News and advice

Why avoiding change is risky

Humans are creatures of habit. We have a tendency towards maintaining the status quo which has been bred into us over millennia, writes Dan Argent.

Think about it. Back in the days when our distant ancestors lived in caves, they’d have found a spot where there was fresh water and a decent source of food, and thought, “This’ll do!”, which was fine until there was a natural disaster, or a warring tribe invaded.

But nothing great ever comes from settling into a well-worn groove. In fact, one of the most important lessons delivered in 2020 is that those who fail to recognise and adapt to change are destined to be overrun by it.

One sector where this is obvious is the real estate industry. Here’s why I believe those avoiding the inevitable are actually choosing the riskiest career path in our industry.

Control is key

Sure, change seems scary when you’ve been working in a particular role for years on end.

But when you really think about it, the only thing that isn’t changing is “change” itself.

We’ve been fed a lie that by locking in with an agency, you will somehow be more successful. It’s like we believe they have some magical force field that’ll ensure you’ll do better there than by working for yourself.

But this has turned out to be a fallacy. In fact, it turns out that those agents who’re self-employed have had far better prospects this year. I can introduce you to plenty of small-business owners who discovered the benefits of running their own show in 2020.

The reason is simply this: when you own the business, you have complete control. You can work wherever you want, whenever you want, and implement whatever you want. If it’s going to be best for you and your business, you don’t need to seek approval from some faraway boardroom-sitting manager.

Same same, but better

The other element worth considering as a self-employed agent is that, if done correctly and with the right support, you can operate as a small business without having to change much in your day-to-day activities.

Don’t believe me? Think about it. All the tasks you don’t have expertise in — backend administration, trust accounting, marketing, training and support etc. — all can be provided by someone else so you can concentrate on what you do best which is listing and selling property, and all for a fraction of what your agency is swiping from you.

And now has never been a better time to go out on your own for a number of reasons:

  • Technology

The rapid pace of technological change is head-spinning. When you think about, the iPhone was first launched in 2007, Uber began its journey in 2009, while Instagram went live in 2010.

In 13 short years, these three ideas have revolutionised the way we connect, travel and document our lives.

The same can be said about our industry. The advent of a little thing called the internet, precipitating the creation of online listing portals, meant wider exposure and more effective marketing avenues for listings at a fraction of the cost of full-page ads in real estate pull-outs.

Laptops, mobile hotspots, data plans, smartphones and the ability to stay on the move all mean our business model is changing, but many old-school agencies aren’t keeping pace.

  • Customer expectations and attitudes

Another change driver in the modern era is that customers are more open to utilising new services for achieving their successful outcomes.

What’s been proved time and again is that consumer needs, convenience and return on investment drive change — and the public is willing to adopt that change if it means a better result for them.

For example, customers expect agents to be available in some way 24/7. They expect them to be mobile, attentive and extremely well informed in the speciality area.

They are no longer willing to travel to an agent’s shopfront to sign contracts, nor work within the old “nine-to-five” workday format.

So, their reliance on traditional agency structures has changed because, honestly, those businesses are not meeting their needs.

  • COVID-19 restrictions

The health crisis has compelled us all to adapt and change. In 2020, there was an overnight need for the average Aussie households to quickly find solutions to new challenges around lockdowns, social isolation and hygiene.

And they did.

Working from home fast became the norm. Schooling at the kitchen table, buying goods online, and Zoom meetings became an everyday occurrence.

The pandemic has sped up the rate of change in so many ways, and businesses, including agents, need to treat this new world not as a threat, but an opportunity.

We have demonstrated in our day-to-day lives that change is not only inevitable, but desirable and can result in better outcomes that meet our needs and deliver a superior result for our customers.

Frankly, the change some have been resisting is already here. You might as well embrace the inevitable and ride the wave, or risk being overrun by those with more foresight and courage to jump on board.

By Dan Argent, UrbanX