Once an industry insider and leader, now clinging to life
Posted on June 2, 2009
Yesterday will go down in history as the day that one of the formerly largest companies in the world filed for bankruptcy protection. What went wrong? Some will say GM lost touch with what the consumers wanted, and as a result, consumers flocked to their competition overseas. Others will say it’s more about the message and that GM’s marketing failed. Many believe GM was too large to be competitive and responsive. Finally, nearly everybody believes it was because of poor management, and so all of the above would apply anyway.
For many years, both the agent/broker side and the technology side of the real estate industry has also experienced challenges similar to those faced by GM. Unfortunately, because change on a large scale is not easy, many large real estate companies were slow to move forward with better technology. Many large real estate companies found themselves buying the “we are so busy right now that we don’t need to change anything” lie; these are the same companies that are playing catch up at the moment. The same is true for many real estate technology vendors whose clients included many of these same, busy brokers. As a result, both find themselves in the same sinking boat together — that is, they’re embracing mediocre and unimpressive products. The days of blindly embracing the we-are-too-big-to-fail and we-know-what-consumers-want mantras without actually respecting the market or listening to the consumer are gone. I’m sure many business owners would agree that most of what went wrong here could be applied to not just the real estate industry, but really anybody in business today.
The idea that everything we do here at Diverse Solutions is about the consumers’ experience permeates our company in every way. The truth of the matter is that everything really has changed. Smaller companies who have embraced moving the technology forward are growing despite the contracting economy. If you listen, consumers are more than happy to tell you what they want. We’ve heard loud and clear that they want a better experience with technology instead of the old, clumsy 90’s-style user interfaces that are just not good enough anymore. It’s not enough to make the promise, sell the product, and take the too-big-to-fail approach. They want a company they can believe will follow through. You have to understand that the anonymous visitors exploring your website and your brand are just as important to your business as the clients you’re working with now, and you have to give both of them the experience and respect they deserve.