Lessons From a Parallel Industry

In June 2017, Maria Ferrante-Schepis, executive VP for Insurance & Financial Services at Maddock Douglas, addressed 200 local, state and national REALTOR® association staff in Chicago.

Here are some challenges that are parallel to the real estate and insurance industries:

  • Aging Sales Force1
  • Consumer Access to Information2
  • Online Addicted Consumer
  • Consumers checking out everything that we do online; just to be pro-active, but also to check out what they hear from trusted advisers or not-so trusted advisers.

  • Mistrust of Middlemen
  • Anyone who’s in the transaction between the consumer and the thing that they want, can be considered mistrusted; particularly if they’re commissioned sales people, or have some kind of a perceived bias.

I’m not going to tell you all that you have to reinvent the business model of the real estate industry. That’s not within your realm of things you can control. However, what you can control is…authentic communication.

You can’t fake being real by trying to be somebody else. Authenticity is something that you just kind of know when you see it. What we want to do is unpack it into four elements.

  1. Are you easy to understand?
  2. The first time I heard you people talking about FSBOs, I went, “I don’t know what a FSBO is, should I say Gesundheit?” Here’s a tip for you, use common everyday language.

  3. Are you down to earth?
  4. This is all about being approachable. A lot of language that we use inside of industries that are highly regulated or complex, such as financial transactions, come off as an unapproachable because of legalese.

    Let me give you a good example. How many of you listen intently when the flight attendant is giving you that (safety) information? This airline does it a little bit differently…

  5. Are you memorable?
  6. What have they taken away from you that nobody else has given them? There are all different ways to be memorable. Here’s a scenario that’s almost on point, but not exactly what I mean…

  7. Are you credible?
  8. Are you acting in other’s best interests and how do you prove that you are?

    “I once represented a seller whose apartment came with a 33% flip tax,
    and included that in my advertising materials.” – Jill Sloane, REALTOR®

    Take the downside and highlight it, not hide it. Because if you’re willing to do that, you stand apart as being credible and acting in other people’s best interests.

It’s important to gain skills for re-imagining your business. Think about all the touch points in your business and consider the ways that you can be more authentic. Above all, be true to yourself and authenticity should come more naturally.


Related stories:

1  “More than one-third of U.S. workers are between 18 and 34. Yet, just 5 percent of REALTORS®
    are under 30.” – Attracting Young Agents to Real Estate, REALTOR® Magazine

2  Home Buying in the New World Order – Arizona REALTOR® VOICE blog

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