(This is part one of a two-part series)
I spoke with Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, two weeks prior to Real Estate Connect to think through a roundtable session we were tasked with running at the show. We agreed it should be something more than a few folks sitting around a table talking while others listened. That seemed too Web 1.0-sh. We wanted to create something interactive. All-inclusive. Web 2.0-ish. A chance to tap into everyone’s collective genius.
With the help of co-moderators Chris Crocker (NRT), Rick Spencer (Windermere), Kevin Doell (BH&GRE) and my business partner Brian Boero we managed to pull this off.
We called it, “Building the killer brokerage from scratch: A think tank.“
We split the audience into four groups. Each was asked to reinvent an element of the real estate brokerage. We urged them to think without the self-imposed rules that hamstring every broker. And to dispense with timeworn politics. Skies were the limit here.
The four categories/groups were:
Group 1: The physical office, moderated by Brian Boero
Group 2: The virtual brokerage, moderated by Rick Spencer
Group 3: The business model, moderated by Chris Crocker
Group 4: The consumer experience, moderated by me
Sherry — who has spent the last nine months actually doing what we were contemplating — oversaw the whole thing, adding her perspective to each of the group discussions.
The groups were given thirty minutes to brainstorm. They were then given ten minutes to reduce their output down to the three most important components/ideas. Easels, markers and paper were provided.
A representative from each group presented the results to all participants. Here’s what they came up with:
The Virtual Brokerage
The Business Model
As you can see, there is some overlap here. But overall, the common theme is transparency. It’s a word used often and arguably abused. However, the notion of openness permeates this new model from broker to agent to consumer.
All in attendance took a hard look at less-than-helpful practices — dual agency, passing clients off to “preferred” vendor partners, irresponsible marketing tactics and others — that have pounded broker trust into powder.
It was agreed that the best thing a new model can offer is open access to everything.
Choice was also a major issue. As an industry of independent contractors, agents with twenty years of experience and five hundred sides under their belt felt a set commission diminished their value to the consumer. Most everyone believed there is a better way to establish splits with brokers and compensation packages with consumers.
Some noted the difficulty of implementing these ideas. We cautioned them to let it go — at least for this exercise.
This ends part 1. Part 2 will review the recommendations of the other two groups, which cover the physical brokerage and the consumer experience. Click over to BH&GRE’s CleanSlateBlog for an alternative take on this event.
[Disclosure: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is a client of 1000Watt Consulting.]
Smart industry takes and creative inspiration.