Reimagining the Real Estate Consumer Experience – The Emerging Trend at Inman Connect 2019, New York

Industry leaders agree. We need to think beyond the transaction and reimagine the consumers real estate experience.

“Consumer experience” seemingly became a buzzword the likes of “blockchain”, “Artificial Intelligence”, and “Augmented Realty” at Inman Connect 2019. In 2019, it’s clear that the the best consumer experience earns the consumers business. For example:

  • “One-click” purchases with Amazon, vs getting off the couch, getting into your car and driving to a store

  • “One-click” taxi service with Uber vs walking to a high-traffic curb (in the cold) and trying to find an available taxi

As our world transitions to digital, technology industry leaders know what it takes to solidify their place in the market. They know that a superior customer experience to the incumbent will ultimately win out. The proof can be found by looking now further than Blockbuster, NYC Taxi Medallion Prices and physical Travel Agencies. So what does that mean for real estate? As the incumbent real estate agents are facing a challenge to the traditional consumer experience while new technology companies offer the ability to view and purchase homes without even talking with us. So how do we compete?


The Way It Used To Be

Prior to the mid-1990’s our interaction with the consumer, began the moment they called us or walked into our office. Today, Realtor.com has over 60,000,000 unique consumers search their portal each year yet only 5,000,000 transactions occur in the nation.

If agents only interact with the consumer on those 5,000,000 transactions, that leaves 55,000,000 consumers each year seeking real estate information from someone other than us. This doesn’t include Zillow.

Consumers are beginning their real estate experience well before we have a chance to say, “hi” and begin building a new digital relationship without us knowing. So what can we do to ensure that we offer those clients our valuable services? Or better, what can we offer our clients that they want to use us? This is where the leaders at Inman gave their views.


It’s All About Strong Real Estate Client Relationships

At Inman Connect, brokers, association executives and, influencers all gave their take: “It’s all about relationships”. The emerging voice is that as an industry, we need to have deeper, longer term relationships with our customers if we hope to truly improve their real estate experience. I should point out that the word “relationships” and “value” have been used in the past but this time you could feel a sense of urgency and importance like never before. Many strained the concept of working our sphere of influence given we already know much of what is going on in their lives. These people are our friends, family, doctors, teachers, coaches and more so why wouldn’t they want to work with us? But perhaps we need to think a bit deeper? What are we trying to achieve with these relationships? How can we offer more value? A top team lead in the nation said that their goal is to “know what the consumer wants before they know they want it.” That is definitely value but the next question is “How?”


How Can I Deepen My Real Estate Client Relationships

Unfortunately, no silver bullet was offered at Inman Connect 2019. The challenge of adding more professional value and deepening client relationships remains largely cloudy. Fortunately, we seem to have a little bit of time left on our side. It was point out that as a whole, our customers still love us when they use our services. This was demonstrated by the NAR statistic which states that 88% of our buyers plan to use us on the next sale. Unfortunately, the reality is that only 11% actually do the next time and that number may get even worse over time. This is why we need to change. Leaders at Inman urged the industry to start thinking beyond the transaction when we reimagine the real estate experience.


About the Author

Mike McAra holds his MBA, is a former REALTOR®, and is currently CEO of RealOffice360®. Prior to his time at RealOffice360® Mike worked with several energy focused startups across North America and Australia.

Twitter: @mikekmcara