Be Netflix, not Blockbuster

by REP11 Oct 2017
It is truly mind-numbing the amount of information we have at our fingertips. Just watch people at transit stops, in mall line-ups, in waiting rooms – even at your dinner table. It’s a constant scroll, scroll scroll. In fact, we are obviously living in an epidemic of input, which, ironically, is hindering our ability to create good output.

More info makes for better decisions in the end, correct? Well, not exactly. Depth is much more important than volume. It is in depth where good strategic decisions are made. Hanging out in the shallows of knowledge just sparks emotions, opinions and verypoor decisions.

Multiple studies are now raising red flags of warning about this constant barrage of information, showing that professionals and their clients are making increasingly less strategic decisions in their lives, investments, and businesses. Fake news and clickbait wouldn’t exist as a growing part of our society if they weren’t effective in manipulatingthe populous.

Twelve years ago, access to this ocean of information wasn’t available to most people, and at that time investors and homebuyers made more logical and strategic decisions. Instant news and opinions weren’t as ubiquitous, yet still we made great long-term-based decisions. Ah yes, the paradox of choice: the more choices we have the unhappier we are. Today it is less of a paradox of choice and more a case of information overload.
Because REIN’s research has been supporting investors and homebuyers for over 25 years, I can say that today there are more people confused, or making poor decisions based on bad information, thanI have ever witnessed before. And that is where opportunity for professionals like you arises.

I am sure you’ve noticed that your clients, your friends, your cab drivers all have an opinion on the real estate market: it’s a bubble; it’s different this time; there are too many condos; there are not enough condos; it’s going to collapse; it’s a great opportunity; it’s better to rent than buy, and on and on.

The internet, parties, the media airwaves – they’re all filled with impending doom or unheralded confidence in the real estate market. People are afraid and confused and they will hide that behind bravado andstrong opinions.

This is where you step in. People are looking for strategic and clear thought leadership. Right now – and I do mean right now – is the moment when professionals must decide what their strategic advantage is going to be and what added-value they are going to provide. And, frankly, that decision will determine whether or not your business is either frustrating or successful five years from now.

Time to turn on your filter: boulderor bear?
Human beings are hardwired for protection, so therefore when walking through a forest you are more likely to think a rock is a bear (danger) than a bear is a rock (safety).

That is why we are drawn to clickbait and fear-based headlines. We skip over the important information to get to the perceived danger signs. It works, it manipulates and it is starting to affect your business.

Knowing this prewiring, your job is to build trust and to provide a calm fact-based reality that will allow your clients to breathe, act strategically and want to refer people your way. You can become that sought-after calm port in the storm.

Blockbuster or Netflix: you choose
Fortunately, this worrying trend also bringsan opportunity for those who adapt andprefer to thrive by looking at their industry a little differently.

Remember, Blockbuster blindly continued to open video stores, even while streaming services were growing at an exponential rate. They didn’t believe they could ever become irrelevant. In fact, in 2005 their president at the time stated: “We believe we arewell-positioned for the future of digital and VOD demand.”

I’m now seeing this blind mindset in real estate professional circles. Those who see the future are adapting their business models and the value-adds they bring to the market, while others sit on the sidelines tut-tutting.

Look behind you, those are your customers in information overload, look ahead of you and you see a much different industry reality ahead. If you bridge these two by thinking less like a consumer and more like a strategic thought leader, your business will become what clients are looking for.

Don Campbell has been analyzing market and industry trends as the senior economic analyst of REIN Canada for 25 years. He has also authoredseven best-selling books on real estate markets.

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