20/80 … Where Are You?

All over the web, you can read about the new generations of IDX solutions. IDX, or Internet Data Exchange, is a platform that companies like us can use to provide agents and brokers with an interface that their website visitors can use to search through the MLS. The latest buzz centers around mapping IDX solutions that allow visitors to search through the MLS using a map as the central focus point. Our own mapping IDX solution, dsSearchAgent, was first released at the 2006 NAR conference in New Orleans; soon after, we signed a site-license agreement with SoCal MLS to provide our mapping IDX solution to all of their 55,000+ members and 20,000+ offices.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hold a training class at the SoCal MLS facility to talk with them about our dsSearchAgent program and gather feedback. During the class, I posed the following question to them. “How do you plan to market yourself in the fallout of a post-subprime market?” One of the brokers who was there immediately replied, saying “that is why I am here, to see what I can do.” As I thought about what he said, I realized that his statement has almost become a rebel’s cry by those who intend to stay in the business. In all, about 20% of the people had an answer; the rest were silent.

For months now, I have been speaking with agents and brokers looking for the latest in technology to help them grow their business; similarly, I’ve read the same thoughts echoed in various blogs. It has become quite clear that agents and brokers who really do care are embracing technology. Accordingly, the tech industry is reacting with great new solutions and bringing with it a whole new group of forward thinkers.

Anyway, I continued to ask the group questions. One of the questions I asked was whether or not they currently blog. Once again, the same 20% who initially gave me feedback told me that they did have a blog. An agent outside of the 20% group shared with me that she did had started a blog, but had never posted anything and couldn’t remember her password. On the other hand, one of the brokers had posted several blogs but had found it difficult to keep up on in and often found it difficult to think of things to blog about. I explained to the group that they need to be specialists within their area. As my mother use to tell me, it really is possible to be the “Jack of all trades, but king of nothing.” Too often, agents and brokers want to be everything to all and everywhere at the same time. A much better approach is to specialize in your area of expertise, which, in turn, will give you much more to blog about.

After the training class was over, I realized that I had just witnessed the famed 80-20 rule in person. 20% of the group participated in the focus group, sharing their concerns, asking questions, and giving general feedback. The other 80% sat there and curiously listened and watched as I spoke about the importance of emerging technologies and the future of real estate. I, for one, wouldn’t want to find myself in the 80% group when it comes to this kind of stuff. On one side, there’s an interest in new technologies, mapping, instant messaging, blogs, RSS feeds, and the like. On the other side, there’s just silence.

What group are you in?