How many of you can remember back when the MLS listings were delivered in the form of a big thick yellow page type book? Most of you probably can’t or don’t want to remember back that long ago or perhaps you weren’t even an agent back then.  The reality was it took real work to find properties for clients or do the refined and filtered searches that we are all accustomed to now in this online world. We would most likely have to wait for the next publication cycle to place our seller listings in the book; none of this instant uploading via the internet. That has all changed. The future of many industries is changing and being disrupted right before our eyes. The Question is: are you prepared for the shift in our industry?

The general public has had access to almost anything and everything at their fingertips since the creation of the internet and the invention of the smart device, i.e., phones and tablets. They now have access to the same MLS information we have as professionals in the business. This sense of instant gratification has become the new norm for all of us.  It seems like something we all take for granted in our daily lives. The way commerce is transacted has changed so fast over the last five years, and it’s only getting more streamlined. There is no turning back. It’s amazing how much technology has disrupted every sphere of business, most notably, brick and mortar business is being squeezed out by click and order and more efficient online cloud-based models. In case you haven’t noticed you for sure soon will. 

How many of you remember Blockbuster movie rentals. We used to go down and try to be first in line to get a single copy to rent of the latest releases. I remember several times going on a Friday evening to rent the latest “blockbuster” release only to be beat out by someone who nabbed it before me, bummer right? Guess what now I just go to a cloud-based website and down load it from the convenience from my own home, no gas, no lines, no fuss and bam instant gratification! 

I gotta tell you, former Blockbuster workers all over the world must cringe every time they hear the words “online streaming” and “on-demand” or anything “cloud base related” 

That’s because back in 2000, Reed Hastings approached former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and asked him for $50 million to give away the company he founded — Netflix. Reed got on a plane and flew to Dallas Texas to court the Blockbuster CEO. 

Blockbuster, thinking that it was a “very small niche business,” ended the negotiations and didn’t embrace the disruptive technology of Netflix, which at the time was just a DVD mailing service. Reed Hastings has been known to say “Antioco –of Blockbuster nearly laughed him out of his offices.”  Netflix rapidly scaled in market adoption and after just a few short years became worth the same as television network CBS. The cloud-based model -Netflix has now sky rocketed past the television network owner with a current market valuation of $80 plus billion dollars. Netflix has also reached well over 50 million in subscribers of its paid service and became available in 40 countries.

This isn’t the first time that a people and companies missed out on an opportunity that could have shifted their very own business world. There have been others including Verizon shunning Apple for the first model of the iPhone, Comcast foregoing Disney, and AOL merging with Time Warner instead of AT&T. Perhaps the company that made the biggest blunder in on line history is Yahoo, which had chances to buy both Google and Facebook.

Our industry will face a number of fundamental shifts that will shape it’s future, just like ridesharing giant Uber, e-commerce giant Amazon, and hospitality giant AirBnB. The Real Estate Industry is being transformed by online cloud-based companies who are the innovators just like Netflix.

We are already aware that home buyers are researching 90% percent of their buying decision online before they even contact an agent of choice. The days of agents needing a brick and mortar office to meet clients and conduct business is becoming extinct. Our industry will succumb to technology just as Blockbuster did. The cost savings model of on line cloud-based just strips the physical model of far less cost and doing business with more efficiency. There is no need for multiple managing-brokers in one organization or duplicating admin staff or copiers or signage or anything for that matter. It is all done efficiently under one umbrella in the cloud. Not to mention all of the online options for agents to nurture client relations via email, Docu-Sign, virtual conferencing and paperless pipelines, a cloud-based or virtual office will become the new norm for many. 

While many of the trends are already evident, there’s a natural tenancy to underestimate how much and how fast our industry will change. Most people are too busy drinking their own Kool-Aid even to notice. Embracing the future now will set how the operating landscape of our industry takes shape. It will be the early adopter Owners, Brokers, and Agents who prepare for these changes ahead of time who can turn them into fostering a competitive advantage.

I will say “Managing your business and having Vision within your business are two separate things.” Collaborating with technology, innovation and value will be the key for all of our sustainability. To discover more or share your comments about this article feel free to contact me.