“Old agent…..new agent”……..NO…the market is the thing that changed.

For some reason, real estate is no different than any other social collective. People are comfortable talking about the “old” agent and the “new” agent.

The “old” agent has been an agent for several years (in some cases, decades). The wisdom that they have to offer is the result of hundreds of transactions. Their strength is in the time they have spent in the industry.

Their marketing in many cases is thought to be outdated. Many of the “old” agents support farming, floor time and open houses. They have a confirmed history of success using those techniques. They also have a very large circle of influence that includes past clients, past clients children and others that they have worked with over the years. They have an established identity in their market and their branding has over time created a sense of credibility.

Those that feel farming is a practice for days gone by usually are viewing it as it was applied in days gone by. Society has changed. It may be that in your neighborhood, a stranger knocking on doors will not find many opened. You have to understand that your neighborhood is not necessarily the type neighborhood in which this practice is successful. You also have to understand that agents that have been walking neighborhoods for years are not strangers. Time has a way of increasing familiarity. The knowledge of the makeup of the neighborhood will not be accurately discovered using various websites that spit out statistical information. If you walk the streets and know the neighborhood…the neighborhood will eventually know you.

Floor time can be wonderfully productive if you are located in area that has foot traffic. Agents have found new clients by sitting behind a desk in their office for years. The benefit of floor time is where you are located. There is a sign out front that identifies the office as a real estate office. People that come through the door usually are serious about their search for assistance. The downside is the fact that it is strictly a chance opportunity. You have to be there to have the opportunity.

Open houses do not sell houses (in most cases). Open houses give you the opportunity to meet buyers that are interested in a home in that neighborhood. They may or may not be in position to pay what that house is selling for, but they are in the market and they have walked through the door and you have the opportunity to convert them into clients. The other possibility is that a neighbor that is thinking of selling will visit to ascertain how their home stacks up against the open house and possibily identify an agent that can sell their home. You have the opportunity to put on your best listing agent behaviour and create a potential listing situation.

All of these methods, thought to be “old” school still work today.

The “new” agent appears to be a bit more into the technical world. They have cell phones, laptops, blackberrys, trios, etc. They see a new generation of buyers and sellers that is more internet based. They look at the old methods and become convinced that there is a way to re-invent the wheel.

They are masters of the internet. They seek out email addresses and use drip campaigns. They use various algorhythms to get their website prime placement. They are focused on search engines and actually understand language that uses terms like meta tags and seo.

I don’t think the focus should be on “old” versus “new” regarding agents. The thing that has actually changed is the market and how we connect with potential clients.

The “old” agent is correct in believing that tried and true methods still work. The “new” agent is correct in believing that the increasing use of the internet by everyone is the communication world of tomorrow.

The challenge is not to re-create the wheel, no, the challenge is how to reconfigure the wheel.

Understanding the “new” market dynamics will lead agents “old” and “new” alike to systems that will enable them to be successful now and in the future.

Lead generation firms abound. Some are considered good and others are considered bad. It is interesting to note that any one of them will have the same amount of supporters as detractors. Each yea or nay is personally based. Your satisfaction in the results of any of these firms will be solidly rooted in the manner in which you worked the leads that you received.

Remember, they all generate their leads from internet inquiries. They are all appealing to the same group of consumers. Anyone using any provider will have to use the system that is recommended or develop one of their own. The success or failure will always ultimately fall on the shoulders of the agent. As a side note, none of them will provide you with guaranteed sales.

The purchase of internet leads is much like floor duty in that you are making yourself available to an audience in hopes of making that connection morph into a client relationship. Oh, floor duty is on the surface free but carries the cost of your time and any desk fees or commission split that you now work under. Nothing in your office is “free”.

Developing a list of your circle of influence and others that have shown an interest in your profession is important. The internet has made the sending of monthly newsletters quite cost effective. They are not as personal as a hand written note, but they do create what advertising guru’s refer to as an “impression”.

Computers have enhanced our lives in many ways. Information is at our fingertips about almost any subject.

An agent, “old” or “new” has to understand, it is the market that has changed and the focus remains the same. You will be successful if you are able to use tools old and new, practices old and new to present yourself to the new market.

I like to think that the old market was like toast and agents spread information about themselves using a old butter knife. The new market is still the same toast, but you have to be ready to use that little spay gun they use at “Dennys” when applying today’s butter.

On a final note, a word to the wise should be sufficient…… “old” agents have a wealth of knowledge. Their opinions and suggestions should be listened to carefully. They have lived through cycles and changes and have developed a practice and style that has allowed them to survive. Your success, whether you are willing to believe it or not, will be built on the foundation they have created.

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