Through the eyes of a child

I spent last week at the happiest place on earth. A trip to Disneyland had long been on my two daughters’ wish lists and my wife and I finally decided to bite the bullet and make the trek down to Anaheim over the holiday break.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t board the plane from PDX with a slight amount of trepidation. The prospect of Thanksgiving crowds, endless lines and poor-to-terrible food choices didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm.

By the end of our second day, however, that sense of dread had dissipated entirely. I was all-in, ears and all.

Part of this, to be sure, was seeing the park through the eyes of my eight-year-old and five-year-old. Even the most cynical heart would be warmed by their enthusiasm and never-ending sense of wonder and excitement.

But it was also the realization that Disneyland’s business isn’t really about the coasters, or the merchandise, or the corn dogs… that’s how they make money, sure. But the truth is Disneyland is in the business of making memories.

It was evident in the way every character, from Mickey to Vampirina, greeted my kids like it was the most exciting moment of their day. And in how the Disney cast members discretely hung back and faded into the background, but somehow were always nearby to ensure our time there was smooth.

Knowing what business they were really in meant they were relentlessly focused on delivering the perfect experience.

Every business should be so wise.

Sure, real estate may have a business that’s built on leads, sides, splits. But those are the equivalents of junk food, rides and souvenirs. It’s how money is made.

Could our industry also strive for something more meaningful, like making memories? And, if so, how would we go about fulfilling that promise?

As brokers, are you creating a story or nurturing a culture that moves your agents to go the extra mile for their clients? That helps them see the value in every touch and how it can add up to a greater sense of loyalty and love for your brand?

As an agent, are you being mindful to get out of the way of your client’s experience while constantly making sure it is the central measure of your success?

Another big part of my Disneyland memories was the way technology was layered into the entire experience. From a rock-solid mobile app that gave us real-time updates on every ride’s wait-time, to the seamless way we could request and save photos from every character interaction…

It truly was magical.

Again, I couldn’t help but think of our industry. In real estate, we often choose technology based on its feature set, or gravitate towards the latest shiny object or trendy buzzword projected from a conference stage.

But if we instead follow Disney’s lead, we’ll choose tech based on how it solves the minute-by-minute challenges clients face in transactions, or how it seamlessly removes hurdles, or enhances our brand’s mission, whatever that may be.

I came home to PDX with a new understanding of exactly how impactful and how critical this all is. Through the eyes of a child, I realized what’s really at stake in every single interaction a brand has with its customers.