When the question ‘does size matter?‘ is uttered, many things come to mind (and yes, you may snicker now if you wish.)
I think that most of us would argue, in most cases, an organization’s size and performance are related. On some level…whether in business, athletics, academics … being of a certain size affords opportunities that other smaller organizations do not have. Size does have its advantages.
I also believe, this correlation holds true in the brokerage world provided the correct metric for ‘size’ is being measured.
It is no secret the world of real estate has seen sweeping change.
From the ‘Great Recession’ to Dodd-Frank and the explosion of online search, Google, Trulia, Zillow, IDX…the way real estate is marketed and sold has changed dramatically in only a few short years. How real estate was sold in 2007 and how it is being sold today barely resemble one another.
Driving the change is the shift in the way the public searches for homes. A study by the NAR and Google shows that 90% of all buyers used the web at some point in their search. Why? Because much of the information which used to be buried in the tax records or hidden behind password protected MLS systems is now largely available online.
The effect of this ‘information availability’ cannot be understated as it has permanently altered consumer behavior.
The new breed of agents/brokerages must learn to leverage technology.
Understanding how to leverage the technology means creating a presence not limited by geography, time or print. Stated differently, leverage increases reach and CORRECT LEVERAGE, exponentially increases reach. How we all used to view a brokerage’s size (agent count, sign count, office count) now only accounts for a small percentage of the its effective size and reach.
Today, in order to truly judge a brokerage, the ACTUAL counts must be added to the DIGITAL counts of the same metrics.
- How many AGENTS a brokerage has is no longer as important as how many DIGITAL places an agent can be found.
- How many SIGNS a brokerage has in a town has largely been replaced by how many IMPRESSIONS a brokerage can generate.
- How many OFFICES a brokerage has in a region is less important than how high their TARGETED PAGES rank for search terms.
In effect, a digital footprint, both at the agent and brokerage level, will give a far better picture of impact. The physical strategy (signs and offices,) while still valuable, are declining in importance relative to the digital strategy. A correctly leveraged agent (and brokerage) with an understanding of ‘syndication,’ SEO and emerging consumer behavior, can have global reach with relative ease and little cost.
Imprints or Yard Signs?
The bottom line is that prospective buyers and sellers behave far differently.
‘Driving around’ on a Sunday has been replaced by ‘surfing Zillow’ on Sunday morning. Waiting for your agent to call has been replaced by IDX search sites and ‘Client Portals (direct links to MLS)’ updating YOU automatically (and immediately) when the new listing hits the market. Instead of calling the number on the sign, buyers look up the property on the Realtor.com app on their iPhone.
Even the tried-and-true ‘asking a friend for a referral’ does not come without a subsequent online vetting of the agent via their personal website, online reviews and other professional/blogging platforms such as LinkedIn or Active Rain.
Information has never been more available and leverage more prevalent. Understand their impact, and not only you will understand how to measure a brokerage, but you will see measurements such as these…