A stilleto among blunt axes

“Circumstances rule men, men do not rule circumstances.”

– Herodotus, 400 B.C.

Today, real estate is facing circumstances that rule every minute, every penny. It matters little what was or what should be. The fact is, what’s unfolding is nothing like you could have ever imagined a few years ago.

It is often said that real estate is a business that doesn’t like change. Well I guess it doesn’t matter what you like or don’t like. Everything changes and everyone, especially in business, must adapt to stay competitive.

The larger truth here is that those of you who aren’t changing are probably the ones most affected by today’s economic times.

Agents: If you persist in wrapping your worth within a cheap patch-quilt website filled with vapid copy, a templated IDX feed and useless content, then regardless of what you think, you are viewed by consumers as being no different than any other agent in your market.

You have ignored circumstances. Change would do you good.

Brokers: If you are not recruiting only the best and brightest agents, not providing them with the best tools, not, perhaps, aware of what the best tools are, not scrutinizing every single one of your vendors and seeking more affordable ones with better technology, if you have settled on your old school website, then you are net well positioned to make it through.

You have ignored circumstances. Change would do you good.

Vendors: If you are struggling to express your value proposition, unsuccessfully articulating what your product does, caught by surprise by the new competitor offering something you charge for for free, still relying on hyperbolic marking, failing to uncover new ways to broadcast your message and slung to a belief that your legacy clients are tied to your apron strings forever, you can surely do better.

You have ignored circumstances. Change would do you good.

If you are an AE and your association does not provide the most relevant education classes, does not periodically hold consumer focus groups and publish the findings, is not addressing critical consumer issues affecting your marketplace, does not have a programmer whose job it is to invent the tools your members need, if you are not actively analyzing all the products being peddled to your members and publishing a CNET-like report, then your value is diminishing in every way imaginable. In a fashion, you are partially responsible for why so many of your members are backwards.

You have ignored circumstances. Change would do you good.

If you are an MLS and lack the belief that you can be far more powerful and profitable than you already are, if you are finding yourself picked and plucked by third party vendors that take the perfect data you have and sell a denigrated version of it to your members, if you don’t see yourself as the ultimate expression of all things Web 2.0, then you are missing the greatest opportunity to hit your doorstep in decades.

Circumstances are breaking in your favor. Change and reap the rewards.

I’m far from perfect. My flaws plague me at every turn. Sometimes I miss more than I catch and often I beat myself up over failed opportunities and false starts. Sometimes I wish I could stop the second hand from moving and spin time back a few decades. The rush of trying to keep up and staying ahead seems to take everything I have. And then some.

But then I figure, while I sometimes wish time stood still, many are blindly stuck in the past, dulling their axe at the chopping block of opportunity with each backward heave they take. They stubbornly try to rule their circumstances with folded arms, rolling eyes and a glare.

Agents, brokers, vendors, AE’s, MLS execs: Most of your competitors today are blunt axes. You can become the stiletto among them.

And cut your way through to the top.