What comes to mind when you see a barber pole?
An old geezer running a blade across a leather strap.
A hot towel, thick foam and a close shave. Clubman. Checkerboard floors. A great place to whack a Mafia Don.
The local barbershop was Americana, right up there with the greasy spoon coffee shop and the Rexall drug store — endeared by all who frequented them.
But over the decades, the love waned. As new competitors grew into the marketplace, these establishments remained still in their own murky waters of services, anchored to old ways and failing to navigate their brands to the new currents of change.
Over time, despite the full array of services they offered, they drifted from the fabric of our culture, replaced by TRESemme, Paul Mitchell, Fantastic Sams, CVS and Starbucks — “interlopers.”
The older institutions suffered at the hands of their own neglect, compounded by their inability to convey the value they offered, the full services they provided and the personal attention they gave. They believed that being moored to an historic tradition is good enough to insure their place in the future.
Perhaps they believed in nothing. And let fear of some unknown guide their complacency.
Barber Poles in Real Estate
There’s tons of them spinning around Main Street. Red and blue ribbons of full-service, high-end value, and personal attention all buried under the sands of gloriously ineffective marketing.
Today’s broker — you might be a barbershop. You cut hair better than anyone. You service the customer better than anyone. And what you deliver is uncommon. But you’ve created ambiguity around yourselves, the skills you posses and the benefits derived from them.
And that continues to ring the warning signal. Look how easy it was for Zillow to make the marketplace believe its home-value estimates were more accurate than yours. They marketed your intelligence right under the rug.
A real estate TRESemme is coming
Believe it. React as if a new, polished, exciting brand has already leased a storefront in your town. In some cases, this is already happening. If not, one will. It’s just a matter of time.
Believe that as things get tougher, as money gets tighter, people need what you offer more than ever. Believe this – they might never find it if you don’t learn how to inform them in new and exciting ways.
Believe that so much has changed in the way consumers interact with brands that if you haven’t made the changes, your value proposition is desperately hidden.
Believe that changing these things right this second is the only way you’ll survive over the course of time.
What Davison Realty Group would do
If I owned my own real estate brokerage I’d craft a new credo. I’d search my soul and excavate the truest meaning behind what my Davison Realty company was built on and write it up in the simplest, most direct language possible. It might read something like this:
Davison Realty believes in the preservation of the American dream of home ownership. Our goal is provide the best experience possible to help people realize that dream.
Once I publish this oath, it becomes my religion. Every action I take, every decision I make, every question I ask would be measured against that statement. The voice in my head would sound like this?
Does my current Website provide the best experience possible? If the answer is no, I’m fixing it immediately. Otherwise, my oath is rendered false. My intentions are meaningless. As is my brand.
Are all my agents in my brokerage sworn to the same oath? Are they in this business to preserve the dream of home ownership or are they lazy, soft and always looking for an easy commission check?
The ones who are with me – I find a way to thank them. The ones that aren’t, I find a way to retain them. Re-educate them. To explain that by advancing their knowledge, their customer services, their use of technology, they would help more people and probably make more money. If that fails, I’d let them go. Fast. Send them over to my competitors – you know, the companies that scoop up all the non working, non selling agents because they believe quantity is far better than quality. I’d have to do this because if I didn’t, my oath is meaningless and my brand will continue to have no meaning.
Is my firm providing the latest, greatest, fastest, simplest processes and services or are we still doing and using the same ideas and tools we did ten years ago? If so, do those things still enhance my customer’s experience?
If not, I’d axe them. And replace them with what will. How would I learn about this new ideas? I probably would never even ask this question because the information is all around me. And if I couldn’t figure out how to find out where that info is, I’d have to pack it up. Because I’d be letting myself and the oath I made down.
Or, if I decided to keep running my old barber shop brokerage just like I’ve been doing, I would, at the very least, be transparent in how I position my company and alter my oath to read:
Davison Realty, we are the roulette wheel of services and skills. Come, take a spin. Good Luck!