopied listing sheets for them. It’s an entirely different world today with IDX, listing syndication, and unlimited information sources online.

So let’s stop telling agents to “get back to basics” and let’s start helping them build foundations for success in 2008. What do I think some of those foundations should be:

  • Establishing an online presense using multiple platforms and strategies to attract inquiries and service clients. It’s not just about having a website.
  • Learning how to work with the internet empowered consumer.
  • Developing merchanchising strategies for listings in today’s market.

There are several other foundations that are necessary. I’ll write about some of those in future blogs. So the next time you hear someone sharing the wisdom of “getting back to basics,” ask them to define what they mean by that and don’t let them off the hook until they share what they think the basics are for 2008. Then you be the judge of whether or not these will help take your business where you want it to go in today’s market.

Happy selling!

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