Some friends of ours are taking their kids to Disneyland this weekend. They are doing so with confidence. They have a plan, and information that will help them make decisions. They will hit all the best rides, at the right times, and never wait more than five minutes. Their kids won’t melt down. They won’t bicker over whose dumb-ass idea it was to try and ride Pirates of the Caribbean right before lunchtime.
The Kingdom will truly be Magical.
It will be so because they used a funny but amazingly helpful application called RideMax. RideMax crunches thousands of data points gathered at Disney parks to create custom itineraries for visitors. It can tell you what rides to go on when, in a sequence that minimizes waits. It can create itineraries based on your child’s interests. It can tell you, to the minute, how long you can expect to stand in a line.
It combines expert knowledge and data collected about a place with technology to help people make smart decisions. It sheds light on an uncertain situation.
Ignore the kludgy Website. And the download. The point, which you’ve probably grokked already, is this: the opportunity for you, the real estate broker or agent, to own your own Magic Kingdom, is still wide open.
Yes, there are those who do this: Jay, Kris, Teresa and mere dozens of others. I’ve been citing them for years now. They rock. But where are the new stars? How many agents or brokerages can you name that provide something as remotely useful as RideMax for those thinking about buying a ticket to home ownership in a given market or neighborhood?
I spoke with an agent yesterday who is a real pro. She was the #2 practitioner in her market last year. But things are changing. Others with less experience but more online mojo are nibbling at her business. She needs to do something, but was was not sure what that is.
I asked her, “You know the towns you work better than any other agent, right?”
“You’ve been in the community forever and know tons of people, right?”
“You’ve do more sides in a month than your competitors do in a year, right?”
“So tell me about the market in ______” (the tiny town in which we were meeting).
“Well, the market started taking a dive when everything else did, but has been slower to recover because we got a couple problematic people on the planning board. They basically blocked any remodel to these big old homes. So even though we had a good number of cash buyers, they opted for other towns because they knew they couldn’t make the improvements they wanted to make. But that changed a couple months ago after people organized and the two people giving us trouble were forced off the board. That’s producing a few new buyers and should help pick things up.”
I said, “You just wrote an e-newsletter article. Do this every week with your assistant. Have her write it out and drop it into a nice looking template. Then ask people to sign up everywhere you touch them – on your website, in your (rather significant) weekly print ads, on your stationary, at the country club and at your opens. Let them know you’re sharing information they’ll find useful with no fluff, preening or spin.”
I had an hour, not the weeks it would take to flesh out a strategy for bolstering her market position. So we didn’t get into the details that need to be worked through to really nail this. But I was struck by the degree to which this woman – and tons of other great Realtors I have met – are unconscious to the enormous store of value sitting between their ears and the ever-increasing need to set it free.
This woman could be the RideMax of her farm, the queen of her own Magic Kingdom. Vanquished would be the pretenders with cookie cutter charts and canned newsletters.
I think she’s going to go for it. If you’re good, you can too.