Facebook Live Interview with NAR’s New CEO
One August 18, RealScout CEO Andrew Flachner conducted the first Facebook Live interview with new National Association of REALTORS® CEO Bob Goldberg following the 2017 Leadership Summit. Here are some excerpts.
Flachner: Leigh Brown of RE/MAX asks, “What is NAR going to do differently to make sure that the staff understand the life of the average member in the trenches, knowing that most of (the staff) have never been licensed as agents or brokers?”
Goldberg: I am starting a program called A Day in The Life — allowing our senior staff, senior vice presidents and vice presidents to engage directly with our members in the different regions. I think in order to better serve our members, our employees have to be more empathetic to what our members go through every day.
Raising the Bar
Flachner: Two years ago, NAR commissioned the D.A.N.G.E.R. REPORT. The number one danger impacting agents was masses of marginal agents destroying the reputation of the REALTOR® brand.
Joanne Doctor, she has nearly 5,000 agents across 65 offices asks, “What will we do to raise the bar to become a REALTOR®?” Is that production standards, years in the business, consumer satisfaction, time mentoring under a successful agent?
Goldberg: I think it could be all of the above or parts of all of the above. We’ve got to say, “Who’s serious about this business and wants to be in this as a profession?” That bar might be, this segment meets this requirement. Or we even go so far as saying, “You don’t qualify anymore to call yourself a REALTOR®.” Maybe you’re a REALTOR® apprentice, or maybe you’re something else. Or maybe you’re not in it anymore.
Flachner: How do you reconcile that with NAR’s revenue model…individual agent dues, where high numbers means high revenue for the organization…while simultaneously raising the bar to protect the REALTOR® brand?
Goldberg: Our structure is built on scale; we can scale up, we can scale down. If this organization suddenly became 500-thousand (instead of 1.2 million members), then we’ll scale appropriately.
One of the other ideas is to build a Homeowner’s Coalition membership organization — not for the purpose of getting more dues, but to say we have an army of a lot more people than just a million members. If we turn around and say we’ve got 5 million consumers with us, then we’ll wield just as much power and maybe even more influence on Capitol Hill than we ever had before.
Flachner: Stefan Swanepoel, who authored the D.A.N.G.E.R. Report, asked this question, “So much venture capital has flooded into real estate brokerage and real estate technology…How is this flood of venture capital going to change the residential real estate brokerage industry?”
Goldberg: We can’t be fearful of what all that capital means. We have to find a way to embrace it, and not feel that we have to sit there and figure out how we compete against that. We should not have been surprised when we heard about what Amazon was doing with their referral program in their marketplace. I wish they were doing it with us, and I think we have an opportunity to still do it with them.
Flachner: Does that mean more cooperation and integration with other vendors? Obviously, the REach® program has been a huge success and made a big difference in our business.
Goldberg: I am actively engaged right now in the process of bringing in a top talent to help us with those macro relationships — ones that we haven’t even thought about, that have potential influence in this industry. Some may be business partnerships, some may be equity investments. Some just may be you’re a mega giant company that’s worth billions. We’ve got a five billion dollar brand in organized real estate, that delivers several trillion dollars of business. We’d be better working together than trying to create (our) own sandbox.
Flachner: There are tech companies that strive to help REALTORS® or brokers — whether to do more transactions, to do them faster, more profitably. There are some platforms that NAR has influence over, that make some of this innovation or integration a bit of a challenge.
Realtor.com® has a closed ecosystem and is unwilling to integrate with many products that REALTORS® love. While at the same time, Zillow…a company that many in this industry love to hate…has integrated with over 100 tech companies that REALTORS® love to grow their business.
Do you believe that a protectionist mindset is important to protect members and their data, or is it outdated thinking in a world that’s moving so quickly towards platform plays?
Goldberg: Where our brokers’ intellectual property is involved, protectionism is important — at least protectionism where the broker has a right to know what’s happening to their valuable content. In this day and age, it’s all about competition. If a company wants to take a protectionist view, not be open to doing innovation, then customers will vote with their pocket book. It’s as simple as that.
Goldberg’s Rules – REALTOR® Magazine (Nov/Dec 2017)
‘This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Association Anymore’ – REALTOR® Magazine (Aug. 15, 2017)
Bob Goldberg on Why He’s Best Person to Move NAR and Industry Forward – RealScout (Aug. 16, 2017)