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                      iSucceed Press Release
Yes Change Is Coming
YES CHANGE IS COMING – BUT NOT JUST IN WASHINGTON

Aliso Viejo, CA November 10, 2008 In the months ahead you are going to be hearing an emerging message in our industry and it will be coming from a lot of different sources.  It isn’t a message that’s new as the subject has been brought up many times over the past few years.  The difference now is that “its” time has arrived and the survival of the real estate professional may well be hanging in the balance.

 

Just hyperbole? 

 

I will stick my neck out far enough on this issue to say that it’s not hype or an exaggeration but rather it’s a critical issue the industry has been slow to address and now is the time.  We can no longer just talk about being customer-centric; we have to define it and commit to it.

 

It seems as though everyone in the industry loosely agrees on what the term means; after all we’ve been discussing it constantly since the bubble burst.  But how we effect a true change of direction has many interpretations.  And we can be sure that not only will we be hearing about it more and more, we are going to see the serious players in the industry begin to “tout” their specific solution – to the industry and the consumer.

 

For just a moment let’s consider what I think is the real focal point of customer-centricity and what it means to the folks out there on the front lines.  It’s really about becoming extremely flexible in an industry that has historically been quite inflexible.  We have to adopt a completely new mindset that will forever change how we look at the “business” of real estate that, perhaps, will finally result in elevating the “industry” into a “profession.”

 

Bringing the customer to where you are is no longer an option.

 

Tomorrow’s real estate professional is going to have to be ready to meet the customers “exactly” where “they” are in the process.  More importantly that means being prepared to quickly determine exactly what their goals are, find out how much they know and then accurately establish their needs.  But you say that’s what we have always been doing.  That may be true, but not with the emerging customer of tomorrow.  You are going to be required to not only determine what they want and what they have but interpret that information for them and be prepared to counsel them on every aspect of the process in the manner and way they prefer to communicate.  And that isn’t as simple as maybe it used to be when the customers weren’t as sophisticated or as well prepared as they are becoming today.  Let’s just use one example to make the point.

 

Customers are increasingly relying on real estate professionals to provide, verify or validate information and that has become more important to them than the act of showing property. In most cases today the customer has already done 90% of that on the Internet before contacting you – and most likely has a property or two in hand.  Today your challenge is all about understanding what information you should supply, determining what information clients should research themselves and where to source quality information.  And one of the most important issues, even more important than price in many cases, is where that house is located.  For that reason, one area in which every professional needs to be “the” expert is the neighborhood.  That’s where your familiarity and expertise will help to make that all important first step in establishing a “personal relationship” – and that’s what tomorrow’s real estate professional is all about.  It’s no longer just a transactional relationship – it’s all about the long term.  

 

As a Neighborhood Specialist you will be better equipped and empowered to provide and interpret the information they need, quickly and from reliable sources.  However, just understanding a specific neighborhood isn’t enough. To be a true “Knowledgeable and Professional Agent” you must be able to relate to consumers’ experiences and perceptions, and be able to explain how a particular neighborhood is similar or different from their past experiences. A simple example would be a potential buyer from the Midwest asking about basements in Florida or frost lines in Southern California. As a Neighborhood Specialist you must possess enough knowledge to be able to relate to the person and inform them of the local housing environment and specifics about your particular neighborhood.

 

There is a whole lot more about the neighborhood than just relating where the schools and parks are or how far it is to the main shopping area.  There is a wealth of information pertaining to that area and it is critical that you ensure your customer is aware of it as it’s critical to the decision they are about to make.  As a professional it’s your job to make sure “all” the questions get answered – especially those they don’t even know enough about to ask.

 

There are a lot of areas in the real estate business that require special attention if you are working in a niche market.  But understanding the volumes of information available concerning a specific neighborhood and being able to interpret that for the customer is something every true professional should be able to do.  It goes way beyond a drive through sales pitch.

 

RealtyU has developed an interactive online course – Certified Neighborhood

Specialist (CNS) – that will walk you through aspects of neighborhood specialization that you my not even know existed.  You will learn how to develop a complete history of your neighborhood and where to gain a wealth of free information to assist your customer in determining if that neighborhood and community will satisfy their needs.  You will learn how to make sure that they are aware of and take into consideration key pieces of information that they haven’t even considered. 

 

Much of the Neighborhood Specialist course is comprised of information to enable you to develop a greater grasp of the vast amount of differences in housing that is available. Understanding these differences will allow you to better relate to potential buyers from both your area(s) or from out of state. As you navigate through this course, you will put yourself in the mindset of a customer with no knowledge of the area, the local housing market or even construction specifications or requirements.  You will learn how to determine be able to explain the nuances and features that make your particular neighborhood(s) special.

 

At the present time, in honor of NAR’s 100 year anniversary, RealtyU® is offering the first 100 people who take any of its online professional designation courses a $100 mail-in rebate and that applies to the CNS course.  To get the details on a designation that “every” real estate professional should hold just visit http://www.realtyu.com/NAR%20100_fp.html – change is coming – be ready. 

 

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